Tag Archives: reading

“Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” (or Another Amazing Giveaway!)

You may remember that a little over 2 years ago I had a giveaway for the book “The Wisdom Of Walt”. I loved the book and it was amazing to get to meet the author Jeff Barnes. He truly is a Disney historian and there were stories in the book that I didn’t know before. And as a huge Disneyland geek, I love when I get to learn new things about the park I love so much!

“The Wisdom Of Walt” was all about leadership lessons that we could learn from Walt Disney and the story of Disneyland. While I don’t read a lot of leadership books, there were lessons I learned that I could totally apply to my life and I felt like it was such valuable reading for anyone. And I was so happy to see that many of my friends read it and found it just as great.

So when Jeff Barnes mentioned that he was writing another book, I couldn’t wait to read it! And he offered to send me a copy before it was released to check out. And I have to say that “Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” might be even more incredible than the first book!

“Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” is all about life lessons from Walt Disney and the Disney story. I love self-help and self-improvement books and this fit in perfectly with what I like to read. Each chapter had a very easy to read format and the lessons were clear and easy to understand (unlike some self-help books that almost make you hunt to learn what the chapter was about).

And each chapter had a lesson that really hit home for me. Some of the lessons were choosing to change, having to hustle, overcoming obstacles, and communicating clearly. These lessons are so relevant to multiple aspects of my life. I expected to find lessons that fit with my acting career, blogging, and my personal life. But there were lessons that connected with me with my work toward recovery from my eating disorder and I didn’t expect that at all!

I love when a book connects with me and speaks so clearly to me and that’s exactly what “Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” did for me. I know that this is a book that I can read multiple times and get new lessons and experiences each time. It takes a special book to be able to create that and I feel so lucky that I have a book that I know will be something that I will continue to learn from.

And while it was awesome to learn more lessons about Walt Disney and the various Disney parks, it’s not necessarily a Disney book. You don’t have to be a Disney fan to love this book, although being a Disney fan may bring a little something extra to reading it. But learning lessons about creating something you are passionate about, dealing with setbacks, and being your own motivation is something that anyone can learn from no matter what.

“Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” was released this week and you can get the book on Amazon, and I really do recommend doing it. You can also order an autographed copy from Jeff’s website. But you also have a chance to win an autographed copy here! Jeff has not only given me a copy to read, but he is going to give one of you a signed copy! You can enter below and there are multiple ways to earn entries. And you can tweet about it every day through Rafflecopter to earn extra entries!

The giveaway ends on the 11th and the winner will be chosen from random.org. I will be contacting the winner via email and Jeff will be sending your book directly to you.

Good luck to everyone and even if you don’t win I highly recommend checking out this incredible book! Everyone will gain some amazing insights from reading it and I know that I am a better person for learning the lessons that Jeff put in the book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keeping My Emotions In Check (or You Are Not Your Brain)

2017 is only 2 weeks in, but my emotions have been pretty up and down for me so far. I’ve had some really good things happen to me (like having fun with my friends at Disneyland) and some really not so great things (like my car dying). I’ve almost felt like I have been in a bit of a haze the past few weeks. Everything has been a bit overwhelming and while I am so grateful for all the good things that have come off all this, it’s not fun to feel this way.

It also doesn’t help that the weather has been very gloomy lately. I don’t love the rain because it causes me extra pain, and I feel like I don’t want to leave the house if I don’t have to. I can take painkillers (they don’t bother my liver), but I’m trying to limit them because I’ve realized that I’ve been depending on them too much in the past. So I’m limiting what I’ve been doing after work and I’m sometimes a bit isolated.

While I was technically diagnosed with depression in the past, I don’t believe that it was an accurate diagnosis. I think it had more to do with being upset with my eating disorder being out of control mixed with the mild OCD that I know I have. But when things are so up and down, it’s tough sometimes not to feel depressed a bit. And of course the state of politics lately isn’t helping my mood (especially when I’m now worried I’ll lose my health insurance if pre-existing conditions can get you rejected from health insurance again).

