A Nutrition Commandment – Rosie’s Ramblings

Thou Shall Not Shame Thyself


We’ve all been there – at the party, when you held out on the crackers and only nibbled on the veggies. You followed everything to a T. You almost made it out of there unscathed. Almost.


Your willpower broke when the fresh warm cookies came out. Temptation took hold. You eat one on the way out the door.


The whole way home you berate and shame yourself for your wrong-doing. You can’t believe you ate it. You make yourself feel sick at the thought of it.


Once that train gets rolling, it’s hard to stop.


You get home and see the pounds in the mirror that single cookie just added to your hips. You continue to hate yourself for that one cookie. You know you are being ridiculous, the pounds don’t just magically appear within seconds, but you just can’t stop!


But you need to, really.


In fact, those thoughts shouldn’t even be allowed to enter your mind because guess what:


No matter how much you wish that cookie away, it’s not going to change anything. It’s done. All you can do is focus on the present to create your future. Focus on that next meal being healthy and stop creating added stress over something you can’t change.


So eat the damn cookie, fast for 14-24 hours, and get over it. Because the sooner you do that, the sooner you have control over your identity as a healthy person. You’ll stop fretting and start seeing those results!


“If you find a cheesesteak in your way, eat your way through it, and find a salad on the other side.” – Jesse Davis


Committed to Your Success,
Rosie and the Fit Tribe Team

Rosie’s Ramblings – Breakthrough

Stuck.  We’ve all been there.  Feeling like we have four tires, spinning dirt, stuck in the mud.  No matter how hard we push, it seems like we just can’t gain an inch.

Frustrations rise.  Part of us wants to give in and just leave the car for dead.  The other part of us wants to keep persevering and overcome.

You have a choice.

Do you succumb to defeat?

Walk away from the car, throwing in the towel.  A heavy cloud hangs over your head as you meander dejectedly back to your comfort zone.  It feels like a punch in the gut as you realize that you gave up on your goal.  It subsides to a numb nothingness as you think of how hard you worked and got nowhere.

You reach a dead-end.  The only way out is to go back the way you travelled, but you just don’t want to open yourself up to that failure again.  You stay there and have to be okay with the fact that nothing will change if you aren’t willing to.

Or do you choose to press on?

Continue the daily grind, pushing the self doubt that bubbles to the surface out of your mind.  Then slowly, you start to move in the right direction until you find yourself give, breaking free, and cruising back down the highway.

You’re on cloud nine.  You let out a sigh of relief.  Finally.  You reached the other side and the feeling of accomplishment rises up inside of you.  All the early mornings, long days, and hard work were worth it.  A sense of confidence fills you.  You can do anything you put your mind to, and immediately begin creating a new goal and laying the groundwork to get there.

You create your reality.  Will you be successful and drown out all negativity, or will you let it pull you down?  You need to decide.  It’s your choice, no one can make it for you.  Either way, you need to be okay with the outcome from your decision.

So, make your choice.

Rosie’s Ramblings – Resilience

Preface: This is the second part of my story of my battle with anorexia. While the first section highlighted the physical battle (read it here), this story delves into the mental struggles that have to be overcome to fully recover from this disease. Part one ended on a high with running my way into two All-America awards at Nationals and my body humming with the excitement of what was to come in the future…


As I allowed food to enter my body, I couldn’t control my cravings and urges. All of what I shut out for a year, came back in full force. While my body became healthy, my mind deteriorated. I was cruel to myself. No one could be harsher in criticism. I stood in front of the mirror and ripped my body to pieces in my mind. I stood on the scale and loathed every pound that I gained. I berated myself for my lack of control to stop eating, to calorie restrict, to go back to my old habits.

I found myself swallowed up by darkness. I chanted my mantra “relentless courage” over and over again as my guiding light.


I ran, I cried, I wrestled with demons calling me fat, thunder thighs, and chubby cheeks. Going into the post-season of cross country, I was undefeated. I was someone to watch in the nation.

I toed the line as the gun went off on a chilly fall day at Regionals. I kept pace with the lead pack, ticking off the first mile. We made a turn, and then another turn and began a march up a hill. Lead filled my legs. I found myself being gapped. 2 miles. A girl passed me. I willed my body to cling on. No response. Another girl passed me. 3 miles. We turned into the final straight away. I begged my body to kick. No response. Two girls passed me in the long stretch to the finish. I crossed the line and crumbled into a heap of defeat. 8th place. One spot away from my Nationals bid. I put my sunglasses on and went for a long solo cool down as I mourned my shortcoming.

What did I do wrong? Why did this happen to me? Vicious thoughts swirled around in my mind. I found myself entering a black hole…


Days blurred. My heart ached for my failure, but I knew I had to pull myself together and get out of my funk. I needed to go back to my purpose of it all, my why. I found myself posting the reasons why I ran, over 50 of them on Facebook, as I tried to rediscover myself.

