Whole30: The Last Day

Ok guys.

A lot has happened since I last posted, mainly that the world is going to shit. Schools are closed, people are working from home, and everyone is watching Frozen 2 on loop. We’re definitely headed into the unknown…amirite?!

And now, today’s the last day, you guys!!! It’s Day 30 of the Whole-fuckin-30. I definitely hit a groove somewhere in there and started to eat and make my food choices without much thought. Now, I get up in the morning and make my eggs like I’ve been doing it always.

But here’s the thing. It’s not really over, because now I have to reintroduce all them non-whole30 foods the proper way because I want to see what makes my body angry or this was all for nothing. Tomorrow, I get legumes. I plan to smother my face in peanut butter as soon as I’m conscious. Then it’s non-gluten grains, followed by my personal fave, DAIRY, and lastly, gluten. We’ll see how the next 10 days plays out.

Top two things I definitely missed: ice cream and crunchy things to add texture to meals, like chips and crackers.

Surprising things: I didn’t get sick of eggs! I still really like them. Also, I think I actually prefer almond butter to peanut. I guess I’ll know for sure tomorrow.

The hardest part: Not partaking in alcohol and sweets in social settings. Emphasis on social. I have willpower for days, and the principle of out of sight, out of mind totally applies to me regarding food, but when I’m around all these other people who are having yummy sangria and frickin gooey rice crispy treats, I tends to get a little more than a little grumpy.

Another thing that made this hard is that I came down with a nasty sinus infection last week (which I’m still fighting, grumble), and being sick makes everything harder. It makes you tired, it makes you grumpy, and it makes you reach for the comfort food. Forever the stubborn rule follower, I stuck to my guns because I wanted to say I did this the right way.

HOWEVER.

I did not deny myself some sweet, sweet NyQuil that is actually 10% alcohol, which I confirmed after ingestion. Having a shot before bed after being sober for 25 days was like my own personal party! #noregrets

So. Congrats to me in about…5 hours when I go to bed…for successfully completing Whole30!

But honestly, the real celebration will be a week from now when I finally get to have my ice cold, sweet, fatty, smooth deliciousness. Hopefully, it’ll actually be there in grocery stores when it’s time for me to have it. Fingers crossed.

Whole30: Whisper-screaming

I don’t know what happened, you guys.

My tiger blood packed it up and left town (along with the great weather we were having), leaving me feeling super cranky, tired, and rundown. I’ve been needing naps and craving sugar.

Rawr.

On Monday, not only did I have my annual GYN/cancer check up, but I also had a headache. (On the upside, everything came back normal!!) Oh yeah, and speaking of my ladybits, my hormones decided to start the flow right around here because their timing is impeccable.

Last night I had my regularly scheduled yoga, and so I screamed out of the house as soon as my husband got home. It definitely made me feel a bit better and took the edge off; the yoga helped too. I tried my hardest to get to bed early last night, but night terrors prevented that. Yaaay.

And get this- last night I had my first food dream since this whole shindig started. I dreamed that I was at a bar with M (my Whole30 friend/coach/guru/emotional punching bag), and we ordered croissants and beers. It was loud, dark, and I had forgotten about the diet. Halfway through my dreamy snack, I looked down and, through the haze, realized with a jolt what I had done. OH SHIT! I screamed. M, WE CAN’T HAVE THESE!! She shrugged and kept eating. Thanks a lot for your subconscious dream abandonment.

I woke up with tension in my jaw, a clear sign that my body is trying to grind my neuroses between my teeth again.

So today, in an effort to turn things around, I went to the gym and did some good rage workouts. You know, the loud music, grimacing, and whisper-screaming obscenities to no one and everyone in particular. It definitely helped. Aaand today’s weather isn’t horrible.

I’m trying my best, you guys, but this is definitely starting to get old, like my eggs.

Whole30: To the kind soul who finds this

Dear Diary, or to the kind soul who finds this,

It’s Day 15 in this dark place. I wonder when I’ll see the end? Sometimes I think my punishment will never end.

I feel pretty accomplished, surviving in this strange place, with a huge credit to my husband on the outside who has courageously smuggled in compliant dinners.