But I’m working hard on not allowing myself to be too down right now. I know all the situations I’m in are temporary and it is totally normal to feel overwhelmed when there are big changes happening in your life. I’m feeling more and more ok about what happened with my car (although I wish that getting a new car was something I had been looking forward to do instead of something I had to do). I’m trying to think about the good that the rain is doing for the drought that we have been experiencing and not that it is causing me pain. And I’m trying to keep telling myself that it is ok to feel down as long as I don’t stay that way forever.

The timing of this has been interesting because I’ve been reading a new book as part of my recovery themed reading lately. Right now, I’m reading a book called “You Are Not Your Brain” and it is all about changing how you think. It talks about taking how your brain works and making it work to your advantage to getting rid of bad habits, recovering from an addiction, or feeling overwhelmed.

I’m still in the beginning of this book, but it’s been a really good read for me so far. I’ve been seeing how the overwhelming feeling I’ve been dealing with can be worked into something more positive. I don’t have to let my brain control my life and that is something that I know many of us struggle with. The emotions in my brain aren’t always rational and I need to work on separating the rational feelings from the irrational emotions I get from time to time.

I know that being emotional isn’t a bad thing, but I really want to be able to keep my emotions in check more often. I know that it is not the end of the world that my car died, but it is still upsetting me when I should be more excited and grateful that I was able to get a new car (that is significantly better than my old car was). I know that feeling alone and isolated is either in my head or my fault. I have many friends that I could call or text to not be alone, but I’m choosing not to. I am loved, even when I feel like I’m not.

I know that my journey in my eating disorder recovery will be a long one, but I’m glad that I added reading books related to recovery as a part of the journey. I’ve read some books that I haven’t connected with, but then there are the others that I feel it is fate that I am reading them at that time. Self-help and recovery do go hand in hand and I think that all of this work that I’m putting into recovery is making me a better person.

While I don’t want to become an unemotional robot, I’m glad that I’ve been able to practice regulating my emotions right now when it is such an emotional time. Right now is some of the more significant ups and downs, so hopefully with this work that I’m putting in I can manage things even better when they are minor mood swings. And by managing my emotions more, I know that I will be able to manage my eating disorder more. It is all work in progress, but the progress is definitely going the right way.

More Eating Disorder Research (or Reading About HDE)

I’ve been keeping up with my monthly challenge to read a book about recovery every day. I’m pretty much doing the 10 pages a day (sometimes a few extra pages in a day) so that I’m not overwhelmed or feeling like I need to do a ton of reading each day. I think this was a really great challenge to set for myself and I’m happy that I’m not finding it too difficult to continue doing it each day. I think that it can only be a positive thing for me and I’m excited to see what I’ll learn with each book I read.

At the rate that I’m reading, each book takes a little more than a month to finish. So I’m getting close to finishing my second recovery book now and I’ve been learning quite a bit. The book I’m reading now is called “How To Have Your Cake And Your Skinny Jeans Too”.


I’ll admit that I didn’t love the title when I saw it the first time (I’m not a fan of gimmicky books), but there was something about it that caught my attention and it was on sale as a Kindle book so I got it. Since each book is taking me so long to read, I have to buy them instead of getting them from the library (I only get 3 weeks with library books), but I’ve got quite a few that I’ve already bought and I’m sure that buying 1 book a month or so won’t be too expensive.

When I started to read the book, I wasn’t quite sure where it was going with how it was going to discuss achieving recovery. But after a few days of reading and getting into it I discovered that it is all about hunger directed eating (or HDE). The idea of HDE is that you will eat what you want because if you don’t it may turn into a binge later. If you deprive yourself of something for too long you will go crazy when you have a chance to eat it.

