Difficult times turned happiest days of my life

I’ve been an athlete my whole life. I have not stopped moving since I was born. I was a swimmer, a soccer player, lacrosse player, tennis player, a horse back rider but ultimately ended up as a ski racer. I’ve never been side lined with an injury other than multiple concussions but it was temporary.

Athletics and working out has been my release for as long as I can remember so when I realized I could no longer do the workouts I was in love with (heavy lifting, Crossfit, olympic lifting, plyometrics) I knew it was going to be rough. Sure I can do light weight lower body exercises – body weight squats, lunges, clam shells, leg raises, band walks, step ups on a small step, RDL’s – and upper body workouts but I cannot workout at the intensity I am used to and it’s having a serious impact on my happiness. My hip joint is always swollen and my ankles and knees are beginning to hurt because of compensations to protect my hip. A few weeks of anger and negativity at the realization that I have to wait 2 months for my hip surgery and another 4-6 months for full recovery and I became aware that I needed something else. I needed something that brought me peace, something that brought joy to my life, something I was in control of doing, something for me. 

I thought to myself, “What am I not great at but have always wanted to do?” Learn to COOK and BAKE! I used to have a very bad relationship with food and because I was modeling for a while, I ate only chicken, veggies, quinoa, sweet potato, oatmeal, egg whites and almonds, LITERALLY all I ate for months on end. When I found out about my surgery, I put modeling and dieting on the back burner and decided to re-evaluate my relationship with food and with myself. 

Welcome to Pinterest, Kara. I am constantly scouring Pinterest for new recipes. I am slow with how I cook but I am learning that I don’t need to measure everything out exactly as it says. Half the fun is coming up with new combinations! So I started with cookies, muffins, breads, brownies, ice cream cookie sandwiches and then once I got some courage and set aside time to cook, I dedicated myself to cooking fun and tasty dinners. I don’t care how much work I have or how little time, I cook a healthy meal every night and as it happens, I have TONS of leftovers for lunches all week! I cook things I normally wouldn’t even eat, from pizza, to homemade pasta (I live in the North End of Boston so it’s so fresh that I cannot resist!), salmon, steak, sweet potato fries, cauliflower mashed potatoes, bruschetta…you get the point. 

Monday nights are salmon night. Given that it is Tuesday, I will recap what I made last night…Panko pesto salmon with roasted grape tomatoes over a toasted quinoa salad w/eggplant, caramelized onions, summer squash and zucchini with a side of spinach of course. Oh and my Malbec, which I learned to love while dining next to my…well I am not sure what he is to me anymore. Regardless I can’t have salmon for 1 without my wine.

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It was AMAZING. Not only had I never cooked salmon in my life until a few Monday’s ago, but I never drink red wine, especially not on a nightly basis. I am learning to have a healthy relationship with food, to enjoy preparing and sitting down to a tasty meal, even if that means alone…which I am still getting used to. 

Tonight was turkey cutlet night…marinated in olive oil, chopped garlic, rosemary, dijon mustard, salt and pepper then pan seared. Side dishes are roasted crimini mushrooms marinated in olive oil, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper and topped with balsamic vinegar post roast. Next up is mashed cauliflower over spinach. I boiled the cauliflower with water, milk and chopped garlic. I added garlic powder, scallions, salt and pepper after boiling. Theme of the evening – rosemary and garlic. My kitchen smells AMAZING!

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Oh and then there is the crustless quiche that I made so that I don’t have to spend much effort making breakfast at 4 am anymore. I made it with 2 eggs, a lot of egg whites, sauteed summer squash, zucchini and eggplant (from Monday night!) topped with spinach and cheddar cheese. 

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The change of direction my life has taken was hard to swallow. I know that once I get the surgery and after I recover that I can go back to my pursuit of modeling and my normal workouts and I will get my body back…not that I have really “lost” it but it definitely is not what it was and that was very hard at first but I am learning to accept the changes and ultimately love them.

So needless to say I am loving the new direction in my life. I felt as though everything was uprooted all at once but I have redirected my thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions so that these days are becoming some of the happiest days of my life. Starting to feel at peace with myself, my body and where I am headed.  

Life is good. 🙂

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