I Had No Idea

I noticed you suddenly turning down french fries and opting for vegetables instead. I was so proud you were making the choice to establish healthier habits.

But I had no idea.

I saw you start exercising voluntarily for the first time in your life, and I couldn’t contain my excitement. I couldn’t wait for you to experience how awesome exercise makes your body feel.

But I had no idea.

I thought you would fall off the bandwagon after a few days, but I was impressed to see you still going strong a month later. I encouraged you to keep up all the hard work.

But I had no idea.

I started noticing small changes each week, and I made sure to tell you how great you were looking.

But I had no idea.

I saw your lunch one day and thought it looked a little small. But I figured you just weren’t hungry, so I didn’t say anything.

I had no idea.

I watched you turn down birthday cake for the first time ever and realized just how committed you were to eating healthy. I was so impressed.

But I had no idea.

After a few months, I noticed the weight just falling off. I thought you looked awesome, so I made sure to tell you. I wanted to be the one encouraging you every step of the way.

But I had no idea.

I wondered why you never ate dinner with the rest of us at events, but you always assured us you ate before you came. I thought it was odd, but I trusted that you weren’t hungry.

I had no idea.

I asked you to hang out, but you said you had to go for a run first. Two hours later, you had finished your run. I wondered why you ran for so long, but I assumed you just enjoyed it.

I had no idea.

I was standing beside you when multiple people told you how awesome you looked and asked what you had done to lose so much weight. I was so happy for you.

But I had no idea.

I was used to seeing your frame continue to decrease, but I thought it would stop soon. I thought you had reached your goal.

I had no idea.

I saw you pull out your lunchbox, filled with only an apple and yogurt. I thought you probably just ate most of it earlier for a snack, so I didn’t say anything.

I had no idea.

I noticed your frame growing smaller each week, but I assumed you knew what you were doing. I knew you would stop losing soon.

But I had no idea.

I heard people talking, but they didn’t even know you. They were just spreading rumors, and I refused to entertain the thoughts.

I had no idea.

I knew you spent hours each day working out, but I thought you had a reason. I thought maybe you were training for something or just used it as a time to relieve stress.

I had no idea.

I could tell you continued to grow smaller, but you still looked healthy, so I never questioned it.

I had no idea.

I knew you didn’t eat as much as you used to, but you were still eating, so I didn’t really think about it.

I had no idea.

………….You thought I was fine, because I never looked emaciated.

But you had no idea.

                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Reaching a low weight of 117 pounds at 5’7″, I had a problem, but I had no idea.

My journey started at 13 when I decided I needed to lose weight. It was true, I had weight I needed to lose. For health reasons, I needed to clean up my diet, exercise more, and drop a few pounds. But health wasn’t my motivation.

I wanted to be skinny.

Like any girl, I was consumed with the desire to have the “perfect body”. So, I decided to finally start listening to those who had been telling me to eat healthier and exercise. My mom had done Weight Watchers, so I asked her millions of questions, calculated how many points I needed each day, and learned the ropes of this whole dieting thing.

At first, I followed the plan perfectly, and started losing weight at a healthy rate. I made healthier choices, but I made sure to meet my calorie goals for each day, even giving myself a day each weekend to go over my calories for the day. Everything was going so smoothly….for a while.

But then it became an obsession. I was obsessed with the feeling I got getting on the scale and seeing the numbers drop. I was ecstatic every time I tried on clothes and discovered they were now too big. I remember looking in the mirror and being absurdly excited when I noticed I could see my spine.

And as the intelligent, 13 year old that I was, I discovered a way to move this process along even faster. I realized the longer I worked out and the less I ate each day, the faster I could see those numbers on the scale drop. So I ran and biked and swam and rowed and did every kind of cardio I could think of. I ate just enough to convince myself, and everyone else, that I was fine. And I weighed myself every day, sometimes twice a day.

I stressed over every calorie that I consumed. If it wasn’t the weekend, I refused to eat anything that wasn’t “healthy.” I was constantly consumed with calculating calories I had burned versus calories I had consumed.

