heartburn.

I changed my hair color this week. I needed change. I am obsessed with it. Red!

Hello all. I know I’ve been MIA the last several weeks and I’m sorry for that. Life has been happening.

Lots of life has been happening. Real life with hard emotions, big decisions, love, loss, and forging forward. And with all that stuff, I just needed to turn inward and work through it. I’m still working through it and that’s ok. At any rate, I don’t want to talk about it, but it all leads me to where I am this day.

The anxiety/stress/emotional drain of all the things made all my symptoms (acid, nausea, etc.) return. Therefore, as food as been constantly the same with no changes in 4 weeks, I think it is safe to say my issues are something else (not entirely food related.) So, although this extreme diet didn’t give me the results I was ultimately looking for (solving my health issues), it DID help me know that with that variable constant, it is something else in my body that is wrong.

I’ve slowly started adding some food back into the rotation. I cannot tell you how very wonderful that first cup of coffee tasted. Best cuppa ever. It does, however, give me heartburn. It has been fascinating adding food back in and monitoring what it does to me. For instance, either gluten OR sugar make my sinuses stuff right up and make it hard to breathe. I ate at cookie and within an hour my sinuses were swollen. WEIRD. I haven’t had another one to test it again.

My next steps on my health journey will be to get back in touch with my doctor and see what’s up. Ulcer? Overactive hiatal hernia? Yeah, I don’t know. I do know this: I have GOT to get my stress/anxiety under control and managed.

I added yoga into the mix this week. I’ve never really given yoga fair shake and I kinda feel bad about that. I found an app that has yoga “classes” and I’m hoping by adding this at the end of my day and focusing on the breathing and the mindset, it will help me mentally just as much as physically. I’m about as flexible as a concrete pole, so we shall see how this goes. 😀 I’ve been practicing this habit for a week now and I can definitely say it has helped me mentally. I do it right when I get home from work, consciously trying to let out the bad and in the good and LET. THINGS. GO.

Thanks for hanging with me. I still have the note “Not Today” taped to one of my computer monitors at work. I’ve been staring at it a lot this week, remembering why I put it there in the first place. Not Today. Not Today. Today I will not give into all the feelings that brought me to the bottom.

TODAY I LOVE: savasana (corpse pose in yoga)…I can do this one.
SONG OF THE DAY: “God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise” by Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs

changing my perspective

Just me…starting to find clarity in the fog

There are so many different directions I thought about writing this post. It has been a week of so many different reflections and observations. Which do I pick?

Last week I told you all how I was beginning an Elimination Diet this week. Well, I did started it. Y’all…it’s not easy. There are more things that you CAN’T eat versus what you can. It makes business lunches and social lives very difficult. I wouldn’t be surprised if I refuse to eat ground turkey for YEARS after this is all over.

The point of this post is not the diet, but I do want to give a few physical things that have happened over the course of these last 7 days. I’ve still been measuring and tracking what I’m eating, not to control (diet) but to make sure I’m getting enough calories. It is a lot tougher than you think trying to get enough calories when all you can eat (for the most part) is veggies, fruits, and turkey. I’ve ranged between 1,300-1,600 calories each day. My one 1,600 calorie day was a huge achievement. I was pleased. 🙂 So, things I’ve noticed so far…I sleep very well. Sound. My legs haven’t ached. I haven’t taken an allergy pill all week. No Pepto and I’ve been able to lessen the antacid to just 1 pill a day most days. No bloating. The downside: major, major, excruciating headaches. I think I’m going on day 4 of the headache from hell. I’m sweating more than usual. It’s weird and GROSS. Working out was hard. Very hard. Honestly, it’s all been hard. And I don’t foresee it being easier next week. Or the week after that.

It’s only been one week, but I already have things I’m learning about myself and the people I surround myself with, and I’m not talking physical things. I’m learning who is really with me and who isn’t. I’m learning that I am very strong and when I set my mind to something, I have the discipline to do it 100%.

