Well hello, Everyone! It’s been a minute since last we met, but I’m glad to be back!
In the year or so since I last posted, SO MUCH has happened, so I will be taking the full length of this post to fill you in. No recipe this time, sorry! But I have some big things in the works, I promise!
Well, the first incredibly major, super amazing thing that happened is that…
My other half and I are finally tying the getting married, in October, at this gorgeous plantation in Ben Wheeler. If you want to know how he did it (and it’s completely the most adorable thing ever…albeit I’m a little biased) you can check out our wedding website and read how we met, our proposal story, see all the pictures, and more!
The second major life event occurred about a year before the first:
We Moved to Tyler
As much fun as College Station was, it came time for us to either lay down roots, or get the hell outta dodge. I was presented a massive opportunity as Head Chef at the wonderfully amazing wedding venue in Bryan that gave me my start. These people are seriously amazing. Being a college drop-out, The word “internship” can feel pretty exclusive. But when I called to ask about it, they were ready and willing for me to give it a try. I fell completely in love with this job, you guys. So much in love that I did it for free for a year. After being chosen first from my group for a paid position, I found myself almost hypnotically drawn to the kitchen over and over again. I was coming in before any of the other girls, usually by several hours, helping with prep, working the entire event, and cleaning up after. It was such a rush, I loved every second of that job. But Caleb and I felt a major deficit in our lives…we both missed our families terribly. I hated every missed gathering, birthday, holiday, all of it. And if I wanted to physically be at anything, it meant missing out on an event, and taking off from my day job, and missing out on money that I couldn’t afford to miss out on. Caleb and I almost always went separately to family events because of the aforementioned reasons. It was causing a strain that was almost too much.
So when The Coats presented me with the job I had been dreaming about, I was presented a huge dilemma. Stay and have a kick-ass job working for people who listened to my opinion and genuinely cared for me and believed in my talent, or move closer to my mother, sister, best friend, Caleb’s family, and my entire extended family. The more I thought about it and Caleb and I talked about it, the more right Tyler felt. So began our search for a house. #ugh
After an exhaustive search, we found this beautiful historical home in a central location, with an incredible backyard full of perennial daffodils, azaleas, roses, wisteria, and irises that blanket the lawn every spring. Not to mention all the squirrels and birds that stay and sing all year long it seems. Our home went from this tiny cave-like dwelling I dreaded returning to every night, to a safe place, my inspiration and oasis. And within the confines of this beautiful place we call home, I have become my best self yet.
Which is seriously the cheesiest thing I have ever allowed to escape my brain and immortalize itself in binary code on the internet.
So what had happened was…
Upon moving to Tyler, the relationship between Caleb and I was strained to say the least. And any relationship expert will tell you that moving is on of the most stressful things you can put a couple through (outside of like having children) But for us the disconnect started before that in College Station. We worked near opposite schedules and almost always spent all of our limited time together among friends. Quality couple time was basically non existent. We did everything separately, but this strain went mostly unnoticed because we really weren’t alone very much. It wasn’t until moving to Tyler and we both had nights off to spend together that the cracks were exposed. Then the inevitable fighting began until one night that changed my life indefinitely.
The fight began the way most do: with something COMPLETELY irrelevant to the actual issue and COMPLETELY petty in origin. I honestly couldn’t tell you the specific trigger. I do remember that it was me that started it.
Long story short, it came out that each of us had some major grievances with each other, and despite being on the ledge, neither of us was ready to abandon ship just yet. One of his prime complaints was that I didn’t take care of myself. That he had tried to help to no avail. That my family was worried about me. That he knew about the diabetes that runs in my family, and that he would not stay to watch me kill myself.
Boom. There it was, all laid out in the open. My deepest insecurity, my biggest fear, all in one, staring me in the face. I suddenly became very aware of the over sized grey shirt, and matching sordid sweats. And I had my epiphany.
