Week 1:  Public Accountability

Well.  Here we go.

2014 was a big year for me.  2015 was acceptable, 2016 was a mess and 2017 was the best yet.  I’m not one for resolutions, but the start of a new year brings a sense of excitement and possibility.  I’m tapping into that before I lose it, so here we are.  I’ve made a commitment to myself to approach the next 12 months with as much force as I can muster; I’ve been tossing around this idea for ages and I guess I’m finally jumping in.  Watching a few of my friends live their dreams has been unbelievably inspiring (& I’ll touch on them later), but what is inspiration if nothing comes of it?

I will be spending each week this year overcoming a different obstacle in my life.  Every failure for me has been a direct result of my refusal to TRY.  It’s interesting- on paper (& superficially self-definitivley) I’m a “take no shit, grab life by the balls” type person.  A few people have told me they admire me.  But who I am, fundamentally, is a creature of habit.  SAFE habit.  So for an entire year, my “safe zone” will become no-man’s land & HOPEFULLY I will find myself a step ahead come 2019.

This is Week 1 – Public Accountability.  

I’ve posted on every conceivable platform and am using the sheer awkwardness of that to push through the fear of rejection & failure.  By making a public announcement, I feel like if I don’t follow through, it’ll be seen by a LOT more people than just myself (& therefor, harder to hide from).  And ideally, my friends will hold me accountable for my shit- which the good ones do anyways.  So, here’s the fun part for any of you who’ve made it this far:  If I’m not making weekly progress, fucking CALL ME OUT.  However you see fit.  Make it fucking clear that this will not be another thing I don’t commit to.

Wish me luck!

(If you want to jump on the wagon, join me below:

Instagram – @52WeeksOfFear

Twitter – @OopsNotKhira

Use the hashtag #52WeeksOfFear for funsies!  And if you have any creative input, ideas, or even dares- let me know!)

Advertisements

Self-Care is NOT a Sacrifice

Twenty years. Two decades. 10 512 000 minutes. Two thirds of my life. This (coupled with a sobering diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder & Anxiety) is how long it’s taken me to finally understand: Self-Care is NOT a Sacrifice.

I’ve always been the go-hard-or-go-home type. Being raised by a narcissistic misogynist does that to a person, especially doubled-down with the aforementioned mental health issues. “Second place is only the first loser.” It’s almost inconceivable for me to not be the “best” in everything I do, because the alternative means I’m worthless. This manner of thinking has led me to drastic actions throughout my life- a lot of which hurt other people- and myself. As deeply ashamed as I am about this fact, I’ve come to the realization that remorse without performance is nothing but empty validation. So, in my recent years of searching for self-betterment, I actively attempted a more honest self-actualization through action & communication. Though it has been a struggle, opening the festering wound of my psyche has given me incomprehensible freedom, and it feels fucking great. Nietzsche knew what he was talking about-

“He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster.

And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.”

How the hell does this relate to self-care, though? Well, in my interpretation, the knowledge of one’s true self is the only weapon to fuel or fight one’s own character. Like I said above- I’ve always striven to be “the best,” even when my only opponent is myself. When I began actively changing my mental & physical landscape, I found that instead of cheering myself on with positive affirmations, I was criticizing & demeaning (and thereby sabatoging) my own success.

“But Khira,” you may be thinking, “a healthy desire to be better is crucial for our evolution as individuals!” And you are 100% correct. In my case however, there was no healthy about it. It was abuse, pure and simple. To be honest, it still is occasionally, though my ability to identify (and redirect) it has significantly increased. I’ve never been able to be happy with a personal outcome. When I reached my fitness goals, I immediately shamed myself for not getting there sooner, and then again for not being as good as someone else I saw on Instagram. When I reached my parenting goals, I was angry at myself for not achieving PTA-Minivan-Soccermom status (enough though I have zero desire to do so). When I found contentment in my career, I criticized my own choices and ended up almost losing a job I loved due to my internalized anger and judgement. I fought with a monster, not knowing the monster was me; I stared into the abyss, & the abyss was my own frame of mind.

