We Did It! Our Whole30 Experience

When my prized pair of skinny jeans absolutely wouldn’t zip… and I seriously couldn’t find one outfit apart from yoga pants that I felt comfortable in, I knew I had to make a change. Here’s the real truth though: I’m great at working out – I love taking new classes and going for runs. But when it came to eating, last year, I made some pretty awful choices… over and over again.

Now, I’m not beating myself up too much – but instead of just going on some diet, I wanted to do something that would really, truly make a difference in my life. I didn’t want to stay on a diet for the rest of my life, but I needed a lifestyle kick to put my habits back into check, changes my cravings and get my portion control back on track.

My lovely roommate, Christina, had a brilliant idea: let’s do Whole30 together!

Pre-Whole 30!

Pre-Whole 30!

For those of you who are unfamiliar – Whole30 cuts out refined/processed sugar, dairy, gluten, grains, legumes and booze. After the 30 days are complete, you gradually add back in those things to see how your body responds – that way you know what’s good for you and what’s not really compatible with your digestive system.

We’ve both learned so much and seen so many changes in how we feel and look. See some recipes, our inches and weight loss, before/after photos and advice:

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My First Week of Whole30, as Told in GIFS

My roommate and I both wanted to make a big difference in our health and lifestyle this year, so we challenged ourselves to do Whole30 – a program that cuts out sugar, booze (which duh is sugar), carbs (except in veggies), legumes (aka, beans) and dairy. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy thing to do, but after a year of overindulging in just about anything I laid my eyes on, I was ready to shed some weight and feel vibrant again.

We’re officially a week in (today is day 9 to be exact) and I do feel really, really awesome. I have so much energy, I sleep better, my skin is clearer and I actually crave carrots and green beans as a snack. (Yeah, I know, it’s weird!).

Even so, this week hasn’t been simple – and I’m sure the three weeks that I have left won’t be either – but I’m excited to see how much of a difference it will make to curve my cravings and shape my lifestyle. Though I haven’t weighed myself or measured (they advise not to until the end) – I already can tell a difference in the way my clothes fit.

If you’re thinking of making a shift in your diet or exercise habits… here’s how my first week of Whole30 has been… in GIFs:

Woohoo! Grocery shopping for healthy things. Look at all these pretty veggies. I’m SO excited. 

 

Holy moly. I can’t believe that’s how much I weigh. I’ve never been more ready for a cleanse…

 

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I Just Want to Dance

I walked from 50th and 7th west to Hell’s Kitchen, listening to old music on my iPhone and silently reminding myself that yes, Frankie, the best is yet to come. I carefully avoided that street where Mr. P used to live — or rather, crash on some girl’s couch — in the months after we broke up. It’s on that block where my favorite South African wine bar with pretty white lights outside is. It’s on that block where I tried the only piece of sushi that’s ever made me sick. It’s on that block that on a smoldering summer day last year that I gave away yet another piece of my dignity to a man who never earned it.

I cursed those thoughts away last night, going uptown only to go back downtown, just so I wouldn’t have to walk past that door. It’s good exercise and it’s finally beautiful outside, I reminded my racing mind. Once I arrived at the Thai place, ordered a glass of wine and waited for my friend K who was stuck on a bus in traffic, I exhaled, relieved and finally, sat down for the first time in what felt like a long time.

I looked around the dimly lit place with overpriced entrees and acceltic decor, analyzing the scene before me. Groups of people still dressed up for the derby, others on first dates, one couple who barely shared a word, another who couldn’t stop laughing. Ladies in tight dresses like mine, men who shouldn’t have another shot of sake at 8 p.m. Champagne in the corner, cocktails to my right, a pile of menus to the left.

And me.

