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Three Years of Blogging!

Life, Health, ThoughtsHaley Hansen1 Comment

Happy three-year-blog-iversary to meeeeee!  

THOUGHTS: Three Years of Blogging!

Three friggin' years, though. Dang. With my first few steps into this whole journey, I didn't have much of a vision and definitely no plan for the future of Hungry Haley. At most, I thought it'd become a fun side job, if I even held onto it. During my first few months of blogging, which were also my first few months of college, I spoke nothing of my blog. I think I had a few hundred followers, most of which were family and friends from high school. The only path new friends could take to discover my blog was via stalking my personal IG and Facebook profile to find a rare post in which I may have tagged myself. 

was I a baby or whaaaaat.

was I a baby or whaaaaat.

And even three years later, I certainly don't advertise my blog or make it the topic of conversation when I'm out with friends. In fact, it's my friends who do that - "she's famous! Follow Hungry Haley. It's her blog. She's my roommate and she's famous." They mean well. Point is, that's the most common form of Hungry Haley exposure and it always has been, but now God is making me much more comfortable in opening up about my blog. After all, it's not about me, but about Him (or at least I try to make it that way...). 

externally smiling, but internally planning tomorrow's workout (+ ignoring my hunger/desire for halloween candy) instead of making memories with my best friends. 

externally smiling, but internally planning tomorrow's workout (+ ignoring my hunger/desire for halloween candy) instead of making memories with my best friends. 

The other day, as I drove down to SoCal from my place in SLO, I thought of all the God has surprised me with via my blog:

  • first and foremost: recovery from an eating disorder. 
  • a two-year relationship with veganism. 
  • features in my school's newspaper, IG page, and several students' class projects. 
  • a passionate love for cooking foods of all types - from plant-based to there-aren't-any-vegetables-anywhere-near-this-dish. 
  • real-life friendships: Jeannette, Connie, Emilie, Danielle, JJ, Emily, and more who I can't think of at the moment but I know they exist and I love them! 
  • a better idea of what I want to pursue, career-wise. 
  • more protein bars and peanut butter than I ever could've imagined. 
  • an authentic understanding of and love for the God who made me. 
THOUGHTS: Three Years of Blogging!

When I began this, I had just broken up with a guy who I thought I was going to someday marry. The two most frequent thoughts crowding my mind were 1) workouts and 2) food (in terms of calories, not enjoyment). I counted calories everyday. I had a spoonful of a social life, at best. I was terrified to leave for school. I didn't know that God could love me like I know He does today. 

THOUGHTS: Three Years of Blogging!

I looked like I had my shizz together and people constantly complimented that superficial quality about me. However, inside, I was a mess. But no one had any idea. 

Now, I've been happily (most of the time) single for coming up on four years, but have fallen head-over-heels in love with God. And ice cream, but in a different way, you know? I rarely give food a second thought and frequently enjoy meals out with my friends, eating whatever sounds good and probably ordering a mojito, too. I don't know how many calories I eat or burn. I laugh every. damn. day. I love school and I love blogging and I love connecting with others. 

THOUGHTS: Three Years of Blogging!
THOUGHTS: Three Years of Blogging!

I sometimes feel like I don't have my shizz together, and for the most part, I don't. But I also don't freak out if people know that I don't have it together because I share a LOT on here and I know now that I actually have readers besides Mom and Dad (!!!). I know that I could pass by another student at school and he/she could've read my post about weight gain and maybe that person remembers the thinner me, but I like this version of me a helluva lot more. 

THOUGHTS: Three Years of Blogging!

I don't have my shizz together. Certainly not. But hey, that's part of the reason I'm here (the other part being the food). I want you to know that, even after God helps you tackle a big life event or conquer a disorder or get over that loss, it's okay to feel like a single college student who still doesn't understand some chemistry and has to budget and remember to pay bills and maintain a social life and this and that and this, too. And it can all get really crazy and overwhelming and maybe even scary but...

THOUGHTS: Three Years of Blogging!

