Courtney Confessions

As per a friend's suggestion on Facebook, I tried a new method of curling my hair this morning. In lieu of using one of those neat-o new curling wands that I'm too cheap to buy, I used a regular ol' small-barreled curling iron and wrapped strands of my hair around the outside of the iron. I watched a YouTube tutorial last night and learned that the secret to full waves was alternating the direction of the hair wrap (i.e. wrap one strand over the barrel and then wrap the next one under the barrel). I was a bit rushed and didn't have time to perfect the style before leaving for work, but I was pretty pleased with the result. I'm a huge fan of messy-looking hair mostly because I'm messy-looking 90% of the time, so I was perfectly okay with a few flyaways and rogue waves (now whether or not it lasts all day is another story completely).

I came to work and Clayton requested to see a photo of my hair, so again I sat at my desk like a jacka$$ and tried to take my own picture. Though the lighting in my office is terrible, the picture actually turned out decent and I had every intention of sharing my hairdo with you all ... until I realized I had a few stray crumbs from breakfast lodged into my teeth.


Either Clayton didn't notice, or he was too polite to point it out to me.

But thank goodness for Photoshop, am I right!?

Editor's note: Contrary to popular belief, I do actually have things to do at work during the day other than editing pictures of my teeth. 

Not entirely sure I have a face that can pull off waves or excessive curls (I think my face is much more suited to straight hair), but it's definitely something fun and different from my normal "Hey! I didn't wash my hair so I hid it underneath this giant headband!" look. And Clayton even finally admitted that this was a good length for my hair (he normally subscribes to the school of thought that his wife's hair should be long enough to use as a rope to scale a castle tower).

Anyway ...

My boss just came up to me and asked, "Do you like Kelly Clarkson?"

To which my immediate response was, "Does a bear s**t in the woods?" (But don't worry, I didn't say that outloud. I'm professional.)

Me: (hand-flapping gestures and vigorous head-nodding) "Yes! I've seen her in concert 3 times and I amateurishly stalk her on Twitter!"

My boss: "She'll be at the annual HR conference up in Chicago this June."

My boss and I at the same time: "That's weird."

My boss: "Yeah, I guess she'll be performing and everything."

Me: "I want to go to there."

Sorry, Liz Lemon courses through my veins now.


Instead of going with my usual "I pick my boogers and eat them"-esque Courtney Confessions, today's confessions (or confession) is a bit more personal and a bit more of a life update that I feel like my readers deserve.

While I hinted at it on and off for the past year and completely came clean about it in a blog post this past September, I've never gone into too much detail about my struggle with disordered eating. As my sister lovingly pointed out to me in a conversation last week, I did a good job of admitting to my readers that I had a problem, but I've done absolutely nothing to assure them that I am actively trying to get better.

When I publicly admitted that I over-exercise and under-eat, I did it simply because I didn't want to lead anyone astray. I didn't want to paint myself a super healthy, has-it-all-together chick who found the balance between diet and exercise because that simply isn't true. I felt like I was doing myself a grave disservice by going into anymore detail than that because while I consider myself a pretty open book, my eating disorder is very private and it's not something that I willingly want to talk about outside of my husband and immediate family. It's my struggle and while I lean heavily on my closest loved ones for support, I really don't think it's anyone else's business ... ya know?

And while I still believe that this is a very personal issue that need not be chronicled on a blog about finding mice in your bathtub and spearheading a hate campaign against giant squids, I want to at least assure anyone who might be concerned about me (Hello, narcissism!) that I am taking the much-needed steps that will return me to my former happier, healthier glory.

So what does an active recovery look like?

Well, I'm afraid the answer should be just as painfully easy as it seems: eat more and exercise less (or less intensely). I don't care who you are, it is still recommended that you get a little bit of physical activity each day and I have no plans on stopping my workouts all together, but my mileage is being reduced and my cross-training workouts are far less intense (and shorter).