The realization that self-care (and accordingly, self-LOVE) is not only acceptable, but necessary, hit me like a ton of bricks, in the best way possible. Taking time is not taking a loss. Self-appreciation is not selfish. And self-betterment is most definitely not a synonym for self-hatred. Of course, I still push myself- I’d be doing myself a great disservice if I didn’t. But the paradigm has shifted towards a much more fulfilling (& successful) path; positive reinforcement is 1000x more effective than its counterpart, and taking a few moments (or days, or weeks) to revel in my progress doesn’t mean I’m “losing.” In fact, it serves as a nice reminder that I’m not even competing. Trading in my weapons of self-destruction for tools to build the framework of a better person- that feels more like winning to me.

(Portrait of a happy, relaxed, self-loving purple-people-eater.)

A Tangled Triumph

“Don’t make me cut it all off!”

Hearing this threat from our mothers is a rite of passage most women go through as children. In my case, as a precocious 3-ish year old, I’d have never believed there would be any follow through. How wrong I was. In response to my continued refusal to brushing my hair, my dear mama slapped a mixing bowl on my head and snipped it all off. As you can imagine, the “reinvention” of my long golden curls into a stubby mushroom cut gave this coke-bottle-glasses-eyed girl a serious fucking complex (at least, it doubled down on the ones I already had). Since then, my hair has been an overwhelming source of contention my entire life.

Thankfully, as a natural blonde, I dont have much to worry about in the color department. I’m aware thousands of dollars are invested into getting the color I was born with. However, that hasn’t stopped my limp and easily-damaged locks from seeing some shit- aside from having every color of the rainbow cycled through my coif, I’ve also had mohawks, fauxhawks, undercuts and mullets; Bangs, bobs, shags, & currently, waist-length lifeless tresses- damaged by bleach, heat, and the (very) occasional brush ripped through it. For a couple years now, my hair has stayed roughly the same; thrown up into a ponytail or bun more often than ever. And now, the question begs an answer:

Is my hair still my favorite form of evolving self-expression? Or has it devolved into a security blanket?

Coinciding with my recent string of adventures (& a too-long episode of depression), and the advent of spring- I’ve finally taken the plunge I’ve been dreading. And let me tell you- it wasn’t easy. Shoutout to Jamie for drying my tears and spending an absurd amount of time making sure I wasn’t going to pass out from the panic. Getting a haircut sounds like a silly thing to be afraid of- but for many women, it’s not just a few snips of the scissors. It can feel like we are completely changing (or losing) our entire identity. We spend so much time playing with it, styling it, pinteresting boards of various cuts and colors- all the time wishing we were brave enough to make the change. We settle into our hair like a comfortable couch- finding out exactly where to affix an elastic so we don’t resemble Mr. Clean, or perfecting the perfect amount of volume that can so easily shift from sassy to stripper with rent to pay. And though styles have changed drastically throughout the decades, at some point each & every one of us finds a sweet spot that allows us to be on-trend while still playing it safe.

Age, profession, lifestyle & interests are all huge factors in our chosen hairstyles. I know women who keep it short because the awkwardness of growing it out is too much hassle, and others who spend hours a day styling theirs because ponytails dont pay bills (hashtag serverlife). My own mother has a golden Rapunzel-esque thing going on, complete with sparkly strands all the way down to her bum (maybe I am part unicorn?). I have a two girlfriends that, despite being polar opposites in terms of beautifully maintained blonde extensions & natural product-free brunette, are almost always described by their infamous hair. It’s not our hair being “becoming” to us, so much as it is us becoming our hair.

So here I am, casting off the comfort of a waist-length prison, and baring the back of my neck to the world (brr). To some, it’s a simple haircut; To me, it’s 12 inches of self-doubt disappearing. If I can turn years of wishful thinking & self-judgement into a fresh new perspective- what can’t I do? And who knows? Maybe this wash-and-go girl will finally buy a brush!

Please Don’t Punch the Nurses, Ma’am.

