Balancing Val

Archive for the ‘School @ Natural Gourmet Institute’ Category

Yesterday, I went to NYC to pick up my chef’s uniform. I really like going to the city, but I honestly never went when it was raining. I contemplated going for a while, but Marie made a good point that I cant just not go when its raining on school days . . . DUH!

So, Marie, Will (brother), and myself made a trek up to the train station and off we went.

When we arrived in Penn Station, we hit up an SBUX and got holiday lattes. RED cup is back! I got the gingerbread which is SO much better than the pumpkin spice latte IMO.

It was cold, and rainy and windy. Luckily we all bought umbrellas, but they were CRAP umbrellas which snapped and turned inside out more than I could handle.

When we finally got to the uniform shop I was disapointed to find out that they didnt have my size jacket šŸ˜¦ I did pick up a lot of the other things I needed like my bar towels, aprons and . . . pants. I have a story about them, but I will save it for another post.

We started walking back toward the train station in hopes to find food. But, we were getting antsy and decided on Fork & Spoon which was a wholesome fast food eatery. They had a good selection, but I kind of wished we went somewhere where we could try something we havent tried before. I got some random food from the hot bar, kettle chips and HORRIBLE tasting tea that thank goodness came in a glass bottle I could use over again.

We decided to check out Macy’s before we headed home. Up on the 9th floor, they had all of their Xmas stuff set up. Lots of neat things. I started getting excited for the holidays.

We headed home right after . . .

Today I Learned . . .

  • Traveling in the city on foot, especially in the rain & snow is going to be a BITCH!
  • I need to spend a serious dollar on a QUALITY umbrella.
  • That each time I go into the city, I feel a little bit more comfortable.
  • I MUST buy UGGS or my feet will numb up and die at the first sight of snow.
  • I would be LOST without the iPad to guide me.
  • Chef uniforms are incredibly unflattering . . . the shoes are worse.
  • I really am excited to do this šŸ™‚

I’m pretty sure I was some how able to convince myself that I’m NOT addicted to sugar. When I ate it it wasn’t in huge amounts and I had a good amount of control over it.

I think the convincing came from my restricting days when I was trying to tell myself things were ok when they weren’t. Trying to convince myself that 2 workouts a day 6 days a week was normal. Trying to convince myself I wasn’t a failure for not eating something CLEAN.

Somehow, here and NOW I have ended up . . .

Addicted To Sugar! šŸ˜ˆ

Ok, admittedly I don’t do that . . . often

I’ve been trying to trace it back to my roots and I remembered some interesting stuff while digging around. Sugary snacks and desserts were ALWAYS available in my house. I never remember a dinner where we didn’t have anything sweet afterward.

“Finish your food, or no dessert!”

I always made sure I finished everything so I got to have it, no matter what it was. It got to be such a habit, that I would do the same thing with lunch. If I didn’t WANT lunch but was craving something sweet, I’d make sure I’d eat something just so I would have an excuse as to why I was ‘allowed’ to have a snack. But then as I got older, I started using dessert as a reward for other things like getting through a day of school (hellllloooooop gushers), being sad, being excited, getting a good grade. It’s clear now that it’s ingrained in my head that sugar equals reward.

Even now, I find myself wanting something sweet after every meal. It’s almost as if it’s innate now. I’ll eat lunch and have a small bowl of cereal. Or ill make sure there is some sort of cookie or something ready for after dinner. I pour agave on oats or in coffee. I’ll open the fridge looking for something sweet as soon as I get out of work just because.

I don’t blame my parents at all. They were just trying the best they could to make sure we got all of our veggies and normal food in. It’s what their parents did. Plus, they wanted to make us happy and that’s what worked.

So how does adult Val feel now?


I’m honestly scared now. I’ve only ever given up sugar completely once in my life at the beginning of this year when I was doing a 2 week cleanse where all I ate was fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. For the first 3 days, I was a completely different person. Groggy, foggy, depressed, zero energy, horrid headache. It was a HUGE wake up call, or so I thought. After those days passed and my body got used to running on foods with actual life in them, and I felt AWESOME! Tons of energy, focus and i slept great too. But after the cleanse I resorted back to my old eating habits because I didn’t feel a good enough reason to keep going. I guess it wasn’t a big enough wake up call?

Here’s the point plain and simple. Sugar makes me feel awesome for a tiny bit of time, then it makes me feel like garbage for way longer. I am not the best I can be when I eat sugar like this. Sugar makes me want more sugar. Sugar eaten in this way screws with my goal to eat intuitively.

An unhealthy body wants to keep an an unhealthy body.

A healthy body wants to keep a healthy body.

I’ve picked my poison, and it’s the sweet stuff.

I had another wake up call yesterday. I didn’t eat much in the morning or really the day before that. I started to feel like sugar withdrawal Val that was explained above. I reached in the drawer at work for a half packet of coconut m&ms and I instantly felt better. One hour later, every life sucking symptom was creeping back in.

I flashed to a vision of future self Val scarfing down a sugar loaded cupcake on the streets of NYC trying to get some energy and at the same time trying to reward herself before school. I saw her completely crash during class and not give her all. I saw opportunities missed. THIS was a wake up call.

