Morning!  Alright – so maybe three glasses of wine + two desserts was not the best thing for me to eat right before bed.  I’ve cleaned up my diet considerably since getting serious about the marathon, and the alcohol + sugar overload from last night kept me up for hours.  Ugh.  I’ve learned my lesson this time – I swear. 🙂


Stabilizing breakfast:



  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 banana
  • Toppings: berries, brown sugar, and raspberries


Hey! Same exact breakfast as yesterday.  Just feeling uncreative this morning, I guess.


Positive Thinking in Real Life:  Erica’s HTP


Erica wrote, “I am a 27 year old graduate student, entering my final year towards my PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology.  I have always had a very positive body image, a healthy relationship with food, and was always at a Happy Weight, thanks to my wonderful and supportive parents and husband.  It wasn’t until I entered the second year of graduate school at the age of 24 that I started to participate in Fat Talk.


Being successful in graduate school is a lot different from success in high school and college, because there you have control over how much you study and learn and how well you do on exams.  In graduate school and research, no matter how hard you work, sometimes your hypotheses are just wrong due to the nature of science.  Experiments do not work the way you expect about 75% of the time.  Research, while exciting the 25% of the time things worked, was leaving me unfulfilled and for the first time in my life I felt I was not in control of my own success. 


I started going out at night with other graduate students and drinking a lot every weekend so that I wouldn’t have to think about work.  Then I started to put on a few pounds.  This lack of control led me to look for control in other areas of my life, and I began calorie counting to maintain my already small frame, and maybe even lose a pound or two.  I then began working out just to burn calories so I could either eat more or drink more. 


After 2 years of this, I decided that I wanted to start running and trained for a Half Marathon. Running really helped me deal with the constant ‘failures’ in the lab, however I was still participating in Fat Talk.  I said I wanted to lose weight so I could "get faster," so I started restricting calories even more, and then I ended up with a stress fracture.   Once I recovered from the stress fracture I realized I needed to make a change.  At this point, I stumbled upon Healthy Tipping Point, and eventually Operation Beautiful.  I saw that you were refueling after runs, eating mainly real food, and loved your body for what it did for you, rather than what you wanted it to be.  This inspired me to complete a Sprint Triathlon and to learn how to refuel properly.  


The past 2 months, I have been working hard to eat enough to support my training, and I have been working toward a more positive body image and to stop calorie counting, but it has been a struggle because Fat Talk creeps in when I have a bad day. I noticed that even my husband has even begun saying when he feels "fat" or shouldn’t eat something – and he runs even more than me!  I’m currently recovering from yet another running injury (however, my sports doctor and I have realized these are due to a bio-mechanical issue, not over training or improper nutrition).  Instead of focusing on what I can’t do (run), I focus on what I can do, and I recently achieved my goal of swimming 1600m without rest! 


Yesterday, I ate lunch with a friend, and we were both commiserating about graduate school the entire time, which caused me to mindlessly eat my entire plate of food.  Afterward, I felt guilty for 2 hours for eating an entire panini and a plate of chips.  I was about to write my husband an email complaining about having a Fatty Fest, when I told myself to “Shut Up.”  I bought the Operation Beautiful book and sat down to read it, only to have an epiphany.  I have been participating in Fat Talk for nearly 4 years to cover up my lack of control and dissatisfaction with school. 


I need to change the way I think about ‘failures’ in the lab – if my hypothesis is wrong, I still answered an important question about science, just not the one I intended!   This morning for the first time in 3 years I did not log the calorie content of my breakfast.  In fact, I closed my DailyBurn account to remove the temptation!  I am no longer going to complain about work or feel guilty about eating the occasional indulgent meal.  I posted a note on my computer, "You are Smart, Strong, and Beautiful" and "Failure in Lab does not equal Failure in Life" to remind myself that my work doesn’t define me and that I need to be good to myself, because I’m pretty awesome!  I am so glad I realized this NOW.  My husband and I are thinking about starting a family soon and I don’t want to bring up a child in a house where we are constantly belittling ourselves, but uplifting ourselves!”


