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Rhode Island, United States

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You asked, I answered!

Wow, thanks for all the great questions guys! Here are my answers to the ones posted; in categories:

Nutrition/Weight gain&loss
How tall are you, and how much do you weigh?
I am 5’1” and 95 pounds, which my doctor and I have agreed is a good weight for my height, although it is a bit low, it is much higher than it was a few months ago.

Earlier this year you mentioned having to gain some weight, and it seemed like you initially had trouble with increasing fat grams and calories. I was wondering if you've ever had an eating disorder or disordered eating? It seems like a number of food bloggers I know have previously struggled with disordered eating/EDs but have since recovered and now enjoy being blogging foodies
Well, I’ve always been a foodie, always loved to write, and always loved taking pictures of my food, so blogging was natural for me!
But yes, I did have some disordered eating problems in the past. I was never diagnosed with a specific ED, but I got to a point in which I was clearly not eating enough food, exercising too much, and getting far too restrictive with my diet. My weight dropped initially in a healthful way, I got interested in nutrition so I was eating healthier, smaller portions, but in an effort to “maintain” my weight, I ended up eating less and less, and getting too caught up in what I thought “healthy” was- and losing far too much weight. It took me a long time to realize that I was at a very unhealthy point and I needed to gain weight. I thought I was fine, I was small, but I never stopped eating, I was running every day- but I was not giving my body the fuel or enough of the nutrients it needed. I was a stick, I had hardly any body fat, and I wasn’t letting myself eat enough healthy fats or carbs- I basically subsided off of energy bars, plain soy burgers and veggies for a while. My best friend as well as family members and others helped me realize I wasn’t being healthy anymore, I needed to do something about my weight. I went to a nutritionist, and she ended up giving me very bad advice that actually made me lose MORE weight, so as a nutrition major, I took it in my own hands to start eating a more balanced diet, eating more healthy fats and more in general, to gain about 10 pounds in 3-4 months. I feel great now, and although I still struggle with some body image issues, I am much more comfortable with my eating habits, I listen to my body, I nourish my body, and I have never felt better. Plus, I have been cooking nonstop, and this whole situation has made me discover my true love for the culinary arts, so it really was a blessing in disguise.

Are you still trying to gain weight?
I’m not. I’m in the maintenance phase right now, and I’m trying to gain some muscle to replace a good amount of fat I gained in Italy!

What are your weight goals? Are you trying to lose any weight from Italy?
My current goals are to maintain my healthy weight- I don’t want to lose the weight I gained in Italy, rather I would like to lose body fat and build muscle (possibly gaining some weight in muscle)- I’d like to tone the areas that are no longer toned, and get back to being as fit and healthy as I can possibly be!

How do you maintain a healthy weight? Is it ever difficult for you to maintain a healthy weight?
The way I’m maintaining my weight is simple. I eat what I want to eat, when I’m hungry, and stop when I’m full. I try to stick with rational portions, and not eat things “just because they’re there”. I fill my diet with whole, healthy foods, and try to stay away from processed foods so I don’t worry about intaking too many calories, or too much saturated fat, etc. I still have my treats, but I try to moderate the portions. I’m small, so I do tend to gain weight easily if I overeat and do not exercise frequently. So I always try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise of some sort daily, on top of eating well.

Do you count calories/how many do you estimate you eat a day?
Or if you don't now, did you ever?

I do not count calories, because I used to count calories obsessively when I had a bit of an eating problem in the past. I realized you have to look past calories, and eat what you want, when you feel hungry, and stop when you’re full. As long as I am getting in enough nutrients every day, I don’t worry about it too much. I strive to eat proper portions, and as balanced a diet as possible. If I’m putting whole, healthy, natural foods in my body I shouldn’t have a problem overeating for the most part. I do roughly calculate calories in my breakfasts and lunches, not to go overboard, but I never don’t eat something because of the calorie content- unless of course it’s something unhealthy like junk food. I know that there are a lot of calories in things like nut butters, but I know the calories I am eating are HEALTHY calories, so I don’t worry about it. Sometimes I eat more, sometimes I eat less, depending on how hungry I am. Usually I eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks a day. Breakfsts are between 400 and 500 calories, lunches as well, and dinners between 400 and 600. I usually have 2 light snacks (~100 kcals and 1 larger snack ~200 kcals)
I generally eat between 1800 and 2100 calories a day to maintain my weight with my active activity level.