On any given day, I would eat between 600-900 calories, and then burn at least that, if not more. Honestly, looking back, I’m not sure how I had enough energy to even get out of bed most days. But I never thought I had a problem.

I just saw myself as dedicated, intense, committed to this new journey. I was proud of myself for all of the things I had accomplished. The thought that I might have a problem never crossed my mind.

I have an aunt who has suffered for years from anorexia. I knew what it looked like….

But really, I just thought I knew what it looked like. I thought since I was still eating, however little food it was, I didn’t have a problem. I thought because my hair wasn’t falling out in clumps, I didn’t have a problem. I thought because I never looked emaciated, I didn’t have a problem. I thought because I didn’t have any of the symptoms or appearances of SEVERE anorexia, I didn’t have a problem.

But I had no idea.

And neither did anyone around me.

It was obvious I had lost a significant amount of weight, but I still looked healthy. No one knew how little I was eating or how vigorously I was exercising. No one saw any problems, because I didn’t show any of the “textbook” symptoms of disordered eating. No one had any idea….except my parents.

After I had lost a good portion of weight, both of my parents started suspecting something was up. They began asking how much I had eaten and “pestering” me about eating more. At the time, it drove me insane. I didn’t understand why they wanted me to gain weight. So I rolled my eyes and kept doing what I had been doing. Because I had no idea I had a problem.

Thankfully, having parents who cared and demanding sports I loved to play saved me before it got any worse. With the demands of cheerleading, swimming, and tennis, I couldn’t keep living off of so few calories. To be competitive, sports forced me to eat more. And it saved my life.

February 22-28, 2015 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and their campaign is “I had no idea…” With two of their campaign focuses being “I had no idea my quest for health was making me sick.”, and “I had no idea that eating disorders are often overlooked or misdiagnosed.”

30 million people will be impacted by an eating disorder at some time in their life. You don’t have to be emaciated or frail or even thin to have an eating disorder. If your every thought is consumed by how many calories you’re eating or the number on a scale or the size of your clothes, you are at risk for an eating disorder. If you feel extreme guilt every time you eat “unhealthy foods”, or spend hours at the gym trying to work off that donut you ate, you are at risk for an eating disorder. If you have extreme body weight or shape dissatisfaction, you are at risk for an eating disorder. If you feel disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating, you are at risk for an eating disorder.

Having an unhealthy relationship with food affects every aspect of your life. Know the signs and symptoms so you don’t have to say, “I had no idea…”

And most importantly, don’t let food, weight, or clothing size control your life. You are worth so much more.

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Sneaky Sweet Potato Muffins

Whole-wheat, healthy, sweet potato muffins. With a sneaky little addition.

For my Food Science and Production lab, one of our assignments was to create an experimental recipe. We could change the flour, swap the oil, reduce the fat, substitute sugar. Whatever our hearts desired. (I know. You are all super jealous that I get to take a class where we cook every week. Perks of being a Nutrition major, right?)

And after putting my skepticism to the test and trying out a Black Bean Brownie recipe last semester that was surprisingly delightful, I knew what I wanted to try.

The idea of adding undetectable vegetables to a dish has become my newest fascination. So, I decided trying my hand at adding vegetables to a muffin recipe. Specifically, the effects of adding zucchini and cauliflower to this Sweet Potato Muffin recipe.

I made three different batches of muffins for this experiment. The first batch, considered the control group, I simply followed the recipe exactly, without adding any vegetables. To the second batch, I added cauliflower. And, obviously, to the third, I added zucchini.

Trying to account for the water content of the added vegetables, I reduced the amount of skim milk in the batches with added vegetables. Thankfully, this worked exactly as I had hoped!

When it came to tasting, I had the other students in my lab try a bite of each muffin and tell me whether they could taste a difference. I bet you can’t guess what the results were….

OUR VEGGIES WENT COMPLETELY UNDETECTED!!

The muffins did vary a little in texture and appearance. The cauliflower and zucchini muffins were both a little more moist and dense than the original, and the zucchini had a less pleasant, more green color. BUT, unless you have the muffins side-by-side, no one will ever know the difference! They taste great AND you’re getting some added vegetables in your diet!