Sitting alone in a busy place, getting lost in a whirlwind of considerations and forgetting, again, to consider myself. I’ve had a hard time admitting it — much less writing it — but I haven’t been in the best of moods lately. I’ve felt guilty for being unsatisfied, for being even the least bit sad, for not being so extremely thankful for everything I’ve achieved, everything I have in my life. I’ve beat myself up over the fact that I’m bored, that I’m flustered, that I’m incredibly frustrated and yes, scared. I’m not the girl who backs down from a challenge and never one to face something without a little questioning, but when nothing is exactly wrong, yet nothing feels right, what’s a girl supposed to do?

I’m not sure, but I’m starting with tonight, I thought as I closed my eyes and I took a sip of wine. With the majority of my friends in budding or settled relationships, I’ve had to try harder to push myself to be social. To go out and mingle, to get out of my cozy little apartment with my cozy little dog so I didn’t cozy myself into complete solitary confinement. And luckily, my lovely — and freshly single — friend K was up for trying a singles mixer. The cure, I’ve found, for feeling funky, for not having what you want, for feeling trapped or suffocated by your own life, is to do something different. I’m not sure if my diagnosis or my prescription will work, but at least it’s better than Chinese and another Netflix movie I won’t actually like at the end of an hour and 31 minutes.

After dinner, we walked through Times Square and giggled at the lights and the tourists instead of rolling our eyes. If we were braving the crowd of a “20s and 30s Cinco de May Singles Party” just a block from the chaos of Broadway, we might as well be in good spirits. As expected, the guest list wasn’t very impressive and obviously far past 39 than what we hoped. While the men were primarily much (much!) older or very (very!) short, there were a few who hung around us long enough to pitch in a margarita and hold at least somewhat decent conversation. We didn’t care though — we were busy trying on sombreros and shaking maracas, listening to the odd collection of music and attempting to dance.

One overzealous man who was nice enough, but not enough to make me want to see him past the bar, kept trying to pull me into him to sway along. He’d try to get my attention or wrap his arm around my waist as I tried to move away, until finally, he pushed my Southern manners too far and annoyance won over. With one more tug, I turned around and said:

I just want to dance! 

And there, with a glowstick wrapped around my head, three margaritas and a glass of wine in, people dancing around me and a drum booming, I nailed what it is that I’ve been feeling. I’ve been so terrified of nothing in my life ever changing. Of never making enough money to live by myself in an apartment I love. Of never feeling beautiful in my own skin. Of never meeting someone that’s special, of letting Mr. P haunt my memory forever. Of being the last single girl when everyone around me finds what they are looking for. Of never doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do, where I want to do it.

Of not being able to get away from the wall and dance. Of not being able to let go of all of these silly little fears to find my own beat. My own pace and my own moves. All this time spent worrying and fretting over what’s next or what’s not, of holing myself up in a tiny room I pay too much for, of exhausting myself with trying to be perfect. Of trying to figure out the answers before I know what questions I even want to ask. Of trying not to the do the wrong thing and writing off everything that was good in the process. All of this time wasted anxiously awaiting for my life to begin…

…when really, all I needed was to dance. And all I really wanted was to dance alone. For now. Until I find my own rhythm and can let someone in for a spin.

Don’t Forget Sandy Hook

I’m not a mom –but I’m like one. I’ve always had dozens of cousins and now I work in the parenting space, so I often find myself relating to mothers and tucking away ideas and tips for when that day comes. Maybe it’s that mothering mentality that everyone notices about me that made what happened at Sandy Hook so devastating to me.

It was a day like any other — I received an email from our news editor alerting us that there was a shooter in Connecticut and we planned to follow it to see what happened. I don’t think anyone was prepared for 20 children and the 7 adults to lose their life in under ten minutes at the hand of one shooter. And post-tragedy, I still don’t know what the answer is to make schools safer. Part of me thinks there will always be disturbed people who do these heinous things but a bigger part believes in the good that could come out of it — and in stricter gun control laws, too.

I spent most of the weekend following Sandy Hook in a daze — praying and thinking about those families who just lost a special little light that lit up their entire lives. I thought about their full stockings on Christmas day that will never be opened. About all of the things I’ve experienced that they never will. About how heavy and broken so many hearts were, are and will continue to be.