Today is a big day! Aside from being the first post in ages (I’m sorry for being so MIA- life has been wild lately and though I’m absolutely going to write about it all- I have to organize my thoughts & get my shit together first), it’s a day where I finally get to experience being a parent!

Okay, yes, I am a mom. Like- I birthed a child and have kept him alive for 9 years. So I’m not totally clueless. However- there is one thing about parenting that I’ve never actually had to do (alone, that is)- & it’s all about medical procedures.

I can fix booboos, I can kiss scrapes and bumps all better, I’m not squeamish when it comes to papercuts or skinned elbows. What I CAN’T handle is injuries or procedures invoving a medical professional getting all up in my baby’s business. Or anyone, for that matter. At 9 years old, he is up to date on all his vaccinations, has already had a broken leg, has gone through at least 5 bouts of Croup (which caused his airways to close about once a year until they got stronger around age five, & needs steroids to fix), and has had a multitude of tests done to make sure he’s not Patient 0 for the next Zombie Apocalypse. He’s also lost most of his baby teeth.

And as a devoted and fearless mother- how many of these procedures have I held & comforted him through? How many loose teeth have I yanked for the Tooth Fairy?

Exactly zero.

I have never, ever, ever been involved with his medical care. He is always held by someone else; always comforted by his dad or an auntie while I sit nervously in the waiting room or cry outside the door. The one and only time I attempted to hold him was during a test for Pertussis. It’s a simple test for a virus that involves sticking a very long swab up the nose to get a sinus sample. Super easy, right? Fuck no. The moment his tiny little head jerked back at the surprise of being totally violated by that massive cotton-tipped murder stick, my arm reflexively went straight into the nurse’s shoulder as some serious curses left my mouth. I was asked to leave while his dad took over. (Sidebar: To nurses, thank you for everything you do. You are lifesavers and have the patience of angels. I’m so sorry for every time you’ve ever had to deal with me.)

I’m not a bad parent- I’m just painfully aware of my mama-bear-like defences when it comes to my little nugget. And in order to set a positive example for him when he’s older, this is a fear I desperately need to overcome. Today is the day I do that. Today is the day he gets 2 teeth ripped from his tiny little face and I have to be there, alone, every step of the way. From the big-ass numbing needles to watching the carnage of pliers and scalpels and the fear in his big blue eyes as a man in a mask digs around in his mouth….. I get all angry and anxious just thinking about it.

I’ve done my best to help him not be afraid- at nine years old, he doesn’t need to be consumed with stress the way I was at his age. Because that evolves into cowardly & predictable adulthood. I want a better future for him- and I need him to know that his mom is someone who can be strong with him. He should never have to feel alone- and I have to stop relying on other people to do my (biggest) job for me. So here we go, just us two, taking on what for him is just a routine procedure, but for me is a waking nightmare… & hopefully no one comes out of it too seriously damaged (I’m looking at you, nurse).


Wish me luck, & stay tuned for a barrage of posts about reconnection, getting older, & not giving a fuck in the coming days.

Please Don’t Punch the Nurses, Ma’am.

Today is a big day! Aside from being the first post in ages (I’m sorry for being so MIA- life has been wild lately and though I’m absolutely going to write about it all- I have to organize my thoughts & get my shit together first), it’s a day where I finally get to experience being a parent!

Okay, yes, I am a mom. Like- I birthed a child and have kept him alive for 9 years. So I’m not totally clueless. However- there is one thing about parenting that I’ve never actually had to do (alone, that is)- & it’s all about medical procedures.

I can fix booboos, I can kiss scrapes and bumps all better, I’m not squeamish when it comes to papercuts or skinned elbows. What I CAN’T handle is injuries or procedures invoving a medical professional getting all up in my baby’s business. Or anyone, for that matter. At 9 years old, he is up to date on all his vaccinations, has already had a broken leg, has gone through at least 5 bouts of Croup (which caused his airways to close about once a year until they got stronger around age five, & needs steroids to fix), and has had a multitude of tests done to make sure he’s not Patient 0 for the next Zombie Apocalypse. He’s also lost most of his baby teeth.