Check out these other inspiring success stories:


  • Ben:  120 Pound Journey to an Ironman
  • Erin: Young, Strong, and Beating Distorted Thinking
  • Tina:  Two Pink Lines Motivated Her to Get Healthy
  • Bo: A Man’s Healthy Tipping Point Journey
  • Emily:  A Slow Switch Helped Her Lose Nearly 100 Pounds 
  • Kayla:  The Fear of Going Blind Motivated Her to Get Healthy 
  • Maria:  A Gallbladder Stone Scare Showed Her The Importance of Real Food
  • Dani:  Learning to Run Through the Couch to 5K Program
  • Maissa:  Finding a New Outlet for Negative Emotions
  • Freya:  A Journey Out of Anorexia
  • Carrie:  Ditched Distorted Thinking and Ran a Marathon
  • Amy:  A Mom Who Lost Baby Weight and Became a Triathlete
  • Jenny:  Saw Lance Armstrong on Oprah and Decided to Ride a Century
  • Lauren:  Stays Active Despite Being a Busy Associate at a Financial Firm
  • Beth:  A Friend’s Serious Illness Inspired Her to Focus on Her Own Health


Have you ever noticed that negative self-talk about your body, weight, or physical capabilities is often tied to another issue?  I actually wrote the very first Operation Beautiful note in response to feeling inadequate at work + night school!



  • Natalia - a side of simple September 26, 2010, 10:41 am

    Nothing like a great detox breakfast and an inspiring story to get your Sunday off to a great start. Thanks, Caitlin!

    Ps. Who can resist wine and dessert, at ANY hour?

  • Marie-JourneyToBodyZen September 26, 2010, 10:43 am

    Yes, my Fat Talk is often related to my anxiety in large crowds or in public speaking. Whenever I have to do a presentation at work or school, I have the worst anxiety and my face turns red! This just fuels negative self-talk, and I end up with a pretty depressed narrative about myself in my head. But, I’m a work in progress and just realizing this is the first step to changing it! I enjoyed reading about Erica’s experience 🙂

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) September 26, 2010, 10:47 am

    Absolutely! I think you can get overwhelmed by personal negativity which just leads to feeling bad about everything about yourself. Thanks for sharing her story. I think it is important to focus on your positives when you see negatives in your life.

  • Freya September 26, 2010, 10:52 am

    Great story! I love her OB note at the end 🙂
    My negative self talk/fat talk is 99% of the time related to something else – stress over a paper due, a bad day, an argument..bit it’s key to get that it IS to do with other stuff, cos then if you deal with that, the fat talk issue is being dealt with too (if that makes sense).
    Hope you’re ok btw Caitlin – I saw on Twitter you’re in a hell-ish situation 🙁

  • Erin September 26, 2010, 10:55 am

    My mood definitely influences how I feel about my body, my meals, my workouts… basically every aspect of life. I’m working to become a more positive person in hopes that improves other things, too.

  • Julie @SavvyEats September 26, 2010, 10:58 am

    Love, love, love Erica’s HTP! It really spoke to me this morning.

  • Kris September 26, 2010, 11:06 am

    My fat talk is definitely related to aging. There’s so much emphasis on youth in our culture that I find being middle-aged so demoralizing. I shouldn’t feel that way. In fact, I feel guilty about reading all the healthy living/fitness blogs (even though I love to stay fit and eat healthy) because I feel like I’m eavesdropping on all you 20 somethings. I just read an article in More magazine that talked about how many more middle-age women are being diagnosed with eating disorders. At this point in my life I need to forget about the number on the scale and the flubber at my waist (and this struggle even though I’m very slender), and enjoy my health. I just don’t know how to get there.

    • Caitlin September 26, 2010, 11:10 am

      You are so right – our culture is so youth-obsessed and we should be proud of being older, wiser, and more beautiful! There are some ‘older and wiser’ bloggers, too! I’ll put a call out on Twitter and maybe we can create a list on this comment of blog written by women in their 40’s + who aren’t mommy bloggers.

