What’s messy, and why it matters

If you’re a Brené Brown fan like I am, I hope you’ve picked up her newest book, Rising Strong. I’m into it now and can’t help but be inspired by her words and her dedication of the book to the space in between vulnerability and the heroic ending of the stories we are all so excited to get to. She admits that failure is part of life, and says that the journey is messy:

 “We much prefer stories about falling and rising to be inspirational and sanitized. Our culture is rife with those tales. In a thirty-minute speech, there’s normally thirty seconds dedicated to, “And I fought my way back,”…We like recovery stories to move quickly through the dark so we can get to the sweeping redemptive ending.”

I like to think that my blogging here as well as at my old blog was a space for me to share some of my struggles, but I’ll admit that I like to rush to the ending. Sometimes this blog serves as a spot to figure things out, which is great. But as someone who wants to help others to figure their own things out, it’s a disservice to skip to the ending or to leave out the messy parts. So as I’ve been reading Rising Strong, I’ve been thinking about my own mess in the middle.

On a regular basis, there are parts about living my recovered, healthy, life that are not so easy. There are “failures” or stumbles now, and I don’t always want to talk about them. Is it shame? Is it an attempt to inspire and focus on what’s good? Maybe. But talking about where we feel shame, I know, only takes away its power. And being real about the messy parts of life is what is really inspiring to others. Take it from Brené:

“…[T]here’s a vast difference between how we think about the term failure and how we think about the people and organizations brave enough to share their feelings for the purpose of learning and growing. To pretend that we can get to helping, generous, and brave without navigating through tough emotions like desperation, shame, and panic is a profoundly dangerous and misguided assumption.”

She talks about “the beauty in truth and tenacity.” So for the next couple of posts here, I want to share some of the struggles I’ve had and/or have when it comes to living the healthy and happy life I try to stay committed to. I’ll talk about what it’s like to walk around recovered—some of the times where I find myself slipping, or the ways that I have to work on staying true to myself. It’s not always easy, and I hope that this serves to send the message that it’s alright to have to work at recovery or living a healthy life. We sometimes see these images of people who have it all figured out and beat ourselves up for not being as carefree or as put together as them. It’s the whole comparing other peoples’ highlight reels with our behind the scenes footage, and it’s shitty if you’re the kind of person who then beats yourself up for struggling. Talk about kicking yourself when you’re down. I’ve been there, and I hope talking about it both helps me to let go of some of that shame and also to let others know they’re not alone.

 

imperfections

So in the coming posts, I want to talk about what’s tough. Holidays, the scale, comparisons–these are just a couple of the things I want to talk about.

Are there things you struggle with but keep to yourself when it comes to being healthy and happy?
When you tell your story, do you skip to the end? 

Body Positivity Tuesday: Make a Bucket List

I spent a lot of years “future-tripping,” caught up in all my worries about the future. I would think about what I was going to eat the next day, wear next Wednesday, and how I’d fit in my workouts next July (seriously). I’d be tallying my calories for the day, prepping my food for the next week, and obsessively trying to control my world by taking it out on my body. While I think it’s great to take responsibility for our health, I know that crossing the line into obsession took my focus on my health to a point where it no longer served me. A big shift for me was realizing that I want to create health in my world so that I can live the life I want to live, no longer wanting to live my life as a slave to food or exercise or the pursuit of perfection when it came to my health. 

This shift, though it didn’t happen overnight and still requires me to step back and gain some perspective from time to time, opened up a lot of energy to use towards doing things with the health that I do have. Running races, learning new sports, building relationships, taking up hobbies, reading books…these are all things that I can do with the energy that I used to spend loathing my body or obsessing over how to “fix” it.

So, what do you want to do? Even if it’s not an eating disorder that distracts us, sometimes we can get so caught up in our day to day lives that we forget to dream. I think making a bucket list is a great way to channel our inner dreamers and reading over it is a great way to re-inspire ourselves. This should be a different kind of to-do list, one that excites you.

Today’s task is to come up with a little list for yourself of things you’d like to do, places you’d like to see, people you’d like to meet. These things don’t have to be directly related to loving your body, but notice that if you’re being body positive and taking care of yourself, you’re a heck of a lot more likely to have the energy to do the things you’ve decided on and to enjoy checking things off the list.

If you have trouble thinking of some things, maybe start here:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • When you look back on your life, what would you like to remember?
  • What is your dream vacation?
  • Do you wish you could learn how to play an instrument?
  • Is there a class you want to take?
  • Do you want to learn another language?
  • What is the race of your dreams?
  • Who do you want to meet?
  • What do you want to do before you retire?

etc. etc. etc.

