Sunday, April 29, 2012

Books that I read on my road to ED recovery

When I finally decided to take steps towards ED recovery one of the first things I did was dig into recovery focused blogs and books. I am asked from time to time for book recommendations so I thought I would share a few that I did read and found helpful.  

Diary Of An Anorexic Girl by Morgan Menzie 

This is the very first book I read once I decided to regain my health. I remember sitting on the floor of a Half Priced Books Store looking through various anorexia/recovery focused books, yet this one stood out to me for several reasons. One, it it based on a true story. I needed to read words from someone who had been there done that so to speak, and who had made it successfully to the other side. Two, the book is literally a diary, documenting the thoughts, actions and daily life inside of Morgan Menzie (author) from 1995-1998. Reading her diary entries made her story REAL and made such a strong connection as many of her words mirrored those of my own, at that time.

<gaining> the truth about life after eating disorders by Aimee Liu

Gaining does a great job of combining a personal story with a description of the culture of eating disorders, as well as detailing what scientists have learned, over time, about these illnesses. The book is a perfect balance between personal connection and research. It was SO interesting to read parts of this book and think "THIS IS SO ME" or "I CAN SO RELATE." I highlighted and underlined many concepts in this book. If anyone is interested in more details just let me know. I could write an entire blog post on the themes found here.

Locker Room Diaries. The Naked Truth about Women, Body Image, and Re-Imaging the "Perfect" Body by Leslie Goldman

Very early into recovery I attended a training (for social work CEU's) that centered solely on eating disorders. Ironic, right? Crazy feeling to be sitting in a conference in an attempt to learn how to "help people" when I was the one who severely needed the help. Anyways, one of the speakers that day was Leslie Goldman. I was intrigued by her speech and decided to purchase her book. This is a great read. Humorous, introspective and it highlights lessons that women, of all ages, are learning from inside the locker room. A great book for any woman who is looking to gain a healthy self image.

You Are Not What You Weigh: End Your War With Food And Discover Your True Value by Lisa Bevere

This book is great for any woman who has struggled with body image and negative self esteem (as it relates to physical appearance). While it touches on various eating disorders, it also extends to anyone who is ready to break free from the chains of the scale. This is a Christian based book and incorporates scriptures and Godly encouragement into various chapters. I will admit that I was NOT ready to read this book when I first started to regain my health. I've mentioned it before but in those early days I did not want much to do with God. Yet over time I got there. Once I was ready to embrace God again, this book was a great choice! It also includes pages for recording personal notes and reflections.

Operation Beautiful, Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-it Note at a Time by Caitlin Boyle

Have you guys checked out the Operation Beautiful website? If not, I highly recommend that you do. This is a very inspiring book that showcases positive post-it notes of women around the world. Such a cool idea for spreading the healthy body image message to friends and strangers a like. Definitely a feel good read. Boyle is working on two other books due for release very soon (if not already?). I submitted my story for one of them and "spoke" with Boyle over email so I will let you know if my story is selected for one of the new releases.

loving your body, Embracing Your True Beauty In Christ by Dr. Deborah Newman

This book is in partnership with Focus On The Family. I would say this book has more "Biblical meat" than Bevere's book I mentioned above. Discussion questions are included at the end of each chapter. It takes a look at women of the Bible, Biblical concepts on loving ourselves, and also incorporates the modern day womanly struggle of learning to make peace with ones body.  Great book!

Questions for YOU: 

  • For those who have struggled with body image and/or an eating disorder, did you find any particular books helpful? If so, please share in the comments! It is always helpful to build on our list of resources. 

