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It’s been a tough few weeks. I don’t know if the torn calf muscle caused it, or if it was the straw that broke this camel’s back.

I feel like such a heel bitching about my leg. Heck, I still have my leg, and it will heal. People deal with far worse pain and inconvenience on a daily basis without any end in sight, and I’m whining over a minor setback. But it’s like, I’ve been stressed at work, Emerson is getting older which means she’s getting smarter and bolder and really needs much more from me, life has been constantly going going going, and I have been dealing with all this with my drug of choice – food.

Have to get to work at 7am? Guess I’ll stop at McDonald’s on the way in and gobble down an Egg White Delight, hashbrown, and Sugar Free French Vanilla Iced Coffee on the commute (if it’s earlier than 7 I’ll let myself think I “deserve” a Sausage McMuffin). Forgot to make lunch, so I guess I’ll just hit Chipotle, or the buffet where I’ll make a salad doused with dressing and feta, or Subway, or even some crappy something from CVS. If I know dinner will be late because K is teaching, I’ll stop by 7-Eleven with good intentions and leave with a Slurpee and nachos. The thing is, this filth I have been putting in my body courses through my veins like a drug. I can be stressed and panicking and overthinking. I can’t even move forward with so many things on my to-do list. Traffic can have me literally screaming in my car and I down four nachos covered in that disgusting orange goo and I might as well have taken a Zanax. I can think clearly, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I don’t get that same thing from a piece of fruit, a turkey wrap, or a green juice.

So I have terrible food going in the body, not enough sleep, so much stress I have an almost permanent eye twitch and I tear my calf muscle, which means I can’t get around and can’t exercise. This left me crying in bed this past Saturday thinking I was going to forever be an obese crippled person and I’d have to give away my shoe collection and shutter the blog. My husband and Emerson went to a friends’ cookout without me since the leg was so bad, I had a bag of frozen peas under my elevated calf and I cried looking at the ceiling feeling sorry for myself. And I cried because I couldn’t get down the stairs to gorge on the contents of the fridge or drive myself to Wendy’s. I wondered if third-life crises existed. And so I wrote for the blog. I wrote four posts in an afternoon, and it did make me feel better, though I still craved French fries.

I spent most of Memorial Day weekend with my leg up, and my confidence in the gutter. Tuesday I had to go to work and put on the last clean skirt in my wardrobe that worked with flat shoes and a limp. I got to work early, but left early to see a doctor about the leg. I knew it would heal eventually, but I had this fear that maybe I wasn’t caring for it properly and would end up permanently injured or not able to walk around at Forecastle in July. It was a new doctor, and he was… well just what the doctor ordered. In six minutes we had covered the leg (he pinpointed the muscle, told me I would heal, I was caring for it correctly and yes, I could go to my music festival and enjoy it), but then asked me how I was doing otherwise. I told him about the migraines that have returned in the past year, the eye twitch, the upper back pain, the panic attacks. I told him about the stress in my life, how I have made changes to lower the amount of stress, but I still feel overwhelmed all the time. How I want to exercise, but I can’t find the motivation and now I don’t have the ability to do much other than swim and when do I have time to go to a pool. How blood tests and blood pressure checks say I am in the best of health but I KNOW this body isn’t happy and I know I am at an age where I need to get my shit together or it’s going to really affect me for the long haul. And he didn’t whip out a prescription pad for Topomax and Paxil and Felxiril, but instead listened to me, talked with me, had a conversation for almost an hour. Yes, I did leave with a prescription for 9 Imitrex pills to have in my purse just in case, but I also left with a feeling of hope.

I went home, it was still early, before 4pm. I turned off my phone, changed into shorts, and asked Emerson if she wanted to play. We made forts and read books and played beauty shop and school. I made dinner of leftover shrimp with field greens and cucumbers. I didn’t drink a glass of wine, but instead water. I gave my hair and face a treatment mask and went to bed early.

