weekly eats

Good morning! How was your weekend?

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For the first time in what seems like forever I wasn’t traveling, didn’t have people in town, and didn’t have birthdays or events to be at this weekend. It was awesome. Friday we grabbed dinner at Westville and then went to Gallow Green, a rooftop bar in Chelsea. Saturday I did Nutshell work, met with a friend to just hang and get ice cream and then saw Trainwreck [absolutely hilarious] and Sunday included a 12 mile long run, meeting some girlfriends for coffee, churching, and then dinner out with my friend Clare who just got engaged, but is now moving to Florida. All in all restful and just what I needed!

And because I haven’t posted about food in a long time, I figured I’d give it to you all at once. Really though, I’ve had some requests to show more meals and such, so for now while blogging is a bit more sporadic, I thought I would do a weekly recap of eats. So I uploaded whatever I had on my phone and here is what was on there from the past week!

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veggie fajitas at Javelina after church on Sunday

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post long run green smoothie made with 1 scoop mocha Vega Sport [25% off bundles right now!], 1 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen spinach and 1 cup almond milk

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lots of ice cream.

Saturday afternoon was vegan chocolate and peanut butter chip at Van Leeuwan’s and Friday night was froyo at 16 Handles to crush a late night craving…because it’s always about the toppings.

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dinner on Friday night at Westville we got some sort of Asian brussel sprouts, a steak sandwich and a Cobb salad which was awesome- all about the avocado.

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Friday morning I grabbed breakfast with my friend Jena at Hu Kitchen– this was two fried eggs, sweet potato hash, and sautéed veg. I’m not a savory breakfast person but this hits the spot every time. If you’re in NYC and are into health food, go here.

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More ice cream. This was Thursday afternoon at DF Mavens, blueberry cookie and key lime pie coconut milk ice cream. Swooooon. Both this place and Van Leeuwan’s are right down street from my apartment in the East Village and I am not mad about it.

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I cooked at home one night. Two fried eggs + sautéed veg with lots of Sriracha and sweet potato hash.

Simple, good, and does the job.

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Nick cooked dinner last Saturday and make ahhhmazing salmon, brussel sprouts with walnuts, grapes and a fig yogurt mint sauce, and mediterranean eggplant. I died.

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When Jess was in town from Charlottesville last weekend we were at Westville again and I got the quinoa artichoke burger + fries and an unpictured arugula salad. All supahh tasty.

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Lunch on Thursday afternoon included this salad with roasted brussel sprouts, tomatoes and pepper drizzled with olive oil along with a hummus + veg sandwich

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And lastly, breakfast with my friend Amanda at Penelope. Spinach, mushroom and goat cheese omelette with home fries that were all sorts of fresh + perfect and some toast. With lots of coffee.

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Have a fabulous week and eat something good.

What even is balance?

People always talk about wanting to find balance.

A work/life balance.

Balance with eating.

Balance with exercise.

Balance with being structured, yet spontaneous.

And on and on. But really, what even is balance? What does that even look like?

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I’ve been thinking about this so much more lately as I settle into a new season in life. It’s a new school year and I’ve transitioned from being a second Bachelor’s degree student to a Master’s student. I’ve moved from uptown to downtown where life just feels different– busier and faster, yet exciting. And now relationships have expanded and grown since I’ve been in NYC for over a year now. Life is good and in many good ways, it looks much different than last year. My days aren’t as externally structured like they were during the BSN year. Literally, every day last year was full of 8-12 hours of time on campus or full days in the hospital. Now, I’m up at Columbia all day on Wednesdays and Thursdays but the rest of the week I’m mostly downtown near my apartmentI’ve had to find a way to structure those “open” days so they are productive and not chaoticleaving me wondering, “where did today go?”

I won’t lie, it took me about a month to figure out that new rhythm. To figure out how to draw boundaries in my social life in order to do Nutshell and school well. But to also draw boundaries with Nutshell + the blog in order to manage stress and feel mentally healthy. With all the traveling this summer, I’ve had to find a new balance with nutrition, running and sleep. And that’s a balance I’m not even sure I’ve completely figured out, but rather one where I’ve had to give myself a lot of grace.

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So how do we balance it all as seasons and rhythms of life change?

Do we actually ever balance it all?

I don’t think we actually do. I think we do what matters and that means balance for one person is going to look different than balance for another person.

