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Lifting yourself up

Hi guys! How are you? I’m really happy to be posting again – three times all within a two week period. Impressive considering I haven’t been awesome about getting content onto the blog lately. But I’m doing better and actually enjoying school (shocker, I know) so that also makes me more inclined to post and discuss. While I do talk about my struggles, I much prefer to be discussing them in past tense versus present tense. It’s substantially easier and more comfortable (read: safer) to talk about what I’ve overcome versus what I’m working on overcoming. I’d rather sound like I have my shit together instead of having about 5% of an idea of what I’m actually doing. But, let’s be honest for a hot second – who actually has their shit together? If you do, feel free to pat yourself on the back or give yourself a high five. Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who actually gives myself a high five Winking smile

SO anyways, in my last serious talk post I was telling you all about how I’m really struggling with my anxiety lately and have been dealing with some nutty hearing hypersensitivity. Well, I still am. And it’s not an overnight quick fix. It developed slowly and my anxiety as I described in depth has been present for years. I’m working on it. There are good days and there are not so good days. There are times when I’m in class and want to walk out the door because someone is chewing gum or making some strange bodily noise. But it hasn’t happened yet this semester and I’m taking that for a win. By this time last semester I had dropped two courses. I’m currently in five and I’m managing five.

I like the word managing. It’s like saying “I’m handling my struggles to the best of my capabilities”. I’m not pretending they aren’t there because they most definitely are present daily. I’m also not allowing them to completely rule my life, because if that were the case I’d be living inside a giant real-life bubble. Lately it’s learning how to be flexible in my ways. Sure I might not want to discuss my struggles and needs for accommodations with my profs for their classes, but it is pretty much essential for my success this semester. Therefore I have already met with two of them and to my surprise, both of them were rather understanding and open to helping. I think that when we are honest with ourselves, and able to be honest about ourselves with others, the world seems a little less scary and things seem to flow a little bit better.

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After last semester didn’t go as planned I knew I needed to find a way to get by. Part of the reason I think it was so rough was because while I knew there were things that needed attention and to be worked on, I wasn’t ok with being open and forward about them. I wasn’t ok with accepting that I still had a lot of self-work to do to get to a place where I am able to roll with the punches. I’m still not there, but accepting that is helpful beyond measure. Staying positive is the best method of action and helps keep your head in the game. The following quote is also helpful beyond measure.

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I’m being serious, coffee + rap = recipe for success. Give it a go. Let me know how it goes.

For me, right now I’m focused on living as normally as possible. I’m working to keep my cool even as my stress will undoubtedly increase as the semester continues onward. I have my strengths and I definitely have my weaknesses, but part of lifting myself up is accepting that having weaknesses isn’t a bad thing. I’m dedicating this period of the next few months to the pursuit of bettering myself, wherever that ends up taking me.

“You still have a lot of time to make yourself be what you want.” – S.E. Hinton

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Life ramblings // fitness + nutrition talk

Hi all! Last week I left you off with how I was going to be testing out one rep max lifts – those went well. I ended up doing more of a three rep max and then calculating from there. With so many resources for online calculation of a one rep max from a lower percentage it’s so simple and much less taxing on the body. I’m not a big fan of 1RM’s just because of how much stress they put on your central nervous system. I think in a competition setting that is another story, but for me I’m just using that number to base my lifts at 80-90% off of so it’s not as big of a concern.

I’m doing a new lifting program which has me lifting heavier first and then moving to a lighter but still moderately heavy weight for the latter sets. I’ve always done more of a loading style in the other direction but have been finding myself warn out by the time I reach my heavy sets that either I struggle to get through them, my recovery blows, and/or my form goes out the window which makes me crazy. I’m really excited to see how this new set up goes and I’ll keep talking about this on the blog as well as it’s entirely new to me.

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Insert random bicep picture because my face is absolutely priceless.

Another change I’ve been working on is figuring out what is going on with my digestive system. Yep, we are going to have that talk. Right here, right now. I’ve had GI issues pretty much since I can remember (circa age 5ish). My development and struggle with an eating disorder definitely exacerbated those problems and they have been worse ever since I started recovery and even with being in remission. It’s definitely frustrating because all my doctors kept saying that I would feel so much better as time grew between where I am now and my ED, so as to say the longer I stayed in a good, solid, healthy place. Also that things would improve once I got my period back, which happened two years ago this month (yahoooooo) and is a topic for another day because who doesn’t want an entire post on how to get your period back?! Exciting stuff I tell you. That hasn’t been the case so far though. I’ve talked briefly about this on the blog but I want to get a little more into it.

