Beginnings, emotions, health, mental health

Soft.

It’s been a week since I admitted to you all that I’m struggling with stress and anxiety. Truth be told, I’ve been struggling for a while but it’s just gotten to the point that I didn’t feel I could handle it without help. So I’ve made changes.

I’ve tried several changes in lifestyle this week. Here’s what I’ve done that has worked (so far):

  • Taken a break a work; at lunch. The weather has been super crummy, so I haven’t been able to leave the building, but I’ve intentionally locked my computer, silenced all notifications, and read. I’ve been able to lose myself in a book for at least 30 minutes everyday. It has been so nice!
  • Started having a glass of Nuun Rest before bed. I’ve had 4 nights in a row of great sleep. Only one night have I woken up at my trademark 1:30am and started thinking about work, and I consciously changed my thoughts, focused on some old meditation/relaxation tricks from therapy, and I went back to sleep.
  • Started taking Super You vitamins from Moon Juice. I didn’t get them until Thursday, so it’s only been a few days. It might be all in my head, but I do think they are helping me focus and not overreact at things. I’ll be keeping those up for sure.
  • I intentionally do not talk about my faith here. After my divorce I was very ashamed and I kinda left church or a bit. Looking back I don’t think it was a conscious decision, but it happened. I’ve been to a new church these last two weeks and I can’t explain the joy it brings me. I’m already looking into a life group; to bring more people into my circle. We aren’t meant to do life in solitude.
  • I’ve forcefully (and sometimes audibly) stopped all thoughts of negativity about my weight and body image. I’ve stayed within my macro limits this week and I’ve gotten over every ugly thought (again, sometimes forcefully). Eventually, if I keep training my thoughts, the ugly thoughts won’t come so much.

What hasn’t worked:

  • I answered a few emails the weekend and I said I wasn’t going to. Grrr.
  • I’ve continued to be negative and a bit closed off at work.

Three times this week I’ve been talking to people and I’ve said something that I want to remember for later. I’ve openly admitted my struggles, and I’ve said that I’m trying to become soft. After I said it the second time I caught myself and then packed it away to examine later. I had become a very hard woman. I’d become jaded and abrupt. I didn’t want to listen to anyone about anything. And I need to become soft. I need to be a sponge. If I’m letting people and words and love wash off me like water off a rock, I’m never going to be better. I need to soak it in. What if what I’m repelling is what I need? What if it’s the cure? While I understand in our culture today it is seen as….wrong…for a woman to be soft. Man or woman…are we sure that’s a good thing? Being hard all the time?

My goal this week, and for the next several weeks, is to continue to be open to change. To be soft. To expand.

Do you need to be soft too?

TODAY I LOVE: the color green…it’s everywhere right now
SONG OF THE DAY: “Love Me Anyway” by P!nk

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Fitness, health

Black coffee and honesty

acs_0254-1One of my compromises with myself when I started this blog (in deference to my last one) was to be completely honest. You get the good and the bad, the ups and downs, the wins and the losses. Why be fake? Why try to trick everyone into believing that life is rosy all the time and every single goal I set, I reach?

Somewhere out there (if you don’t have this song in your head right now I don’t know you at all)…anyway, somewhere out there I’ve lost my focus and drive. For some reason the journey seems a lot more difficult this time around. And yes, I’m talking about weight loss. I think I’m always talking about weight loss. When you’re uncomfortable in your own skin (and your own jeans) it is always what you’re thinking about.

I keep finding excuses!

  • I’ve had a rough week, I deserve this treat.
  • PMS…give me all the things I’m craving.
  • Whew…I’ve got meetings all week. They’ll feed me. I don’t need to count.
  • I’m cold and I don’t feel that great. I should just eat what will make me happy.
  • I’m going home and nobody cooks like my mom and grandma. I don’t get home that much, I should enjoy it.

Anyone ever say some variation of those? I usually have really great discipline and can bypass all that stuff. Not this last month. Frankly, I’m scared to get on the scale for what it is going to tell me. I know I haven’t lost but I’m terrified to see if or how much I’ve gained. I’m failing at all my self-talk. I’m failing at saying NO.

I’m failing. And I want to leave it at that. Throw a fit. Say that I just can’t do it; the plan doesn’t work for me. I want to tell everyone how hard it is to be me. But guess what? That doesn’t help me either, it just makes me fail…more.