There isn’t really anything anyone can do. No way to get those moments back, no way to make the moments before last longer. No way to give them one more hug or one more kiss.

But I wanted to do something.

Inspired by what the Running Mama did for Hurricane Sandy, I decided to do something similar through Confessions of a Love Addict for the families affected at Sandy Hook. Regardless if you’re a runner or a walker or just want to give a donation, anything goes a long way to rebuilding lives and to keeping the memories alive of those lost.

Here’s how to get involved in the Run For Sandy Hook Remote 5K

How it Works:
On Saturday, January 19, you and a group of your friends will run/walk a 5K wherever you are and then email your race time to confessions.loveaddict@gmail.com. All who sign up for the race will be entered into a drawing for a fun, awesome grand prize pack. The winner will be announced on January 20. The more money you donate, the more chances you have to win! (**Note — if you don’t want to run, you can still donate!)

Sign up here to join the race
Donate money here ($20 suggested minimum, but any amount is great!)
(Note: you’re not officially signed up for the race until you donate something)
All money raised will go to the United Way of Western Connecticut Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

I will also post photos of runners, so send them race day!

Please feel free to spread the word and to ask me any questions you have. If you’re in NYC, I’ll be planning a run in Central Park — so if you want to join, you’re more than welcome to, just email me.

Thanks for helping out Sandy Hook — there’s not much we can do, but joining together can make a huge difference.

At the End of the Day

As dozens of scattered droplets, falling gently yet surely across my tired body, I kept my eyes tightly shut until the warmth made me accept the morning. I let the stream splash against every patch of skin and ring of hair, saturating the impurities and freshening the scent that’s so  distinguishingly mine. Along with the grime from these filthy pavements and soiled city streets, I let the clean wash away my worries, too. I exhaled my frustrations off my brow, the heaviness off
my heart and the ache that causes tension from my bones to my emotions. Though invisible to anyone but me, I saw the muck swirl its way down the drain, leaving me wide awake and shining in the rising sun across Amsterdam.

I let my shower cleanse it all away.

In motion with the bright beats of the pre 9 a.m. crowd, I sauntered in tall wedges from my padlock door to the closing ones of the subway. The rhythm floated through my vibrant blue hi-lo skirt, perfectly in sync with the early August breeze that’s as rare as its lovely. I let the music play as I dared to close my eyes on the subway ride, knowing that a sudden stop or a passenger with unruly intentions could cause a detour I wouldn’t appreciate. The harmonizing voices serenaded me all the way to work, singing words I yearn to hear from the man I can’t wait to meet one day.

I let the music take me to a place where my dreams have lyrics.

I listened to all of them, all around me, near and far, chatter away. About the weather (hot), about their weekends (nice), about their weeks (busy), about the men they have and wish to have (plenty!). I imagined their pink nails tapping away at the keys, putting something in motion while sipping the coffee that’ll keep them awake. I watched their lips move and their eyes light up, full of ideas and excitement, sleepiness and interest. I spoke the language of a manic Monday morning in brief sentences and tenured phrases, meant to show empathy and understanding, meant to put us both on the same page.

I let the ones I love talk away my day.

Praying that delays and rain stray, I counted the minutes until I’d arrive at my stop. I walked quickly in those wedges that made my ankles sore and promised them that soon, they’d be out of these painful pieces and into the running shoes that mold to their every curve. I breathed deeply and slowly as I rounded the first mile, watching the life of the park unfold around me. The soccer players kicked, the volleyballs bounced, the basketballs spun, the bikers did circles around me and the runners nodded as we passed. All sweating, all moving, all feeling it all roll off of us, knowing the only thing we need to focus on is one step and then the other. One more step, one more mile.

I let my run, run away with me.