My captors allowed me to eat out a few times and but forced me to make substitutions and special requests. I longed to cry out for help to the waitress, but I was threatened with punishment upon our return. At one point I was brought to a bowling alley that sold fried foods as another twisted means of torture and I ended up begging to be put out of my misery, to no avail. I was present at a gathering where I was offered pizza. and. cake. but I knew of the unsaid consequences if I were to succumb to temptation in a moment of weakness. Only strength will get me through. And hope. One day at a time.

My time here has reminded me of being pregnant, oddly. My sense of smell has become superhuman. Halfway down the dungeon stairs I breathed in, and with my exhale I moaned, “THOSE MARSHMALLOWS HAD BETTER BE GONE BY THE TIME I GET DOWN.” Sometimes, the captive start to sound like the captors.

I’m still craving the sweet flavors of home, mainly in the dark of night. Some days are better than others, but I find being given permission to eat something -anything compliant- does the trick to distract my body from its woes and the craving passes.

I should be drinking more water. I’m being given my ration, but I long for something different.

My biggest concern for the second half of my sentence is the shackles of food boredom. I’m trying to keep my spirits up by finding ways to make my meager breakfast more interesting. Even the slightest new taste can do the trick; I plan to beg for fruits I don’t often have. With luck I’ll be shown some mercy.

Sometimes I sense that my time here is melting away my humanity. Have you seen that movie, Lord of the Rings? Do you remember when Bilbo saw the ring again after he hadn’t seen it, or held it, caressed it, in a long time? The greedy monster inside him contorted on his face for just a fraction of a second. That’s how I feel when I see my captors eating ice cream right in front of me. The preciousss.

Another day, gone.

If you should find this, please leave a message of hope in its place.

I’m going to need it.

Welcome to the Jungle

Today is Day 13 and I feel greeeaaattt. (If anyone else remembers and loves this commercial as much as I do – you are my people.)

So far, I haven’t been progressing through the Whole30 prescribed schedule, but I’ve more or less been experiencing it in broad strokes.

I felt the hangover and on and off for a week I felt some yucky bloating, but the last 2.5 days it’s mostly given way to TIGER BLOOD.

I actually feel almost manic, which, for me, is alllllmost to the point of uncomfortable. I have more energy and I feel more alert. It also feels like my body and brain are buzzing and I’m having a flight of thoughts (not quite racing). When I feel manic like that, like I’ve drank a pot of coffee, it ironically makes me want to nap. That said, I am definitely enjoying the lack of sluggishness!

In addition, not last night but the three nights prior, I’ve been having incredibly intense dreams. They haven’t been scary nightmares, but they’ve all had dystopian/survival themes with extremely vivid sensations and detail. The kind where I’ve woken up and my body was still rigid and my heart was racing, and each time I’d have no trouble getting back to sleep and having yet another death-defying sequence. In one dream, my family was preparing for some kind of disaster and so I was rushing around with my kids making all these arrangements, packing up and getting ready to leave. In the most intense one, my husband and I were staying in this castle/mansion high on an ocean cliff that felt like Scotland. We had about 15 minutes warning for a tsunami. We were located on the highest ground as far as we could see and we had no time to go anywhere, so we sheltered in place. We closed all the doors in an effort to create as many barriers as possible. I felt the air pressure change and heard the loudest roar ever and then all at once the entire room was full of water. I woke up heart pounding. Crazy!

I’ve also really been enjoying my new ritual of making my breakfast every morning, new for me since I don’t normally cook. Pouring the olive oil in the pan. The click of the gas stove. Cracking the eggs. Shaking the salt and pepper. Scooping the avocado. Washing the blueberries. Glooping the almond butter. (I totally get that this sounds like I’ve gone off the deep end and drunk the Whole30 koolaid (not compliant)). The downside is that all this takes more time in the mornings (and non-tiger-blood me is not a morning person), but I am enjoying this new way in which I take care of myself.

As I move through this process, I’m starting to think about which habits I’d like to keep, and to what extent. I’ll for sure add some stuff back in, depending on the results of how certain food groups make me feel, but I definitely want to continue to go easier on the carbs and cook myself some egg deliciousness more often. I’ve gotten great at making the perfect over-medium fried egg!

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Whole30: I miss cookies

Here’s how conversations go now that I’m doing Whole30 (inner monologue is in brackets, because I’m normal and have a constant inner monologue like every human rightfully should. Also, like Joe from You because he’s witty and not at all creepy):

Mom acquaintance at school pickup: Hey, how’s it going?

