Coming out of the darkness.
To say I haven’t been sad, to say I haven’t been depressed, to say I haven’t been stressed, anxious, lost, confused over the past year would be a lie. I never thought I could fall into depression, eating disorders, or so much anxiety at this point in my life. I thought I’d have it all figured out, be happy and secure at this age in my life. But boy does life take you on a different journey then you think. Before I knew it, I was crying so much I couldn’t stop. I’ve felt like a failure the last year of my life. Being confused with where my life is going, graduating with my Masters and still no jobs for me. I’m sure many of you can relate to this post-school phase I’m in. It’s a new phase in my life and I have to accept where I’m at. I have to start again to find my way. I have to find new things that make me happy. I have to TRY. Try to make the best of my life.
To think that this time last year I ran three back to back marathons, two being ultra marathons and now I sit here on the top of a mountain after hiking just over a mile with my lungs hurting makes me feel like a failure. But I can’t look at this time as a failure, I need to look at it as a new beginning. A new phase, a new start, a new challenge. I took a long hiatus off from running and it has shown through. I’ve become underutilized and unhappy. Running has always been my safe place, my happy place, and I’ve taken it away from myself. I stopped trying, I stopped doing things I loved. Now is the only time I have to try again. To work towards new goals. To work towards something I know I can do. Something that makes me happy. If I sit here in this place any longer, I will lose myself. Lose my well being, lose my happiness.
It may seem as though I’m as happy as can be to most of the people who aren’t close to me, but I’m not and if I can help one person through this I would tell you that you’re not alone. Mental health is not something to be taken lightly. Find something that makes you happy and do more of that. Today for me it was hiking, it was getting out of my house, it was writing this. It was being real, honest and in hopes to help someone else know that they’re not alone. It’s a long process to get out of the darkness but take your time, go slow, and if you need a day alone, then take it. But remember, don’t stay there for long, force yourself outside, lay in the grass, go on a walk, do something you used to love, and soon enough you will be happier more of the time than you are sad. Keep hope and faith in your heart and things will get better.
Today I broke a fast. I ended it at about 109 hours. I am going to give you a little insight on how I feel about it and why I did it. Now I don't always get too personal with "the world" but feel like this might relate to someone in some way, and my hopes for that is to possibly help someone understand themselves. Now I DO NOT recommend anyone doing this without RESEARCH. That is the number 1 thing. Please research all about this before even attempting any sort of not eating, and if you have ever had an eating disorder you NEED to be fully recovered, in good space and doing this for the RIGHT reasons, this is not for weight loss, and this may trigger some people. Please know yourself well, and do the research before you do anything like this.
Please listen to these podcasts before:
Primal Potential (Mastering Fat Loss): Espisodes 300, 307
On Air With Ella (Fitness, Nutrition & Mindset): Episodes 090(definitely), 092, 093A, 093B
Now when I say "fasting" I did consume things during this fast. I consumed coffee with MCT oil, bone broth, kombucha, and magnesium.
I had about each in a drink every day, some days I had more bone broth, more kombucha, more MCT oil, etc. I did what felt right for my BODY. THIS is the most important thing that you need to know, DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT FOR YOUR BODY. Please listen to your body. All the topics I will explain, the podcasts go deep on these topics as well so please listen to them.
The reason that I wanted to do this is because I have a history of overeating. I have been a binge eater, and over eater, I have not listened to my hunger cues and I diet, then binge after the diet is over. Some of you might relate to this as it is more common than you think. I wanted to do this because I needed to learn more about my body and my hunger cues. I tend to eat so much, sometimes I never feel the feeling of hunger, I just eat because it is a certain time or I haven't ate in a few hours so I might as well eat something. I also wanted to do this because it was a hard reset for my body. If you have any gut issues or pain I suggest maybe researching this topic a little more. My gut and stomach were always full and I felt bloated quite often. I felt gross because I had pains that probably didn't need to be there. And well that pain has since gone away since my fast.
I have learned more about who I am as a person, how my relationship to food was, a deeper spiritual connection with myself, and how to treat myself with care.
