Fitness – Food logging

Phew, I didn’t think I’d ever remember how to blog…

I have had some inspiration to pick this back up again. Mainly, I’m turning 30 this year, and feel like I’ve accomplished nothing with my life. My career is a little in flux. I keep asking the question to God, “What do you want me to do?” and all things edge toward fitness.

So, what better than to start back up with a fitness post.

I have been in a bit of a rut. I could:

A. Keep doing what I was doing and drive myself insane

B. Change something

So I became determined to find a food tracking app. Turns out, there are at least 8. I downloaded them all.

I thought about using each one for a week and blogging about each one. Then I thought about how much effort that would take, especially after I fell in love with the second one I tried.

It was by “luck” I found it. I was googling nutritional information for some food and stumbled across it. The app is called “Track” and it’s by this company (website?) called Nutritionix. Here’s a blurb from their site.

Our goal is to make it easier to understand what you eat. Through our interactive nutrition tools and world-renowned nutrition database, we help millions of consumers understand nutrition every single day.

I’ve been incredibly impressed with this app, to the point where I keep double checking that it is in fact “free”.

Here’s a picture of the basic “home” page. You can barcode scan in items, there are pictures of each item, and a basic overview of your day. The calories burned come directly from my Apple watch (super easy to integrate) and include all calories burned, not just from my exercise.

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Then there’s the nutrition summary. Pretty straight forward. As you will see this can get a little detail-itis. For those nerds like me I think it’s pretty cool.

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Really huge and not widely available feature is being able to add a recipe. The one downfall is it’s hard to get brand specific. This is more geared to recipes with basic ingredients, like sugar, flour, butter, etc. However, I think it serves its purpose. There’s even a place I can save the recipe link. The feature request I would add is being able to scan things into a recipe.

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This whole thing is a little mysterious to me, but it seems they are used for restaurants or something? Their database isn’t completely comprehensive,  but it’s good.

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The other categories you see at the top are pretty self explanatory. Freeform you can enter nutritional information. Calories are required, but after that it’s up to you to fill in macro and micro nutrient break down. Grocery allows you to peruse brand specific items like Wegman’s or Trader Joe’s. History helps you easily track down previous entered foods.

Their quality control is superb. If I barcode scan something they don’t have, the app pops up with a prompt asking if I’ll take pictures so they can add it. Also, they will randomly ask me to take pictures of products in their database to ensure their information is up to date.

Finally, the stats are pretty neat. Anything in red are days I went over and the green is good, better, or great. I recently enabled my scale to connect to it, which is why there aren’t a lot of data points.

From a psychology standpoint, this has significantly helped me make educated food decisions. I became substantially more aware of how little protein I was eating and how many carbs I was eating. It gives me more power to make food decisions, like I know how choices will impact my day. Yes, I can have that cookie, but this is what it’s going to do to my day, and no I won’t gain a pound because of it. If I take the stairs seven floors to my boyfriend’s place, I’ll be able to eat 50 more calories!

I was a little obsessive at first, making sure I could get as exact as possible. Now, I over estimate where I can’t get it exactly right. It’s only been two weeks, but I really really like it. The hardest was this past weekend when we hosted my boyfriend’s sister. Which meant eating out a lot. I decided to enjoy the weekend and kind of tracked what I ate. Made a lot of educated guesses. At the end of the day I ate more than I should, but it was two days.

Sometimes I’m surprised at how my appetite doesn’t match what the app is telling me. On those days I try to figure out what’s different (did I workout at a different time of day? Did I do a different workout? Did I eat different macronutrients? Am I about to get my period? I’m really full, what did I eat?) Sometimes it does match and it’s nice.

Tonight I had three hundred calories to spare, cause for celebration! I try to match and not go overly under either (figure that one out). So I ate some Halo Top ice cream (turns out peanut butter cup is delicious).

In general I’m trying to eat very low carb. All I have to say is keto people are crazy. I usually fall between 20-25% carbs. This weekend I ate a ton of carbs, and this could be completely mental but I felt uncomfortably full from eating them. It’s really hard to eat low carb, though! Things I’ve been eating a lot of:

  • Edameme
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Tuna
  • Mayonaise
  • Chicken
  • Spaghetti Squash

Will keep you posted on how I like the diet.

