Monthly Archives: May 2016

#Transformation Tuesday: Ups and Downs

Here we are, back for another edition of #TransformationTuesday.


When we left off, I was leaving for a summer in DC. DC was wonderful. We all know how I fell in love with the city. I also fell in love with the fitness community. I joined a running group, found a great Crossfit box, had a blast with November Project, and trained for another half marathon. (I’m currently having major DC nostalgia so finding pictures from this is bringing it all back!)

I cooked for myself, and was able to make healthier meals. Between that and running, I dropped about 10 lbs.



I returned from DC sad to go, but feeling happy and fitter.

So if you’re keeping track, we’re probably +15ish from entering college, but pretty fit.

That fall, I felt like I was finally finding balance. It was easier for me to stay sane and eat healthy foods, but I still had the desire to go try and get back to “the project” and cut out sugar/processed foods. When I did that, I felt great, but at the same time, I felt like I was always on the edge of failing and going back to eating lots of junk food. IMG_0172

During the holidays, I gained a few pounds, like one does. It didn’t completely tear me up, but I felt like I was slowing down in my workouts. I just assumed the higher weight was where I would always be. IMG_0154

At the same time, I still didn’t feel like myself.

Come January, I briefly started to get healthier. I was busy with classes I enjoyed, and had a decent social life along with that, so food was less of a focus and it got easier to eat healthier. At the same time, I also got really sick. This was the start of a long journey with what I now know to be gastroparesis, but also probably some type of ulcer type of deal. I felt dizzy and nauseated a lot of the time. I didn’t understand it, and felt helpless because I felt like it was linked to what I was eating but I didn’t know how to control it.


Between eating healthier before being sick and being sick, I lost the weight I had gained over the holidays and despite feeling sick all the time, I did feel better with my body.

About halfway through spring quarter, s*** sort of hit the fan. My body was going crazy with the illness, I had such a feeling of helplessness, and I had some additional life stressors. Suddenly, my eating was out of control. I would eat rice cake after rice cake; I couldn’t stop from overeating at the dining hall; I ate large amounts of homemade granola bars (oats+earth balance+maple syrup or brown rice syrup. It’s actually crazy delicious, FYI).


I managed to gain 10 lbs in 4 weeks, putting gem at my all time heaviest.


(But how adorable is baby Chloe???)

IMG_2685 IMG_2750

(Note that this is entirely an excuse for baby Chloe.)

I was so desperate, I even met with a nutritionist for some guidance. I actually didn’t stick with her advice for more than a few weeks, but in retrospect her advice was probably the worst thing for my then-undiagnosed stomach condition, which she couldn’t have known.

The summer was a bit of a grind with my job. I loved it, but it was a difficult adjustment getting used to working irregular hours and long days. I gained a few more pounds, putting me at my highest weight ever, and well into an overweight BMI. IMG_3216

Over the course of 3 years, I was now 30 pounds heavier than when I entered college. That summer, my eating wasn’t as crazy out of control as the last month of spring, but I was probably chronically overeating, enough to put on a few pounds.


Right before IDEAWorld in July, things started to shift. I started eating a little healthier, and had a blast at IDEA. Plus 3 workouts a day didn’t hurt! I felt like myself again at that conference. The exercise, the passion for fitness. By the end of the summer, I had lost about 5 of those pounds.


And we’ll leave off there. Next week, the big changes will come, starting with a trip to Hawaii, and taking us through to today.

Feels Like Summer

After a particularly cold and wet spring, with temperatures climbing to the 80s, it feels like summer!

And if we’re being honest…it feels really hard to keep pushing through with classes!

On Wednesday, we had a Senior Toast. It was a chance to see our class and drop something in the time capsule, which will buried under our class plaque in the quad and opened in 100 years. My contribution was my Giants ticket from Monday night!


At the toast, there was a chocolate fountain+liquid nitrogen to dip things in! I had a banana covered in chocolate and then frozen in liquid nitrogen.

IMG_7162 IMG_7164

^My God, this is a thing??

Dinner that night was also fabulous. Shrimp risotto, garlic bread (GF), and tomato and cream cheese jam.


I actually had a little bit of a rough time after that chocolate. I felt it in my heart (I’m crazy caffeine sensitive), and couldn’t fall asleep for a while.

This week was rough on my stomach, with some high fat items and the chocolate. I’ve just been craving fruits and veggies to get that out of my system!


Also: still cat sitting! Boot goings cat sitting?

