This homemade caesar salad dressing without raw anchovies puts store-bought dressings to shame!
And just like that, BBG Week 3 is all done!
I was able to complete all of the workouts again this week, and only had to move one day around to fit it all in.
Week 3 had some different moves than the first two weeks, and it was fun to switch things up a bit. I’m still feeling frustrated with my lack of pushup progress, but I feel like I’m getting a lot stronger in other areas.
I was really enjoying doing long walks for the cardio days, but I have a hip injury that’s really been slowing me down. I’ve been doing dance workouts instead, because I find this is less painful for me, and I actually get my heart rate up way more this way.
I really find that I dread the arms and abs day, but I look forward to the full body and leg workouts. To me, that says I just need to work even harder at the arms stuff and I’m sure I’ll come to enjoy it more. I also think the reason I like the legs and full body workouts more is that it gets my heart rate going a lot more and I get a lot sweatier than I do during the arm workouts and I like that feeling. But every part is important so I’m just going to keep at it! What else can I do!?
Up next: Week 4!
xo – C
I have been dreading this day because it marks one year since my life-changing, life-saving Whipple surgery. So many people who have this surgery don’t make it to a year later, and I understand how lucky I am to be alive and that I will get to live a long, healthy life, get married, have kids, and live my dreams. What I dreaded about today was the fact so often I’ve been told that how you feel a year after Whipple surgery will likely be your “new normal.” I have difficulty accepting how I feel now to be my new normal.
The cast of RENT measures a year in daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, and cups of coffee, in inches, in miles, in laughter, and strife.
The cast of CHELSEA would typically measure a year in the same way, but this year, as they say, has been different.
I’d measure November 15, 2016 to November 15, 2017 in hugs, hospital visits, stitches, staples, pain, nausea, macaroni and cheese (by the grace of Beyonce it’s one of the few foods I tolerate relatively well), tears, pajama days, naps, self-loathing, self-loving, and a lot of love and gratitude.
It has been and continues to be the hardest time in my life.
People, including myself, often like things to fit into neat, little boxes. We hope things have a beginning and an end date. We expect everyone will get better and be back to normal. It makes us more comfortable to hear someone is making progress than stuck in stagnation when we ask how they’re doing.
Progress pleases the soul and makes us feel like we’re going somewhere in life, and without progress, we tend to feel like we’re wasting our lives. I haven’t made many improvements in my health the last several months, and this lack of progress weighs on me.
(PLEASE READ UNTIL THE END AND I SWEAR YOU’LL SEE I’M NOT A NEGATIVE NANCY!)
My quality of life isn’t bad, it will just take some adjusting to, and I’m still very hopeful I will improve, get stronger, and continue to adjust.
These things take adjusting to: There are days I’m too tired to walk or stand for long. The day after a significant outing I feel like I hiked for eight hours the day before; it takes a massive toll on my body. I can’t absorb nutrients properly, digest most fruits and vegetables, or absorb fat from food I eat so I’ve lost any muscle I had which leads to being weak. I get dizzy and nauseous when I stand for a while. I get bouts of nausea so extreme I am literally paralyzed by them.
People tell me I look better than ever and that it seems like I am doing great and having fun, judging by my social media posts. But remember, we don’t post the lowlights, we post the highlights. Even as I write this, I’m conscious of coming across as too dark or too cynical, but more than anything I am trying to focus on being honest. A lot of us are going through tough times and hold back from sharing them with others because we fear it will alienate people or make them pity us, but truthfully, I think these painful experiences are what can unite us and bring us closer to one another.
As difficult as this year has been, it’s also been filled with a lot of experiences that were impossible to imagine when I was on what I considered to be my death bed this time last year.
This past year I’ve gone to concerts, I’ve laughed harder than I ever have in my life, I’ve gone horseback riding, swimming, and boating. I’ve danced, I’ve attended weddings, I’ve read great books and watched great movies, and I’ve had more warm hugs than I can count!
I have so many people who love me unconditionally (and vice versa!) and remind me of this every day. I have countless people I can call for help should I need it, I always have plenty of food to eat, a warm bed to sleep in, pups to cuddle me, and a roof over my head in a home I love, and the best, best, best mom, dad, brother, and friends a girl could ask for.
There is still SO much more good than bad in my life, and I regularly remind myself of this. Gratitude has been a common theme in any of my posts about my surgery and recovery, and it will continue to be.
If you ask me, the choice is obvious.