So I’m not going to do that. Because deep down I know these things:

  • I’m not failing at everything. Those are just lies that we tell ourselves.
  • If I fix my self-talk and start thinking about things on a decision-by-decision basis, I can choose to say no and make better choices. I can make choices that aren’t based on hormones, emotions, and circumstances.
  • I’m not failing at workouts (for the most part – I’ve had to miss a few.) I’m pushing myself and not giving in. I like getting stronger and seeing what new things my body can do.
  • It is going to be hard. It just is. I’m not in my 20’s anymore and things are just HARD. Recognize the challenge, say “game on”, and do it. Just do it.
  • Again – don’t look at weeks at a time. One decision, one good choice, one moment.
  • Plan better.

This post was for me. It was public self-talk and public accountability. We don’t always win. It’s so easy to fall down the social media rabbit hole of how all things are perfect. They aren’t. There is no quick fix. It isn’t easy. I haven’t won; I’ve lost this round. I let myself lose this round.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t win the next one.

New moment. New day. New week. New month. As the character President Jed Bartlet says in one of my favorite shows, “What’s next?”

TODAY I LOVE: finally finishing the “Downton Abby” series on BBC

SONG OF THE DAY: “Forever” by Mumford & Sons

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health

food sensitivity and me

There are all these companies out there these days that want to examine your blood/DNA/saliva and let it tell you all about you. I’ve always been curious about what my blood might tell me. So at the end of the year I purchased a Food Sensitivity and Metabolism test from Everlywell.

The Metabolism test needed my blood and a whole lot of saliva. It tested my cortisol level, thyroid, and free testosterone. The cortisol level is a bit of a stab in the dark, as it was only tested at one point in the day instead of 4. I had to take it with a BIG grain of salt. But overall, that test gave me results I expected. My thyroid and cortisol were fine, and my free testosterone was in the tank. If you take any kind of hormonal birth control (which I do for some woman issues), it zaps that testosterone level. It’s not good to have super low free testosterone, but sometimes it can’t be helped (like my situation.)

The Food Sensitivity test surprised the crap out of me. First off, let me explain. This isn’t an allergy to certain foods, it’s an immune response. Kinda. I’m going to copy this directly from the Everlywell site so that I don’t mess it up:

A food reactivity is different than an immediately life- threatening food allergy. Food reactivity is a delayed immune response by the Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody, the most abundant circulating antibody in our immune system. Studies suggest that an IgG immune response may contribute to headaches, joint pain, eczema, gut malabsorption, and other chronic conditions. Identifying your sensitivity to certain foods can be difficult since you probably eat many different types of food every single day. While reactivity does not always correlate with symptoms, it serves as a tool to help you assess your food intake, guide an elimination diet, and hopefully get you to feeling your best!

So yeah, I really wanted to know what foods might cause me some kind of internal reaction. Who knows if that is what might cause me all my headaches or bloating or whatever. I just received my results and I am SHOOK. A lot of the foods that I have some kind of sensitivity to, I eat EVERY DAY.

My highest reaction was to crab, which I don’t eat everyday and don’t really even care for for the most part. It did say I could have a cross-reaction with other crustaceans like shrimp and lobster which would make me really sad. I love shrimp. Sigh.

The biggest surprises were egg yolk, egg whites (um, eat these EVERY DAY), cow’s milk, blueberries, sweet potatoes, and BANANAS (again, every day). Other things that caused a response were things like peanuts, coconuts, gluten, wheat, barley, tuna, and oats. There were more, but you get the drift. There were spices too but it is too much to list. They checked 96 different foods/groups.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this information yet, but it’s so fascinating!! The test encourages you to try elimination diets to see if you remove certain items that cause the response if they make any change in your body/life. I will probably do this.

It might be a bunch of garbage, but information is power and I’m willing to see what this might change in my life. If something that has shown sensitivity in my blood might reduce my headaches or bloating or inflammation…I’m so game.

Everlywell did not pay me for this nor provide free testing. I did it all on my own. It was very easy and they give you all the tools for at-home collection of blood, etc. They have lots of different tests out there and I’d totally recommend it if you’re interested.

Giddy up! Good thing meat didn’t cause much of a reaction…I use egg whites as a big source of protein. I might need to rethink some things.

SONG OF THE DAY: “Two Doors Down” by Dolly Parton

TODAY I LOVE: maraschino cherries

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divorce, emotions, Fitness, goals, health

the calm and the storm

Flying over a thunderstorm outside of Dallas this past October

I think I’ve stared at the “Add title” part of this post for a good 20 minutes. I just finished writing a very mopey post about memories and pain. It’s still in my drafts but I’ll probably never post it. I’m sure everyone is tired of me mulling over my divorce and the never-ending tentacles of it’s reach in my life. It still just amazes me how I can go from moments of pure joy and happiness to watching one video of a concert we attended and I’m zapped back into sadness. It has to stop hurting at some point, right?

