A Girl And Her Ben And Jerry's: A Love Story Turned Disastrous

A Girl And Her Ben And Jerry's: A Love Story Turned Disastrous

My relationship with food and what it's taught me.

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These words are coming to you from a coffee shop where no, I did not order a chocolate croissant and type away with greasy fingers like I may have a year ago. They're also coming to you from the mind of a girl who got on the scale this morning, hated what she saw, thought of all of the holiday food she could've declined, and quickly opened her phone to Google, "Can I lose ten pounds in a week?"

That girl knows she sounds insane, but hey, there's a lot else on my mind -- going back to school in San Diego in a week, seeing all of my friends, and feeling like the holidays hit my health way harder than I wanted or intended them to.

But a year ago, this girl would have been looking forward to heading back to school, seeing her boyfriend and diving into a pint of Ben and Jerry's with him (our favorite), baking, going out to eat with friends, and living with very little regard for what I was putting in my body. Did I know what I was doing to myself? Deep down, yes, and I could feel it. But on the outside, I didn't act like I cared.

My journey to where I sit today is complicated and difficult, but it centers around something I've discovered about myself in the past year, and that is my incredibly difficult relationship with food.

Since being home for the holidays I've been trying to get out for runs when I can. On a few of these runs, I've let my mind wander and it's helped me trace where my relationship with food stemmed from. And once I placed it, it was astounding to me how it had impacted my life and my choices.

My parents have never been poor eaters. In fact, how they fed us and were role models for healthy eating is quite remarkable to me, looking back. Milk was a dinnertime staple, as was a vegetable every night. Fruit was always part of breakfast, as was a good fruit juice. Wheat bread was commonplace, and white bread was not a typical purchase. There was a candy cabinet we had, but it was kept high up and we couldn't reach it until we were tall enough. On top of that, I watched my parents make good changes to their health while I grew up. And now, they continue to strive to be healthy and active.

When I was a Junior in high school, I made a major change in my activity and began rowing competitively. It was at that point that food became such a reward system for me because the levels at which I was burning calories through long practices meant I could eat massive dinners after practice and continue to stay in shape and even lose weight. I didn't need to care about calories, because most of the time, I needed to consume more.

When I got to college, I continued to row. Recruited to be on the team, I worked hard to make times and standards. But crew became extremely difficult for my mental health, and looking back I know that I experienced bouts of depression through my first year of school. My anxiety was high, and being away from home didn't make it easier. Slowly, food became an ultimate comfort. With everything so different and challenging in my worldview, food remained constant. But that wasn't visible because I was training 20+ hours a week and packing on muscle, so any weight gain from meal plan food in excess seemed almost trivial. It was all muscle, right?

Fast-forward to my second year of rowing. I was feeling hopeless under the pressure to compete on my team and was plagued by anxiety. Going to practice wasn't a joy anymore, but I continued to train and eat like an athlete because the caloric deficit allowed me to. It all came to a tipping point, though, and I left the team.

The following year would prove very difficult. Issues in my personal life and the change that followed leaving student-athlete life did a number on me, and what I thought would be an escape from the athlete life was the opposite -- my anxiety was ramping up and my living situation fueled its fire, too.

Rowing was a life change in high school, it was a life change in college, and leaving that life was another change I wasn't ready for. But one thing that remained constant? Food.

Half a year after I left that team, I recall one night walking into my bedroom with a pint of ice cream (yes, just for me, and I'd probably finish it in less than an hour) all while rationalizing the poor eating habits that became an endless comfort during a hard sophomore year of college -- I'm young, I should live my best life and eat what I want while I can.

Getting on the scale didn't really help that rationalization.

Through several failed attempts, I recognized that I needed to get fit and lose some weight. But it wasn't until I saw my scale blink 2-0-0 that I became concerned. I tried apps, smoothies, all kinds of stuff and it wasn't working, because my food relationship was toxic and on my end, misunderstood.