This morning in church the message was on perspective. I’m not going to go into the religious side of things, because that’s not really what this blog is about, but the overarching topic of “perspective” is definitely going to be something I use as a tool for this coming week. I can continue to look at all the things I cannot do or cannot eat or how very miserable I am, OR I can try to look at it differently.

I’m able to do this; I have healthy wholesome food at my disposal. I’m taking my health in my own hands. This type of fast is really helping me zero in on WHO and WHAT matters. The things that make me happy are all the more sweeter.

Week 2, here I come.

TODAY I LOVE: fresh peaches from the farmer’s market
SONG OF THE DAY: “Burden” by Foy Vance

you’ve been eliminated

Yo! Does anyone remember that show from back in the 00’s called “The Weakest Link?” I loved it. It was so stressful but her catchphrase was so awesome. You just waited for the clipped “goodbye” at the end. (Go watch Youtube. You’ll thank me later for the nostalgia.)

Ok. Anyway. I don’t know if any of you recall this post from back in June. I had mentioned I was feeling like crap but trying some things to see if it made me feel better. Guess what? It hasn’t worked.

For the last several months I’ve been walking ball of nausea. (Before any of you smarties try to ask me if I’m pregnant – NO. Not funny and not possible.) I have heartburn that could probably burn down the Rocky Mountain National Forest. I should start investing in Zantac, and Tums, and Pepto Bismol. It is horrible. I feel horrible almost 24/7. Something has to change because I can’t keep living like this. When I was in Colorado last week I went through 2.5 BOTTLES of Pepto. I was gone 5 days. I’m fairly certain if you cut me open my blood would be a viscous candy pink a la Pepto.

I have decided, with my doctor’s approval, that I’m going to take the drastic step of an elimination diet for my next step. Sure, I could probably skip this and go right to all the medical tests but I have reasons for wanting to do this first. I’ll explain why in a bit.

The diet itself consists of 3 weeks of very strict food restrictions. No dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, VERY little meat (only turkey or wild game), veggies (but no nightshade vegetables), fruits (but no citrus fruits), no wheat/oats/grains/rice/gluten. The only oils allowed are coconut oil and cold-pressed olive oil. No spices other than salt and black pepper.

After the 3 weeks I can add one food group (example dairy) for a day. After that day is up, I have to follow it up with 2 days of the “control” (elimination) diet to monitor for symptoms and reactions. On day 4, I try another group for a day. Repeat. This whole experiment will take me 6-8 weeks to complete.

Why am I doing this? I mean, it’s going to suck so bad. For one, I’d like to not pay for what I’m sure would be expensive medical tests if I can take care of it myself. If this tells me what I need to know without the $1,000+ price tag, well yay me. If this experiment doesn’t give me answers THEN I will get the tests. But at least then I can say I tried all I could. Secondly, what if it gives me clues to other things too? Headaches, bloating, sinus issues? I could just have a food trigger that I know nothing about.

I’m not even remotely excited about this. I’m going to be a very grumpy hermit (at least initially.) I am excited, however, to think about not wanting to barf all day long. Most people have no idea that as they are talking to me I’m just trying not to puke. That is no way to live. Taking Pepto with me on the trails in the Colorado mountains last week – no way to live.

I’ll try not to obsessively write about it here, but I will periodically keep you updated on how it’s going. I’m making my body my very own science experiment. Come on discipline and willpower, I need you now.

If you’ve done this before and have any tips or tricks – SEND THEM TO ME NOW. Pleaseandthankyou.

TODAY I LOVE: bread. I’m eating bread before I can’t.
SONG OF THE DAY: “Eagle When She Flies” by Dolly Parton

I am not skinny … but …

I have worked so hard these last couple of weeks in the gym. I’m pushing myself in my lifts and I’ve added “bonus” cardio everyday. And guess what? My weight hasn’t changed. I’ve gone up and down the same 3lbs for almost 3 weeks now. I’ve stayed within my macros and I’ve turned down cupcakes and donuts and Chick-fil-a. (WHOA.) I’ve vacillated between being depressed about it all and being ok.

This morning while I was in the gym I was thinking about it all. Today was a “heavy” lift day. And as I was standing there, continuing to add plates to the bar, and looking at myself in the mirror, I was content?