IMG_7171 IMG_7173

Thursday evening I went to a spin class, and on the drive back I had a really strong feeling that something bad was going to happen. I was really concerned, until I realized my heart was racing from the chocolate. Chocolate sometimes gives me really bad anxiety the next day (presumably from the caffeine). I also now understand the heart attack symptom that is “an overwhelming sense of doom.”

Thursday night, the boot took on the last senior night of the year! It was crazy crowded, but I still enjoyed seeing everyone!

IMG_7177 IMG_7178

Friday, after class, I was looking forward to a low-key evening.

I started my morning with some Blogilates videos: I think I did Extreme Abs, and then an oblique focused one? I took the workout to a local park/grassy spot and got drenched on the dewy grass. Luckily, Friday was the first time the weather was really starting to warm up, so I decided to just embrace it!

Dinner was pretty delicious. It was steak, but since that’s not my thing I grabbed some leftover teriyaki salmon from the fridge. Our chef seriously makes the best salmon! He also made a giant GF chocolate cake, which was crazy rich or chocolately, so I was able to enjoy it without the sense of impending doom! The frosting was really light, almost whipped.


I spent the night watching my friend’s dance performance, and then having a very long conversation about alternative medicine with my roommate. As a scientist, I have to give it the side-eye, but I am trying to keep an open mind, because there still are a lot of things we don’t know or understand yet. I told her the only reason I was able to buy some of the things we were talking about is that our universe is 70% dark energy, and we have no clue what that is, so it’s theoretically possible that plays a role. #biomajor

I actually went to bed far later than planned, but was up for a morning spin class. It was nice to get my sweat on to start the day. Even nicer? I stopped by the farmer’s market on the way back and picked on lots of fresh summer produce! I’m ready to embrace it with open arms.

Lunch after spin was a nectarine+a tortilla pizza with shrimp, salad, and half a slice of cake.


The main event of the day was the last Stanford baseball game of the season! I’ve really enjoyed going to games this year, and I’m sad to see the season ending.

IMG_7193 IMG_7194 IMG_7199

It was a bit of a scorcher. I’m glad I decided to wear a hat! There was no shade or breeze for most of the game, and I just sat there roasting and sweating.

As for the game, it was 0-0 until the 6th or 7th, and they drew the first blood was a 1-0 lead. We took the lead in the 7th, with back to back home runs, and held on to win 3-1.


My gosh, I love baseball.

After the game, I wasn’t ready to shower for an event tonight because I didn’t want start sweating once I was clean, so my roommate and I went out for a little drive, with the top down. It was the perfect day for it! We blasted music and enjoyed the scenery. One of my favorite things to listen to is a set of medleys by Anthem Lights. They have best of 2015, 2012, etc. The best of 2013 brings back all the freshman year feels. Jeez!

And with that, I’m actually off to a freshman dorm reunion tonight! Crazy how fast these 4 years have passed.

What are you looking forward to this summer?

Just a Normal Blog Post+Boot Goes to the Giants Game

Hello! I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve done a normal day-to-day blog post, not a weekend recap, #transformationtuesday, or WIAW.

I currently have an hour before I need to leave for spin. I was SO tired today (progressive lack of sleep), so I left my last class halfway through to take a nap (the lecture is recorded so I just have to make that up) before teaching spin. When I got back, both my roommates were napping as well. I was woken up 2x in 20 minutes by my roommate’s alarm before I gave up. I needed that sleep! I left class early for that sleep! Argh. I hate snooze. I’m always up before my roommates, but I know one of them is a big snoozer. If I was still asleep, that would drive me crazy, to be woken up multiple times every morning by someone else’s alarm!

Ok. Rant over.

Topics of today’s post: Boot Goes to the Giant’s Game, today’s happenings, make-up food pictures.

Monday night, I went to the Giant’s game with my mom!IMG_7126 IMG_7134

I absolutely love SF. The Giants stadium has the best food. A few years ago, they opened up a garden area in centerfield, complete with avocado trees. Here’s a shot with the boot+avocado tree:


Plus, they have tons of gourmet and veggie filled options, including GF flatbread.

IMG_7133 IMG_7138

I got the cauliflower flatbread (insanely delicious. Truffle=life.) And my mom and I split a salad.


I thought a ballgame would be the biggest boot challenge thus far, but it was totally fine. I took the elevator for the biggest set of stairs, and apparently the boot moves well on really hard cement ground.

Most importantly, my mom and I shared a Ghiradelli hot fudge sundae.


This is everything.