[I’m on Whole30. It’s day 5. I miss cookies.]

Me: Pretty good! How are you? [I’m normal! Act normal.]

Mom: Doing good, feeling tired. What’s new with you?

Me: Oh, nothing. I’m doing Whole30. [smile!]

Mom: Oh, cool! How’s it going?

[Help me. Do you have any chocolate? I won’t tell.]

Me: Surprisingly well, actually. I feel good, just starting to get cravings at night after the kids go to bed. [It’s like a sugar booty call and I can’t get to the phone.]

Mom: Ah. Well, good luck with everything!

[I’m gonna need more than luck, but ok.]

Me: Thanks! [run away.]


Also, it’s interesting how food and diets and programs like this shine a light on one’s personality. What I mean is that I’ve always been a rule follower. I like rules; they make me feel safe and alive. I tend to follow them to the letter. And well, I’ve found out that my Whole30 food guru leader, M, is a little more lax than I thought. Observe our text conversations that may or may not have been embellished for my pleasure.

Me: Soooo, you can’t have hummus, right? They’re legumes?

M: Oh. Technically that’s right, but they’re my cheat thing.

Me: Oooh, got it.

(later on)

M: Lookit this pic of this super tasty Whole30 meat bowl explosion at Chipotle!

[includes pic of a super tasty-looking bowl of food- but wait!]

Me: Looks yummy! But uhh…is that corn? Corn isn’t compliant.

M: Corn is a vegetable!

Me, unable to tell if she’s joking: Corn is a grain. It’s against the rules.

M: It’s ok. Everything is ok. Breathe.

Me: But, but…how many cheat things do you have? You’re supposed to guide me on this journey. This is such a violation of my expectations! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?!

M: Eat what you want, lady. Your goals on this are different than mine. Breathe.

Me: [hyperventilating]

 

Whole30 Day 3 Update

Knock on wood, buuuuut I’m seriously feeling a lot better than I thought I would at this point.

I expected to feel like complete shit by now, based on what the book says and based on what everyone else has said, and also based on the fact that I’m addicted to sugar and prone to headaches. It all says that day 3 is shitsville, but I feel…pretty good, actually.

Let me back up.

Day 1, got up early and had some eggs, fruit, and coffee and then headed out in the rain to walk four miles with some ladyfriends. During the last mile or so, I started to get this mildly dizzy headfeeling. It made me need to focus a little harder to maintain balance and it reminded me of a feeling I often had during my second pregnancy.

As that day continued, I developed a mild-to-moderate headache (my threshold is high, mind you, because I’ve been getting migraines for years now), continued to feel dizzy-ish and foggy, and a feeling that I like to call “fragile” (the lightheaded pregnancy feeling). In the afternoon, I sat down to read and started to feel really low energy and sleepy…so I took a nap. Man, I felt out of it. I got kinda freaked out because I was worried that this was the beginning of feeling like hell for goodness knows how long.

I had a good helping of protein with dinner and felt much better afterward, but my headache returned and stayed overnight. I woke up several times and was still able to get back to sleep, but still felt generally out of it and yucky.

Day 2 I felt much better. My headache went away (I was shocked)! My body promptly decided to void itself of all waste products. And I do mean ALL. Afterward, I felt so light I could fly. I had some twinges of dizzy-ish-ness, but not anything to worry about. I had more energy and didn’t require a nap. I actually also ate out for lunch that day and had a burger sans bun or ketchup (if you know me, you know I worship at the base of Mt. Ketchup) and had salad sans dressing.

Day 3, today, has been even better. I continue to be surprised. I still feel kinda tired, but honestly, I always feel kinda tired so it’s hard to figure out exactly what is the new diet and what is normal momlife.

So far, what I don’t find all that difficult is the willpower part. Neither my husband nor my kids are on this diet with me, so yesterday we all sat together while my husband had a beer and brioche buns on his burger, and my kids had grilled cheese sandwiches. Did that stuff look good? Sure. But was I dying on the inside not getting to eat it? Not really. This is where my stubbornness works in my favor – once I set my mind on a goal, no one ain’t gonna get me to mess it up, least of all myself. To be fair, I haven’t experienced any intense cravings yet. We’ll see if that’s in store for me later.

