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Being committed to recovery means that

If there was one single tidbit of advice (ok, two) that I could give out to those struggling with an eating disorder pursing their recovery it would be… that recovery is being committed to yourself, to the pursuit of your health (mental, emotional, physical), to overcoming those demons and striving to thrive in life rather than destroy yourself. Second, you’re not a failure if you go backwards and you’re not a failure if you don’t go backwards.

When I was in treatment a few years ago the hardest part for me at first was committing to myself. Sure I was the one who made the phone call, I drove down by myself for my intake, I went to all the meetings and necessary steps to get into the program. But at that point I wasn’t fully there. I knew it was what I needed, but not fully what I wanted. It was what was going to hopefully save my life, but I needed to commit myself to doing so. While I was going to have the support, that support would mean nothing more than guidance and short term love if I weren’t able to continue on with the process afterwards and always. I think recovery is a life long process. Treatment, therapy, groups, support networks, ect. – they teach the necessary tools for self-care, respect, and healing. But they don’t do the work. Only when the person who is struggling is ready at the level where they can commit themselves to the pursuit of healing and self-care can the fullest recovery process begin to unfold.

It’s tricky. I’m not going to short-hand that and say that this process is easy by any means. It’s the hardest thing I ever did and continue to do. I cannot even begin to express the variations of recovery I have seen and I think that is an extremely important point as well – everyone’s version of full recovery is different. By the books I’m recovered. However, I don’t really tend to associate with that, I say I’m in remission. For me that’s what works. I think finding that way, whatever it is, to keep yourself on the good road is what ultimately counts rather than throwing a label on it.

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Another really big hurdle for me was one I hit once I was full heartedly sure that I wanted recovery for myself… keeping that mindset. Keeping that focus, that drive; the relentless desire to heal. Writing down a list of what being committed to my recovery meant for me helped a lot in staying on a positive road. Here’s what worked for me, maybe it’ll work for you or someone you know who is struggling, maybe it won’t. That’s ok.

  • Tuning in and listening to what my body tells me.
  • Accepting where I am, and accepting where I want to go.
  • Knowing that having temptations, urges, and triggers is normal. Realizing that I don’t have to give in to them. Accepting that if I do, it’s not an end all be all. It’s a stepping stone.
  • Remembering to always ask for help when needed, it isn’t a sign of weakness rather a sign of strength. To know that you need help shows strength and courage. It’s hard, but it’s something everyone needs at some point or another in life.
  • I will place my health and my wellbeing first. After all, I’m my number one. In the end, it’s me for me. This is the only body and the only life I will be given, it’s my duty to honor both of those.
  • That I will get enough sleep. Trust me, it helps.
  • That while I may want to [inert negative behavior here], I will try my hardest to not. Whether this means reaching out, journaling, taking a walk, ect.
  • Being completely honest with my support system. It’s for the best, no matter what. This was hard for me in the beginning. I didn’t want to be completely vulnerable. I held stuff back. I wanted things to seem better than they were. What really helped me though was when I just “gave in” and made myself an open book so to speak.
  • Doing everything in my power to take care of my body in terms of both physical and mental health. This may include:
    • seeking a treatment program, therapist, nutritionist, group-therapy, ect.
    • yoga
    • meditation
    • journaling
    • practicing mindfulness
    • spending quality time with friends and/or family

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There are so many more things I could list, endless really. Those are the main points which helped me on my journey to reach a place where I am thriving, living my life, and loving all that I’m doing. I want any of you who are going through this process to know that you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with you. You will achieve recovery if that is what you want. You don’t need to want it at first, I don’t think that’s essential. I think knowing you need it is. Wanting comes after. It’s that whole pre-contemplation –> contemplation –> action concept.