I keep my bucket list on my computer, updating it on a regular basis. It’s never complete, and I like that. Things come off as I complete them or, at times, as I decide they are no longer for me. New things get added on as I discover new passions. This is by far my favourite to-do list of them all!

you shoudl go do them

Do you have a bucket list?

not good enough is great: managing my “bad” thinking

In the past, I’ve thought that one of my worst tendencies was to tell myself “I’m not good enough.” In a variety of forms, it’s that sentiment that often drives me crazy, pushes me to punish myself or to run myself ragged, or more often, just to break down and cry.

This weekend, I had what I will lovingly refer to as a pity party when I got to thinking that I’m not up to snuff. This time, it was over workouts and cycling, but this happens with school, with my career aspirations, with how I think I’m doing as a daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend, etc. As soon as the “I’m not good enough” spiral started, I needed the tissue box.

pity party

Luckily, I have a boyfriend whose exceptionally patient and gets just frustrated enough with my boo-hooing to remind me that it’s not all that productive, but will also let me figure it out for myself.

I realized that I’ve spent a lot of time trying to just tell that gremlin that says I’m not good enough to shut up or even trying to send it the opposite message. But then I got to thinking: what else can I do with that thought? Rather than making myself feel bad for not being good enough and then stacking up more guilt over having that “bad” thought, what if I did something productive with it instead?

Let’s take our bodies for instance. Perhaps we look in the mirror or try on a pair of pants that don’t fit how we want them to and feel defeated. Maybe we see someone with a body that we think is “better” than ours—looks healthier, bikes up a hill faster, lifts more weight, whatever—and we start to feel that familiar sense of “I’m not good enough.” We have options: we can cry and give up, or we can decide to use that sense of not measuring up to try to do a better job. Maybe we go out and train on the hills more, maybe we push ourselves harder in the gym, maybe we remember when we’re dipping into the chocolate that we want something different and something better for ourselves. Not feeling “good enough” doesn’t mean that our bodies aren’t “good” and that we can’t take pride in where we are. We can work on accepting ourselves where we are while we still strive forward.

When we have the feeling that we’re not good enough, we all have our tendencies. Mine is to cry for a while. Sometimes I give up, sometimes I get going. I think maybe the best use is to take it as a sign: I want to be better. Rather than assuming that it’s a mean message that we’re sending to ourselves, what if it’s actually coming from a place of love and worthiness? When it comes to our thoughts, they certainly shape our world–but it’s our reactions to them that determine what we do about them, and what we do about them is where the world-shaping happens. 

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Maybe “I’m not good enough” translates into “I can do better” or “I deserve more,” and then it’s easy to see how this “bad” thought I’m so used to making wrong is actually one of the things that keeps me reaching for better things for myself. Then, rather than another reason to beat myself up or one of my worst traits, this whole thought process is actually worth appreciating in myself. “I’m not good enough” can break us down, or it can keep us going. There’s a(n awesome) weightlifting coach at our gym who we attribute the quote “Just be better” to. I think that applies here. I’m going to choose, as much as I can, to turn my “I’m not good enough”s into the drive and determination that I know is in me, no tears required.

be better

think about it: fairness, finding fault, and compassion

I’m going to bend the rules here a bit. Usually on Thursdays, I use an article or a video or something along those lines to set up my post. This week, I’m using something going on in my world…

“It doesn’t make sense.”

“It’s not fair.”

These were my reactions last week when I heard that one of the gals who I’ve spent many a weekend riding bikes with found out that she has cancer.

How is it that someone who exercises regularly, who takes care of themselves, eats good food, and is a good person ends up with this kind of diagnosis?

It doesn’t make sense.

It’s not fair.

The most common question people ask, in hearing that there’s cancer in her lungs, is of course, “Did she smoke?” No.

Even my point about her exercising, eating good food, taking care of herself and being a good person suggests that somehow it would be easier to accept the diagnosis if there was some way that she was responsible for it. But just like she didn’t get cancer because she smoked, she didn’t get cancer because she failed to exercise, she didn’t get cancer because she ate junk food, she didn’t get cancer because she neglected her health, and she didn’t get cancer because of bad karma—it’s not her fault.

This all got me to thinking. What is it about finding fault in a person that makes it easier to accept cancer? Does it make us feel somehow safer ourselves if we can look at cancer as something that people somehow “do” to themselves? Is it too hard to accept that in many cases, it’s not the person’s fault?