My outside appearance was a window into how I felt within. I was the heaviest I’d ever been. I hardly ever cooked anymore. I had subconsciously decided I was ugly and disgusting and unworthy of love, and had made my outside a reflection of that feeling. And how could I possibly expect Caleb to love me if I could not first at least attempt to love myself?
I have always–like we’re talking my whole life always–loved food. Cooking it, learning about it, talking about it…my mom even took me to a high-end grocery store for my birthday once. Yah. That’s me. Excited to get to talk to an actual butcher. Ogling over dozens of fresh baked bread options, pastries, cheeses, flours, coffees, and exotic sauces I hadn’t even heard of on the Food Network. That’s me. Food is one of the great passions of my life. And because of this, somewhere down the line I mentally accepted the fact that I could never love food and be thin and beautiful.
And standing there, red-faced and bloated in my big grey Frump Monster costume I thought about how horrible it was going to be trying to eat healthy. I was at a complete loss. How could he ask this of me? To eat healthy meant giving up my passion, my niche. How was I even supposed to start this whole healthy thing?
I heaved the heaviest sigh of defeat so heavy I felt it in my heels. And I said, “Ok. I’ll do it.” Then he dropped the killing blow,
“That means no Starbucks.”
DO WHAT?! Y’all, when I say I almost fell out, I almost FELL OVER. This was too much. Boiled chicken and steamed broccoli was one thing, but taking away my daily caffeine fix…FOREVER?? How could that kind of psychological torture benefit anyone??? Much less me?!
But after my initial melt-down, I thought about it and agreed, because I love that man. And if I had to brew coffee at home to prove it, then challenge accepted.
Fast Forward a couple months of passing on the bread, and reading a ton of nutrition labels, this show airs called “My Diet is Better Than Yours”. The premise of the show is participants choose a diet, and try it out with an expert on that specific diet. Their results are monitored over the course of several weeks Results being tracked include weight, physical fitness, and emotional health. If they are unhappy with their diet, they may switch once during the course of the show. This was right up my alley. A way to sift through all the diet B.S. I had been reading on Pinterest and see what actually yields results for real people. And also see what was the easiest to maintain within day to day life.
One of the diets that immediately caught my attention was Abel James’ Wild Diet. He had me at butter and bacon cheeseburgers. According to Abel, you could have coffee, meat, cheese, and fat. So I went to Barnes and Noble the next day and bought his book, The Wild Diet and read it cover to cover in a week. My outlook on food in relation to health completely changed. I started drinking butter coffee, and quit chugging sweet tea all day long…which was probably the hardest thing, being that I am a die-hard Texas Woman. I started pounding water all day and meal prepping at night. And something crazy happened…for the first time in my life, an intentional, concentrated effort I made had yielded actual, tangible results! And everyone noticed.
I had more energy, I was happier, and I was cooking again. Replacing carb-laden foods with ketogenic alternatives flexed my creative culinary skill. I was committed to the Wild Diet for nearly a year, then I got engaged and on came the happy weight. Which in turn brings me to present day.
I find myself struggling to achieve my pre-engagement commitment to eating right. It is a battle every day to make just one healthy choice. To limit cheats, to meal prep, to exercise. Some days it feels impossible. But I have discovered so much about my own psyche through this journey. What seems to work and what really doesn’t. I still don’t drink sweet tea, and have reduced my overall coffee intake drastically which has in turn facilitated a beneficial green tea habit I thoroughly enjoy. But since falling off the wagon I have become hopelessly addicted to sweets, something I never struggled with much before.
And within this new frontier of wellness and naturalizing my lifestyle, I have discovered a few new interests: including herbalism. It began with essential oils, and has blossomed since paleo/primal perspective forced me to look at my world through less industrial eyes. This newfound interest will surely manifest itself in my future postings for sure!
And there you have it. You’re all caught up! I felt the need to clarify this new perspective I have before writing anything informative through it. I hope y’all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy living it!