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Weightloss “motivation”

I get asked a lot what made me change. What was the deciding factor that tipped the table. I think I’ve blogged about this before, but there isn’t really one answer.

However, someone I was talking to mentioned she saw my instagram post of my fatest self. She met me when I was about halfway to where I’m at today, so about 30lbs down. She says she has a hard time believing that that was “me”, because “me” is very active.

Someone else has told me that “You haven’t changed”. Meaning, that I’m still me and haven’t changed my personality like some people that lose a lot of weight do.

If I had to pick my motivation to change, it would be that my inner identity did not match my actions. The real “me” isn’t lazy. “Me” isn’t full of excuses. “Me” is determined. “Me” is willing to accept responsibility. My decisions were inconsistent with my identity.

That’s why I didn’t “change” per say. That’s why it’s hard to imagine “me” any other way.

I find it hard to believe everyone doesn’t feel that way, that they’re capable of more than who they are today. What turns that feeling into action? Maybe this isn’t quite the answer I thought it was, but I feel like I’m closer.

F cubed- Update Post

Somehow months go by and I haven’t posted. It’s a reflection of my priorities. Lately I’ve been in bed by 8pm, if that says anything.

Finance: Things are chugging along. I received raises in most of my hourly pays: TED, Spin instructor and ConforMIS. ConforMIS bumped up the 401k match to half of 5%. I felt the effect of the tax cuts and have bigger take home pay. I think I’m going to be able to sign up for a cheaper health insurance program. We are actually getting an end of the year bonus at ConforMIS. I put away $1200/mth for my downpayment on a house, not including TED income (usually another $300/month). I’ve only pulled from this account twice in the last year, to pay for heat and to fill my Roth IRA yearly contribution. I bought a ticket to Houston to visit my friend. Something I promised I would do after I paid off my debts, and finally I’m doing it. I leave Thursday!

Things I’m struggling with: Do I pay off my car? Can I eliminate working Sundays at the gym? How can I be better at plugging into God to provide for me?

Fitness: I have been decently consistent with lifting 3xWeek. I’m still not able to do a pull up. I am getting better and better muscle definition, and I love my legs. I hurt my back recently but I think it’s a lot better. My abs are a ton stronger from title. I still love title, but can’t wait to start running again when the warmer weather comes. My diet hasn’t been the best, for one excuse or another. I am re-examining my meals and adding salads back in (I got sick of them!) I think I am on the brink of really making/seeing progress.

Things I’m struggling with: With me everything is slow. I keep beating myself up about my diet, which doesn’t help. Being injured. Incorporating Yoga.

Faith: Struggle bus. I’m really, really hopeless that God’s will for me is to find a husband.

Here’s the deal. People think that I am too desperate when I go on dates and it shows. So I’m taking a three month hiatus. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do during it. “Keep focusing on myself and being happy with myself”. I don’t know why people don’t understand this, but I am happy with myself, I do love myself. I’m hurt and I’m lonely. Adam was lonely before the fall, it was his only hurt before sin entered the world. That’s my hurt. Maybe God doesn’t want me married. Thinking about that makes me cry, so I don’t. The place I’m in is really difficult. It’s really difficult to be happy for other people moving on with their lives-getting married and having babies. One of my friends is having a baby, and in a moment of breakdown sobbing about losing hope of finding the one, she told me she has problems too. Problems of being pregnant, trying to balance work, being a mom, and being a wife. All I could think was that I would trade my problems for her in a heartbeat.

I keep listening to the Faith Life Church podcast. It frustrates me that I’m not at their level of faith. I know I should be a lot further and more of a light for Christ, but it’s been a struggle lately.

I’m in the professional beat myself up club. I don’t know how to stop wanting to be perfect.

I keep praying, because I don’t know what else to do. So that’s something. I’ve been diving deeper into exercising and contributing at work. I’m hoping my heart will change soon. I know there’s a really dark, black spot on it right now and I want to change it.

Fitness- Slow Cooker Yellow Thai Curry Chicken and Veggies Recipe

I figure if by the time I have a family I have a solid five recipes, we’ll be doing good.

I should keep them posted somewhere, right?

Lately I’ve been getting into using the crockpot. I made two stellar recipes, then one not so stellar. I got a little cocky after the first two. I also thought I found the magic equation-Sauce, meat, veggies, but then it didn’t work.