And as a devoted and fearless mother- how many of these procedures have I held & comforted him through? How many loose teeth have I yanked for the Tooth Fairy?

Exactly zero.

I have never, ever, ever been involved with his medical care. He is always held by someone else; always comforted by his dad or an auntie while I sit nervously in the waiting room or cry outside the door. The one and only time I attempted to hold him was during a test for Pertussis. It’s a simple test for a virus that involves sticking a very long swab up the nose to get a sinus sample. Super easy, right? Fuck no. The moment his tiny little head jerked back at the surprise of being totally violated by that massive cotton-tipped murder stick, my arm reflexively went straight into the nurse’s shoulder as some serious curses left my mouth. I was asked to leave while his dad took over. (Sidebar: To nurses, thank you for everything you do. You are lifesavers and have the patience of angels. I’m so sorry for every time you’ve ever had to deal with me.)

I’m not a bad parent- I’m just painfully aware of my mama-bear-like defences when it comes to my little nugget. And in order to set a positive example for him when he’s older, this is a fear I desperately need to overcome. Today is the day I do that. Today is the day he gets 2 teeth ripped from his tiny little face and I have to be there, alone, every step of the way. From the big-ass numbing needles to watching the carnage of pliers and scalpels and the fear in his big blue eyes as a man in a mask digs around in his mouth….. I get all angry and anxious just thinking about it.

I’ve done my best to help him not be afraid- at nine years old, he doesn’t need to be consumed with stress the way I was at his age. Because that evolves into cowardly & predictable adulthood. I want a better future for him- and I need him to know that his mom is someone who can be strong with him. He should never have to feel alone- and I have to stop relying on other people to do my (biggest) job for me. So here we go, just us two, taking on what for him is just a routine procedure, but for me is a waking nightmare… & hopefully no one comes out of it too seriously damaged (I’m looking at you, nurse).


Wish me luck, & stay tuned for a barrage of posts about reconnection, getting older, & not giving a fuck in the coming days.

An Essay on Industry Indecency

I’ve been wanting to post about this subject for a while- and after a long thought process about how exactly to put it out there, I think it’s time. It definitely fits into the “what I’m scared to do” category for the lack of anonymity as well as the potential kickback of opinions. But here it is, in my own words & experiences- and I’m looking forward to hearing what others feel.

It’s nearly impossible lately to go a day without hearing another sordid tale of sexual harassment and misconduct. Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, & most recently Hedley (whom, general opinions aside, I had the pleasure of meeting recently) are just a few of the most recently accused and ostracized. What baffles me the most is that with all the outrage surrounding this controversy, why is no one talking about different sectors of business and employment- namely, the service industry? Keep in mind that I am only able to speak from my own experience (which, to be fair, is extensive) and though I am in no way condoning this behavior, I may have a unique outlook on the issues presented due to it being my chosen career path.

First, for the uninformed, here’s a quick breakdown (high to low)of seniority in the majority of establishments: General Manager, Chef, Managers, Security (if applicable), Bartenders, Servers, Support Staff. This is a male-leadership industry with female-dominated staffing. Think about any restaurant/bar you’ve been to. Chances are, the management (& security, but that’s a different issue) staff is comprised of primarily men, with the majority of servers being women. Note: This is NOT the rule, but it is heavily weighed on one side. Why this pattern exists so prominently is not my concern, though it does provide a foundation for my thoughts.

Ask anyone who’s ever worked in this incestual industry- we will have something to say about sexism or harassment in one way or another. And in my experience, the majority of us discuss it with a flippant, almost humorous attitude. It’s a way of life- so ingrained in our industry that most of us don’t even consider it “harassment.” Yet- that’s precisely what it is. And the general, unspoken rule is “fit in, or fuck off.” In all fairness, I belong quite happily in the former category. I am a joking person by nature- never taking anything or anyone (including myself) too seriously. I enjoy being “one of the guys” and holding my own in the generally mysoginistic banter that resides in every kitchen around the world. However- because I’ve been doing this for so long- I forget that at it’s core, deeply buried under habitual traditions of stress & humor, the service industry is a hotbed of offense & hypocrisy.

