Gelato on my mind

I apologize for not posting in quite awhile.  Work has had me so busy!  For those that follow me on Instagram, I transitioned to concentrate mostly on nutrition / being a future RD, rather than recovery.  However, I still want to keep some recovery in my blog.

About a month ago, I came home from a 10-day trip to Italy with my family (mom, dad, 2 sisters, brother in law, and my boyfriend).  To say it was amazing is just honestly an understatement.  I actually decided to start writing tonight because I am missing it so much.  The last time I was in Europe, I was completely overwhelmed by eda.  I was most nearly my sickest during that summer.  I will never forget walking past the bakeries every single day, mouth-watering, telling myself I didn’t need any of it.  I was miserable, but I had no idea.

Coming back to Europe, I was scared.  We were all worried.  The very first night, I ordered pasta.  I will never forget the happiness I felt when my family was elated and told me how proud of me they were.  Throughout those 10 days, I ordered multiple pasta dishes and pizzas, always prequeled by lots of delicious bread, and dinner was ended with gelato.  I was so happy because I ordered what I wanted.

The hard day came in Positano when pictures were taken in bathing suits.  I started going through them and immediately felt anxious.  I saw the bloat from all the wine, pasta, etc,   and I didn’t like it.  Or maybe eda didn’t.  Ali Gray was SO happy, yes I felt a little full from it all, but it was just amazing, I couldn’t say no.  I also am so grateful for my sisters, brother in law, and boyfriend for making me feel normal getting pizza and pasta and all the Italian delicacies at basically every meal.  Which made me realize, that is what NORMAL people do, order what they want!!

Being back home was difficult, I knew I had gained weight, and I did.  I feel so self-conscious right now.  I hate my body.  But then I also hated my body 5-10 pounds lighter.  So will I always have this hatefulness towards my body?  I am wondering now.  Will I be happy if I lose 10 pounds?  I wasn’t happy with my body 10 lbs ago, so I kind of think no.

I will never be 100% happy with my body, but one thing I know, I would rather enjoy life and food and wine than making myself miserable by limiting myself.  Italy taught me so much, and I miss it every day.  The European way of life always sweeps my heart away.  I will never forget the incredible trip, and I am forever grateful for the people that helped me to be able to enjoy it.




What’s wrong with being confident?

Many guys would say that confidence is a trait that they find very, if not, most attractive in a woman.  I have always been jealous of girls who exude confidence because I have never been one of those people.  My confidence definitely fell in high school and continued to dwindle throughout college with the depths of my spell under eda.  As I have restored weight and regained my life back, my confidence, however, has not returned to me.

Last summer, I took a job in the town my family has a beach house as a hostess at a local restaurant.  I had never been in the food service industry, but I thought “how hard could it be?”  Well man I was wrong, it is not easy, especially during the summer months at one of the most popular restaurants in Pawleys Island, SC.  I began and carried out my job last summer with the constant feeling that I was always doing something wrong, and I would never be a good hostess.  The job actually takes a lot more skill than most people would think.  Last summer, as I was training, I received a lot of constructive criticism, which I took pretty heavily.  My perfectionism was ruined by the fact that I felt I would never be good at my job.  Therefore, my confidence was extremely low every time I punched that clock in preparation for the day or night ahead of me.

I decided to give the job another shot this summer.  I have only been there for a week so far, but my confidence in my abilities as a hostess is now so much better.  Coming into this summer already knowing how things work, I jumped right into it.  I immediately felt confident in what I was doing and how to handle the daunting list of reservations for a Saturday night in the summer at the beach.  I realized this morning what confidence can do to you.  I mean I am a totally different person behind that hostess stand now.  It is my confidence that has helped me to be much more successful.  I was completely capable of being just as successful last year, but starting off feeling like I was inadequate hindered me from being my best.

Confidence can completely change our abilities in almost anything.  If I were to approach other tasks with more confidence, I could be so much more successful, and I think anyone could do the same.  Even though eda took away a lot of it, I am learning the importance of confidence to be a better me.

Whine Desert

Anyone who knows me knows that I have dessert every single night.  I love to bake so it is usually some sort of baked good with ice cream on top (PS Halo Top is the bomb)!  This was even the case when eda was in my life.  It was the one thing that I truly think saved my life.  I would eat literally nothing all day except a protein bar and exercise 2+ hours, but I always had my dessert.  It has always been ‘my time’ with my dessert in bed watching TV.