... but at the end of the day, I'm here and I'm me and you're wherever you and you're you, and maybe just maaaaaaybe we can connect. We can be friends and we can talk about protein bars and peanut butter or God and eating disorders or Zac Efron (*cough cough*) and working out. I just want to share my favorite foods, my life experiences for the benefit of both of us, and God's work in it all. 

best night (with my girls + gooooooood food, of course) I've had in a while :)

best night (with my girls + gooooooood food, of course) I've had in a while :)

THOUGHTS: Three Years of Blogging!

Cleaning Things Up

Life, ThoughtsHaley Hansen2 Comments

Just kidding - that's not even possible. I just couldn't quite think of a better title. So, I'm glad you're reading this (and I hope you continue) because I can then explain more of what I mean. 

If you've known me for a while, you know my past. You know my previous struggles from years ago, you know my recent struggles within the past month, and you probably know what I ate for breakfast this morning. If you're new to me, hello! Thank you for stopping by. A short synopsis of my story - I struggled through an eating disorder that lasted from my junior year of high school through my sophomore year of college. Finally, I'm recovered. *deep, deep breath* WOW that feels so good to proclaim with all the confidence in the world. Where am I now? I'm following step by step behind God, as He leads me along His plan for my life. As we walk together, I'm sweeping up the remains of my past - and by that I mean the results of my eating disorder. Just because I've recovered doesn't mean I don't deal with those negative thoughts at all. I still compare myself, question calories, and (I hate to say it) idolize food and my figure over more important, demanding things like school, relationships, etc. However, the majority of the time, I'm good. 

Recently, I've been reflecting on each "stage" of my journey, if you will. From the highly restrictive initial stage, into the discovery of vegetarianism and little peaks on which I found true balance, through the extremely high-carb/low-fat vegan part and lowest weight of all time, and, finally, recovery. Here. Maybe this sounds silly, but I see all of that portrayed through my blog (recipes, nutrition tips, life posts, and even Instagram). Duh - this website began in order for me to share my story and I want to keep it true to ME, wherever I am in life. Buuuuut, my past has been weighing on me lately. While I'm not ashamed of it in any way (I'm actually really thankful for it), I can't ever - EVER - recommend any of "diets" or "health tips" I offered throughout those times to anyone. They were fueled by an eating disorder that desired nothing more than to burn fat and eat as strictly healthy as possible.

That's just not who I am anymore. I don't follow a HCLF vegan diet. I don't eat just salad with steamed veggies and chicken for dinner. I don't workout every single day. 

I also don't - 98% of the time - struggle with an eating disorder. 

Now here's where things might sound weird. Instagram is most likely the first thing people see when they find HungryHaley. Via Instagram (the link in my bio), they'll find this blog, should they choose to continue exploring. I've dealt with my fair share of body image/outward appearance issues, and this, at first, seemed like just another one of those. So, I tried to brush it off my shoulder, but I think God's been laying it so heavily on my heart to tell me that this is o k a y. This is MY blog, after all, right? 

What you may or may not know is that, two and a half years ago, when I began this blog, I was still within the tight grip of my eating disorder. Squeezing myself out (or attempting to do so without the help of my all-powerful God) took years, and that's why I say that my posts during that time are skewed, inaccurate, and untrue to me. 

Maybe I'm just making too big of a deal, but I've already written quite a bit and it's dead week and I should be studying but I've invested myself into this post so I'm going for it. 

I've decided to delete most of my previous Instagram pictures because, as I said before, I just can't let my readers (old and familiar, or new and oh-so-welcomed) see those and possibly think of them as "healthy". Truth is - they are not. They are restrictive, minimal, and unbalanced. If someone truly wants to know my past, it's all here. But, as far as my "image" (or whatever you want to call it) goes, I'm cleaning things up. The more time I spent reflecting, the more I compared where I am now to where I was then, and this is mostly on a superficial, body-image scale (and accounts for that 2% of non-recovered mindset I mentioned earlier).

so. un. healthy. I am where I am now by the grace of God and I am SO grateful. From then to now represents my salvation. Then = imbalance, idolization, obsession, self-comparison, etc. Now = balance, faith, freedom, gratitude, happiness, true health. No need to look back and compare. 