Anyway, the first stellar one is Curry Chicken and veggies. All the following are from Trader Joe’s

Throw chicken in the bottom, throw veggies on top, add sauce on top of that. Cook in crockpot on low 5-6 hours. Easily freezable!

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Faith-Why am I so upset?

We had gone on three dates. He seemed great. We made each other laugh, he paid, he drove down from Nashua a couple times, he was very respectful. He fed me all the right lines. On Wednesday at around 6pm we made plans to meet on Thursday. Wednesday at 9pm, I received this text:

“I haven’t been entirely transparent with how I feel towards this. When you asked me today if we were still going to hang out, I was hesitant. Throughout our date on Monday I was having mixed emotions; ones that I don’t think I should be having this early in a relationship. I’m not feeling the chemistry I think I should have at this point. I’m sorry for not saying this earlier, and I’m sorry for sort of blind siding you with this.”

It was a complete blind side. I deleted his number and the conversation. Unmatched him on the dating app. Blocked him on snapchat.

I didn’t cry until the next morning. I had to teach spin class, and the only thing that held me together was one of my regular and loyal attendees. I cried from the gym to work.

I texted the group of friends I had been updating about this guy. One of them replied back, “Why are you so upset?”

She didn’t mean it in a sassy way, she really is trying to understand. To be honest, I wish I completely understood.

I have been thinking on this a lot.

I’m upset because I don’t have faith there will be someone who will love me.

I am scared to death I’ll never get married, and I’ll have to live this life alone.

I am tired of having to do things all by myself. Drive to NH in the worst fog of my life, stressing me out to no end. Having to manage my finances and make big decisions on my own. Dealing with my car issues. Not going to get my wisdom teeth out because I have no one to drive me to and from the dentist. No “Good night” texts. “I’m thinking of you” texts. Dinner dates. Valentine’s Day. I am tired of being independent. Hearing “You’re so awesome, it’s the men”

There has to be something wrong with me. Do I not flirt enough? Am I not girly/feminine enough? Am I too desperate and it shows? I fucking give up. I don’t know what to do.

I don’t know what this chemistry thing is. What more can I do to create it? How the hell is it supposed to happen between two complete strangers?

I’ve lost all hope that I’ll ever find someone. I’m not sure I’ll ever get it back.

I guess I’m upset because I am defeated. It’s not a numbers game, I’ve been through a lot of numbers. It’s not going to change in a heartbeat, it’s never changed in a heartbeat. It’s not that there’s nothing wrong with me, every other girl I know has not gone this long without a long relationship or one that has started spontaneously. There has to be.

What gives? What is it? I’m out of ideas. I’m upset.

Faith-Dating game

Hey friends, it’s been a while. I guess life has been getting away from me recently.

I have been keeping to my three weightlifting sessions a week, and I’m excited to report on that when it finally ends on Christmas.

I’ve been keeping busy with that and dating. There’s a few experiences that I’d like to reflect on in this post.

I’m changing names, for no good reason.

The first is with a guy named Matt. He and I went on three dates. The first was drinks, the second was a movie at my house, the third was a workout then back to my place to hang out. He has a solid job, was raised Catholic but not practicing, and was paying off his student loans. He was really straightforward in telling me that he didn’t know what he wanted right now. I thought I was ok with that. After three dates, he re-established this and told me that “I wasn’t what he thought of every morning” and it was unfair to me to not be. He said there was no spark. I agreed, but I also think spark is what you make it. He wanted to continue to be friends, but I knew myself better than to let that be a thing. So I told him that we couldn’t. He never even asked for my number. I decided it would be better to cut all contact, so I unmatched him. We left on good terms and I explained to him that I’d un-match him before I did. Right before I unmatched him, he messaged confirming he knew I was going to, and said “I think it’s the best for both of us”. I’m not really sure what he meant by that, even though I so badly wanted to ask.

Lesson learned: I think “spark” takes more effort than is advertised, and it’s part charm on the man’s side, part flirtatiousness on the girl’s side, and part hormones. I don’t think it’s all hormones.