“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.” – Nathan W. Morris

XO, S

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Current pursuits and revisiting my 2015 goals

Hey guys! Another full week of classes (no snow days) here and I’m beyond thrilled about that. #wearingmynerdhat. Today I wanted to revisit my goals for 2015, see where I stand,  and tell you a little bit about my current pursuits in life. Fascinating stuff, I know, contain yourself 😉

Back in January I set a bunch of goals for the upcoming year, and one thing I’m really trying to do is hold myself accountable to those goals. I also am being open with myself about circumstances which arise and also opportunities that I had never imaged. One thing I’ve struggled a lot with in the past is change. I get stuck in a place where even if I’m not entirely happy, I just get too comfortable. So that is one additional goal I have set for myself and am working on literally daily, and by working on I mean keeping in the back of my head.

  • Remain open to all opportunities. Don’t allow myself to get stuck in a situation which no longer serves me, merely because it’s a safety zone.

Then there are the things which I’m close to nailing down and it’s not even half way through the year.

  • I’ll be testing for my NASM-CPT certification in April and looking for a position as a personal trainer. Extremely excited about this opportunity. I think a huge component to life (at least for me) is helping others better themselves and hit their goals by providing support in things that you enjoy. For me, I live and love fitness and the pursuit of all things health and wellness and I am all about helping others reach their goals within this realm.
  • Start up at UNH. DONE, and I’m loving it.
  • Start being completely and entirely honest with myself. THIS. I’ve been doing very well with this and I think a lot of it comes from also focusing on not holding myself back. I feel like I’ve hit a spot in my life in the past few months where I feel great, am loving the direction I’m headed, and the more I focus on being my true self the more chances I’m being handed. In reality those chances have always been there I’ve just been way to deeply stuck in my head to actually consider going after them.
  • Stop taking ativan. I put this out there back in January and I’m here to say that I haven’t needed it since January. Again, I think this stems to just being true to myself. I still have considerable anxiety but I’m working on it and it’s something that is going to be very difficult for me to fully get past because I’ve dealt with it since I can remember (literally 3-4 years old). Another goal I had set is helping me on this one as well: let it be & let it go.

For pure entertainment purposes before I get into goals with aren’t being nailed down… here’s a snapshot circa 1994 (15 months old). Throwback much? I apparently thought I was a ghost, and my mother had solid taste in terms of my hair style.

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Things that I haven’t even attempted:

  • Competing in a powerlifting meet. I had my sights set on a potential meet in April but with a new school, pursing my NASM certification, and just trying to re-balance myself I found this wasn’t the best idea. With my competitive history I need to ensure for my health and my sanity that I am ready. I’m not there yet. I’m close but I know myself well enough to know that right now I need enjoyment, not competition. This fits right in hand with one of my other goals (yes not going after one actually correlates with hitting another right on the head): Determine a fitness routine which both heals my body and helps me gain strength. Let’s be honest, the end goal is to compete again and feel amazing doing so.
  • Try out a new gym. I technically did do this, a local crossfit that some friends go to. I think after trying three crossfit gyms I can say with certainty… it’s not for me. I’m branching this goal out with a new one: join a yoga studio… something I’ve pondered for years and after my recovery process and really finding healing help through yoga and mediation I think it would be a great idea.
  • Explore my own nourishment and the needs of my body. AKA my digestive system could use a tad bit of tlc. I’ll be honest here while I am doing very well with nourishment and providing my body with the building blocks of fuel it needs for life, school, learning, the gym, and just enjoyment I still have much work to do in terms for digestive health. I’m not entirely sure what gives but one thing I’ll be trying is giving up coffee for a period of time. Those of you who know me well enough know that this isn’t an easy task.

I highly recommend revisiting goals every few months because I’ve found this process to be extremely helpful in regards to opening up my sights and perspective on life and letting me really feel how I’m feeling.

 

“She is, and forever will be a lone wolf. She’s happy living life in her own mind and she’s content with watching the world around her in silence. She’ll never belong to anyone, and that’s what’s so beautiful about her, she’s running wild.” – Emily Trinkle

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Weekly workouts + living in the present

Why hello there! Happy Friday. I hope you’re having a fabulous week and well let’s be honest, tgif. I know I’m pretty excited to be almost over this week because while I’m loving school… this is the first full week we’ve had due to all the snow. I had three exams, one quiz, one paper, and a lab due this week. Woah. It’s quite exhausting 😉 In all seriousness though it’s nice to not have classes cancelled and actually have some solid lecture and lab time. Goes to show how much I really do love school and promoting neurogenesis (the birth of neurons) by constantly learning. #neurosciencemajorproblems. Be on your toes here guys, I’m going to be adding vocab into my blog posts on the regular because I think it’s fun.