During this fast, I realized how MUCH I thought about food. Now I knew I thought about food a lot, but DANG. Food is life. And I still will always feel that because I love food, I love cooking, and I enjoy fun, healthy snacks. I just needed to learn and realize that there are other things in life that focusing all my attention to food. It seems like common sense but it isn't until you take food out of your life for almost 5 days that you can focus your attention on other aspects of life. And that is what I did, I focused my attention on other things than just food. I connected with my body more because I felt every thing that it did. I reflected on how my insides were feeling, and how my connection to my body is. Words can't even describe how enlightening and deepening a love for my body was. Like I said before, I did not do this for weight loss, I did it to help connect better with my body. And I honestly feel like I did that. Now I don't plan on doing this again any time soon but if I do, I will definitely learn something more each time. This was an amazing experience. Now I have to give so much thanks to the ladies at On Air with Ella and Primal Potential (Ela and Elizabeth) because I could not of done it without them. They put together this AMAZING support system on Facebook for support and interactions between all the people doing the fast. They posted videos in the group each day that talked about different symptoms, questions, and FUN! Without that group I don't think I could have done this.
Now for a breakdown of how I FELT during the fast. This are direct quotes from me in the group plus a little extra on how I felt.
Day 1: "Last meal was last night! Not sure what time I stopped eating but I've had black coffee with MCT oil, water, and bone broth today. Already feeling nervous 😩"
Yes I was nervous as heck. The thought of not eating for 5 days before this FREAKED ME OUT. Like it would anybody right?
For me though, I had hurt my neck (strained muscles) on Saturday and I started on Sunday. I was not going to be able to move for almost a week anyways so it all fell at the right time because I was not planning on exercising anyways.
Day 1 I was nervous but I wasn't really hungry yet at that point. I was more just intimidated at that point. Day 1 was pretty easy for me since I was coming off of food from Saturday night and my body still had food as fuel for the following day.
On day 1 I also took a "Power Pack", they are like an Emergen-C because I was feeling sick but I didn't take any more the rest of the time because they say that it may raise my insulin levels because it has stevia in it and it may initial the ghrelin (hunger cues in the stomach).
Day 2: Oh day 2. Day 2 was overall the WORST day for me. And when I say for me, everyone in the group was feeling different. For some people day 3 was worse, day 1 was worse, some people had more energy, less energy, more hunger, less hunger, it was almost different for everyone. Day 2 I was cranky, tired, I had a headache and was pretty spacey, weirdly couldn't remember things, and I was hungry towards the end of the day. I was planning on breaking my fast on day 3 when I was ON day 2.
"So I was going to end my fast today (day 3), and I said that on day 2 (difficult day), BUT I feel pretty amazing today and so I stoked up on what I am drinking during my fast because this works for me. Drinking 1 coffee with MCT oil, 1-2 bone broth, 1-2 kombucha, magnesium before bed. I'm learning SO MUCH about myself, my hunger, my hunger cues, my relationship with food and more. But I have a busy day tomorrow and thinking about ending the fast didn't sound great so I'm gonna keep going now because I have no headaches, no foggy brain, more energy and clarity on day 3!"
Day 3 turned out to be a little different. After my morning coffee and MCT oil, I had so much energy! I felt amazing, was more alert and awake and felt good! As the day went on though I could feel how weak I was and I would get light headed throughout the day a little bit. Not exercising and taking it easy were definitely key towards the evening.
"Day 4 wrap up: today was weird. I didn't really feel great. Kinda had energy but kinda felt like I was gonna pass out, kinda but not totally so I drank bone broth and kombucha, slight better. I felt like my MEMORY was off, anyone else?! I teach fitness so I did some yoga/stretching, went on a walk and was just on my feet today. I was like starving during the evening and it wouldn't go away so I made a blended hot water/MCT oil/apple cider vinegar/lemon squeeze drink for "dinner" and curbed my hunger. All I'm feeling is, one more day, I'm doing this for spiritual deep self connection and want to feel it til the end."
Day 5: Today (as I write this post), I decided I feel almost the same I did on day 4, I felt light headed and weak and knew today would be the day I break my fast. I did lose about 6 lbs during this 4 1/2 day fast. I am saying this number mainly for me to look back in case I ever need to reference this again, but please, please, please remember I did NOT do this for weight loss what-so-ever, as it may be water weight and I may gain it all back tomorrow. I did test my ketone levels with a pee strip right before I broke my fast and it said I had a small amount. Ketone pee strips test the EXCESS ketones in my urine, so my body may have been utilizing and burning ketones as fuel. I had MCT oil coffee and water during the morning and decided to eat an avocado and sauerkraut as my first meal. This was suggested in the group because it is high fiber, probiotic gut health food. I agree, it was a good choice. I then had a collagen protein bar about 2 hours later.
