Healthy and Sane

Fighting off commiting to another challenge… or maybe I shouldn’t

April 3rd, 2010 · 23 Comments · breakfast, Russian

Hi gang. How’s life? Right after writing this post, I plan on going for a long walk and maybe even a run. Still recovering from my cold but it’s too nice out not to go out to enjoy this weather. I just bought the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle audibook on iTunes so it should keep me some company. :)

So I wanted to get a little personal around here again. Here is the deal – I’ve been overeating lately but for some reason I stopped caring about that. Not in a “I’m letting myself go and I don’t care” way. I just feel like it will even out. I am SO passionate about healthy living that I know that those few extra cookies (or pieces of bread with baba ganoush, whatever) will just not matter in the big scheme of things. Something tells me that if I don’t put so much pressure on eating “right” that I eventually WILL eat right… because naturally I crave healthy things majority of the time. I care about eating high quality food, mostly organic and/or local produce. I want to be proud about all of that so following my heart in that respect will just make me happier.

So hopefully that made some sense. Here is the “BUT.” I’ve gained a few pounds. Again, somehow I just don’t really care. I went shopping yesterday and bought myself a whole bunch of new clothes that make me feel fabulous (the jeans could/should zip a little easier but that’s just one glitch we’ll overlook for the purpose of this post). Seriously, I was just beaming for the rest of the day after that “shopping therapy” session at Anthropology… and then I saw these before an after pictures and started thinking again…

Am I settling for a pudgy belly? Is that really the answer to happiness? Janetha looks incredible and maybe I should too. I LOVE lifting weights which is what the Body for Life program is all about. I actually used to have the book and did the workouts my senior year of college and really really loved them. What I’m struggling with here is this desire to change things up again at the same time as I feel like I am getting close to accepting myself the way I am today. I stopped judging my food choices, my body. I seem to have come to peace with all of that… yet I want Janetha’s hard abs. How can these two conflicting thoughts co-exist? Better yet, which one should I listen to? Obviously just accepting myself seems like the right (and easier) answer…. but I want Janetha’s hard abs. Oh, I said that already, huh? Ok, enough of this non-sense. Feel free to decode any of this. Moving on to yesterday’s eats.


Coconut/almond crusted french toast with fresh grilled pineapple and oikos with maple syrup + coffee


Leftover miso glazed cod + asparagus

Sorry, I know this picture is atrocious, but the meal was really yummy!


+ COOKIES, lots and lots of cookies, which I got in a thank-you package from Erin and Pete. The cookies were all crushed so I didn’t take a picture (would do their taste an injustice)… but let’s just say I ate my share’s worth (and some) and wasn’t really hungry for dinner after that.


… was at my parents’ house. They got take-out from Erik’s pizza & wings. The twist is that they ordered off the secret Georgian menu.

Traditional khachapuri

Chicken tabaka with rice

Pork “kebabs” with rice

Tomato/cucumber salad (onions on the side)

Lamb kebabs with rice

My plate:

+ some vino (I had another glass or so)

The pork was waaaaay too salty (although the spices were nice) but the rice was great and the salad + khachapuri were awesome. The salty cheese and chewy dough was so nice. I had a little more of both.

My parents then served some Russian “paska” for Easter. I wasn’t hungry to begin with and certainly didn’t want more dessert but I had a taste.

This is basically the same as the Italian pannatone, except this loaf was super dry. I had a tiny bite and that was it.

This guy was store-bought. My mom later made her own fresh version. Here is a picture she emailed me. Looks much better! 😀

Have a great weekend!!! Any thoughts on my non-sense above?

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23 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Diana

    It seems like we’re basically in the same situation. We both are starting to feel better with ourselves but we still want to improve. Thing is, we don’t have to settle. I mean, if you do really believe that things will even out and that you’ll make better choices because you really want to, the second part (those awesome abs) is definitely not impossible to achieve.
    I’m at a weird phase right now, but I do believe that as the weather starts getting better and hotter, my mood will improve A LOT (this always happens) and the overeating will decrease. It is about balance and accepting that it takes a lot of work to get and maintain that kind of body and sometimes we just don’t wanna work that much. And it is ok. :)
    Hope this made sense ahah

    That breakfast looks divine btw.
    Have an awesome weekend!

