Putting your Health First

Two years of my life I tried to recover, but as you can see I wasn’t successful at that moment in time.I tried to go on living life as if there wasn’t anything wrong with how I was living; essentially in denial.

I went to university then the next year to college while working 2 jobs and still was convinced that I was putting enough effort into recovering but still couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting better.

Duh GIF

Apparently the light bulb never went off in my head. 

The years that were supposed to be the best ones of my life were spent drinking disgusting light beers and watered down cocktails while my friends indulged and lived life.

I lost my love for the one sport that took me to university in the first place and ended up quitting before my year was up.

My 6 year relationship suffered, ending in a break up because I lost the desire to put any effort into making things work and focused on my “health”. I stop wanting to do things together because that meant stepping outside of the comfortable routine that I had made for myself.

Here I am 3 year later and what did I realize?

MY HEALTH NEEDS TO COME FIRST, not sometimes but ALWAYS 

Having an eating disorder doesn’t just affect your eating habits, it has an affect on EVERY aspect of your life. When I say every, I mean literally everything from going to the bathroom, how you sleep at night to how you enjoy your vacation.

Oh Vacation… exactly what this past year has been for me

I came abroad thinking that everything would magically get better and that I would just indulge in all of the french food and life would be grand.

Yeah, think again. Having that mentality only fueled my disorder even farther until five months later I reached a point where enough was enough.

In the beginning (as in the first week) I truly indulged. I didn’t work out, I ate macarons, crepes, baguettes, cheese… you name it. Then as I became more comfortable with my surroundings my little vacation ended and life continued to fall back in place.

10665228_10205080852804196_6219672272265764089_n

My birthday cake from September that I had two bites of…shame on me

I was alone during the days and once again in control of what I was eating and had the freedom to exercise whenever I wanted. I thought it was fine still in denial that this life was anything but positive.

I fell right back into the fitness community but this time decided that I wanted to be one of those girls with the amazing kayla itsines transformation. I spent my days scrolling and reloading images hashtagged #bbg to get “Inspiration” and “motivation” to push myself to do the workouts. I got stuck in the comparison trap which once again fueled my disordered eating and thoughts.

Along the way I met an amazing guy who changed my life, and really pushed me to make changes but sadly I pushed him away once again as I had done with every other guy that had come into my life.

When I went home at Christmas time and surprised my family, that was when it hit me; That I had not made 1 ounce of improvement in those 4 months abroad but yet got worse.

That January was when I finally decided to put this disorder to an end and focus primarily on making changes for my OWN health.

How did I do this? 

I enrolled in nutrition school. You’re probably thinking “that’s stupid, she’s just going to learn more about nutrition and health” That’s true I have, but I’m learning the right way to do it this time around, and not relying on Instagram and Blogs to educate myself. Integrative Nutrition focuses on Bio-Individuality which has been HUGE for me in realizing that everyone truly does require their own diet and no two people are alike. It’s really helped with the comparison issues I was having.

Socially I needed to less introverted so I started proactively making plans to get me away from the house.

I stopped meal prepping and allowed myself to be more flexible and listen to my real hunger cues.

I no longer was trying to be a part of that #bbg community that seemed to be all of the rage at the time.

Food wise, I stopped restricting EVERYTHING. This was the hardest part for me in the beginning. I would be eating double the amount of the people around me, and often sneaking food to eat when they weren’t around because my body was often experiencing extreme hunger. I embraced the bloat and threw away all of the clothes that I had been holding onto as a sense of comfort.

By letting go of everything that had been dragging me down, I’m feeling stronger than I ever had when I was pushing my body to extreme measures that it didn’t deserve.

Trust me, things will not just magically get better unless you decide for yourself that you’re ready to make a change.

Be strong and put your health first.

I’m Curious:

  • Have you noticed other aspects of your life being affected by your eating/exercise habits?
Advertisements

Why I don’t eat Pop-Tarts and Ben & Jerry’s

I don’t eat pop tarts and I don’t eat Ben and jerrys

Does that make me any less of a person?

I sure hope not.

Does that mean I don’t fit in

Fit into what? 

Scroll through any iifym or #edrecovery tags and every 5 posts is one of these two.

So many times I’ve gotten criticized for not pushing myself on recovery enough cause I don’t “indulge” in these foods. Indulging if you wish is exactly what fueled my disorder and drove my mindset deeper and deeper into the restrictive state it was in.

Don’t get me wrong I have a huge respect for those who are finding the freedom of bringing these foods back into their diets but this path wasn’t for me.

I remember back when I bought a box of pop-tarts and my mom asked why I “miss health freak, sugar is bad for you” had just spent money on a  box of childhood pop-tarts.  ” They’re all the rage in the fitness world” was what came to mind as I tried to insure her that these were magically going to heal me from all of my problems.

Sadly, this was the first instagram picture i posted from my trip to the US… 

I was changing who I was in an attempt to fit into this world that deep down I didn’t even want to be apart of.

Disorder eating and eating disorders are not only mentally and physically straining on your body but in my own personal experience insanely expensive.

This is where social media can become negative in an opposite sense that many of us may think. Seeing all of these posts of ice cream and pop tarts and branded products I felt discouraged as if I wasn’t pushing myself far enough because I wasn’t eating what they were. Little did I realize I would compare myself to those eating almost nothing and those eating a lot more than myself, there was no balance.

I began saving all of my “macros” (that were way to low for me anyways) for night so I could have those protein bowls for my #carbsafterdark .. gosh how silly that seems now to see that written out like that.