My sister-in-law, Molly, very logically pointed out to me: "I don't think runners who train for races realize how much they're working out. What seems normal to us looks like a lot to an observer." While I no longer have the original text and totally paraphrased her statement, I captured the gist of what she was saying. When you train for multiple half and full marathons each year, your body gets wicked used to long, tiring workouts. And when you're in between races, it's really hard to well, not do long, tiring workouts. I constantly feel like I do more than I have to because I'm so used to it from my training. I have to constantly remind myself, "You are not in training mode right now. You do not need to run this many miles during the week!"

While cutting the amount of miles I run each week, I'm also looking for new, shorter workouts for my cross-training days. I don't need to be power-walking treadmill intervals for 40 minutes to get a good workout.  I just need to sweat and get my heart rate up for a little bit ... and that's IT. Molly is a certified personal trainer, so I bombarded her phone last night with texts and asked if she thought a short 25-minute Tao Bo workout was sufficient exercise for one day. "Of course!" she responded, filling me with relief that my body would get what it needed in a much shorter amount of time. Seriously, I would dread workouts because they were so long and I just didn't have the energy. Logically you'd think, "Courtney, why would you make your workouts so long when you didn't want to do them?" Hello and welcome to the wonderful world of exercise addiction!

I also started a food journal to tally exactly what I eat during the day in an effort to make sure I reach I'm getting adequate amounts of food and nutrition. Lose It! is a great little app (with an online version, too) that will help you record the calorie content of the food you eat during the day and will tell you how much you need to eat in order to lose, gain, or maintain weight. I input my settings (gender, height, age, and weight) and Lose It! tells me how many calories I need each day in order to maintain my current weight (losing any more weight is NOT an option for me). It even adjusts your daily caloric need based on exercise. I can simply log a 25 minute run and Lose It! will recalculate my daily need to make up the difference.

My food log for today!
Using Lose It! has been very eye-opening for me because it showed me just how far off the mark I am for the number of calories I need each day. After recording last night's dinner, I realized that I was still close to 500 calories off of what I should be consuming, so I went back into the kitchen for a glass of milk and toast with peanut butter for a late-evening snack. I also saw that I can add more protein (and calories) to meals by adding a hard boiled egg to my salad or adding an extra slice of cheese to the grilled cheese sandwich I made last night.

I have to admit, it seems very weird to use a tool that is designed to help people lose weight as a mirror to show me that I don't eat enough. Though I don't think a lot of people would have any sympathy for me when I look at my log and realize I need to shove MORE food into my face.

So the "eat more, exercise less" plan is a great way to conquer the physical aspect of what I'm going through, but not the mental. The mental is not an easy fix. I have to work every day against the mentality of "if I eat more, I'm going to gain weight". It's that underlying fear of putting on pounds that will put the brakes any progress I think I've made and put me at risk for falling back into old habits.

And that's going to be the uphill battle I fight every single day until this new lifestyle becomes second nature. There is no magical fix to this problem. Saying, "I'm having an okay day" doesn't mean I'm magically cured because tomorrow might suck. Tomorrow I might "feel fat" and be tempted to run an extra mile. Like I said, an uphill battle every. single. day.

Clayton asked me last night, "What's the worst that could happen?"

I quickly responded, "I'll gain weight." Duh. Wasn't that obvious? Then I had to look at the bigger picture. If not killing myself on the treadmill for hours at a time and if having more energy means I might gain a measly  pound or two in the process, would that really be the end of the world? Would fitting back into a lot of my close be terrible? Am I really so scared of gaining weight that I'd rather cling to an exercise addiction and all of its misery for the rest of my life? Is being skinny better than being happy?

That last question put a halt on my doubts.

More than anything, I want to find the balance. I want to find what works for Courtney and what makes Courtney happy. Long ago I believed I had a spark inside of me and as I've gotten older, I've felt it diminish a little more and more every year. This life, with all of its ups and downs, is so damn beautiful. It's wonderful. God gave me a purpose and I really, truly want to find out what it is.

So, there's a current update on where I'm at and (hopefully) where I'm headed.

P.S. I don't really pick my boogers and eat them.


  1. Thank you for sharing this with us! So proud of you!

  2. Great post Courtney, you will find your balance! Good for you for being so honest, too!

  3. a) your hair is cute curled like that. b) you kinda make me want to be a runner.


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