Do you plan your meals in advance or do you just eat whatever you are craving at the moment?
I make a rough plan of my meals when I make my grocery list at the beginning of the week- usually just enough foods for a variety of breakfasts, lunches and dinners I plan and I have snacks as I need them. Sometimes my plan will change, day to day depending on how I feel. I definitely eat what I am craving, when I’m craving it! I try not to deny myself because I believe a craving is a craving for a reason- clearly my body wants whatever I’m craving, so I feed my body as such! I just try to eat everything in moderation.

What meal have you made that you are the proudest of?

This one is hard! All of the meals I have recreated from Italy I have been proud of, because I’m happy to say they tasted very similar to that which I ate in Italy!

If you were stranded on an island what 5 foods would you want with you?
This one is hard, I LOVE food as we all know! Hmm…
1. Waffle Sandwiches (you said it! Waffles, PB, banana and maple syrup!)
2. Tagliatelle con porcini (pasta in a creamy mushroom sauce)
3. My mom’s broccoli bake
4. Nectarines
5. Pesto gnocchi

At what age did you decide to be a vegetarian? And why?
I stopped eating most red meat in 7th grade, (aside from the random bacon piece here or there… yuck) after seeing the “meet your meat” video- I couldn’t stand to see the horrible treatment of the animals, and I have never supported the meat industry. But really, I’ve never eaten much meat- I grew up eating chicken and turkey a lot, so it took me a while to stop eating these completely. I stopped eating fish for a while, but I realized I really do like fish (I grew up next to the ocean!) and it makes me feel good in a way that red meat never did. In no way do I condone the treatment of slaughtered animals in America, but I basically continued being a vegetarian because I feel as though we don’t NEED to eat meat to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and I feel just as healthy not eating meat. If others want to eat meat and feel as though it is good for their body, then that is their choice. I would never tell someone to not eat something if it is healthy and feels good to them. I would, however encourage free range and organic meats, because I have a big problem with the growth hormones and other chemicals used in the meat industry. I’d also encourage limiting red meats and eating lean meats as much as possible. I believe in eating as natural as is available, and I try to eat cage free, organic eggs, yogurt and cheese as much as possible as well.

Favorite food? restaurant?

I love food, so this is definitely a tough one! I have a wide variety of tastes-
Most of my favorite foods I listed in my “dessert island” answer; for treats I love anything involving peanut butter, chocolate, or fruit- and gelato is my weakness.I LOVE fish, especially sushi! I love tuna, shrimp and scallops. I could eat pesto gnocchi every day, I love eggplant parmesan, I LOVE Indian curries (especially with chickpeas!), for comfort food I love cheese & mushroom omelets, burritos, falafel wraps and caramelized tofu is one of my favorites as well. I just love food in general!

Favorite restaurants would have to be Crazy Burger in Narragansett, RI, Seven Moons in North Kingstown,RI; Nobu and Candle Café in NYC; Fusion Pub in San Demetrio Corone!


When you run how far and how fast do you go?
When I used to run more frequently, I would run 4 miles a day, hills- and it would take me about 32 minutes.
When I run races, my pace is usually 6:50/mile for flat courses. My best time ever was 21:11 for a 5k, which I was very proud of.
However lately, I’ve been running less- about 3 miles in about 25 minutes.
I’ve found that I love running, but I was torturing myself trying to run hills every day. I got to a very unhealthy, obsessive point about having to run every day, and I feel better now that I do a bit less cardio, running a few days a week, walking or doing sprints a few and yoga for one day plus my strength. I feel much happier, and more balanced this way, and of course balance is what I strive for!