  • #2 - Matt

    I am not one to judge, but please just except yourself for who you are. Life is too short to worry about being perfect, trust me. If you are doing the best you can with healthy living, that is 100% acceptable. Just be who YOU are, not who you THINK you should be.

  • #3 - laura

    I’ve never commented before but have been a long time reader. I too am trying to eat intuitively after years of overeating/restricting — and I also fall into the trap of challenging myself (half-marathons and P90X) instead of accepting who I am. I think it’d be most beneficial to resist challenging yourself until you’ve really gotten intuitive eating down, until eating is pleasurable and there’s no guilt involved. In your post you said, “Janetha looks incredible and maybe I should too.” If you hadn’t seen the pictures and compared yourself to her, would you feel badly about your temporary weight gain? One thing I noticed… At the end of Janetha’s post she mentions doing yet another body for life challenge — I guess that goes to show that even with rock hard abs it’s still possible to not feel satisfied or good enough. You are in no way settling by choosing to be kind to yourself, by giving your body a variety of nutritious foods and by accepting yourself in the here and now instead of always wanting to be someone else. Stay strong! ; )

  • #4 - Julie

    Elina, I am having the same thoughts as you, and I don’t even think I need to explain them all because what you said, I think to myself. I want to look like that too, but maybe that’s not what I’m supposed to look like…or is it?? It’s just…I feel like if I settle on what I look like now, I may be unhappy later on. I love myself as is, but I really love how I looked last summer when I weighed less. However, last summer when I weighed less I was having trouble with restricting/binging. I was the size I was because I didn’t allow mysaelf to enjoy food they way I do now. But maybe I enjoy it too much?! Eek.

    Whatever ou nonsense thoughts are, I think we both need to take what Matt said to heart!!

  • #5 - Carly

    I go through the same phases as you… and it always turns out the same. I love healthy food and indulgences and I love to exercise. I may have ups and downs, but it all ends up rebalancing to my body’s happy set point. I get frustrated, upset, my husband gets irritated… but I think a lot of us need to stop worrying so much and start enjoying our lives more! If we are doing things that are healthy – eating mostly nutritious meals and exercising, we should just be happy. As I type this, I am reminding myself to follow that mantra. You are adorable, your husband loves you, you have a fantastic family, and you enjoy eating… and you do enjoy eating HEALTHY foods in addition to indulgent ones. Be thankful for that and keep a smile on that face.

    P.S. Your breakfast looks FANTASTIC!!!!

  • #6 - Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    Oh I do this all the time. Don’t stress! Enjoy food and love life.

    Be happy!

  • #7 - Kelly

    I definitely know what you mean- it seems like most of us, no matter how we look to others will always wonder if we could do just a little better- and I have to admit those before and after photos are a bit enticing…but I think I’d have trouble maintaining something like that long term…

  • #8 - Dominique

    I think you need to think about why you want to look like that. Will it really make you feel better about yourself? Do you not feel good about how you look right now? Personally, I’ve lost about 12lbs in the past six months. A lot of it was stress weight, not a lot of exercise involved. While I’d like to lose another 5lbs (ideally 7lbs), I’m not going to stress out if I don’t. I do plan on exercising a little when the weather gets better (just being more active outdoors) and starting to weight-lift again, I have a little pudge around the belly but it’s nothing that I’m not happy about.

    Janetha does look amazing but some people aren’t born to look like. I have big calves that my parents passed down to me so I will never be tall with skinny legs. And while I do gripe about my big calves a lot, I also accept them (most of the time) because they’re me and I can’t change them. On the other hand, I have amazing shoulders, clavicles and a chestbone and I’m extremely proud of them. It’s why I love wearing v-necks and almost exclusively wear v-necks 😉

    I think you should just love who you are right now. With the intuitive eating plan, things probably will fall into place. It probably won’t happen overnight or anything like that but I just definitely wouldn’t stress too much about it.

  • #9 - Jackie

    Elina – I KNOW exactly how you feel. This was me before Spring Break. I just kept eating, and eating, and eating…

    This week I am doing AWESOME. I’m not judging my food choices, I’m not calling myself fat, I’m a little disappointed that I’m not as trim as I was, but I don’t care! I’m happy!