It’s not too late for me to get back on track, and I am not too old of a dog to learn new tricks. I’m still pretty bummed about this stupid leg and the weight I have gained, but I know it’s not forever, and I know in the mean time there’s no benefit to stuffing my face and crying in the shower. There’s no point in being my worst enemy, especially since I like myself so much. And if I fall, well I just need to brush myself off and get back up. I can do it.

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  1. It’s hard to be perfect all the time so give yourself a break. I too have gone off the weight watchers track having just come back from holiday in Orlando. You’re not alone Ali! And the good thing is you have got yourself to a place where you can see what you need to do next. In another week you will be feeling more in control. You can do this!

  2. Hi Allie. I have never left a comment before on your blog although I have been reading on and off for a long time – I found you when looking for office capsule wardrobes and was pregnant with my daughter about the same time as you were with your Emerson so I kept with you. I love your blog! I love your writing style, your honesty and your sense of humour. You have posted many things that have helped me adjust sartorially to reflect the changes in my self over the last few years as I have added parenthood and getting a little older into my mix. So thank you. Very much! Please take gentle care of yourself especially over the bumpy bits that are in your road right now. Jen, England.

  3. I am sorry you are going through this, and happy you found a doctor who listened to you.

    You know, the best part about trying to lose weight or taking better care of your health, is that when you fail, you can just pick-up from where you stopped. It’s not like we have a limited number of chances to take care of ourselves.
    I liked your resolve to spend your time playing with your daughter that day. When I feel how you described, I try to do something that brings me joy (a walk is the best de-stressing activity IMO), and you chose Emerson.

    So, keep up with the good work, and good luck!

  4. Hi Allie,
    I have been reading and enjoying your blog for several years now. Every morning, you give a little something to me as a reader — a pleasurable few minutes of reading and new insights about creating a wardrobe that I feel comfortable and attractive in. I hope that my comment is a little way of giving a bit back to you. Thank you for being sincere and genuine about your feelings, and please know that you’ve inspired a far-flung, but loyal group of supporters. Hope the new month is restorative.

  5. Hi Allie,

    I wasn’t sure if the food choices was due to being stressed out or just due to not having enough time. I know when i’m super busy the last thing I want to do is cook and then have to clean up after cooking and it feels like so much. So what I find helpful is to buy good stuff that’s really easy to get together and is stuff I like to eat already. So breakfast can be plain yogurt doled out into several small containers and you can grab one and grab a banana in the morning and head to work, where you might have some honey and granola stashed in your drawer. Your lunches out sound ok actually – at least, Subway sandwiches and Chipotle never make me feel sick the way McDonalds or other fast foods do. I try to eat an apple (Fuji!) or nuts if I need a snack because it’ll taste good and feel satisfying, and again – I won’t feel sick from it. Anyway, this is not to be judgmental in any way; these little things help me a lot and I’m hoping it helps you out of your low place a little!

  6. Just seen this post and wanted to send you some sympathy. Poor you! Sounds like a horrible time.

    I do have confidence, though, that you’ll work your way back to being the vibrant, clever and stylish dynamite that we all know you are. Hang in there in the meantime and kia kaha (stand strong).

  7. Allie, thank you for always being so giving and honest on your blog. I know you don’t have to be, at all, that this is something you do because you enjoy it. But I’m catching up on my feeds and a minute ago I was like, “dang, Allie answers a LOT of questions about what to wear, I bet that takes a ton of time,” and then I got to this post! Just wanted to say thanks. Hope you’re having a better weekend.

  8. Oh Allie…..I could have written this myself. I’ve gained weight and I have been struggling with a terrible leg injury myself…..a hairline fracture of the fibula and a torn calf muscle. Since I’m a ballroom dancer…its really put a cramp in my lifestyle…but just walking can be (painful) discouraging and wondering if it is ever going to get better. Not being able to exercise so that I can lose some of the extra weight is discouraging too.

    I completely relate to this post….but we both know this is just a phase and it WILL get better. By the way….thank you for the newest post on wearing shorts! Very encouraging.