The second is a guy named Josh. After the first experience with inviting a boy over the first time meeting him, I was pretty scarred and made the rule I wouldn’t do that again. Josh and I had a little more conversation beforehand that went better, and I invited him over to watch football with my roommates there the first time we met. I was in the middle of a cold, so I told him that I would be wearing sweats and not putting in any effort. I also clarified he wasn’t getting any. He was ok with that, so he came over. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to go anywhere anyway, and I thought might as well have a guy over, who knows. My roommates LOVED him. He’s very into sports and they all bonded over fantasy. This was a Sunday, and the Pats weren’t playing until Monday. We texted on Monday and he invited me over for the Pats but I still wasn’t feeling well. So I said he could come over again, but I wasn’t going anywhere. He said ok, then he asked if we could do dinner, and I said honestly I really am not feeling it. He offered to cook me chicken noodle soup (he went to culinary school). After having been un-dated by Matt the week before, this kinda made up for it. So I accepted, he brought chicken noodle and we watched the Pats. Also from being scarred with my last relationship and being called selfish, I bought him sushi (he loves sushi) on my way home in exchange. Then he kinda disappeared a little. I’m not sure where it’s going, I don’t really want a long term, but we’re still talking.

Lesson in progress: Not every guy is a total douche on the first date if they come over, and it’s ok to be spontaneous sometimes. My thought process is, I’m not going to be dating forever, so why not try things.

Third guy is James. We had a lot of conversation and he seemed really awesome. But, I got a lot of mixed messages. One said that at best “we could be friends with benefits”. The next message, he was annoyed with me for saying something that friend zoned him. He was actually someone I was excited to meet (generally conversations are pretty lame before the meet up, and there’s xyz thing that is less than ideal so my philosophy is at worst I learn something new about something while I’m with him). We met for drinks, and the drinks were really strong. I had two and knew better than to drive home right away. I told him that, and our options were to stay and drink water or go for a walk. He pushed to go for a walk, so we did. . Mind you, it’s 20deg outside. Before we left, he stole my hat without me realizing, and wore it, and it was cute and funny. We walked down this park, and he was freezing. I was actually dressed for the occasion because I had been outside for something earlier. Anyway, we reached the end of a dock/boardwalk thing, and we stood there for two seconds and he was shivering, and he said “help me warm up” so I got closer, and then we kissed. And it was magical, and awesome. It was the best kiss/first date I’ve had in a long time. Then he walked me to my car, I drove him to his, and that was it. That was two days ago, and he hasn’t messaged me since.

Lesson learned: Even if you feel like you have amazing chemistry, guys can suck.

I’m not sure where this is all leading to, I’m not sure if this is what I should be doing, I’m not sure if this will get easier with time. I am definitely learning a lot. And as one of my dear friends says, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs”. I’m trying to relax about it, be less intense, and enjoy the ride as best I can. The bumpy, hard, rocky, and emotional ride.

Fitness-Internal vs. External

When you lose 65 pounds a lot of people ask you why? What made you change? What was the tipping point?

I have had to think about this a lot. There were a lot of artificial reasons, like I wanted to look better, my dad had heart bypass surgery really young (and that’s where I was headed), etc. etc. I could go on forever about all the little negatives that come with being overweight. Like restrictions on horse back riding, zip lining, and not being able to shop in stores. That’s not what this post is about. There were a lot of things that contributed, it wasn’t any one thing.

Really though, when I dig deep and think about what really made me change, I realize that it was because my body didn’t reflect my character.

I knew deep down I was more disciplined, more ambitious, and more strong than my body reflected. My outside didn’t match my inside.

Most people would describe me as a type-A. Hard charging, goal oriented, analytical, tough, strong, and disciplined. When I was super overweight, I knew my body didn’t align with my character. I knew I could do better and prove to myself that I was better.

Even though I’ve lost a lot of weight, I still struggle with my character matching my body sometimes. I pick eating the brownie over my goal of doing a pull-up and then beat myself up. I go out and eat too much instead of remembering how sluggish I feel after doing so.

Sometimes my internal character isn’t enough. Sometimes my fast brain (Read the book “Thinking fast and slow“) takes over my slow, more long term thinking brain. The cool thing is that this has progressed over time. It started with me not even thinking about thinking about eating the brownie. This evolved to being aware of that I’m eating a brownie. Then, it became I’m eating this brownie, and I know I’m eating it because I’m feeling stressed/angry/upset. Now, it has evolved to I’m eating this brownie and it is not in alignment with my character and goals. Yet I still eat the brownie.