Six months later, I'm happy to report that I made some changes. I lost the weight, feel like a new person, and now I know a lot about food. I found a diet that worked for me and truly, made me feel amazing and energized. But I'm still sitting in this coffee shop reflecting on what I saw on the scale this morning.

Mental health, life's obstacles, and my perspective on food came together to create a very toxic relationship with consumption that I still deal with. I have a major sweet tooth, often call myself a "bottomless pit" when it comes to eating a big meal, and generally just LOVE to eat. My mind centers around food when I'm eating next, and I can even tell you exactly the snacks I'll have on my road trip back to school this weekend. Fortunately, I've planned out healthy snacks!

I know that I'm not alone. I can imagine that so many struggles with the urge to have a sweet treat, the satisfaction that comes from an amazing meal, or the comfort that comes with good food if your day was difficult. And I want you to know that despite weight loss, my food relationship hasn't entirely changed for good. Not every day is easy, and I'm not perfect. But I'm growing in other areas -- self-control, balance, willpower, and knowing what is and isn't good for me. It's an ongoing battle, but one thing is for sure: I won't give up, and you can't either.

I took photos of myself along my journey, and one that haunts me is the day one photo. Looking back, I couldn't believe who that girl was and what she had allowed herself to become. Many old photos now have me thinking hard about the changes I've made and how thankful I am for them. And while it represents a lot of struggle, I also love that day one photo. Because it not only shows my progress but my bravery and decision to start and not give up. Whether you struggle with sweets, battle an eating disorder, need to make changes, or you've gotten to a healthy place, one thing will remain true: Giving up in the struggle to take care of yourself isn't an option. Keep going.

Food and I will always have a complex relationship, but I'm happy to say I've decided who wears the pants -- it's me, I'm in control, and I'm going to keep going. My health is priceless, and so is yours. Not every day is easy, but reflecting on obstacles overcome, I choose to keep trying.

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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Stop Saying, 'I Don’t Want To Get Diabetes,’ It's Rude And Ignorant To Those Who Are Type 1 Diabetic

Nobody wants to "get" diabetes, but some of us have no choice.

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This statement implies that is is a choice to be diagnosed with diabetes as if it is some very controllable condition where I have the ability to decide whether it affects me or not. This is not true.

When I was three years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes also known as juvenile diabetes because it typically, but is not limited to, beginning in adolescence. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition where my pancreas no longer produces insulin. This is caused by my immune system attacking the pancreas, ultimately destroying the cells that create insulin. As of right now, there is no explanation known for what ultimately makes the immune system do this, and there is no cure for the autoimmune condition.

Thus, as a type 1 diabetic, I have no choice but to be entirely insulin dependent. Whenever I consume carbohydrates, I must administer insulin to my bloodstream just like how non-diabetic people having a fully functioning pancreas that releases the same hormone whenever they introduce carbohydrates to their digestive systems. The amount of insulin that I administer is based on the number of carbs that I consume; the carbs per insulin unit ratio varies based on the individual and also has the potential to change just as how the pancreas secrets insulin within an individual's body at rates that are unknown. Therefore, finding ways to treat diabetes can be difficult for there lacks a "one size fits all" template for what works best for each diabetic. (This is important to keep in mind for all health conditions: what works well for one person does not necessarily mean that it will work well for a different person.)

There are a lot of other factors that are imperative for my mindful attention in order to stay healthy with this chronic condition. Monitoring blood sugar levels, counting carbohydrates, gaining a true sense of body awareness, and attending doctors appointments are some examples of these other factors that are necessary to keep on top of while living with type 1 diabetes. As you can tell, this chronic condition can easily become overwhelming.

Did I want to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? No.

Did I have a choice as to whether I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? No.

Do you have the ability to control what statements you make when speaking in public? Yes, you most certainly do.