A couple months ago, I decided to try to avoid desserts because I felt like I was not eating as much during the day because I was ‘saving up’ for dessert that night.  It was really hard and I missed my dessert so much.  Finally while on spring break, my sister basically said cut it out, that is eda talking.  And you know what?  She was so right.  My ice cream time is my time and usually one of my favorite parts of my day.

Another love of mine is wine.  This past year, school isn’t super stressful and time consuming, unlike undergrad.  In addition as most of you know, I have been extremely lonely in Charlotte with few girlfriends.  So honestly, wine has become a major relaxation mechanism for me.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not chugging wine every night, but I enjoy a couple glasses.  Well eda has been telling me that the wine every night is definitely hindering me from my ‘best body.’

So do I give up my dessert and wine so that I maybe feel a little better about my body?  Hell no.  I don’t listen to her.  I would rather be happy and enjoying my life than miserable to maybe lose a few pounds.  I have sometimes been ashamed of my addiction to dessert and wine, but I take care of my body.  I eat healthy and there is nothing wrong with either of those things in moderation.

I feel like I sometimes try so hard to be something I am just not.  I became obsessed with podcasts during recovery by listening to eating disorder recovery podcasts (Recovery Warriors mainly).  I enjoy listening to them still, and not just recovery ones.  My sister suggested ‘Straight up with Stassi’ with Stassi Schroder, a Bravo reality star.  Now before you tell me it is trash, she made me realize something.  She NEVER tries to pretend she is something she is not.  That girl talks about her love of wine and doesn’t fake it.  And I am not that one glass and drunk girl.  More like a bottle, but I shouldn’t be ashamed.  I LOVE to bake and I am obsessed with ice cream.  Guess what?  That is me, I am not the girl who “only needs a bite of dessert to be happy.”  I cannot apologize for who I am and no one should.  I cannot let eda tell me that I could be happier losing a few pounds rather than enjoying life.  I choose enjoying life every damn time.  I am Ali Gray, NOT eda.

Get the title?! 😉

The haze

My emotions have been like weather in the Carolinas (aka always changing). I know some of you may start reading this and say ‘ugh she’s such a whiney hiney.’ Yes I know that, but this blog is my outlet and helps me so much. 

Not getting my number 1 choice for internships hurts. I feel as if I have been broken up with. What did I do wrong? Why does this happen to me? Everything was perfectly aligned for me to be in Charleston with many of my best friends and my sister at an amazing teaching hospital. Now, I’m still unsure of where I’ll be because the program I matched to is all over SC and Charlotte. It’s a ceaseless waiting game. 

I feel like I did everything right this time around. Why do I feel like I never get what I really want when it really matters? I have to believe it’s all in God’s plan, but that’s looking pretty darn hazy right now. I really regret not keeping in touch with my therapist. I feel like most people will just tell me to be happy and stop feeling sorry for myself. But I feel genuinely heart broken. I can’t sleep because I’m stressing about where I’m going to live next year and what I did wrong to not get MUSC. I can’t help but blame my perfectionism. I should be in the perfect internship in a perfect downtown house right by the hospital with the perfect roommates. Welp I know that perfect isn’t a thing. But sometimes I have high hopes that I will get what my heart genuinely deeply desires, especially after how hard I have worked. 

I’m hurt, and it’s going to take time. On top of the hurt, I hate the unknown. I was sure come this past Sunday, I’d know where I’d be living, and I could at least plan the next phase of my life. Jokes on me. I have another 2 months before I know where I’ll be placed. I like to plan so this situation is less than ideal. I’m sure come a few months from now, I will be happy and hating myself for being so disappointed right now. But it’s life and I have to feel the emotions I am having rather than letting eda take over to hide those emotions. 

Bright side

For those of you that have followed my blog for awhile, you probably know about my passion for dietetics and career future as a dietitan. However, last year, I was not matched to a dietetic internship, and I basically thought my life was over. Not to go back to that time, but I decided to get my Masters in Nutrition and try again the next year.