Thank-you so much for reading and for your continued support.
xo – C
Hope you like cheese cuz this is one cheeeeeezy article, my loves!
For the most part, I’m a self-confident person. I think part of that comes from how I was raised, and a lot of that is just in my nature (wait, nature vs. nurture?!) But my goodness, I’ve had, and continue to have, moments where I talk about myself as if I were shit on a shoe. The kind of words you wouldn’t dream of saying to anyone else, but somehow they flow so smoothly when you’re speaking to yourself. Sometimes I talk about my body as if it were an acquaintance I can’t stand. I pick out its perceived flaws – you know, cellulite, a butt flatter than the Canadian prairies, yadda yadda yadda) and complain about them until the cows come home.
It can be hard to appreciate what your body does every day until its functioning is put to the test.
Keeping us alive is no easy task – just ask my liver from when I turned 18!
But when any part of your body is compromised, you gain a new perspective on all that’s going on behind the scenes with your bod and what it does for you every day – what YOU do for YOU every day, without even knowing it. I used to take a normal, healthy body that could get up every day and function at whatever capacity I needed it to for granted.
And then I got sick.
The best way I can describe my health since my Whipple surgery (you can read about that here) is that I live most days as if I have a bad stomach flu. It’s been almost 8 months since my surgery and for some or all of just about every day since my surgery I experience extreme fatigue (think “can’t go up the stairs without help” kind of fatigue), being nauseous/sick to my stomach throughout the day and night (doing any kind of activity, including standing, for more than a few minutes usually brings on extreme nausea), occasional bouts of pancreatitis, and just general feeling-crappy-ness.
I know I’m painting a not-so-pretty picture here and the truth is, it isn’t pretty most of the time, and it’s certainly not the life I imagined for myself, especially at this age.
BUT – I still have “moments.” A lot of them. I’ve been able to go to concerts, on walks with friends and the dogs, to movies, to bars (without the drinking, rather unfortunately), to celebrate birthdays and holidays with my friends and family, and generally still have a fun and happy life.
From the outside, my life looks pretty normal, good, and happy. And now, from the inside, I’m seeing it that way too.
Me, as in my body and my mind, have been through hell. I’ve had organs removed that drastically change the way my body functions. My abdomen and the organs that inhabit it were basically taken apart and put back together, but with some pieces missing.
OF COURSE that’s going to be difficult.
But even after all of that, my body continues to WORK.
It still tells me when I’m hungry, when I’m tired (okay – a lot more often now than it used to be); it carries me, literally, through every day and has never “given up,” when I’m sure with what it’s gone through, a body would want to!
But no, my heart keeps on ticking and my brain and lungs and other remaining organs work for me to the very best of their ability. That is LUCKY! I don’t care what anyone says – to be alive at all is lucky. It’s a gift.
It’s so easy to be harsh about our own bodies and to pick on any little detail you think isn’t perfect (the reason we think we’re imperfect is because we constantly compare ourselves to models, or whoever society tries to tell us is perfect).
We pick out these little details that make us, US – and agonize over them instead of looking in the mirror and yelling, “DAMN GIRL!!!!! Looking GOOD!” I mean, random guys in cars can drive past us and point out how hot we are, but we can’t do it for ourselves?!
I’m working really hard on loving myself and my body exactly how it is now. My scar, flat butt, cellulite, all of it.
Your love for yourself, for your body, should be UNCONDITIONAL.
Our skin is a shell that holds all our juicy and bony bits in. What did your skin ever do to deserve you cursing at it or wanting it to be different?
Your body is inherently awesome; I know that without ever meeting you or seeing your body. Its very existence is a miracle, and this vessel that carries our souls through the world is worthy of celebration – not criticism.
It may have taken a life-altering event for me to fully realize all of this (I’m still in the process of realizing it, actually), but it doesn’t have to for you.
THANK your body each day for doing what it does and let that gratitude sink into you like butter on toast.
You’re so, so, so good how you are and you’re already worthy of all the love in the world.
I know, I know, this essay is reading like a Hallmark card, but I really want someone who needs to read this to come across it and feel better about themselves and cultivate gratitude for their amazing body. I need the reminder, too. If you’re already on that path, that’s fucking awesome. Keep going. But a lot of us are still trying to get there.
Life is so much more fun that way!
I’d like to open this conversation up and hear what loving yourself really means to you, because I know it can be different for everyone. Please comment below if you’re so inclined.