While the flavors were all very similar, so similar that most people could not tell them apart, I felt like the zucchini muffins had a slightly better flavor/aftertaste than the cauliflower. So, my recommendation would be to make this recipe with zucchini!

Also, for the best flavor development, you really need to take the long way in preparing your sweet potatoes. (i.e bake them in the oven) While it is possible to quickly bake sweet potatoes in the microwave, they develop a much sweeter, caramelized taste when you bake them in the oven. Since the only added sugar in this recipe is honey, they do not develop an extremely sweet taste typical of American muffins. They might be less sweet than traditional muffins (which should really be considered a dessert (; ), but they are no less delicious!

Seriously, give these a try! Top with a tablespoon of peanut butter, and they make a perfect breakfast on-the-go or post-workout snack. And we all know some extra veggies in our diet could never hurt!

If you try them out, leave a comment and let me know what you thought!

Sweet Potato Muffins with Zucchini

Servings: makes 16 muffins

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup mashed sweet potato

1 cup shredded or food-processed zucchini

2 eggs

1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (I like Chobani because it is thicker)

1/3 cup skim milk

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp honey (I prefer raw)

1 tsp vanilla

Directions

Combine the first six dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, and whisk together. For zucchini, you can either shred washed, raw zucchini OR steam zucchini slices for 5 minutes and place in a food processor. Because of the baking process, either option will lend very similar results. With either method, the zucchini should be pressed with paper towels to retrieve as much water as possible. The more water left in the zucchini, the more dense and moist your muffins will be. Once the zucchini is prepared, place in a large bowl with remaining wet ingredients, and whisk together until combined (small sweet potato clumps are normal). Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until just combined (do not overmix). Use muffin liners, or non stick spray and fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake at 350 F for 18 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned.

Baker’s note: the muffins are super moist and do stick to the liners until fully set up (which is around 24 hours). You can spray your liners with nonstick cooking spray to help prevent this.

Nutrition info per muffin: 112 cal, 1 g fat, 22 g carb, 5 g protein, 3 g fiber

(Nutrition info does not account for the added zucchini, but they should not vary more than 10 calories)

Seasons of the Journey

Each year that I’ve been at Lipscomb, we’ve had a specific “theme” for our chapel devotionals. This year our theme is, perhaps, one of the coolest and most applicable analogies that could have been picked for college students. Our theme is “Journey.” Now, it may not sound too exciting, but let me explain.

At the first chapel of the fall semester, we sat and listened as they unveiled the theme we would be spending the next two semesters focusing on. Journey. It seemed like a good representation of the Christian walk. It is a journey, after-all, with the ultimate destination. But when they started explaining what they intended “Journey” to represent, it got interesting.

Imagine yourself getting ready to take the most amazing, cross-country road trip with your best friends. You’ve picked out the perfect destination, mapped out your trip on an old-fashioned paper map, and you all pile in to the coolest Volkswagen van you’ve ever seen. You’re about to embark on the greatest road trip you could have ever imagined.

Now, getting in the van represents your decision to follow Christ. The people in your van are your fellow Christians. The ones who have decided to take this journey with you. And the journey itself, that represents your life.

Throughout the year we’ve had lessons on the dangers of choosing a self-guided tour, how detours and shortcuts can lead you away from your destination, what to do when you realize you’re lost in an unfamiliar place, dealing with distractions, savoring the day, and so many others.

But this past week, our campus minister talked about reasons we decide to get out of the van.

Those seasons of life when it feels easier to walk away than to keep going. So we make the decision to get out of the van. We open the door and hit the ground running. But why? What would possess someone to get out of the van on the road trip that was suppose to be the trip of a lifetime?

Well, here’s a few different scenarios.

1. Sometimes we don’t like the view. We’re driving through Kansas, the skies go dark, and we can sense a storm coming. Or we’re driving through Iowa seeing nothing but cornfields and windmills. We see what staying on the journey has taken our friends or families through. We’ve seen the storms they’ve walked through or the ridicule they’ve endured for being a Christian, and we don’t want any part of that. We see what God is asking us to give up or avoid and we don’t like that either. We can see what’s up ahead, and it looks more burdensome than exhilarating, so we walk away.