How long have you been practicing yoga and what type do you do?
I first found out about yoga around 5 years ago, and I’ve been practicing on and off since then. I took a few classes when I was younger, just basic classes, and practiced at home.
For the past year I have been practicing more regularly- I tried to go to a class once a week and practice at home twice a week, lately I haven’t had the money for classes, but I have been doing a 40 minute Power Yoga DVD at home twice a week. Or, I also have a few classes on my ipod from that I do once in a while, that was what I used in Italy. When I take classes I take Vinyasa (flow yoga), Kundalini, or Power Yoga. I love all three for their different relaxing, strengthening features!
Hopefully this upcoming school year I can sign up for a whole session or two of classes! I love yoga, I truly feel much more at peace with myself and my body when I practice regularly.

Do you pay attention to calorie burn at all when working out?
I don’t, I just work on getting to a point in which I feel like I’m getting a good workout, and go as long as I am comfortable with at that point, and I try to include cardio, strength and stretching in all of my workouts. As I have mentioned, I feel calorie counting is a bit too restrictive.

Favorite type of exercise?
Tough one! I love being active in general; it really depends on my mood. Sometimes I love to go on a steady run, sometimes I love long walks. I think yoga is my absolute favorite though. I always feel incredible, physically and mentally after a challenging yoga class!

Schooling/Future Plans
Are you looking forward to school?
YES! I am, but in a different way than last year. I’m looking forward to continuing my nutrition studies, with a whole new outlook on life. After living in Italy for a month, my ideas about being healthy have changed, and I can’t wait to compare all I’ve learned about the spectacular Mediterranean diet with what I am learning in my classes. I am also excited to take my Kinesiology class- I love sports science, and writing because I love to write!

How far along are you in school?
I’m going into my Sophomore year at URI; but I am 12 credits ahead, so I am almost at “Junior” status.

What are you majoring in?

Currently I am a Nutrition/Dietetics major, and I am considering a minor in Kinesiology.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Honestly at this point I’m still figuring things out. Last year I would have told you I definitely wanted to be a dietitian. Lately, I’ve been realizing my passion is more in the actual food- I love nutrition, I love the science behind food and how what you eat can fuel your body, and I love showing others that eating healthy CAN be delicious! I have always had a desire to go to Culinary school, so at this point my plans are to finish my Nutrition degree, go to Culinary school, and from there… wherever my passion takes me! Ideally combining nutrition & food in a personal chef/education/consultation way would be awesome- teach others how to eat well; in taste and nutrition. Then again I also wouldn’t mind working in a kitchen. But we’ll see what happens.

What types of activities do you do at school?

I’m very busy with studying and work, but I do like to participate in on-campus activities when they go on, and I am a part of Outing Club and Nutrition Club.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I couldn’t tell you. Wherever the wind blows me. I usually love to have a general plan, but my plan for now is to follow my passion. I hope to be done with school and culinary school, and figuring out where to start my life. Maybe I’ll be in Italy, cooking away. Maybe I’ll be in Boston or New York City. Who knows. As long as I’m happy doing what I’m doing, that’s where I’ll be.

Fun stuff!
What is the ONE place that you haven't traveled to yet, that you are dying to visit?
India! I love the culture, I love the beautiful clothing they wear, the delicious food (very vegetarian friendly!) the music, and I would especially LOVE to go to an Ashram while I’m there.

Favorite book?

I LOVE to read, and I always have- I have bookshelves and bookshelves lining my room! For children's books, I adore Le Petit Prince (the little prince). I would have to say some of my favorites are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Green Mile and The Time Traveler’s Wife. Oh, and of course Skinny Bitch =)

Favorite flavor icecream?

Ice cream is my favorite indulgence! I love anything with a whole lot of flavor- black raspberry chip, chocolate chip cookie dough, mocha almond and mint oreo are among my favorites!