I use to not give myself a lot of grace with balancing life and just doing what matters and instead I’d run myself ragged trying to do it all. Like I thought I was at the buffet, when really I was just at the dinner table. The plate was only so big and couldn’t be constantly filled. But we’re not called to a life of busy or a life of perfection – we’re called by God to a life of purpose. And busy and perfect do not make us worthy. So when I find myself caught up in trying to do it all or do it perfect, I’m grateful for people in my life who love me well and are willing to call me out on that.

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So what does “balance” look like now?

With work and school, that looks like doing what matters most. So that means not doing things so I please everyone or because I think I should or because that’s what looks like success to the outside world. What that does mean is doing what’s most important. Right now that is school and TAing. After that is Nutshell and after that is the blog + freelance stuff. So if my plate is too full and there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the work and stay sane, then something has to go and for this season in life, that means I’m not blogging or doing as much freelance. And that’s okay.

With balancing social things and work/school that means saying no to social things that aren’t where I feel I’m meant to invest. I’m an extrovert and I love people. I love getting to know people, heart to hearting, engaging with people, loving people, and just being around people. While that’s a good thing, I totally envy people who can just say no and spend time alone or not be at everything. So as harsh as this might sound, that means choosing those friendships that matter, those I want to invest in and see grow, and then saying no to coffee dates or late nights or other social things that aren’t going to nurture those friendships. Quality over quantity. And by confidently saying no to things, I know I’m not missing out, but instead allowing myself to take care of me and do well in school while not feeling like I’m sacrificing my social life. I need a glass a wine and an occasional late night to balance the books just as much as I need the studying to balance the wine and 2am bedtimes. And along with that comes balancing a relationship with friendships. It’s super important to me to spend time with my close friends, and to spend quality time with Nick. A healthy relationship is one where both people have friendships that are independent of the friendships they share together.

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With food and nutrition, there have been seasons in life where I had time, and quite honestly the desire, to meal prep and cook. But this isn’t one of them. Life just isn’t predictable enough for me to cook in advance. Plus summer is always full of more traveling so I’m barely at home on weekends. And eating out is one of my favorite things to do in the city, especially now that it’s summer and you can eat outside on the sidewalk or patios. So these days, my version of “healthy eating” probably looks different than what some might consider healthy. I eat out a lot, I eat over at friends often and we have people over at our apartment for dinner often too. So does that mean there’s a lot more meat and dairy on my plate than in the past…absolutely. But there’s also plenty of vegetables and green smoothies. And for me, not stressing about grocery shopping or meal prepping or eating beans and lentils instead of chicken is balance. It’s working for this season. Do I want to cook more? Of course. But eating the same lunch 5 days a week and leaving dinners up to eating out or having others cook, is one less thing I need to worry about and that’s the healthy balance for me.

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After a pretty touch and go few months of working out and running I finally feel like I’m starting to settle into a groove again. I’m running the NYC marathon on November 1st and I just started officially ‘marathon training’ this week. Is it the most intense or highest mileage I’ve done? No way. I’m running about 4 days a week and that’s what my body and my schedule allows. Just living here keeps me active with walking and biking- so in addition to running, I’d say that’s enough. Will I run my fastest time? Probably not. But will I hopefully stay injury free, mentally healthy, and rested…yes. And if I miss a run or need to sleep in instead of run, there’s lots and lots of grace for that.

With sleep, ohhhhh man after a month of poor sleep I’ve learned where to draw the line. Whether that’s saying I’m not staying out past such and such time, leaving lots of emails unanswered at the end of the day, not getting up a blog post, or telling my roommates I can’t stay up and talk [which I could do for hours], I know that I have to set boundaries because I need at least 7 hours of sleep to function. In college, I have no idea how I use to subsist off 5 or 6 hours and be fine. But as I say all the time, sleep is the most important thing- poor sleep and you’re destined for hormonal whack. There is no compromise there.

So from the outside am I doing everything and balancing it all perfectly? Of course not!

But this is what’s working right now. It’s the rhythm for this summer. And it’s what matters.

Because health is so much more than the vegetables on your plate or how much you can sweat in a day.

An Indiana Weekend

Good morning!

I’m flying back to the city this morning after a quick weekend trip back to Indy. Our two college friends got married in Fort Wayne and my twin brothers turned 29! And prior to leaving New York, Nick turned 26 on Friday so the weekend was full of celebrations! Indiana will always be so dear to me, and even though I was only home for 48 hours it felt like so much longer. My whole family being together is rare these days so when we are it’s so, so sweet. Momma Coale cooked a surf n’ turf feast and my brother baked a chocolate cake that was just as amazing as you’d imagine.