I can tell this is starting to evolve again. I have been a lot better at portion control at events recently. I said “no” to the second donut at work. I have started walking a lot more places than using my car. Most of all, I’ve been getting PO’d that I am killing it at the gym only to sabotage myself in the kitchen. That’s OK. It’s ok to get mad to change yourself. If anger is your motivator then use it!

If you ever hear anyone say or preach “you should just cut calories and increase exercise” like it was this easy switch to flip, then you know the frustration of trying to do just that simply. I can’t. There are a lot of tactics that I employ to make this easier on myself. Because my fast brain seems to win out on my slow brain often. If I can put in tools that beat my fast brain, I can win. I’m all about winning. None are effective all by themselves. Some work for me and won’t work for you.

Here are some tools that help that internal motivation voice win:

  • Portioning food. I love peanut butter filled pretzels and would eat a whole bag. Instead of bringing the whole thing to work, I separate the big bag into 8ish small bags and bring one to work. I know I can eat the whole thing and know about how many calories it is.
  • Drinking diet soda when I’m craving something sweet
  • Chewing gum
  • Sleeping in my workout clothes
  • Meal prep, and to make it even more easy buying pre-made salad mixes
  • Putting a picture of Rhonda Rousey on my phone background
  • Doing a life experiment (Three, three challenge) My experiments generally need to be short term and easily doable.
  • Having an Instagram account to post to and following only insiprational people
  • Working as a fitness instructor
  • Going to fitness classes so I have an instructor motivating me
  • Going to fitness classes when I know cute guys will be there
  • Making friends at fitness classes/groups to hold me accountable
  • Having goals (hit the 30min 5k! Now going for the pull-up)
  • Boy anger
  • Variety

This isn’t exhaustive, but this is all I can think of for now.

Things I would like to try to use:

  • Printing a pic of myself in a bra and underwear and putting it somewhere private so I remember how I don’t like how I look (Controversial tactic, I realize.)
  • Getting into a bet
  • Finding a S.O. to workout with me/hold me accountable
  • Buy an instant pot to add variety to my diet and efficiency
  • Speaking my goals every morning

Again, not exhaustive, and always looking for new ideas.

What are you doing to keep yourself moving?

Faith- Not another #metoo post

If you don’t do Facebook and are not sure what #metoo is, let me catch you up. There’s a social media campaign that was started by a woman after this whole Hollywood director sexual abuse allegation thing that was meant to bring attention about the amount of people (read:women) who have been sexually assaulted or harassed.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a woman, if I’m too much into media, or what, but I thought that this was an already well known thing.

I was really annoyed by this whole thing. I feel like it was a bunch of people making themselves feel better because they spoke up about something. Yes, you can call me insensitive, but really a social media confessional campaign won’t fundamentally fix anything. We need better families. Better values as a country. Better men. I digress.

I have had a few negative experiences with men. (I have also had a few negative experiences with women.)

I was working on an engineering project and I went to the hardware store with my project partner who was a male. The sales attendant paid no attention to me and only paid attention to my partner.

This campaign happened at the beginning of last week. In the middle of last week, I had a first date. A very, very bad first date. Not like the awkward date. Not a ghosting date. A wouldn’t take no for an answer date.

We were sitting on the couch in my living room cuddling. He started putting his hands places that I didn’t want them. I told him to stop. Instead of removing his hands, he stopped rubbing and didn’t remove his hands. I said, “please stop”, and he replied “I did”. Oh, sorry, should’ve clarified. *sarcasm*. I should’ve ended it there. I wish I could’ve said I ended it there and made him leave. I wish I was better than I was. In my world of loneliness and longing, I didn’t.

He repeatedly asked to go upstairs to my room. I repeatedly said no. He started to unbuckle his belt and un button his pants. Eventually, he lifted the blanket we were under and pushed my head under neath.

I said no and promptly removed myself from under there. I wish I told him to go home at that point. I wish I followed brain and not my body and told him to leave. To be strong enough to tell him to leave. Instead I let him stay until it was late enough to use bedtime as an excuse and he left.