I watched the couples walking back from the park — some on one end of a leash, others gripping a stroller, many just holding onto each other — and I tried not to smile. I felt nighttime arriving for the first time in months, and that green reflecting top meant to protect me, wasn’t warm enough, even after 40 minutes of jogging. I glanced from lightpost and traffic stop to those glittering eyes of a duo so obviously in love, and I tried to figure out which shined the brightest. I took my time picking up fruit from the grocery store, helping someone older and slower in front of me and striking up a conversation with the clerk who rarely gets thanked. I walked around the block, past those men sitting on stoops, those ladies selling frozen yogurt and the kind homeless man who knows me by name, and though I was sweaty with makeup running down my face and my toes tired from all their work today, I gave them all a smile. I made sure they felt noticed, even in this boisterous land.

I let my city restore my faith, again and again.

Finally, I made it back to the place I started. Trying hard not to obsess bitterly about the lack of text messages or the conversation gaps I wished weren’t so, I put away my iPhone. Hoping whatever it is, however it’s going can wait until I open my eyes in the morning, I sat down my Blackberry to let it charge. I peeled off those running clothes and shoes, I freed my face of its daily armor. I felt the crispness of my sheets, the softness of the bed I bought with the money I made doing the things I love the most. Without the fuss or the must, the paths to follow, the people to know, the city to invigorate or irritate me, without the rushing and the gushing, the loving and regretting, without all of it in between — there was only one thing left at the end of the day:

Me.

And I thanked the powers above that I was enough. That I can endure and I can slow down, I can embrace and I can relate. I can go and I can move, I can relax and I can inhale. And yet, after all that a day puts me through, time and time again, over and over — I can still be the same me that walked out that door…ready to face whatever is in front of me. And whatever will ever come my way.

The Things a Man Can’t Give Me

After spending an unjustified amount of time on Tumblr one Sunday afternoon, I happened to stumble upon an adorable photo. Of course, I have a certain affinity to this creature (or really any miniature animal), so I quickly updated my Facebook proclaiming I’d like to be the owner of a baby tiger.

Expecting to receive a few comments from my friends who kindly entertain my ridiculousness, I hopped in the shower, determined to get my day started instead of wasting it away in front of a 15″ laptop screen. Twenty minutes and one Beyonce sing-along under the water later, I did what every Gen Y does: tapped my phone back to life because being without it for such a “long” time made me feel disconnected.

On the screen was a new text from the man I was seeing at the time and though we were not serious, I really dug him. He was one of those who always had something interesting to say and never failed to surprise me. This message would prove the latter: Check your email.

Unsure of why he would send something to my email instead of just calling or telling me, I opened up Gmail to find no message from him. Confused, I sent a question mark in response (so explanatory, I know), and he responded with: You wanted a baby tiger, didn’t you? Becoming more perplexed with these cryptic messages and the fact he was stalking my Facebook mid-day, I glanced back at my accountant and noticed an email not from him, but from the WWF. He couldn’t give me an actual baby tiger, but he could adopt one from Africa in my name. And so, he did – just like that. The certificate was sitting proudly a click away and the snuggly and stuffed version came a few weeks later.

So apparently men can give you the nearly extinct animal you mindlessly requested in a status update. And they can leave notes in jean pockets, taped behind a closed door you rarely open, and on your mirror so you never forget how beautiful you are. They can buy you that necklace or that ring you intently gleamed at in the back of Vogue. They can purposefully leave the apartment for the unimportant fact that they’re out of orange juice and you always drink a tall glass each morning.

And when they’re not supplying your tummy or your jewelry box – men can give us many splendored things. When you can feel a man really loves you, it’s powerful. After all, we’ve met the ones who never care at all. Hell – we’ve slept with them. Possibly dated them for six months, just in case something changes. It’s after that disaster we learn to notice when a guy comes along who is all hands-and-feet on deck. We start to think they give us feelings we always say we’ve never felt before, until we do, again. They indulge us in reassurance and constant confidence boosts. They don’t make us wait and they don’t make things harder or faster than what we prefer – unless we ask for it, of course. They support us as equally as we encourage them, and when like grows into love and love into content – they weather the changes because they’d rather stick around than find something simplified elsewhere.

It’s true – men can give us so many things.

