Hungry Haley

it's more than food

weight gain

Reflections and Intentions

Life, ThoughtsHaley Hansen3 Comments

Another 365 days in the books! Do I say that every year? Yes. Will I keep saying it? Yes. 2017 provided more challenges - mostly mental/emotional - for me than any recent year I can remember. At the same time, God graciously wove so so many blessings in, too. I'm talking about both here and what I've learned from each. My reflections are the challenges and the blessings, and my intentions are things I'm hoping to work on and improve this coming year. 

the first sunset picture of the year - get ready for plenty more throughout this post hehehe.

the first sunset picture of the year - get ready for plenty more throughout this post hehehe.

REFLECTIONS:

1). body changes.
One of my first memories of 2017 was feeling like I had lost "control" of my body because it... well, grew. To say that my clothes tightened is a lighter way of saying that I gained weight. I didn't intend to. In fact, one of the reasons I cut my hair - 11 inches off, to be exact - was because I felt God asking me if I was relying on my longer hair (which people constantly complimented) to maintain confidence in my physical appearance. He said, "How would you feel if all that were gone?" 24 hours later, a stylist sent off 11 inches of my hair to an organization that accepts donations to make wigs for cancer patients. I don't know for certain if that was God's first step in guiding me through this process, but it's the first one I can identify.

For the first time in four years, I didn't like the body that looked back at me from every mirror. Again. I felt more uncomfortable than I can ever remember and multiple times a day asked myself what others saw, those who have known me for more than four years and those who have known me for less than that. Did the former see similarities between the Haley that developed an eating disorder in high school and this one, who had regained most of the weight she lost during that time? Perhaps the latter didn't even recognize me and surely thought that I wasn't the "health-nut" who had it all together they once thought I was. 

two of my main blogging squeezes:  Emilie  and Georgina!

two of my main blogging squeezes: Emilie and Georgina!

Thankfully, God erased those thoughts from my mind (I prayed for that endlessly) and I began seeing this weight as some sort of blessing. I regained my period after two years of complete absence. I no longer feel knee pain during any workouts (except running - I'm not sure if that'll ever change). I actually built muscle, for which I'll give half the credit to gaining weight and half to transitioning away from my vegan diet. By September, nine months later, I finally felt love for my body again. In no way was it what it used to be - it had become so much more. Now, it holds a physically and mentally strong young woman who doesn't place her value in her size, but rather in her heart and mind. She pursues her passions everyday because she knows stressing over workout and calories is a waste of energy. She turns to God when she feels out of control, not methods of restriction. She is thankful for every step of this lengthy, challenging process because each one led her here, to self-love, peace, and gratitude. 

THOUGHTS: Reflections and Intentions

2). feelings. 
Boy, oh boy, OH BOY. Like my previous reflection, this one was unlike anything I've ever dealt with. All I can say is that God worked extensively on my heart in ways I still can't describe. Seemingly out of nowhere, I noticed incredibly strong feelings I hadn't experienced before, and when I followed where they led me, I only found other stronger feelings. Many brought me fantastic, ear-to-ear-smile joy - like finally biting into an In-N-Out burger, chasing my favorite summer sunsets while running into the ocean with my best friends, watching yeast activity in my first ever batch of homemade cinnamon rolls (yes, seriously), hunting down those dang Pillsbury Christmas sugar cookies with Grace (because you couldn't have paid me to eat something so "unhealthy" a year ago) and finally finding them only days before Christmas, and so much more. A couple brought me intense pain - feeling like I lost my self-discipline and motivation to workout and seeing the weight gain as a result, and feeling quite heart-broken and hopeless in pursuit of something I thought could be one of the most amazing blessings yet. 

Both sets of feelings - the joyous and the painful - taught me to simply feel. To not spit out the painful because they taste horrible or swallow them because they are unfamiliar. To relish in the joyous because they taste delicious and cultivate more of them because they bring life a one-of-a-kind flavor. 