Anyway, I really just wanted to update you on my goals and such. I’m entering week 3. I can say without hesitation…it’s been hard. I’ve pushed myself in workouts (which is a good thing) and it’s made me so sore. Week 1 of my “diet” was hard but I was 100% perfect. Well…I fell off the wagon hard this weekend. I had cravings that I haven’t been able get rid of so I indulged them. The scale scolded me HARD this morning, but it was necessary. I’m in a much better place today. Overall I have lost and not gained any weight. I wish it was more, but this is for the long-haul, not in the day-to-day ups and downs.

Little wins and little falls…it is life and going to happen. It’s how I even out and recover that matters. It is not letting my “little fall” take me all the way to “I don’t care anymore.” And guess what? I still care. A lot. All of this matters.

So if you’ve had a weekend like I have, where you’ve celebrated birthdays and you’ve enjoyed some things outside of your norm…find your way back. And remember your “why.”

Now. I’m going to go watch something that makes me happy and not sad home videos on my phone.

TODAY I LOVE: Milk Makeup Kush Lip Balm

SONG OF THE DAY: “Girl” by Maren Morris

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health, random

second breakfast

This post is not going to be about breakfast.  But seriously though…who’s with me on the love of breakfast?  Especially SECOND breakfast?  Yum.  I’m pretty certain second breakfast is my most looked forward to meal of the day.

Thanks for all the positivity and love shown toward my last rather depressing post.  It was not one of my finest moments.  One of my goals with this blog was to be real and I think you’re getting that.  Right or wrong, love or hate, we are not always the happy and polished versions of ourselves.  I mean…I’m currently writing this post under the influence of muscle relaxers and camomile tea, no makeup, and hair that is mostly dry shampoo at this point in the week.  What’s the phrase or tagline the hipsters use these days for things?  I’m currently…rustic?  Authentic? Without ornamentation?  Whatever.  You get my point.  REAL.

This week has been a real treat.   It was as if the universe was like, “Oh Sarah.  Silly you.  You only THINK you’re depressed.  Let’s add a bit more to the pile.”  Enter stage left: migraine.  I’ve had it ALL WEEK.  If you’re one of those unicorn humans that do not get headaches or migraines well yay you.  You don’t know the excruciating pain that your head becomes.  I think I would have gladly paid someone to stab a crowbar through my right eye Walking Dead style.  MAKE IT END.

Before going to my primary care physician (who is great, I like him a lot) and pay loads of money for tests I’m not even sure I needed, I went to my favorite place; my chiropractor.  I know everyone has really strong feelings one way or another in regards to chiropractic care.  I’m very much on the PRO side because they have helped me in ways I can’t even describe.

Anyway, yesterday I went in for a medical massage, an adjustment, and a general once-over to see if they could discern any reason for my migraine.  And they did.  I could try to go into all of it here, but I’m not a medical professional and I was listening to everything they were telling me through a haze of pain.  If I tried to retell it to you now I’m guaranteed to get it wrong.   Long story short: I had a whole bunch of stuff messed up in my neck, a bunch of stuff goofy at the base of my skull, some other funky stuff in my first rib and right pec muscle…all muscle and nerve mess.  Oh and apparently my detox from dairy this week has also contributed.  Who knew?

Anyway, the point of this post is to give a digital shout-out to my favorite homies in town: Drs Eric and Tania Reavis at A Hip Joint.  They really treat the whole YOU not just parts and pieces.  They take their time, listen, educate, and you definitely get the vibe that they care about you feeling better.  I’ve been going to them for the last several years now and cannot recommend them enough.  If you live in my area I’d urge you to give them a try.  If you don’t live here – seek out a great chiropractic doctor.  We are HELL on our bodies.  You’d be surprised how much better you can feel in your daily life, sans medication, just by getting yourself in balance.  Give it a try!

TODAY I LOVE: a great blue pen that is felt tip but doesn’t bleed through the page

ColoradoSprings

I took this photo at sunset in Colorado Springs a few years ago.  It has no real relevance to this post other than I’ve enjoyed looking back on this photo this week.  It reminds me a new day is coming.  

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Fitness, goals, health

self-portraits & sushi

I’ve been putting this post off.  To be honest, based on my mood right now I probably shouldn’t be writing it either, but oh well.  You’re getting a very honest and real Sarah today, folks.  Hold onto your butts.

