Food and Religion, Part 2

Some of ya’ll may have seen this on my personal Facebook account (if you’re cool enough to be my friend ;) ), but I thought I would share with the world. On November 9, 2014, I was baptized at church. While I was christened as an infant, I chose to be baptized through immersion as a symbol of my acceptance of Jesus Christ as an adult.

Part of this process at church was sharing my testimony, and I would like to share what I wrote with you all:

It is not often that something which sustains your life is also your enemy. For me, that was food. I have spent the last 5 years of my life struggling with an eating disorder. Before I came to Jesus Christ I was miserable – depressed, lonely, and anxious. I rarely smiled. There were a few times I even considered taking my own life. I went through the motions of the day, just hoping to get by. By night, I ate my feelings. I feel empty inside, like something was missing. Looking back, I think I ate to try to fill that void, but nothing ever worked.

Even though I had been raised a Christian, I drifted away from the church in high school and college. I didn’t prioritize my relationship with Jesus, and looking back, I realize that was the part that was missing.

My life changed one day when I was in a bookstore, poring over self-help books claiming to teach me the skills I needed to overcome my eating disorder. One in particular caught my eye – it didn’t make those claims. It claimed that in order to overcome my eating disorder, I needed to let Jesus Christ into my heart. And as I read the first chapter in the bookstore, I realized that the author was right. I wouldn’t recover unless I put my faith in God and let Him choose my path to recovery.

Since I have come back to Christ, I am much happier. I smile again. I am no longer afraid to experience feelings, because I put my faith in the fact that He will take care of me. I have been in treatment for my eating disorder since June and am slowly on the mend, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I no longer run to food when my emotions become overwhelming, and instead turn to Jesus Christ and the Bible.

Today, I am getting baptized in order to not only show my obedience to Jesus Christ but to celebrate my new life in Him and the plans He has laid for me.

That pretty much sums it up. I know that while I cannot expect Jesus to lead me to freedom from my eating disorder alone, he can guide me along the right path. I cannot sum up my thoughts and feelings better than the classic poem, “Footprints in the Sand”:

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

This song also sums it up. Currently my recovery anthem!

The Announcement!

Phew! I’ve had this update planned for a few days, but with lots of doctor appointments and the Thanksgiving holiday, I simply haven’t had the chance to sit down and write it!

So, I’ve got big news (no, I’m not pregnant!): I AM MOVING AHEAD WITH SURGERY! I apparently passed my psych testing with no issues so I was given the go-ahead to schedule what feels like almost everything but the surgery itself!

I am going back to the Cleveland Clinic after Christmas for a nutrition appointment, blood work, an EKG, a chest x-ray, an appointment with an internist, and an appointment with the surgeon. All of these appointments are happening in just 2 days. I have one more appointment with the psychologist in January to make plans for medication management after surgery. I guess I should remember to bring a book with me…

I was really pleased with the treatment I received at the Clinic. The chairs were made for larger people (I even had extra room in the one I was sitting in!) and I got great customer service. Even the housekeeping staff was wonderful. My only complaint was the jerk on his cell phone loudly talking about his auto insurance claim, but he started to wise up once I started commenting on the parts of the conversation I could hear… ;) Also, I didn’t have to wait forever which was a plus. Hubby came with me and I was so worried about parking and walking to the building that I think we LITERALLY got there an hour and a half before my appointment so we sort of just people watched in the hospital. I am so thankful that I have his support throughout this process. He told me he will do his best to come to my future appointments, especially the nutritionist one, since he does a lot of the cooking.

The only thing I am a little bit fuzzy on is the “weight history” and “doctor supervised diet”. I am not sure if they will count my protein-sparing modified fast as a doctor supervised diet or if they’d put on me on a different one. Either one is ok with me, because I am obviously going to need to eat after surgery. I am already scouring the internet for recipes I’ll be able to eat. I need to start weaning myself off of sugar and caffeine as well – caffeine because it dehydrates you (I will need to switch to decaf) I have a realistic goal for surgery in mind: before I turn 30 in August.

In the meantime, I will continue to update you, fearless readers, on…well, everything. I may attempt a vlog at some point to share the ridiculousness of some of the questions on the psych test…

Being Thankful

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately. I realized that I am so incredibly lucky, in so many ways. I have an amazing husband who loves me unconditionally, through my good days and bad. I have a mother who has never left my side and would probably give me her left arm if I asked for it. I have a father who is trying so hard to heal our broken relationship. My siblings are supportive and fabulous. My aunts and uncles and cousins are more of a rock to me than I think they know. My in-laws and my husband’s family, though miles away, are still ever-present. My best friends, even though we are separated by hundreds of miles, are just a phone call away at 3 am if I need them. I attend an amazing, God-loving, supportive church whose members never fail to surprise me with their love and generosity.