Some were simplistic: Reason #3 why I run: walking takes too long

Some were for reprieve from the real world: Reason #34 why I run: I don’t have to think about bacterial genetics!!

And others were about things that I learned about myself: Reason #38 why I run: because the terrible, hard days are the ones that make us stronger!

Every single one was tinged with positivity, as I tried to claw my way out of the pit of despair. But, I was a torrent of emotions. I studied my body’s reflection in every glass surface. I struggled to find a single nice thing to say to myself. I let my words use my body as a punching bag. I heard someone ask if “that was still going to fit me?” I cleaned out my closet of tight fitting clothes.

I kept trying to break through the negativity that had corrupted my once naive mind.


Track season led to another disappointing finish, one spot away from Nationals. My confidence crumbled under the weight of the defeat. I started to believe I was a fluke, a one-hit wonder. I second-guessed myself. I decided to try not to care too much about running anymore, it hurt less to just go through the motions. I couldn’t disassociate myself enough. It still hurt. I saw fat as the culprit to downfall. I still believed I was never going to be as good as I once was. I ran anyways.

Racing no longer was a test of will, it became a line of comparisons. It wasn’t about the 3.1 miles of strength. It was about the girl next to me who had skinnier legs. It was about the girl on the end with the flat stomach. It was me telling myself everything my contorted mind thought I wasn’t instead of telling me everything I am. Instead of trusting in my training, I fixated on body image. The races, once my favorite part of running, became dreaded.

I went from one of the top in the nation to barely placing in conference championships. That fact alone took it’s toll on me. What little confidence I had left quickly evaporated. I faked confidence. Again and again and again, trying with all my might to build myself back up.


My journal became my outlet for dark thoughts as I kept pushing for recovery, for health, for finding myself again. I faltered, as I struggled with the deception that anorexia was telling me:

“I know I should be pushing these thoughts [anorexia] away. But instead, I’m welcoming the monster in, like an old friend. And now that he’s here, I want him to stay, get to know him again. I’m trying to fight, but he’s a charmer, he’s hard to fight against when he makes you feel so good. Monster, don’t go, stay with me for awhile.”

I began to have more good days than bad days. I stood in front of the mirror for an hour telling myself all positive things about myself. I cried as I tried to reword the thought process of my brain. I did this again and again, rebuilding myself. Every now and then, I would misstep:

“Again, I’ve slipped. I’ve woken the monster from hibernation. I’ve told it good morning and offered to make him the breakfast I won’t eat. He always gives me such an eerie sense of control.”

Coming back from a slip-up, began to take less time, from two weeks, to one week, to only a matter of days. I was healing.


I found myself on the doorstep of the Olympic Training Center. I was a mix of emotions: extremely excited and honored to have been given the opportunity I had been dreaming about since I was 12 years old; and extremely nervous with a twinge of feeling like I didn’t deserve to be there.

I worked hard, read positive quote after positive quote to continue to build back the confidence that I had lost and was working hard to regain. Slowly, I began to feel like my normal self. I began to hit new benchmarks. I got into a groove. I was starting to find my wings again. I began to believe.

Then, a bout of mono and a sinus infection later led me to be 10 pounds lighter and fighting my mind and body against the demons of anorexia. That high that I once had from losing weight was back. I confided in my dietician. She made a plan for me to gain weight. I refused to follow it. Deep down I knew I was walking on a dangerous thin line.

I confided in my coach. She spitballed it back in my face, screaming and yelling. With a huge stroke of courage and strength, I decided I needed to leave the place I had so desperately wanted to be. I needed to be healthy and I refused to go down the same road I had followed only two years before.


The demon became tangible in my mind. It was as if admitting it was there, made it something I could touch and feel, a black goo covering over the front part of my brain. I battled, trying to find some way to eliminate it from my body. Day after day, I visualized removing the tar from my brain. I noticed days went by without a negative thought. Then a week. Then before I knew it, I went from having consecutive bad days to having none.

Nothing tastes as good as freedom feels. The shackles and chains were gone. The scale was no longer my universe.

My dad asked me “was it worth it?”, meaning, was losing weight to become one of the best in the country, only to fight like hell for health and fall behind the pack in running, worth it?

My answer was (and still is) a resounding yes.

I learned willpower, resilience, courage, and strength. But more than that, I lived to safe a friend’s life. I lived to mentor others. I lived to be an inspiration. I beat a disease that has the highest mortality rate amongst any mental disorder.

Every year, during National Eating Disorder Awareness week, I share more of my story in the hopes that I can touch just one person’s life. This is how I overcame. Anorexia is of the past, it no longer has any grips on me. It is just something that happened to me and now I use it to give hope to others. Recovery is possible. Every battle can be won.

