About Me

Welcome!

If you’ve come from my other blog The Culture Barista, hi there and thanks for coming to this side of my blogging life! If you’re just stumbling upon this blog, again thanks for coming!

You knew this from the other blog but my name is Ally, I’m an English professor with a Masters Degree (getting my PhD in a few years) and I’m a Nutmegger.

I was never a fat kid, I just wasn’t super super skinny.  I also ate whatever I wanted and LOVED pizza, bread, peanut butter, and ice cream.  Still do.

When I entered highschool, I quit sports to focus on theater and gained a lot of weight as a result of not playing sports and eating way too much food. In the course of four years, I went from a slightly chubby kid to a fat teen and aside from a few freakouts I was totally oblivious to how much of a hot mess i was.  Partially because I was afraid that if I lost the weight I’d lose a part of myself, the part that honestly didn’t like to go out and party and wanted to stay inside and read books. 

fall 2004, wrap party of a play I was in

Then came New Year’s Eve, 2004.   My mom had bought me a pair of size 16 jeans from the Gap for Christmas and I couldn’t even get them zipped.  

New Years’ Eve, 2004, I took a picture with my sisters’ friend Lauren.  I looked at the picture the next day, and couldn’t believe what I saw.

I weigh around 196 pounds in this picture.

Slowly, I tried to tweak my routine and it worked for a little while but it didn’t stick, and I soon fell back into my old ways, forgetting what my goals and intentions were, and gained all of it back.  In April of 2005, I stepped on our home scale and it beeped 202

Heartbroken, I immediately came up with a game plan for the summer.  I had my dad take a “Before” picture of me, in early May of 2005, in order to track my progression.

May 6th, 2005.  202 pounds.

This entire picture is horrible.  Just the hair is terrible on its own.

Over the next few months I went from a size 18 to a size 14 just by working out and lifting weights. There was a month or so when I tried diet pills but it was mostly just caffeine that made my heart skip.

August 2005, around 188.

Over the fall of 2005, I had a heart scare.  It turned out to be nothing, but the stress and worry I felt in that situation prompted me to look at my diet a bit closer.  I began to cut out all excess fat and sugars from my diet and focused on eating clean, simple meals.  I dropped down to 173 by Christmas, and felt amazing.  I knew I had more to go, but I let myself cheat too many times over winter break and saw my weight climb back up to 182.

Pissed off, I made it a goal to break the 170s before the end of my junior year.  I began to do more cardio and cut my meals down more.  Now, keep in mind my choices during this time weren’t the best, but I didn’t have any help.  I also started doing Tae-Bo a lot.  I started cutting soda out of my diet.  I stopped drinking Coffee Coolattas and drank Arizona Diet Green Tea.  I started looking at the labels of my food, and tried to eat as organically as possible.

Sure enough, by May of 2006 I had dropped down to a size 10 and 168 pounds.  And then it became my mission.  I went from that weight to 156 by August, and managed to maintain that weight for two and a half years.  I even wore a bikini for the first time.

Summer 07, at around 156.  Whee!!!

Although I could’ve stayed right there at 156, my eating habits still weren’t stellar.  I would find myself mindlessly eating peanut butter straight from the jar at 4 PM, because my snacking had never gotten itself under control.  I thought if I just ate healthy, I’d still lose weight, but of course my calories expended were not matching my calories consumed.  I began to wonder if I could break the 150s, a feat I had only accomplished when I got mono and couldn’t eat for a week.

Then in 2009 I started trying to eat less and working out even more, and the combination of that plus moving to a new city that made me do a LOT of walking caused me to drop about 20 pounds. 
The weight melted off.  Note: I didn’t put on any muscle or really get into good ‘shape’ at all during this time.  I was just doing a lot of mindless cardio and not focusing on toning or anything else that would have been more beneficial to my body. In August 2009 I stepped on the scale and discovered I weighed 139 pounds.

I was done.  Or so I thought.  And of course, anybody can lose weight when they’re eating 60 calorie pitas for lunch.

I moved back home to CT in the fall of 2009 after deciding to work towards getting into grad school for English.  My life was a bit out of balance because I didn’t know what kind of person I would be without theater, and I found the only thing that I could control was my weight.   I ended up losing seven more pounds and got down to 130, and eventually my lowest weight was around 128.  On my frame, according to some family friends, I looked like I weighed around 110 pounds because my skeleton is quite broad and even when overweight I carried it well.

In order to sustain this low weight (and body aeshetic…I had ZERO muscle at this frame and looked very, very, very thin) I had to work out cardio-based for 2 hours a day and maintain a near 800 calorie diet.  I did this for months.

Not surprisingly, I looked and felt like shit.  I also started abusing diuretics, which I’m sure was hell on my kidneys.  Because I wasn’t eating I thought about food constantly, and developed panic attacks. 

The food restriction and overexercising were symptoms of the real problem in my life – I was lost.