The following things are aspects I am finding tricky:

  1. Meal planning/cooking/prep

My husband does all this normally. He’s the cook, and so he plans the meals and grocery lists, I add a few things I want or need, and then I do the grocery shopping and get what’s on the list. My husband has been awesome so far in that he’s agreed to make me W30 compliant dinners that I help him plan for if he needs, and then I have to take care of all the other food I’m going to need. I’m not used to planning out meals. Usually, breakfast is cereal and lunch is whatever is lying around because I have kids to drop off or pick up and ain’t nobody got time for that. I’ve had to make a few extra trips to the grocery store (which I haaaate) to make sure I have things on hand that I need or want for breakfast and lunch. Planning ahead and coordinating with my husband are key so I don’t wake up in the morning to find he used all the eggs, for example.

2. Cooking (meat in particular)

I don’t like to cook. I just don’t have the patience for it and I’m not great at it. I don’t enjoy it. I’d rather be doing something else. No doubt, this has contributed to some yucky food habits. More specifically, I haaaate cooking meat. I loathe the feel of raw meat and it spikes my germyphobe-ness. I avoid it at all costs. Clearly, on Whole30 this is a roadblock, so my husband makes big dinners that I can have as leftovers for lunches the next day. If I absolutely have to, I can cook it, but so far I’ve been doing eggs and lunchmeat.

3. Snacking

I was raised in a household where snacking was often prohibited. You’ll ruin your dinner! I remember snacking being ok while watching sports, while going fishing, and while on vacation. Otherwise, not so much. When I was pregnant, I had to force myself to snack. There were a few times I got myself into trouble because I was in public and feeling lightheaded and shaky because I didn’t have enough in my system. On this diet, I’ve made myself a trail mix of sorts and I plan to carry it around with me everywhere, just in case.

4. Eating off my kids’ plates

Another value instilled in me growing up was to not waste food, ever. We don’t throw away food in my house unless it’s downright unsafe to eat, and even that is negotiable. So when my kid leaves a half-eaten sandwich, I’d either pop it into the fridge or into my mouth. There’s been a few times already when I caught myself about to pop some cereal from their bowl in my mouth, or reach to finish the last bit of their grilled cheese from yesterday. NOOOOPE.

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Also, I’ve been reading food labels like crazy. Here’s a few surprises I’ve come across, both good and bad. To be safe, I just assume that every freaking thing has sugar in it. Dear lord, it’s disgusting. A while back I watched Katie Couric’s documentary on the sugar industry, and I highly recommend it. My rant is this: I have a major sweet tooth, but I’d much rather save it for the good stuff, like ice cream. cake. the occasional soda. I DO NOT want sugar in things I usually eat all day, every day like bread, peanut butter, tomato sauce, cereal, granola bars (which are really candy bars), lunchmeat, etc. YUCK. We’ve had to work hard to find certain products with no sugar added or the least amount possible, even before Whole30.

Good W30 surprise

  • the salsa we usually buy is compliant! I just assumed it must have sugar, but huzzah!

Bad W30 surprises:

  • my freaking gum has soy in it. I can’t even have gum as a stand in for a desserty taste in my mouth. Sigh.
  • most prepackaged lunchmeat has added sugar?! It’s MEAT, why does it need to be sweet? I also never knew bacon had sugar in it. Or beef jerky. I guess I just need to go kill the animal myself. Yeesh.

Ok, I’m done for now. I’m just so glad this isn’t as hard as I thought…so far…knock on wood.

Wish me luck (and continued willpower)!

 

Challenge Accepted, MFers

2020 is my year, bitches.

I’ve taken my extra time away from babies and I’ve surprisingly spent a good chunk of it exercising and shit. I know, I’ve surprised even myself. This morning, I was running around the house in my sports bra, getting the kids ready for school, and my husband first asked this weird half-naked lady with purple hair if she’d seen his wife, and then, upon remembering how hot I am, asked me if I knew where the gun show was. (spoiler alert, I do.)

That’s right. We know how to keep that spark alive.

