Friday, August 19, 2016
I wish it was that simple.
People with eating disorders often struggle with drinking their calories. I definitely have a problem with this. I love coffee, but I always make my drinks at home or stick to my trusty SKVL from Starbucks. I like having control & knowing what's in it. Since moving to downtown Tulsa though, I've really wanted to try some of what the awesome local coffee shops downtown have to offer. Easier said than done.
My therapist gives me challenges, this time it's to try 1 latte a week in between our next meeting. When I'm on vacation or with friends, it's a lot easier ordering fun treats. When I'm on my own in my normal day to day routine, I always talk myself out of it. I decided today was the first day, even though I'm already a week and a half behind. No more talking myself out of it, it's Friday and I'm going for it. First up, Foolish Things Coffee Co.
I'm standing at the counter waiting to place my order and a women comes up to the counter beside me, checking out the yummy treats displayed. She strikes up a conversation with me.
Lady: "That Golden Graham s'mores bar could feed 4 people, did you see this?!"
Me: "Yeah it's pretty big, looks delicious though"
Lady: "It does. Golden Grahams were my favorite cereal as a kid. I haven't had cereal since I was 14!"
Me: "Oh gosh really, you should totally go for it!"
Lady: "Can you imagine how many calories are in that thing though, probably like a thousand"
Me: "Yeah, but you can share it. It won't kill you, if you're craving it, go for it!"
Lady: "My business partner who's over at the table with me would be shocked if I came back with that. We own a fitness company. She'd definitely make me do extra burpees for that."
Me: "It's not a big deal, you should go for it!"
Lady: "You're right, I'm getting it!"
I place my order. A 12 oz iced latte with some of their homemade vanilla syrup. Full fat milk & not sugar free syrup, big deal for me but I've got this. I'm going to enjoy this.
Lady steps up to the counter and orders. "You know what, I've totally changed my order. I'll take an iced latte with almond milk and lavender syrup." I guess she just couldn't do it.
My order then took about 15 minutes and I was going to be late if I didn't hit the road quickly, they tell me it was coming in less than a minute. They called my name and handed me a hot latte. I ordered iced, but I'm out of time. I take it and quickly head to work, not even sure if I'm going to be on time now. (I HATE being late!)
So many thoughts were running through my mind during this 45 min time span on this Friday morning in August. I wanted to cry. I wanted to tell this lady the significance of this latte order for me, tell her to please just stop & enjoy the cereal bar. Tell her she is saying everything to me I'm so desperately trying to forget. I felt anxiety. I felt defeated in that moment. I was stressed because I was watching the clock, and then running late. I was bummed after all of that, my order was wrong. So many emotions.
BUT, I refuse to let the devil take over this moment. He tried, he tried to ruin it for me but I will not allow it. I was driving almost 80 mph hour on the way to work, praying the whole time. Yeah, praying for safety and to not see a cop... but mostly that these feelings would quickly be replaced with happiness and love. Praying for peace & strength, to not let this morning discourage me in anyway. I'm sitting here enjoying my latte now, thinking about where #2 is going to come from :)
Happy Friday. I hope you're enjoying a yummy treat today.
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
It's been a year since my life took a major turn. A rough year full of change, therapy, depression, anxiety and more self-focus than I ever thought I'd be comfortable with. I am so thankful for every last drop of it though. I needed it to happen, I needed to be set free. I've grown and I'm a better person now. Hard times aren't always a bad thing.
A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of sharing my testimony with Dashing Dish readers. I love Katie's recipes and her story, it's so similar to mine. She is the absolute sweetest, and I've found her site to be a huge help over the last year. Dealing with anorexia, hypothalamic amenorrhea, depression & anxiety has been by far the hardest thing I've ever faced. It's a lot more common than you'd think though, and becoming even more so thanks to our current society. Sharing my testimony was important & therapeutic for me. I went through so much, and still struggle for sure, but being in a place where your only choice is to give it to the Lord was life changing in so many ways. I believe we are faced with hard things to make us stronger, strengthen our relationship with the Lord and to help others. I don't know His plans, but I trust in Him.