  9. I’ve had good and bad weeks with exercise and diet, but I believe it’s important to take a long run view to weight loss. Please don’t fret too much any weight gain during your period of rest. It’s unlikely to be something you can’t get off later. Afterall, one would have to eat a surplus of 3500 calories to gain 1pound!!

  10. Wishing you a speedy and full recovery! And I’m glad to hear you have such a strong support network in place. You can do it!

  11. This is exactly why I love your blog so much. Your honesty is so refreshing.

    I know exactly what you mean about food being like a drug. Every time I’m stressed out about my life, I start eating crap, and I manage to convince myself that everything I shove into my mouth makes me feel better. And it does!! Until I realize that I’m just stress eating and 30 minutes later I hate myself.

    Hang in there, though. You have a wonderful daughter and awesome, hot husband who is clearly crazy about you. Eventually your leg will heal. And try to be kind to yourself.

  12. I don’t comment often, but just wanted to say that your emotional well-being is so much more important than other things. You’re gorgeous at any size, obviously talented, smart, and have a great family. Just take care of you, prioritize your mental health, and feel free to cut things that don’t bring you happiness or that disproportionately increase your stress. Much love to ya!

  13. Dear Alison, this is an important share; so may of us blame ourselves rather than our situation or overly-high societal expectations of women. I’m in my sixties and have experienced a lot of bodily changes and it’s true that taking care of our body takes more time as we get older. It’s worth it though because it’s our only body! Imitrix was my saving grace for monthly migraines; that and being aware of my triggers. Take care, get some help. Big hugs!

  14. Hugs from a fellow MMJ fan in Baltimore! I was so surprised to read this post because I am terribly guilty of thinking that bloggers have perfect lives. You are always so put together, stylish, well-groomed, and confident, and your husband is a total babe and your daughter is freaking adorable. Even your sister is a cutie pie!! And regardless of what you think about your body, lady, I would love to be as slim as you! I’ve dieted for years and had to starve to fit into a size 12 for all of 3 weeks in 2004. From the outside, just looking in at the photos you show, it seems like your life is close to perfect. I know that’s not accurate but still, it surprises me when I find out that bloggers don’t all fart rainbows and shit sunshine 24/7.

    All that being said. please know that you will get yourself back on track soon enough. Right now you just need to focus on healing your leg. If you gain a little weight along the way, you can always lose it when you can really exercise again. Based on what you say about your health, it doesn’t seem like 15 pounds will cause you to have a heart attack in the next 6 months (health at every size for the win!) Plus, you are clearly a bad-ass broad who can do pretty much anything, so try to trust in yourself and your kick-ass nature and know that this is just a rough patch, and you will get through it.

    When all else fails, jamming out to Evil Urges usually makes me a lot happier – the song and the entire album.

  15. Sending hugs from Texas. 😉

    And when you’re up for exercising again, maybe aim for 12 minutes or so a day. I’ve actually read up on this, and studies are showing that exercising for long periods, even like an hour at the gym, is not beneficial and can raise cortisol, etc. I was skeptical, thinking I’d gain weight if I cut back, but I’m actually slimmer and getting serious muscle definition! Kettlebells comes up over and over as the most effective. I do these routines, but cut down the longer ones to just 12-15 minutes: http://pinterest.com/aprilealba/feel-the-mostly-kettleburn/.

    Anyway, I know that was all unsolicited and hopefully it wasn’t annoying. 🙂 I just found that committing to 12 minutes for 5 or 6 days a week and finding a routine I can do at home has made exercise more fun and convenient. And you have a way more hectic schedule than I do!

  16. Delurking here. I’ve been reading your posts for maybe a couple of years. I love this blog and look forward to seeing your outfits and reading a little bit about your life with your husband and daughter and mom and sister and friends. (I must admit I love reading about all the places you go to in and around DC — I love DC but live in Pennsylvania about three hours a way.)

    You’ve hinted before about how stressful your job is, how you have to leave really early to get to work and how little time you have for yourself (for exercise, downtime, etc.).

    Then you wrote not too long ago how much time Wardrobe Oxygen takes of your life. And now this.