The idea of depriving myself and then going crazy with the food is not a foreign concept to me. I’ve had that happen and it’s not fun at all. But the idea of eating everything that I crave and want is terrifying because I know that when I do that in the short-term it ends badly for me. But the idea of HDE is that while the short-term may be a lot of “bad” foods, eventually you will get sick of just eating those and your body will start to crave the foods that you should eat and your diet will have more variety in it.

Following HDE does seem like it could be something for me, but like I said the idea scares me so much. All of my fears are things that are written about in the book, so that does make me feel a bit better. Nothing I’m afraid of isn’t discussed in one of the chapters with a solution or explanation of how it will work out. So since it seems like I have totally normal fears of HDE I’ve been testing it out a little bit.

I’m not going 100% with HDE yet because I don’t want to have the days of endless eating of foods that I crave. Those will cause my workouts (and probably my work at my day jobs) to suffer and I can’t afford that right now. But I’m trying to follow my cravings more than I normally do and see where it takes me. Along with those cravings, I try to meal plan around it so that I can get my 3 meals in for the day but staying as close to my calorie goals as possible.

It’s not going too badly. Once I started to plan around the cravings I have, I’m starting to see how they can fit into my every day life. The issue I’m still having is the volume of the foods I’m craving that I eat. This is something discussed in the book and it is similar to the mindful eating that I’ve been working on. I need to start paying attention to how I feel while eating things (and not going into a trance) and see when my body is saying that it is ready to be done with the food I’m craving.

This is something that is going to take time and I don’t know if HDE is going to work for me in the long run. What I do know is what I’ve been doing hasn’t been working and I need to start trying other things (even if they scare me or seem like it could never work) to see what will work and what will be right for me. I’m just glad that I’m at a point in my recovery that I can try things out like this and not feel hopefully when I have a set back and just view it as a learning experience.

Getting Out Of A Funk (or Focusing On Happiness)

I think you could all tell from yesterday’s post that I’m in a low point right now. I hate when I have bad days like that, and I think the way that I get into a funk is why I was diagnosed with severe depression in the past (recently it was decided that it was a misdiagnosis because it’s not very severe or often). I’m still working on getting myself back to where I was before, but at least I’m working on it now.

Food is still a huge issue. I’m hoping it gets better soon and I’m working on some new ideas to make things easier on me and not requiring as much thought. When I have to think about food, it makes things worse. Meal planning should be best, but then I end up not wanting to eat what I plan. I’ve got some ideas from friends that I’m testing out and it’s really just trial and error right now. I’m trying to focus on the idea that at least I’m working on this instead of giving up like I have in the past.

I’m also working on focusing on my happiness checklist. I do fill that out every single day still and it’s a good reminder that even on days where I isolate myself from everyone there are things I can do that make me happy. My happiness checklist is an app now (it’s easier to do that than to always carry around paper to fill it out) and I do try to look at it midday to see what I’ve done and what I will be doing to make sure that at least a few things will be checked off every day.

Fortunately with the checklist, some of the things are pretty much a guarantee for me. Writing these posts (or other blogs I freelance on) are a part of that checklist. And reading is one that I get done every single day without fail. I’ve been reading a lot lately because it is an escape for me and it takes my mind off of things that are stressing me out or making me upset. Thank goodness for my library card to get e-books because I’m going through more books a week than ever and I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars a year on books!

I read a pretty big variety of books. Right now, I am reading 10 pages of an eating disorder recovery book every day, but that’s not my main reading. I read a lot of fiction and I try to get some non-fiction in there from time to time. If you want to see what I’m reading, I’m trying to stay up to date with my Goodreads account and tracking what I’ve been enjoying. Books have always made me happy and I’m glad that they continue to do so.

And I’m letting myself be lazy and watch tv and movies after work. It’s not the best thing to do all the time, but sometimes you have to just do it and not worry about the lack of movement and activity after work. I finally caught up on all the Olympics and ceremonies so I’m moving on to other things. Most recently, I watched “Stranger Things” on Netflix. Everyone has been talking about it since it came out last month, and I’m finally catching up.