I am so lucky.

Last week, I did an assessment for a young girl whose mother is an undocumented immigrant. Even though I had to work through a translator, the pain of this mother was palpable. She had escaped severe physical, emotional, and mental abuse in her home country only to face the same here. But yet, it was her daughter she was most concerned about. As we were leaving, I asked her if there was anything she needed. In broken English, she asked me to please help me find her children some boots. I cried in my car afterward, and it’s been a long time since I did that.

I posted a simple question on Facebook: “does anyone know anywhere on the west side that offers free boots for kids?” and minutes later, I had several replies offering to buy these kids boots. People who had never even met these children. I was so shocked and humbled. When I called the mom to ask her the kids’ sizes and let her know we would be able to get boots, she got quiet. When she spoke again, her voiced cracked and she thanked me, telling me she would now be able to give her kids some gifts for Christmas.

I vaguely remember being there. I’ve never been “poor” as an adult. I’ve always been able to pay rent, buy food, pay bills, etc. However, when my mom was raising me alone, I remember being poor. I remember using paper food stamps and the WIC man delivering our Cheerios and milk and peanut butter. I always had hand-me-downs. Christmas and birthdays were days that I was spoiled with new clothes or toys.

One thing that was never short in my house was love. I cannot honestly say that there was ever a time where I felt that I was not loved by someone. And, unfortunately, there are too many people out there who don’t feel that way. So many people who feel that the world has given up on them. People who struggle to find work, food, clothes, shelter.

I think that’s one reason I went into social work. I have been given so much, so I too must give. I’ve been hearing about “finding one’s calling” – and I think I found mine. I mean, honestly, my dream job is taking puppies around to sick kids at hospitals (my mom ever-so-gently points out that they are called “volunteers”) – but for now, this type of helping will do. Bonus points for the paycheck, too.

So guys, if there is one thing that I would ask of you as we move into the holiday season, it’s this: be thankful. Be thankful for what you have, because even if you think it’s not enough, it may be more than someone else has.

I don’t think anyone could have summed up what I was trying to say here better than my friend, LeeAnn. Check out her blog post here.

I am reminded of one of my favorite parts of the Bible, The Beatitudes (Matthew 5, 3:10 NIV):

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”


This is a pretty good video that sums it up, too :)


The Other Side

I used to be that person that thought things like gastric bypass surgery was for those looking for a quick fix. That they sought the surgery because they didn’t have enough self-discipline to change their eating and exercise habits. I tried and failed. And tried again, and failed again. And again, and again.

Now I’m on the other side. I’m seeking gastric bypass surgery.

And look, it’s even real. My packet came in the mail the other day.


After doing a lot of research, I have pretty much decided that I can’t live like this anymore. I’m tired all the time and I have no energy. My body hurts. I get winded easily. My self-esteem is so far down the toilet that I think it may actually be in the sewer. I hate going out in public simply because I hate the way I look. My clothes fit poorly. I want to be healthy and have kids and live to see them grow up.

I’ve done a lot lot LOT of research in the past few days. Weeks. More difficult than I thought it might be. Evaluations, tests, consults. Lab work, interviews. Something that will take months rather than weeks. One the plus side, I was told that my insurance covers the surgery at 90%. They cover most stuff at 60-80% so that was a perk to hear.

Here’s a handy little wallet card (? – I have no idea wtf this is. Winning there, Cleveland Clinic.) showing everything that I need to do in order to be considered as a candidate. First step: psych eval.


I am a little worried about this part to be honest. It’s not like I have the best track run with mental health history. However, I don’t have anything that is an “automatic” rule out which appears to be pyschosis, borderline personality disorder, or a substance abuse addiction. I plan to be open and honest with the tests and evaluations and during the clinical interview and take the recommendations and work them. Hopefully completing Binge Eating IOP counts for something, though. I haven’t binged since I started the program – overate, absolutely. But I never had the feeling that I was out of control while eating.

From what I gathered, life after gastric bypass isn’t peachy either. Always counting volume, calories, protein, etc. Taking vitamins for the rest of your life. Possible side effects during and after surgery. Behavioral changes.

I don’t expect a surgery to change my life without some type of intrinsic motivation, either. Weight loss surgery is a tool, not a solution. I will still have to stick with the aforementioned restrictions after the surgery if I want to be successful, which I do.

Obviously I will update everyone on my appointments, progress, etc. Today in group someone told me to start a vlog (although I seriously hate that term…sounds like something that would come out of your mouth when you have a cold). I may look into that!