    Anyway, I think I’m one of those who will always have a “pudgy” belly because a) my posture is horrible and b) I’m not going to obsess over my calories/workouts enough to get rock hard abs. I eat healthy, I AM healthy, I’m happy, I do things most people can only DREAM of, and my body will find it’s natural spot with me continuing my healthy life.

    You can be happy with yourself and want to challenge yourself. I challenge myself constantly – not because I don’t think I’m good enough, but because I like having a goal. It gives me something else to do with my time. If you want to do the challenge because you want a challenge, I say go for it. But I wouldn’t do it just because you think you should be like anyone. You should be you. You should do things you love and things that make you happy.

    Today I’ve snacked more than usual (free samples lol) and let my sister talk me into half a cookie and lunch despite having a berry crisp with ice cream in my future for dessert. I ran 14 miles, yeah so that helps, but I’m completely satisfied mentally, emotionally, and food-wise because I had what I WANTED. Things will even out. You said yourself – you love healthy food. You are a healthy person.

    I say follow your heart. If you want to CHALLENGE yourself, that’s one thing. If you think you should be like someone, that’s another..

  • #10 - MelissaNibbles

    I’m on my second BFL challenge right now. I’m doing it to gain weight though (my first was to lose). I think if you want to look like that, you have to put the work in and maybe you aren’t ready to do that right now and that’s okay. You shouldn’t force yourself to do something you arent’ ready for. If you only want to do it because you’re comparing yourself to other people, you shouldn’t do it because there’s always going to be someone thinner, with better abs, etc…you need to decide what you want for you and then do what it takes to get there. Good luck figuring it all out :)

  • #11 - Elina

    All – as always, thank you so much for super thoughtful comments. I just wanted to clarify something. I wouldn’t be doing it because I want to look exactly like someone else. I just know that if I actually put in the work (with careful meal planning and the exercise routine in the book) I can be a lot leaner and toned. I know my body is actually capable of super toned abs – that’s the one part of my body I know can get there. The question is – as I’m finally learning to let go of the rules, is it stupid to introduce new ones?

  • #12 - emily

    I loved reading the intro to this post! I’m having a very similar struggle. I’m really genuinely ok with some recent-ish weight gain. One part of me feels like I get a lot of enjoyment out of my food, I look pretty good still, and my husband thinks I’m wicked hot. But then another part of me really worries that I’m trading nachos for a body that would probably make me really happy.

  • #13 - D

    Don’t look at it as a choice! You can totally accept yourself the way you are, and still want to “improve” at the same time. It’s natural, and I think it’s a good attitude. We should definitely love and accept ourselves “as is”, but that doesn’t mean we should settle and say that we don’t need to try harder. I love your introspective posts!

  • #14 - Sonia @ Master of Her Romaine

    ohh I am having the exact same issues as you right down to wanting Janetha’s body! hahaha :) I too have been eating extra-delicious food lately while contemplating starting BFL. I don’t have an answer yet, either.
    One thing I do know- is that your Georgian/Russian food looks aaamazing! I would love to try that khachapuri. Is this food similar at all to Lebanese food? I had a Lebanese friend growing up and she always had a similar looking bread in her lunches…