I am entirely guilty of this kind of thinking. It’s not easy to admit, but I think I used the “but she was a smoker” justification when my own grandma died of lung cancer.  But even though it’s tempting and self-preserving to explain people’s situations, in the long run, it’s not productive. We shouldn’t blame people for their health woes, whether we think they’ve brought them upon themselves or not. If you find yourself doing so, look at what it is in you that’s making you pass that judgment. Are you doing it to make yourself feel safer? This was the case for me. Does it help you feel righteous or better than? We don’t know people’s stories and it’s all too easy to come up with the ones that fit what we want to see and that make us feel better. But the people who are sick in our lives do not need our judgment–they need our compassion. Someone who’s overweight and has diabetes deserves the same compassion from us as someone who’s never smoked a day in their life and has lung cancer—health isn’t direct cause and effect and any judgment that needs to be passed needs to come from them, not from us.

My hope is that this post gets you thinking. Maybe it’s a reminder to be compassionate. Maybe it’s a reminder of our own vulnerability. Or a reminder, as cliché as it is, that life is short. Spend it well with the people you love doing the things you really want to do.

life is a one time offer

on the right foot: june 10

Question: What do Monday mornings mean to you?

Is it…Another dreaded work week starting? One day closer to the vacation that’s keeping you going in the meantime?

Or maybe…Another opportunity to do what you love? A step closer to where you want to be?

Google “monday morning” and what comes up are related searches like  “monday morning sucks” and images like these:

monday 3 monday 2 monday 1

Apparently, Mondays are supposed to suck.

I’d suggest an alternative. I’m lucky to have a pretty large number of friends who are absolutely jazzed about the jobs they have and make no apologies for saying so. Having people who are refreshingly happy to go about their jobs–and who even work on the weekend on a regular basis because they’re so inspired and motivated to do so–serves as a reminder that just because it’s “normal” (my favourite word) to hate your job doesn’t mean it’s the only option.

It’s cheesy and it’s life coach-y of me to remind you that you deserve a job that you love and that you spring out of bed for, even on a Monday, but I’m cheesy and life coach-y so I’m doing it anyways: you deserve to like your work. 

job 3 job 2 job 1

I get it: you can’t just quit a job you hate with the faith that a job that you love will materialize immediately. Alternatives? Find the aspects you like about your job now and focus on those. Plan for a transition if you’re truly in a job that you hate–just do something that moves you towards a better set-up (start a job search, update your resume).

I’m going to leave you with a few questions…

  • If you’re already loving Mondays, what is it about your life that makes it such?
  • If you’re not, what kind of reality would make you happy to get up and get going on a Monday?
  • What already lights you up about your work? How can you do more of it?
  • If you stay where you’re at for the next 5 years, what will your life look like? And what would you like it to look like?
  • What would it be like to wake up and be excited to head to work? How else would your life change?

I’d love to hear your take on what a Monday morning means to you. Please share your thoughts! 

Feeling good, on purpose

HAPPY MONDAY! That’s an extra happy Monday, which tends to follow awesome weekends.

Golfing yesterday was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. It was sunny but no too hot, the company was good, and we won’t talk about the score.

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Amanda, Justin and some sweaty crazy girl.

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Sweetest rental clubs EVER.

After golf, I had the quickest/easiest dinner ever because I wanted to go to yoga. The morning class reignited my love for getting my zen on and I was just itching to get back to Yoga Shack, so I figured that anything I was going to do last night could wait until today in favour of going to Dave’s power flow class.

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Turkey jerky, apple, and cheese = quick, easy dinner. MIA: vegetables 😦

When I got home from the class, which was awesome and of course involved my favourite song in savasana (it must have been meant to be–seriously!), I mostly read blogs and my Oprah magazine (which went all the way to and from Virginia unopened) and ate bon bons.

Oprah has a knack for inspiring me, as cheesy as that might be. This issue was filled with quizzes, which I used to prompt some good old journalling. I had been thinking a lot lately about defining my purpose. No big deal, right? Alysha mentioned hers to me on Saturday post-race because she’s been working hard at her life coaching certification and I was so impressed with the confidence that she had. I read some posts about purpose and talked to some pretty inspiring people and realized that I’m lacking that direction and could probably stand to at least attempt at defining what I want. So what came to me yesterday after writing out some of the answers to the quiz in the magazine about what is “fun” for you flowed pretty easily onto my journal page (I’m not good at talking things out but when I get to writing, stuff just flows) and was something like:

I am here to serve as a real life example of living healthy and to use my own personal experience to launch a career and a life of inspiring, enabling, and coaching others to find their own best possible definition of health. 