Anyways, stay tuned…


Oh, mylanta, it’s been a while.

There hasn’t really been too much going on in my life, though. How sad is that? It can pretty much summed up into a few sentences:

– My dog bit me in mid-September (partially my fault!) and I hate to go to the ER as I thought I needed stitches. After a 3 hour wait and bleeding like all over the ER I finally got seen, but no stitches. Apparently stitches on animal bites are more prone to infection. I mostly have feeling back, but if I whack my pinky a little too hard I see stars. Also, I will say this: if you are blabbing on your freaking cell phone and walking around with a damn smile on your face, you’re not that fucking sick. You better have a goddamn tapeworm eating your intestines or something.

– A few weeks later, I ripped all the skin off the big toe on my right foot and couldn’t wear shoes for a while. That’s better now too. Right after a pedicure and I broke my favorite sandals. Hubby and I were running into a restaurant in the rain and I ran right off my shoes, I suppose. FAIL. I guess it’s okay now that it’s getting cold and I just need to worry about when it’s getting icy and I just fall.

– Cleveland (well, Northeast Ohio really) got its panties in a twist with an Ebola scare. Apparently a nurse who treated the man in Texas (who died) visited family and was possibly (?) exhibiting symptoms before she flew, despite the CDC pretty much clearing her to fly. Schools shut down, people were quarantined, press conferences held.

Ok. I want you to grab a chair and sit down. Ok, are you sitting?

EBOLA IS NOT AIRBORNE. Unless someone with Ebola sneezes into your open wound, craps in your mouth or vomits into your eye sockets, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET IT. CHILL. THE. FUCK. OUT.

The county was all “yeah bro we got this, if we get it, we can contain it.” Bitch please, you can’t even keep the streets and sidewalks clear in the winter.

I think a lot of the hype has died down because I am no longer getting emails at work entitled “Ebola Memo” and “How to Not Get Ebola”. Personally, I was more worried about the potential chocolate shortage. I will slap someone if I do not get my chocolate.

What else. Hmm. I joined one of those Adopt-A-Soldier programs and hubby and I have sent a few letters and a package to our adopted soldier. So far so good! I have heard from him a few times and he seems pretty cool.

Life update complete. Well, except for another piece of life, but that’s for another post. NO, I am not pregnant! Everyone always asks!


EDIT: Oh, I got a nose ring.


2014-08-08 16.50.11



And a new tattoo.

"She Flies With Her Own Wings" and the NEDA symbol.

“She Flies With Her Own Wings” and the NEDA symbol.

Tasty Tuesday: Clean Eating Oatmeal Bars



tastytuesdayYay for another Tasty Tuesday! It’s been a while, I know. I have a great recipe today though – granola bars!

We eat a LOT of granola bars in this house (mostly my husband, actually). I have always wanted to try making my own, but all the recipes I found had weird things like coconut flakes and wheat germ…or whatever. Thanks, but I’ll pass.

I have recently embarked on a clean eating journey (aka trying to quit processed foods!) so traditional granola bars are out. While this recipe has more calories, fat, and carbs than store bought ones, you also get a huge portion and it’s nice and dense, so you’ll be feeling quite full. I had one about an hour and a half ago and I’m still going strong.

Best part? Very minimal effort required. Also, the ingredients are so swappable. Do you want chocolate? Go ahead, put some in there. Raisins or cherries instead of cranberries? Yup. Almonds? Those too.

Without further ado…

Clean Eating Oatmeal Bars
Yields 12
Clean eating oat-based granola bars chock full of yummy goodness.
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
268 calories
25 g
0 g
17 g
6 g
6 g
55 g
3 g
12 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 268
Calories from Fat 148
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
Saturated Fat 6g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 3mg
Total Carbohydrates 25g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 12g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2 cups rolled oats
  2. 1/3 cup coconut oil
  3. 1/3 cup raw honey
  4. 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I prefer ones sweetened with fruit juice)
  5. 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (or another nut/seed of your choice)
  6. 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  7. 2 tsp cinnamon
  8. 3/4 cup raw almond butter
  1. Mix the oats, cranberries, and sunflower seeds together in a large bowl with the cinnamon.
  2. In a small pot, add the coconut oil, vanilla, almond butter, and honey. Heat on the stovetop until warm; you don't want the mixture to simmer. It's simply to make coating the oats a little easier.
  3. When the mixture is warm and slightly runny, pour into the bowl with the oats. Mix well.
  4. Spread batter into a greased pan or a pan lined with parchment or waxed paper. Freeze 2 hours or until firm. When set, cut into bars. Store tightly in a container in the fridge or freezer; you can also individually wrap the bars for a quick toss into a lunch bag.
Adapted from Chani
Adapted from Chani
Shrink That, Girl!