  • #15 - janetha

    wow! hi, you’re really nice. and although i don’t know you or your story, i can 100% guarantee that you are beautiful and look incredible. truth is, we all have our hang ups. let me be the first to say that i can relate with the conflicting feeling of wanting to eat whatever, whenever and wanting to look like i did in my after photos. yep, i said “did”.. because i don’t look like that now. you know that whole thing you said about the scheme of things? yeah. that is the attitude i adopted. because i was in jamaica. because i got engaged. because i had friends from out of the country in town. because it was a holiday. because, because, because. and i found myself where you said you are, a few pounds heavier. i didn’t really care that much, but i also knew my full potential and realized it would be pretty nice to be back where i was. so yeah, i am doing something about it. body for life style, because i know it works for me. in your follow up comment you said you know what your body is capable of and you know what your abs can look like. that is the best thing you could say! i never compare myself to other people.. because it will drive me bananas.. i will never have long, slender legs or the torso i always wished for. so, what works for me, is comparing myself to my former self. i know what i CAN be and i know what it takes to get there. so when i do get a little TOO lenient on the whole eating home front.. i just try to clean my act up a little. the first time around i was super strict with myself to the point where i gave up social interaction in order to stick to my “plan”.. sure, it worked wonders in 12 weeks, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t fun. it was no fun to follow the “rules” so strict. so i have just tried to find a balance of doing BFL but still living life and not letting the “rules” control what i do (like they did the first time around). ANYWAY, this comment is so long! i am just happy to have found your blog and you know what i loved most about this post? “I stopped judging my food choices, my body. ” THAT IS SOLID GOLD! i am not there. i always judge what i eat (does this have a good protein to carb ratio?) and i am still trying to get over judging some parts of my body. i have learned to embrace my big, muscle-y legs.. but there are other parts of me i am working on embracing. i think you deserve mad respect for being able to say you don’t judge your food choices or your body. that is fabulous, elina! with that said, if you are feeling a little off these days and you like to lift weights like you said.. and you know what kind of toning up your body is capable of.. i think it can never hurt to tighten up a few ends you have let unravel here and there. and try not to treat them as rules. you said “The question is – as I’m finally learning to let go of the rules, is it stupid to introduce new ones?” just don’t make it a strict thing.. you know? it sounds like you are in a really good place in your life as far as body image goes. that’s great! more power to you. and i think that if you feel like lifting a weight or two and leaning out a bit.. more power to you on that. whatever you decide, i think you will be fabulous either way. just wanted to let you know i can relate to you on the whole “i-like-how-i-am-now-but-i-also-know-i’d-really-like-how-i-could-be”. sorry to write a novel. i am going to go add you to my google reader now :) xo

  • #16 - Katie @ Health for the Whole Self

    Elina, I know exactly what you’re talking about. I too have experienced that desire to stop caring at the same time I find myself caring!

    I’m wondering if there’s a way to have both, instead of one or the other. Is it possible to continue to have a laissez-faire attitude toward food and exercise (knowing that overall our habits are healthy) while still desiring and working toward some amazing physical feature? Is it possible to pursue a goal without getting SO wrapped up in it – SO obsessed with it – that there’s no joy in it anymore?

    I’d like to think the answer is yes, but my obsessive personality means that it hasn’t happened yet for me…

    On another note, I loved this sentence you wrote:

    “Something tells me that if I don’t put so much pressure on eating “right” that I eventually WILL eat right… because naturally I crave healthy things majority of the time.”

    I think this is really true.

  • #17 - Elina

    Hi loves! I can’t believe how many of you totally get where I’m at right now… actually I can! That’s why I love you all so much :) … and that’s why you are probably reading this blog. Right? So I decided to stick to eating intuitively for now. More on that in my next post 😉

    Janetha – thanks for posting here. Obviously you are a good source for this since you went through it and are an inspiration to so many others!

  • #18 - Getting out of my own food and exercise jail

    […] Fighting off commiting to another challenge… or maybe I shouldn’t […]

  • #19 - Celebrating Easter with yard work

    […] Fighting off commiting to another challenge… or maybe I shouldn’t […]

  • #20 - Cara

    I think it’s wonderful that you are accepting yourself and thinking rationally about your food choices, not beating yourself up over them. At the same time I think there is always room for self-improvement and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to better ourselves, while staying realistic at the same time. Will changing up your workouts make you feel awesome? Probably! But at the same time we have to accept what works in our own lifestyles and if you can’t commit “enough” to have the same results as that woman (I know I could never look like that, short of surgery), we have to be ok with praising ourselves for what we can accomplish.

  • #21 - Kelly

    I think this is the challenge with intuitive eating is to stick it out even if there is some initial weight gain. I think you should actually expect that because if nothing is off limits you have to deal with the fact that you’re readjusting your way of eating and of course you’re going to want cookies all the time to begin with, but then eventually you’ll get sick of them. As someone who has been through it before I can say from experience that after an adjustment period things even out. I think you should give yourself the time to learn to fully trust yourself and then think about a challenge.

  • #22 - Shannon

    hmm, my first thought was to wait, live in the moment and enjoy the acceptance you’ve fought so hard for (your own). maybe try introducing some of the workouts, but don’t make it a challenge. keep it fun, and things will come :)

  • #23 - Lara (Thinspired)

    I think it really comes down to that question that we’ve talked about before, which is…is it worth it? I go back and forth depending on the day, er, hour 😉

    Try not to be too hard on yourself and remember the big picture–you are insanely healthy (hehe, isn’t that contradictory to your blog name?) and beautiful :)