Food Does Not Define Me Or My Self-Worth

Food Does Not Define Me

Somewhere along the way, I began associating what I eat with my self-worth.

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I seem to have this problem where I associate what I eat with how I feel about myself. If I eat something that's not strictly healthy, then oh boy, do I feel the guilt. I feel immediately upon even looking at such a delicious food item that I'll have to go lift weights and get on the treadmill for awhile to compensate for it.
Otherwise I just know that I'll gain weight or become bloated within a day (that's definitely not always true). Sometimes that thought deters me from eating it, but other times I cave into my craving. It's hard to say what's worse. There's eating without complete restriction, which sometimes gives my body the nutrients it needs to grant me energy, but ends up with me feeling guilty as all hell about it. There's also the option of eating fairly restricted and staying super conscious of every single bite put in my mouth, but I'm usually so conscious of that I don't eat adequately enough. Neither of these are fun or easy.
When I stay super conscious of what I eat, I do end up light-headed and weak. I also crave sugar, wheat, and dairy like crazy of course, because once something is initially off limits it becomes all the more appealing, right? Well, people tell me that I clearly just am not getting the right nutrients if I don't feel well or that I'm just not eating enough. They have a fair point. What they don't get though is I feel torn between anorexia and binge-eating almost every day and finding a happy middle isn't as easy as they make it out to be.

Measuring inches and eating salad

It's not always a matter of choosing what's right—it's about trying to avoid under-eating due to guilt and body image issues as well as avoid eating excessive amounts of sugar or anything else my body is not tolerant of. It doesn't help that I have a ton of food sensitivities, so when I say binge-eating, I mean that any more than one to two pieces of bread a dairy for me is too much. Eating more than a couple of cookies usually turns me into a rage monster, since I also don't tolerate sugar well. These, and more, screw my whole body up, make me feel sick, and make it super easy for me to pack on weight.
It's good to be aware that what you eat has consequences on your body. If not now, it will probably show up someday. However, it is expensive and difficult to eat super-organic and full-blown "healthy" 24/7. Not everyone can afford a nutritionist, although there is a lot of help and meal planning that you can seek out for free online. My problem though isn't that I don't know how to eat healthily. My problem is that I have this fear that happens when I eat something or too much of something "wrong," because then I am wrong. I look wrong. I'm not wrong though and I don't look wrong. I'm me.
I do need to keep in mind that my food sensitivities and just that I am my own person mean that I'm not going to be able to scarf down as much food, or as many kinds of food as some of the people around me. The amount or kinds of exercise I clock in every day doesn't automatically mean that I'll get the same body results as others either. I need to stop comparing myself to others, in both eating styles and body types. I've learned that I'm happiest when I eat mostly a specific, healthy diet I've set for myself but I do allow myself sweets and indulgences once in a while. Moderation isn't the only important element though. It's about being happy with myself and knowing that I'm doing enough. I am enough.

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20 Healthy Snacks For College Students

Quick and healthy snack options for the new school year.
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Classes, appointments, practices, rehearsals, homework, late nights and early mornings...the life of a college student never seems to slow down. In the hectic lifestyle that college brings, it is normal that to compensate, some important areas of life might be allowed to slide. One of these areas is eating healthily. Between dorm life, cafeteria food, fast food, Starbucks runs, late night snacking and stress eating, it can be difficult for the average college student to maintain a healthy diet. However, there is a plethora of quick and healthy snacks that, with a little effort, can easily be added into the college student's diet. Here are some favorites:

1. Nuts.

Nuts are full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, which makes them a good option for snacking. Almonds and peanuts are my go-to nuts. And I'm fairly certain I could eat an entire package of either one in one sitting alone!

2. Fruit.

Just wash up your favorite fruit and throw it in your backpack for an afternoon snack!

3. Cheese and crackers.

My favorite is Gruyere with Wheat Thins, but the options are endless on this one!

4. Pretzels.

Crunchy, slightly salty, and a good alternative to chips.