But I’m starting to realize there are more things men can’t give me. Partly because they aren’t capable of it, but mostly because I wouldn’t want them to. There are certain parts of my life that I don’t invite a man into and there are pleasures I derive when I’m alone that don’t always match the fulfillment a man returns. There are outings and doings that keep me positive and feeling alive that I’d much rather do without the presence of anyone. There is a cache and a sense of independence that comes from paying everything on my own, shopping at my own accord and saving up for that pair of shoes that even if someone offered, I’d never let them purchase on my behalf. There is a power in knowing nearly every single item in my apartment came from money I made by having a resume I worked hard (and mostly for no pay) to build. There is a satisfaction I get from marching the streets, making eye contact with a stranger or two, and continuing to walk when they get the hint I’ll slow my pace for them – but I don’t.

And without a man, without the consistent reminder that someone in this world at the very least finds you tolerable – you learn how to keep yourself going. You learn the difference between being a constructive critic and being way harder on yourself than anyone else would be. You notice changes in your mood and you become aware of what makes you happy, what tickles your tastebuds, and what disgusts you. You have ways to shed joy and hope into your life that no other person – even the most attractive and engaging ones – could ever replace. You depend on yourself without considering there is a safety net or a body to break your fall. You decide the best answer to your questions aren’t “call mom” or “call Mr. of Right Now” but really are not even an answer at all, they are also a question: Well, what do you want to do?

Those things, no matter how insignificantly silly (like my need of wine in the bathtub while listening to Rhapsody in Blue and reading for the 100th time, Jane Eyre) or superbly worthy (like my need to not have anyone advise me on where my money is going unless I’m paying them – with my money – to instruct me) – are still possible to find when you’re dating a man. Even when you’re madly in love with him.

But you have to fight for them. Because while the dudes can be rather charming and sweet, and give us endearing reminders that we’re loveable, they become one hell of a distraction. Perhaps a beautiful one, but a distraction all the same. I mean, baby tigers may not be a match the baby diamond earrings we scrambled just enough money to buy for ourselves, but which one will mean more to us if the relationship ends? And which is a girl’s best friend (RIP, Liz)?

One of the many troubles of being single is longing for those things we know a man can give us. Those things we’ve found before and have now become afraid are forever lost. But when love takes a chance on you again, you may just find yourself missing those things purposefully just for you, and you only. You may have to keep yourself grounded as you are effortlessly swept away.

Because instead of turning our attention away from me and steering it toward a he the has the potential to become a we- we’ve gotta learn how to have the me, have the he, and have the we, without losing all three.

Tequila vs. The WTF Moment

I once went to a free open bar at a joint in Murray Hill. This was before I discovered this particular part of New York is breeding ground for frat guys who never wanted to leave college and still enjoy beer pong more than making a career or adult life for themselves. Even in school, where I was in a sorority and I thoroughly enjoyed Greek life, I never dated or slept with a guy in a fraternity. There has always been something about their Solo cup-decorated apartments, perfectly styled hair (or looks that resemble the Biebs), and stained Ralph Lauren Polos that turned me off.

Imagine that.

Nevertheless, when a friend found booze for free on PulseJFK and invited me to come, I followed in suit, high heels and push-up in tow. Fast forward to midnight, way past the penniless power hour: picture my friend with smeared red lipstick and crusted mascara, sucking face at the corner of the bar with a guy I believe was named Todd. And then there’s me, turning on the charm with a dude who told me he worked for MTV. I’d say what he did for them, but instead of telling me, he told my tequila – which is gladly no longer with me.

At this point in the night, my friend lets me know she’s going home with Todd, who claimed he was one of the Mets. She later confirmed he was, but more of a benchwarmer than an actual athlete. Still fairly new to Manhattan and as broke as an early-20s gal can get, I asked her not to leave (I didn’t want to pay for a ride home). Obviously not one of my closest companions, she encouraged me to go with the MTV man and said she’d text me when she arrived in Hoboken with Todd. I responded with a half-drunken smirk, followed by thoughts of how much I felt sorry for her that she was leaving for dirty Jersey.