Rosie’s Ramblings – Vulnerability

Preface: This is a story about a battle fought and won. Everyone has fought different battles and it’s a matter of reflecting on them to see the beauty in the fight. While it makes me very vulnerable to share, it ultimately illustrates courage, resilience, and strength. I share this story to impart those attributes on others. This is a two part story, this first week being about the physical and the following week on the mental. It falls in line with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDA) which is a time of year that I always try to share a little more of my story.



Overwhelmed. From the moment I stepped off the plane at JFK, the obesity epidemic weighed on me. I had just spent a month totally immersed in South Korea, living and breathing another culture. Aside from two sumo wrestlers I saw, weight was hardly an issue. But this hit me like a ton of bricks. Everywhere I turned, I saw fried foods, greasy napkins, and empty soda bottles.

It’s not something I expected to experience upon my arrival back to the States. Instead, I anticipated the warm feeling of coming home. But I felt suffocated. And so, I made a list: things I could eat, and things I couldn’t. I rummaged through my parents’ cupboards and swore off one thing after another. I had already lost 2 pounds during my trip, but I wanted more.


Elated. A surge of dopamine released to my brain as I hopped on and off the scale, delighted by that number. Every pound lost felt like the greatest high. It was addicting, to feel that good. To see that number decrease day after day. The scale became an obsession. It was the source of my happiness and the cause of such internal torment. I would sneak a weigh-in at any possible time, trying to be quiet so no one knew this secret of mine.


Scared. Food was the enemy. I developed every excuse in the book to eat as little as possible. Milk made my stomach hurt, tomato sauce gave me acid reflux, the chicken was too salty, the apple was too sweet; my tastebuds were on high alert for anything to throw away.

And then I went back to college. Red flags went up in my coaches’ minds. Immediately, I was thrust into meetings, trying to stop this train from going downhill.


Determined. My legs felt like pistons as they pressed against the ground, my body responding as I willed myself to push myself a little bit faster. I felt hardened with muscle. I could do anything I put my mind to. Every run I envisioned crossing the finish line and earning a nationals bid. I was unstoppable.

Until I spent the night crying on the phone to my brother about a stomach ache that seemed to be tearing my insides apart. A trip to the ER and a huge shot of lidocane infused acid reflux medicine later and I was in my coach’s office, as he pleaded with me to eat more calories. Bargained with me that if I did, I would finish out the season better than ever before.


Euphoric. Tears of joy streamed down my face. All the hours spent working towards a goal paid off. I was going to Nationals! It didn’t matter anymore to me what my teammates whispered behind my back. I reached the ultimate stage in collegiate athletics. My coach begged me again to eat more. I listened.

Nervous excitement coursed through my veins. The gun sounded as snowflakes fell from the sky. In only a matter of twenty-one minutes, fate would be decided. Legs turned, arms pumped, and there was the finish line. All-American.


Emaciated. You could count my ribs, you could see every vertebra of my spine, I was a walking skeleton, but what I saw was fitness. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t sleep because of my hip bone pressing against the mattress caused the skin to turn red, go numb, and ache. It didn’t matter that sometimes lifting my legs felt like a knife lodged in my quads. It didn’t matter because I was “fit.”


Embarrassed. The water was excruciatingly cold. My body shook as it rejected the chilly temperature. In forty-five minutes, I was being pulled out, feet completely numb, lips an icy blue, as the athletic trainer feared any longer risked hypothermia. How were all the other girls fine? I hobbled to the locker-room, turned up the heat on the shower, and stood there, shivering for another 20 minutes.

My coach made me buy a wetsuit. It was a complete and utter embarrassment. Without it, I would get pulled from practice. Depression sunk in. I went from being on cloud nine to my all time low.


Relieved. At the end of the season, what felt like the longest two months of my life, I quit swimming. I hung up the towel and peace filled my body. Something shifted. I was determined to get healthy and gain weight back.


Shocked. On the day I hit triple digits on the scale, I managed to eat an entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the first time in months. While it took me a good hour or so to do, it’s a benchmark that I will always remember. On that same day, I demolished the school record set over 20 years prior and placed 2nd at Penn Relays in the 10k. I began to understand the importance of food as fuel.


Excited. Every pore in my body felt alive as the California sun beamed down. As the sun sunk low into the sky, the gun sounded. I found my rhythm, my breath matching my stride. I felt invincible. The lap counter clicked lower and lower. The bell rang and I gave it my final kick. I stepped off the track amazed. The scoreboard lit up with my name in third place with an Olympic Trials provisional qualifying time. The next two days were a daze, another podium in my second event and my sophomore year was my most successful year to date. Excitement for what was to come coursed through my body.