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Backing up, we celebrated Nick’s 26th birthday with a surprise dinner on Thursday with close friends at Zerza and then at Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn on Friday afternoon. I’m usually a wine gal, but Nick is totally into whiskey and seeing and hearing about the history of whiskey making in New York was super cool. And that chocolate whiskey, swoooooon. Then I flew home Friday evening to Indianapolis, drove up to Fort Wayne Saturday morning for Rachel and Stephen’s wedding and then came back early Sunday morning to celebrate my twin brother’s 29th birthday and now I’m on a flight back to New York City this morning. Such a fun weekend with people I love so much! I have two exams this week and then will be traveling + going to another wedding this weekend so I’m just taking things day by day.

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I feel like this summer has been crazy in a such a good way, but so much of me just wants it to slow down. But knowing that it isn’t slowing down anytime soon, I’ve been trying to just do the best I can and try [try is the key word!] to prioritize and do what matters most.

I know I’ve been absent around these parts. I’ve been totally flaky and inconsistent with the blog and even though I have plenty of reader stories to be posting to keep the blog updated, I also don’t want to just be posting guests posts all the time because that seems like a cop out. Does that make sense or am I just being silly? Like, I want you all to be getting original content too and I want it to be quality content that is worth reading. YOU are the ones that make this blog what it is and I always want this space to serve YOU.

So I guess I’m just at this weird place where I don’t know what this blog will look like right now. And I don’t want to just post “Oh, life is busy so I’m so sorry I’ve been absent!” I feel like a broken record. Because life is busy, but it’s going to stay busy and everyone is busy. And I hate the word busy.

If I’m truly honest with my heart, I just haven’t had the same passion to get behind my keyboard and let the words spill out like I used to. I’m so grateful Nutshell is thriving and I’m finding myself so much more pulled towards engaging with women face to face. I think the internet is amazing in how it can form community, allow us to connect with others, and create influence and that is such a beautiful thing. But right now in life, I find my heart wanting to invest in conversations more than written words. In the past, that’s looked different to where writing has been so life giving and all I’ve wanted to do is write to you guys. So now that I’m just blabbering, I say all that because I want to continue to write this blog and pour into this space, I’m just not sure what that looks like.

Between studying for the NCLEX, school, Nutshell, email, training for the NYC marathon, and TAing a Physical Assessment lab there just aren’t enough hours in the day. And I don’t want my life to be all work and school and for me to feel like a hot mess 24/7.

So do I want to keep giving you guys quality posts. Absolutely. I have so many post ideas written down, but making them come to fruition is where I’m having trouble. So my plan is to take the summer to step back from the blog and write when it’s on my heart to write. I think taking the pressure off myself to post 3x a week and keep up with comments and social media and all of that will make a huge difference. To let myself breathe a bit. Nutshell is so, so important to me and my clients are such a priority that doing Nutshell well and this blog well just isn’t possible along with everything else.

So I’ll be posting for sure, I’m just not sure how often. But you will still of course find me all over social media so I’m not disappearing! I want to keep doing videos, posting about body image/nutrition/food, and doing life posts too, I just have to find a new rhythm in which to do that.

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And because I’ve gotten plenty of requests and an okay from Nick, ya’ll might hear about that soon too :)

Have a fabulous week!

XOXO

WIAW: more sleep, less coffee

Good morning! This post is going up late since I’ve been up since 5 cramming for our Advanced Pharmacology exam that we have today. My brain does not work well at night so I’d much rather get up obnoxiously early when my brain is fresh and I can guzzle coffee.

After a few hours of studying and a few cups of coffee I headed out for a 5 mile run along the river to clear my head before class at 10. I won’t lie guys, my sleep has not been what it should. I’m staying up way too late and this week I’m hitting the reset button on that. Last night Brit and I promised we would be in bed by 10pm tonight. Because while late night chats are great, getting 6 hours of sleep night after night is not healthy and makes us feel like crap. And my coffee consumption is out of control. So starting today, I’m reeling in the caffeine and putting myself to bed earlier. I’m human too, and lately, the sleep part of health is super lacking.

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But on the food front, I can’t complain!

I didn’t do a “days worth” of eats this week, but instead I’m sharing everything on my phone that I’ve snapped this week. I’ve read through all the Facebook comments on what you guys want more of on this blog and more daily eats was one of them. My plan is to still do WIAW like usual [after this crazy week of testing is over] and then include more food stuff. Ask and you shall receive!