      • Gail @ Shrinking Sisters September 26, 2010, 11:23 am

        (Raises hand)
        I’m one! Late-40s, too. I am a mommy, but technically not a “mommy blogger.” I’ve raised my son not to be so strung out on food and weight, but I think it’s easier for boys to sidestep the pressures. He does weigh himself, even though he’s a lean 5-foot-2 and 110 pounds — despite the cheeseburgers and chocolate cake. He’s very intuitive with his eating — he knows when he’s had enough and he stops. One day I hope to be like him.

      • Kris September 26, 2010, 11:51 am

        Thanks Caitlin for putting the word out. I haven’t found many over 40 blogs — mainly just Fit and Forty Something, although she isn’t blogging much these days. I’d love to find others.

      • Sonal September 26, 2010, 2:59 pm


        I am a mom, a runner, a vegan and a blogger.. and oh yeah, I am 40~


      • Angie September 27, 2010, 10:04 am

        I’d love to connect, Kris!! I’m not quite 40 yet….but closer every day 🙂 just turned 36. There are definitely some “older” and wiser bloggers out there. 🙂

    • Laine @ Beets, Butter & Mountaintops September 26, 2010, 11:19 am

      I’m 38 and I blog about yoga, hiking, and other things (and threw my scale away a few months ago.)

      I was actually thinking last night about how there are so few “older” women who are blogging about their daily food intake. I wondered if it was because we tend to mellow with age and it becomes less important to log what we eat. When I was in my 20’s (there were no blogs back then) I struggled with eating (and not eating) and other self-hating things. After a while I realized that all those things were preventing me from living the life I wanted and I worked on moving past them.

      The older I get the more I realize that the number on the scale doesn’t matter, but that my strength, balance and cardiovascular fitness are what matter most when taking care of my body and are what will keep me happy and healthy into old age.

      • Kris September 26, 2010, 11:51 am

        Laine, thanks! I’ll def check out your blog!

    • Carbzilla September 26, 2010, 1:24 pm

      I’m 44 and not a mommy (by choice). I look at the scale but there are so many other factors these days. I’m much more into overall health and FUNCTIONAL fitness. Plus, my husband loves so much more about me than my body. I just feel like the whole weight thing has finally been put into perspective.

    • @stampylisa September 28, 2010, 1:18 pm

      hopefully replying in right spot. lol! I blog, but sporadically at and am 43. i hope to expand on my blogging, when things calm down (I lost my mom on 9/11 – she lived 1200 miles away, so I have a bunch of stuff to care for) but i still want to share my site. I post my book list on this site too in a sidebar.

  • Lindsay September 26, 2010, 11:07 am

    I LOVE this Healthy Tipping Point. I have had many of the same struggles as Erin and I think that she should think about starting her own blog to talk about her daily life and how she is fighting the daily grind and staying healthy minded along the way!! 🙂

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing September 26, 2010, 11:30 am

    For sure! When I have relationship issues and things aren’t going well, it also brings me down on my body issues.

  • JenATX September 26, 2010, 12:09 pm

    This story really resonates with me. I always tried to eat healthfully, but never really did during college. That was fine to me at the time just because I didn’t feel like it was that big of a deal. Then, I got to law school & everything changed. I felt so incredibly inadequate compared to my brilliant classmates. I began to feel very anxious about food & the shape of my body. It drove me insane because I just wanted to feel good about myself. I have come to accept that I just won’t ever be as smart as some of my classmates, but I can try my hardest. Now I’m working on accepting my body for what it is & not what I want to shape it into. It does a lot for me so I really shouldn’t say such negative things about it

  • Kristina @ spabettie September 26, 2010, 12:09 pm

    YEP – I’m going through the same thing this morning!! I had (several glasses of?) wine last night at a party, and I’m so not used to it… drinking my detox juice right now!!

    I love when you share these HTP stories… this is another great one!

  • Lana September 26, 2010, 12:12 pm

    What an amazing story!! thanks so much for sharing. I think we all find inspiration in these stories..I know I sure do.

  • Lindsey September 26, 2010, 12:18 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this story! I’m in my 4th year of a PhD program and the stress of school definitely takes it toll on you. There were days I would just cry because I couldn’t figure out why I was gaining weight which then led me to engaging in tons of Fat Talk. It’s so nice to have positive inspirational stories to help us stop the cycle.