You can read my testimony here.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
-Lauren Daigle's album, on repeat. Thank you Amazon Prime music.
-Carrots + hummus. Every. Single. Day.
-All of the Dashing Dish recipes. I can't recommend her site & recipes enough. So many fast, delicious & healthy recipes. I am a paid member (totally worth the $7 a month) but she has a lot of free recipes too. She's such a sweet girl too, love her and all she stands for.
-Spark (any flavor) + La Croix (any flavor)
Side note- am I the only one that thinks La Croix by itself is disgusting? Not eh, but EW.
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Baci
Nars Lipgloss in Angelika
Quantico, Nashville and The Catch are all our favorites right now. Also loving daily Alex & Michael vlogs.
-Books / I just finished Fervent and For the Love. Currently reading Truly Fed and about to start Love Does with my bible study group.
-Blogs / Yeah...Immaeatthat and The Real Life RD are my 2 new favorite blogs to read. Both are registered dietitians who have an awesome approach when it comes to eating. Loving them both.
-Cupcakes and Cashmere & The Everygirl, I'm late to the game...
-Moving! We listed our house for sale late March and plan to rent for a year or two before we purchase again. We decided to rent an apartment in the downtown Tulsa area for that duration and we're both so excited. We love Tulsa and spend a lot of time in the downtown areas, so it will be fun to really enjoy being in the heart of it all for a bit. Also, VACATION- We've rented a huge house in Rodanthe, NC with my in-laws and I couldn't be more excited about a week long beach vaca with everyone. Come on September!
-All of our sweet nieces and nephews. Oh and PLL too :(
-An old fashion donut, I should probably make a pit stop one morning soon...
What are you reading or watching right now?
Friday, April 22, 2016
I recently shared my story about developing Secondary Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA for short) last year and how I was able to regain my cycle. While I did regain my monthly cycle and I'm in a much better place mentally, I'm still dealing with disordered eating issues and some anxiety surrounding food. This was the main cause of HA for me. Some days are great, some not so much. I have to often remind myself though, it's about progress not perfection.
I received some emails & messages after my last post from women who were recently diagnosed or struggling with HA. This is exactly why I decided to open up about my journey, to open up the communication with other women. It always helps to know you aren't alone.
Secondary HA is typically caused by under-eating (eating disorders, restriction, etc.) and/or excessive exercise. It is often a combination of the two. Make sure that you are in tune with what has caused HA for you. Before you can heal, you have to know what is causing it. These are things I did, had to realize & that made an important difference for me.
Weight gain is ok
You HAVE to realize that where you're at right now, in this state where you've lost your cycle, is not a healthy place. Chances are you're going to have to gain some weight, and even though it might be tough to grasp at first, it might be necessary. Your body does NOT define you. We were not put on this earth to obsess over food choices or our bodies. We are perfect in His eyes and that is what truly matters. There is so much light at the end of this tunnel, I SWEAR. The sooner you realize this, the faster your healing begins. Trust me when I say this, you're body is not going to blow up the way you think it will. You might need to gain 5, 10, 15, 20 lbs. Who knows, but whatever changes it does make.... they're necessary.
Surround yourself with all things positive
This was a big one for me. I was obsessed with fitness people- their diets, their workouts, all the articles that tell you what to do to achieve whatever it is that you think is "perfect." I immediately had to un-follow them all. Here's the deal, our society is obsessed with looking a certain way but the thing is, we're all made so different. You can not compare yourself to anyone, it's like comparing apples to oranges. What did this look like for me? I stopped following people on all social media that triggered me, people that always post about fitness or good/bad diet choices. I don't even open articles that talk about food, weight loss or fitness. I work out when I want and I try make healthy choices with food, but I do it on MY terms now. Nobody else can have any influence on my food choices or amount of days I workout. I started following other people who have been through this, who 100% get it. Two of my favorite resources have been Maddy Moon (blog, podcast, YouTube) and This Girl Audra (YouTube). They have both been, and continue to be, so incredibly helpful!