THOUGHTS: Reflections and Intentions

INTENTIONS:

1). stay up-to-date on world and local news.
I'm very ashamed to admit this, but the other day, I had to ask my dad was the GOP is (it's the Republican Party, for those of you who are like me and had zero idea). Since I moved out of my parents' house, I haven't had access to cable TV and I haven't been around my parents enough to listen in on their dinner-time conversations regarding politics, taxes, economic changes, and all that not-super-exciting-but-actually-very-relevant news. Now that I'm technically an adult - though I sometimes feel like/act like I'm between the ages of 5-12 years old - it's definitely time I start understanding what's going on inside and outside this country so that I can make educated decisions when its time to vote and make my voice heard. 

For now, I'm starting with 10-20 minutes a day of reading news articles I find online or listening to NPR and the like for updates. If you have any other recommendations I'm more than happy to hear them! 

other main blogging-squeezes:  Jeannette  and  Connie  (the hand)

other main blogging-squeezes: Jeannette and Connie (the hand)

2). continue practicing intuitive eating and exercising
Learning to eat and exercise intuitively is an ongoing lesson - one I'll never perfect and I'm okay with that. Diet culture drilled itself into my brain for a long long time and I'm so thankful for RDs like Robyn, Kylie, Alexis, and more who convinced me IE and HAES are much more valuable and fulfilling practices. I've only made it halfway through the book, and we will just have to see if I can pick it up again and actually finish it. Like I said, I am far from a perfect Intuitive Eater, but I've grasped the basics and I'm practicing everyday. 

Part of IE, though, is also just living - as much as it enforces getting rid of diet-culture-esque influences, it stresses releasing from the mind any sort of barrier to full enjoyment of food and movement. For me, that requires taking a deep breath, asking God for peace + wisdom + understanding of my body's needs and desires in that moment. 

we. are. familyyyy. (get up everybody and sing!)

we. are. familyyyy. (get up everybody and sing!)

3). put my phone away more often.
If I had a biggest priority on this list of intentions, you can bet it's this one. Because I now work for myself as a blogger, social media is a huge chunk of my job, and because of modern technology, that chunk is always at my fingertips - at noon on a Wednesday or at 11 PM on a Saturday (when I want to be either sleeping or giggling with my friends). This year, I picked up a habit of putting my phone in airplane mode during the night, so that if I wake up to pee at 3 AM and want to check the time, I'm not also tempted to respond to a gazillion notifications I may have. Doing this has also given me control over the amount of me-time I have in the morning before anyone/thing can bug me. When I'm ready to communicate, all I have to do is turn airplane mode off. Until then, it's just me, my cup of coffee, and my book. 

Working for myself lets me set my own hours, a benefit I haven't really taken advantage of yet. a 9-5 schedule everyday isn't my thing, but neither is working until 10 PM on a Friday or Saturday night because I didn't organize my day/manage my time wisely. Putting my phone away - like, in another room or just off in general - will hopefully allow me less mindless scrolling-time through social media (Pinterest really captures me lately). 

if you like watching the sunset, you should see it rise (if you're a morning person, that is). 

if you like watching the sunset, you should see it rise (if you're a morning person, that is). 

Hello, World!

COPY CODE SNIPPET

4). cultivate my unique creativity.
I'm self-motivated and I have been for as long as I can remember, but I want to develop habits that can help me self-inspire. So far, hiking, walking, and other forms of exercising do the trick (blood flowing = oxygen moving to the brain = higher functioning brain). Baking, cooking, and reading through recipe books are my other go-to's, but what about when I'm just sitting at my desk, not a ton of oxygen flowing to my brain and no cookies coming out of the oven? 

Georgie Morley reminds me to create a little routine that sets up positive, productive headspace before diving into work, so this year I plan to create my own. What it might look like, I don't have an idea yet, but I'll give some things a try - cleaning and organizing my workspace, putting my phone away/shutting it off, finding some quiet, maybe even lighting my favorite candle and listening to some soft music!  

oh, and I have a sister-in-law!!!

oh, and I have a sister-in-law!!!

I feel a deep breath is always what I need at the end of this kind of stuff - reflecting can be really tough sometimes, especially looking back on a year like 2017. Do it with me: inhale, exhale. Maybe I'm just being dramatic because I'm approaching the challenging years of my 20's?? Or maybe I'm nothing out of the ordinary in this case. Orrrrr maybe... nevermind, I don't know. I encourage you to take a peek back whatever 2017 was for you - lift up the covers you placed over the painful experiences and warmly welcome back the joyous ones. Both are worthy of recognition and appreciation. Both can teach and help you move forward into 2018 with your best foot forward. 

