2018: Not new you, but your best you

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! It blows my mind that 2017 is already over. I’m incredibly excited about what lies ahead this year while still basking in the joy of the holidays these past few weeks. While thinking about this new year’s time, I started to think about all of the pressure that has been mounting for how we are suppose to change and become a version 2.0 in 2018 (woof, that’s way too much pressure for me). It seems as though our culture identifies growth or becoming a “better” person only with becoming thinner, fitter, and healthier. Yeeshh, what a narrow view—and one that often ends  in disappointment.

 
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So this year, I would like to propose a different goal for 2018—not becoming a more aesthetically pleasing person or a food-pious person, but instead to become the you you want to be (or used to be).   

Growing up, I was such a ham. I LOVED putting on plays and productions for family and friends. I thrived on attention. I was also super creative and enjoyed scrapbooking, making things out of clay, cutting hair (I had a life size Barbie doll head—kinda creepy when you think about it), building miniature towns from foam, and drawing. I was compassionate, and felt emotions strongly (I cried for WEEKS after seeing our high school’s production of flower’s for Algernon).

Somewhere along the way, those characteristics started to fade. My goofiness disappeared and was replaced with perfectionism and worry. My creativity was clouded by thinking more logically and analytically. My emotions were muted. In college I recognized how different I was, but figured it was normal to change as we mature and have life experiences. 

However, as I go through this intuitive eating journey, I’m becoming more of who I used to be. My carefree nature is coming back, and I’m enjoying life a lot more. Things that used to rock my world, just aren’t a big deal anymore. I’ve been freed up to enjoy life without taking it too seriously. I’ve also noticed that I’m WAY more emotional. I cry during every episode of This Is Us (but then again, who doesn’t? You’d have to be heartless...). When people cry, I cry with them. I find that I now experience a whole range of emotions much stronger.

 
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And all of these characteristics came as I loosened my control of food and my body. Letting go of the restraint allowed me to have less anxiety and just enjoy life without having to control every little area. As I stopped restricting, my brain stopped thinking about food all the time, which freed me up to actually feel things. I no longer numb or avoid my feelings using food/restriction. And it’s WONDERFUL!! I missed the person I was as a kid and am so glad to be back. 

Intuitive eating and eating disorder recovery is about more than just food. It impacts every area of your life—freeing you up to live the life you want and be the person you want to be.

With the new year, there is all kinds of talk about becoming a better version of yourself. But what if the “better” version of yourself is actually the old version of yourself before you became bogged down with weight and food concerns? What if the better, more compassionate, more present, more available person is the one that is less concerned with looks and health? What would it look like for you to pursue that rather than what we’re sold all the time?

I’d love to hear how you plan to do this!  

How my injury helped me find a more gentle relationship with exercise

Growing up, I hated formal exercise. I remember my family joining a local gym when I was in middle school, and I thought going was the worst thing in the world. Why in the world would you subject yourself to such torture?? And why would you make yourself sweat for no reason?!?! I was a fairly active kid playing outside or jumping on the trampoline, and I played volleyball and basketball in middle school. But you were not going to find me going to the gym of my own volition. No way, Jose. 

And then one day, I decided going to the gym was a good idea. There was a lot that preceded that decision, but I won't get into that here. I decided it would be helpful because it would allow me to get closer to my goal of losing some weight. And then I decided it would be helpful for decreasing some of the anxiety and guilt I felt for eating more than I "should" have. My exercise wasn't too intense, but it was something that took high priority in my life. I hated going, but absolutely felt the need to. 

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Then for a while, I wasn't allowed to exercise. My therapist told me it wasn't a good idea (for mental and physical health reasons) and my parents fully backed her up. It was tough. Actually, ALL of that time in my life was tough. Fast forward to going to college. I wasn't engaging in much formal exercise (because let's get real, I was having way too much fun to have time for exercise!!), and I was eating more than I had when I was at home. My body had also been at a weight that wasn't sustainable without really disordered behaviors, so my weight started to creep up. And I became EXTREMELY uncomfortable about it. So I did what you're supposed to do, I decided I was going to start running. My family signed up for a relay and I started to train for the 5K leg. A month or so before the race, one of our teammates dropped out and I decided to take over the 10K leg for her. 

