Thursday, March 19, 2015

climbing out of a dark place

the past few months have not been easy. in fact, since i stopped working out altogether due to my back, things have gone downhill quite a bit. when i stopped exercising, i lost my stress relief outlet. when i lost my stress relief outlet, i became more inclined to eat emotionally. when i ate emotionally, i gained weight. when i gained weight, i started to feel bad about myself. and when i couldn't work out to combat the weight gain or the stress, the intensity of my frustrations increased ten fold. i've been walking around for the past few months with what has felt like an extra 100 pounds of emotional and physical distress pulling on my body.

my mind has been screaming for some type of relief. i started to feel like it might be coming with being able to graduate to the elliptical but miscommunication between my physical therapist and doctor has kept me out of physical therapy for almost three weeks now and i'm feeling like i've taken a step back. i was hoping by april to be running on the treadmill but it doesn't feel like that is going to happen. oh, and by the way, i ordered a treadmill almost a month ago and it still hasn't arrived so add that to the list of things that is making my frustration level higher and higher.

my weight has crept back up to numbers that don't make me happy, but what bothers me more than the increase in number is the loss of muscle mass in my body since i had to stop strength training. the weight i've gained is fat mass, and it's taken the place of the lean muscle i worked so hard to develop over the past two years. to see my progress deteriorate in front of my eyes is heartbreaking. it makes me mad at myself and mad at my stupid injury.

but i'm not reflecting on this to whine and complain and continue a negative train of thought. in fact, i'm working very hard to do the exact opposite. i'm trying desperately to pull myself out of this dark hole i've fallen into and it's taking every bit of strength i have. it's so easy to continue to let situations in my life weigh me down and it's even easier for me to allow myself to feel miserable about it. after all, isn't it my right to feel miserable? i can't run. i've gained weight. i can't manage my stress effectively... i have every right to be unhappy and cranky and upset! but if there is one thing i've learned through gaining maturity it's that allowing myself to be miserable doesn't get me on a path to improvement. it doesn't get me where i want to be and it allows these situations to have negative control over how i feel.

i found this great quote on pinterest that sums up perfectly the bridge i'm metaphorically crossing over right now: 

on one side of my bridge is misery. this side of the bridge is allowing myself to let all the factors in my life feel negative and feel like something i can't overcome or something that controls me. on the other side of the bridge, the side i'm wanting to get to, is not letting factors set or control my emotions. it's fighting and finding ways to work towards what i want even when all seems lost. i don't have a tattoo that says "strength" for nothing. strong is what i want to be and i'm going to fight to get there.

this week i started calorie tracking again, and i've been able to stick to it. even though calorie tracking sucks, i know i need to do it in order to get to where i want to be. i've also taken moose for extra long walks each night to get some level of physical activity in while i figure out what the next step is for my back. i'm trying to be active. i'm trying to be mindful of what i'm eating (and working crazy hard not to stress eat) but maybe most importantly, i'm trying to change my thoughts to focus on what i can do to change small parts of my situation even if i can't change the situation in its entirety. it's not easy, but it sure beats allowing myself to stay in a place of misery on the dark side of the bridge.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

mealenders review & giveaway!

one of the things i struggle with immensely in my quest for a healthier lived life is overeating. as someone who has been diagnosed with binge eating disorder, eating in general is a massive mental struggle and something i have worked really hard to have a healthier relationship with in the past few years. who knew that "having a relationship" with food and eating was actually a thing (and sadly, mine has primarily been abusive). but i've made progress and i've learned a lot along the way that has made me much more aware of why i have developed these patterns of behavior (and why they're so hard to break)! 

i was given the opportunity to review a new product on the market called mealenders. mealenders is a signaling lozenge that is designed to help stop overeating. when i first heard of it, it sounded too good to be true, and of course, something that i had to try out.