The game was a pitcher’s duel. Our pitcher pitched 9 shutout innings, and we won with a walk-off error/bloop/it wasn’t pretty with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. We actually left an inning early to avoid the crowds leaving, so we missed it. Amazing night though!

Back to today. Since I haven’t done a lot of day to day blogging, my foot friendly workouts have also been left off the blog.

Wednesdays are my gym workout days. Enjoy my totally technical descriptions of exercises and machines. Today, I did seated cable rows (4 sets of 10 at 70-85#) alternated with seated dumbbell presses, using 25# dumbbells.

Then, I did some leg machines. One that I really like is the one where you’re sitting down and you press your legs in. I did 5ish sets of that around 170#, alternated with some of the machine that looks similar but you press your legs apart.

Then I did a few BOSU ab moves. Crunches on the BOSU, and then side crunches.

It’s amazing how I’ve managed to actually get stronger and am regularly sore with this injury. My core has gotten pretty strong as well. Yesterday afternoon, I did a couple of Blogilates videos—Abs on Fire and Brutal Booty. I’m sore from that second one—definitely not a normal movement for me!

Post workout breakfast was 2% plain Greek yogurt with blueberries and raspberry chia KIND granola, plus a mango.


Sadly, my stomach didn’t appreciate the fat content of the crab cakes last night and I dealt with a mini flare afterwards. I woke up feeling fine but not in the mood for fats!

Also, I’ve been craving more plants lately. I’m not sure if it’s the warmer weather, but fruits and veggies have been far more appealing than dairy or meat as of late, so I’m rolling with it!

I had to shift my schedule 30 minutes earlier today to take care of my sister’s sweet cat while she’s out of town. He’s on meds (he’s been dealing with upper respiratory stuff since she adopted him months ago), so I have to go over 2x a day.

IMG_7157 IMG_7158

I know, we’re so cute.

I ran to my morning class after that. Then lunch! Continuing the plant based trend. We had a lot of leftover salad from Monday night, and it held up really well! I had that with some leftover roasted sweet potatoes from last night’s dinner.


This afternoon also marked the grand finale of my squirrel project! I presented my project in class today. I still have to do a final research paper on it, but this was the bulk of the preparation!

After another hour of class, here we are! Now that we’ve gotten that all squared away, here are some catch up meals.


BBQ chicken, baked potato, roasted corn, green beans. I really like baked potatoes, but I kept missing the dinners where we would have them!


Breakfast: fruit+yogurt with sunbutter and reduced sugar blueberry jam from Trader Joe’s. I’m a big fan of it!


Another mostly plant based meal from last week. Sweet potatoes, fruit, salad, and some rice and beans.


I’m not a huge pasta person, so sometimes if I can swing it, I throw my pasta sauce+cheese over lettuce. Plus a GF brownie in the back there!


Lunch of sweet potatoes and roasted veggies. I’m pretty sure I had something else with this. Seeing a theme here?

And here we are, all caught up! I have a bit of a long night ahead of me. After teaching spin, I have to sprint back, eat, and clean myself up to be presentable (all in 30 minutes) for a senior toast. My school also does a time capsule every year, which get’s buried under a plaque for our class in the quad, so that’s happening tonight as well!

Are you a snooze person?

WIAW: Senior vs Sophomore

Welcome to another WIAW! Once again in honor of my #TransformationTuesday series, I’m doing another Then vs Now WIAW, this week throwing it back to sophomore year. Here’s the original.




Half a protein bar and some dates



Pumpkin banana bread. Nearing the end of my freezer stash! Plus a couple of tortilla chips.



IMG_4719 IMG_4720 IMG_4721

A cappuccino (sleep deprivation was real), a chocolate Kashi soft baked granola bar, and lots of dried mango.



Fage whole milk Greek yogurt with a little bit of raspberry KIND granola, and a mango. And a tortilla chip.




Tupperware salad with goat cheese, hard boiled egg, and hummus. (Still love this combo.)



Pasta with puttnesca sauce, artichoke salad, greens, marinated eggplant, and muscles. I accidentally got too much past so I split it up and stuck with the bottom pile. Plus fruit.


Afternoon Snack



Pumpkin Bread from a cafe on campus.



Eggplant, fruit, kettle corn rice cake with whipped strawberry cream cheese. Plus a piece of dried mango and a chocolate.





Peach, chicken, an goat cheese salad.



Watermelon salad, crab cake, gluten free cornbread with butter and honey, and roasted sweet potatoes.