XO – C
I’ve noticed something lately: Lots of us girls (and I say us because I’ve done it too) post pictures of delicious meals and include a caption about it being “cheat day,” or how it’s worth all the working out they’ll have to do to burn it off, or some comment about their summer/winter bod and what this tasty meal will do to it.
Post about it if you want, but never, ever should you have to justify your food choices to anyone (okay, except maybe a doctor in some cases), but ESPECIALLY not to your social media followers.
Adding some explanation about why you deserve to eat this meal (or why you don’t) simply doesn’t matter to anyone but you, and this whole concept doesn’t do much for the body positivity movement, does it?
Explaining that a milkshake topped with two donuts and a can of whipped cream is a “treat” is redundant. If you don’t add a caption explaining how guilty you feel for having one or how it’s your once-a-week treat meal isn’t going to make anyone think you eat like that every day.
We don’t usually see men posting pictures of their meals with captions that have something to do with anything other than how delicious it is, and (for once – wink wink) we can learn something from guys:
Here are 3 good reasons for enjoying the shit out of whatever you eat with NO SHAME:
We ALL need to eat. Of course, this doesn’t mean we all need to eat milkshakes every day, but food of any sort is a staple in life. We should get to enjoy food without wondering if we deserve it, because – SPOILER ALERT – you DO deserve it. I’m sure you know how to take care of yourself and what your body needs, and that means you probably know you can’t live off Doritos. No matter how big or small you are, you deserve delicious meals and YOU are the only person you need to answer to about how and what you’re eating.
I was a picky, picky, picky eater as a kid. Still am in many ways, actually. Dinner time would often be a battle between me and my parents as I cried to get out of eating things I didn’t want to eat (vegetables, I’m sure! I also have quite an aversion to meatloaf) and begged for things I did want (grilled cheese – always and forever). This is a pretty commonplace issue that parents face with their kids, and I get why it is totally frustrating for both children and adults.
But when you’re the adult, your parents probably aren’t responsible for cooking every. single. meal. for you, and they don’t sit across from you watching and waiting for you to eat every bite they carefully cut for you to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need – at least I hope not because YIKES.
You’re the adult now and you can make food choices for yourself. Part of being an adult is gaining the freedom to make choices for yourself. Hopefully, you make choices that make you feel good, and part of feeling good is BALANCE. And what better way to balance out a healthy diet than with meals you crave that aren’t as healthy as what you feel like you should be eating?
Imagine a young child eating a piece of pizza and commenting “this is going to make me fat but it’s so worth it,” or “it’ll take four hours of playing tag to burn this hot dog off.”
Don’t you just want to reach out and hug them and tell them to just ENJOY their food? They deserve to eat food they enjoy without justifying it to anyone and so do you!
By this point, I hope I got my opinion across that your food choices are about you and what make you feel good, but there are actually other important people to consider when it comes to justifying your food choices: YOUNG GIRLS.
Human beings are highly impressionable, and social media has provided platforms upon which millions and millions of people can MAKE an impression, as well as being influenced by the impressions others make. Take the Instagram model, for instance (although no matter how big or small of a following you have, there are impressionable people who see your content). There’s a LOT of them. Most of them probably don’t set out to be role models, but like it or not, many of them become just that, especially to the young people following them.
What do you think it does to a 14-year old girl who is insecure about a layer of “baby fat” she still has when she sees a size 00 Instagram model posting about how she needs to work off a meal or doesn’t deserve it? Nothing good, I’d guess. And it isn’t just children affected by this, it’s adults too, and I know this because it’s happened to me.
Like most people, I suffer from “comparisonitis” sometimes, and it often rears its ugly head the most when I’m on social media and people only depict their “best life.” I’ve had thoughts like “if this gorgeous gal doesn’t deserve to eat a Pizza Pop, who the hell am I to indulge in a Pop or two without feeling guilty?”
We know for sure there’s a strong correlation between the food you eat and your overall health, My intention isn’t to deter you from discussing your food choices with ANYONE because it can be incredibly useful information for health professionals in treating or preventing disease. But these conversations about what may or may not be good for you should be had, in my opinion, at certain times and places. And on social media, the same place we go to look at NSFW memes, MIGHT not be the right time or place.
This is obviously all just my own personal opinion, so what do you think, gals? Are you over girls feeling the need to justify their indulgences on social media or do you not think much of it?
I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts!
xo – C