There are two things I have to explain in there:

  • “real life example” — I have room for real life things like days away from training, like meals that aren’t perfect, like hitting bumps in the road and dealing with them as they come. Sometimes coaches and teachers seem like they’re living in an alternate reality where bad things don’t happen and where everything is easy and then it’s hard to relate to them. Lucky for me, I live in the real world and I like challenges. 🙂
  • “living healthy” — Notice that “living” comes before “healthy” since to me, the only way to be healthy is to live. The only reason to be healthy is to live. Sure, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have much. But if you don’t want to live a little while you’re here, why bother being healthy? So you can get to your grave in one happy piece at 15% body fat with a six pack? OK, have fun with that. I’m going to be going on some adventures while you work on your biceps. Keep flexing at yourself in the mirror while I go out and get some real life fulfillment.

More thoughts:

  • My talent for writing is something that I’m working on turning into a skill and using it to communicate all of these things–the principles of healthy living, the lessons I’ve learned, the people who I’ve encountered and their own messages–that’s where I find myself getting into a “zone”. Blogging might be a hobby, but there’s a reason why I keep doing it.
  • Teaching fitness is a nice part time job, but it has never felt like work. Interacting with people is what gives me the sense of connectedness on a daily basis–either personally or as an instructor/trainer. I see myself coaching in some capacity–whether it’s fitness, racing, yoga, nutrition, wellness, life–and being a leader, teacher, etc.
  • I want to work on my public speaking ability because being able to talk about my own experiences is something I hope to do. Having struggled through an eating disorder, I can pinpoint a bunch of people whose speeches have empowered me and inspired me to take another step forward. Jenni Schaefer talked about the step from “in recovery” to “recovered” and my life coach, Jennifer Schramm, talked about her four step recovery and how she got to awesome. Both of these women seriously changed my life in a one hour span–and that’s powerful!
  • Your dream career doesn’t have to exist, you just have to be willing to create it. There’s not really a secure job in this world–you might as well be insecure in a job that you absolutely spring out of bed to do. I have a feeling that if your career serves your highest, it really won’t feel like work. My plan is to work towards this unconventional idea for a while and if I am miserable and bankrupt and in trouble in five years, THEN I’ll settle. Teacher’s college has been appealing to me because it’s something to do and it’s something secure-ish. But it isn’t calling my heart out and I haven’t applied in the last two years even though I could have, so I don’t think I should go now. Doing a masters in kin is somewhat appealing, but ditto. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no. If I can turn down Columbia, my dream school, for Journalism because I trust myself and my intuition enough to know that a master’s in journalism isn’t necessary for the 75000 price tag and all that jazz, I can say no to settling for conventional.

  • Creating your own vision for your career is just the first step. What else could you make amazing in your life? I want to go on adventures all the time — travel lots and do active things. I want to have nice things but I want to live simply. I want to use my money on things that I value — experiences and high quality things (food, stuff I need, etc.) and all that good stuff! 🙂
  • Nobody is going to stop you from being awesome, trust me. Most people are too busy living mediocre lives to care. If someone’s in your way, it could be jealousy, but I think what’s far more probably is that if you live on a big scale, you’ll inspire people. Once I interviewed Tina from Carrots n Cake and she said to me, “There’s plenty of room at the top.”–this really stuck with me. Someone who has made it to a high level and is living her passion essentially telling me that I’m allowed to do the same and am entitled to being just as successful? Holy canoli!
  • Stop asking for permission. You’re supposed to be great. Nobody really cares if you DON’T go for it — whether you’re scared or you don’t know how or you aren’t sure you’re allowed to. It’s entirely up to you to care.  At the end of the day and the end of your life, it was ALL up to you!

  • My plan — could I be an endurance coach? a personal trainer? a wellness coach? a nutritionist? a life coach? a yoga instructor? a motivational speaker? a fitness instructor? a professional blogger? an author of books? a guest on the Today Show? A magazine columnist? All of these things? YES, YES, AND YES. Whatever floats my boat. Someone who changes the world? THAT TOO!

I think I’m done–for now! Today’s been a productive day after all and it’s only 10:30! Before this cheese-fest, I tackled that laundry head on, cooked up some food for this week, and made a list of things to get done for the week. It feels good to be organized, nice to be at home, and AMAZING to have defined all that stuff I just shared with you guys.

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Kamut puffs, banana, coconut, walnuts, and soy milk for breakfast.

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Obvs you needed this selfie. New shirt!

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Home sweet home!

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Now I’m going to use all this positive Monday energy to get to work on my freelancing assignments and fitness planning! Bootcamp and spin tonight are something to look forward to and I might make a little pit stop at the mall in between appointments today if I’m feeling it…

Do you ever just explode with inspiration? 
Are you a golfer? 
Do you have a dream career or are you creating your own?

Life is too short to be anything but happy

For a while—as in since last week, when I graduated. I’ve felt so out of whack and I know I’m getting back on the right track, but what is that track?