  • Have you/would you ever post an Operation Beautiful note? If not, I encourage you to do so this week and then link up and share your experience. I like to keep a pad of sticky notes in my car so I write a note whenever the urge strikes. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekend Links. . . 4/27/12

Food and/or Recipes
Oatmeal Fudge Bars - Brown Eyed Baker
Breakfast Casserole Cups - Mommy? I'm Hungry!
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork - Skinnytaste
Cinnamon Butter filled Snickerdoodles - Rumbly In My Tummy
Brownie Peanut Butter Cups - The Girl Who Ate Everything
Penne Rosa with Chicken, Spinach and Mushrooms - Rumbly In My Tummy

7 Common Problems Solved by Owning Less - Becoming Minimalist
Escaping the Rut of Want - (in)courage
Speak Gently - (in)courage
Community Building - (in)courage
Your 15 Minute Transformation - Inspired To Action
30 Questions to Ask to Evaluate Your Family Life - Motherhood Your Way

Eating Disorder and/or Self Esteem
How to Spot 'Fat Talk' so You can Stop It - Psych Central
If I Don't Like Me, Can I Take Care of Me? - We Are The Real Deal
Today Shows Comments about Jessica Simpson "She's Pretty Fat" - We Are The Real Deal

Home and/or Organization
Organization Should Be Practical - Not Always Pretty - Simple Organized Living
Raising An Infant On A Budget - Simple Organized Living

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

38 week (& 4 days) pregnancy update. . . pumpkin baby. . . or something like that

Just wanted to pop in to say hi and yes. . . I'm still pregnant! I won't go into the usual full out update but here is a little bit of info as of late.

Click here for the update as to why I am going weekly for biophysical profiles and non stress test ultrasounds. I went back today for the testing and then will see my regular OB on Wednesday. Results of todays testing was all good news. They did not measure Clara again (will do this next week) but said the placenta is functioning well and the fluid levels look perfect therefore there is no reason to assume Clara is not making developmental progress in the womb. Dr told me to continue with his previous recommendations (really, more ice cream and less house chores? Darn!) and he will see me next week. Clara passed her stress test as well. Overall, a great report!

A little bit about week 38 from this source. (Obviously not all of this is an accurate representation of my case, as we know Clara is on the smaller side of the spectrum but still fun to read nonetheless.)

Yow! If you feel a sort of lightening bolt running up and down your legs (and in your crotch), don’t freak out. At 38 weeks, baby’s probably sitting pretty low in your pelvis, which means he’s bumping into all kinds of nerves down there -- including some pretty sensitive ones you might not know you had. Be on the lookout for signs of labor, including contractions that come on stronger, at more regular intervals, and the “bloody show.” It could happen any day now -- or it might not be for a few weeks. Until then, try to relax.

Your baby's the size of a pumpkin! Baby is about 18.9 to 20.9 inches long and weighs about 6.2 to 9.2 pounds. Her head is now about the same circumference as her abdomen.

your baby at 38 weeks
  • She may have about an inch or so of hair already.
  • She's slowly shedding that white goo on her skin (called vernix caseosa) but you might see some of it at birth.

My Thoughts:
We are feeling very peaceful about Clara's progress. We know her development is all in God's hands and therefore we have no room to fear. It is so cool to think that in 10 days (or less I suppose) I will be holding my daughter!  

I am no longer working (bittersweet!) so I am taking it easy, trying to get extra rest and of course eat as much of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Therapy as possible. Have you tried this new flavor? If not, go get some. Like today. It has 24 grams of sugar per serving. And considering I am having a dose of this stuff daily I would say I am following dr's orders and being a rather compliant patient, don't ya think? 

Did you think you could get out of a pregnancy post without a picture of the cankles? Ha! Not likely.

I thought the support hose were helping (and they have!!) but over the last week the swelling has returned with a vengeance. This picture is bad, but doesn't really show the extent of the swelling over the last few days. Love how you can see my flip flop line on my left foot. I'm cool like that. 