Stranger Things

I’m happy to say that it is just as good as everyone has said it was and I wasn’t disappointed at all. I had to break up my viewing since it was 8 hours of a show and I didn’t have 8 hours without needing to work or sleep. But I think the way I broke it up (2 episodes one day and the last 6 the next) worked out well. It is a bit scary at times, so I don’t recommend watching it right before going to bed unless you have something happy to watch right after this and before needing to sleep (which is exactly what I did).

I am feeling my mood getting better, I’m not feeling as sick as I was earlier in the week, and the food is still not ideal but it is better. Overall, I think I’m on an upswing to things and I’m just hoping that it will be back to normal soon. I’ve got some fun things coming up next week so I think if I’m not back to normal by then, those fun things will improve my mood right away!

Another Monthly Challenge Down (or July and August Challenges)

With July being over already (it really just flew by!), it’s time to recap my July monthly challenge. This time, my challenge was to read 10 pages of an eating disorder recovery book every day. I set this as a challenge because I’ve been having trouble finishing any recovery books and I thought breaking it into smaller chunks would help.

I’ll admit, this challenge got off to a rocky start. Since I do almost all my reading on my Kindle, I was finding it tough to switch between the recovery book and whatever fun book I happen to be reading at the time. Fortunately I solved this problem pretty quickly. I have my fun book reading on my Kindle, and my recovery book is read every day on my iPhone on the Kindle app. I don’t love reading on my phone for too long, but this works for the 10 pages I read (which usually only takes a few minutes).

There were a couple of days where my 10 pages were done at almost midnight, but I did set an alarm on my phone right around when I go to bed to remind myself to read my pages. Most days, I ended up doing my reading right before of after dinner so I got them done pretty early. And even though I knew I could read more than 10 pages a day, I didn’t want to get myself burned out like I have in the past so I tried to keep myself to that limit (I went over a bit when I was close to the end of a section or chapter).

By reading my 10 pages a day, I got one book finished and I’m about halfway through another one. I have several recovery books that I’ve purchased over the years on my Kindle, so I’ve got a ton of options for future reading. And since it seems to take me about 3 weeks to read a book this way, I could also get Kindle books from the library (the e-book rental period is 3 weeks so it would be cutting it close). I’m not going to worry about my book choices until I read everything I already own, and that’s going to take me a while.

Just like all my previous monthly challenges, I plan on continuing this one. It’s a good habit to be in and I don’t see how I could have anything but positive results. And because of my reading, I was inspired for my August challenge.

This month, I challenge myself to start practicing mindful eating. This is something that I read about in one of the books I read and I know it will be a challenge for me. While many people who practice mindful eating pray or say grace before eating to get into a mindful mentality, since I’m not religious that’s not really going to work for me.

Instead, I’m going to use the self-meditation timer on the meditation app I’ve been using for my daily mediations (my June monthly challenge that I’ve kept up). I can set the self-meditation timer to be as short as 1 minute so I don’t have to worry about it being too long. Eventually I’d like to be at a point where I am practicing mindful eating before every meal, but I know I need to ease into this. So I’m setting a goal to practice mindful eating for at least 1 meal a day.

This isn’t going to be easy for me. For my first day, I struggled to even try to do this before most of my meals. I was able to do it before dinner, but I had to force myself and it felt like the least natural monthly challenge I’ve given myself. I know this will be a good thing and I need to be pushed to do this, but I hate feeling like this is tough. I don’t give up easily that often, but when I’m really struggling it can feel useless. I even debated changing the monthly challenge but that’s the moment I knew I needed to do this. If I wanted to give up, that meant it was a good challenge that was pushing me to a new place and that’s the entire point of this.

I’ve got a couple of ideas for the monthly challenges for the rest of the year, but I also have to see what inspires me along the way to do. I have a lot of things I want to accomplish this year and I feel like I’m making some great strides toward all my goals. I love how successful this year has been so far and I just keep reminding myself in my down days that overall I’ve been doing so much better than before.