After taking this Food Science course and diving into this Foods and Nutrition Program (my third go at it, really), I know what I don’t want–to finish it. I’ve known that for a few weeks, and I’ve been thinking about my options (but you guys know I’ve been pretty busy).

While nothing is set in stone, I think I’m starting to wrap my head around a rough idea of where I’d like to head and of the kind of future I want to create for myself.

A year ago, I was sure I was going to be in Journalism school in september. Since then, I’ve realized I want to do more than write. I love to write. I will be a writer. I will keep pitching stories, blogging, and writing my heart out. I don’t need a master’s degree to do that.

A month ago, I was pretty certain I was going to be a dietitian. I knew I wanted to help people lead healthier lifestyles and I liked the idea of helping athletes and people working through eating disorders.

Journalist.

Dietitian.

Safe.

Today, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m forming a picture of what it’s going to look like without needing a label. No offence to anyone who has known what they’ve wanted to be since they were 5 and have come out of it with a great professional degree or something like that, but that hasn’t been working for me. I’m done sticking to the conventional just for the sake of feeling secure. At my graduation, the speaker mentioned something about how times have changed. Making money is tough. Finding “a job” is tough. He told us to take every opportunity. Things can seem overwhelming, but when you look at it as a world full of opportunities instead of feeling overwhelmed, you see that there is so much freaking potential that you can’t help but get excited.

I really never thought that I’d be so confused about what I want to do with myself. If you don’t know me or you can’t get vibes from my blog, I’m a stubborn person. I know where I’m headed, or at least I like to pretend I do. So this is a big shift for me, but it’s one that I know is going to lead me to a happier career and life at the end of it all.

I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true: “If you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day of your life.” It’s also true that by deciding that I’m going to work towards a happy holistic life instead of just securing a career, I’m just embracing all the awesome that I’m entitled to in a new way. I did it with my body–I don’t have to force myself to lose weight or to have perfect abs before I can be happy. In the same way, I don’t have to make sure the tI’ve got a set career path and plan that is stable before I can start living. Cuz FYI, life is flying by and I think the point is kind of to enjoy this whole process, right? Thanks for that realization, recovery!

So enough with the big thinking and rambling…what the heck am I going to do next?

I started to figure this out by thinking about my options and by talking it through with a lot of helpful listening ears. I started to look for examples of people living the kinds of lives–active, inspiring, engaging–that I want to and to take notes or to ask questions of what they’re doing. The truth is, they’re just following their bliss. That seems to be the key.

Right now, what’s making my heart sing most is:

  • teaching fitness
  • blogging and writing in general
  • rounding up cheesy quotes
  • yoga
  • reading, especially about nutrition, eating disorder recovery, and self help
  • working with my life coach
Things I considered for the coming year:
  • working as a fitness professional
  • going back to Western and taking some more kin courses and finishing my writing certificate
  • looking for a job somewhere exciting (mountains, anyone?)
  • applying to teacher’s college in the states or australia
  • applying for my masters in kin or in sports nutrition somewhere
  • pursuing the registered holistic nutritionist designation from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition
  • going somewhere to get my 200 hour yoga teacher training
  • going on an NOLS trip – throwing myself into the wilderness, essentially
  • signing up for a program at Rhodes College, where my life coach went
  • taking violin lessons and getting far enough so that I can teach little kiddies how to play – I was pretty close, but my theory could use some work!
And to be totally honest, I want to do them all. Luckily I had a good reminder come my way from my mother:
(at once)
I also came to a big realization: if you’re meant to do something, YOU WILL. It doesn’t matter when. There isn’t that pressure. If you have to force yourself to do something, why are you doing it (career, but also training, etc.)? The things on that list that I really truly want to do will get done. The ones that don’t really matter won’t. It’s as simple as that.
So what’s my next step?
With a disclaimer that I am 100% allowed to change my mind, my plan is to work away at an independent study in sports sociology this fall while I do the registered holistic nutrition program (in London) on a part time basis and work as much as I can in fitness. I want to teach spin and bootcamp and I’d like to keep training with triathlon club. I’m going to think about doing an energy exchange at Yoga Shack, but if I’m too busy, I’ll keep yoga as purely something I do for the sake of doing. I’m going to see how things go and where I can work in fitness and my motto is to take opportunities that call out to me but say no to the ones that just don’t feel right (if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no). I’m going to keep blogging about all of the healthy living I do and I’m going to keep on writing (freelancing, volunteering at the Gazette, etc.). I’m hoping that when I’m done with the RHN program in two years, I can do one of the coaching programs at Rhodes. I know I want to help people and I think the programs would work together to give me the kind of training and experience I need to make positive change. I also think they’ll give me the information I want to write the kinds of articles and blogs that will do the same. I also know that it sounds a little hippie to say that I’m going to be a freelance writer, holistic nutritionist and life coach who also teaches fitness, but that’s what I’m feeling right now.
So if you were hoping I’d have a simple answer in the form of “When I grow up, I’m going to ______________,” no such luck!
I know that giving myself this end vision — I picture that life coach writer nutritionist fitness instructor, I see her as a slightly older, stronger, only more awesome version of myself — and making it as vivid as I can (she lives in a house in the mountains and has two chocolate labs and drives a nissan murano, btw) is motivating. I have a yoga instructor who often says to leave the picture in the mirror out of it and to see where you want to go and then make it happen, and I’m definitely feeling the application here.
When you can see it, you can feel it, and you can connect to it. And when I see that version of me, I feel so full of energy, happy, and all that good stuff. If you think I’m crazy, I’m telling you: you’re missing out. That’s kind of why I want to be some form of a coach–to help people connect to this feeling of being motivated and energized and pulled by the positive things in life. After recovery from my eating disorder, I know how rough things can get. This is like a second shot at life, and I feel like I need to spread the word and shout it from the rooftops even if some people look at me like I’m a new age hippie or something. I swear–I’m not high on anything (my friend summed up how people sometimes look at us pretty well)–except life itself. Yeah, I just said that!
So that was a whole lot of words and a whole lot of cheese, but it needed to be said! You better believe there’s a bucket list coming and a vision board in the works. I’ve been jotting down random things I want to do before I die on napkins and business cards and in random notes on my phone. This is all good. It keeps me thinking about the positive things that I want to do. Think big. Dream big. Be bold. All that good stuff.
For a really long time, my life was about living small and about listening to Ed. It was about food, calories, workouts, and all that stuff. Then it hit me, slowly, but hard: this is all there is. I’m going to die some day. Like that’s pretty morbid, but it’s true. There’s no point in doing something that doesn’t make me happy. There’s no point in not doing what I want to do or in at least trying to figure out what that is. This could be a post in itself, so I’m going to sum things up:
Hence this blog. Hence my whole outlook and approach to life.
Anddddd smile.
Have you ever changed your mind about school or your career?
What’s the number one thing on your bucket list?

If you’re working, are you doing the job you thought you would when you were younger?
Do you ever think of yourself in 10 years? What’s it look like?

Dear diary: The best binge of my life

A really great binge.

Is there such a thing?

As liberating as writing a few posts this week that I think really show how far I’ve come in recovery has been, I feel a bit of resistance. And a bit of stress with starting summer school. And that’s played out in chocolate cravings and some night time eating that is fine, but that probably should have raised a bigger red flag for me.

Anyways, it is what it is, and even though yesterday was perfection–my yoga class was fun, I hung out with a friend after, etc., I still fell into some bad territory last night. Or good territory, depending on how you look at this all (if you can follow along, you’ll see!).

Since I don’t have a deceptive bone in my body, I’m going to lay it all out:

  • went to bulk barn
  • ate some chocolate in a relaxed manner
  • got past the point of tired, got past the point of eating for pleasure/hunger, got to the point of “am I bingeing?” and stopped
  • went back to the kitchen, continued eating “I’m definitely bingeing”
  • went back to the kitchen again, tossed the rest of what I was bingeing on (telltale old dieting habit: I’m too out of control to have it around? <– that’s bull!) but ate more in the process
  • went to bed
  • felt sick
  • got up and threw up

Now, here’s what was different. NORMALLY I’d have been a WRECK over this. Does my reaction, which wasn’t to beat myself up, to plan a diet, to continue eating, to cry myself to sleep, to write epic blog posts or journals, mean I don’t care? That I’m giving up on recovery?

Hells no.

I think it means the opposite.

That binge/purge didn’t serve me at all. Not one bit. It was a waste of money, time, and energy. But it was a lesson!

…that I need to be more in touch with things: I should have went to bed. I should have done my laundry so I didn’t see it and feel bad when I walked in the door. I should have organized my notes before going out for the night so I don’t have that lingering feeling of being a slob. I should have sat down and breathed when I got in the door. But I can say should have til I’m blue in the face–it is what it is.

