Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell

It’s now been several years since I graduated college, and have moved on to find my one true calling in life—librarianship.  I honestly thought all that was done and settled.  I’d never have to live or feel the college experience ever again.

And then I read Fangirl.

I was privileged to hear Rainbow Rowell speak at BEA in 2015 and let me tell you—she’s incredible.  First of all, she was so funny and seemed so nice and, in the spirit of Cath and Levi and not being weird at all, she has AMAZING hair.  To summarize: I really wished I could be her friend.

I hadn’t been too motivated to read her books before BEA due to the horribly-large selection of YA dystopians I was consuming by the bucket-load.  But then everything changed.  And by “everything changed” I mean my coworker threatened to kill me if I didn’t read Fangirl immediately.  So I did.


Just, wow.

Rainbow Rowell has managed to masterfully recreate not only my freshman year dilemma, but also recreate the exact feeling of being in college for the first time.  I felt this book in my chest—I was Cath completely (minus the twin and the hot boyfriend).  I didn’t drink, I stayed in all the time and I just didn’t get it.  I was scared of having sex because everyone else was already more experienced and most importantly, I ate ramen noodles from my closet because I didn’t know where the dining hall was and I was too scared to ask anyone.

Rowell captures the betrayal of changing best friends and the hardship of having a parent with a mental disorder.  It’s all there, ready to sock you in the feels.

She gives us hope too, at the end, and that’s exactly what freshman year felt like—failure fixed by friendship, self-discovery and hope.

Rainbow Rowell has very quickly become one of my favorite authors of all time—may she write one hundred thousand books!

New Me Week Eight: The Gift Giving Edition

This week was okay–more holiday parties creeping up and getting in the way of a pitch-perfect week.  While I find this frustrating, the thing that’s really been getting to me is the total lack of thought put into some gifts.  The holidays are coming and I understand that many people want to buy their friends, coworkers, and special-someones a gift, but please do so thoughtfully.  To help all of the confused or clueless, I’m going to explain buying gifts for your health-conscious fat friend!

When you’re getting ready to buy your fat friend a gift for their birthday, an upcoming holiday, or just because, you need to stop and really think for a second about the person you’re buying for.  Are they watching what they’re eating?  Have they come to you and expressed frustration about food, or anxiety about meals before?  Do they have a food allergy?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to make sure that whatever gift you’re about to buy your friend is not food.

I repeat: Do not buy your fat friend food.

You may think you’re being kind and getting them a special something that they can snack on later, but a lot of the time, buying someone who is getting over an eating disorder or building a new relationship with food something sweet or unhealthy is one of the most selfish things you could do.  You’re surprising them with trigger foods, with body shame, with disappointment and anxiety.  Not cool.  It’s equivalent to buying your friend, whose legs have been amputated after a traumatic accident, running shoes.

Your friend is going to open a gift they can’t or shouldn’t use, and smile gratefully at you and thank you wholeheartedly.  Meanwhile, as soon as you leave the room, they’re either going to give their gift away or binge on their forbidden snacks.  It’s the ultimate dick move.

Even if you decide to buy your fat friend something healthy, think about the spotlight you’ve just placed on them while they open up their awesome bushel of green apples in front of everyone.  Any food that isn’t planned for is stressful, even when it’s healthy.  I know that as soon as I’m alone, I am going to eat the whole bushel, plus whatever I was originally planning on eating because feeling so full that I’m in physical pain is what I’m addicted to.

Yes, the twelve apples I just ate are better for me than twelve cookies, but don’t pat yourself on the back quite yet: your gift is enabling me to self-harm.

If you found something food-related that you really want to give your friend, but you’re not sure if it’s going to trigger them into a bad situation, then you have two options:

  1. Eat it while thinking about how two-dimensional the image you have of your friend is–so two dimensional that you couldn’t think of a single good gift outside of this snack.
  2. Ask your friend if this is something they would be able/want to eat.  Be prepared for kind lies–no one is going to want to make you feel bad about your crap gift.

Instead, really stop and think about the things your friend likes: things they talk about, or things you’ve seen them doing.  Buy them some yarn, get them a coloring book, buy them a durable tote for their traveling or shopping needs.  Literally buy them anything that they can’t eat.

When you buy your health-ready fat friend food, what you’re saying is: I’ve heard you.  I know you’re struggling to get your eating and your life under control.  I don’t care, and I don’t love you.  Your struggle and your comfort are not important enough to make me think outside of my usual gift registry.

Though we smile and throw our arms up while we graciously thank you for your thoughtful and generous gift, inside we’re internalizing this message, and while we finger the wrapping on the sweets we’re holding on our lap–ones we haven’t decided yet whether we’ll eat or give away–we’re nursing hurt feelings and the crushing feeling of how insignificant and unwanted we are.

Starting weight: 210.2 lbs

Current weight: 199.8 lbs

Total loss: -10.4 lbs

New Me Week Six and Week Seven: Emotional Exhaustion

These two weeks brought on a ton of extra work (professional and personal), and a lot of stresses.  During week five, I worked really hard to get myself on track and experienced a lot of success.  The night before the weigh-in though, I went to a party and after misunderstanding what was going on, overate by a lot.  The result was a gain the next day.

I was so upset–I felt like all my hard work during the week meant absolutely nothing and that I had wasted all that effort on a misunderstanding.

During the following week I found it so hard to focus, to say no, and to get back where I needed to be mentally.  I spoke to Alex about how discouraged and frustrated I was, and he suggested I might be emotionally exhausted.

And then everything made sense.

I was getting to a point where whenever a person offered me food I wasn’t planning on eating, I was answering with frustration and with a “Ugh, fine, you win, whatever–just give it to me!”  These weren’t even food pushers most of the time–it was just average people being nice and asking if I wanted to have something they were eating.  I mean, I couldn’t even bring myself to write my regular blog post, because the idea of devoting any more emotion and thought on how things were going made me want to cry tired tears.

Recognizing the exhaustion was key to me taking a little bit of time to acknowledge the problem, and make a better plan for week seven, which went really awesome and resulted in a weight loss.

I think it’s important to check in with our bodies every now and again, and acknowledge what’s going on, even when the answer is just, “I’m really tired and can’t deal with very much right now.”

Sometimes this means pulling out of social engagements that might not put us in a safe spot or may not allow for us to take the best care of ourselves.  Sometimes this means that we have to communicate a little better with those who love us and are helping us on this journey.  Sometimes all it takes is one person making a decision for us to help recharge that self-love energy.

That being said, week seven was much easier.  I could talk about how I was feeling, and I even identified a time when looking for a place to eat was making me tired of saying no.  This was my greatest accomplishment of the week–learning when things made me start to give up and asking for help to stop the process.

A place to eat was eventually picked, I was able to get a healthy meal, and I even planned ahead enough to have some prosecco!

2016-12-11-19-47-53_reducedUnrelated to my week: I’ve decided to move recipes and exercise to their own posts on the blog–if you’d like to read up on what I’ve been making, check out the main page of!

Starting weight: 210.2 lbs

Current weight: 200.0 lbs

Total loss: -10.2 lbs