5. Bolthouse Farms smoothies.

Okay, maybe these aren't technically a snack, but they're so yummy! They're chock full of real fruit and vitamins. Some of them even have added protein. So healthy!

6. Protein Bars or Granola Bars.

The options for these are almost too numerous to choose from! Some of my favorite brands are KIND and Clif. You can also make your own! You can find a wide array of recipes for those here: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/healthy/g2311/healthy-granola-bar-recipes-0222/.

7. Cereal Bars.

What flavor is your favorite? Strawberry? Blueberry? Mixed? Cinnamon Apple? There are all kinds of choices for a variety of tastes.

8. String Cheese.

Not only is it yummy, but there is something oddly satisfying about peeling the cheese apart in strings.

9. Greek Yogurt, or yogurt in general.

There are all kinds of things that make yogurt healthy for you. And there are many options for how to eat it. Eat it by itself, or top it with fruit, honey or granola.

10. Protein Shakes.

Whether you make them, or buy them, there are many yummy options for protein shakes. They make good meal substitutes and they're good as snacks too!

11. Veggie Straws.

Veggie straws are a healthy alternative to regular potato chips. Made from potatoes and other veggies, they contain less fat than potato chips do. Plus, they're yummy!

12. Edamame.

This one is new to me, but is surprisingly tasty! Here are some ways to use it: http://www.thekitchn.com/five-ways-to-eat-edamame-97688.

13. Baby Carrots.

Throw them in a Ziploc bag, and you have a fresh, transportable snack.

14. Peanut Butter.

High in protein, peanut butter is one of those things that will stick to you and help you get by until the next meal. The options with peanut butter are endless – spread it on a slice of bread, put a little on some crackers, dollop a little in your yogurt, or eat a spoon of it plain.

15. Sunflower Seeds.

Definitely a nice salty, slightly crunchy snack.

16. Plantain Chips.

For some reason, these things are so addicting! I especially like the kind that has a light coating of sea salt.

17. Dried Fruit.

Raisins, dried cranberries, prunes, dried apples, pineapples, etc. The options are quite varied.

18. Trail Mix.

Buy your own, or make some. Here are several recipes: http://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/5-healthy-homemade-trail-mix-recipes-that-go-the-distance.html/?a=viewall.

19. Peanut Butter and Honey Roll-up.

Take a tortilla, spread some peanut butter and honey on it, and voila! A quick, filling and slightly sweet snack.

20. Granola.



Eat it by itself or throw it on some yogurt, and you have a hearty, satisfying snack. Buy some at the store, or try making your own. You can find a great base recipe here: http://cookieandkate.com/2015/healthy-granola-recipe/.

Happy snacking!

Cover Image Credit: www.empowher.com

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Save Some Calories And Order These Drinks At Starbucks

A few simple modifications to make your favorite drink healthier!

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Everybody knows that a delicious morning coffee is a must, at least once in a while, right? Personally, I have a latte Friday tradition going for myself. I wake up every Friday, squeeze in my morning workout, grab breakfast, and hit the nearest coffee shop on the way to wherever I'm headed that particular day for a little end of the week treat. There is nothing wrong with treating ourselves once in a while, but most of us are also aware (especially now that calorie counts are posted on menu boards) that even a simple morning latte can rack up more calories than your breakfast itself.

The first problem with this is, unlike a hearty breakfast, your coffee calories are mostly sugar and therefore they are absolutely useless for anything except for guaranteeing a sugar crash later on in the day. Second of all, the extra calories are completely unnecessary as there are dozens and dozens of simple swaps that will transform your cup of sugar into a (still delicious) somewhat reasonably healthy, morning pick me up. So why wouldn't you make the change?

Here, I'll get you started.

All caloric values listed are estimates that may vary slightly based on flavor and chosen modifications. Calories listed are those of the most modified form described.

For The Latte Drinker:

Lattes are a fairly easy fix. First and foremost, switch your milk base. Lattes come with 2% milk when ordered regularly. To cut down on calories ask for a lighter milk like skim. If you are a non-dairy drinker, skip the soy milk and ask for almond or coconut milk which are the lightest two of your non-dairy options. A second easy fix is asking for sugar-free syrup which will majorly reduce your carb intake as well as overall calories. If you are against calorie-free sweeteners or just want a more mild drink, try asking for half the amount of syrup.