Recently with an increase in my time in the gym both lifting and doing other things such as running, kickboxing, jump rope, and of course… yoga for balance – I’ve been eating more which is fine and totally good and healthy BUT my gut symptoms have also increased. I’m finding that I do better with more dense food (read: higher calorie) vs less dense because I’m able to get in the nutrients without the bulk. I also have been following a “paleo-ish” approach for about two years now which for a while I did feel better, and I do still feel better than I did when I was a vegetarian and eating things like beans and more fiber-rich foods (don’t get me wrong I still love my veggies), but I’m wanting to experiment a little more in depth.11379149_462226437273669_947037059_n

Case in point on the vegetable lovin’:

Chicken + spring mix + onion + zucchini + sweet potato + tessamae’s (so good).

I think experimenting with our bodies on basic levels such as fitness and nutrition are really important for optimal living because it allows us to question things/habits that we partake in on a regular basis and see what is actually working and what can go out the window. Of course I believe in the motto if it’s not broken don’t fix it, but to be honest my gut has been broken for a while now and it’s time to actually get my act together and fix it. One really big motivator for me here is that my father has Crohn’s disease and seeing him struggle makes me that much more determined to figure out what is not sitting well with my body because I have that ability and am otherwise fairly healthy.

With that being said though I’m not a huge fan of promoting elimination style protocols unless completely necessary and ESPECAILLY hesitant in individuals who have a history of eating concerns because it can be highly triggering. I personally even don’t want to have to focus this much attention onto food but I want to feel good so I’m working with it. On the other hand though I’m in a really good place in terms of my recovery so I’m not concerned about going to a place that would be dangerous if I weren’t as solid. That is definitely an individual thing and something that I felt I really wanted to touch on quickly because it’s important.

I have the unique opportunity to work with an RD through school and because I’m a student it’s covered (by way of mandatory fees of course) which is amazing and I’m super thankful for that. I know a lot about testing my body for what works but clearly not enough because I haven’t figured it out yet! It’s nice to have another brain to pick for information and ask endless questions.

For now I’m actually just changing around things more based off of what I think could be causing problems versus a more “strict” elimination style protocol because I have some inklings of what could be causing problems. One thing I’ve noticed is that my energy is a lot lower lately and my recovery from workouts is also sub-par so I’m initially starting by thinking about what specifically could be causing that because obviously my digestion would be all over the place with those issues alone. I hope that makes sense? I’m starting my adding in more carbohydrate sources and reducing my selection of healthy fats because I’m pretty sure avocados and me don’t agree. I also think that nut butter is a bit of an issue and I’ve noticed I feel sick after eating it straight, so like a spoonful of almond butter ect.

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More carbohydrates =

Oatmeal + banana slices + raw honey + sprinkle of chia + spices!

I’ll keep some updates on what I’m finding to work and not work coming but I want to remind you guys who might be reading this with GI issues that every body is different and is unique in it’s requirements and what foods are digested the best to have an optimally functioning digestive system. Don’t copy what I’m eating unless it’s out of ‘oh hey that looks good (which I totally hope it does haha) I want to try that’. Don’t do it expecting to make yourself feel better, perhaps it might, but perhaps it won’t because what works for me might not work for you. Embrace your uniqueness. That is definitely what I keep having to tell myself because this is a really long process. Do what you can with what you have.

 

“Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be.” – Eric Thomas

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Define healing

Hi buttercups 🙂 Happy Tuesday! If you’re like me and live in an area which was yet again being whammed by snow yesterday, stay warm, drive safe, and best of luck in the pursuit of finding space to actually put the new inches of white stuff. I’m not sure where to shovel the snow out of my driveway, I already am far from being able to see pulling out… the whole putting my windows down, listening, and then proceeding to floor it is working quite well so far.

I came across some new tunes over the weekend and one song in particular has been on major repeat, give it a listen while you read the rest of this post! Note: a great addition to a yoga and/or meditation playlist!

