Hi.

I’m Mercedes and I’m a twenty something, veggie loving, two time cat mom happily married to my soulmate of a husband.

I work as an engineer in Pittsburgh, pretending to be an adult and spending a solid 20% of my time trying to remember to not reply all.

I wanted a platform to share my wealth of equally positive and negative experiences as I attempt to navigate my twenties, and maybe get a little preachy here and there about veganism, mental health and LGBTQ+ rights.

At the very least, I hope to make you laugh.

NyQuil for Every Meal (2019 Goals - 4)

NyQuil for Every Meal (2019 Goals - 4)

Wow wow wow it has been a long two weeks. I am STILL coughing up my lungs every nine seconds but am feeling way better than I was a week ago. I’ve had a gnarly cold for what feels like an eternity now but I’m hoping the warm temps (lol “warm”) that we are supposed to get this week help me finally feel better. One thing I can’t complain about is being able to lay in bed sick with my kitty all week <3

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I can’t believe it’s already February. I’ve had this weird theory that every other year goes really slow, and the other years go really fast. I noticed it in high school. I remember the first half of my senior year going super fast, which was 2009. And every year after that, I kept noticing it. The off years also speed by and the even ones slow way down. Seems to be keeping to my theory this year so far! Well I’m hoping it slows down a little so I have more time to focus on my goals. It feels like I wake up, go to work, go to the gym, come home, eat dinner and the day is completely gone. But I’m working on practicing mindfulness throughout my days to bring me back to the present since it’s so easy to get caught up in the commotion of the day.

Anyway, I want to write a little bit about my final thoughts on my January goals. To remind myself, my initial goals were:

  1. Learn to simply acknowledge the thoughts I have around food, rather than reacting by negatively judging myself for those thoughts; e.g. “omg stop thinking about food and just be a normal person!”

  2. Practice having food available and not eating it if I am not hungry.

  3. Use healthy distractions when consumed by food-related thoughts.

To be totally honest, I have not tried as hard as I could have last month. I put in a lot of effort in small, short bursts and then let it die away for a week. Then I would try again really hard for a day or two and then fall behind again. So overall, I’m not extremely impressed with myself, given what I know I am capable of. However, I am VERY proud of the work that I did do (no matter how small!).

A few reflections:

My abilities to divert my focus away from food when I catch myself obsessing over it have really improved. The other day, a shop nearby was having a ‘buy anything, get three free bagels’ deal. OBVIOUSLY I DID IT. I had one of the bagels with my lunch that day, and when I got back to my desk at work, I set the bag with the remaining bagels down next to me. I could have put them in my bag, in my drawer or in the fridge. But I left them on the desk for a good reason. I really wanted to challenge myself by leaving them there, and I was so proud of how I reacted. I definitely caught myself a couple of times remembering they were there and wanted to reach in and take one even though I was far from hungry. I had to really hone in on my intuitive eating skills (which are at like a 2/10 level RN) and think about what my body was feeling. Plus I was able to bring the two leftover bagels home and enjoy them with Jess later on, which felt really good. You know we love our bagels!

As I mentioned, I’ve been grossly sick over the past several days. I’ve had a bad cold that started off with a really sore throat, the kind that feels like razor blades sliding down your throat every time you swallow. I was in desperate need of something to soothe my throat and also help me sleep. In my ED days, one of my biggest fears was taking medicine. I would spend hours on the internet searching for the number of calories in different medicines to see which one was the lowest. If I had a type of illness that was causing me to throw up or lose my appetite, then I would MAYBE consider taking some medicine, but only because I knew my caloric intake for the day was so low. But in this case, when it’s just a cold, there’s no way I would have been taking anything for it. But this week, I really surprised myself. I literally took the maximum amount of doses I could possible take of DayQuil, NyQuil, Tylenol, Chloraseptic spray, cough drops, you name it I took it. And not once did I ever think, “I better skip dinner since I took all that DayQuil today.” And that felt really freakin good.