Recapping My June (or Still Thinking Up New Monthly Challenges)

With June over now, I wanted to not only reflect back on my monthly challenge for June but what I’ve been able to do for the first half of the year. When I saw my therapist recently, he was really proud of the work that I had been doing and especially with my monthly challenges. I never expected that I would be able to keep every challenge up beyond the challenge month when I started.

But I’ve been keeping accurate food tracking since January, doing daily gratitude lists since February, not ordering delivery food since March, weighing myself every day that I’m home since April, looking to self-submit for acting jobs since May, and now meditating every day since June.

I’ll admit, the meditation thing was tough since I hadn’t really ever been able to do it for more than a few days in a row before. But because I’m an all or nothing person, it made sense to jump in right away without thinking about it too much.

I’ve been using an app called Breathe for meditation and I’ve been liking it a lot. You do check ins before meditating and it will recommend different meditations for you. Most of the free ones are under 10 minutes long, which is perfect for me. The ones I was doing the most were between 2-5 minutes.

It wasn’t easy to start and I’ve had to adjust things to make it better for myself. Because of all the hip issues, I get fidgety when sitting still. So I can’t sit while meditating most of the time. Instead, I lay down on my bed and try to find a comfortable way to lay down before I start the app. Also, I had set reminders for myself to meditate with the idea that I would try to do some in the morning and some at night. The morning meditations never worked for me this past month. I’ve been doing them right before bed each night and I’m actually really liking that. Maybe one day I’ll try to add in morning ones, but for now I’m happy with adding something new to my bedtime ritual because it helps to signal to my body that it’s time to fall asleep.

After so many months in a row of awesome monthly challenges, it’s getting harder and harder to pick a new one. I actually started thinking about my July challenge halfway through June because I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to figure out. I had planned out a couple of ideas and tried to pick something that I knew I’d be able to be successful with (for example, saying I’ll have a binge free month is not really achievable at this point and I don’t want to set myself up for failure). In the end, I think I thought of something great for this month.

For July, I’m challenging myself to read 10 pages of an eating disorder recovery book every day. I’ve actually had monthly goals in the past to read an eating disorder recovery book, and I’ve never been successful at finishing one. I get distracted or want to read a fun book so I’d take a break and never came back to the book I started. For me, I’m usually able to start a book and finish it without breaks, but I just can’t seem to do that with eating disorder recovery books.

So if I set up a plan to only have to read 10 pages a day, I’ll still get to do my fun reading but I should be able to finish an entire book this month. I used to do this with personal development books when I used to be in an MLM type of job, but when I stopped working with that company that habit was dropped. But I think this is a perfect time to bring that back to my life and I think it’s going to be a really positive thing for me.

I’m happy with this challenge I’ve set up for July, but knowing how hard it is to come up with new challenges each month I think I need to start thinking about my August challenge now!

Learning About “Breaking Vegan” (or An Amazing Book Giveaway!)

I’m so excited to share this amazing book and giveaway with you all! But before I get to that, I wanted to give you a little back story.

I first heard of Jordan Younger when her blog post about ending her vegan diet went viral. She used to blog under the name The Blonde Vegan and changed her name to The Balanced Blonde to reflect her new lifestyle. I heard of her because I know the blogger The Balanced Brunette and someone mentioned the name similarity.

I had read the post about Jordan ending her vegan diet and was very proud of her. She had discovered that from the restrictions of the vegan diet that her food choices became more and more restrictive and ended up turning into orthorexia. There was a lot of backlash from her post including vegans being angry for her eating animal products again and from other people who didn’t believe that orthorexia was a real thing.

I could relate to people not understanding an eating disorder. I had the same issue with my binge eating disorder. At first, it wasn’t recognized as an eating disorder. When I was first diagnosed, it was classified as a non-purging bulimic and there wasn’t any help for me. And people (including some in the medical field) thought that it wasn’t real and that it was just an issue of me liking food too much. So to have a name, a diagnosis, and a treatment plan was a huge relief for me.