Aside from the general attitude that “sex sells” (which it truly does… I mean- I pay my bills in heels & a push up bra), and the constant awareness of being totally replaceable (“are you looking to lose shifts? Lol!”), there is a massive undertone of hypersexuality and blurred boundaries. I have been called names, had my sexual preferences questioned, been touched and spoken to aggressively, and leered at so often (all under the guise of “humor”) that now I see it as strange when it doesn’t happen. And I’m not talking about guests (which is another discussion entirely), I’m talking about peers & superiors alike. Full Disclosure: I participate wholeheartedly in returning this behavior to the boys- I’m simply drawing attention to the fact that this behavior is rampant and accepted all over the place. Between men and women, men and men, and women themselves- the blame is shared across the board.

I have been told that I have to fit through a cardboard cutout of a thin girl to keep my job. I have been the target of overtly sexual innuendos (“gravy? I’ll give you my gravy, baby”). I have been told to hike my skirt up and pull my top down. I have been asked to pick something up that was dropped “accidentally” and then aggressively cat called. All in the interest of “jokes” or “flattery”- and all before lunch. I guarantee that some of you reading this who work in the industry are recalling your own experiences as I recount mine, probably with a sense of humor… and possibly a growing sense of discomfort. Interesting, isn’t it? How our games of slap-ass and sexual overtones are so commonplace that even identifying them as what they are- harassment– is an uncomfortable admission.

I have incredible managers and teammates. I will never say otherwise. I am so fortunate to do the work I do and I truly love it. And like I said before– I play into it every damn day. The purpose of this post is to bring awareness and accountability to what we do, every day. To inform newcomers to this industry that it’s not all money and liquor and free french fries. To point out to veterans & senior staff that this exists and can be overwhelming and scary to some. And to remind everyone that though this behavior is normalized, that doesn’t mean it’s normal (or acceptable).

Know your worth, know your limits, & be confident in your boundaries and actions. Own your shit, and stand up for what you believe in. Someday, instead of being objectified for our bodies, we (as equals in this industry) will be respected for our skills. Until then, I’ve got 2 bras on and a smile for anyone who slides me a free dessert.

Chicken Crust Pizza

Not much else can compare to a cheesy slice of pizza on any given day. There’s a reason it’s the ultimate comfort food! Being a mom- it’s also an easy meal to make that never gets turned down (& keeps for lunches!). That’s why, when starting a low-carb lifestyle, I’ve been on the lookout for substitutes.

I’ve tried the Flat-Out Low Carb Wraps, and cauliflower crust… I’ve tried eggplant & zuchinni and even fried cheese bases. They’re close- but not as hearty as a good slice should be. When I happened upon a recipe that used chicken, I figured “why not?” I decided to try it for myself… and it is AMAZING! Here’s my own take on this high-protein, low-carb, SUPER delicious snack that will satisfy all your pizza cravings- and it costs less than $3!


You’ll Need:

  • 2 cans flaked chicken
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan (or any shredded cheese- but parm works best)
  • Seasonings of your choice (I used FlavorGod Taco Tuesday, salt & pepper)

(2-4 servings, depending on macros & hunger levels)

Pre-heat oven to 425°c. Spread a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray.

In one bowl, mix all ingredients well. I mean really well. Take the mixture and form it into a circle on the tray- it should be packed down tightly and firm on the edges- about 1cm thick. I used a cast iron pan to bake mine originally- if you have a form tray I’m sure it would work as well. Bake for 18-20 mins, until the edges are browning.

At this point, you could let it cool and store it in the fridge or freezer for later use. I wanted mine immediately, so I turned the oven down to 350° and topped my crust with pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni, & banana peppers.

Back in the over for another 12-15 minutes (enough to get the pepperoni crispy). Remove and serve!