In May of 2010, I started working at a local yoga studio in my town in exchange for free yoga and it completely changed my outlook on eating and working out.  I also started lifting again and began to try incorporating more fat into  my diet, and started cutting my habit of counting calories.
April 2011…getting there…
In the fall of 2011 I started graduate school and met my boyfriend, and these two events in tandem led me to a breakdown, a breakthrough, and total transformation.  I had things to work for.  Things to live for that weren’t just based in aesthetics.  I wanted to be at my best for all the wonderful things that were occurring in my life.  And the healing began in earnest.

Christmas Eve, 2012.  I have no effing idea how much I weigh.

Nearly two years later I am truly in the best shape of my life. I have NO idea how much I weigh.  The two times I have stepped on a scale in the past nearly-two years was on New Year’s Day and another day at the gym, and both times the scale battery was dead.  Ironic, huh?  But I’d say I’m probably in the 140s.
 

Right now, I’m doing lifting workouts and cardio with Spinning, and it’s really been fantastic and so much more restorative for my back (I had to stop running for a little while due to an inflamed back muscle).

I lift 4-5 times a week with cardio attached, and then I do just cardio the other day, and then I try to incorporate one day of yoga a week.  I feel this is the best balance for my body.

I strongly believe in only working out in ways that you really like. I really love running but right now I’m trying to take care of myself and strengthen my back, so I have to take a backseat on it and not push through any discomfort.

In February of 2011 I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Disorder, lactose intolerance, and gluten sensitivity by four separate doctors.  I decided to remove all forms of dairy and gluten from my diet and stop eating refined sugars.  I still love chocolate and eat it every day, but I try to eat very much on a sugar-free diet with the exception of fructose from fruit.  If I were to say what diet I’m on it’d be close to a Paleo-Zone type thing (low carb, higher protein, no dairy) but I try not to label myself.  I get in trouble when I do that!
My favorite foods at the moment:
tuna fish on brown rice wraps
Eggs over easy cooked in coconut oil with gluten free toast and vegan butter
Shakeology strawberry protein powder with almond milk and ice
sweet potatoes!
Potato chips.  For reals. 
Sushi
Veggie burgers
COFFEE.  I know it’s not technically a food, but still.

rice cakes with peanut butter
summer produce!
Broccoli and Brussels sprouts, both roasted until crispy with olive oil and salt and pepper
the Thai Chopped Chicken or the Spinach Power salads from Panera

My blog was called Girl Vs Food for about three years, but I decided it didn’t really fit my viewpoint anymore.  I changed the name to Socially Awkward Yogi thanks to my best friend, Connie, who got me into yoga in the first place.  We were talking one day after I had come back from a long stint of private practice and into the yoga studio space for the first time, and I mentioned how I was still getting used to practicing with other people around (I had gotten so used to all of the things you can do when you’re by yourself…yawn, burp, etc.).  She said, “You’re like the socially awkward yogi.” KABOOM.
Ally 

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20 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I found you from your guest post on never home maker– love it. I can so relate (and I feel like my before pictures are identical to yours!!) because I struggled with the same weight and food issues, and just recently stopped myself from my obsession with being skinny. I'm now fluctuating around 135-139 always, and I'm 5'7. I can't wait to read more — I've been doing some back tracking.

    Like

  2. I can totally relate to your story! I've been in a stage of having a negative net calories and literally was pulling clumps of my hair out every morning–it was terrible.

    Anyways, I love your blog and will definitely be coming back 🙂 You look great!

    Like

  3. First off, I LOVE YOUR BLOG NAME! Man v. Food is one of my favorite shows, I love Adam Richman. Tonight my sister is actually doing a “Hellfire Challenge” and eating crazy spicy chicken wings!

    I can't wait to read more of your blog!

    Like

  4. I love that you acknowledge that the thought process towards pills/diuretics, etc., can be just as damaging and abusive as the actions of taking them, abusing them, etc. Also, congratulations to you for finding the right balance for you that's healthy. I'm on my journey now. 🙂

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  5. Wow…I am glad I found your blog. Thank you so much for sharing your struggles. You never know who is out there that it will help. I look forward to reading much much more.

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  6. Hey, just found you through your guest post on Healthy Ashley's blog. I can also relate to your story… hours of exercise, but for me, to burn off the “sinful” item that I ate, and also because I felt that I wasn't acceptable unless I was thin… and I also lost out on most of my college social years, due to my freakish eating habits (oftentimes just an apple for lunch). Though the mindset never entirely goes away (I'm 37 and still occasionally have ED thoughts enter my mind), I'm much healthier now…

    You look great! Keep at it! 🙂

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  7. This is very inspiring as someone who has suffered for seven years with an eating disorder. I am currently at a very underweight BMI but reading this gives me such hope and a warm feeling that I can be healthy,happy+fit. I so so want to be that person and not unhappy, obsessed and depressed, all because of food.
    Thank you.

    Like

  8. What an amazing story! You have accomplished and overcome so much. Right now I am currently working on being less rigid with my food/exercise routines so I feel like we could learn a lot from each other. I hope we can meet up sometime too and share the CT foodie love!

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  9. Thank you so much for making this blog. I've struggled through many of the same issues as you, and have not yet found health, much to my chagrin. This really is a great inspiration though, and simply comforting to hear someone else who has been through these things. Keep it up!

    Like

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