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Posts Tagged ‘healthy dinner’

Going Greek

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Even before I started college I knew I would be joining a sorority. Of my 5 older sisters, 4 went Greek as did my mom, it just seemed like the obvious choice. Plus it was comforting to think that I would have a group of girl friends almost instantly. While I had some really great times with my sorority sisters, in retrospect I’m not so sure that joining a sorority was the healthiest choice.

Greek life at Penn State is like a competitive sport. Beside the obvious competition over frat boys, we also fought over who was prettiest, skinniest, best dressed, most liked, smartest, etc. Unfortunately that competition existed between sororities and among sorority sisters. When I rushed I already was suffering from a pretty severe case of anorexia, the competition and need for acceptance accelerated my disorder. That first semester I lost about 15 pounds dropping to my lowest weight – 93 lbs at 5’4″. Things got so out of control that my parents threatened to bring me home.

Fortunately, one of my sorority sisters saw what was happening and helped me through it. She encouraged me to get professional help and reintroduced me to “healthier” eating. We enjoyed healthy meals at the cafeteria and also kept our dorm fridge stocked with produce, yogurt and water. That was the second semester of my freshmen year. Unfortunately things took a turn for the worst shortly after.

In the fall of my sophomore year my pledge class moved onto one dorm floor with the rest of the sisters. We spent virtually every minute together. We ate all of our meals together, we worked out together, we scheduled classes together, we even coordinated shower times so we could all get ready together. We were extremely codependent. The more I spent with my other sisters, the more I started to pick up on disordered eating around me. Girls eating virtually calorie free foods. Fat-free everything. Spray butter. Fat-free yogurt. Fat-free cheese. Light bread. You name it. Later they would exercise intensely to burn off what little calories they had consumed.

And then came the binges. During drunken nights it wouldn’t be uncommon for one girl to eat an entire pizza alone. Pokey sticks (aka garlic bread smothered with mozzarella) made a regular appearance during these binges. With extra ranch dressing for dipping. The next day would consist of more junk including cookie cake, fro you and french fries.

In a way, this cycle was more damaging then my anorexia. With anorexia I knew I wasn’t normal. I knew I had a sickness. But with this new cycle I thought I was normal. All of my friends were doing it so it couldn’t be that bad. But I felt worse living like this then I did when I was really sick. My binges led to serious guilt and depression and my workouts and daily diet left me hating myself.

It took years for me to even begin to understand that food should be enjoyed and that it could impact my whole being. Even now I still struggle with some of these old habits. Luckily through the help of Jeff and my family I began to realize what normal eating was. The binge-purge-starve cycle stopped and I began to enjoy eating. I began to appreciate my body and working out to make it strong, rather than skinny. I realized that my health and well being means more to me then fitting into a size 0. And I haven’t looked back. Even though I will never be 100% healed I will never put myself through that again. I love myself too much.

And now for what you’ve all been waiting for – dinner. Last night Jeff and I also went Greek. We had the most amazing Greek chicken dish.

Feta Chicken With Zucchini and Squash

Feta Chicken With Zucchini and Squash

1 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat your oven to 400°.  Spray a roasting pan with some spam or lightly coat with oil.

Thinly slice half of the lemon and reserve the other half.  Layer the bottom of the roasting pan with the lemon slices. Place the chicken on top of the lemon slices and season with half of the salt.

Cut the zucchini and squash into 1/2 inch slices. In a bowl, combine the zucchini, squash, parsley, pepper, and the oil, juice of the remaining lemon, and salt; toss to coast. Layer the mixture on top of the chicken and sprinkle the Feta.

Roast until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Enjoy!