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

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

church, chores, cheering up

Happy Sunday, fam! We did it. We’ve made it to what I’m beginning to think is the most pivotal day of the week.

To be totally honest, I don’t really like Sundays. The weekend is over and I start stressing over the week to come. For the longest time I used to (and sometimes still do) tell people to not even bother asking me if I wanted to do anything on a Sunday. Because I won’t. Sundays have taken on a pattern.

I get up and go to church. And I love my church. That’s all fine and good. After church I come home and do all my chores (housework, laundry, food prep, etc.). Sometimes I’ll do some work work, just to get ahead for Monday. And then I’ll spend the rest of what is left of the day trying to do things that don’t make me sad or stress me out.

That is Sunday for me.

This morning as I was laying in bed, contemplating the day, and already letting the woes of the week hang heavy, I tried to reframe the week ahead. And honestly, doing a “review” of the week behind me. I put positives with the negatives. Here’s a few of mine today:

  • My average weight is up a pound, even though I did very good with diet and bonus cardio. My weight is up, BUT I lifted heavier on squats this week that I have in a long time. I did 215lbs for 4 reps! On my 6th set! I’m hella strong!
  • Work last week was not good. AT ALL. Everything I touched turned to flames and I didn’t get near as much accomplished as I needed to. BUT tomorrow is a new day, and I have a plan to attack the problems. Planners rule.
  • My budget is super duper tight right now. It squeaks every time I have to spend a penny. BUT I am bound and determined that all my financial woes are not going to be the death of me. Failure happens, and I’ve failed a LOT, but it’s not the end. So instead of thinking about how hard things are, I’m going to be glad I think I finally have a plan to give me light at the end of the tunnel.
  • I have two zits on my face. But I have no positives for them. They suck.

So maybe Sunday, instead of being the dreary ugh day of the week, maybe it needs to be kinda like the pep rally for the week head. I still have to do my chores and such, but I think if I switched up my thinking to start believing Sunday is the day before something big…I’ll handle it better.

Sunday is ——- the excitement the day before vacation
Sunday is ——- the night before a marathon
Sunday is ——- the 30 minutes before your favorite band takes the stage

What is Sunday for you?

TODAY I LOVE: air conditioning (hallelujah!)
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

I really like your dress!

Does anyone else out there struggle receiving compliments? Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing them in my soul. They make me feel so good. It’s almost like every one you get, it is a helium balloon tied to your thoughts…it just keeps lifting them up. And when you’re not used to hearing compliments in a while, it’s like 5 balloons at once. It is the best feeling.

But nevertheless, after someone gives me a compliment I almost always say something self-deprecating and then I convince myself they only told it to me to be nice. I mean, they couldn’t possibly mean it.

I mean, why do we do this to ourselves? I read a tweet the other day that said, “Rejecting a compliment is like asking for it twice.” WHOA. It’s kinda right. So then you have to ask, why do we do that to the people giving you the compliment?!

On Friday a co-worker complimented my dress and instead of just saying “thank you” and smiling, I replied with “Thanks, it’s not flattering at all and makes me look huge with the stripes, but it’s comfy.” To which, she had to say, “No, I think it’s cute!” WHY DO I DO THAT?! I was not nice to myself and then I made her say it twice. Bleh.

I have to get better at this. There should be some kind of training on being better at receiving compliments without attaching strings and conditions.

Anyway, those are my thoughts this week. 🙂

TODAY I LOVE: cucumbers from the farmer’s market
SONG OF THE DAY: “Movement” by Hozier

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