This is for me. But this is also - kinda/sorta - for you, my beloved readers. This blog is absolutely precious to me, and I will not let it represent anything that isn't true to who I am and what I believe. These pictures evoke negative thoughts and memories that pull me back into my struggles and, I'll say it one more time, I'm cleaning things up. 

None of this - the pictures, the posts, the eating disorder, the whatever - defines me. Yet, I want to represent me. I want to represent a positive example of healthy, balanced living. 

The more I write, the more I wonder, "Will anyone even care/notice that I've 'cleaned things up'?" Probably not, but writing and lifting it off my chest is just this thing I have that makes me feel better. Hence, this blog. I tend to write and think and write those thoughts (oh, and eat). 

Anyway, I need to get back to studying. If you've made it this far, thaaaaaaaanks :) Seriously, your support means mui mucho (Spanish skill level = -3) to me. 

Life Lately

Life, Thoughts, HealthHaley Hansen2 Comments

I will post this today I will post this today I will post this today. 

Breathe. Welcome to my life, everyone! Lately, life looks like my bedroom on my I-don't-know-what-to-wear days, or maybe a beat-up vacuum, running around on auto-pilot, trying to suck up as many crumbs (aka items on my to-do list) as possible as quickly as possible. 

Last night was the first night - no, the first time - in months I've sat down to really spend time with Jesus and only Jesus. Heck, I practically buckled myself to the couch just to keep from uncontrollably getting up to either finish homework or wash dishes or let myself fall asleep. Honestly, focusing on Him but also r e l a x i n g was HARD. My mind constantly swerved off track, but God graciously placed it back where it needed to be. 

Finals, work, and everything else filling up my schedule have kept me busy enough to keep me from finding time to post anything I've had in mind here, but like I did last night, I shoving all else aside for the moment because I want to and I need to and I should :) so, here's my life lately...

UPS

  1. I'm almost done with Fall quarter! And organic chemistry! Part of me hates it - the tricky questions, the demanding time-requirement, the hard-a$$ exams - and the other part finds such inexplicable satisfaction in drawing out mechanisms that turn acetals to imines and back. Call me weird, I get that all the time. 
  2. I just hit 19K followers! Well, I shouldn't even squeeze myself into that sentence. 19K followers here would not even exist without God - it's allllll Him :) but seriously, how in the world did all of this happen? My eating disorder? I guess that's kind of the root of this all, in the most beautiful way possible. Had I not suffered and survived, and held God's hand through it, I wouldn't have much to say here. At the end of each day, I'm more thankful than I ever thought I would be/could be for such a hellish few years fighting my own body. 
  3. I'm in one of the happiest, most peaceful states to date. With my body, that is. Two years ago, I deprived and overworked myself. One year ago, I idolized food and pitied myself. Now, God's restored my relationship with eating and blessed me with not only such confidence, but with real, sustainable HEALTH. My knees don't hurt (though I still don't run), my head isn't dizzy, my skin stays relatively clear, and my weight isn't dropping. I see myself in the mirror in a state I've never been in, and (for the moment, at least) I never want to leave. 
  4. I'm seeing the different paths and opportunities God lays before me. A BS in Nutrition can take me pretty much anywhere, but I've never really been able to pin down what I want to do after I graduate. Thankfully, God's been opening my eyes to a) passions unknown to even me, b) people who need help (help I can provide via my own life experiences and education), and c) various career paths down which I can travel. Though I still don't know what His plan is, I know He's definitely got one and I can't wait to follow His lead

