Dealing with dieting when you’re sick.

When I’m sick, I want to do three things:

1) Sleep

2) Whine and feel sorry for myself

3) Feel Better.

Dieting is not on that list. So when my throat is on fire and the only thing I want is COLD, I’m not jumping for joy at getting up and blending a blueberry kale smoothie. Nope, I’m hittin’ the nearest 7-11 for a coke Slurpee. Can you even imagine how many calories are in one of those?

I’m also not all about cooking. But this weekend I did it anyways. I whipped up a chicken noodle soup with chicken broth and egg noodles, seen here:


Then, I whipped up a veggie beef soup which was pretty darn tasty. (Recipe coming soon). It was a miracle that I was able to chop 6,742 varieties of vegetables without collapsing.


The problem with being sick is that I get a big old case of the “Fu$* it’s”. Exercise didn’t happen. Sleep didn’t happen. Hell, even getting the mail didn’t happen. All I could do was chug dayquil and nyquil and hope that I’d wake up the next day feeling better. This caused me to have some issues in terms of eating. I had a slurpee, I had an extra piece of garlic bread, and at one point, all I wanted to eat on my throat was ice cream. Thankfully it was only a mini size, but still. Sometimes you get the type of sickness where you’re not hungry, but with this cold I wanted to EAT ALL THE THINGS. Something tells me that was more mental than physical… am I right?!

“Who cares,” I rationalized, “I DESERVE this.” I would say to myself, while pondering stopping for frozen yogurt or making popcorn. What I need to do is remind myself that I deserve to be healthy. I deserve to shop in whatever clothing department I want. I deserve to not worry about airplane seat belts, rude comments, and riding elephants. I deserve to eat well, and feel well, but I also deserve the grace and intelligence to realize deserving a happy, healthy life means accepting some discomfort.

One of the things I really like about my PCOS Diet Plan Book is that there’s a little blurb about how with any type of diet, you need to accept that there is some level of discomfort involved. So many healthy eating books make it sound like if you just follow their simple plan, you’ll never be hungry, your skin will clear up, you’ll drop all the weight and you’ll find a Unicorn with money tied around its horn in your backyard. This book straight up says that the plan won’t be easy, but neither is anything in life worth accomplishing. I like that. Honesty, yo.

Thankfully today I’m emerging from my exhausting sickness and I have less of the “EAT EVERYTHING” mindset, but I know that the battle with letting emotion dictate what goes in my mouth is far from over. It’s something I’ll have to work on nearly every day, reminding myself that what happened at work or if I’m feeling sick or if my cat’s meow is extra loud is NOT a suitable reason to eat. Truthfully, there’s only one reason to eat… and it’s if you’re hungry. Honesty. Accountability. I need it.

What do you do when you’re sick? Are you as much as a whiner as I am and want to medicate with food? Or do you lose your appetite?

*There’s an affiliate link in the PCOS Diet book link. If you were to happen to buy it from that link, I’d make like 3 cents. Blogging is very lucrative, folks. Just wanted you to know so I’m behing HONEST. 😉

Note to self: When you have the plague.

I first got the plague on our second week in Thailand. It started with a sore throat, and by the time the clock struck 12 on New Year’s Eve, I knew I was in for it. The head-packed-with-cotton feeling soon proceeded, and then the simultaneous fever and chills blessed me with their presence. Upon return to LA, I was still carrying this virus, but figured it would quickly shake off. NOPE. We’re almost two full weeks since we got back, and I’m still dealing with this cold. It’s not nearly as bad as it was, but when combined with my allergies, I’m a congested, sniffly mess.

To make matters worse, my husband has the flu, so our house in general has become the sick bay – with tissue boxes, dayquil dosing cups and abandoned cups of orange juice decorating our space. Here are some crucial points for myself to remember next time I have the plague and am trying to lose weight:

1) Peanut Butter Cups are not a suitable lunch because you didn’t go grocery shopping. Delicious, sure, but do you really want to “spend” 360 calories on two pieces of candy? Nope, but you did, and that made your exercise routine all the more enjoyable. Cough. Not.

2) You might feel better if you take a shower. Yesterday’s gnome pajamas aren’t a hot look for anybody, even if you’re infirm.

3) Nyquil should be taken at night. Not accidentally in the day like you did yesterdzZZzZZzzzzz.

4) Top Ramen is still a cheap and quick fix. Just don’t make it extra crunchy by cracking the egg pitifully on the edge of the pot. Egg shells do not a gourmet meal make.

5) Blogging in advance is a good idea, so your readers don’t get random lists of what not to do next time you have the plague.

It’s going around, kids. Take your vitamin C and wash your hands – or don’t, and be like the girl in the Devil wears Prada – “I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight!”.