This was a phenomenal success- my son loved it and I forgot I wasn’t eating dough. It’s easy to pick up like a normal slice- or you can be fancy with utensils. I ended up saving some for lunch the next day- and it was just as good. Next time I probably won’t use any pizza sauce, as the crust itself needs no moisture. I’m sure you could substitute full-fat ranch (1 carb/serving) or whatever fits your macros.

Macros:

2 servings- 8g Fat/40g Protein/1g Carb/229cal

4 servings- 4gF/20gP/.5gC/115cal


Give it a shot, adjust as needed! Next time I make these I’ll make them in bulk and freeze each between slices of parchment for easy meal prep! Bon Appetit!

Saying “Yes” to serendipity.

“The consequence of serendipity is sometimes a brilliant discovery.”

Recent events (and the subsequent evaluation of each) have shown me a fractional view of what I’m missing out on by concentrating solely on “fear.”

The more time I spend thinking about the things I’m afraid of, the more I realize the sheer lack of importance they hold in my life. Yeah, mascots are fucking scary– but I can realistically go the rest of my life without engaging with them. If living in a safe-zone is the worst of my problems, I can count myself as beautifully blessed. The original focus of this experiment hinged on the very basic attitude behind each challege: The fear that holds me (& many of us) back from truly experiencing our best selves. That being said, I’m beginning to see an interesting pattern emerge and manifest in my behaviors, and it’s not at all what I thought it would be (which is actually an amazing realization!).

Facing fears was (& still is) an enormous challenge and an honorable exercise in any capacity. But the fundamental reasoning behind the “why” of it all is slowly making itself clear. And what I’m finding is the swiftness of time and uncertainty of tomorrow is the most frightening concept I can imagine- and we’re all living it right now; every minute of every day. The concept of #52WeeksOfFear is evolving into more of an unexpected (but not at all unwelcome) bucket-list of sorts. Do I have to face every one of my fears to have a full life? No. But, if I die tomorrow, I’d rather know hope that I’d be remembered as “someone who never backed down from anything, be it challenge or opportunity.

Moving forward, my goal is to shift focus away from fear and toward opportunity- without losing the original intention of what I began with. There are so many things I want to accomplish- and I’ve spent so much time lately focusing on the “Fear Factor” of it all that I’ve totally missed what’s being cosmically placed right in front of me. As much as I’d like to (& I hate admitting it!) I can’t control everything around me. So saying “yes” to these incalculable events is the biggest and best challenge I could face.

Coming up: The catalyst for this (fearful) change of heart (I had to get something Valentine-y in here somehow!).

(If you want to jump on the wagon, join me below:

Instagram – @52WeeksOfFear

Twitter – @OopsNotKhira

Use the hashtag #52WeeksOfFear for funsies! And if you have any creative input, ideas, or even dares- let me know!)

Breaking Up With Sugar: Rebound & Regret

With the ending of every relationship, there’s a place that all of us have been. You know- after the initial shock has worn off & the coping behaviors have kicked in, when we begin to (sub)consciously unfurl our wings and reclaim our sassy sense of empowerment (hype team #RevengeBod amiright?). So it inevitably happened with me.

I was feeling GOOD y’all. Like, crop-top good. Breezing through the candy aisles with my head held high, laughing at the sad temptations of pizza trying to garner my attention. Revelling in my ability to refuse the advances of even the most fuckboi of snacks- those delightful late-night fake cheesy cracker binges were a not-so-long-lost memory. But I was respectful, you know? I’m a good person- I didn’t want them to feel unloved. We shared something special and since the best revenge is success, I allowed my previous indulgences the priviledge of being in my company whilst others got to enjoy them (and getting the satisfaction knowing I was the only one who didn’t want them). Nope, still talking about carbs- not boys (but the similarities are uncanny!).

I felt like I’d finally won. I’d almost forgotten about the awful damage I’d done with replacements (human volcano, anyone?) and finally felt like I could move on to a (less) sweet future. And that feeling right there was my downfall. In the hype of seeing my mom (for the first time in like, ever) and the excitement of my baby turning 9- combined with the stress of trying to drive during the apocalyptic disaster known as Calgary Weather- I needed celebration & comfort. You know- that pinnacle moment where you’re at the club and looking fly as hell, you’re about 4 vodka sodas deep and that strobe light is hitting you just right? Your old thirst trap makes eye contact and you think “just for fun, imma show them what they lost” & you get reaaaal close? Boom. Next thing you know you’re waking up with a pounding headache, missing a lash strip, and trying desperately to call an Uber with the last 3% of battery so you can GTFO without having to face them (or yourself).