And a belly picture. . .
38 weeks 4 days belly shot

I keep telling Brandon it would be fun to have a dramatic birth story. . . you know. . . being that girl that is walking through Target and her water breaks and then scrambles to find her cell phone to call her husband at work. Brandon's thoughts . . . "Britt, you would be freaking out, and you would not think that is cool." I beg to differ. :)

Random tid bits:
Braxton Hicks - a few here and there. Nothing major at this point. 
Total Weight gain - up 28 (ish) pounds 
Nursery progress - need to hang a few things on the wall but we are getting close to having it done!
Birth plan - epidural asap :)
Next acupuncture appointment - this Friday. Cannot. Wait. 
Hospital bag packed - for the most part
Car seat installed - check! 
Excitement - through the roof! 

Have a great week! Next update will (Lord willing) contain pictures of our little girl!

PSALM 139:14
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, 
I know that full well.

PSALM 13:6
"I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me." 

Previous pregnancy updates:
14 week pregnancy update (really includes week 12 also)
24 week pregnancy update 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Weekend Links. . . 4/20/12

Food and/or Recipes 
(Due to my ultrasound scan last week, multiple Dr's have been telling me to eat more sugar during my last few weeks or pregnancy. For an update see my fertility journey page. Hence why all of these recipes are centered around sweets!! Ha! Enjoy!)
Homemade Ice Cream w/out an Ice Cream Maker - eat live run
Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter - cait's plate
Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chips Cookies - brown eyed baker
Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispies Treats - brown eyed baker
Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookies - gimme me some oven!  

Spirit Lead Parenting: Overcoming the Fear of Freedom - Simple Mom
What I want my daughter to know about the mean girls - The Gypsy Mama
When Idealism Gets In the Way - Inspired to Action
Living The Life He Intended - (in)courage

Eating Disorder and/or Self Esteem
Cheering On Your Own Greatness - We Are The Real Deal
Feeding Tubes: Not Just For Anorexics Anymore - MamaV (disclaimer for younger readers - this blog has a tendency to use foul language, please read at your own discretion)
Breaking the Silence - Eating Disorders - Huffpost Healthy Living
Brain activity gives scientists clues about eating disorders - Chicago Tribune
"Am I Insecure?" by Corinne Dobbas - Guiltless
The OK Plateau - ED Bites 

Home and/or Organization
Blogs to help you get organized today - Organizing Your Way
The Couponizer (I just saw this online and thought it was really cool)
Magnetic Meal Planning - i heart organizing
Reader Raids: A Happy Homeschool - i heart organizing (I don't plan to homeschool my kids but for those of you that do, or are considering homeschool in the future, this set up is awesome)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

3D/4D images of Clara

We are having weekly ultrasounds (started last week, will go weekly until I deliver) due to a slight concern with Clara's rate of growth. Nothing to get too worked up over at this point, but Dr's just want to play it safe. For an update or more info refer to the latest on my fertility journey page. Anyway, at both ultrasounds the technician switched Clara's face over to 3D/4D. We didn't even ask her to do this for us. (I was afraid if I asked we would get billed an arm and a leg!!) What a fun surprise and blessing!

Here are a few shots. . .

I totally think she looks like me, don't you agree? Kidding. The last two pictures crack me up b/c it looks like she is making a mean/mad face! All of the swirly stuff on the right side of her face is fluid, placenta, the cord, etc, not her actual face.

Thanks for all your prayers as we near our due date. We cannot wait to meet our little girl. :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Weekend Links 4/13/12

Be the one to Be the one - (in)courage
10 actions that kids learn from their parent's marriage - Doug Fields
Comparison Will Kill Your Joy Every Time - (in)courage
How to be a good mom on a bad day - Inspired To Action
30 Ways to invest in your marriage - Motherhood your way 

Eating Disorder and/or Self Esteem
Ashley Judd Slaps Media in the Face for Speculation over Her "Puffy" Appearance

Food and/or Recipes
Chocolate Spice Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Frosting - eat live run
Balsamic Kale Salad with Apple and Pear - Daily Garnish
Asian Edamame Fried Rice - Skinnytaste
Sugar Cookie Bars with the BEST Frosting Ever - Rumbly In My Tummy

Home and/or Organization
Spring Clean the Toxins: How to get started  - Keeper of the Home
A simple DIY jewelry display - I heart organizing 

transracial adoption isn't a big deal. until it is.  - Rage Against the Minivan

Saturday, April 7, 2012

36 week pregnancy update. . . honeydew baby

Just hit 36 weeks! I am now going to the Dr weekly for check ups. My last appointment on 4/5/12 confirmed that Clara is head down. I will have an ultrasound next week to get a better estimate of her size and current weight. Can't wait! I am getting so excited to meet her! 