DOWNS

  1. I'm feeling controlled by school. Yupp - like I'm a robot and my professors each hold their own controller. Frustrating? Like you wouldn't believe. Throughout the past year, I've repeatedly wondered what life would look if school didn't consume most of it, but I have to remind myself that I'm here for a degree, because I enjoy learning (underneath all the stress), and to expand knowledge. Ugh, but allllllll those hours to spend studying... snap out of it, Haley!
  2. I'm thirstier than ever for God. And while this may sound like more of an "UP", as it can only pull me closer to Him, it's here because I haven't been doing my part to lay everything at His feet in return for His refreshing spirit. With all I've piled on my plate - 15 units, 20 hours a week of work, and seemingly endless time studying with a drop or two of a social life scattered throughout - I frequently feel like I "can't find the time". A few days ago, I put my phone away during the times of day I'd usually be scrolling through IG or checking emails or responding to texts, and realized that, yes, I'm busy and time is not something I've got much of, but God doesn't ask for that. He just asks for my heart. I've promised Him that and just because 90% of the time I'm running to here and from there, finishing this assignment and studying for that exam, whatever it may be, I can ALWAYS spend time with God. It's not about finding/making the time, it's about acknowledging Him in every moment. 
  3. I'm ready, but God might not be. *sigh*. This one is not easy to admit, for some reason. It's probably my stubborn, I've-got-it-all-together-ness keeping me from opening up about it. BUT here it goes :) I'm ready for a relationship! And yes, like a romantic one involving a cute, Jesus-and-veggie-loving boy with whom I can snuggle on Friday nights when I'm too lazy to do anything else, with whom I can drool over and cook duhhh-licious vegan food with, and with whom I can just share things with (i.e. even deeper versions of this life update). One thing, though - I don't know if it's in God's plan. I've dated in the past couple of months, but nothing's worked out and I fear that this one or the next one (whenever those may occur) might not work, either. At the end of the day, I have two choices: 1) worry that I'll end up alone and sob as I spoon pints (yes, pints) of vegan ice cream into my mouth, OR 2) continue to pray over every relationship in my life and worship Him no matter my relationship status. Guess which I choose :) 

GOALS

  1. Barre, barre, and more barre. I'm obsessed, and if you watch any of my snapchat or instagram stories, you know that by now. Last week, I subscribed to Barre3 - a studio that allows me full access to any workout on the website for just under $25 a month. You'd better believe I'm already scrolling through workouts, planning when I'll challenge myself to this one or that one or, well, alllll of them. I can't wait to accumulate all the official gear and just absorb as much knowledge about the practice as possible! Get ready for some barre workouts making an appearance here :) 
  2. EMBRACE school. This one's gonna' be a tough one, but I'm challenging myself to it because, deep down beneath all the assignments and exams, I truly do enjoy what I'm learning in school. My chemistry professor explained to us alllllll about pesticides and nerve agents and such toxic chemicals used in WWII and I felt so nerdy in my fascination for it all. I sat on the edge of my seat the entire length of the class! My goal for next quarter is to find pieces of each of my classes that sparks such interest in me. Whether it be that I create scenarios in my mind to apply something to my life, or that I take fewer classes to allow myself more time/energy for each, I just want to feel excited about learning again. Oh, and I want my grades to reflect that...
  3. Post one recipe/nutrition tip/workout/update a week. One a week - I can do that. That's manageable. Believe me, if I could post here every single day, I'd be all over that. Buuuuuut school and homework and studying and work and those couple drops of a social life I mentioned earlier. As much as I wish I could just blog day and night, I do want to soak up as much as I can of all that this time in my life has while I have it. That being said, I think one post a week is a solid balance point.

Ahhhh, so that's life lately! Again, THANK YOU for your constant support and love. Thank you for reading and for spending time here :) As always, if you've got any questions, suggestions, or anything else, post them below or send them over to me in an email! 

THOUGHTS: Stress & Worries & Life

Thoughts, Life, HealthHaley HansenComment

I don't like to begin any blog post with a negative statement, but I don't know any other way to begin this story. 