What are your reflections and intentions for 2018? Leave some below in the comments to spark some ideas for all of us! Cheers to a new year! 

THOUGHTS: Reflections and Intentions
also, we should take into serious consideration the sunsets in Lake Tahoe. like come. on. 

also, we should take into serious consideration the sunsets in Lake Tahoe. like come. on. 

Accepting and Embracing

Life, Faith, HealthHaley Hansen10 Comments

Emphasis on the "and". Keep that in mind. 

When I think about the things - the events, the mistakes, the issues, maybe even the people - I accept and the things - the experiences, the successes, the surprises, and the loved ones - I embrace, I sometimes think I should replace the word "and" with "versus" because there's a difference between the two. Right? There are some things in my life I just accept and move along with, and some things I embrace and kiss and squeeze and cherish. 

Two different things. Right? 

Not always. 

As life has done its thing throughout the past six or seven months, two dense clouds have fogged up a chunk of my brain. Not to the point of interfering with my daily functioning, but just enough to... well, cause "weather changes" (if you will) that hinder my thoughts. Both of these clouds have everything to do with this topic of "accepting and embracing".

1) Weight gain. 

Truthfully, I didn't think I'd be writing this. Ever. I didn't think I'd ever struggle with weight or body image ever again. That was two years ago, when two years prior to that, "accepting and embracing" was just not something I did. Heck, if I had done that, life as I know it now would probably be very different (but we won't get into that because how do I even know/who even cares/that involves a lot of thinking and it could be its own blog post). My eating disorder began because I refused to accept and embrace. I swore to myself I would change my eating habits and my outward appearance. And I did. And I maintained that weight - and the consequential nagging need to always portray "perfection" - for somewhere around a year or two...

... Which brings us here. I'm not going to sugarcoat anything - I've gained weight. I've tried to forget about it, ignore mirrors, etc. to pretend it hasn't happened, but it has. My first little taste of acceptance of weight gain did not taste good. I practically (and theoretically) gagged. No! I have NOT gained weight and I will not. I've worked too hard to get where I am, I feel good both physically and emotionally and this weight gain isn't necessary. 

Those thoughts intruded, unwelcomed I knew, yet I let them hang out and direct my actions. Unlike the last time they barged into my life - four years ago - this time, no change in my physical appearance happened. I didn't lose weight like I wanted to and I felt even worse because of it. 

Thankfully, I have a life that distracts me from such potentially destructive thoughts, and as life has gone on over the past few months, those thoughts have lost some of their energy. In other words, this is the "acceptance" part. I didn't necessarily welcome the extra weight, but I did turn my attention away, to more pressing priorities like school, blogging, family, friends, etc. However, this was not without the personal promise to return to these thoughts and eliminate the weight. 

A C C E P T.

If I could identify the "turning point", I would explain it in all of its glorious detail, but I can't think of one. So, something just clicked in my brain, I guess. That click probably hit the '"embrace" button. 

Finally, I began seeing the image - not just the body, but the person, the beauty - in the mirror looking back at me. FINALLY. The "click" reminded me that, my lower weight left me with more stress about food and what I was eating or not eating and the fact that I was damaging my body than my higher weight did about just weighing more and having a bit (emphasis - A BIT) of extra tummy cushion ever will. Like, wow. Duh. 

 E M B R A C E. 

Finally, I've reached a weight that doesn't leave my stomach growling, my knees aching, and my stress levels through the roof around one of life's pleasures I absolutely adore - F O O D. I'm at a weight that's about 8-10 pounds heavier than what I wanted a year ago and a jean size 2 sizes wider than before, but who. really. cares. 

I can go out to eat with friends without needing to analyze the menu beforehand and plan out what I'd order according to what's left in my calorie intake for the day (though I still look at the menu to get pumped for F O O D). I can dig a spoon into my favorite peanut butter at any hour of the night and enjoy it, even if it's 11 PM and I'm going to bed soon. I can drool over vegan double chocolate brownies that may not be low-carb or low-sugar or whole-grain and made with simple ingredients. 

