Weekend Recap: Good Food, Good Wine & a Lesson

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You read that right folks, I’m gonna school you today. But don’t worry, you don’t need a number 2 pencil or calculator for this one. Just that big ol‘ noggin of yours 🙂 And since people don’t like to read (it’s just a fact), I’m going to share a bunch of perty little photographs as well. Capiche?

I had a pretty damn good weekend. Lots of laughter, sleep, traveling, catching up and, of course, eating and drinking (lots of wine!). I love food, no shocker there. Food is my life. However, like many, food and I don’t always have the best relationship. Growing up, I was a bigger kid. I ate whatever I wanted, and it showed. I was heavy. I remember one point, right before we moved to Indiana, where I was a size 8 IN WOMEN’S in fifth grade. I wasn’t the biggest girl in class, but I was the biggest amongst my friends, cousins and family. It was hard. I think I used food as a crutch, as a way to feel better when I was picked on or called “thunder thighs.” I didn’t really see the correlation between food, weight and well being until 7th grade. I won’t relive that again (I talked about it here!) but it was a wake up call for me. I learned so much about my body and how what I eat completely effects what I look like and how I feel. I was very extreme in 7th grade, I dropped a lot of weight and practiced a lot of pretty scary behaviors. At a point, I was close to a 0. Going from a size 8 in women’s to a size 0 in juniors in less than a year isn’t healthy. I know that’s when my tumultuous relationship with food started.

The reason I’m telling you this is because I’ve come such a long way and this weekend is the KEY indicator of that. For starters, we went out to eat on Friday with our roommates to an Irish Pub. I scoured the menu before we went so I could pick out a few healthy options to eat so I wasn’t tempted by the high calorie fried fare. However, when we arrived, I quickly learned that everyone else was going for the appetizers. Instead of ordering a salad or low calorie wrap, E and I went for the spinach dip, Guinness wings and Irish spring rolls. And you know what? I didn’t feel guilty, or wrong, or bad for doing that. (Please excuse the iPhone pics!)

Looking back on those bad days, this food would have sent me into a spiral of self destructive aggression. Food like this made me sick to my stomach. And it wasn’t because I didn’t like it, oh god I loved fried food, I just couldn’t look at myself if the scale was even 0.1 pounds higher. I’d force myself to rollerblade longer that night or swim harder. Everyone thought I was just really disciplined, I had amazing self control. When in fact, I was sick, I was scared to death of becoming “fat”, I was so scared of food that I couldn’t enjoy it. I may have been perfectly thin with amazing abs and toned thighs, but I was MISERABLE. Luckily my friends and family saw this scary trend and helped me. Otherwise, I’m not sure what would have happened.

After my scary weight battle in Middle School, I gained weight and maintained a healthy 145 pounds through high school. However, as senior year approached, that weight jumped up. That’s normal though, I was going through a lot of change. I entered college at a hefty 165 pounds. However, I quickly learned that to be noticed by the boys, fit into the sororities, I needed to lose weight. I was competing with girls from all over Indiana, most of who were thinner, in better shape and with better clothes. Since I couldn’t shop, I worked on the only thing I could control, my body. It didn’t take long before I quickly spiraled downhill again. I lost 25 pounds in the semester bringing me at 139 that December. I was very healthy outside, but once again, I was obsessed with food, in the wrong way. I counted every single calorie I ate. If I ate more than 1,400 calories that day, I’d do extra hard in the gym. I’d skip dinner or breakfast. I’d do everything I could to keep weight down. Add in a love for drinking and partying, and you have a complete recipe for disaster. Not only did I reform my unhealthy relationship with food again, but I developed a dangerous relationship with alcohol. This is a part of my life I’ve shared with few people and one day, hope to share with y’all. It took me about 2 years and a change of school (and state) to really get a hold of my food & drinking problems. As hard as Georgia was that first year, going there changed, and saved, my life.

4 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to attend a wine festival without getting out of control. Without over drinking and skipping the meals. I missed out on so many things because of my weird relationship with food and alcohol. The wine festival this weekend was amazing. I had a few tasting glasses and that was it. I didn’t need to get drunk to have fun. Mel and I had a BLAST, tasting, people watching and outfit judging. After four hours of judging and tasting, we grabbed a few bottles of VA Pinot Noir, a brick of delicious local cheese and headed home.

After a brief stop in Wegmans (OMG. I’m obsessed, will gust about in later post) we made it home. We popped open a bottle of Pinot, cut up the delicious salami we bought and crumbled the fresh cheese and nibbled on these while we watched bad horror movies. Then, I unwrapped the delicious pork roast I bought, marinated and seasoned it, and set it to bake in the oven. The roast was done in about 40 minutes and was so incredibly flavorful. It was moist, chewy and the crust was divine. [Recipe will be up this week!] I served it with buttered green beans and a sliced baguette. We finished off the meal with, easily, the best cupcake I’ve ever had. A delicious chocolate one from Wegmans. Oh, and it was gluten-free. It was TRULY the best cupcake I’ve ever had.

While all of this was happening, I wasn’t thinking about calories, fat grams or how long I’d have to workout to combat it. I wasn’t chugging the wine just to have a good time. In fact, I wasn’t thinking any negative thoughts at all, actually. I was smiling, laughing and living in the moment. Looking back, it’s been such an incredible journey JUST to feel normal about food. Just to be able to sit down, eat a hamburger and not start crying because of how many calories are in it. There were times I never thought I’d be able to eat a meal without immediately writing down how many calories, fat grams and carbs were in it. It was an obsession, a compulsion, something that literally controlled my life. I no longer HAVE to drink just to have a good time. I know a lot of this was stemmed in insecurity, unhappiness and darker feelings. There’s still so much I have to figure out, with myself. But just being able to indulge all weekend without regret, guilt or sadness was big. I’m now actually living my life, not just watching from the sidelines.