2. Sometimes we get bored. Conversation has run dry, the radio is full of commercials, and we’re the only ones left on the road. It’s not just the view that’s bad, but the whole journey itself has become monotonous. We go to church 3 times a week. Read our Bibles. Pray before meals. Do this. Don’t do that. We fall into a routine. And we get bored. We aren’t taking any detours, we aren’t lost, but we aren’t seeing anything exciting going on either. The fire is gone. The zeal we once served with has left. And we become those bored, stagnant pew-sitters. So we leave to find something more exciting. Something that fulfills our desire for entertainment.

3. Sometimes we don’t like the people in the van with us. We’ve been in this van for 8 hours and everyone starts needing their own space. We find out a friend has betrayed us, or someone spreads a rumor, and we can’t imagine having to be in fellowship with them anymore. We think their view on politics is wrong. They think we’re insensitive for not agreeing with them. He’s too conservative. She’s too liberal. Everyone is fighting. Churches are splitting. And we can’t imagine spending one more second having to deal with these people. So we leave.

4. Sometimes we just don’t want to leave “home.” Maybe following Christ separates us from our family or friends or previous lifestyle, and we aren’t ready to give that up. We think the trip would be fun, but we aren’t convinced it’s worth all the things we have to leave behind. So we bail.

5. Sometimes we get uncomfortable. Our legs hurt, the seats are uncomfortable, and it’s too cramped. Sometimes following God takes us out of our comfort zones. We find ourselves in new situations. Sometimes we’re the only ones trying to stand up for our beliefs. And it can get uncomfortable. So we get out to stretch, but then we never get back in. We experience the seemingly comfortable life that comes with following the crowd, so we abandon our journey.

6. Sometimes the cities we pass look more fun than our destination. We see everything all of the people “outside of the van” are getting to do, and we’re jealous. We want to get out and have fun with them. We still have months left until we get to our destination, but all of these people are having fun now. Sure, we may realize our destination is exceedingly better than this tourist trap, but that temptation of immediate gratification is pulling hard. So we decide to see what this city has to offer. We walk around, explore a little, and then forget about the journey we were suppose to be on. The one we had already signed up for.

7. Sometimes we get tired of flat tires and break downs. We get overwhelmed feeling like we keep failing God. We beat ourselves up for not being able to keep a well-oiled machine. We get tired of the setbacks and can’t shake the nagging voice reminding us of all the times we’ve messed up or broken down. It feels like getting in another van would just be easier. So we find the van that looks new and enticing and pile in.

8. Sometimes we meet someone at a rest stop and decide their journey looks more fun. We make new friends or enter a new relationship with someone who has committed themselves to a different journey. A journey that looks easier, more comfortable, and more enjoyable. We get swept up by the glitz and glamor of the flashing lights and self-fulfillment. We start believing they’re experiencing a life we’re missing out on, so we join their party bus.

9. Sometimes we have a major wreck and the idea of getting back in the van is terrifying. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a terminal diagnosis, or another tragedy, life happens. And sometimes it’s ugly. It’s messy. And it can get dark. We get angry and curse the van. We think about how the wreck wouldn’t have happened if we would have never gotten in the van to begin with. We harbor resentment. And fear. Nothing good seems to have come from being in the van. So we get out. We walk away. And keep walking.

10. Sometimes, we stay in the van, but we refuse to keep moving. We just stop in the middle of the road. We get comfortable with what we know. We get complacent. And we ignore Jesus’ call to keep moving. We refuse to get out of our comfort zone again. We go to church. Do the right things. Avoid the wrong things. And we fool ourselves into thinking we’re still on the journey. But are you still on a journey if you aren’t moving? You’ll never make it to your destination if you take your foot off the gas.

Have you ever been there? At the point where getting out of the van seemed like the best option?

Even the best road trips experience a few speed bumps and detours. Shake it off and hop back in the van. The destination will be worth the crazy ride. And when you get to ride with Jesus, the journey is pretty awesome too.