I can embrace my body. 

me, making love to one of Minimalist Baker's  lentil sloppy joe's  in my favorite class EVER. 

me, making love to one of Minimalist Baker's lentil sloppy joe's in my favorite class EVER. 

I. 

CAN. 

My advice to you, you ask? 

The amazing woman behind the Food Psych podcast - Christy Harrison - reminded me that everything good and valuable and worthwhile, like my period, healthy joints, hydrated skin, strong hair and nails, etc., have only come with the addition of extra weight. So, I can have a thin figure that I may see as and that I hope others may see as "desirable", OR I can have actual health, a physique that isn't pain when forced to workout, a body that fits. 

What does that look like for you? 

Some of my favorite inspirations: Kylie, Christy, Robyn, and Alexis

2) Faith. 

This one is harder to put into words, and quite honestly, I haven't wanted to try for a long time. But, last Sunday as I went through the usual motions of church, Psalm 8 was presented and I will be forever thankful for it (and every other Bible verse, of course, but this one particularly): 

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
— Psalm 8:3-4, NLT

And here I am, concerned about keeping up with Instagram posts, ace-ing my psych midterm, prepping pecans for pecan milk (not to discredit its deliciousness), and comparatively useless, fleeting obsessions more than I am motivated to open my Bible, even to ask the Lord why these idolatrous thoughts are again taking over. 

As you can see, much of this has had to do with idols - the things and people and practices I prioritize before my God. Been there, done that. And I must say, I'm really not cool with hanging out here for much longer. What a perfect depiction of God's mercy and grace that He would present me with this verse amidst perhaps one of the deepest dives I've taken into this cyclic world of idolatry. 

A C C E P T. I recognize that I have fallen off track. I see the things/people/etc that have contributed to my distraction. I am here, and it is okay. I am human, and I am imperfect.

The book of Isaiah will probably be my forever-favorite of anything, and as I read through my summary/what I learned from it, I'm reminded yet again the simple blessing it is to have a relationship with God. Heck, I can even consider this uncomfortable confusing place a blessing. 

E M B R A C E. I thank God for this place. I thank God for the fact that my faith isn't stagnant or boring, but rather always challenging me and pulling me closer to Him. I am still imperfect and will always be, but I embrace the God who has always embraced me. 

Am I completely comfortable yet? No. I'm still trying to figure out my faith, and as I said before, that's one of the benefits of a challenging faith - it pushes you into growth and pulls you toward the Creator of it. Part of me didn't even know if I wanted or needed to share this, but I did share it because doing so is an important part of my faith. I wouldn't have recovered from my eating disorder had I not leaned on the Lord (and part of my current struggle with food is because I haven't been leaning on Him - duh, Haley), and the majority of this blog is about me, my recovery, and my life walking as close as I can behind God. So, sharing this would only make sense. 

Ahhhh. So, I hope that has made some sort of sense. I wouldn't have written it if I didn't think anyone else could relate or gain something from it. If you've made it this far, thank you. Your support and dedication to my blog means almost as much as the blog itself! 

Can you relate? Is there anything I can help with or you can help me with? Leave a comment down below! 

2016 All Wrapped Up

Life, ThoughtsHaley Hansen1 Comment

Another 365 days down, huh? Gosh, I feel like a grandma sometimes when I say that these years go by faster and faster as I grow older. Even more amazing, though, is how God can pack so much into such little time.I think it's important to look back, remember, reflect, learn, and grow from as many life experiences as possible, aaaaand these posts seem to be pretty dang popular as the New Year celebration approaches, so I'm hopping on the train :) come along with me and let's look back at 2016... well, mine at least. 

WOOPS:

  1. MY PERIOD, BABY. Oh yeah, you heard me. This girl finally regained her period after almost two whole years! Of all the struggles my eating disorder threw upon me, amenorrhea was one of the most terrifying. I feared permanent infertility and how that would affect possible relationships/marriage. My period's long-awaited return was a product of weight gain, decreased exercise, and full surrender to God (and those three all tie hand-in-hand, I guess). Want to know how I did it? Read the entire post here
  2. WEIGHT GAIN. You'll see this guy again later on, but in this case, I'm highlighting it because without it, I couldn't say that I'm recovered from my eating disorder. I probably couldn't have modified and expanded my workout routine. And I definitely couldn't have built a solid trusting relationship with God. At my absolute lowest weight throughout my eating disorder, I'd step on the scale and see somewhere between 114-116 pounds. Just about a week ago, and for the first time in a long time might I add, I stepped on the scale at my parents' house and saw 124 pounds. No greater feeling of accomplishment could've flooded through my veins at that moment :) 
  3. NUTRITION MAJOR. I'm officially a nutrition major at Cal Poly SLO! From my freshman year until about halfway through my sophomore year, I studied journalism. However, I remember calling my parents one night as I walked home from a racism, sexism, and the media journalism class, practically sobbing as I realized I hated it all. Of course, I'm passionate about social media, as well as topics like racism and sexism, but journalism just wasn't for me. From that day until the end of June, I was stuck in transition from journalism --> nutrition, stressing out like never before over chemistry, but also peeing my pants in excitement to finally take classes on topics I study in my free time (nerd, much?). When I saw that I passed my hardest chemistry class which determined whether or not I'd officially be a nutrition major, I'm like 97% positive I actually did pee my pants a little bit. 
  4. BAPTISM. Ultimate highlight, right here. May 22, 2016 - by the far the best day of my life :) I'd been baptized as a sophomore in high school, but at the time, didn't truly understand the depth behind it nor who God really is and His significance in my life. I can't say that my recovery prompted me to be re-baptized, but I can't really say vice versa, either. Rather, God perfectly intertwined both, enabling them as one to pull me out of that struggle. Read more here :)  
  5. EBOOK. I wrote, designed (alongside my Daddy-O), and published my first ever ebook! Okay, I know it sounds suuuuuuper exciting, and it was, but it proposed a pretty big challenge. Balancing school, a social life, and blogging all while dealing with one of the hardest chunks of my eating disorder? Somehow, this ebook made it out alive, and in mid-August, with the help of my tech-savvy roommate, finally went live on the blog! Totally completely 100% free and easy to download. Just click on over here :) 

POOPS

  1. WEIGHT GAIN: Told ya' you'd see this again. Gaining weight was, by far, the absolute hardest part of recovery. For those of you who have been or are going through this, you know (and you should smile because you're definitely not alone). I still struggle sometimes, when I look in the mirror or squeeze into jeans I once used to slide into or feel a little jiggle when I'm working out. I still struggle sometimes with not just accepting my new body, but embracing it. At this weight, I know I'm the healthiest I've ever been, but I'm not a size two and I don't have a six pack like I always wanted. BUT I can run and jump and laugh and produce a period and eat pretty much whatever I want with very little to no mental interference. I DO love my new body, and I'm praying that God continues to fill my heart with gratitude for how He's healed me :)
  2. SINGLENESS STRUGGLES: Ugh. Sometimes I'm annoyed this is even a thing, you know? Like, why do I have to care so much about (dumb) boys?! Why can't I just be happy as can be living my, what I like to call, "single as a pringle" lifestyle? Well, to answer my own question, because God created me as a woman to desire such deep relationships with others and stand intentionally in them, producing life, encouraging growth and flourishing for both the other person and myself. Two of the books I read this summer implanted within my mind this understanding - "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge and "Girl Defined" by Bethany Baird and Kristen Clark. Yepp, I still crave a hand to hold, forehead kisses, and above all, someone to grow in Christ with, and no, I haven't really found that person yet. Buuuuut I know that, whether or not God actually has him in the cards for me, I have God, and He is more than enough :) 
  3. BUSY, BUSY, BUSY. I may or may not have totally overwhelmed myself this Fall quarter of school. Working 20-25 hours each week, trying to balance a social life, introversion and blog, all while enrolled in 15 units (organic chemistry, mostly) beat me up, but I did survive. This mind-boggling 11 weeks opened my eyes to what I hope life doesn't look like all the time, and reminded me how much I really do need to slow down, breathe, prioritize, and simply let God handle my life instead of trying to do so on my own. 

So, yeah... that's about it. Of course, God stocked 2016 FULL of lifelong memories, huge achievements, and straight up blessings beyond what I could fit in one read-able post :) again, thanks so much for reading and I can't wait to explore 2017! 

2016-11-01 16.11.28.jpg