Friday Faves: Health and Fitness Apps

Let’s face it, I’m addicted to my smart phone! My husband is convinced that I have gone through so many phones (3 since getting a new service provider last year) because I just. Can’t. Put. It. Down. I blame faulty wiring ;)


But anyway, because I’m on my phone so much, here are 4 health and fitness related apps I can’t live without. I have an Android, but I’m assuming all these apps are available on iPhone as well.



MyFitnessPal: The best app I have found for tracking my food intake and exercise. The user interface is clean and easy to use. There’s a barcode scanner so you don’t need to search for foods. Add favorites, sort by name, etc. There’s a place to track your water and other goals as well. It’s also a social app; you can add friends, post to forums, etc. Definitely worth checking out if you want to get on track to being healthy. Find me on MyFitnessPal as calliope_music!

Fitocracy: A fun, social, competitive type app. Earn props and comments when you log a workout (and there’s a huge library to choose from, too). Level up as you earn points. You can join groups, add friends, and join Team Fitness challenges where you get your own personal coach/trainer (for a fee). I haven’t taken advantage of this yet but seems interesting! Find me on Fitocracy as ShrinkThatGirl!

Nexercise: Another social, competitive-type app…where you can earn rewards! Like, real ones. It takes forever, but when you log your exercises, you get points and sometimes you get coupons! I even earned a free song from Amazon MP3! You can save your points up and redeem them in for things like USB Flash drives, water bottles, and gift cards. Find me on Nexercise as Chani C!

Sparkpeople and SparkPeople Recipes: I love this site and was excited to find a free app. I actually prefer the site over the app, but I enjoy reading, logging SparkPoints, and recording my exercises on the app. You can add friends, read their blogs, write your own blog, create a SparkPage…I love this site as a whole! I prefer tracking my food on MyFitnessPal but I tend to do a lot of other things here on SparkPeople. Find me as battlestars!

Baby Blues

I am convinced that I am the last person in the world that is NOT pregnant.


Ok, not really. It feels that way though, as my Facebook feed explodes with news of expectant mothers and fathers or pictures of newborns. Don’t get me wrong – I am so incredibly happy for my friends. Children are blessings. But…when do I get one? In the latest series at church, we talked a lot about patience. A lot. And that God will answer your prayers when he’s ready. But…when? When God, when?

It’s to the point that I’m kind of depressed about it. I don’t want to be an old mom (no offense to those who are, it’s just not my style). I’m tired of waiting. I’m obviously not one of those freaks of nature that gets pregnant on the first try, so while we continue to try, I’m almost tired of trying. Can I even have kids naturally? All of my doctors tell me that I need to lose weight before getting pregnant, but one doctor told me that I just couldn’t gain a lot of weight. I can handle THAT. Point is, fertility drugs aren’t covered by insurance, and unless I suddenly start making tons of money (LOL) or my husband gets a freakishly good job, we can’t afford it.

Every time I hear a doctor say “just lose some weight and you’ll get pregnant” I want to slap them across the face. If losing weight was so easy, no one would be overweight! It is so triggering. I met with a couple of girls from my IOP today for lunch, and we were all talking about how we needed to stay more focused so that we don’t find ourselves wanting to binge again or slip into old habits. And yet, I am slowly slipping back into some patterns. Counting calories. Placing foods into “good” and “bad” categories when really, it’s food. The only way I know how to lose weight is in an unhealthy manner. It is hard – so hard – to shift thinking from those unhealthy ways to healthy ways. It is a constant struggle to remind myself that it’s okay to eat a cookie without wanting to exercise it off or throw it back up. Or that no really, it’s okay to not go to the gym when you’re muscles are screaming in pain.

But I digress.

Now, adoption is always an option, and we’re totally open to that. However, that takes time and money. Classes, home studies, etc. I don’t even know where to begin with things like that! Furthermore, I want a young child. That could mean waiting for years. Years that quite frankly, I don’t want to wait. Some may think that I’m selfish for not wanting to adopt an older child. But I want to see a young child discover the ways of the world and see the excitement when they learn something new. Not that I doubt teenagers do that too, but in a way less cute way. I want the challenges of raising a toddler or infant.

And I know this part is selfish: I don’t want to heal a child messed up by someone else. I do that every single day at work, and I don’t have the energy to do it at home. I just don’t. I want to be able to come home and enjoy my child, tantrums and fits and messiness and all.


I don’t really know where I was going with this post. Partly a vent, partly a cry of sadness?