I don’t want to be addicted to sugar. For once in my life, its more important for me to feel good steadily then feel good for 15min and CRASH and be desperately needing more to function.

I know sugar has its time and place, but it’s time to take a REAL stand against it. My health and my future is more important. For now on I am going to stop being so sloppy with sugar and stop thinking I’m fine and that I can handle it. I’m going to ask for help from my body in telling me what it really wants here even though it may be clouded from years of sugar-washing.

It’s good to finally have a reason.

If you struggle with this too, you may want to check out the FREE teleconference led by Christie about sugar and its place in intuitive eating on Thursday 9/30/10 @ 7pm. She has limited spots available and I took one of them so CLICK HERE and go sign up now!

I would definitely agree that I am the type of person that puts a lot of pressure on herself to succeed. In a way, this is good. I’ve been able to leave a job knowing how to work every department and I have gained trust and respect and a ton of knowledge along the way.

But what happens when IM in control?

This weekend, with the help of my dad I was able to apply for my first ever student loan. Previously when I was in community college, I had help from my parents or put tuition on my credit card (so stupid). I went to college just because its what im ‘supposed’ to do. I went there not knowing what I wanted or was passionate about. So I strung along and THANKFULLY found a direction, but in nothing i truly loved.But this is the big time, this is what I want.

I have to say I was completely SHOCKED about how much it will cost me in the end to borrow the amount that I needed. I mean with interest, it’s really not to far from paying DOUBLE what I needed to borrow even with the lowest possible interest rate!

I looked at my monthly payments which work out to ~$380 per month for 8 years.


I know some of you have been there done that, but I just need to express the pressure I now feel.

This means that I have to come up with that amount of money PLUS my regular expenses, PLUS possible commuting costs if I get a job in the city. I have to make sure I do something that is able to handle all of this financially.

And so. . . . I’ve decided to become a stripper instead of go to school.

. . . .kidding šŸ˜‰

It took a lot for me to reassure myself that everything would be ok going into this a bit free spirited. I told myself that no matter what if nothing but knowledge comes from this, I will be ok where I’m at and have time to figure things out.

But, the chokehold of finance really put a damper on that.

I’m not saying that I was just going to graduate then hang out for a while and see what happened. But I really didn’t want there to be this scary elephant in the room.

I know ill be ok, but again it’s the fear of the unknown that kills me. The fear that I will be struggling. The fear that I wasn’t good enough to get a job good enough to pay my bills.

On the other hand, it might be a good thing as it is somewhat of a positive stress or motivation. I am willing to work hard and I am willing to put myself out there to follow my passion.

But jeez . . . Money Sucks! šŸ™„

Thank you for listening to today’s rant.


WARNING: this is another post on self-care. I don’t have advice to give here or any life changing revelations. This is simply just an observation I have had recently and I’d like to post it while its on my mind.

Over the weekend my mom was driving me and my sisters somewhere. A song came on the radio that I enjoy. At first I turned it up but then quickly turned it back down to a simmer.

See, I’m the only one that enjoyed that song and I felt like if no one else did then I shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy it. Not only that, but I didn’t want to hear the . . . .

“ugh, you LIKE this song?”

I started thinking about other situations in my life that make me feel this way and coincidentally most of them revolve around food. For instance . . .

I always like to be the last one on the buffet line. whether it’s a party or some sort of event that unveils food all at once, I don’t feel like I should be up there first. Part of me just doesn’t like a crowd but I think the real reason is that I want everyone else to get what they want before I get what I want. If there is only crap left then that’s ok, thats what I deserve.

I can’t eat if your not eating. If I’m hungry and I want to eat, and Chris doesn’t want to then I just don’t eat. Eating is a pleasurable experience for me and if that other person doesn’t doesn’t want to participate, then I don’t deserve to either. I also think that when you are hungry and you eat when no one else is, it draws attention to you even if you aren’t hungry. I feel like people stare at my food and wish they ordered something and then I feel compelled to share which I don’t mind doing but attention on just me makes me uncomfortable.

These are just the main food instances, but I realize it happens a lot in life.

I like to be last on line for everything.

I never believe that I could win a contest.

I like going shopping and doing things on off peak times.

The more I think about it, the more things come to me. The main theme is that for some reason, I don’t feel like I deserve to put myself out there and do what I want. I feel like I can’t relax unless everybody else is happy. I am putting others before myself when I don’t always need to.

I must explore this more.

I obviously have a million things flying through my head since I have been accepted to Natural Gourmet Institute and will be going in less then 2 months! There has been one thought that’s been shining through all of the craziness and it seems to have a stronger presence then the rest of my thoughts. Its clear now that is that its coming from my Inner Voice

I started thinking about how incredibly busy I am going to be physically and emotionally. I need to keep up 2 days of commuting, studying, reading, practicing cooking, along with a full-time job. Not to mention all of the things I am doing now like dishes, cleaning, laundry, finances ect. Oh, and in case you we’re wondering, blogging will have plenty of time while I’m on the train šŸ˜‰ *slaps high five to 3G*

I envision myself ragged and tired and always on the go. I see no time for fun things in my life (though I consider the school fun, thankfully). I see stress, financial worries and no ENERGY. This scares me šŸ˜¦

Now, maybe I’m greedy . . . But I want it all! I want to be a top student. I want to contribute and show them ALL I GOT. I also want to stay on top of things at work. I want to keep up with things in the apartment. I want to keep up with my relationships with Chris, family and friends. I still want to do fun things with the tiniest bit of money I will have, if any.