    My dear, you have only one life. Exercise and eating well is critical. You’re so right — your 65- and 85-year-old selves will hate your almost-40 self because you’re not taking care of yourself. Your middle-aged self is the “parent” of your senior self. Mid-life self-care is critical to how healthy you’ll be in later. The time is NOW to make some good changes.

    This may mean giving up the blog. It appears to take waaaaayy too much of the time you have for more self-care. I will miss this blog terribly if you go, but I’ve known of a few other bloggers who gave it up because their personal lives suffered because of it. I know you will miss the blog a lot, but it seems the only thing that can give. It takes, what, maybe 10-15 HOURS of your life a WEEK? If you keep it up, where will you find the time to exercise? Where will you find the time to spend more with Emerson?

    It appears you can’t cut back at work. You can’t move closer so the commute is shorter. It appears the only thing that’s flexible in giving up is the blog. I know you love it, but your health is not negotiable.

    I’m not trying to be mean or unreasonable. It just seems that you’re pulled to max now. Something has to give and we all hope it’s not your sanity.

    My best to you, whatever you decide. And thank you so much for your honesty!!!


    1. Jean, as I understand it, the blog provides needed income for Allie’s household; it’s not just a hobby that she can quit. But boy, I once echoed your sentiments, Jean, until Allie explained her situation.

      1. I’ll also admit the blog is a joy for me. I LOVE to write, and I love all of you. While my job is pretty great, the blog is my passion. Work will get easier, we’re just at a very busy time with some important projects we are tackling. Life has peaks and valleys and I am in one of them (which is the good one?) and sharing it, and hearing from all of you have lifted a great weight from me. Thank you ALL for your love and support, you seriously mean so much to me!!!!! xxxx

  17. I can’t tell you how much I needed this post today! I broke my foot 5 weeks ago and I am in a boot. I could have written every word of your opening paragraphs. Thank you for sharing and reminding me that this too shall pass. Enjoy your weekend and feel better!!

  18. Allie, so glad you found a good doctor who really listened to you – he sounds lovely. I so often read your blog and wonder how on earth you do it all – you really strike me as a terrific wife, mum, & worker, as well as being one of my favourite bloggers. In the early years of motherhood it is just too easy to put yourself last on your list, but maybe this is a wake-up call that this can’t go on and you just can’t maintain such a furious pace without serious cost to yourself. Just wondering – is there any chance your husband can lighten your load at all for a while at least?

    1. Karl is a freaking superhero. Emerson is utterly brilliant thanks to his teaching, the house is clean and in great shape, he does most of the laundry, most of the cooking, and this summer has taken up gardening so we have fresh veggies all the time. He teaches 4 nights and 1 morning a week and still does the occasional photo shoot but has decided to cut down on weddings because they are high stress and lots of editing hours. But from this panicked weekend we did have a talk and cancelled a few things. We decided we’re not going to go to any concerts this summer that we haven’t already planned, cancelled our yard sale for this weekend, are saying no more. E is going to summer camp for 2 weeks and at that time he’s going to get a lot of tasks done (like finally we’ll move E out of her toddler bed and update her room, etc.). He’s as overwhelmed as I, we’re just trying to make small changes over time to reduce the stress and drama. I think a lot of it though is in my head and of my doing. Nice to hear from you Gervy, my best to you and your lovely family!

      1. I feared that might be the case – you always make him sound pretty perfect! Just a slight prejudice against yoga teachers… I maybe imagined him swanning around saluting the sun while you slave 😉
        At least you are communicating about the situation. And it’s not in your head – you have so much on. Just be gentle on yourself and remember you are an amazing woman. xx

  19. Hi Aliie, a brave post, and one that many of us can identify with! Hope your leg gets better soon XOXO

  20. Hang in there. Health woes, work, stress, unwanted weight – they happen to us all. And mostly, they pass. Listen to your body and your heart and they’ll tell you what you need. Comfort food is called that for a reason – comfort. Not something to do for longer than is needful, but each one of us comes from a different place, has different needs, resilience. Do what you have to, to get through. And be kind to yourself, because you truly come across as a lovely human through your blog.