This week I actually made it to the grocery store and am back into a more normal rhythm where I’m eating at home more than eating out and that not only feels good, but my wallet is happier too. So here’s what eats have looked like this week:

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breakfast // when eating at home, eggs with Cholula + pancakes with cashew butter and banana have been the jam all week and we also ate out at Grey Dog – amazing omelets, sweet potato fries and cranberry walnut bread and of course, the standard post run green smoothie of 1/2 scoop Vega One + 1/2 frozen banana + almond milk + frozen spinach

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lunch // salmon and sautéed veggies [sweet potato, kale, peppers and onion] in coconut oil and when eating out, Whole Foods salad bar

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snacks // these mini Perfect bars I found at Whole Foods [how adorable is that?], kiwis eaten with the skin on [yes, it’s good- like a super furry peach!] and Chloe’s soft serve fruit- my favorite is banana + dark chocolate mixed together – living close to this place is a very good thing.

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dinner // spaghetti squash with roasted eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, nutritional yeast and marinara and another night I had breakfast tacos [eggs, spinach, pepper and Cholula] with sautéed kale and cherry tomatoes

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obligatory sweets // leftover birthday cupcakes and homemade donuts that Brit made last weekend

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And that’s a wrap for now. Have a fabulous day!

Real life transparency and transformation: Grace’s Story

We’re all in this big world together, so I’ve opened up this space to share others’ stories of food freedom and true health. If it’s on your heart to share, email me at robyncoale@gmail. As a disclaimer, while these stories do not contain specific numbers, at times they do illustrate disordered eating behaviors as the story is told- if that triggers you, please take care of yourself and skip over these posts. With that said, my hope is that these stories encourage + refresh you, breathe new life into your soul, drown out lies with truth, and flood your heart with unrelenting grace. 

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I graduated high school this week. Hearing my name be called as I walked across the stage was one of the most incredible feelings in my life, especially because I never expected to be alive long enough to experience that moment.

When I was four years old, I thought that I couldn’t wait to be pregnant, because then I would have an excuse for “being so fat.” I wish I could say that I was kidding, but my eating disorder really has been with me for most of my life. It was there in preschool, when I would knock my lunch off the table so I had less to eat. It was there in kindergarten, when I would incessantly run around the playground at recess. It was there through the awkward preteen years when overexercising was my way to cope with the body I hated so much. And it was there in high school, when simply not eating was my torture of choice. Anorexia had convinced me that I was going to die of starvation, and I had learned to be okay with that idea. Fortunately, through the power of good food, the love of friends and family, and the help of knowledgeable professionals, I was able to recover. I want others to see that life beyond an eating disorder is possible, and that you can always get better, no matter how sick you once were.

When I was very young, I was active, creative, smart, and very sensitive. My wheels were always turning. Between soccer, swimming, tennis, violin, horseback riding, acting, the school news team, and playing with friends, I was always busy. I think that’s why my eating disorder went under the radar for so long. No one would ever expect that such a happy little girl could have something so sinister going on inside. In kindergarten, I started checking my BMI online. I was consistently restricting what I ate, and made up plenty of weird rules about when and what I could eat. I started reading calorie labels, and always sucked my belly in. I think it’s important to add that no part of me was overweight. I was a very average sized kid, maybe a bit tall.

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Sadly, my disordered relationship with food was not something that I outgrew. Through middle and high school, I consistently went on crash diets, spent hours working out each day, and became a great liar in order to avoid eating. I don’t have loads of great memories from my teenage years. Rather, I remember throwing up while working out on the elliptical machine, missing out on homecoming and parties because I was stuck in a treatment center (pretending to talk about my feelings (or whatever I needed to do to get out)), and spending hours looking up calorie counts on the internet. My life revolved around getting thin, and I didn’t care about what damage I did to my body in the process.

During my sophomore year of high school, things took a turn for the worse. I didn’t think that was possible, yet, they did. Of course, those around me knew that there was something very wrong. I was losing weight rapidly, and using my busy schedule to hide how little I was eating. My parents, therapist, and doctor tried to get me to eat, but I was so determined to keep starving myself that I refused to listen to them.

I kept at this for awhile. Everyday, I had to deal with the headaches, body pain, dizziness, and low blood pressure that came along with starvation. One would think that these symptoms would be enough to convince me to eat, but really, it took the loss of someone very close to me to make me even consider the idea.

If you asked me to describe the summer before my senior year, I would tell you, “walking the line between dead and alive.” I was eating, but not enough. I was working out, but far too much. I appeared healthy, but was really quite ill. One night, I received a panic phone call from my friend, Nicole. Anytime you get a call at 2 in the morning, it’s safe to assume that something is wrong. Through tears, she told me that a dear friend, Will, who I was at a particularly bad hospital with, had died. He was only 21 years old, and had his life ahead of him, yet his eating disorder ripped away his chance to grow up. After getting off the phone, I cried. Honestly, I more than cried. I sobbed. I laid in the bed, wept for my friend, and didn’t fall back asleep. I felt like anorexia was coming to take me too. I had planned to get up at 6, go for a bike ride, jump in the pool, take a shower, and weigh myself, as always, but losing Will awoke a much greater desire in me: to live. I hate to call it an epiphany, but that’s what it was. I realized that if I didn’t recover, I could be the next to die.