Some of these homemade granola bar concoctions. “2 T sunflower seed butter and 2 T brown rice syrup, 1/2 c applesauce., vanilla extract and cinnamon, 2 packets of instant oatmeal (or 1.5 c oats), 2 T chia seeds, handful coconut flakes, 1 egg, chopped date and mango.”


A piece of dried mango, and another crab cake.

Not going to lie…the eats of two-year-ago-Aurora looks pretty delicious!

My favorite question: best thing you ate this week?

#TransformationTuesday Part 2: The Worst Thing I Could Have Done for My Health

Hello, hello! As promised, here we are again a week later, back for part two of my #TransformationTuesday series. (See part 1 here.)


And so starts my journey into sophomore year. I spent the summer prior finding balance again after a crazy freshman year. I honestly needed that summer to reset. I found my fitness again too: I ran my first half marathon, and started Crossfit! I felt far more sane.

That fall I felt in a better place. I was +15 from freshman year, but I felt more comfortable in my skin and was far fitter than the end of freshman year. That fall, I ate ALL THE PUMPKIN. It’s actually ridiculous.

1379758_4876095399653_493206050_n IMG_4522

I actually didn’t eat much in the dining hall then either, because we had norovirus strike, and I wanted no part of that.

At the same time, I was crazy stressed with school. That was by fall the hardest and most demoralizing time of my life, and I was drowning. I took far too hard a quarter, and definitely doubted whether I should even be here. Food was not the first thing on my mind. I actually remember being so stressed I had to force feed myself raisins because I knew I needed SOMETHING.


Despite the academic stress, I did feel more secure in who I was than freshman year, and who my friends were. This helped immensely.

During this time, I was still wrestling with good/bad foods. I wanted to try to restrict sugar, but that often made me crazy, going between no sugar/lots of sugar. In general, sugar does affect how I feel physically a lot. IMG_4632 IMG_4888

(This pumpkin bread was amazing and I ate the whole loaf post-half marathon when the runger was real. No regrets about that. Necessary.)

IMG_5349 IMG_5330

Summary: fall, I was eating better and feeling better.

After the holidays, like anyone, I was feeling a little heavier and gross. I felt my eating habits were slipping.

And then I embarked on a healthy living journey that turned out to be the worst possible thing I could do for my health.

The Project.

In theory, it seemed like a fantastic plan for my health. I embarked on 4 weeks of no processed food, including processed sugars (dates were allowed, but that was it). I am still a big proponent of a whole foods, low sugar diet. And the time I was on the project did transform my health. My physical health, that is. I did honestly feel great. But at the same time, it made me an anxious mess.

IMG_0001 IMG_6343

I was in a constant state of restriction. I started to get really bad anxiety, like nothing I have felt in my life. After the first week, I cheated and had some dessert (not a crazy amount, mind you). That evening into the next morning, I was insanely anxious, so much so that I had to call in sick to leading quidditch conditioning because I needed a run to burn off some of the energy, and that was the only thing that made me feel better.


Found my love for roasted carrots. <3

Finally, 3 weeks into the challenge I couldn’t do it anymore, and when a delicious ice cream sandwich was presented to me, I gave up.


And then the next months became a sugar bender. That extreme restriction had made me a mess (theme of sophomore year, I suppose), and feeling gross while watching my body transform made it even worse. In a few short months, I was almost +15 from the end of The Project.

SophTTIMG_7871 IMG_7872

Once again, I lost my control and my balance. When I arrived in DC that summer, I was +25 from pre-college.

One key thing I want to talk about here is what went wrong, and what’s different now. Then, when I was feeling a little unhealthy, I would immediately try to slash food and sweets, and it usually backfired. Even if I was “doing well,” I still felt like I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and the cycle to start over again.

Now, things are different. The last time I was feeling a little gross, a little puffy, I made the conscious decision not to revert to old habits and cut things out. Instead, I decided to focus on adding things in: making an intentional effort to eat more fruits and veggies. And that approach made all the difference. Sometimes I hear people talk about cutting out sugar for x period of time, and honestly, I can’t listen to it anymore. I have to walk away. That was so much my tendency for so long, and it would be so easy to slip into these habits. But where I am now, I’m happy and healthy without doing that. I want to keep doing what I’m doing, and not let other influence this lifestyle I’ve built for myself. I know if I let myself get back into that cycle, it would be all bad again.

Also, I know with this series I’m being sort of vague about what’s changed, but that will be at the end of the series! I promise it’s nothing drastic though. Mainly a shift in mindset!