Onto healing. This is a complex topic and one that I personally view to be an extremely important part of life. I am talking about all forms of healing, whether it be from an autoimmune disease (crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, hashimoto’s, lupus, ect.), hormone imbalanace, functional disorder (ibs, fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, ect.), mental illness, and so on. Diagnosis or no diagnosis, if you don’t feel like your body is functioning to the best of its ability – change something. As Sarah often will say on her blog, “nothing changes if nothing changes”. This in my opinion, is a crucial point to understand. Without change our bodies will remain in whatever distress they might be stuck in. While the human body has many self-regulatory and self-healing mechanisms it does need support. In the most basic sense I view the primary components linked with optimal wellness to be: nutrition, stress management, restful sleep, and movement. Not so coincidentally these are all also components to healing… case dependent, some more than others.

Now I know this isn’t how everybody views things but I prefer to support my body in all possible ways rather than risking it. Am I saying I’m perfect? That I never catch the common cold? That my digestion is flawless? NO. I am saying I make conscious and informed decisions about what I’m putting into my body, supplementing with, and my day to day life.

Take responsibility for your health and overall wellbeing. You are born into this world with one body and you leave with the same one. Treat it the best you possibly can.

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For me I take a look at my symptoms and then break them down. For example, I have psoriasis. I break that down by asking myself, when do I notice it gets worse? better? It is worse when I am stressed, not sleeping enough, not hydrating properly. It shows improvement when I am hydrated, eating plenty of vegetables, strictly adhering to a schedule of helping the affected area (i.e topical treatment, I use hemp oil and coconut oil – yep both have been lifesavers). Nobody besides you can know these factors, they are things which you notice on your own whether that be by making a symptom journal or just mental notes.

A factor which I already kind-of mentioned is nutrition and supplementation. Now these are going to vary a lot in some ways from person to person as we are all built differently and our bodies are at different stages, disease states, being stressed from varying angles, ect. One common theme among almost everyone though is that nutrition truly is the foundation to healing and optimal wellness. Eat to nourish the body, and support all functions within. Food is fuel. Food is life, energy, the key to thriving, healing, performance, nutrients and much more. Nutrients are like little building blocks for our bodies. There are macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, protein) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants) which all serve specific functions for our body to maintain health and homeostasis. I could get into so much detail here that this post would go on for DAYYYYS, which nobody wants to read a mile long post so I’m not going there here.

Of equal important is sleep/rest and also daily movement. Sleep and rest allow your body to “rest and digest”. When at rest the parasympathetic nervous system, part of the autonomic nervous system, takes control. Just stop and think about that for a minute, your body has the ability programmed within to digest, grow, build, and heal. It’s pretty remarkable if you ask me. When I was in treatment back in 2012/2013, did I want to take almost a year off from the gym? I loved it, it was and still is my second home. It’s a playground for me. No, I didn’t want to give that up because it felt like I was letting go. However what I found was when I gave my body the rest it needed to heal, I felt better. I began healing. For me rest is just as much psychological as it is physiological. Like all else it is a skill because sometimes we are so caught up that we can’t even feel our own breath. Daily movement is also critical because it keeps you limber/mobile, overall healthier, and personally I feel better when I walk more throughout the day… My mood is elevated, I’m more awake and alert, and overall I think I’m a more lively person.

I believe the body is one. It’s all connected. I believe gut health is essential, as is mental/emotional wellbeing. Stress management is either a powerful tool within your arsenal or a driving factor in chronic inflammation which can lead to a plethora of physiological and/or psychological issues. Day to day habits can create strength or create weakness. I believe that we are all different and with all the information being thrown left and right at us we need to hold the capability to filter it through our own lenses, apply the helpful tidbits and ditch the rest… extra information isn’t always useful, sometimes it’s stressful.

I define healing as doing everything within your power to create change within your body that results in feeling better. Ultimately, feeling like you can take on your world. That’s my goal.

Remember that treating your body with respect and healing are both extreme challenges. They usually require effort and focus beyond what we are comfortable with. It’s easy to turn a blind eye and pretend all is ok, but eventually your body can’t make up anymore and there you are confronted with a decision, keep going or change and learn.

Questions:

What is one thing you do daily to make sure you feel your best?

How do you define healing?

nothing-ever-goes-away Source

xo, S