36 weeks 

Baby should soon descend into your pelvis, which will give your lungs a little room to breathe (literally). The bad news: This puts the brunt of baby's weight on your hips and pelvis, and will make them pretty sore. Add in your ever-loosening ligaments, and you may soon be taking on that oh-so-adorable pregnancy waddle.

                 Baby's now the size of a honeydew!
Baby's skin is getting smooth and soft, her gums are rigid, her liver and kidneys are in working order, and her circulation and immune system are basically good to go. Her lungs are the only organs that still need to fully mature, but every day she gets a little closer to breathing on her own.

How I am feeling and How I am changing:
At 36 weeks I am feeling pretty good! I have noticed I am a lot more tired and it is way more difficult to bend over, crouch down, get up and down off the floor, etc, but that just comes with the territory. I feel like I am going to the bathroom constantly and sleeping. . . well that just depends on the night.
Swelling continues to be my most severe symptom although I have noticed a slight improvement in the last two days. I have resorted to wearing support hose daily (at some point you just got to do what you got to do) and these seem to take a lot of the pressure off of my ankles during the day. I have two different pair of hose. The second pair I purchased at a medical supply store near my house. The store manager explained that to get a proper fit he would need to measure my ankles and calves. Are you ready for this people? My left ANKLE measured 9 and 3/4 inches. Yes I said ankle. My right clocked in at 8 and1/2 inches. Ha! The sweet manager tried to contain his amazement and said "This is some pretty bad swelling. I have seen swelling before but I'll say. . . this is pretty bad."
I have going to my acupuncturist since 33 weeks and when he noticed the severity of my swelling he suggested I come weekly until delivery. We all know I am not one to argue acupuncture (my favorite thing ever) so I gladly welcomed the weekly treatments back into my life. He also gave me a calcium/magnesium supplement to take at night to treat the swelling and also the restless leg that I get in the evenings. (My OB ok'ed the treatments and the supplement). I really do think this combo, along with my super trendy support hose, is helping to reduce some of the swelling.
Funny story - The 4 year old I nanny during the day said to me this week "Ms. Brittnie, My mommy said people aren't supposed to wear socks with flip flops. Why do you have these really thick socks on with your flip flops?"I replied "Well these are special socks that make Ms. Brittnie's feet feel better." He says "Oh ok, but I think it looks kinda funny." Me too, kid. Me too. 

And for your viewing pleasure some photos of the cankles . . .
When you press on my feet you can make different shapes. Fun right?
And a belly shot. . .
36 week belly shot 

What I am eating and What I am thinking:
For the longest time I was getting really hungry and then after eating a small portion would feel stuffed. Like . . . I literally ate a cow and had no room to stomach any more food. This = less food at typical meal times and more snacks in between. Now that she has dropped I am able to eat a regular sized meal without feeling like I have a ten pound brick in my stomach. 

Foods that are sounding good these days: 
cold cereal, waffles with peanut butter and syrup, hummus on toast, fruit, cashews, greek yogurt, homemade thin crust pizza, red meat (although chicken sounds good too!), Chickfila salads, and tacos from Freebirds or any like restaurant. Oh and how can I forget the chips and salsa. And ice cream. You get the idea. I could go on and on. I have also been craving crushed ice like mad. I know ice isn't considered a food but I literally carry a reusable cup filled with crusted ice and cold water around with me everywhere. So simple yet oh so good.   