the idea behind mealenders is to "attack" (if you will) the one-two-punch of the physical and psychological urges/cravings you have when you want to eat. mealender lozenges are designed to signal your brain that the meal is over (by having a lozenge after a meal) and provide you with something sweet to focus on. while your brain is stimulated, you're "buying time" until your stomach has time to settle in and realize that you are indeed full from your meal, thus removing the stomach's desire for food. check out mealender's how it works page for a much more eloquent explanation :) 

what is important for me to recognize, and remember, when using a product like this, is that it's not a magic "fix" (just like diets aren't magic weight removers, either). when you have 25+ years of over eating ingrained into your brain and behavioral patterns, there's nothing that can rewrite that coding overnight. mealenders is a tool to help rewrite behavior patterns when it comes to overeating and the expectations should fit accordingly. 

the four mealender flavors. the actual lozenge tastes like a
chocolate or yogurt covered "bean." once the covering has melted
away in my mouth, the "bean" reminds me of baking soda or
something similar dissolving on my tongue. 

i found mealenders most helpful for me in two of the top three areas where i struggle to contain my emotionally triggered eating; on the drive home after work and after dinner. i found that choosing a mealender flavor (there are four) that felt like a dessert was most helpful in both of these occasions, as in each of these instances, my eating is usually triggered by an elevated level of stress (and i crave something sweet like chocolate). taking a mealender made me purposely think about why i was taking it (as a signal to stop eating) and that it's purpose was to prevent me from habitually grabbing for a snack or more food. it added a weird level of accountability for me to not absent mindedly look for something else to eat, which in the end, is the goal i'm trying to achieve. plus the chocolate flavors, chocolate mint in particular, made me feel like i was still getting the satisfaction that comes with having dessert.

i keep a bag of mealenders in strategic areas to have the greatest chance at success; a bag at work, a bag in the car, and two bags at home. so far, i've found mealenders to be a helpful tool in being more mindful about overeating and working to curb the snacking after a meal is over.

the even better news? i get to give away four packs, one of each flavor, to one lucky giveaway winner (in the united states, only)!! to enter, please use the rafflecopter below! the giveaway ends thursday, march 19th. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 21, 2015

turning another year wiser

i shared with my counselor this week that my birthday was approaching (it was thursday) and that i'd be getting another year older. i rambled on, sharing my feelings of inadequacy over what i hadn't accomplished or hadn't done or who i hadn't yet become. after all, this was to be the last year of my 20's - shouldn't i have at least gotten something done at this point in my life?

my counselor looked at me and said something along the lines of, "instead of saying older, why don't you start saying wiser? after all, every new year brings another level of wisdom to our life."

(we're working on positive associations and messaging in our sessions, if you couldn't tell)

but she's right. i have accumulated wisdom with each passing year (some more than others) and it's a pretty empowering thought to imagine all that wisdom stored in my brain and all the wisdom that is yet to come. for reference, i'm picturing my wisdom being kept safe in the cave of wonders from aladdin

i had been a little consumed with the idea of having a "before i turn 30 bucket list" - all these things i just had to get done in the upcoming year otherwise my 20's would surely be a waste. but as my 29th birthday got closer and closer, i found myself forcing ideas and forcing things i wanted to do just to put them on a "now or never" bucket list. forcing things on a list prompted lots of questions from my wisdom bank: why would running my first marathon before 30 be any better than running it when i'm actually 30 or even older? would perfecting the bloody mary recipe be more meaningful now compared to four years from now?

turns out, i didn't have any legitimate reasons to do any of these things before i turn 30 other than it's what i thought i should do or was supposed to do. 

and just like that, as i sipped my free birthday latte from starbucks on thursday, my first new wisdom to add to my cave of wonders was revealed to me on my 29th birthday. i'm letting go of this "before 30 bucket list" and i'm looking forward to a lifetime of being able to cross things off my list of to do's when it's their rightful time. savoring (and saving) the joy that each one of these things will bring will be much more satisfying than the stress and pressure to force them all into one year. 

so here's to turning 29; another year wiser, another year with blank pages to write in the story of my life and the things i will do as they come to me in their rightful time.