Even knew to the city, I knew that wasn’t a favorable ending point for an evening. (Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who takes the PATH at night).

As I watched her exit into the rolling crowds of the M.Hill, Mr. MTV turned his attention to me and asked if I needed another drink. I refused while nodding my head in agreement. Intrigued by my drunken stupor, he welcomed more company from the liquor that not only heats me up, but makes everyone around me instantly hotter. And thus, in the next 20 minutes, I fell for Mr. MTV.

In the bits and pieces I remember, I imagined him opening doors (both literally and figuratively) for me at his company and attending fancy parties ripe with celebrities. I may have devised a fantasy where he introduced me to Ryan Reynolds at rooftop gala in the middle of June, where he instantly found me irresistible and I left Mr. MTV in a dramatic exit as I whisked away to Paris. Perhaps Rome. Hell, I’ll settle for Madrid, if need be.

Mr. MTV, noticing my inability to focus as he enthusiastically bragged about his corner office (or was it a cubicle with a view?), whispered, “Do you want to go back to my place?” Before I could comprehend, tequila (who knows this dude better than I do, apparently), nodded yes.

In barely enough time to grab my bag and cardigan, I found myself hailing a cab, hand-in-hand with Mr. MTV. “I live, like, really close by, in Union Square,” he reassured. Unable to comprehend my coordinates (or to really care), I again, allowed tequila to control my motions by giving him a slurred, encouraging grin. In what seemed like an eternity but probably equated to ten minutes, Mr. MTV had us heading cross-town to an apartment he lived by himself. Somewhere between allowing him to cram his tongue half-way down my throat, telling me to relax, and he does this sort of thing all the time -I woke up.

I could give it an eloquent name, but in all fairness, it was simply a WTF moment.

As Mr. MTV is chatting with the driver, I looked out my window to catch a glimpse of a familiar landmark and realized what I was doing. As if it was in slow motion, I looked down to see my hands, still stamped from the beginning of the evening. I wiggled my fingers to make sure they still had feeling. I was glad to find, they did. I checked to see if I had everything with me that I started with and minus an earring, I thought, “Good job, Linds. All together.”

But then the sobering side of me argued, “Um, no. Look again. You’re a hot mess. Where are you going?”

So, without a word to Mr. MTV or gaining enough courage to look at him, I shouted to the cabbie to stop. Maybe the driver had been in this situation enough times, but he pounded the brakes immediately. Without hesitation, I threw open the door, stumbled my way ten steps across the street, shot my hand in the air, and magically, another yellow-and-black carriage swept me away to a place much better than the place I was heading: home. Alone.

Sometimes it is easy to know when it is time to walk away.

Unfortunately, most of the relationships that leave the most damage aren’t created and ended in a matter of hours. They are often the ones that are a collection of times where we depend on our staying graces as much as we peer over at our boots-made-for-walking, and the ones that Katy Perry claims are measured by fluctuating temperatures. They are the ones encompassed by exhaustion and often leave us, just as I was in my tequila haze, one hell of a mess. And though we know it is so not right and against our better judgment, we always stick around. Because somehow we think – or we convince ourselves- there’s a way for it to work out. If we can only get over one thing, if we can only be brave enough to stick around while he makes up his mind, or if we can establish a scenario where he’ll miss us. That’s when we will be justified in our one-night stand or our shouldn’t-have-lasted-as-long-as-it-did.

Maybe for some couples the patience pays off and the rewards are plenty.

But most of the time, tequila (or denial) comes in the form of syrupy romantic notions that against all other rational thought processes, tells us to keep going and going, when really, it’d be best to steer away from another tall drink of complication. Because while shots in a glass can be difficult to swallow, a shot to the broken heart and at our swollen pride, burns much longer. It is only when the rose-colored glasses are removed and the love drunk haze wears off that we see a relationship or a man for what he really is: a bad idea that’s best left on Saturday night (or in the past), where he belongs.