All I say is, if your breaking a fast, make sure you are at home or near a bathroom :)
Overall I think I would do it again if I really needed to, or had a pressing issue to. I know personally what I got out of it, and whether any of this made sense to you, I know deep down I did this for myself and I am happy I did what I did and I now know myself just that much better.
Sometimes I just cannot follow macros, diets, fads, or any other sorts because its makes me mentally go insane. I do love experimenting with different types of nutrition tips and tricks and follow clean eating guidelines but for me I always come back to a holistic health standpoint, because it works for me.
I have struggled with bulimia, overeating, and forms of eating disorders and therefore my mental state is not 100%. I do not have a super healthy relationship with food. It is something I strive towards EVERY day. I say every day because it literally is every day that something about my connection with food goes through my mind. Should I intermittent fast today? Should I eat dairy today? (I am lactose intolerant). Should I skip gluten today? Will it make me feel like crap? Should I eat my carbs after my workout? What about before? Should I eat veggies with breakfast? Should I make my lunch? Should I cook a healthy meal or just go out and get something yummy? Should I have more of this food? If I have a second helping will I feel overly full? Will I feel guilt? Can I get away with it? Should I workout twice since I ate that? These are just a few of ALL the questions that go through my head. I for the most part have healthy and unhealthy relationships with food. And yes just writing all those questions make me feel EXHAUSTED. But these are almost all daily questions I ask myself. Counting my macros puts stress in my head. I like counting my macros because my body feels amazing when I follow them but mentally sometimes I don't think it is worth it. I need to do what makes my body and my mind feel good. That being said these are just a few tips I have came up with for myself lately to follow to stay healthy without overly stressing about my food.
Holistic Nutrition Tips:
Eat 4-6 small meals a day (to help prevent overeating/binging)
Eat every 2-3 hours (or until hungry, stop when full and wait until hunger cues again)
Eat more dark leafy greens
Try to eat vegetables with almost every meal
Limit fruit, don't restrict it, just focus on limiting it
Don't restrict ANYTHING from your diet (diet=daily eating)
Generally focus on eating higher carbs after workout but don't limit it to then
Eat balanced meals (handful of protein, mostly veggies, whole grains, starchy veggies like potatoes of all kinds, some fruit)
Limit or no dairy (for lactose intolerant reasons)
Limit gluten products (they make me feel sluggish and lethargic)
Savor and enjoy yummy food
Eat for holistic healing properties
Eat more of what makes you feel alive and energetic
Eat less of what makes you tired, cranky, bloated, etc.
Now although these may work for me, these may not ALL work for you. We are always learning about ourselves and our bodies. It is important to always listen to how we feel after we eat certain foods and continue to eliminate what makes us feel crappy.
There are never "good" or "bad" foods, do not ever label them as "good" or "bad" but rather "better for my body" or "worse for my body".
Always research, learn, and provide your body with nutrients. Always move and exercise your body in no matter what form because consistency is key. Love yourself, do yoga/stretch, meditate and be grateful for the things in your life <3
I wanted to take a closer look into a product I just came across.
I wanted to do this because a co-worker of mine made a good point about noticing what preservatives are in our drinks and foods. Yes in the back of our minds we KNOW we should not be eating these foods because we know preservatives are bad for us, but sometimes its more of a F-it approach and its not gonna hurt us this one time. Well eventually keep it up and it might hurt you one time.
I went to get Isopure after my workout because I was slacking on my protein and Isopure's macros are 0F/0C/40P. Zero! and forty! So naturally I wanted to drink it to get to my macros for the day. And I did. And now I am going to take a closer look at the actual ingredients. The reason why I am going to start taking a closer look at these ingredients is so that I can understand these ingredients myself. If I can't pronounce it, I should know what kind of product it is and effect it has. I hope to share some good insight with different people as well.