Needles in my face

Most of you know I’m a severe environmental allergy sufferer. In 2009, I finally made the decision to start immunotherapy, or allergy shots, after I spent a whole night lying in bed crying because my skin itched so bad. I’ve been doing shots for just over three years now, and while I no longer break out in hives, I still rely on a daily allergy pill and can quickly feel the effects of allergies if I’m not medicated. It sucks, but I also love California, and am not willing to give up on this gorgeous state because of a few pesky pollens.

A friend of mine swears by acupuncture for her allergies, claiming that the soothing effect of needles in her face causes little histamine fairies to wave their magic wand and make her allergies vanish into the sky. Okay, that last part I might have made up, but I decided it was something I should try. One advantage to being a poor, stressed-out grad student is I have access to low cost health care. In this case, an hour of acupuncture costs a mere $20 – a price I’m definitely willing to accept for a chance at relief.

What I imagined acupuncture would be like.

In true Alyssa fashion, I had pre-conceived notions about the procedure that MUST BE TRUE, like, the whole hour session would consist of me being jabbed several times with long, hot, spiky needles, and it would be anything but relaxing. The acupuncturist, a lithe, wispy woman, first asked me several questions about my overall health and then looked at my tongue. “You’re getting a cold,” she said. Bingo! I was getting a cold. Apparently acupuncturists can tell a lot about your health by the color and coating of your tongue. Mine was blue – a sure sign that rhinovirus was moving in.

After my brief oral health history, we went into a small room where I took off my shoes and laid on a cot. She quickly began inserting the needles, and it was really just a faint “tap tap” and then they were in. The only needles that I felt were the two on each side of my sinus – there was a little bit of pressure as they were inserted, but then, the pressure in my nose magically cleared up, and I felt like I could breathe. I had three needles in my hand, one on each foot, one on my right ankle, two in my sinuses, and one on my forehead. They really didn’t hurt and once they were in, I forgot they were even there.

She placed one more needle in the center of my forehead, turned off the light, turned on a heat lamp over my feet, and left the room. Soothing music trickled out of the speakers and I just lay there for 45 minutes… relaxing, thinking, wondering if this could help out more than one of my many ailments. Acupuncture is said to be a good form of relief for things like stress, anxiety, allergy, fatigue and sluggish weight… all things I could benefit from.

She came back in 40 minutes later and said that most of my health concerns were from low energy overall, which wasn’t helping my immune system fight off allergens. She recommended coming back once a week for a while, and seeing how I do from there. I’m definitely going to give it a shot, because why not? If I can inject things I’m allergic to in my skin, or pop a pill, why not give something holistic and risk-free a chance?

Have you ever done acupuncture? Would you, or is the thought of needles that keeps you away?





Starve a fever, feed a cold?

I’m interrupting recaps to post a whiny and timely entry about being sick, and what weight loss/eating is like when you’re sick. You know how it starts. The little tickle in your throat, the slight stuffiness in your ears… and then, the one nostril that starts to leak a little bit  and before you know it, you’re a sneezing, sniffling snotty mess. I stayed home from work on Friday and remained largely bed-bound, and all day yesterday I pretty much laid around trying to recover.

The little chicken that I was hoping would save the day after being made into a pot of chicken noodle soup. It didn't work.

The past two days I’ve had NO appetite – none – not for the tiny cupcakes I got with a groupon, not for my usual weekend love affair with homemade popcorn. I had to force myself to eat a frozen entree and a bowl of HOMEMADE chicken noodle soup yesterday (Yes! The kind with a whole chicken!). Each bite felt gummy, unsatisfying and frustrating, especially because I couldn’t taste anything. I always know that I’m sick when my appetite goes away, because I am normally ALWAYS hungry. I can easily out-eat my husband. I’m not the type of person that would elect to take a “food pill” instead of eating, because I derive an almost obsessive pleasure from a big bite of a heaping sandwich or creamy spoonful of ice cream.  I missed my two familiar friends, Taste and Hunger.

The yummy Mexican food that saved the day

I knew things were lookin’ up today when I met my lovely friend Julie (Read about her adventures in Israel!) for a study session at a coffee shop. Halfway through our work, I felt the familiar rumble of hunger in my tummy – and I thought, Ah! At long last HUNGER has returned to me! We took a lunch break at a delicious little taqueria where I annihilated a cheese enchilada with rice and beans and a basket of chips. Not only did my appetite return with a vengeance, but so did my super-human taste buds. The sharp tang of onion in the pico de gallo danced on my tongue, while the salty tomato seasoning on the rice mingled with the sweet refried beans. Ah, Taste and Hunger, how I have missed you. As someone who desperately needs and wants to lose lots of weight, I admit – even though my weight loss goes much more smoothly when you’re not around (Yup – this cold helped me knock out another 3 pounds), my life would not be the same without you, Taste and Hunger. Despite our issues, I’m so glad I have you in ample amounts.

You + Me = Satisfied We Shall Be.