Here’s why: I might not be skinny and I might very well be considered overweight. BUT

I took this after the gym this morning. I added the flare to disguise the dirty mirror. 🙂 It’s not an awesome picture; it isn’t flattering. But this is the body I have today, and it is strong.
  • Today I leg-pressed 495lbs (11 plates) and probably could have kept going.
  • Last week I was able to squat 215 pounds for four reps on my sixth set! That’s been my heaviest on squats in months and months.
  • I held a plank for *almost* 2 minutes today. That’s huge for me!
  • This body has allowed me to conquer the stair machine over and over this week. Hundreds of floors climbed.
  • This body is well enough to tend my own yard (mowing and trimming) without any help.

This body might not be skinny, and it might very well be overweight, but it is strong. It is able. It is healthy. And I’m doing my best to love it. To love what it is now and not what I think it needs to be. To love what it can DO.

That’s where I am today. I might be sad again tomorrow that my skinny jeans are still tight, but I’m writing this post to remind me of how I feel TODAY. I need more todays.

TODAY I LOVE: Alo Yoga capris
SONG OF THE DAY: “Redesigning Women” by The HighWomen

who is influencing you?

Several of my twitter friends have shared a New York Times article over the last couple of weeks. I hadn’t had time to read it, but so many people I respect kept commenting on it. So I saved it in my handy Instapaper to read later. Having now read it, I can see why it’s so popular. So today, instead of writing about my ups and downs, I’d like the share the article with YOU and to also make some comments.

First off, it’s an opinion piece by a novelist that I really like, Jessica Knoll. I read her book “Luckiest Girl Alive” a while back. If you like suspense books, give it a go. Anyway, her piece in the Times is called “Smash the Wellness Industry.” I’m going to put several excerpts here, but I’d really encourage you to follow the link and read the whole thing.

In sum, the entire piece is about the fallacy we are all being fed about “wellness” in our society. I like how she said it in this paragraph:

The wellness industry is the diet industry, and the diet industry is a function of the patriarchal beauty standard under which women either punish themselves to become smaller or are punished for failing to comply, and the stress of this hurts our health too. I am a thin white woman, and the shame and derision I have experienced for failing to be even thinner is nothing compared with what women in less compliant bodies bear. Wellness is a largely white, privileged enterprise catering to largely white, privileged, already thin and able-bodied women, promoting exercise only they have the time to do and Tuscan kale only they have the resources to buy.

Jessica Knoll, NY Times, “Smash the Wellness Industry”

All day long we see “influencers” on Instagram. Thin, barely-clothed, tan women pawning us shakes, or waist-trainers, supplements, or workout programming. They are telling us what we need to do to inherently be happy and feel good. Or trying anyway. Because, as she says in another part of the article, wellness equal thin and thin equals wellness.

I liked this quote as well:

I no longer define food as whole or clean or sinful or a cheat. It has no moral value. Neither should my weight, though I’m still trying to separate my worth from my appearance. They are two necklaces that have gotten tangled over the course of my 35 years, their thin metal chains tied up in thin metal knots. Eventually, I will pry them apart.

Most days, I feel good in my skin. That said, I am probably never going to love my body, and that’s O.K. I think loving our bodies is not only an unrealistic goal in our appearance-obsessed society but also a limiting one. No one is telling men that they need to love their bodies to live full and meaningful lives. We don’t need to love our bodies to respect them.

Jessica Knoll, NY Times, “Smash the Wellness Industry”

I don’t love my body right now. I’m not comfortable in it. But I’ll be honest, this has given me pause to ask myself if I’m uncomfortable for the right reasons. Am I healthy? Yep, I just had a whole bunch of blood tests that tell me so. I can run and strength train. So is it all about being thin?

Anyway, go read the piece and give me your thoughts. I’d love to hear them. I think we all need to strive to be healthy and WELL, but are we really doing in society today? And how do you define it now that our measuring stick is so very skewed?