And I wish I could tell you I unmatched him on our dating app after that. I wish I could tell you I wasn’t so lonely that I was convinced after that to never talk to him again.

But I wasn’t. I ended up saying something that upset him quickly and he unmatched me.

After this date I felt everything. Mad that he unmatched me. Mad that I let it get there. Mad I didn’t say no earlier. Mad I didn’t see it coming. Sad that I feel so desperate. Sad that I now have to go on another first date. Determined to do it differently next time. Determined to vet earlier.

Guilty for what I did end up doing. Like I let down all the women who I’ve told to stand up for themselves, because I couldn’t do it myself.

It was weird timing. I’m not sure why it happened at this point, right when the #metoo thing was happening. The obvious answer is to teach me a lesson about empathy.

I’ve been very discouraged about dating since.

That’s only two of my #metoo stories. We have a long way to go for our society to no longer have them.

Fitness-Workout Schedule

When I came back from Europe I was dead set on getting myself in a consistent workout schedule. It’s difficult with my schedule sometimes, but this has been the gist of it.

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I plan four days of weightlifting in case I miss one, and there’s nothing wrong with a bonus day if I hit them all!

I am always curious about the details of peoples’ transformations and schedules. No mystery here!

Saturday is left for flexibility. I went for a hike one Saturday and may do so again. This past Saturday I hosted a brunch (and ate way way too much). I may go for runs over the weekend. There’s room for change/flexibility. I wanted a template of some sorts, and no more planning things over working out.

Maybe I’ll move weightlifting to Tuesday and Thursday?

We’ll keep keeping on and see how this goes.

Faith-Will power, grit, and decisions

There have been studies showing that willpower depletes over periods of time. I experienced this on a day to day when my eating habits are harder to control at night and on a longer term stent when I started spending a lot after I paid off my debts.

The debate I find myself in is whether to completely cut things out (i.e. never buy ice cream) or if it’s ok to have ice cream in the house and practice your willpower.

Tonight I spent almost two hours meal prepping. Then I ate dinner, cleaned the kitchen, and was ready to unwind before bed.  Thus begins the debate. Can I have a glass of wine? I already snacked a little before dinner. What about some gelato? I’ll only have a couple scoops.

I resolved to have some gelato and did only have four or five spoonfuls out of the container. I’ve had to develop that portion control and it’s still not easy. The only way I have developed it, though, is by having it in the house.

Scenario A: You are in the grocery store and remember that gelato you’ve been meaning to try. You don’t buy it because it’s expensive and unhealthy, and you go home. You’re home, you’re unwinding from your day, and you could really go for some gelato, but there is none! So you start eating other things. Pretzels, celery with peanut butter, apple…nothing quite like that cold, chocolate gelato. You go to bed with more calories than if you had gelato and end up buying gelato the next day.

Scenario B: You are in the grocery store and remember the gelato you’ve been meaning to try. You buy it, because you know it’ll bring you some temporary satisfaction later, it reminds you of Rome, and it’s something that you can afford because you work hard. You’re home, you’re unwinding from your day, and you go and eat a few spoonfuls of the gelato. You feel satisfied and head to bed.

I’ve been through both scenarios. I’ve found scenario B to be a lot more realistic and self-image improving than scenario A. In an ideal world, there will be a scenario C where I don’t even want gelato, but who knows when that day will be and it’s unrealistic for me to expect that until then. There’s also scenario A2 where I don’t buy the gelato and end up figuring out how to manage the craving/feeling without indulging. Sometimes that happens, and sometimes I figure it out. Ergo, internal debate.

This applies to many areas of my life, namely boys. I have deleted multiple boys’ numbers out of my phone so as to not text them because I couldn’t resist the urge when I’m my most vulnerable. I know they’re not right for me, but the loneliness gets to me sometimes. I know gelato isn’t right for me, but that sugar high gets to me. I did it tonight, deleted a number, and although I know I’ll get over it, it’s still hard.

With that I’ll leave you this quote from my favorite movie:

“I may dissect each little thing and put myself out there so much but at least that means that I still care. Oh! You’ve think you won because women are expendable to you. You may not get hurt or make an ass of yourself that way but you don’t fall in love that way either. You have not won. You’re alone. I may do a lot of stupid shit but I’m still a lot closer to love than you are.” Gigi