Cue my late-night catch up with my dearest Mama, which started with a sugar-free PB cup and ended with 4 packs of cheesy-crackers, a bowl of ice cream, and a bag of M&Ms. And that, friends, was the tippy top of a spiral that lasted a week- including (but definitely not limited to) a box of Junior Mints, 3 breakfast sandwiches (+ hashbrowns, obvs), pasta, 3 full plates at Asian Buffet (plus two more of dessert), ice cream cake, 2 bags of chips, too many chocolate bars, a bottle of wine, and half a pizza. Side effects included serious mental fog, so much bloating I began to resemble Shrek’s pregnant big toe, massive mood swings, and a blanketing & overwhelming sense of failure and general crappiness. I, in every sense of the word, failed.

But you know what? I also learned a few important things. I learned that I absolutely have to strengthen my resolve- not just with my eating habits but in life. I’m an obsessive and passionate person in all ways, & while that can be an amazing set of qualities, it doesn’t give license to give in fully to every silly whim- there are consequenses I need to remember. I learned that falling off the wagon sucks, but what’s important is getting back on. And that no matter how high I think I can make myself fly, it’s crucial to stay grounded through it all- because if I don’t stay connected to a true cause, the tiniest speedbump can cause the biggest crash.

So I’m dusting myself off, admitting a defeat, and hopping back on the proverbial horse with a better understanding of myself and my habits. And I may not have made the cleanest break from Sugar, but I found some serious perspective & closure in a much bigger sense. Celebratory broccoli, anyone?

(If you want to jump on the wagon, join me below:

Instagram – @52WeeksOfFear

Twitter – @OopsNotKhira

Use the hashtag #52WeeksOfFear for funsies! And if you have any creative input, ideas, or even dares- let me know!)

Breaking Up With Sugar: Side-effects of Sweetness

I have a sweet tooth, that’s clearly been established. However, my cravings aren’t rooted in all types of candies and such… They’re much more specific. And generally holiday-oriented. Obviously for a few days each month I can smell chocolate from a mile away- and only a king sized Mars bar or mousse cake will cut it. This time of year? Cinnamon hearts. I can (& have) make myself absolutely sick on them. Christmas? Gimme all the cookies (and candy canes!). And year round I can be found happily demolishing a cupcake or 5, or tearing up over delicate French macarons (seriously, you guys. I actually cry over these things. I can’t explain it- but oh Lord do they get me). I’m not one for diabetes-inducing sweetness (all hail black coffee!) but when it comes to pastries, pies, and sour things I lose all control. It’s embarrassing, really.

This time, I’m trying to end it once and for all- so finding satisfying substitutes is essential. Recently on a shop around HomeSense, I happened upon a few boxes of assorted Atkins brand treats. 0 carb, 0 sugar, low cal packs of delight, which were sweetened with Malitol. To say I was pumped is a huge understatement- I may have eaten at least 3 portions of the damn things when I got home. Peanut butter cups, sweet & salty trail mix, peanut caramel bars, etc… So I happily indulged while staying within my tight macro limit. And I was happy as a clam.

…until later that night, that is.

You see, Malitol is a chemical sugar substitute, known as a sugar-alcohol. It isn’t metabolized by the body and while being as sweet as table sugar (and much better for your teeth, fyi), it’s less than half the calories and zero carbs. It’s generally found in sugar-free products that still need to be sweet- and can also be purchased in syrup or powder form. In moderation (re: STRICT moderation) it’s extremely satisfying and beneficial to curbing cravings and maintaining a sugar-free diet.


Don’t read any further if you’re squeamish… trust me.