I'm three weeks deep in my second year at Cal Poly and already chasing my load of homework/studying while desperately praying that God would attach just a few mores hours at the end of each day. Between classes, my internship, said homework/studying, blogging, and spending much-needed time with my friends, adjusting to the abrupt transition from summer relaxation to academic hustle and bustle has been exactly that. 

Oh, and I'm going vegan. Last week, I removed animal products from my diet in hopes of a) simply switching things up (I like change and variety and excitement... and food) and b) on a deeper level, truly testing out a fully plant-based lifestyle. Read more about all that here. After about three days, I'd pretty much made up my mind in favor of sticking with veganism long-term, but I reminded myself that three days is just not long enough for my body to adjust to a relatively new set of eating habits. I was thrilled and fueled by the absence of bloating, fatigue, and dietary restrictions, and couldn't wait for the week to be over so I could just make the switch then and there - no questions asked, no turning back. 

But school work started piling up and my To-Do list grew longer and longer. I was sacrificing sleep to make time for shortening that list, memorizing statistics terms, and reading chapters upon chapters for History and Journalism classes. Of course, anxiety and stress tagged right along and stole even more sleep. I noticed that I wasn't as hungry anymore, which was a foreign concept to me - Hungry is my name. What's going on? Is this a side-effect of veganism? I wondered. It can't be. Have you seen how much food vegans can polish off? My confusion probably created more stress. It's a vicious cycle, isn't it? 

Everything around me triggered sensitivity spikes - if friends or family wouldn't respond to a text quick enough, if teachers assigned extra reading or a pop-quiz, if a distracted pedestrian stepped into the bike lane without first looking both ways. I knew I needed to understand what was taking control of me so that I could calm down and rejuvenate. Touchy-tempers, anxiety, and mood-swings are not who I am. 

On Monday morning, right after my workout and just before heading out the door, I opened up "Jesus Calling" to read that day's devotional. "Remember that joy is not dependent on your circumstances," read the first line. I looked around my room, actually suspicious of hidden cameras or microphones somewhere documenting the past few days of my life. OKAY THIS IS WAY TOO ACCURATE, GOD. YOU'RE SCARING ME. Book slammed shut, face buried in my pillow, I was disappointed in myself for forgetting that slice of God's promise (yes, His promise is more delicious than your favorite pie). I prayed for God to work on my heart, to restore the precious positivity I thrived off of only a few days ago, and let the first line of that day's devotional make itself comfortable in my heart and mind. 

And with that, God went to work. He reshaped my attitude, cleaned up my mindset, and rearranged my priorities. "Your midterm, your homework, your expectations, your busy weekend - all of it - give it to me. I want to take care of it because I know what to do with it all. I love you Haley, but you don't know what you're doing when it comes to this stuff," I heard Him say. 

I'm writing this in my journalism notebook somewher eover Colorado, and my previous flight had been delayed a few times. As if I weren't stressed out enough, I'd now have to race to my connecting flight. Hoping to spark up some conversation to ease my worried mind (it tends to worry, if you haven't noticed), I leaned over to the man next to me and said, "These delays can be a little inconvenient, huh?" to which he responded instantly, but with a relaxation I'd been longing for for almost a week, "Well, you can't worry about what you can't control." Later on, I overheard him say he was scheduled for a connection flight even earlier than mine. HA. At that point, I figured it was in my best interest to to just shush up and sink quietly and humbly back into my seat. 

The more I allow life's little "inconveniences" to take up space in my mind, the less I allow myself to enjoy, to rejuvenate, to taste, to sleep, to smile. This is not a lesson I learned solely by subtracting animal products from my diet, or by reading "Jesus Calling" every morning and praying for peace, or by watching YouTube videos on everything from vegan recipes to living in the moment. This is a lesson I learned by listening to my mind, my heart, and my body, by spending more time deep in God's word and presence and love, by humbling myself enough to admit that I need help.