Relax yourself- mind and body
For so long, I truly didn't know how to relax at all. I'd stress about an upcoming free weekend and feel it had to be planned out by the hour, it would cause me so much anxiety. I used to dream about what it would be like to have a relaxing weekend with no plans. It didn't used to be a possibility for me. After my diagnosis, I knew things had to change. I had to let a lot of things go- my work out schedule, tracking calories, meal prepping, blogging. Anything that kicked my brain into OCD planner mode, had to stop. It's been glorious. Let yourself relax, you're body needs to heal. This is so important.
Support is key, it's ok to get help
Don't try to do this alone. Finding the HA support group on Facebook (here) helped me a lot. It can be isolating and you can feel alone. You're basically having to do the complete opposite of what the world tells women to do and that can be such a hard task. I'll be honest here, I'm now seeing a therapist & a dietitian that specialize in eating disorders. I wish I would have done this sooner. Having a good support system is huge. Dustin has been amazing throughout all of this, but at the same time, I don't want to always bombard him with my issues. It's nice to have support from people that specialize in these issues. So whatever that means to you, make sure you have it.
Surrender it all to Him
This might not be for everyone, but for me it was a big one. Last year when I was so bad and obsessed with eating "right" and exercise, it 100% became my idol. My relationship with the Lord was put on the back burner. When I finally woke up and realized this, when I truly surrendered it all to Him, I started to notice the biggest changes. I'm so thankful for His love and grace. My mind quickly started to shift in ways I didn't think were possible. Guarding my heart daily and praying in those hard moments, life changing. I plan on sharing more of my testimony soon, but please know that when you're at rock bottom, I promise you that there IS hope.
1 last very important reminder....
Progress is what we're after, NOT perfection. Perfection doesn't exist.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Ugh, I seriously hate this quote.
I've learned & grown a lot these last 6 months. I hit rock bottom, realized that it was a huge blessing in disguise, worked through it (still am) and I'm a million times happier today because of it. Am I completely free? Nope. Do I still struggle? Yep. But, I'm finally on the right path and I'm ready to share a little bit of my story. Maybe someone out there needs to hear it or can relate.
We should all have goals to be healthy, whatever that looks like to YOU. For me, 6 months ago it meant being super strict on my fitness & food to try to look a certain way. It got out of control. Today it means a healthy mind, body and soul. I'm a lot more focused on my mental health these days.
Warning you now, I'm really sharing my heart in this post and we're also talking periods ;) I plan on writing a little bit about my journey on this blog to hopefully help others. In the beginning, the biggest help for me were a few bloggers I found. I'm so thankful they opened up and shared their story. It helps to know that you aren't alone.
Let's back up a little.
Every month in 2015 just seemed to get worse and worse. I'd been trying to figure it out on my own, which was really only making things even worse. I'd gone all year without a monthly cycle, and I knew I wasn't pregnant. I was suffering severe anxiety, and this was something new to me. I became very depressed. I developed severe digestion issues resulting in a hospital visit & a gastroenterologist. I was so obsessed with eating "right" and working out all the time. Not because I wanted to, because I felt I had to. I was so stressed & anxious all of the time, I was completely miserable. I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea how to get out of it. I had completely isolated myself. I had every workout and morsel of food planned & prepped for days. I laid in bed at night stressing over the next days food choices, how I couldn't eat an apple or banana because it was too high carb for that particular day. Regardless of the fact that I just wanted an apple. Maybe Thursday I can fit it in? WHO'S AFRAID TO EAT AN APPLE?! It was bad. It got to a point where I felt so crazy, trapped & miserable that I remember thinking numerous times "If this is my life, I don't want it. I can't live like this for the rest of my life!"
So in August 2015 I finally broke down and went to my doctor. I had blood work done and when my results came back, my levels were that of a postmenopausal women. My estradiol level was at 1o.