So, I have worked on my application and enhancing my resume for the past year to ensure that I would match this year. After submitting my application in mid-February, I impatiently waited to hear if I would get an interview at any of the programs I applied to. Those were some stressful weeks constantly checking my email in hopes of an invitation to an interview. Needless to say, this year was polar opposite of last year. I got interviews at every program I had applied! I went into the interviews trying to be as confident as possible that I was meant for each program.

Well, last night was the fateful match night. I was at home with my mom and one of my sisters to open the news. I was matched to my third choice. I was surprised is the best way to put it. I put on my happy face and was telling myself everything happens for a reason and at least I matched! We had a fun dinner and I was getting used to the idea that I would probably stay in the city I live in now, instead of Charleston, where I really wanted to be.

This morning, that positivity basically came crashing down. I cried to my mom and sister that I had worked so hard, and I really thought I would be in Charleston. I have really struggled in Charlotte because I don’t have many girl friends here. I know you are probably thinking, you’re a big baby- at least you matched! And I know I should be that way, but I think I have a right to be disappointed. I am trying to keep my head up, and there still is a chance to be in Charleston through the program I am because they send one intern to Charleston each year. However, I have learned to not keep my hopes up.

Everything happens for a reason, I know that. God has a hand in everything. But for right now, I am going to be a little disappointed but I really am trying to look at the bright side.

Recovery means

As NEDA week is coming to a close, I am so thrilled with the posts, news, etc. highlighting the importance of eating disorder awareness. I feel like FINALLY people are starting to understand that EDs are serious, deadly diseases. When I first began recovery, I truly did not think I could do it. My mind was so confused. Trying to beat out that voice I had always listened to. Do I eat or not eat? Exercise or not? I was supposed to do the opposite of what I was used to doing. I was supposed to do the opposite of what eda told me to do. 

Well 2 1/2 years later, here I am. To be honest, I think eda will always have a small voice in my head, but I know how to handle it now. But I wanted to highlight what recovery means to me. 

Recovery is smiles, real smiles. Recovery is joy, not just occasionally being happy, but truly a state of being. Recovery means pizza after Clemson game wins. Recovery means using butter and sugar when I bake. Recovery means going to a yoga class to relax, not be miserable in a Bikram class. Recovery means amazing relationships with my family, friends, and boyfriend. Recovery means carbs if I want them. Recovery means eating a cheese board before dinner. Recovery means eating at a tailgate and not avoiding food at all costs. Recovery means my stomach not always growling. Recovery means my heart not fluttering/skipping beats in my chest. Recovery means not being breathless after climbing stairs. Recovery means more selflessness. 

I could go on forever truly. I will be honest I miss being “skinny” sometimes, but I know that it would never ever ever be worth it to go back there. I was a miserable human being. I know recovery is worth it. 🙂

Mirror, mirror

5 AM wake-up calls never come easy, especially on a Monday morning.  I had a long day ahead, so I wanted to get my workout early.  I snoozed my alarm before rolling out of bed to head to a 5:45 cycling class.

Walking into the gym, I got the last cycling pass- woohoo my lucky day.  I quickly found the last bike available and began to set up, living in my own little world.  I am wedged between the mirror on my left and another younger girl on my right.  As I look to my right, my eyes nearly well-up.  It was another mirror, of myself, three years ago.  Having Anorexia myself, I am pretty darn good at being able to catch one.  It’s not that hard.  Sinew-y arms and legs, sunken in face.  It was all the things I was.

As class starts, I watch as she pushes so incredibly hard to keep those pedals going, knowing how exhausted her little body is.  All I wanted was to take her outside the room, hug her, and tell her I can help.  I know how that would have gone.  Exactly how it would have gone with me if someone did that to me years ago.  Complete denial.

As unfortunate as it was to see her, something came over me for the first time in forever if not ever.  I was proud of my body.  I was proud of the extra fat (necessary for survival) on my thighs.  I wasn’t self-conscious about the “back fat” from my sports bra or a little lump on my waist where my shorts hit.  I watched in the mirror as my legs pushed me through the class.  I NEED that meat for my body to be able to even handle the class.  My body is actually healthy.  And I actually, loved my body.

I can’t say it lasted long, but seeing how far I’ve come only makes me feel better.  I don’t think it was just a coincidence in light of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  God had a plan.

P.S.  Look for another post this week about recovery during this exciting week, so spread the awareness of eating disorders!