A New Chapter

It’s not easy to start over. Especially when you’ve been working towards one goal for a long time. In my last blog post I talked about my struggle with depression, and the health struggles that went along with that.

Suffering from depression and anxiety doesn’t mean you’re crazy. It doesn’t mean you’re just having a bad day. It’s a condition that’s hard to explain, and embarrassing to share. In fact, I would be surprised if many people knew that I was struggling.

FullSizeRender-2I was on track with my career path, a young TV news producer who had already made it to the 4th largest market in the country. I was learning how to function at a new station, in a new city, with much different hours. That’s when it happened. When I really started going downhill. Talking about it made me feel weak. I now know that I’m stronger for talking about it, and the more I do, the better I feel. I took leave from work for 5 months, to deal with the depression, the anxiety and a lot of the physical symptoms (migraines, feeling sick to my stomach, stomach pains, extreme fatigue) that came along with it.

I intended on going back, but then I took a new leap. After speaking with my doctors and deciding what would be the best course of action, I resigned. It’s heartbreaking, ending (for now) a career I had worked so hard to cultivate. But depression isn’t like breaking your leg. It doesn’t just heal. Even when you’re feeling better, it can be amazingly easy to fall back into it. And if I can help it, I don’t ever want to feel the pains of a panic attack again. So the best thing for me is to take a step away, work on some lower stress projects, and focus on growing.

IMG_1614So here’s my new chapter. I’m freelancing. I’ve already landed two separate reoccurring jobs. One writing for a blog that focuses on weddings, and the other creating marketing materials for a start-up real estate company. I may not be making as much money as I was, but for now I can live a little more modestly. And It’s nice to have projects where I can work on my own schedule. I also can make sure I’m exercising, getting outside and taking time to relax.

I’m excited for my new chapter, and a little afraid, but I know this will be a really great journey.

Advertisements

“If We Were Having Coffee”- Where I’ve Been

I may be a little late to the party… But I recently read about. New trend called #weekendcoffeedate where bloggers share what they’d tell their readers over a cup of coffee. Now I know I don’t have a huge following… But I think it was important to me to finally talk to my friends about where I’ve been, and why I stopped posting for awhile. So here we go…

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that the past year has been the hardest of my life. It wasn’t the move to a new city or a new job (although the stressful news environment doesn’t help). I’ve been fighting depression and an anxiety disorder. I’ve been struggling for awhile… but this fall it finally boiled over. I tried to hide panic attacks that hit during work, or when I was out with friends. In the end I was having some pretty severe physical symptoms associated with it. All of this forced me to take medical leave from work… A move that’s been incredibly embarrassing, especially when people ask me what’s wrong.

I am so lucky to have a fantastic team of family, friends and doctors who’ve supported me along the way. I couldn’t have done it without them. Still… many people who are very important to me had no idea. It makes me feel weak for talking about it. People say I’m brave for taking care of myself and recognizing that I needed help, but in reality I feel like I’m disappointing everyone: my friends who I flake on because I’m having a bad day, my family because they worry about me and my co-workers because they’re short-staffed while I get better. I know I need to focus on myself but it’s hard.

This fight has turned cooking, once a source of joy, into a chore. I barely want to make a microwaveable meal for myself, let alone think of new blog posts. I’m trying my hardest to recover… To get better. To return to work. To find joy again.

The good days are getting a little more frequent. That could be a result of spring… But I hope it means I’m starting to pull myself out of it. I have a long way to go, but I’m trying, and I refuse to give up.

Thanks for listening. (Or reading I guess)

Two Pumpkin Muffin Recipes

I am one of those people who are apumpkin muffins little obsessed with pumpkin during fall… (yes, I’ve already had a pumpkin spice latte this year) so expect a few pumpkin recipes. I love baked goods with pumpkin, but if you’ve ever tried to grab a pumpkin scone from Starbucks… you know it is insanely high in calories. So I made two pumpkin muffin recipes. They have the same base recipe but each have their own twist.

——————————————————————————————————————–

chocolate chip pumpkin muffin closeFor chocolate lovers I made Low-Calorie Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins.

They’re only 110 calories per muffin (granted they are on the smaller side) and satisfy a great chocolate craving.

——————————————————————————————————————–

almond pumpkin muffin closeThe second is Low-Calorie Honey Almond Pumpkin Muffins.

These are only 85 calories each, and i love the drizzle of honey on the top.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Really I recommend make your own twist too! Use the basic recipe for the pumpkin muffin, and mix in whatever you’d like!

GET READY FOR MORE PUMPKIN RECIPES!!!!!

Great Recipes For Summer!

I want to start off by saying I’m sorry. I’ve really dropped the ball when it comes to posting lately. What can I say? I’ve been enjoying the summer- and of course summer food.

I just went with my mom to a farm stand outside of Baltimore, and I got some great produce!

  • watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Green Beans
  • Cantaloupe
  • Fresh basil (this is actually from my mom’s garden)

There’s a ton of great stuff out there. So now I’ve been struck with a bit of inspiration, and I’m ready to share some great summer recipes. Some of these are new- some are older but still great for summer!