Me: How am I going to do this?

Inner Voice: Well, the only way your going to do this all is by making sure you take care of yourself. In fact, if nothing else, as a student . . . You have no CHOICE but to take care of yourself!

That is absolutely correct. Above all else, I must find time to take care of myself.

I must create time to exercise my body in a way that is enjoyable.

I must take DAILY time to sit in silence with my thoughts.

I must live in every moment I get to spend time with the people I love.

I must feed my body in a way that will give me strength, energy and emotional well-being.

My body and mind are the vehicle that will be getting me where I need to go. I must bring fourth the best in order to handle everything going on in my life.

Something is clicking here. This is something that I am choosing to do for MY life. For once, I’m not on anyones watch and I am FULLY responsible for my success or failure here. For once, I feel like I have a profound reason to start taking care of me.

THIS is priority #1 and it must start NOW!

Well, after half applying to school, I rushed to get the other half in the mail. And though I haven’t received anything back yet. I sent some nosy emails to admissions and found out . . .

I’ve been accepted to Natural Gourmet Institute!

Of course, this is assuming that everything goes peachy with the student loan. The good thing is, not only did I get accepted, I was lucky enough to somehow slip into the Fall part time semester of this year!! I for sure thought I wouldn’t make it.

There are SO many things running through my head right now . . . More on that later in the week.

Chris and I decided to go to LongHorn Steakhouse for an impromptu celebration dinner.

They were having a special for $29.99 which gets you an entree, salad and either a dessert or appetizer to split. We went with the appetizer. They only had 3 choices so we decided on the Texas Tonion.

I had the AWESOME Sam Adams Octoberfest beer. I’m falling in love with Sam Adams . . . Chris said I’m lucky he’s dead šŸ˜‰

The entrees weren’t impressive. I ordered a filet crusted with fontina cheese. I will never order a steak crusted with cheese again. The fontina cheese was just so bitter and totally clashed with the steak. I scraped it right off!

I had a great time though. One of my favorite things to do is go out to eat with Chris. We always have a great conversation and were always giddy about the prospect of food.

By the time the entrees came, we were actually stuffed! We each took half our steak and potato home with the intention of making steak quesadillas tonight, but he went golfing so I made a salad instead.

I’d just like to mention that I took that picture BEFORE I put the rest of my chopped up baked potato in there. Laugh all you want. It had substance! šŸ™‚

On the way home from a bunch of errands, I had a profound moment in the car after I left the farmers market with $13.42 worth of vegetables. I thought about all of the things I could come up with using what I had. A bunch of options came to me and there it was . . . I was EXCITED.

For the last few years I have only focused on losing weight and being healthy. My whole life in one way or another was connected to why I wasn’t where my mind thought I should be(mostly the way i looked). If i could fix this one problem, I would be perfect and so everything I did on my spare time, and every thought I had the energy for HAD to go towards fixing myself. The funny thing is, all this time, obsessing, and energy I spent hoping to come out ‘healthy’ on the other side was actually unhealthy! This re-enforced one of my health mantras from long ago . . .

‘just because you are doing healthy things, it does not mean you are healthy’

I learned this lesson a while ago while in one of my deeper quests for this ‘perfection’ but I didn’t actually start BELIEVING it until recently. To me, this statement means that to achieve health, you must attempt balance in each aspect of the mind body and soul. You can not focus just on one and not the other you must explore and find a balance of all. I don’t think there is ever a point where I will be able to tell myself . . ‘yep! your balanced now . . congrats!’ because life is one big j roller coaster journey with ups and downs a plenty.

I’m straying from my story though šŸ˜³

Anyway, a lot of books I read brought up the point that people with a weight/diet obsession often are scared of losing it. They are scared because they really wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they were ok, or not broken. It occurred to me in the car that I honestly hadnt been living my life acting like i was broken. Sure, i have my moments, but i learn from them now. Today, I was really doing what I wanted to do without any hidden wannabe healthy person agenda behind it. I wasn’t buying vegetables because I had to get certain things for my latest diet attempt. I genuinely wanted to use my spare time and energy to cook food!

It may seem strange, but this is so comforting to me. This really makes me feel like I am in control. I actually feel good about the direction I am going.

Thank you $13.42 worth of vegetables . . . šŸ™‚

  • None
  • Ayla: My easiest dinner recipe? PB + banana sandwich. Takes 2 minutes which makes me a very happy girl.
  • kristisn: Yum! That looks like a great dinner.
  • Kate D: After two scarring experiences stuck in big city rush hour traffic (facing the wrong direction) while on vacation with my parents I totally understand

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