Today, I went back into one of my favourite recovery books — “It’s Not About Food”  and read some of the dog-eared pages:

  • “At the heart of every eating disorder…there is a cry from the deepest part of our souls that must be heard. It is a cry to awaken, to embrace our whole selves, to see past the limitations we have put on ourselves by defining our bodies or our eating habits as good or bad. … It is a call from the part of us the holds our desires and passions to grow, heal and fulfill our dreams.”
  • about trusting your process
  • reading that recovery isn’t linear
  • The authors describe recovery as a mountain with thousands of paths to the top (where things come to a head and you are tossed back and forth between the ED side and the recovered side). They use the mountain as a guideline and I see myself in it. It was helpful to read about the stages I’m not alone:
    • “The fear that you will gain a million pounds comes roaring into your life.”
    • “As you start to put your eating, your food, and your weight in the proper perspective, all the feelings that you had been overeating or underrating over come up and out. These are the feelings your have numbed with food. These are the emotions you have pushed down with obsessional thinking…It is an illusion to think that the food has made them go away.”
    • “Many times you have all your feelings and you are still overeating or starving yourself. To make matters worse, eating the food or controlling the food doesn’t numb you anymore. … Your thoughts are filled with how fat and out of control you are. You think how easy it would be to just go on one last diet, and yet you know that isn’t the answer. … As painful as it can be, this is one of th emost powerful parts of the whole journey. It will teach you about yourself and lead the way to knowing how to live the rest of your life with peace and self-love.”

The authors also offered some valuable reminders: “You will eventually eat like a normal person. You will weigh what you were meant to weigh naturally. You will know and speak your own truth.” Amen to that.

And while I see myself in that struggling place where you have behaviours and emotions and so much going on, I also connected for the first time with a stage later in their process:

  •  “Even though you may still over- or under eat or obsess now and then, it doesn’t happen as often and it shouldn’t worry you because you know that you have the tools to turn things around. You are also more trusting of yourself and this process: you know that this happens snow and then and it’s okay.”
Because today, I feel okay. I feel good. I feel like I’m going to have a great weekend regardless of that fact that this happened. I feel totally different than I ever have after a binge. I didn’t clean out my cupboards, I didn’t meticulously plan my food, I didn’t decide to only have one treat a day this weekend, I didn’t decide to do double workouts every day, I didn’t compulsively clean my apartment, I didn’t do any of the things that I used to do to try to “deal with” last night. I don’t have to.  I don’t feel like crawling into my pyjamas and hiding from the world today. I feel like getting out there and being awesome. I reminded myself: even if I gained weight from that, that weight is part of my recovery. My weight is not the issue–it never has been and it never will be (because I’m not going to forget these lessons any time soon). This all brought the realization that I don’t need to binge and purge again–it does NOTHING for me. And that carries over: I don’t need to worry about my weight — it does NOTHING (positive) for me. My ED is no longer serving me. If that’s not a huge statement, I don’t know what is. It’s like I knew that, but I had to prove it via a binge. It’s definitely worth it because it showed me just how useless my ED behaviours are. Let ED slip back in? Not an option. Let him win this weekend and make me miserable? Not happening–ED is not even a contender in my life anymore–that’s what this binge showed me! 
I kind of have this sentiment to ED: NANANANABOOBOO YOU CAN’T CATCH ME!
Turns out, I don’t need to binge!
That’s all.
If you’ve recovered, how did you know you were done with ED?
Thoughts?

What’s the point?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Andrea Owen’s little tidbit of advice and kind of applying the idea that “if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no” to how I’m living. There are a lot of things that are a hell no that I’ve been doing that I’ve either stopped or am actively trying to stop and this post is going to be dedicated to pointing some of those out. I just feel the need to share and whether you’re recovering or just maybe trying to be happier or to figure out how to live on purpose, I hope this gets you thinking. Maybe you could write out your own list–in a journal, on a blog, etc.–to do a little reality check?

What’s the point in:

  • Doing races you’re not even looking forward to? — There are pros who have to do races. I’m not one of them. I’m not feeling like doing Woodstock this month, so I am not. Easy as that. There will always be another race that you actually want to do.
  • Complaining? – Must remind myself of this one more often. But seriously, all it does is bring your mood down, draw attention and give power to the bad, and hide the good.
  • Feeling slow? – Give yourself credit for doing it instead.
  • Comparing yourself to others? – You either get a big head if you feel “better” than someone or you feel bad about yourself if you’re not up to snuff. Recognize that you are awesome but that other people are allowed to be just as awesome as you are. There is plenty of room at the top (whether this is about a job, your training, your body, whatever–we all deserve to be our best!).
  • Pretending you’re okay when you really need help? – If you’re struggling, admitting it is scary. I get that. But acting like you’re okay doesn’t give you the credit you deserve (cuz everyone deserves the help they need and to be happy and living fully) and it really doesn’t serve anyone else. I see this with blogs where I just think people are putting on a show. What’s the point? Maybe because I’m willing to admit so much and the outpouring of support is huge, I think honesty is the best policy.
  • Stressing about things you can’t control? – My friend has a good way of summing things up worth worrying about and those worth not. She does a better job than I do, but basically there are always going to be things way outside of your control, things mostly outside of your control, and then things totally in your control. Worrying about anything but the ones you can control is a waste of your energy and really doesn’t serve you any purpose. Simple. She’s a genius! And I suggest putting that mental energy towards imagining/dreaming/planning positive things instead and seeing what happens.
  • Trudging through a run, slogging through a ride, dragging yourself to the gym? – I see the merit in doing the 10 minutes of the workout to see if you want to quit and giving yourself permission to stop after that if you don’t want it, but I also see a lot of value in just taking a freaking rest day. If your workouts are not exciting you, go do something that does. Instead of “working out”, find a way to move that doesn’t feel like work. That’s what being active is about, NOT forcing yourself through something!
  • Being in the best shape of your life if you can’t enjoy it? – Sure, you have a six pack. But can you go to the beach and eat ice cream in your bikini and show it off if you are scared of missing out on a workout or on eating too much sugar/fat/whatever? I’d rather have my body looking just like it should and be able to do whatever the heck my little heart desires. It’s cryptic, but you could be in the best shape of your life and get hit by a bus. No one will care what you looked like–or at least the people who matter won’t care. They’ll care about the memories you make with them and that matters on your attitude, your outlook on life, your personality, and all the good things–not on the size on the tag of your jeans or the number on the scale!
  • Going out to a restaurant if you’re just going to order something you would eat at home? – This means you should eat outside of the box (try something new, order something you don’t know how to cook for yourself, etc.) but I also mean what’s the point in going to a restaurant and ordering something not on the menu or changing things up so that you’re eating the same damn thing you eat day after day? This coming from the girl who had a knack for ordering a salad with chicken on it at every restaurant (if I couldn’t just get this order plain and simple I’d get it as a sandwich, ditch the bread, etc. or I’d order a double dose of veggies, hold the starch just to please ED)…branch out! Live a little! I know it might sound like I’m making something huge and scary seem trivial, but seriously. Order off the menu. See what happens. It’s gonna be delicious, and you can do it!
  • Eating an apple when you want chocolate (or tea if you want coffee, crackers if you want chips, or yogurt if you want ice cream, or whatever)? – I really don’t buy the “health-ify” idea. You have a craving? Eat a reasonable portion. Stop. Maybe you were emotionally eating, but if it’s one or two servings worth of a food, you’re not doing any damage. Don’t binge. After you eat what you want, you’re either going to have satisfied a craving or you’re going to be left with the same emotions you were trying to ignore. Go ahead and feel them. It’ll get easier, and you’ll stop feeding your emotional cravings more and more as you do this and then you’ll be more able to decipher between what you legitimately crave as food and what you crave emotionally, etc. Trust!
  • Letting other people’s bad moods/negativity rub off on you? – I am all for helping people who are struggling, but there is a difference between helping and letting yourself get drawn in. Surround yourself with other people who are on a good wavelength. Lead by example.
  • Only doing things you know will work out? – Whether it’s trying a new sport, hobby, program in school, or whatever. If you knew that it was meant to be, what would be the fun in it? Being afraid to fail is fine, but letting that fear stop you from testing things out means you’re going to miss out. When “mistakes” become lessons and when you’re willing to take chances, life expands!
  • Holding yourself back (from your dreams, from going after the boy you like, from whatever)? – Seriously. Scenarios: Try/fail = don’t get it. Don’t try = don’t get it. Try/succeed = get it. There’s really only one answer.
  • Keeping clothes that don’t fit in your closet? – This does nothing for you. Buy and wear clothes that make you feel good. See my post about this yesterday if you wanna know where I’m coming from here!
  • Being obsessed with your body/size/weight? – What if it was like your height and you just accepted it? How would things change? Where would all your energy go instead? Cuz your body doesn’t want to be skinnier or fatter than it should be. It is perfect, you just have to trust it to do it’s thing. Thinking you’re fat = thinking you need to fix something = excuse to not live. Lame. Stop settling.
  • Being anything but optimistic? – Yes, I know, get realistic. Bad things are going to happen. But instead of worrying about those bad things, why not focus on all the good things? I can guarantee there is someone dealing with something worse and I think there’s probably something good in every day that you can find!

  • Being anything but happy? – Life is short. I’ve spent plenty of mine being miserable on my own accord. That’s been good because it’s taught me that being happy is a conscious decision–and one that I intend to continue making. We are allowed to have sad days, periods, etc., but at the end of the road, we are all meant to be happy!

What do you think about this stuff?
What’s your “What’s the point in…”?