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The race was an absolute blast and I got bit by the running bug and decided I wanted to run a half marathon. That began my obsession with running, compensating for calories through exercise, and finding my identity in being a fast runner and intense exerciser. I ran several more half marathons throughout college. And although I look back on them with great fondness (I grew really close to the girls I trained with), I can now see how disordered it was for me. I HAD to workout every day. A workout didn't count unless I did quite a bit of cardio and I left absolutely exhausted. It got to the point that I was exercising twice a day on some days. I experienced extreme muscle fatigue, general apathy, and dizziness when I worked out. I never felt like my exercise was enough because I knew of other people who  worked out harder and longer than I did. I desperately wanted validation that my hard work was enough. It never came. 

 
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Fast forward to my last semester of grad school. My husband and I trained for a half marathon together. It was my fastest pace yet and I got such a sense of accomplishment from all the hard work I put into it. During the race, I noticed a lot of lower back and butt pain. It didn't go away after the race and continued to get worse when I did certain exercises. The pain and tingling continued for another 6-12 months. It finally got to a point that I stopped running and even had to take a few weeks off and just walk. It was then that I started to reframe what exercise was and what it was for. I started to see walking as a form of movement that DID count as exercise. After backing off quite a bit from intense exercise, I finally decided to start physical therapy. I had to relearn how to do a lot of various exercises in order to engage the correct muscle groups. For awhile, my workouts were simply doing my physical therapy exercises. And those didn't include a whole lot of cardio. But I started to see a shift in the way I viewed physical activity. I was no longer willing to exercise at the expense of my body's wellbeing. And if I couldn't do an exercise properly, I wasn't willing to do it until I could.  So that meant that I didn't engage in a lot of different exercises because my body simply couldn't do them correctly. I started to end a workout if I was tired, even if I hadn't completed the whole thing. I began to not stress out when I wasn't able to workout for a day, or even days. I realized that my worth wasn't hinging on how hard I worked out, how far or fast I ran, or how many calories were burned. I started to see exercise as a means of taking care of my body, not as a means of changing it to look the way I wanted it to. 

 
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In the moment, I never thought I was working out hard enough but am now able to recognize all of the harm I did to my body (fatigue, muscle imbalances, hormone imbalances, etc) in my quest for the ideal body and affirmation. And although my injury was incredibly frustrating and not working out was incredibly difficult emotionally, I'm so grateful for how it taught me to slow down and truly take care of my body.

If you struggle with a compulsion to hit the gym, I'd highly recommend taking a break, as well as creating some mantras you can remind yourself of when exercise becomes a form of compensation or identity. I'm no longer the fittest, fastest, or strongest, but I do have a strong sense of self-care, less anxiety and stress, and my body feels a whole lot better. 

I'd love to hear about what YOU do to take care of your body??

 

HUGE announcement!!!

Hey everyone!! I'm super pumped to be sharing this post today. I've had to keep things under wraps for awhile, so it's incredibly exciting to get finally get to spill the beans!! 

You may have noticed (or not, we can't all be super observant), but the blog got a facelift. And a new domain name. And a completely different layout. That is because.....I'M STARTING MY OWN PRACTICE!!!!

 
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Welcome to Freedom Nutrition and Wellness! The website is now used for business purposes (people finding my business), but will still include regular blogposts with access to old blogs I've done. So although not a lot is changing on the blog, a lot is changing on the site and in my life.

If you follow along, you know that I currently provide nutritional counseling at a Christian counseling center. I absolutely love my co-workers and have complete confidence in the work they do there (it's really cool to be a part of such a great ministry). However, I've also had a long-term desire to own my own practice. With Isaac and I buying a home and wanting to start a family in the nearish future, it just made sense for me to get my practice up and running beforehand. So...after Christmas I will no longer be working at Cornerstone and will instead be accepting clients at my new office. Eek! How crazy is that? There are still so many details to get worked out (like what are my clients going to SIT on?!), but I am incredibly excited and grateful to get to start this new journey. 

So with that, I am now accepting clients for January 2018 both online and in-person. If you're interested check out this page on services, or my contact page to set up an appointment. 

Can't wait for all the new things to come. And thanks for all of the love and support thus far <3.