I’ve been keeping this in mind:

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.

Psalm 130:5 (NIV)

Review: Fitbit Flex

A couple of weeks ago, I purchased a Fitbit Flex. I was waffling between a Flex and a Jawbone UP24. However, they both essentially track the same things – steps, distance traveled, calories, and sleep – however, the Flex had a much better price point ($99.99 vs. $149.99 for the Jawbone) AND I can switch out the band color if I want to (I’m eyeing you, pink one). And, call me vain, but Tory Burch just came out with a line of bands for the Flex too…

My Fibit Flex!

My Fibit Flex!

So far, so good. At first it felt a little bit odd to have something constantly on my wrist, but I am pretty much used to it now. It hasn’t been snagging on anything, nor has the clasp come loose. The only gripe I have is that the band seemed to get dirty easily (I have the teal one) but I also haven’t tried really hard to clean it yet, either.

I think there may be a bit of an overestimate of the calories I burn in a day, but I have nothing to compare it to, so I am not sure. I don’t really used the calories in vs. calories out part of the app because I use MyFitnessPal to track everything. However, it does sync with MyFitnessPal, so that is definitely a perk.

Sleep tracking seems to be pretty accurate. The times I do remember waking up and looking at the clock was when Fitbit told me I was “restless”. I found out that I really do sleep a bit more soundly (looking at the data only, that is) than I thought. I average about 8 hours a night, and the most I got in an evening was 8 hours and 40 minutes! Look at me go!


Fitbit’s sleep data, as seen on the app

Although I have nothing to compare it to, steps seem to be pretty accurate as well. When you tap the Flex, LED lights show up and give you an indicator as to how many steps you have taken so far that day. What a motivator! I really need to push myself to get up and walk, especially at work. I have yet to hit 10,000 steps in a day. I need to get on that, pronto!

Syncing is done either via a little USB extenstion that syncs automatically when you are within 20 feet of your computer or via your Android or iPhone with Bluetooth. For me, with my Android, syncing only takes a few seconds. I like to sync to my phone during the day just to see how I’m doing.

Screenshot of the app.

Screenshot of the app.

Battery life is good. It charges fast and I think I went about 6 days without charging. I don’t have any silent alarms set to drain the battery, so keep in mind, if you want alarms, it will drain the battery a bit more.

Overall, definitely worth the money! If you’ve got a Fitbit of any kind, feel free to add me as a friend!

Workouts: A Little Rant

So I’ve been working out more regularly now (read: the past 4 days) and I feel good. I think I went a little bit too hard though considering I HURT LIKE CRAZY. But, this brings me to a bit of a rant…


WORKOUT CLOTHES. It is so difficult for me to find ones that fit comfortably, that are also affordable. If I wanted to be sucked into something, I’d wear Spanx. If I wanted to be swimming in something, I’d wear a muu-muu. I see a lot of “exclusively online” stuff (Old Navy, I’m looking at you)…why? Why, because I am a woman of the fluffier persuasion, must I have to buy things only online? I know there are brick and mortar stores, like Lane Bryant, that sell workout clothes too…but I cannot justify $39 for a freaking sweat wicking t-shirt when someone of a “normal” size could find it for $15 or $20? $50 for a pair of capris? Really?

Sure I could work out in regular old shorts and a t-shirt, but I’m a total sweat bucket. It can be -4 degrees out and I am dripping buckets when I work out. I LIKE the sweat wicking capabilities. Also, call me vain, but I don’t want to look like a total bum when I work out. I like to color coordinate and look as cute as possible – not for the benefit of others, but for myself. Because I am larger, do I not deserve to also look good in workout clothes? My IOP group leader constantly tells us that we are not made to fit clothes, but clothes are made to fit us. So true.

Back to the exclusively online thing. It makes it sound like it’s awesome, but really it’s not. Why would I want to chance buying something that doesn’t fit, and only be able to return it online? That policy changed (again, looking at you, Old Navy). I would be way more likely to purchase items if I could return them to a store, but noooo. I have to drive to the post office, stand in line for what feels like an hour, possibly pay return shipping, and then wait to have you ship me back another size, which again may or may not fit.

After scouring the internet, I may have find a (mostly affordable) solution. Target is now selling fluffy girl workout gear online, but you’re able to return it to the store. The prices seem pretty comparable to their non-fluffy girl clothing line, so that is good. Also, I spend so much time at Target that it wouldn’t be a hassle for me to have to return something.  I plan on ordering a few things when I get paid again, and do a review, of course.

Where are your favorite AFFORDABLE places to get workout clothes that also offer “extended sizes”, if you will?