Jordan was able to get help for her eating disorder as well. After her post went viral, I started following her on social media and realized that she also works out at Orangetheory! And one day, I noticed her name on the heart rate monitor screen and introduced myself.

Jordan is seriously such an amazing woman and so open about her story. And with all that she learned through the beginning of her journey with her eating disorder, she wrote a book called “Breaking Vegan”.

The Balanced Blonde

Since Jordan knew me through Orangetheory she offered to send me a copy so I could check it out! I got it and started reading it immediately.

Breaking Vegan

What struck me the most (and what has stuck me with so many eating disorder stories) is how similar her story is to mine. Our eating disorders are very different, but so much the same. They start with small choices (both of us started with disordered eating issues as children) and balloon out of control without really realizing it. Jordan’s book is very well written and beautifully laid out. Her story includes photos of her throughout her journey and in the back there are some great recipes for healthy meals (I’ll hopefully be making some of those soon!).

I understand that there is some controversy with the title because not everyone who goes vegan develops an eating disorder. But this story is a personal story of what happened to Jordan and how her discovering a vegan lifestyle helped to make her eating disorder come out. It would be the same as if I said that ice cream created my binge eating disorder (it didn’t, but that’s an example). Of course it’s not the fault of ice cream, but that ice cream led me down the path to the eating disorder that I believe I was genetically at risk for.

I highly recommend this book both to those who have an eating disorder as well as those who don’t. Those who have an eating disorder may find comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone, crazy, or weird. That’s how I felt reading this. And those without an eating disorder can see how easy it is to spiral an eating habit into an eating disorder and get an idea of the mindset of someone with an eating disorder and why it’s so difficult to overcome them.

Of course, I recommend everyone buying the book, but I’m also giving away a copy! You just need to enter through Rafflecopter below and you do as many of the entry options as you want (the tweet option is available every day!). The contest will end at 12am on Christmas Day so I will be playing Jewish Santa and emailing the winner on Christmas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I hope that you all enter this giveaway and even if you don’t win you read this book. We should all support Jordan for sharing her story because it is so difficult to do! If more people were open with their eating disorders, I believe that more people would reach out for help and would realize that they don’t have to be alone in this journey.

I’m a Book Nerd (or Seriously, I’m a Book Nerd)

Ok, so update from the dentist quickly in case you didn’t see it on twitter. The visit did not go too smoothly. I’m going to need a crown on one of my teeth, which means two appointments in September, both requiring shots. Not really looking forward to it, but at least it will be fixed now and I won’t need a root canal in the near future.

On to a happier subject: how I am a total book nerd. I’ve loved books my entire life. I learned to read at 2 (a fact that my mom is still proud of). And as a child, I was a voracious reader. It might have been a little ridiculous.

While in middle and high school, my reading wasn’t quite as crazy. I was always reading this book or that book for school and reading for fun wasn’t on the top of my to-do list.

In college, I rediscovered my love for books (and the public library). Even though I had to still read books for school, I found more room in my life for fun books.

And since graduating college, I’ve only become a crazier reader. I have a soft spot for chick lit, but I’ll read almost anything.

Right now, I’m on a dystopian society book kick (thank you Hunger Games). But almost all dystopian society books are young adult books, so that’s where I’ve been finding my books lately.

I’ve read the first 2 books in the Delirium series, the first 2 books in the Divergent series, I’m working through the Uglies series, and I’m still looking for more (recommendations would be appreciated).

And for good measure, here are some of my other favorite authors:

Stephanie Bond (especially her Body Movers series)
Lindsey Kelk (Love her I Heart series)
Jennifer Weiner (Everything she writes is awesome)

Hope some of you will be inspired to read some more, and maybe check out some of my favorite authors!