Ingredients: filtered water, ion exchange whey (milk) protein isolate, natural and artificial flavors, malic acid, sucralose, polysorbate 80, FD&C yellow 5, FD&C blue 1.
BUT on the bright side, it advertises, "Protein so PURE you can't see it",
"10,240 MG of BCAA's", "Aspartame, Lactose, and Gluten Free", "40 Grams Protein", and etc...
Sounds good right?! I mean that is unfortunately what sold me. Now I can say, my mouth tastes gross and I can feel the melon flavoring in my throat. Not very appetizing with my salmon.
So anyways lets get digging in these ingredients:
p.s. I am here to leave some found information on the internet about each ingredient and you can decide what you think about it, as I don't want you to have a bias opinion because of me, but rather formulate your own ideas, thoughts, and observations about the ingredients.
Ion exchange whey (milk) protein isolate:
"Ion exchange is a chemical method that utilizes pH adjustment in order to achieve protein separation. Raw whey is sent through a column that has an affinity for protein. The protein is collected and all the other macronutrients pass through. Chemical reagents sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid are introduced in order to release the protein, by adjusting the pH."
Natural and artificial flavors:
"So, both artificial and natural flavors contain chemicals. The distinction between natural and artificial flavorings is the source of chemicals. Natural flavors are created from anything that can be eaten (i.e animals and vegetables), even if those edible things are processed in the lab to create flavorings.
Artificial flavors come from anything that is inedible (i.e petroleum) that is processed to create chemicals of flavorings."
"Malic acid is an organic compound with the molecular formula C4H6O5. It is a dicarboxylic acid that is made by all living organisms, contributes to the pleasantly sour taste of fruits, and is used as a food additive."
"Sucralose is an artificial sweetener and sugar substitute. The majority of ingested sucralose is not broken down by the body, so it is noncaloric. In the European Union, it is also known under the E number E955. Sucralose is about 320 to 1,000 times sweeter than sucrose, three times as sweet as aspartame, twice as sweet as saccharin and three times as sweet as acesulfame potassium. It is stable under heat and over a broad range of pH conditions. Therefore, it can be used in baking or in products that require a longer shelf life. Common brand names of sucralose-based sweeteners are Splenda, Zerocal, Sukrana, SucraPlus, Candys, Cukren, and Nevella."
"Polysorbate 80 is a nonionic surfactant and emulsifier often used in foods and cosmetics. This synthetic compound is a viscous, water-soluble yellow liquid.
Polysorbate 80 is used as an emulsifier in foods.
For example, in ice cream, polysorbate is added up to 0.5% (v/v) concentration to make the ice cream smoother and easier to handle, as well as increasing its resistance to melting. Adding this substance prevents milk proteins from completely coating the fat droplets. This allows them to join together in chains and nets, which hold air in the mixture, and provide a firmer texture that holds its shape as the ice cream melts."
FD&C yellow 5:
"Tartrazine is a synthetic lemon yellow azo dye primarily used as a food coloring. It is also known as E number E102, C.I. 19140, FD&C Yellow 5, Acid Yellow 23, Food Yellow 4, and trisodium 1-(4-sulfonatophenyl)-4-(4-sulfonatophenylazo)-5-pyrazolone-3-carboxylate)."
FD&C blue 1:
"Brilliant Blue FCF (Blue 1) is an organic compound classified as a triarylmethane dye, reflecting its chemical structure. Known under various commercial names, it is a colorant for foods and other substances. It is denoted by E number E133 and has a color index of 42090. It has the appearance of a reddish-blue powder. It is soluble in water, and the solution has a maximum absorption at about 628 nanometers. The dye is poorly absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract and 95% of the ingested dye can be found in the feces."
Using products like these while counting macros is a negative aspect of only counting macros. For all my clients, future clients, friends, family and anyone, please ALSO look at ingredients, get your macros from REAL, WHOLE, DELICIOUS foods. Don't eat crap to fill your numbers, you may be going over sodium this way, under fiber, and hurting your insides. So be aware of what you are putting in your body, research it, and make a self informed educational decision about WHY. It is okay to have products like these every once in a while, (we're all human) but try not to make a habit of it and be smart. :)
I am a dedicated individual when it comes to health and fitness. I love the outdoors and being active.