IMG_1918 Summer Bruschetta 

IMG_1904 Zucchini Pasta w/ Old Bay Shrimp, Heirloom Tomatoes & Fresh Corn

watermelon basil w border Watermelon & Basil Summer Slush

IMG_1791 Green Pea & Avocado Soup

Image-1(2) Healthy “Fried” Fish Tacos w/ Jalapeno-Lime Vinaigrette

froyo with border Quick & Easy Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Get cooking and check out your local farmers’ market for some great ideas and seasonal veggies!

The Struggle

I find most diet and weight loss articles frustrating. Not because of their information, but because they make it seem like it’s such an easy process! “Just drink more water,” “cut out simple carbs,” and “use smaller plates to trick your brain about portion sizes” are just some of the common phrases and bits of advice you come across. But for so many people (like myself) KNOWING WHAT TO DO isn’t the issue. Many people know stress or our work environment can cause overeating, but it’s not like I can just quit my job or wish the doughnut shop in our building away. (Seriously we have a Dunkin Donuts in our building. It’s awesome and awful at the same time.)

The television, internet blogs and social media flood our senses with how easy it is to lose weight. (see: #transformationtuesday) But for me it’s not easy. I’m writing this blog, and having really great progress.. but I can honestly say the last week has been a struggle. I’ve been under a lot of stress, and as a result, my diet has suffered. I know I shouldn’t be eating the things I have been, but some days I can’t quite stop myself.

Sometimes relapses happen. Sometimes we have stretches where we don’t eat what we should. I don’t want anyone to feel bad because they don’t have the perfect before/after photo in two weeks. I know having a bad day can make you feel like a failure. Becoming healthier is a journey, and what’s important is how you bounce back.

I’m not going to give up. I’ve hit a road bump, but part of finding out what works for you… is finding out what DOESN’T work for you. Maybe this whole post seems cheesy. I was personally struggling with eating well, and wanted other people to know that even for someone writing about healthy food, it isn’t easy.

So keep up the good work! I know I will.

Kara

Getting Healthy

I am not by nature, a person who loves to exercise. I enjoy doing active things, like hiking, playing sports and my occasional yoga class…. but getting several workouts in during a wee614423_10151205567412667_984806910_ok is a challenge. I have a high-stress job, and when I’m tired (which I am 90% of the time), I’d rather just be on my couch with some ice cream. So what is it that motivates me? I’m very competitive. If I sign up for a race, I’ll get to the point where I can run it. This method has somehow gotten me to the point where I can at least run a 5K without a ton of effort. I do enjoy yoga. I currently take a hot Vinyasa class in my neighborhood, and they don’t mess around. And while yoga is a lifelong practice, it makes me want to work harder every time I go. These small things, combined with one small gadget is a big reason I’ve been successful.

Cue my fitness tracker. I know many people who use a fitbit… At the moment I’m using Jawbone’s UP24. I love this thing. It hones in on my competitive nature…. and exploits my love of food.

I filled out a bit of information about me on the iPhone app, anIMG_1585d it created a plan. If i didn’t move a muscle all day… i could eat roughly 1,200 calories. (using my current plan. It will vary for everyone) But, every single step I take throughout the day counts. Your goal is 10,000 steps. I don’t reach it every day, but even if I walk 1,000 steps, it counts extra calories for the day. If I have a really intense yoga class, it could add hundreds of calories a day. It’s showing me a direct link between burning/consuming calories. And yes… I know this is common sense. Of course the more you exercise, the more calories you burn. This is Health 101. But seeing it visually made a big difference for me. I work in television, visual mediums work a lot better for me.

The tracker also appeals to my competitive nature through it’s “Today I Will” goals. “Try to get to bed at x time,” “take 1,000 extra steps today,” “you’ll beat your monthly average if you take a 9 minute walk.” All of these things, little motivations, and feeling like I’m exceeding someone’s expectations of me, (I realize its a little computer… but still) keep me going. And no, not every day is a win. Some days I go all out and watch movies and eat Ben & Jerry’s until I can’t move anymore. But every day feels like a new day.

This may not b325241_10151178966082667_362257535_oe the method that works for you. I’m not telling anyone to go out and buy anything. This is what’s kept me on track. But I have several friends that use Weight Watchers, or just count calories. Some people naturally like to exercise more, and they don’t need the same motivation. Hot sauce gives me endorphins… I’m just waiting for running to do the same.

Everyone always says it… but it took a long time for me to listen. Just go out and find something you like to do. Maybe it’s just walking to lunch with a friend instead of driving (if you can), or trying a new sport or activity. I really like hiking, and I’m going to try and do it more this summer. (If you’re in the Philadelphia area and want to go hiking let me know! I’m looking for people to go with haha.)

Just keep going. I’m not a fitness expert. I’m not a nutrition coach. I am a normal person who loves food too much and struggles with exercise. So I know, everyone can find something that works… even if it’s something small.