I wasn't shocked. I knew something was seriously wrong, but what in the heck did this mean?! I was diagnosed with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA). This is when a women who has previously had a normal period, doesn't have one for several months/years because of issues regarding the hypothalamus. The Hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls reproduction. My brain was saying that my body wasn't a safe place for a child so I stopped ovulating. I was also scared of that fact that women with HA are high risk for osteoporosis.
What typically causes this? Extreme weight loss, physical and/or emotional stress and/or not enough fat on your body are the most common causes. I had a few issues to face. I was not anorexic or severely under weight. I was considered a "healthy weight", but I'd lost about 50 lbs over 3 years and never gave my body a break. I was a size 4/6 but still hated my body! (I cringe typing that) My body was hungry & tired. I was under eating and over training and I was restricting my food pretty bad. This was causing some bigger mental issues. I was so concerned with eating the "right" foods, but at the same time I was afraid of overeating them. I was dealing with Orthorexia and it was going to have to change. I knew I had a long road ahead of me trying to unlearn all of the disordered eating habits and made up rules that made me fear food.
So what was step #1? My doctor agreed to let me try to regain my cycle on my own, before trying any hormone treatments. We talked about a plan. I had to stop working out, truly relax my body and eat. I had to do this until I regained my cycle. Sounds easy right? Not for someone that is so obsessed with working out & eating the right diet. Gaining weight scared me. I'd dropped 50 lbs and still wasn't happy, now I have to possibly gain a little back? However, greater than that fear was the thought that my body was that unhealthy. That a "perfect" body and obsession with eating right had done this to me. It was scary to know that it was currently impossible for me to get pregnant because of this.
My mindset very quickly shifted. I realized pretty fast that this was a good thing, God was answering my prayers by giving me this diagnosis and opening my eyes. I knew I needed a way out of this prison that I was currently living in. I was determined, I was going to fight this and I was going to win. With God's help, of course.
2 months later, on Oct 1st my period returned. I never thought I'd be so excited about a period showing up... 60 days later I got another one, 35 days later a 3rd, then another 36 days later a 4th! The body truly is an amazing thing ladies. Those 2 months were the most freeing & relaxing 2 months of my life. It was incredible to finally just relax. Something I'd longed for but felt like I didn't know how to do anymore. Some women struggle with HA for years and it breaks my heart. I am so fortunate that I sought help, recognized my problems and made changes. I don't take that for granted. It's not easy at all and I 100% understand why women can struggle for so long.
I plan on sharing more about HA & Orthorexia in the future. I see new women almost daily joining the support groups, newly diagnosed and searching for help & support. What is really heartbreaking is when a women gets off of the pill because they're ready to start a family, only to not regain her natural cycle and have to start on their HA journey instead. So many women don't even know their body isn't healthy due to having a period each month from the birth control. I'm not 100% and still struggle a lot with food issues & guilt, but I'm 100 times better and I know it's about progress not perfection. I'm just now easing back into working out & the gym but it feels different this time around. I want to workout because it's good for my health, but I don't ever force myself anymore. I want to eat nutrient dense foods because I want to be healthy, but I'm trying to learn to not obsess over my food choices. Balance is something I'm really trying to achieve in 2016.
Fitness & health is now about loving myself enough to want to take care of my body.
Before I hated my body & just wanted to change it.
Please don't get caught up in what society & social media make you think you have to do or more important, be. Don't ever compare yourself to someone else. We ALL have struggles, every single one of us, even when it may not appear that we do. There is so much more to life than a number on the scale, a pant size, a perfectly planned & portioned meal, a workout or a to-do list with a check mark next to each & every item. Relax, invest in the relationships with the people who love you, eat the cake at the party & enjoy your life. Whatever makes you happy, do it, and do it often. Just live in this moment and do you. Because often when chasing your so called definition of perfection, you might actually just end up miserable....
Please don't hesitate to email me if you want to chat <3
In no way, shape or form am I saying fitness, macro tracking or healthy eating is bad. Of course not! Every single person is different, every single person deals with things and reacts to things differently. I took it too far, I'm not saying every fitness guru does the same. So again, DO YOU and just stay self aware. If something causes your mind or body harm or if you aren't happy, reevaluate.