Everything in Moderation

Everything in Moderation

I mean you can eat 10 hot dogs if you want, just not every day...right?
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I believe in this saying on all levels that it could possibly be applied to. I have never heard of this expression until entering recovery for an eating disorder, and I realized that it can be used in so much more than just recovery.

Let’s begin with recovery first, though. Moderation doesn't mean not having too much of something; it also means not having too little of something either. One huge issue I had when struggling with the darkest of my disorder was this moderation on both sides of the spectrum. I had no idea how to manage things moderately and either reached too extreme of one thing or too extreme of little.

I know I am not alone in this either. Being around college students every day, I have realized that I am not the only one who struggles with living a lifestyle in moderation. I have heard so many people say they aren't going to eat a meal because they know they are going to eat more later. One thing's first: how do you know how much you're going to eat at any given point? Yes, you may anticipate eating a little unhealthier or a little more than usual, but you never know if you are going to get full or how much your body will actually want to eat anyway. And this is where we get into the issue of under-eating.

So someone will eat under moderation in preparation for either drinking or eating over moderation, and this is not a healthy lifestyle. The first thing we can do is try and listen to our bodies and not let our negative opinions on the way we look influence how we treat our health. So many of us are unhappy with how we look that we allow this to act a certain way. We think we are “too” big and don't eat when we are starving or get ahead of ourselves and drink too much when we are out.

Our minds—especially the low self esteem part of them—oftentimes influence our decisions when we really need to start using mindfulness to combat these thoughts. We know deep down that skipping lunch to go out and eat a big dinner isn't healthy, and if we take a step back we will remind ourselves that. Honestly, skipping a meal will only make us overeat even MORE than we probably would have in the first please. If we learn how to eat when we are hungry, eat what we WANT to eat, and stop when we are full, then it will become a habit; we will no longer look to our insecurities of our bodies and the beauty standards around us to influence how we fuel ourselves.

I would waste an entire day sleeping (oversleeping) and then purposely not eating until late at night because I told myself I would be drinking too many calories and drunk eating that night, and I couldn't afford food during the day. First of all, going into the night with the mindset of “I'm going to eat and drink too much” sets the tone right there and makes you so much more likely to actually do it. Secondly, if I ate during the day I probably wouldn't have gotten as drunk, wouldn't have been as hungry at night, and wouldn't be as sluggish the entire day if I woke up at a normal hour.

Instead of telling ourselves these things, we can instead tell ourselves, “okay let me eat a healthy, filling breakfast, lunch, and dinner when I feel hungry and stop eating when I am not hungry anymore.” If we do this, we will go into the night already satisfied, knowing we ate “healthy” throughout the day, and not be starving to the point of bingeing that night. We can't deprive our bodies of something they need, and we can't over-serve it something that it doesn't need too much of.

This also relates to exercise in recovery and when suffering from an eating disorder. There comes a point in a workout where it is no longer useful if you are too tired to be productive. Forcing yourself to workout for two hours straight when there is not enough fuel put in your body to burn, you start burning energy and important muscle. When you don't workout at all, your heart health declines and you don't meet the daily amount of exercise that is said to keep our bodies healthy. We need to instead find the exercise we personally enjoy doing and do the workout for the amount of time that our bodies will feel good from.

Moderation goes so far beyond just food—it goes for anything in life. Too much of something can take the meaning out of it. When someone tells you they love you everyday, it becomes second nature and has little to no impact on our emotions. When someone never tells you they love you, you start to forget what love feels like. We need to learn how much of something we need for our own particular lives—which takes time—but when we do find it, our lives will feel in balance and so will our happiness.




Cover Image Credit: https://www.rebuildyourvision.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Everything-in-Moderation.jpg

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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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The Potomac Urges Me To Keep Going

A simple story about how and why the Potomac River brings me emotional clarity.

