Monday, July 28, 2014

social media, fomo and foblt

the love/hate relationship i have with social media has been bubbling inside me for awhile and it's finally burst. my recent discovery of gomi (enter at your own risk) has either made me more cynical, or more aware of the cynics in the world, i'm not sure which. but it prompted me to think about my social media consumption and how it makes me feel. two words immediately came to mind: fear of missing out (fomo) and fear of being less than (foblt - i made this one up)

the root cause of fomo/foblt, as i see it, in social media is this: the content that is shared on social media platforms is 100% decided upon by the publisher. while that seems like a "duh" statement, what isn't always obvious to reflect on is that the content shared is not always an accurate portrayal of all facets of someone's life, but rather the snapshots they choose to share with their internet audience. and more often than not, people are sharing the snapshots that highlight themselves and their life, in the best, most awesome way possible.

there is nothing wrong with sharing happy content on social media - that is not what i'm saying. my point is that what we see on social media is only the side of the story that people are choosing to reveal to us, but we often aren't consciously aware of this. so instead, when we see susie jane always posting pictures of her perfect life and perfect dog and perfect husband and perfect friends and so on, we start to feel either less than or that we are missing out. not everyone feels this way, so let me clarify that, too. but the bombardment of "perfect lives through social media feeds" can make a lot of people feel this way, especially if they've ever struggled with low self esteem.

i am one of those people, which is why fomo and foblt hit home a little harder for me. i see pictures of people running ragnar races in a big group, or winning age group medals, or cruising down a lazy river with friends, or drinking a fruity tooty cocktail with their significant other on the beach or hanging with mickey mouse, or bobby jo and mary may hanging out without me and i can't help but think that i'm missing something or not good enough to do all those things, too. we live in a culture where the more you have is often equated to how important or valued a person you are. while "more" used to mean "money" and "things" it has now started to transition into how many followers you have, likes you get or how many sexy/interesting/selfie photos/videos you can post to instagram. falling into this belief is a slippery slope to slide down and if i'm not conscious of the fact that even i choose to only share pictures of cool things or me (usually) at my best, then it is easy to believe my feelings of inadequacy based on what i'm seeing on social media are accurate.

i made some very deliberate decisions awhile ago to stop watching tv or buying many of the women's health and beauty magazines because of the messages they send to women (and men) about body image. now i'm wondering if i need to make a more deliberate decision to spend less time on social media, too. not all social media is bad, again, there are many wonderful things, but if spending too much time reading feeds starts to make me feel bad, it's likely not a good use of my time until i can train my brain to realize that what i'm seeing isn't the whole picture and a person's value is not based on how many likes they have or what they choose to present of themselves on the internet.

i'm not sure if a lot of people feel this way about social media, but i know a few who do. i'm curious to hear what a larger audience thinks - if anyone else has posted about this, please let me know :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

keeping up with acurls

i can't believe it's already almost august. where has the summer gone?!?!?!!?!? *insert long drawn out sigh here*

this summer has not gone as planned in any way shape or form. between trying that mrt/immuno clam/LEAP diet and being sidelined with an injury, the summer i had envisioned for myself is an idea of the past.

i think the biggest hurdle i'm mentally trying to get over is that i'm not able to train for my fast 5k at the detroit women's half marathon & 5k race. i am still battling this nasty back injury and at this point have come to terms with the fact that training to be fast is just out of the cards for me this year. my only goal now is to get healthy, run if i can and finish the 5k races i have signed up for. it is a very big mental hurdle for me to be okay with the goal being to finish the 5k versus be a contender to win a 5k. those are two very different goals for me. being on the sadder end of the spectrum makes me feel sad.

i did end up going to the doctor about a month ago regarding my back. there was no obvious injury they could find so they ended up doing an xray. again, nothing obvious there either, which is frustrating. what they did see, however, is that my right leg is about 5mm shorter than my left leg. my right side is where i have had ALL my running injuries, foot, hip, back... everything! so my doctor thinks my pain could potentially be caused by inflammation and excessive wear/tear on my joints on the right side because of the length difference. she also thinks this might have caused my foot pain because my foot might be trying to compromise for the length difference during running by getting itself into weird positions. so, i bought into this idea and i'm now wearing a small heel lift in my right shoes to see if this helps the problem. i'm also taking naproxen everyday to try and reduce the inflammation. it's been over a month and i'm not healed, but i will say that i've seen improvement. i've had a few runs without pain, which is great! i haven't been able to run more than about 2.5 miles at a time, but i hope that will change soon. i'm also trying to sleep with a pillow either under my knees or between my legs in hopes it will help keep my hips in alignment during the night. if my body is positioned weird when i sleep, this could also be aggravating the back problem.

i'm going to give it another month to see if things improve, before going back to the doctor. doctor appointments are exhausting!!