The workout program I’ve been doing has been amazing and tough at the same time. The workouts themselves feel great, are physically challenging in a really good way, and definitely make me feel proud and accomplished afterward. The support system is fantastic, and everyone is very kind and encouraging. However, a very large majority of the members in the group are aiming for weight loss. Many of them post before and after pictures, progress pictures, different diets they’re trying, cleanses, etc. Totally normal things, nothing extreme or outrageous. But for me, it started to get a little triggering. The ladies in this group are wonderful people and I will definitely continue to check in, but I’m learning to cut back from it a bit and set some healthy boundaries for myself. I know I can become very addicted to things and I have to be really aware of that in everything I do, even things that seem healthy and harmless.

One last thing that I am OVER THE MOON about is kind of related to my January goals, and kind of not. Something I am working really hard on in and out of therapy is my tendency to obsess over feeling in control and “safe” and “prepared.” Until recently, I would spend hours every weekend making lists of things for the upcoming week, like what I will wear to work , what I will eat, what earrings I will wear, what color fitbit band I’ll put on, what I will watch on TV each night, how I’ll wear my hair, when I’ll call my mom. The level of detail I would plan out was a bit…. insane. I would put so much energy into trying to make sure the next week was perfect, nothing could go wrong, I was set up for complete success. Then the next week would come, and the second I deviated from my plan, all hell broke loose. I would cry, I would tell myself how much of a failure I am, I would give up on the rest of the entire week, I would crumple up all of my lists and throw them away and I would lash out on everyone around me.

Well last week, I was in no condition to go to the gym. Even though I had loosely planned on about 3-4 workouts that week, I did ZERO. I was lucky to get up to shower let alone to do SQUATS! I was initially a little anxious about the fact that I wasn’t going to be “productive” that week and get to the gym at all. But I worked extremely hard on reminding myself that self-care in the form of taking medicine and sleeping is just as productive as self-care in the form of exercising. I also had to remind myself that just because I didn’t work out the way I planned to, didn’t mean I was a '“failure” and it didn’t mean that the other aspects of my life couldn’t continue to go as planned. I was really successful with this challenge that life gave me and I feel like I’m making such amazing progress with this.

Even though there were definitely some highs and lows to this past month and the goals I set out to achieve, it’s really not about the past 30 days as much as it is about the next 30 years. I really want to use these months to establish some new behaviors that I can learn to sustain over time. So some new behaviors that I think I have at least started to adopt over the past 30 days that I plan to continue developing are:

  • Practice intuitive eating - listen to my body before I reach for seven more handfuls of popcorn

  • When listening to my body doesn’t work, practice distraction - specifically by doing something kind for myself

  • Do not compare my fitness or health journey to anyone else’s - I am on my own path and comparison only leads to irrational thoughts of failure, self-doubt and frustration

  • If I don’t workout, it does not mean I am “unproductive”

  • I do not have to “earn” my calories or “make up” for them later

  • Strength training and flexibility are important ways to take care of my body - I don’t have to burn 800 calories or sweat an extremely gross amount to be exercising effectively

I started writing this post feeling really discouraged and actually quite embarrassed. I felt like I failed because I definitely had many days in January where I did NOT listen to my body and I absolutely DID shove seven more handfuls of popcorn into my mouth even though I was so full I could barely breathe. But as I continued to write, I realized all of the things that I did accomplish last month, and all of the challenges I overcame in ways that I probably wouldn’t have just a few months ago.

This month, I am VERY nervous and VERY excited at the same time. I’m working on spending quality with and without Jess. We are both really dependent on each other, I think because we have had a pretty unique relationship and experiences together. So we spend a TON of time together. But something we both really want to work toward, is being able to spend more time as individuals, and growing in our own ways. We also want to do more enjoyable things when we are together, and not just spend our time watching the Food Network 24/7. I have a lot of anxiety about this but I’m also really looking forward to it.

Okay gotta go catch up on Sister Wives and take one last dose of NyQuil! Happy Sunday, hope everyone has a fantastic week!

<3

CPOTW XVI

CPOTW XVI

CPOTW XV

CPOTW XV