Since that fateful morning, things haven’t been a walk in the park. In fact, recovering from my eating disorder has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve learned that the only way to make the mean voice in my head go away is to eat, and that compromising with anorexia is no way to live. Today, I enjoy food, cooking, baking, moving my body, spending time with friends, and building a life outside of my eating disorder. I’m at a healthy weight, and consider myself to be fully recovered. I have been able to share my story with those suffering, and hopefully offered hope that recovery is 100% possible. Sometimes, I find myself eating chocolate, or ice cream, or french fries, and I think, “Am I really the same girl who almost starved to death?” It all seems so distant for me.

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If you, as a reader, ever decide to try not eating as a way to lose weight, please stop yourself. This won’t give you happiness; it will give you pain and loss. If you’re currently struggling, please know that food is the best medicine. Happy days are coming again. In the future, you will be so happy that you won’t even remember the days where you were too sick to get out of bed. You have to eat. That’s the only way to make this better. Be honest with your treatment team, don’t negotiate with your eating disorder, and let people help you. I believe in you! You’ve got this.

Thank you for sharing your heart Grace! You guys can read more about Grace where she blogs at bravegirlthriving.com 

What Life Looks Like

Good morning and happy weekend! We had a housewarming party on Thursday night so Friday’s post got pushed to today, so I hope you’re having a great weekend so far!

One of our roommates is going home to Texas for a couple months this summer so we wanted to throw a housewarming party before she leaves this Sunday and the only good night was a Thursday- so we partied on a school night. And to add to the fun, we themed it a Hometown Throwdown and everyone came in respectable hometown attire. I threw on an old IU jersey from college, Anne looked totally Texas and Brit represented San Diego fabulously.

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I cannot articulate how grateful I am for these sweet friends who have quickly become sisters and our cozy new home. My old roommates were so amazing as well, but living downtown two blocks from church and within walking distance of my closest friends has been life changing. In this city, commuting 6 or 7 miles uptown on the subway was taking 45-50 minutes and that sort of time was taking a toll. Now, I can meet a girlfriend for a walk on a Tuesday evening or go out to dinner after church without getting home at 10pm or have friends over to hang on a weeknight just because. I’m way farther from Columbia, but community feels so much richer now that my friends are all within a 2 mile radius. God was so good in orchestrating us three together to share this homey little apartment in this big city.

Life just feels super sweet right now and I’m so, so thankful.

School started last week and getting back into the swing of things has been an adjustment. I’m only taking seven credits this summer, but I’m TAing a Physical Assessment lab all day on Thursdays. And right now, I’m studying to take the NCLEX [the RN licensing exam] which is demanding in and of itself.  So my week looks like this:

Monday 2-5pm | Antepartum Care

Tuesday no class | Nutshell clients and NCLEX + class studying

Wednesday 10-2pm | Health and Social Policy

4-8pm | Advanced Pharmacology

Thursday 7:30-5:30pm | TA for Physical Assessment

Friday no class | Nutshell clients and NCLEX + class studying

Once the NCLEX is over [and I hopefully pass!] things will settle down and I feel like I will have more time to put into the blog. Right now we aren’t in any clinicals which I was bummed about, but it’s been nice to take a step back for the next 8 weeks until fall classes start and we are back in clinicals as nurse practitioner students- wild to think about. So school looks so much different than this past year, but learning to be a health care provider is very exciting! It’s a totally different role than the nurse and what I ultimately went back to school to do, so it feels surreal to be in this part of the program.

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Aside from school, this week I started to put together a training plan for the NYC marathon on November 1st. I somehow got into the marathon through the lottery which I was shocked about, but I’m beyond ecstatic to run this marathon! I’ve heard from friends and so many other runner friends about how incredible it is! I’m not taking training super serious since I have other things in my life that are bigger priorities, but I would love to PR and feel confident in running well on race day. I’m excited to get back into longer runs and plan on doing 11 miles this morning in the humid, New York City heat. I love you summer.