God has curriculum individually designed for each one of us, so the ways in which I came to this realization might be different from the ways in which you already have or will, and that's why I'm sharing this. My experiences with stress do turn out positive at the end, at the finish line celebration, but I'm making it a goal to start the celebration at the beginning of the race and never let it end. *insert "life's too short" quote here*. Just like the guy on the plane said, why should I worry about it, why give it my irreplaceable time and energy if there's nothing I can do about it? 

Embrace it. Soak it up. The valleys we walk through are full of opportunities. When I find myself traversing through those valleys with my eyes closed and head down, I blind myself. I inadvertently ignore the abundance of blessings with which that valley and every other peak and river in life are bursting. 

Stress seems inevitable. That's truth - I know. But read that sentence again. It seems inevitable. Talk to God, confess to Him your fears. Laugh with your friends and family because that's what they're there for. Eat good food - potatoes were meant to baked, PB & J to be the best of friends, and fruits and vegetables to be your number one source of fuel. 

Life is abundant and beaming and bursting and glowing and that's exactly how God designed it for you and me. He doesn't want us to miss out on any of that, so He tells us to find comfort in Him and to bring to Him our worries and fears. When we surrender those, the clouds move away and the sun takes its place high up in the sky. SOAK IT UP :) 

THOUGHTS: "Last Time's"...

Thoughts, Life, HealthHaley Hansen1 Comment

Quick question - what's the deal with "last time's" You know, your last shift with your favorite co-worker, your last family-dinner before you move out, your last beach trip before school starts... 

I've been thinking a lot about why we sort of obsess over our last time doing something, and at first, perhaps superficially, I looked at it as a) a way of dealing with our emotions and b) a (kind of silly) reason to put more effort into this last time (i.e. a fancy dinner, a class pizza party, an overnight beach trip, etc.). But as I let my mind roll around with those a little, I realized how presumptuous they are and that, while they may be applicable in some cases, I'm forgetting the last piece to the puzzle...

Our last time doing something is significant because, well, we won't get to do it ever again (usually). I sunk a little deeper into my seat when this thought popped into my head. Maggie (my dog) and I had just taken a little trip to PetSmart for some food and I looked over at her, perched up and comfy in the passenger seat next to me. Do dogs think about "last time's"? More importantly, is this my last car ride with my fluffy white pup? No, stop, Haley. Stop. 

Last time's are a big deal because they're the end of something routine, comforting, habitual, special, etc., and whatever comes after we reach that end is sometimes unknown; it could be change, and I'll be the first to admit that change is scary. It could also be loss - loss of a family member, loss of a friendship, loss of a job. 

So, they're like a street sign - "DETOUR AHEAD" or "ROAD CLOSED" or "SHARP TURNS AHEAD". Am I the only one who's palms get a little sweaty at the sight of those? I hope not. Adjusting to change is uncomfortable, and losing anyone/thing is devastating. In the soothing, angelic words of Adam Levine, "Nothing lasts forever but be honest babe, it hurts but it may be the only way..." 

Okay, so I just go through life knowing that everything will end and I just shouldn't make deep connections with anyone/thing because it'll be gone before I know it? No. That mindset blocks the opportunity for growth, experience, and even happiness. Maybe I'm just the last one to jump on the "Make the Best of Every Moment" train, and maybe Dr. Seuss's words, "Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened", finally sank in and found their place in my book.

We could spend all day pointing out and sighing over our last time doing this and our last time going here and our last time with this person and so on, but what room would that leave for celebration of our accomplishments? For anticipation and hopes for the future? For truly, wholly just living in the gosh-darn moment. 

I don't really know how else to end this other than by promising myself not to live as though each moment is my last, because I'd be running around balling hysterically taking pictures with friends and family, tasting food from every restaurant I never made time to visit, and trying to sky-dive at the same time. It'd be pure madness. Instead, I want to promise myself to find the "happy" in as many moments as possible each day, express gratitude for those, and let them fuel my values and morals for the rest of my life. 

Thank you for reading along as I sort through my own thoughts - means the world to me :) 

Keep coming back 'cause I'm allllllllways thinking about something!