A little over a month ago I wrote a blog post about my goals for the next 30-days.  I’m afraid to tell you I was unsuccessful with almost all of them.  I was 100% on my macros and I followed my lifting program.  But everything else?  Nada.  My weight didn’t move even an inch.  After a year of success, followed by 30 days of diet and exercise compliance that resulted in NOTHING…yeah, kinda depressing.

Now, we’re changing up some things and the next two weeks in particular will be a very, very hard reset.  Everything about me is out of whack and I’m not really sure why.  So yes, there is a plan in place and we’ll figure this out.  I will not feel this way forever.  That is the only positive thing coming out of this blog post.

I’ve been taking this photography class in my free time.  I’ve got several road trips on the docket for this year and I want to be on the top of my game remembering the gorgeous things I’m going to get to see and experience.  One of the exercises I’m asked to complete in this class is daily self-portraits.  No, I’m not talking about selfies.  Ok, I guess they are sort of selfies but a lot more difficult to grab.  I took my self-portraits today and decided to get a lot more of my body and not just my face.  Let me give you a word of advice.  When you’re already feeling REALLY down about your appearance, DON’T DO A SELF-PORTRAIT.

Despite how I’m sure this entire post is coming across, this is not a pity or a woe is me post.  I’m just…down.  I’ve had lots of ups.  I’ve had so many ups that it’s hard to talk to you from the valley of the down.

Professionally I was brilliant this week.  I turned my introvert switch off; I sparkled and shined and glowed in my role.  It was very, very…up.  And now I am not.

So tonight I’m watching old Grey’s Anatomy and eating sushi I bought at the grocery store earlier today.   Earlier today I updated apps on my computer and I cleaned out the cabinet in my office.  Maybe I’ll start a new book before bed.  These are all happy things.  So maybe I’m ending this post better than how it started.  🙂

TODAY I LOVE: the smell of grapefruit essential oils being diffused

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emotions, Fitness, goals, health

the next 30 days

I wish I could tell you that I started this year just killing my workouts and nailing my diet and never being lazy or tired or sick or inconsistent.  But that would be a lie.  With the exception of a couple of good weeks, 2018 has been a roiling boil of excuses and exceptions.  It is embarrassing.  Also infuriating.  I woke up this morning just straight up mad.

I don’t like that all my new smaller clothes are a tinge uncomfortable.  I don’t like that I have no energy because I haven’t been eating correctly.  I don’t like being scared to step on the scale.  And I REALLY don’t like feeling like a failure.  This is a really real confession that I hate to admit, but hey, it is what it is.  I hate that in my mind it feels like I’m giving all the doubters what they wanted to see all along.  “I knew she wouldn’t/couldn’t keep it up.”  *WOMP*  That statement is way too much to unpack in this post, but it’s definitely something I’m journaling about privately.  Homegirl has some issues.  I really hate that my mood and thoughts of myself tend to hinge on how comfortable I feel in my skin.

ANYWAY.  I had every intention of being 100% everything this week.  However due to a variety of reason that were out of my control, that didn’t happen.  So here’s what I’m telling you – I’ve made a pact with myself.  All this mess stops here.  I mean, I was perfect with diet and exercise for 8 WEEKS WITH A BROKEN ANKLE.  I can do this.

I love my Apple Watch.  I’m tied to it like I married the thing.  I love that it gives you little challenges to complete every now and again.  I am a sucker for pretty rewards.  (Yes, I was the girl in school who wanted alllllllll the gold stars by her name.  I like shiny things.)  So I’m creating a Sarah Challenge.

In just over 30 days I go to Dallas for a work convention.  There is a pretty good possibility I’m going to have to be fabulous in front of a whole lot of people.  I don’t want to feel like this when I need to be the epitome of self-confidence.  For the next 30 days I’m committing to myself to do the following:

  • Close all my 3 of my apple watch rings every day.
  • Lift/strength training 6 days a week (already do this when I’m consistent.)
  • Auxiliary Class (barre, TRX, yoga, etc.) 2 days a week
  • 100% on my macro levels.  No exceptions. No cheats.
  • Drop at least 5lbs of the fluff I gained over the holidays.  I didn’t handle the holidays and vacation appropriately.  I’ve learned my lesson.  Now I need to fix it.
  • Everyday identify something within me to feel confident about.

I can do this.  I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.  I just need that line in the sand and the deadline to make it happen.  Once I can get in the groove I’ll be just fine.  No more excuses.  I just can’t do it anymore.

TODAY I LOVE: the entire Drunk Elephant skincare line.  GAME CHANGER.

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