Foods that are not sounding good these days:
Salmon, shrimp, most all seafood, hot oatmeal and any type of hot drink 

My thoughts these days pretty much consist of the following:
1 - what Clara will look like?
2 - when she will make her arrival?
3 - what it is going to feel like to transition to a stay at home mom?
4 - breastfeeding - Will it work? Will it not? etc 
5 - In less than a month Brandon and I will no longer just be "Brandon and I." While this is something we have prayed for and are beyond thankful to God for, I am trying to cherish these last few weeks as our little family of two.       

Random info:
Weight gain - 26 pounds
Braxton hicks - not yet from what I can tell
Workouts - "power" walking maybe 2x a week (I know, shame on me)
Nursery organization progress - We have done a lot! The walls are painted and the crib, changer, and glider are set up. We even have a few things hanging on the walls. I washed all the NB - 6 month clothes as well as blankets, sheets, baby towels, etc. and have what I feel is a good organizational system down for now. Of course I am sure this will change once Clara is here and I am using everything on a daily basis.
Childbirth classes - check! Attended an all day class at the end of March. We really enjoyed it. 
Clara's movement - all over the place! Definitely the coolest part of pregnancy!

I'll post nursery pictures once the room is complete! Almost there! Just working on the curtains and some other wall decor.  That wraps up week 36. Unless I deliver early I will have another update at 40 weeks! Have a great weekend and enjoy your Easter Sunday!

PSALM 139:14
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, 
I know that full well.

PSALM 13:6
"I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me." 

24 week pregnancy update 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Weekend Links 4/6/12

The Art of Rest - (in)courage
It's All Going To Be Ok - Kickyboots
I wrote a five year plan (and you can, too) - Simple Mom
Fact: Christian Women Will Hurt You - (in)courage
The 3 Step Secret Weapon Against Mommy Guilt - inspired to Action
Pinsanity - Life Rearranged
On Being Present - Daily Garnish

Food and/or Recipes
Brunch is in the Air: 9 Fabulous Brunch Recipes  - food your way
Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta Skillet - eat live run
Honey Roasted Chicken Salad (mayo free!) - iowa girl eats
Blueberry Walnut Banana Bread - Daily Garnish
Frosted Zucchini Brownies - Rumbly In My Tummy

On Adoption
our documentary debut - the alliance for the study of adoption and culture, and the dramatic debate that wasn't - Rage Against The Minivan

Home and/or Organization
Working With Your Homekeeping Style - Organizing Your Way
Road Trip Packing - Organizing Made Fun

Eating Disorders and/or Self Esteem
Eating Disorders Can Flourish on College Campuses - we are the real deal
Know Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs - we are the real deal
The Myth of Chronicity and The Untreatable Disorder - ED Bites
Social Media and Body Image - Guiltless

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nature Box Review + coupon code

Hope everyone had a nice weekend!! We sure did. . . a little relaxing + a little productivity = perfect in my book. I am sure Brandon would prefer more relaxing (ok I know he would) but my nesting instinct has kicked in and somehow I keep finding more and more projects that "need" to get done before Clara arrives.  He loves me and he loves my ability to make five million to do lists. :)

Anyways, A few months ago I was contacted by a Nature Box representative asking if I would be interested in sampling some of their latest products and then providing some feedback via a survey and optional blog post. I went for it so today is review time!!


So what is NatureBox and how does it work?
NatureBox focuses on sourcing delicious, healthy snacks and sends them to you monthly. Discover what our nutritionists recommend and start enjoying a better snack. NatureBox will send a package full of nutritious snacks to you every month. Pause or cancel anytime, and we’ll refund you 100% if you are not satisfied.


And some quick Facts sent from the company that they ask I include in the review:

About Us

  • NatureBox is a subscription service that offers the ability to discover and enjoy healthy snacks on a monthly basis. We currently ship to the 48 continental states as well as FPO/APO addresses. We also ship to P.O. Boxes.

  • Our products are made from wholesome ingredients and are Nutritionist-approved. We abide by our strict quality standards: No High Fructose Corn Syrup, No Partially Hydrogenated Oils, No Trans Fats, No Artificial Sweeteners, No Artificial Flavors, No Artificial Colors.