I urge people to resist from saying the phrase, "I don't want to get diabetes" when offered dessert or saying something similar when asked why they are cutting back on how much sugar they include in their diet. Perhaps these comments are in reference to "getting" type 2 diabetes also known as adult-onset diabetes. This condition is different from type 1 diabetes in the sense that the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body has developed a resistance to the insulin that is produced; the body does not use insulin efficiently. Another difference is that type 2 diabetes can be influenced by the risk factors of obesity and family history. Finally, type 2 diabetes can also be reversed; this means that through lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise, the effects of type 2 diabetes can be alleviated because the pancreas still does make insulin for type 2 diabetics. This is not the case for type 1 diabetes, thus, these are two different conditions.

So let's say that the ignorant comment of "I don't want to get diabetes" is made in reference to type 2 diabetes. This is still an awful thing to say. Of course, nobody "wants to get" diabetes; why would they? However, even in cases of type 2 diabetes, there are factors that are still beyond the individual's personal control, and even after the diagnosis occurs, as I stated earlier, there are differences in how each individual responds to treatment options. What works for one may not work for another.

Unfortunately, I have been in the presence of people who have made comments within this subject matter. Being a type 1 diabetic myself, the situation is incredibly awkward. Whether the person who made the statement knows that there is a diabetic present in the room or not, they should not be speaking like this. Making this comment implies that there is a concrete choice as to whether an individual is diagnosed with diabetes, of any type, or not. Making this comment implies that you, the commentator, is above those of us who are already diabetic; you are looking down on us in a way because your comment insinuates that you would never want to endure the lifestyle of a diabetic. Making this comment implies that you, the commenter, have no idea what the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes are, or that there even are different types of diabetes and how to distinguish between the complications of each. Making this comment implies that you, the commenter, are extremely, unmistakenly, ignorant.

In the instances that I have heard this quick comment be made, some people present in the room knew that I was type 1 diabetic and some people did not. Nobody pointed me out or made sideways glances at me to notice my facial expression. I was not offended by the comment, nor was I embarrassed that I am type 1 diabetic while there is this person saying that they "don't want" what I have. I was, however, extremely disappointed in the comment. I was partly disappointed in the commenter for making such an ignorant statement (that I am sure was probably not meant to be harmful at all), but I was also majorly disappointed in society as a whole. Instances like this have made me realize that, collectively, society is also ignorant of the differences between types of diabetes. Generalizing this condition can result in the cultivation of uncomfortable situations and an inability to understand the complications of each type of this condition.

Finally, and most importantly, whenever I endure experiences such as the one described, I am refreshed of just how utterly important it is for all of us to choose our words wisely and precisely. Even if we do not intend to cause harm by our words, the possibility of that happening is always present. When people say "I don't want to get diabetes," I am not sure they realize just how terrible this statement sounds leaving their lips. In my mind, my first reaction is that I would never say anything like this, but then again, I have this reaction because I am type 1 diabetic. Similarly, would you ever make the statement "I don't want to get cancer" when offered a free session in a tanning bed or "I don't want to get liver damage" when offered a beer? No, because there are so many genetic and epigenetic factors that can contribute to cancer diagnoses and the same goes for liver failure.

It sounds absurd to even read those two examples. How can somebody solely correlate tanning beds with "getting" cancer and beer with "getting" liver damage when there is an abundance of other contributing factors as well as different types of levels of severity regarding these health issues? Well, I ask myself the same question regarding the statement of "I don't want to get diabetes" when somebody is offered something sweet. How can somebody solely correlate sugar with "getting" diabetes when there are so many other factors that are potentially involved? While it is possible that these pairs are related in terms of causation to some extent (tanning beds/cancer, beer/liver damage, sugar/diabetes) there are so many things that we do not know exactly and making generalized statements like my examples above prove to be inappropriate.

It sounds absurd because it is absurd.

Thus, let's all strive to create an environment where we do not make people feel ashamed or uncomfortable based on ignorant statements regarding health conditions that we may or may not know anything about. You never know what people are going through or how a genetic condition, health issue, or disease affects them. Furthermore, you never know what health experiences you will one day be exposed to, whether that condition will affect you personally or if it will affect a close family member or friend. Either way, it will change your perspective immensely.

I vow to always choose my words carefully and thoughtfully to ensure that I can clearly articulate a point with consideration for whoever is present in my audience; you should too.

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