Ever since my daughter was done breastfeeding and my body became my very own again, I’ve been working to really, truly take care of myself. I’ve had mental health stuff come up. I’ve had a bunch of seemingly random health stuff come up, too. Skin issues, GI issues, chronic acid reflux issues, my ongoing headaches and migraines. I’ve had a few tests done for the GI stuff and the short version is that they can’t find anything physically wrong with me. That leaves me with…my diet. The food-like things I put into my body.

About a year ago I cut out some dairy, but not all. I feel like that has helped some. Not all. I’ve also cut out or reduced a few things that trigger my reflux. So that helps. But not all the way.

Sooooooooo, my dear psychos, I’m taking the plunge. Starting tomorrow, I’m doing Whole 30. Wholey crap. For those of you unfamiliar, Whole 30 is an elimination diet to see how certain food groups affect your body – you eat whole foods for 30 days and then slowly add stuff back in to see what happens. It’s a good way to see if you have any allergies or aversions and junk. Basically, I can have meat, fish, eggs, fruits, veggies, nuts. Nothing else. No added sugar, no soy, no dairy, no legumes, no grains, no alcohol.

This is a big deal for me. I’ve always eaten everything. I don’t have any obvious allergies and I’m generally not a picky eater. I’ve also never been on a special diet before, ever. Unless you count my surgery prep and the stuff I couldn’t eat during pregnancies, I’ve never really restricted myself. And guys, my parents are from the midwest. Dairy is, like, THE most important food group. It’s like how Bubba is with shrimp: there are so many ways you can have cheese. There’s sliced cheese, grated cheese, powdered cheese, melted cheese, blocks of cheese, wheels of cheese. There’s cheese curds and cheesecake. Don’t forget cheesewhiz. I grew up having cows milk with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ice cream almost every night. Dear lord, my body is a temple and it’s never not been worshipped with dairy.

This is going to be interesting, y’all.

Luckily, I have a friend, whom I’ll call M, and she’s done this before and she offered to do it with me now and to be my emotional support animal. Honestly, I don’t think she’s aware of what she signed up for, because when I get hangry, all bets are off. I’ll be texting her in the middle of the night needing a peptalk so I don’t inhale my kids’ Valentines candy in my walk-in closet.

It goes without saying that I plan to blog about this experience as much as I need to and probably more than you all would like. Food is such an emotional thing. We have living, breathing relationships with it because it’s rooted in culture and family and it’s woven into every. single. social. gathering.

I’m treating this like one big experiment, and it’s my goal to remain determined and curious. Although I’m a rule follower to the core, M (dude, when I call you M, it reminds me of that kickass lady from the Bond movies played by Dame Judy Dench. You’re welcome.) kinda gave me permission to bend some small rules so I don’t go absolutely crazy. Like, I may still cook with real butter (I’m just kidding! I don’t cook, my husband does. A word on that later). And I’ll probably have some store-bought mayo (another midwestern food group – you can’t make a salad without it!), but I’m very interested to see how I feel without all that sugar and dairy and grain in my system. I’m looking forward to the poops! Oh, the BMs! I’ve heard the legends and I want to know what secrets lie within…and without.

Advanced thanks to M and to my husband, who has been amazingly supportive so far. He does all the cooking in the house, and he’s been planning meals for me and I know he’s gonna be there to cheer me on this whole way, even when I’ll be tackling him to the ground trying to eat the pasta hanging out of his mouth.

It all starts tomorrow, folks. What’s hilarious is that my mom friends are going out after we walk/jog/run tomorrow morning for coffee and donuts. FUCKING DONUTS ALREADY?!

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Contributing to the Revolution

I took a class on counseling women at Boston College, and during one class session, the professor jokingly and rhetorically asked if any of us (as I recall, this particular class didn’t have any menfolk in it) hadn’t ever been on a diet.  Even though the professor kept talking at that point and didn’t wait for any answers, I quietly raised my hand.  A very short conversation followed, and the vibe that I gathered was that no one believed me, including the professor.

