Hey there! Welcome to Go With the Dough!
I’m Hillary, a twenty-something teacher who loves food. Like, a lot. I love shopping for it, cooking it, eating it, and talking about it. Over the last few years, I’ve also learned to love (yes, love) working out, too. I’ve found that I pretty much enjoy any physical activity there is out there: running, swimming, kickboxing, spinning, you name it. “But, Hillary,” you might be asking. “Doesn’t all that eating cancel out all that working out?” Well, friends, the answer is a resounding NO. And that’s why I started this little blog right here.
(Noshing on shwarma in Israel, July 2010)
Growing up, I had a pretty screwy relationship with food, exercise, and my body. I ate a lot of things that weren’t great for me, and I ate them in large quantities. And even though I danced and played a variety of sports growing up, I never exercised enough to counteract the calories I was taking in on a daily basis. I would go on diets and “try” to stick to a workout regimen, but I would inevitably get frustrated that I wasn’t seeing immediate results and give up. Needless to say, my self image wasn’t so hot. I’m little (not quite 5’2) and I eventually reached my heaviest weight during my freshman year in college. I knew I was unhealthy (I sat through many a conversation with my doctor about the inevitability of developing diabetes before I turned 20), and I truly hated the way I looked. I was uncomfortable in my own skin in the worst way possible.
I’m not quite sure what finally pushed me into action; some people have a singular moment that resonates with them as being the catalyst for their change. If I had one, I honestly don’t remember it. All I know is that, one day near the end of my freshman year, I decided I was going to work out. I put on sneakers, headed to the University gym, and got on the elliptical. Eventually, I built a routine. I worked out nearly every day for an hour, and for some reason, I stuck to it. I also began changing my eating habits. I almost immediately began losing weight, and seeing progress on the scale pushed me to take my work even further.
Over the next two years, I worked out for close to two and a half hours a day and severely limited my calorie intake. I wrote down EVERYTHING that I ate, and if I didn’t know the calorie count of a certain food, I didn’t eat it. Obviously, this is extreme and borderline disordered behavior, something that I didn’t even recognize until over a year later. At the time, I was thrilled with my progress: I ended up losing over forty five pounds in a two year span. I was finally at my “Happy Weight,” but there was one small problem: at the rate I was going, there was no way I could keep up this exercise and diet regimen and actually ENJOY my life. There was no room for error (or indulgence!). I was the “skinnier” me that I had always wanted to be, but I was almost as miserable as I had been before. I needed to find balance, and I needed to find it fast.
(Crossing the finish line at my first 5K, June 2009)
About a year ago, I stumbled upon a plethora of Healthy Living blogs, and I immediately became a dedicated reader. Many of these blogs showed me a truth that I had never before known existed: that you can eat, and you can eat well, and still be healthy. In fact, eating well is PART of being healthy. Around this time, I also began training for my first half marathon. All of a sudden, for the first time in my life, I began looking at my body through an entirely different lens. I stopped paying so much attention to what my body looked like, or what I wished I could change, and I began appreciate my body for what it could DO. My body, my little, slightly doughy body, carried me through 13.1 miles (and hundreds of others while training, no less!) without complaint or injury.
(With my boyfriend, Nick, after crossing the finish line at my first Half Marathon, October 2010)
And so begins this blog. Go With the Dough carries a couple of meanings (I’m an English teacher. Please entertain my love of word play and double entendres). It encompasses the three major topics that this blog seeks to explore:
Food: When baking (one of my favorite hobbies), one must literally “go with the dough.” Dough can be a tricky little sucker. It needs to be just the right consistency, temperature, etc. There have been many times while baking that I have wanted to throw my dough through the window, but I step back and work with it. In this sense, baking has taught me patience and precision. Also, my motto while baking is to always go with the dough—as in, eat some. Yes, raw eggs and all. I actually prefer raw dough over cooked. Expect to see a LOT of baked goods on here: raw and cooked ; )
Fitness: I feel like I am at my body’s happy weight, give or take a few pounds, meaning I can workout every day, eat within reason, and this is where my body feels most comfortable. That being said, I’m still a little bit “doughy,” and I think I always might be. I have a little extra padding here and there, but as I mentioned before, I’m finally starting to be OK with this. Now I’m more focused on what my body can do and whether it’s healthy. Truly, I’m learning to “go with the dough.” (It definitely doesn’t hurt that my boyfriend loves it and thinks it’s beautiful. He’s a keeper!). I love to share my passion for staying active, while proving that exercise does not need to result in a stick thin figure.
Life: I’m quite anal and a bit of a control freak. However, I’m slowly learning that life isn’t always so kind to people who are inflexible and unwilling to bend. I really do want to “go with the dough/flow” on a daily basis: enjoy the little things, open myself up to new experiences, look for the positive, etc. This is a space for me to explore those possibilities and document what I accomplish.
Thanks again for stopping by Go With the Dough, friends. I hope you’ll come back soon!