I’m taking on more and more Nutshell clients as God continues to bless this business and blog. I am so very thankful to get to do this “job” and you women bless me like crazy. The business and blog is all Him and everyday my hope is that it brings Him glory. Right now, I plan to continue to pour myself into Nutshell and then apply for nursing jobs and if I’m suppose to nurse full-time, that door will open. I want to continue Nutshell and eventually turn it into a comprehensive women’s wellness practice, so my plan is to balance nursing with Nutshell and school, but if God just wants me to focus on Nutshell and school, He will make that clear and I’ll do that. So we will see what the fall brings!

In the meantime, I want to soak up these sweet, long summer days. I’ll be going home at the end of the month to see my family [!!!!] and go to a friend’s wedding which I’m so looking forward to. Then there are some weekend trips on the summer calendar and then just enjoying time in the city. There are so many things I want to do this summer in the city! Really, I just want to be present and enjoy these weeks before they fly by. I want to continue to invest in and nurture friendships, keep growing in this new relationship, and travel to see the friends and family I love so much.

If this second year in New York City is anything like the last few months, there is so much to look forward to!

 

WIAW: hunger shame

Over the past few years working with women through Nutshell and also being in community and friendships with women in both their late teens and 20s – and also women in their 30s and 40s – a reoccurring theme in conversation has been hunger shame. And not only shame, but also frustration. Hunger is often associated with shame, as if it’s some pathological thing that shouldn’t be happening. And along with that hunger also comes frustration, because hunger isn’t what we consider a feeling of pleasure and the only way to make it go away is to eat. And eating means calories. And calories means weight gain or at least weight maintenance. That’s the thought pattern I’ve seen repeated across far too many conversations.

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WIAW breakfast // buckwheat pancakes with cashew butter and banana + two eggs + strawberries

But I don’t think women are solely to blame for this cultivated feeling of shame around hunger and appetite. Rather, our society has a huge role to play in perpetuating these feelings. We live in a world absolutely consumed by diet and exercise. A world where thin and skinny is associated with health and beauty. A world where appetite and hunger is almost seen as unladylike…or something like that.

So, let me say with bold confidence that hunger is NOT something we should try to suppress or feel shameful about. The truth is, hunger is a VERY GOOD thing. It’s a sign of health and a firm indication of metabolic efficiency. Waking up hungry is awesome. Hunger tells us our body is burning through what we’re eating instead of storing that energy away for later. Feeling hungry throughout the day is wonderful both hormonally and metabolically. Having an appetite and hunger should be something we are excited about. If hunger is our body telling us to eat, and I don’t think I’m alone in saying food tastes pretty good, shouldn’t we be excited that the hungrier we are the more amazing food we get to experience?

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lunch // salad + apple + Larabar picked up at TJs on my way up to Columbia 

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I know I am. And you should be too.

Hunger and fullness are signs that your body’s appetite hormones, ghrelin and leptin, are actually working and that your body is burning energy, therefore it needs more energy. Not feeling hunger is a clear sign of metabolic suppression. Decreased hunger typically leads to eating less and over time your metabolism will slow and adjust to that lower energy intake. And then women become frustrated when they are eating less and less and still not losing any weight. Or even more frustrating, gaining weight. Our bodies are pretty awesome at burning through energy and maintaining a healthy, appropriate weight if we give it the tools to do so- and that means enough nourishing food.

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snacks // kiwi + lots of baby carrots + dark chocolate and almonds 

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post 4 mile run green smoothie // Vega One + 1/2 frozen banana + frozen spinach + 1 tbsp coconut butter + ice

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Your identity is not found in how little food you need to consume to feel full. And being hungry or ravenous is not something we should be ashamed about- we should be excited! Having an appetite and eating more than toddler sized portions doesn’t make you less of a lady. And it certainly isn’t something we should ignore in an effort to lose weight or lose those last damn five pounds. In fact, ignoring that hunger and eating less is probably exactly why those stubborn pounds are sticking around in the first place.

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dinner // veggie curry with tempeh over brown rice [this was bigger than this pathetic bowl looks]

nighttime snacking // dark chocolate + chocolate chia cookie 

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As women, we have to stop shaming our hunger. Stop ignoring it and misinterpreting that hunger as a measurement of worth or achievement. Feeling hungry is not a gold medal of self discipline. And having a healthy appetite doesn’t make you any less of a lady. So let’s stop being frustrated with hunger and instead embrace it by nourishing our bodies well with food that feels good. And that includes both cupcakes and kale.

Things You Should Do Today

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Snooze a few times. Waking up after the first alarm is offensive.

Move your body in some way in the morning. Whether that’s stretching or running or going to the gym- moving your body before you’ve eaten breakfast always makes you feel good.