  • Chelsea @ Strawberry Sweat September 26, 2010, 12:19 pm

    My triggers for negative talk are very similar to Erica’s. I tend to notice that when I don’t understand law school or when I my job search isn’t going my way, I get really negative. Running has been the only thing that will keep me from engaging in that sort of talk.

  • Ella September 26, 2010, 12:20 pm

    I think I need to put that failure in lab does not equal failure at life sticker on my laptop. I got a 320% error on this weeks lab (you dont even need to be a science person to realize how off that is!)and I’ve been beating myself up over it and my grades. I’ve gained about 5 pounds since August just from the stress of school..Blah! However..trying to keep the fat talk away..
    I really enjoy these stories! I hope everything gets better with your family Caitlin, you’re all in my prayers!

  • Chelsea at Striking Balance September 26, 2010, 12:42 pm

    I love that story. Sometimes it’s hard to seperate “failures” in a certain thing and “failure” at life. I am really inspired by her story.

  • September 26, 2010, 12:43 pm

    yup, Erica is 100% right! its amazing how much i can relate to what she’s saying. im pretty sure we can all agree that we feel just as out of control when were stuck in a negative mind set, and even when we choose to take more control, we are faced with hurdles. its really how we overcome them that solidifies our strength and confidence. so beautiful <3

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous September 26, 2010, 1:16 pm

    I’ve always been pretty hard on myself, but I think most of my Fat Talk began six years ago when I moved to NYC. Everyone just seemed prettier/skinnier/BETTER than me. It’s still a struggle, but not nearly as bad as it was. I’m finding ways to focus on my positive attributes and the things that make me unique to other people, and that helps keep the negative talk to a minimum!

  • Sana September 26, 2010, 1:19 pm

    Honestly the main reason I feel super negative about myself is when I do poorly in school. I feel like a failure. But I know my grades don’t define who I am. It is difficult always trying to remember that.

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) September 26, 2010, 1:40 pm

    Good point Caitlin! It is pretty much always related to another issue now that I think about it. Much easier to defect things you don’t want to deal with and be negative toward yourself (esp when you can’t control the ‘issue’ that’s bothering you – and you can control your thoughts).

  • Amanda September 26, 2010, 1:48 pm

    I love the lyrics to Going through hell…if you’re going through hell keep on going before the devil even knows you’re there. This normally helps me when I’m struggling

  • Julie September 26, 2010, 2:11 pm

    As someone in (hopefully) her last year before getting a PhD, I understand how caught up we can get with “succeeding.” It seems like everyone expects people who are shooting for a doctorate to be perfect — looks, smarts, etc. I have gotten obsessed about running a PR in my races, my food intake, weight, overall appearance, how “cool” I look to others by showing that I can work a full-time job, have a life, AND do my thing at school.

    Hope you can truly believe that we cannot control everything, but that doesn’t make you any less perfect.

  • Allie September 26, 2010, 2:26 pm

    i love this story. i went through the exact same feeings of failure and struggle for success (that was just not going to happen due to the nature of the work) during my phd program. i wish i dealt with it as well as erica- great job!!!

  • holly @ couchpotatoathlete September 26, 2010, 2:50 pm

    I have been very hard on myself — and yes, the fat talk usually stems from something else. I’ll make a mistake at work and my negativity moves from “me being not so good at work” to “I’m so fat, lazy and worthless and thats why I am not good at my job”. It is amazing how quickly those negative thoughts move into all parts of our lives.

  • Stacey (The Habit of Healthy) September 26, 2010, 3:13 pm

    I love this HTP story. I definitely find that fat-talk is related to other things that happen in life. I feel bad about one thing (usually work!) and then progress into a downward spiral and start to feel bad about other things such as what I look like and what I eat.

  • Nicole September 26, 2010, 3:18 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this story! I feel like I’m in the same boat with Erica, I’m a 24 year old grad student and feel like as lab work, experiments, hypothesis, etc. go askew, I focus more and more on what I am or am not eating and the fat talk usually begins.