That brings me to the following question: what is a diet?

di·et
1.  food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health: Milk is a wholesome article of diet.
2.  a particular selection of food, especially as designed or prescribed to improve a person’s physical condition or to prevent or treat a disease: a diet low in sugar.
3.  such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight: No pie for me, I’m on a diet.
4.  the foods eaten, as by a particular person or group: The native diet consists of fish and fruit.
5.  food or feed habitually eaten or provided: The rabbits were fed a diet of carrots and lettuce.
(taken from dictionary.com)

So, in some senses of the word, diet is simply what we eat or don’t eat. In that sense, everyone is on a diet because everyone must eat something in order to live.  Of course, my professor was not using the word in this sense, nor do most people use the word in that sense.  The word has come to signify more about what isn’t being eaten rather than what is.

In class, I found that I began to defend myself and the claim I had just made.  I asked my classmates what they considered a diet (in the restrictive sense) was and got no answer.  I said that I make choices everyday about what I will eat and thus what I won’t, just the same as everyone else.
Does that mean I am on a diet?

Sometimes I eat lots of dessert several days in a row and then I choose to not have dessert for a day because of what I ate the previous days.
Is that a diet?

After my grandma died of colon cancer, my mom made a rule that we couldn’t have cereal with less than 1 gram of fiber per serving.
Is that a diet?

I govern my eating habits by guidelines that my parents instilled in me and ones I have adopted on my own.  Examples are having three meals a day, not snacking too close to a mealtime, having a glass of milk with dinner, I could go on.

I often turn down foods that sound good or I choose not to eat something that I might have a craving for, the intention having to do with weight and the way I look.
Does any of this mean that I have been “on a diet?”

Maybe it’s just the way I think about all of this, or the way I don’t think about it.  Not once while growing up did I ever hear about my mom being on a diet, and there was never talk of me being on one.  I don’t have any memories of hearing either of my parents speak derogatorily about their bodies and body images.  And that’s what this post is really about, I suppose.  Body image.  That is what diet: definition 3 is all about anyway.

The goal of a definition 3 diet is about an end result: weight, how you look, but most importantly, how you feel about how you look.  I mean, how you will look and feel (or hope to look and feel) by the time the diet is over.  Everyone’s heard and knows on some level that these kinds of diets don’t work.  And even if they do “work” in terms of weight and how you look, that’s still not a guarantee that you’ll end up feeling the way you want to feel! So why do people keep going on them?  And why did no one in my class believe I had never been on one?  I think the answer is the same for both questions: everyone, especially women, have been taught how to hate our bodies so profoundly that we keep searching, working, covering up, restricting in order to reach an unreachable-by-definition ideal end goal.

One of my clinical supervisors says that the majority of unhappiness comes from people wishing that they were different from what they are, here and now.  I try very hard to remind myself this as often as I can, and I use this concept frequently with my clients.  It is so simple that it sounds ridiculous.  What if you were enough just the way you are?  What if you could feel happy without going on a diet?……without doing ANYTHING except changing the way you think about yourself?

“What I see is that even the most Botoxed, lipo’d, lifted woman cannot conceal herself. If you hate yourself, it shows through every cream and cure there is. Until we stop trying to exorcise our own imperfect selves, driving out normal physical traits as if they were signs of pathology, there will always be some misery in the eyes that nothing can hide.”

In the past few years, my collection of pants and shorts have been growing tight on me, or rather, my body has been growing outward and my pants have stubbornly stayed the same.  I feel horrible every single time I put on those pants.  This past summer, I finally bought a pair of bigger shorts that actually fit me for the me I happened to be at that time.  And you know what?  I felt GREAT!  I felt sexy and cute and GOOD about myself. And nothing had changed about my body. That was the key to this particular issue with myself.  I realized that I was somehow honestly expecting my body to stay the same shape and size it was around…2003.  One day, I just realized how ridiculous this (therapy jargon alert!) distorted belief was.  Of course my body is going to change as I age.  I get to solve the problem by- wait for it- buying clothes that fit instead of trying to get my body back to when I was 20, which will never happen.  And I am actually cool with that.  Does anyone really, truly want to look 20 years old their whole life?  I sure as hell don’t. When I grow up, I wanna be an old woman.

I still have to remind myself about this revelation of mine on a regular basis.  And I still have to buy more pants.  I hope we all get to a place where we’ll actually believe someone when she raises her hand and says she’s never been on a diet (the definition 3 kind).

I’ll end this rather meandering post with one of my favorite body positive quotes:

“My body is fucking beautiful, and every time I look in the mirror and acknowledge that, I am contributing to the revolution.” –nomi lamm