Eat breakfast. Please, please, please eat some breakfast. Even if it’s just a piece of fruit, your body has been fasting all night and needs food to get that metabolic firing burning for the day.

Put on something you feel good in. Some days that means a great pair of jeans or a form fitting skirt and other days that means a flowy maxi dress or your yoga pants. Whatever you wear, let it feel good.

Take a few minutes, or more than a few, to walk in the afternoon. We can so often get sucked into our day and 8 hours later our brains feel like mush and our bodies feels worn down. Get out in the fresh air, soak up some Vitamin D and clear your mind for a bit.

Engage in conversation with someone unexpected. Instead of getting stuck in the pattern of talking with and spending time with the same people, reach out to a co-worker or the guy in the Starbucks line and chat it up for a little- you never know where the conversation will lead.

Let things go. So you didn’t wake up early enough to get that workout in or you forgot your lunch on the kitchen counter [maybe you didn’t pack a lunch at all] or you spilled coffee on your white pants or  that lady was totally rude to you in the parking lot. If it doesn’t matter in the big picture, forget about it. Life is way to short to worry about things that don’t matter. Really.

Get excited about today. So often we worry about the future, dwell on the past or let our minds live for tomorrow. But what about today? Whether its a day with an ordinary rhythm or one filled with new experiences, get excited about it! Living in today fosters a richer, fuller life.

Real life transparency and transformation: Erin’s Story

We’re all in this big world together, so I’ve opened up this space to share others’ stories of food freedom and true health. If it’s on your heart to share, email me at robyncoale@gmail. As a disclaimer, while these stories do not contain specific numbers, at times they do illustrate disordered eating behaviors as the story is told- if that triggers you, please take care of yourself and skip over these posts. With that said, my hope is that these stories encourage + refresh you, breathe new life into your soul, drown out lies with truth, and flood your heart with unrelenting grace. 
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A year and a half ago, I was handed the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa as I sat across from a therapist, anxious and scared. A year before that, if somebody had predicted that scenario, I would have called it absurd. As somebody considered obese, I felt that I was the last person in the world to be diagnosed with an eating disorder, yet nonetheless I found myself seated across from my therapist as an underweight and terrified girl with anorexia.

My complicated relationship with food began years before my diagnosis, of course. In late elementary school, I found myself caught in a painful, perfect storm. I had experienced some pubescent weight gain and early development, around the same time that my father remarried an emotionally abusive woman who was especially critical of people’s bodies.

These things, coupled with my innately high level of sensitivity and tendency toward anxiety led to a relationship with food that was anything but healthy. My parents, noticing my weight gain, tried to be helpful in the way our society advocates. I tried Weight Watchers (multiple times), Curves, Dr. Phil’s weight-loss plan, The South Beach Diet, and countless other regimes to lose weight, but I never succeeded. I had one medical test after another to discover what was wrong with me, but each test revealed nothing. With every failed attempt, my level of shame grew and I turned to food for comfort. I felt ashamed of eating and of my body, and food became a taboo substance that I did not deserve rather than an essential part of life. With each diet and medical test, the message that my body could not be trusted around food sunk in a little deeper. Gradually, I spiraled down into depression, driving farther and farther away from any level of connection with my body’s needs.

When I left for college, things changed. I still felt ashamed of my body and still wanted desperately to find the diet and exercise plan that would work for me, but I gradually began to crawl out of my shell. I made friends with whom I shared interests, I found the career path that interested me, and I spent a life-changing semester abroad. I started to see my value as a person and things were falling into place in my life, but I saw weight loss as one final hurdle that I simply had to jump over to find happiness.

During the fall of my senior year of college, I started the diet that I wish I had never begun. If I could go back two and a half years, I would rip my cell phone out of my hands to prevent me from installing the app that would allow me to chronicle my subsequent starvation and increasingly problematic devotion to exercise. At first, I was dieting and exercising in a fairly benign way. I casually counted calories and worked out a few times per week. But, for reasons I can’t explain, an eating disorder took over complete control of my brain. It happened quickly and subtly, in a way that was almost imperceptible to me. As I lost weight, I allowed myself fewer and fewer calories. Fitness goals became unhealthy obsessions. My quality of sleep dissolved, my hair began to fall out, and people told me that I had never looked better.

The ensuing months are hard for me to explain because eating disorders do not make sense, and by this point I was fully controlled by one. The person that I became around my college graduation and in the months following was not me. That person was the malnourished, obsessive-compulsive, irritable shadow of my former self. I descended farther and farther into disordered calorie-counting, where things I once allowed myself to eat in moderation dissolved and were replaced with Splenda. In this world, food was seen simultaneously as reward and punishment, but it was never fuel. And, despite succeeding at my life’s one true goal, to lose weight, I found myself wishing that my life would be cut short.