  • Erica September 26, 2010, 3:29 pm

    Hi! It’s Erica 🙂 I never expected my email to make it onto HTP, but I’m so glad that others can relate to my story. I am happy to report that I have been pretty much fat talk free since I wrote Caitlin back in August, and I haven’t counted calories either! I’ve also been dealing with bad outcomes in the lab better, too. The main thing I learned (and wanted to share) is that it really helps to take a step back and gain perspective on our feelings and behaviors. I hope my story helps someone else break a cycle of negative self talk and realize that there are some things that we cannot control. Thanks to Caitlin for inspiring me (and many others) to take care of our physical, and mental, well-being. 🙂

  • Katie - Life Discombobulated September 26, 2010, 3:37 pm

    I loved this story! I’m a graduate student, too, and it’s SO easy to let success and the process of striving for it take over the rest of my life. It’s also easy to let a failure affect how I feel about myself. Thanks for sharing your HTP story, Erica! 🙂

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey September 26, 2010, 4:37 pm

    Wow, I can totally relate to Erica! I particpated in Fat Talk for many years, and it is a horrible habit to break. I totally agree with her that when you have a bad day, it is almost second nature to focus on your own “flaws” rather than the problem at hand. Thanks for sharing the story, Erica!

  • Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes September 26, 2010, 5:47 pm

    I loved this post…really inspiring and motivational!

  • Tiffany (Stuffed With Fluff) September 26, 2010, 6:13 pm

    I can personally attest to the fact that 90%+ of my fat talk was related to insecurities I had re: work, my relationship and stress I felt. I am getting better at reining in the fat talk simply b/c I am doing what I can to maintain a general positive attitude

  • Alice September 26, 2010, 6:34 pm

    I love this story and especially this line stood out to me:
    “you loved your body for what it did for you, rather than what you wanted it to be.”

    This is what I am currently teaching myself to do after hating mybody throughout my entire teenage years and focusing on what I didn’t like about it.

  • Brooke September 26, 2010, 7:15 pm

    Thanks so much to Ericka for sharing. I definitely find that when I am feeling out of control in areas of my life, my diet suffers and ‘Fat Talk’ becomes rampant. It is my way of feeling like I am in control of something. I may not be able to control the craziness in the office but I sure as H can control what goes into my body. This is not a healthy way of dealing wiht stress. It is a difficult cycle to break. Thanks again for sharing! I can most definitely empathize.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 26, 2010, 7:20 pm

    What a great story! I can totally relate to how feeling like we don’t have control over our lives can lead us to controlling our food. It’s such an easy trap to fall into. Great job on climbing your way out of it! 😀

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef September 26, 2010, 7:27 pm

    so inspiring, erica!

  • Lauren September 26, 2010, 7:42 pm

    Erica – great job for recognizing your “fat talk” and working on it! Science is such a tough industry and we recognize your hard work. Also congrats on your athletic endeavors!

  • Wei-Wei September 26, 2010, 11:28 pm

    I love epiphanies – they’re so eye-opening. (Duh…)

  • Sarah September 27, 2010, 11:12 am

    Yes, so well-timed! I’ve been focusing on the number on the scale a LOT lately, and I know it really doesn’t have to do with food or weight.

  • Amber K September 27, 2010, 3:35 pm

    When my life gets overwhelming I tend to turn on myself. I wonder why I can’t possibly get everything done and that’s usually when the negative self-talk starts. A failure in one thing certainly does not equal a failure in life!

  • Amykinz @ Foodie 4 Healing September 27, 2010, 10:49 pm

    I had to laugh at your “I’ve learned my lesson this time, I swear” comment. 🙂 I was at a wedding this past weekend and after being 90% healthy for almost 2 months, the 1 beer + 2 glasses of wine + 1 ciagrette = one sick Amykinz! I, too, have learned my lesson… until next time. 😉 lol

  • Casey Bauer September 28, 2010, 2:27 pm

    I COMPLETELY understand what you mean about feeling like failure in the lab = failure in life! When I let go of that and separated the two, I was able to build the healthy happy life I wanted!

Healthy Tipping Point