since i can't run, i've started to take up biking again. i'm finding that i actually like it, probably because it's the only way i can be outside and feel like i'm going for a long endurance workout. my bike was in storage for 4 years (yup, that's right), so it's taking me a bit of getting used to the whole biking thing, but i'm glad i have it now for cross training. it's the only thing keeping me a little bit less stir crazy since i can't run very far!

i've been trying to golf more in anticipation of my favorite golf outing in september, but the back has made that difficult, too. sometimes there's no pain and sometimes i have no power in my swing because of the pain. needless to say, i am spending less time at the driving range than i would like to because i am fearful of making things worse.

so that's it in a nutshell. my back has predicted what i can and cannot enjoy (physically) this summer, but i'm doing my best to make light of it all. there's not much else you can do!

to end this little recap, here are some of my favorite pictures from the summer thus far!

from 4th of july at greenfield village

moose & her new bandana from doggie daycare beach party

my first splurge drink after ending
the immuno calm/LEAP diet. this stuff
is the best!

meeting a couple oiselle buddies for dinner in a2!

Monday, July 21, 2014

the decision to end the immuno calm/LEAP diet

i am super appreciative of all the support and wise advice you've shared with me in the past week. after much debate, heart to heart talks and consideration, i have finally come to peace with the decision to stop the immuno calm/LEAP diet. 

it wasn't an easy decision. i was incredibly conflicted between feeling the stubbornness to finish the diet out, the desperate hope that the way i was feeling would improve versus the skepticism i had about the results and the desire to be happy and enjoy life once more. at the end of the day, i chose the option that would allow me to immediately improve my quality of life.

as most people who want all the data before they make a decision, i had a pro's and con's list. see below. maybe it will be helpful for those considering this diet, or for those who are curious as to why i wanted to stop.

please note: i am not an expert on any of this stuff, so all views/opinions expressed are that of myself and my experiences, and in no way fact or advice from an expert!


  • i think the MRT test does identify some foods that don't and do cause inflammatory reactions in your body (but see also first bullet in con's). these are probably the foods you eat less often, so i think this makes it a little more accurate
  • i learned A LOT about what was going into my food. having to obsessively check labels for any ingredients that could have a hidden trigger in it was exhausting, but it was eye opening. i am much  more aware of all the junk i'm eating, and i'm trying to make more conscious decisions now to eat less processed foods that have a list of ingredients in them 5 miles long


  • i think the test results are misleading and i wish i had known this before shelling out my hard earned $$$ to do this whole thing. the reason i say this is because there is no "clean" baseline. meaning, the only way to get a baseline that can't be skewed (or already have some inflammation in it) is to not eat anything for 1-2 weeks so your body is completely flushed of any types of triggers, and then test to see what the body reacts to on a completely clean baseline. but people can't not eat for weeks, so what happens is when you take the test, your system is already inflamed. so you're testing for inflammatory reactions when you already have inflammation. now, i'm sure some of the test takes this into consideration when they're looking for statistical significance. but, what this also means is that the foods you're eating most often (which turn out to be a lot of the foods that registered high on my reactivity chart) will have some inclination to register as reactive because they've most recently been in your system which is already inflamed. i hope that makes sense. it's kind of confusing but basically it means there's room for error and misinterpretation of the rest results because your body is already at a level of inflammation. foods that score high might not really be reactive, but because your body is already agitated, they showed up on the test this way
  • i wouldn't consider this a "diet", it's more of extreme restriction. and i understand the point of the extreme restriction is to heal your body, keep out the reactive things. but if the test isn't 100% accurate, how can i trust that the things i'm adding are really safe? and, i do not believe it is sustainable to have such a restrictive diet. granted, after the 10 weeks, you're supposed to be able to continue to introduce new foods, but if you are adding something new one day at a time, it could be a full year before you could be back to 50% of the foods you were eating before
  • i also don't think this is a sustainable lifestyle for me. after the 10 weeks, the diet suggests you do a food rotation. you're not allowed to eat the same foods two days in a row. instead, you need to be on a three day schedule. so if i eat pork on monday, i can't have it again until thursday. and you have to do this for nearly EVERYTHING. i'm sorry, but i don't want to be meal planning for the rest of my life to a micro-managed level. that's ridiculous
  • i felt controlled and trapped by food. and that is, never, ever a good thing
  • food is a social gathering point. i couldn't go out to eat with friends or family and when i did have a meal with friends or family, everyone felt bad because we couldn't be eating the same thing. and it made me feel bad that they felt bad. not worth it to have everyone feeling bad over something that was completely optional. gatherings should be fun! not guilt ridden

so maybe my list is a little skewed. i'm sure people who had positive experiences with the program would have more pro's to chip in, so my apologies if this isn't quite a neutral recap. bottom line is a i learned a lot from the experience, but if i had really known the degree to which the results might be misleading, or how the foods you eat most commonly might show up reactive but not really be, i might not have decided to fork over the cash to do this. an expensive lesson learned, but at least i do have a lot of food education to take away from this whole thing. and good education is usually not cheap :)