It was at this point that I sought help for myself, and I thank God that I did. Despite people’s continued compliments of my new physique, I was not happy and I did not want to settle for a life of calorie-counting and brutal workouts. Something in me spoke up, told me that I deserved better, and I entered into the maze of recovery.

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Recovery is the hardest journey that I have begun, but it pays off each and every day. Slowly but surely, I am undoing all of the damage that has been done, both physically and mentally, by years of believing in the diet mentality. I am learning to honor my body by feeding it. I am learning that hunger is a sign of a healthy body, not something to be ignored or to feel guilty about. I am learning that we need food. We need it to think, to walk, and to breathe.

Over the course of my life, I have learned what happens when food is no longer seen as the pure, life-sustaining substance that it is but as something that needs to be earned. I have seen how a change in perspective has allowed me to live a fuller life where I am able to focus because I am not starving, and where I am able to fully engage those around me because I am not thinking about the calories in the banana that I just ate. I still have a ways to go until I am where I want to be, but I am getting there. I am learning that my body is created in God’s image, just as each of our bodies are.

I would not wish anorexia on anybody, including myself, but the last couple of years have taught me more than any book could have. I have expanded my understanding about my body and food by leaps and bounds, and in some ways I would not trade this experience for a life of ignorance. This has been the hardest thing that I have endured, but I believe wholeheartedly that I will come out of this as a stronger, more self-aware person and I am endlessly grateful for that. After years and years of never believing that I could have a normal relationship with food, the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to shine and that is worth each and every bit of work.

WIAW: finding balance within veganism

Good morning!

With the craziness of life over the past couple months and especially with moving last weekend, eating has been all over the map. So this WIAW, it’s not necessarily a day of eating, but rather a glimpse into whatever food pictures I have on my phone from this past week. There has been lots of eating out and lots of sharing meals with others. I wouldn’t have it any other way. A huge part of how I love people, how people love me and how I spend time with people I love is through food.

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I’ve gone through seasons of eating almost entirely vegan and seasons of eating almost entirely not vegan. But when I feel happiest and healthiest is when I have a little bit of both. Because over the years as I’ve navigated finding a “healthy” balance with food and exercise and my body, the most important thing I’ve come to learn is that legalism with food is life sucking. Food rules not only hinder our own relationship with food, but they hinder our relationships with others because a big part of our lives and spending time with others involves food.

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Almost all my meals are eaten with other people. Besides breakfast, which I sometimes eat with others too, lunch are dinner are shared with other people either at school, in the hospital, at home or at restaurants. I might be eating out, eating something I cooked, or eating something someone else cooked for me- but almost always I’m eating with others. I say all that to illustrate not only what a huge part food plays in community, but also what a huge part it was meant to play. Food is an integral part of how we celebrate, love others, and build relationships- that’s a healthy thing. And a very good thing.

So how do we strike that balance with wanting to eat all the plants but not becoming legalistic?

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We remember that stress is more detrimental to our health than any food itself.

I don’t have a research article to support that statement, but I 100% stand behind that. The stress and anxiety that can manifest itself around food is far more damaging to your overall health than some bacon. Yes, we should focus on eating vegetables and beans and lentils and all the healthy fats from avocado and nuts and coconut, but there’s a whole lot of space for a hamburger or butter or bacon in a healthy diet. Those “unhealthy” foods are what create balance. We need the cake to balance the kale just as much as we need the kale to balance the cake.

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Over the past week, I’ve been in between apartments so there has been lots of eating out. I also live with some pretty amazing girlfriends and we cook for each other which means Brittany is eating veggie curry with tempeh one night and I’m eating stuffed peppers with beef and cheese the next. That’s how we love each other and the stress relief of not cooking dinner- that’s healthy. I’m now sharing lots of meals with a guy who probably eats more meat in a day than I eat in a month. So sometimes I’m eating chicken and sometimes he’s eating tempeh.

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When you take a step back, food plays an important role in all the relationships in our lives and spending time with people is much more important than the food on our plate. It’s not about the food, it’s about the people.

And that to me is balance. Yes, fill up your plate with all the vegetables and all the beans and quinoa your little heart desires. But also give yourself the freedom and grace to eat and enjoy some chicken or some bacon or some butter because that’s what tastes good and that’s what’s for dinner.

Focus on plants, don’t fixate on plants.

Because true health is so much more than just food.