Calories in regular 16 oz: 250 k cal

Calories in modified 16 oz: 80-120 k cal

For The Cappuccino Drinker:

Easy, easy fix here. Cappuccinos, like lattes, come with 2% milk. Save some calories by switching to skim, or if you're dairy free, ask for almond milk (opposed to soy) to cut calories down to the minimum. If you get flavors in your cappuccino try asking for sugar-free syrup, or simply asking for half the amount of sweetness.

Calories in regular 16 oz: 120 k cal

Calories in modified 16 oz: 80-100 k cal

For The Macchiato Drinker:

So a macchiato, essentially, is similar to a latte (milk base with espresso and flavoring), only heavier due to the added heavy cream, dry milk, drizzle syrup, and butter. And yes, I did say butter. There is butter in your morning coffee if you are drinking a macchiato from Starbucks. As far as making healthy adjustments, I would suggest opting for a lighter milk base like skim or almond milk. I would also ask for sugar-free syrup rather than regular, and even ask for it half sweet as I will continue to suggest with multiple drinks. You may also opt to pass on the drizzle syrup over the top.

Calories in regular 16 oz: 250 k cal

Calories in modified 16 oz: 120 k cal

For The Mocha Drinker:

I'm not going to lie, mocha's hurt me a little bit. These are tricky drinks as, although I'm sure they're delicious, they are essentially sugar bombs. Racking up a whopping 430 calories, a cafe mocha is made up of 2% milk, "mocha sauce", espresso, sugar syrup, and to top it off, a big blob of whipped cream. I'm not here to pass any judgments, but if you're drinking these things on a regular basis, I am glad you're reading this article. Not because you don't deserve it, but because I care about your health. So let's get started. First off, skip the whipped cream. Just skip it. Try skim or almond milk instead of 2%. Ask for a sugar-free vanilla syrup in place of the regular. You can also ask for it half sweet. As far as the "mocha sauce" I suppose this is what gives you the taste you love. Try asking for half of the amount of sauce. If you hate it you can always switch back, but give it a shot.

Calories in regular 16 oz: 430 k cal

Calories in modified 16 oz: 200 – 230 k cal

For The Frappuccino Drinker:

Depending on the flavor, a small Frappuccino can rack up to 500 calories into your system. Not healthy ones either. Guys, like I mentioned with the mocha drinks, I hope these aren't something you're drinking on the regular. Everything in moderation, but I care about your health and well being too much to not warn you against these frozen cups of cholesterol. That was harsh, but its the truth. With too many syrups and various sauces blended into ice and whipped cream to count, it's easier to just switch out your Frappuccino entirely for a blended iced coffee. Order a "Light Frappuccino Blended Coffee" to curb your frozen beverage craving for about 1/4 of the calories and sugar.

Calories in regular 16 oz: 500 k cal

Calories in modified 16 oz: 110 k cal

For The Shaken Tea Drinkers:

Obviously, there are dozens of varieties of tea drinks at Starbucks, whether it be shaken, infused, sweetened, etc. The healthiest way to order Starbucks iced teas is plain and unsweetened. If you need a little more sweet to be satisfied, try asking for their calorie-free sweetener (they use stevia) and or just having them add half of the amount of regular syrup as usual. Try to avoid the lemonade teas, as the lemonade added is just cane sugar, flavoring, and citric acid.

Calories in regular 16 oz: 70 k cal

Calories in modified 16 oz: 0 k cal

Completely Calorie Free Options:

  1. Iced or regular Americano with sugar-free syrup, no cream.
  2. Shaken tea with stevia sweetener.
  3. Black cold brew or black iced coffee.

My Go-To Drink:

My personal go-to drink is an Americano (iced or hot depending on the weather and time of year) with a splash of coconut milk. If I am having a sweet craving, I'll add two pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup.

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