Another fun fact about Malitol? Because it isn’t metabolized, when the indigestible parts of it make it to your intestines, they draw a ton of water from the rest of you before they get *ahem* “flushed out”. Which, in a nutshell, means Mount St. Helen’s ain’t got nothing on your digestive tract for the next 12 hours. Seriously. Human volcano. The pain of being bloated to the point of resembling a pufferfish, alongside the noxious emissions, almost makes the actual “cleansing process” somewhat of a relief. I ACTUALLY THOUGHT I WAS DYING. And of course, being the deliriously manic woman I am, I neglected to inform myself of potential side effects of a chemical I decided to consume (in massive amounts) before doing so.

So please, PLEASE check your labels. Learn from my mistake and make sure you DO YOUR RESEARCH on what goes in you- because at some point, it’s going to have to come out.

But hey, I lost a couple pounds.

Breaking Up With Sugar, Part 1: What Happens?

Giving up sugar (re: carbs) is an interesting process. I’d like to clarify that over the last few years I’ve made drastic changes to my lifestyle & I already have a solid foundation in place, which helps immensely. That being said, my reasoning behind letting it go completely is based on the emotional & physical struggles I encounter when I think “a little bit won’t hurt.” As I said in my last post, I tend to spiral out of control and find myself in a deeply shameful state of discomfort after a binge- and what I hate the most about that is that it’s all due to MY OWN CHOICES. I do not have restrictive eating habits anymore (thank goodness)- but I do have a serious emotional attachment to food; I need to learn to cultivate a healthy mental relationship with what I put into my body & find new ways to process my emotions.


The first step is understanding the “What” behind my addiction. Sugar is a specific and far more relatable term than “carbs,” which in 2018 is a buzzword for bad health. The truth is, carbs = sugars, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. For a better & more in-depth understanding, do yourself a favor and check out That Sugar Film on Netflix. You’ll be surprised (& a little grossed out). I won’t go into too much detail (because I’m not a scientist, & also because a simple Google search and critical thinking skills will provide you with all the info needed), but know that I’ve done my research and feel confident in my understanding of “What” I’m giving up.

Carbs (sugars) are in almost everything; our bodies use them first as a source of fuel. When a body has little to no sugars to draw from, it turns to fat as a fuel source. The difficulty isn’t so much in not consuming sugars regularely- it’s the chemical response in the brain that manifests a physical addiction. Sugar has been proven to have effects similar to heroin– if you want to do a simple experiment (& can’t afford smack), try indulging in a rich dessert (or bread-y meal) when your mood is low (& pay attention to what happens!). Within minutes, you will notice a drastic upswing in mood and energy. This is fine and all, but when that fuel runs out, your body is all like “gimme” and forgets that it has other resources to draw from. That leads to cravings, which when satisfied regularly, leads to a chemical dependence. That, my friends, is addiction.

I find myself thinking I can have a small amount- so I do. Because I’m a control freak (NO, body, you’re MY bitch), but I also have an emotional connection to food; I find that I use the conscious argument of “I’m sad/angry/stressed/happy/whatever right now, all I need is a little treat and when I feel better I won’t want it anymore” to justify my intake. That is entirely not the case. Just that small misstep catapults me into a manic, sugar-crazed psycho with erratic behaviors that can last from a few days to weeks-long binging. Think of it this way: Your normal emotional baseline sits at 0, sugar kicks it up to 10. When you crash, you fall down below 0… Let’s say to a conservative -5. To combat the lowered emotional state (the “blues” of a comedown), your brain tells you it NEEDS MORE SUGAR. So you give in, only this time you need to consume MORE to get yourself back up to that level 10. Which means a further crash after, down to -10. And so on and so on, the cycle repeats itself; Yes- it’s sugar that does this- but it sure as hell sounds a lot more like cocaine.


So, after 2 days of cravings, mood swings, eating everything and still not feeling sated (& refusals of brownies, buns, and chips); I can confidently say that I am by no means even close to curbing my addiction… But I’ve taken the first step, and so begins a journey of a thousand. Now if only the Valentine’s Day displays could kindly fuck off.