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Today I wanted to jump into what I’ve been doing gym wise lately. A while back I typed up a lifting cycle for anyone reading to see. To be honest I haven’t changed a whole lot…well, kind of. I’m still doing a lot of deadlifts and benching, along with bodyweight stuff, jump rope, and yoga. One major change I’ve made is the mindset I have going into the gym each time.

Back a few months ago, while I was definitely light years away from where my headspace had been it still wasn’t anything spectacular. I’ve been working on that a lot recently. I wanted to get to a place where I was going to the gym solely because I love it rather than any other factor such as feeling like I needed it for anxiety modulating reasons, or just out of habitual practice. I’ve changed up the outline of my workouts so they aren’t as strictly set. While I have a general idea of what I am going to do when I go to lift, it isn’t written down and actually I haven’t even been tracking my workouts in terms of sets/reps/weight lifted. It’s mentally noted, but nothing more. In the past I would be able to look up a Tuesday five weeks ago and tell you exactly to a key what I did that day. Right now, I don’t care.

I’m not saying that tracking doesn’t have it’s benefits, because it definitely does and it can be an extremely motivating tool as well. However for me, as someone who tracked every possible thing in her life for so many years, it gets old. I’m at a place in my life currently where I want the gym to be purely a playground, a place to get back to my roots, and to just have fun. I love feeling capable, strong, and like I can take on the world. I’m noticing that when my focus is that and nothing more, I feel better. I also subsequently perform better. Who would have thought that. Not I, that’s for sure.

Another change I’ve made is that I’m doing slightly more conditioning. Now before you all up in arms (because trust me you wouldn’t be the first), I’ve literally been doing two days of kickboxing in addition to some double under medleys post lifting. It’s all about balance, and at this time I’m digging kickboxing because well, it’s FUN. I’ve also noticed that my gut health seems to be improving since implementing some changes and also not over-thinking every last detail, this is something I’ve been aware of for a while – the link between physical activity and digestive function. While exercise/physical fitness is proven to be beneficial for digestive function, it can be a U-curve. As in, not enough provides no real change. The right amount, aka the “sweet spot”, helps us feel good and function better overall (this is different for everyone). On the other end, too much can be linked with negative physical symptoms both gut wise and non-gut specific complaints (irritability, susceptibility to injury, injury, ect.).

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I think we tend to get so caught up in the past and the future that we forget we are actually living currently, in the now. It’s a constant challenge to keep the mind focused on the present moment and you might find yourself present one moment, and then thinking about next Tuesday three minutes later. It’s natural for the mind to shift, to oscillate between past, present, and future. Our brains have so much going on, so many functions, things to process, and information to relay to us. I think what’s essential however is to be content and happy with the now so that the reason our mind is wandering isn’t to escape the present moment. Oddly I’m going to tie my above lifting update into this. When I was constantly tracking everything I was constantly obsessing over things. I needed to know to a key what I’d be doing for the entire week. I’d usually even plan out what weight I was going to do each set. Do you know what that accomplished? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was holding me back, keeping me stressed, keeping me out of the present.

I’m tired of holding myself back out of fear, and out of habit. I’m in the process of learning that when we truly let go and follow our dreams, what makes our soul happy, that we feel better and things go better. This is becoming clearer to me every day in many facets of my life. By the simple act of letting go and following what feels good, I’m being surprised with new opportunities and experiences that I never thought would happen. I’ve found that the more I just let go, and let things be, the happier I am. In the end though, it’s all about perspective.

“Sometimes life will test you but remember this: When you walk up a mountain, your legs get stronger.” – unknown