  21. Sending you a virtual hug! This sounds so much like what I have been going thru, but my malady is bronchitis. I really appreciate your forthrightness in posting this. Reading it, and all of the wonderful comments, makes me feel so normal! I feel bad for all the stress, injuries and illnesses everyone is going thru, but it is comforting to know that I’m not alone in how I’m feeling.

  22. Brave post. Gosh. I’m so sorry. I won’t be preachy and give unsolicited advice. I simply say: Praying for you. You will get through this, and become stronger for it.

  23. I send my very best wishes and hopes for healing, because you taught THIS obese, not quite crippled but definitely gimpy, lady that I don’t have to dress like I’m broken. I owe you a whole lot of gratitude for that, and I’m hoping it’s some small comfort to know that what you’ve done and are doing with this site does make a difference.

  24. Awww… {{{{hugs}}}} I feel your pain – my back has been screwed up, work is stressing me out, and I’ve been eating the wrong crap. I refuse to buy bigger pants, so I have to get my stuff together or I will be unable to leave the house in anything but a maxi dress… Hey, it’s motivation.

    It will get better – I’m glad that you talked to the doctor and took some mommy and daughter time. We all have those days/months where thing are just crappy.

  25. Hang in there, Allie! We love you, and we need you! : )
    I pulled a calf muscle a couple of months ago playing tennis, and then needed a minor (non-related) medical procedure and my son had surgery to repair a broken wrist. It was a lot for one month, especially May, which is crazier than December for us. Shed a few tears, but I think I’m over the hump and June is just around the corner! Praying for quick healing, mentally and physically.

  26. I am so sorry about your leg! Hope it gets better soon! I have been following your blog for 3 years now and You are an inspiration for me. You are a strong person and I am sure you will get over this soon! I got jitters when I read ” shutter the blog”. I love reading each and every of your posts and I mean everything. You are so real unlike some other blogs I have read and that’s what I like.

    You go gal!!

    Have a great day and feel better soon!

    That Sassy Girl

  27. Aww, lady, it’s like you and are the same person right now with health and everything else challenges! Know that others are in the same boat–we feel you! Hugs from Boston!

  28. Oh Allie, I really understand. But look at how quickly you are remembering to be kind to yourself! The horrible feeling could have gone on much longer! I love this blog and I love that you wrote this post and I’m so pleased for you that you’ve come to the conclusions you have here, I love to see you being kind and caring for yourself! You go Allison!

  29. You’re a great blogger as well as a very charming and lovely person, and I really admire your attitude. Nothing wrong with writing the frustration out. It sounds liike you’re putting in such long hours at your job and could use some rest. I hope you continue to find it like you did earlier this week.

  30. I’ve been reading your wonderful blog for a a while now and have learned so much about fashion from you. You have helped me climb out of a very long rut of taking care of everyone around me and not myself, believing that looking and feeling pretty didn’t really matter. So thank you. And thank you for this post. I just want to cheer you on. Keeping trying. Rest, recover, find time for joy. Be well soon.

  31. I resemble these remarks! What works for me when I’m all tangled-up in my head and hitting rock bottom.. pay attention to the words you say to yourself. Try to STOP and reverse the negative stuff. Literally say STOP in your head. I know it sucks and is hard but that stuff is NOT NOT NOT true. Do this and make time for some activities that bring you JOY… preferably at the same time 🙂

    Be KIND to yourself, Alison. You DESERVE it and you’re WORTH it!!

  32. It all gets to be too much at times. I think everyone can relate to when all the pieces of their lives, the good and the bad, just become overwhelming. I try to remember to take a deep breath, ask for help where I need it and can get it, and let go of the unimportant/nonessential things. I remind myself that “this too shall pass” and “everything will work out one way or another”. Hang in there and be good to yourself. I hope the leg heals soon!