  • For every NatureBox sent out, together we’re helping to feed the hungry. NatureBox donates one meal for every box to feed the over 14 million children in America who go hungry every year. We believe in doing good and eating well.

  • We are working on new NatureBoxes which will address various dietary needs and personal preferences such as Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan and Low-Sugar.  If you are interested in a not-yet-launched line of NatureBoxes, send us an email to to be added to our mailing list when we introduce new or customized NatureBoxes.

  • NatureBoxes will soon be available in various sizes depending on you or your family’s needs.

  • NatureBoxes make great gifts for your friends and family for holidays, special occasions, or anytime. College students, summer campers, teachers, coaches, new parents, and deployed service members all love to receive healthy snacks any time of the year.

  • We are always looking for nutritionists, healthy living professionals, and healthy snacking enthusiasts to share tips, tricks, and ideas for making healthier choices. If you would be interested in featuring your articles or thoughts on our blog, please contact We look forward to the opportunity to partner with you to share the healthy snacking message!

I was sent the March box to review.  The box included Firecrackers, Sunshine Chips, Nuts For Granola!, Dried California Bing Cherries and Whole Wheat Figgy Bars. For more details about the March box and nutritional information click here.  So on with my review. . . 

I really enjoyed the firecrackers. They were super crunchy and airy. Perfect for a mid morning or mid afternoon snack. The firecrackers reminded me of mini rice cakes but with more flavor and more crunch.  They would be good to stash in the car to grab on the go.

Sunshine Chips

These were BY FAR my favorite of the entire Nature Box. Not sure how many of you have ever tried veggie chips but these beat out any brand I have ever tasted. They are crunchy, salty and you get a hint of the vegetable but not overwhelming at all. Honestly, you can't even tell you are eating something healthy! Brandon really enjoyed these as well, which says a lot. We (or more like I) devoured these in two days flat. If Nature Box wants to send me any more Sunshine Chips to review I won't turn them down. Just saying. :)

Nuts For Granola!

Brandon was kind enough to be the first to sample the granola. He enjoyed it (again, this says a lot!) and even went so far as to mix it in some greek yogurt. He was trying to be all food blogger-ish and take a close up. See below.
I like that the granola is a tad sweet (from honey, cashews, etc) but not too overpowering. Perfect for yogurt, mixed with milk or just by the handful.  I would definitely buy this regularly.

Dried California Bing Cherries
If you like dried fruit you will enjoy the california bing cherries. I am not a huge dried fruit or cherry fan in general (went through a raisin stage during early pregnancy but that's about it) but for one that generally enjoys both these are bound to satisfy your craving. I would compare them to dried cranberries or Craisins. The two year old that I nanny had some of the bing cherries as a snack and kept proclaiming he needed "More craisins more craisins!!" Little did he know these were dried cherries with only one ingredient. :) Sadly, I forgot the picture. . . oops. . . but if you are interested to see what a dried cherry looks like, just check out the website.

Whole Wheat Figgy Bars

These reminded me a lot of Fig Newtons that I would eat as a kid, yet they did taste more healthy. Honestly I would not buy these on a regular basis. Brandon said they were "missing something" but couldn't quite put his finger on it. Maybe some sugar? Ha! But that would probably defeat the purpose of creating a healthy whole wheat figgy bar now wouldn't it?

Well that wraps up the review! A hugs thanks to Nature Box for sending me the March box to review. It was a fun assignment and I really enjoyed the free snacks! 

One last note from the company rep: "We'd like to share a coupon if any of you or any of your readers are interested in signing up for a NatureBox subscription. The promo code HEALTHY may be used for 25% off your first month of subscription (please note that the 25% discount is only applicable to the month-to-month subscription. 6 month subscriptions receive 1 month free and 12 month subscriptions receive 3 months free). Thank you so much for your time and happy snacking!"
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