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It's easy to take the simple things for granted. We tell ourselves that life is moving too fast to give them another thought. We are always thinking about what comes next. We can't appreciate what's directly in front of us because we are focused on what's in our future. Sometimes you need to snap back to present and just savor the fact that you are alive. That's what the Potomac River does for me.

I took the Potomac River for granted at one point. I rode by the river every day and never gave it a second glance. I was always distracted, never in the present. But that changed one day.

A tangle of thoughts was running rampant inside my head.

I have a lot of self-destructive tendencies. I find it's not that hard to convince yourself that life isn't worth living if nothing is there to put it in perspective.

My mind constantly conjures up different scenarios and follows them to their ultimate conclusion: anguish. I needed something to pull myself out of my mental quagmire.

All I had to do was turn my head and look. And I mean really look. Not a passing glance but rather a gaze of intent. That's when it hit me. It only lasted a minute or so but I made that moment feel like an eternity.

My distractions of the day, no matter how significant they seemed moments ago, faded away. A feeling of evanescence washed over me, almost as if the water itself had cleansed me.

I've developed a routine now. Whenever I get on the bus, I orient myself to get the best view of the river. If I'm going to Foggy Bottom, I'll sit on the right. If I'm going back to the Mount Vernon Campus, I'll sit on the left. I'll try to sit in a seat that allows me to prop my arm against the window, and rest my cheek against my palm.

I've observed the Potomac in its many displays.

I've observed it during a clear day when the sky is devoid of clouds, and the sun radiates a far-reaching glow upon the shimmering ripples below. I can't help but envy the gulls as they glide along the surface.

I've observed it during the rain when I have to wipe the fogged glass to get a better view. I squint through the gloom, watching the rain pummel the surface, and then the river rises along the bank as if in defiance of the harsh storm. As it fades from view, I let my eyes trace the water droplets trickling down the window.

I've observed it during snowfall when the sheets of white obscure my view to the point where I can only make out a faint outline.

I've observed it during twilight when the sky is ablaze with streaks of orange, yellow, and pink as the blue begins to fade to grey.

Last of all, I've observed it during the night, when the moon is swathed in a grey veil. The row of lights running along the edge of the bridge provides a faint gleam to the obsidian water below.

It's hard to tear away my eyes from the river now. It's become a place of solace. The moment it comes into view, I'll pause whatever I'm doing. I turn up the music and let my eyes drift across the waterfront. A smile always creeps across my face. I gain a renewed sense of life.

Even on my runs, I set aside time to take in the river. I'll run across the bridge toward Arlington and then walk back, giving myself time to look out over either side of the bridge. I don't feel in a rush for once. I just let the cool air brush against my face. Sometimes my eyes begin to water. Let's just say it's not always because of the wind.

I chase surreal moments. The kind of moments you can't possibly plan for or predict. Moments where you don't want to be anywhere else. The ones that ground your sense of being. They make life truly exceptional.

Though I crave these moments, they are hard to come by. You can't force them. Their very nature does not allow it. But when I'm near the river, these moments just seem to come naturally.

I remember biking around DC when I caught sight of the Potomac. Naturally, I couldn't resist trying to get a better view. I pulled up along the river bank, startling a lone gull before dismounting. I took a few steps until I reached the edge of the water. The sun shone brilliantly in the center of the horizon.

A beam of light stretched across the water toward me, almost like a pathway to the other side of the river. I felt an urge to walk forward. I let one-foot dangle over the water, lowering it slowly to reach the glittering water below. I debated briefly whether I could walk on water. Though it sounds ridiculous, anything felt possible. Snapping back to reality, I brought my foot back up and scanned the vast blue expanse before me.

Eventually, the wind began to buffet against my left cheek, as if directing me to look right. I turned my head. A couple was walking along the bike path. They paused beneath a tree for a moment and locked eyes. Smiling, the man leaned in and whispered something in the woman's ear. As she giggled, they began to kiss softly.

While I looked on with a smile of my own, I couldn't help but wonder if there was someone else out there in the world willing to share this moment with me.

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