A few photos from my cousin’s wedding last week, don’t worry, they tie in.

So what is my lesson? [Like how I made you read ALL THE WAY to the bottom to get it? tricky trick ;)] Don’t get so caught up in the numbers (calories, fat grams, miles). Life is more than what you eat and how much you work out. Being healthy isn’t just being fit, thin, toned or athletic. Being healthy is just as mental as it is physical. Let yourself indulge. Have a milkshake, a hamburger and fries on the same day. Skip a workout on a rainy day & watch bad movies. Live your life, every single second, without worry, regret or guilt. Live your life to the absolutely fullest. I spent so many years living on the sidelines of my own life that I won’t take anything for granted now. Being healthy is subjective, I understand. Just remember to also be realistic. We have ONE life, make it count. That’s all. That is my lesson.

What are you doing to make it count today?

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  1. Posted by Caitlin on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    Roomie I knew I loved you! You are awesome. What a great, relate-able post. You are so fun and so happy and have obviously come so far - I love this. And you. xoxo.
  2. Posted by jacin on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    you look so happy in your pictures :) great lesson today!
  3. Posted by Jessica Trimble on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    You really are awesome, this post was so inspiring! So many women (myself included) can obsess about numbers when in the end, it's about how we feel. There's more to being healthy than eating nothing but salads all day long. :)

    Also, Rockbridge is one of my favveeess, YUM. Glad you had fun at the winefest!
  4. Posted by Cassie @ Bake Your Day on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    Awesome post, Claire! I applaud you for sharing these stories. I have some that I would love to share on my blog but haven't gotten the courage yet. I hope to some day! 
  5. Posted by Christine on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    Great post and photos. Y'all look like you had fun. :-)
  6. Posted by Heidi Brugh on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    Wow! Great post & Great lesson! :)
  7. Posted by Tiffany on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    Looks like a great and tasty weekend -- and a valuable lesson to learn.
  8. Posted by Grubarazzi on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    words I also live by. great post! 
  9. Posted by Lisa on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    I admire you for your honesty and sharing your personal story/battle with food and alcohol. You're absolutely beautiful inside and out and have so much to offer - more than I think you realize. If I could, I'd give you a big hug right now, xoxo
  10. Posted by Jennifer B on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    Great post! Happy that you are healthy! :)
  11. Posted by Anonymous on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    Wow, I am totally impressed with your story and the way you're able to live your life now!  But I feel like I need to stand up for anyone (like myself) who is still fighting the battle and needs to be all about the numbers.  I hope to some day be able to regulate my eating & exercising without worry but I'm just not there yet.
    • Posted by Claire Gallam10 on
      Monday, September 19th, 2011
      Thank you Lauren for your comment. I completely respect that! Trust me. You are doing what works for me. I was just down a very scary road and wanted to share on case anyone else was too. Thank you for commenting!
  12. Posted by Lauren on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    Sounds like a great weekend! Yummy looking eats :)
  13. Posted by Ashley Whelan on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    Very nice post! I can completely relate to your story. Sometimes I still find myself there. That is why I started blogging. It is all about balance and you have found yours. You look happy and great! I love the dress you wore to the wedding. 
  14. Posted by eliotseats on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    Impressive story, impressive self-control, impressive post, impressive pics.  Basically, I am impressed (and jealous that I wasn't at a wine festival this weekend!)  
  15. Posted by Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    Wonderful post. I know it can't be easy to share such personal information like this. I too, get so obsessed with food and counting calories and I know it's not healthy!
  16. Posted by MaryBeth on
    Monday, September 19th, 2011
    Very touching post! Thank you for sharing!

    (And I'm excited to see what you have to say about Wegmans.. I'm from the city where it originated so I also have a big love for that place!)
  17. Posted by Beth Michelle on
    Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
    Such a beautiful post. Being someone who has a love hate relationship with food my whole life too, I can very well relate to your feelings. I am glad you are in a good place now and enjoying your life and food :)
  18. Posted by Ann on
    Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
    Good for you!  That was an amazing post!  I adore food and eating and my doctor says I need to be HEALTHY - not thin - healthy.  So, I started blogging as a way to inspire me...and you've inspired me more.  I'm a believer in everything in moderation and when it comes off, it comes off slowly and permanently!  Thanks for an amazing post!  I'm glad you had a fun weekend!
  19. Posted by Katie C on
    Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
    What a wonderful post, my friend! Thank you for sharing :)

    I too know how consuming it can feel to count calories, fat, etc; I used to do the same thing. However, life is too short to worry about every little thing, you know? So...I kind of developed my own system to get it out of my mind. I refuse to look at nutrition facts on most items. Ingredients, yes...but all the little details? I don't want to know. I force myself to turn the label away from me, because if I see the numbers, I know I'll think about them the rest of the day. Eating decadant things in small doses is key for me. Everything in moderation...and sometimes, ignorance is bliss! ;)
  20. Posted by Steph C on
    Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
    1. Loooove Wegman's.
    2. So proud of you for posting this. I've actually had a similar battle with my weight, and I still find it hard to rationally think (or not think, as the case may be) about food from time to time. You're a wonderful example and and I really enjoyed reading this.