Catch phrase?

"Ohmigosh!" or "Ohemgee!"

Celebrity crush?

David Beckam. Hands down. Handsome, smart, athletic, british… yum!

Who are your role models?
Anyone who inspires me to be a better person is a role model for me.

My cousin, Meg, is an incredible woman- she has everything going for her, she’s beautiful, she has a wonderful husband, she’s incredibly smart, she’s funny, and she has a Phd in Psychology. She’s so REAL, she can be fun, she can be serious, I’m sure I could talk to her about anything (even if she wasn’t a psychologist!), and she’s just such a wonderful person I’ve always looked up to her.

For celebrities, I’ve always loved Kate Hudson- she always seems so relaxed and unphased by Hollywood. Shes cute, she’s a great actress, and she seems very down to earth. She goes about her life as she pleases, isn’t bothered by things people say. She’s healthy, she’s active, she cares about the environment- she seems to have great character, and I respect that.

And of course, there have been many bloggers who have really helped me through their stories and food to inspire me to be healthy, get my eating on track and stay healthy- Jenna from Eat, Live, Run was the first blogger I started to read, and she inspired me to start my own blog, I think she has the greatest attitude towards food (and I always look forward to seeing what she makes in school; because I hope to be there one day, making those pastries!)

If you could change one thing about your body what would it be?

My stomach. I’ve always had a bit of a complex about my stomach, because no matter what I do, how much cardio, how many ab exercises, it will never be as flat or as toned as I would like it to be. I’ve learned to accept it, because I know it’s just my body shape and there’s not too much I can do but eat well and exercise so it’s as good as it can get.

What motivates you?
Being healthy, and being balanced. I want to feel the best I can possibly feel. When I feel good, I look good, I’m happy. Eating well, exercising, reading, spending time with friends… making sure I get these things in makes my life so much better- and I am motivated by the simple fact that I know I will be happiest and feel the best when I eat healthy, do my cardio, do yoga, am a good friend… I think life is what you make it, and I want my life to be the best it can possibly be!


Andrea said...

thank you SO much for your thoughtful answers to all our questions! i feel like i 'know' you a little bit better :) i TOTALLY agree with you about David Beckham = perfect man (along with tom brady). good luck with the start of school!

VeggieGirl said...

Kristin, this post was AMAZING!! Thank you so much for being so candid and thorough with each response. I'm excited that you answered my question - India would definitely be a fun place to visit!! :0)

Oh and David Beckham = too hot for his own good ;0)

eatliverun said...

Just stumbled across your blog and I really enjoyed it. Hope to keep reading and hear more soon!!

alliterating said...

Thanks for your answers!
(I asked 3 of them, in case you don't recognize me :P)

I love your outlook on food/eating/exercise. You seem to have found a great balance for yourself!

Good luck with school next year... I'm a junior-to-be at Duke university, and I wish we had a nutrition program because I'd definitely enroll!


jenngirl said...

wow! great post, and amazingly thorough answers to all of those questions. your experience with disordered eating is VERY similar to my own, unlike you, i was unable to get back on track without the intensive intervention of some professionals, so i definitely admire you for working so hard! thanks again for all the amazing responses, love your blog! :)

glidingcalm said...

Wowie! I've been reading your blog close to the time you first began Kristin's Nibbles...but I don't always comment. I just had to say tonight how much I enjoy reading about your eats and how much I enjoy how consistent of a post-er you are... and also (which especially showed in this post) honest and thoughtful you are in your blog. Thank you for putting so much effort into blogging! I know many of us can shows and it's awesome to read! Have a great night!!

alicia said...

Thanks for answering that whole lot of questions. I enjoyed reading your answers and feel that you're at a good place now. balanced and happy. I am glad that you reached this level of comfort.
After all, life really is too short to be counting calories right?

mealsfromthegirlinthelittleblackdress said...

Thank you so much for sharing all this! I love your healthy outlooks and look forward to reading more!