  33. While I haven’t injured myself, I have been going through a rough patch with the unsure nature of work and the future. This made me feel so much less alone and so glad that I read your amazing blog. You are a wonderful writer and quite the inspiration!

  34. Something about your line of ‘there’s no point in being my worst enemy, especially since I like myself so much’ is equal parts of awesome and true. You will be fine soon!

  35. Thank you for your honesty! I’ve been dealing with a severely injured hamstring and now accompanying hip issue for months upon months now and it have gone through the same range of emotions myself! It can definitely be really hard especially when you know that inhaling a bag of chips won’t “technically” help at all, but somehow in the moment it seems to. Reading your post just now was majorly encouraging! You are not alone in the struggle. Fight on, sister! Fight on!

  36. I needed this- I didn’t work out at all in April and May. I can give valid excuses- I got sick, I had late meetings, I was so busy… but I just got back in my bad habits like you. Dr. Peppers with every meal, chicken biscuits on early mornings, fast food for dinner. It is a table cycle.

    This week I’ve been hitting the gym every morning- before I allow myself to blog or read blogs and it makes such a difference. I am doing it to feel good and take care of myself. Like you said- we gotta get our shit together! Love you 🙂

  37. It’s ok to have a pity party every once in a while but your resolve to pick yourself back up and dust off and keep going is what really counts. I totally related to this post and believe it or not, it helped me make sense of my current situation. Never apologize for writing what you feel – your followers are with you in the ups and downs, skinny, heavy, broken, healed, etc. Feel better!

  38. 🙁 I’m sorry things have been so tough. It will get better. Random tip: We keep dried beans in the freezer to use as icepacks. They work great because they don’t get hurt by repeated cycles of freezing and thawing (like some frozen veggies do) and they mold to fit the contours of whatever is injured and needs ice. Feel better soon!

  39. Yes, you can do it, and I love your honesty about being low. It has happened to every one of us, even those women we think have all their sh!t in one bag. Be kind to yourself, this will pass, and you will heal. Big, big hugs to you xoxoxo

  40. I love your post. I am 61, 5 feet & 150 lbs after making lifetime a few years ago. Sigh, it happens. You are my favorite blog. Some bloggers look like models and some look awful. You look real and good at the same time. Plus, you can write. Thanks

  41. Allie,

    I comment rarely but I’ve been following for probably 4 years now… I’m not that much into fashion and style (more of a makeup person), but I like you, so I keep on following. The few times I commented were when you were going through challenging times… and now I feel I need to comment as well.. just to say that you will get through this one just like you did with every previous one!

    And about food… there is nothing wrong with you… it’s all a huge manipulation to make money..

    very sad, but true.

  42. I’m so sorry to hear about your leg. I haven’t been dealing with anything so serious but I did catch a massive cold at the beginning of the month that it took a full two weeks to get over. I was in the process of rebooting my eating and workout routines. Of course, all of that got flushed when i got sidelined and then it’s been so difficult to get back. Keep trying to make the right choices and to not give yourself too much flack. I’m right there with you on this one.

  43. Allie, you are such a beautiful person, inside and out.

    Kia kaha Allie! Heal fast and well.

  44. This makes me both sad and happy at the same time…..happy that I’m not the only woman going through this but also sad for you. You are such an inspiration in so many areas of people’s lives.

    I quit smoking about 4 years ago and I struggle with losing the 10 lbs I gained, then lost, then gained back. I firmly believe that losing weight it much harder than anything else I’ve done – I can live without cigarettes but I can’t live without food. Our bodies are programmed to crave fat, sugar, and salt to get us through the lean times back when we were hunter/gatherers. Don’t think for one second that food producers don’t know this and use it to their advantage. I started back with Weight Watchers again because I know that weight loss starts in the kitchen but I am also highly aware that unless I move more, I will regain the weight as I’ve always done.

    Please don’t give up. You are not alone.

  45. I *love* this post! Two years ago I broke my ankle and the way that it impacted my life really threw me for a loop — particularly my fashion and self-image! I hope you heal soon.

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