TODAY I LOVE: thought-provoking discussion
SONG OF THE DAY: “Killing You, Killing Me” by Jamestown Revival

green grapes and gray water

This *might* end up being the most random post I’ve ever written. Then again, I write a lot of random stuff all the time so who knows. Hang on for the ride.

On Wednesday of last week I flew to California to visit my fella. First off, it was so, so great to see him. Even though I just saw him in April, it felt like forever. We spent the fourth of July in Napa, and OHMYGOSH. It is like heaven. The hills were green, the grapes were green and growing, and the wine was very red. There were flowers EVERYWHERE. Everything was bright and vibrant. We also went to Monterey so that I could see the sea otters at Monterey Bay Aquarium. We took a behind the scenes tour of the otter stuff and I just giggled like a five-year-old the whole time. It was pathetic but I was in love. I should have tried to stuff that baby otter into my bag. I KNOW George would love a friend. The rest of the time there we just hung out in each other’s company. And I might have loved that just as much.

The downside of last week was that I was/felt sick pretty much the entire time. And I’m still sick. Something is going on with my insides and I don’t know what it is. Gallbladder? Ucler? Hernia? Pretty much any time I eat, I’m crazy nauseous for forever. My diet change hasn’t really fixed it. So off to the doctor I go.

Sooooo right now I’m eating a lot of carbs. It seems to be the only thing that upsets me the least. And let me tell ya, when you already have body image issues and THEN you eat a lot of carbs…it’s not good. Just call me Sarah McBloaty. Sarah McBloaty likes to eat bread, pretzels, and crackers. She really hates skinny jeans and swimsuits. She’s a barrel of fun (when she doesn’t want to vomit.)

Back to real life. With no wineries and no sea otters and no boyfriend. But I still want to puke. So…I guess I didn’t leave everything in California. So far 2019 is The Year of Nausea. I started the year with the flu and it’s still goin..

TODAY I LOVE: peppermint
SONG OF THE DAY: “Hold You Now” by Vampire Weekend

peace like welcome rain

Good morning, friends and Happy Sunday! It’s raining here in Missouri, again. I’m pretty sure it’s been raining for the last 6 months. It has been the weirdest year here in the midwest. Lately I’ve been so grumpy when it rains. Now that I’m living alone and yard duties are mine, every time it rains the very first thought that goes through my mind is “That damn yard is just gonna grow faster.” But today, well, today I’m pretty amazingly content.

Lots of happenings this week and for once I’m sitting here on a Sunday looking at all of them positively! I haven’t felt well for quite some time but haven’t been able to put my finger on what it might be. After a lengthy visit with my chiropractor (but they are basically my everything doctor because they fix everything and I trust them with my life) I think he might be on a path to figuring out what’s going on. I won’t go into it all here, because I’m likely to type it up all wrong and some of you real medical professionals will yell at me for misinterpretation. So – let’s just leave it at I’m changing some things from my diet and eliminating others. I also need less stress, but if any of you have more ideas on how to fix that I’m open. All that to say, I’m not fixed, but maybe I’m now on a path to an answer. Make sense?

I was also super brave this week and left the Sarah Cave. And guess what!? I met new people. And it was amazing. I want to talk more about that but it’s still fresh and special and new and like a little bird I’m going to foster my new peeps quietly for a bit.

So, I’m sitting here this rainy Sunday in a great state of peace. I’ve got Gregory Alan Isakov crooning me from my record player, I just put chicken in the crockpot to eat on the for the week, I’ve got a mug of hot tea, all the lamps on….NEED I KEEP GOING!?

This is me you guys. No makeup. No contacts. Bedhead. A Colorado mug because I GET TO GO SEE GREGORY AT RED ROCKS IN A MONTH. This is me with a happy smile, enjoying where I am in this minute at this time.

I just thought you should know that I’m not always doom and gloom and sad. I’m just getting better and recognizing sometimes happiness is in the small things.

(Total transparency, there is a filter on this photo. It’s called “I Am Enough.” So I just had to use it.) 🙂

TODAY I LOVE: the sound of rolling thunder outside
SONG OF THE DAY: “The Universe” by Gregory Alan Isakov