Search the hashtag #questbar and the posts will be either from iifym followers or those recovering from eating disorders; no consistency but yet complete opposites.

I’ve been there.

I thought that by forcing myself into the fitness world I would cure myself of my disordered thoughts and behaviors and boy was I wrong. Come to find out that majority of the people that I looked up to were actually in positions similar to mine but I couldn’t see that.

Social media is deceiving. 

Growing up I was forced to eat pop-tarts every day before leaving for school and now I truly don’t have the desire or craving to eat pop-tarts .

I also grew up in a family where ice cream meant the no name 4 liter tubs that came in your basic flavors. The fact that a small pint of B&J costs more than 4 liters of something I can get the same or more pleasure from eating baffles me.

Today, I have a much better balance with listening to my cravings. I’m no longer trying to be someone that I’m not, nor want to be.

I’m just me; and that me enjoys baguettes, cheese and a whole lot of wine.

Why a meal plan didn’t work for me

I’m a huge planner, with literally everything in my life so when meal plans were in my thoughts of how to find a better balance with food I thought that it would be perfect. Little did I realize that this type of recover was completely negative for me.

This being said I have never been forced into changing my lifestyle and am not under any medical care, therefore I have had the ability to experiment with what works for me. It has been a long process and i’m sure that if I had of had more force and guidance earlier on than I would have made progress at a much faster and maybe more efficient rate.

I tried a lot of different ways to change my negative habits, from macro counting to meal plans and food exchange plans. Nothing worked. They all felt too much like another diet, as I found myself still restricting from what my body truly wanted. I have a hard time putting effort into something that I know isn’t going to last forever, in this case that thing was a meal plan.

It didn’t allow me to intuitive eat and when I would “break” what was put in front of me the guilt was too much. I felt restricted with eating a certain amount of food at a specific time.

Growing up food was never restricted nor was there ever a set diet that I was forced to eat. This is what I’m striving to get back to and by using a meal plan I felt like I was taking a step backwards.

My goal was to be able to eat intuitively, no calorie counting, no macros, and no fear foods which is finally what i’m seeing is possible with a lot of trier and error.

So what did work?  

The first step after admitting that I had a negative relationship towards food in general was to write down exactly what thoughts I knew I needed to change. Even though I would think over and over about what I knew that I could change in my mind, it wasn’t until I saw it on paper that I realized almost how silly and unrealistic my thoughts were.

The list wasn’t filled with just feared foods, to be honest the majority of the changes were related to either meal timing or rules that I had made up in my mind.

No eating more than one carb at a time

Morning snacks are a big NO-NO

and the best one… Fat will make you fat

Come to find out ALL of those rules were wrong, and needless to say have now been consistently broken.

I took it slow and made changes as I felt comfortable sticking to them. Once I would accomplish one I would move onto the next and so forth.

How did I know that I was eating enough for my body?

This is a tough one considering I don’t count calories daily and don’t religiously step on the scale BUT it has been possible. In the beginning I would count my calories (underestimating) every few days to make sure I was staying on track. This was easy because I was eating a lot of the same foods so at least I knew that I was eating on average what I figured my body needed. For me, I went with the “over 3000” calorie approach. I don’t want to label it as being minnie maud because i haven’t religiously followed all of the rules, but in the sense of calories that was my goal.

In the past 5 months of no calorie counting, no meal plans, no medical team and no restricting I have gained 17 pounds.


I learned to have trust in my body. 

This isn’t to say that meal plans don’t work, they just didn’t for me. Like a lot of things in life, we don’t know what works and what doesn’t until we try them out first hand.

What have you found has worked for you?

Negative Relationships with Food

I often will see progress with something and instantly assume that It’s complete, that i’m succeeding, or that it’s all smooth sailing from here on out.

When I start seeing positive progress in my health my thoughts are the exact same, as if I am cured with the single sign of progress.

Yeah, think again.

I came across this article the other day on cosmopolitan that talks about the signs of a negative relationship for food. Before reading it I was convinced that I had solved my issues regarding food and that none would apply to me.

Once again, wrong.

It was actually quite discouraging to see how many negative feelings I still have towards food but I tried to put it in perspective. I actually believe that my relationship towards food is comparable to that of a physical relationship with another human being.

We often classify people by referring to this as bad or good people in our lives which we also do with food.

When we get rid of negative relationships with physical people, the feelings we once had seem to stick around a lot longer than we might think sometimes. It takes a lot to “dis” love someone that was once such a large part of our lives. The same goes for my thoughts towards food.

As people should be treated equally I believe that food should be too.

[source]

Adapting to change takes time, and the acceptance that it needs to happen.

I will admit that I still struggle apparently more than i realized after reading this list, but I’m OKAY with that.

I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, we’re all just a work in progress.

I do still worry about eating food in social settings, but I’ve become more comfortable and flexible.

I do eat food even though I know they make my body feel bad.

I do find myself stuck in a nightly routine with no ambition to change and be less introverted.

My daily diet doesn’t vary that often from day to day unless I’m travelling which I know can be improved.

The first step to making change is accepting that change needs to happen. What happens next is up to you.

You choose your path from there and personally, i’m ready to live again.

Check out the article Here 

Do you find any of these signs in your own life?

S’mores Questbar Review

I’ve been obsessed with Questbars since the day that I first tried my very first White Chocolate Raspberry one after seeing the commotion on my Instagram feed.

Sadly I don’t have the opportunity to try the new Mint Chocolate Chunk bars for another two months because the blonde in me got my box sent to my home address and not mine here in France!  Nevertheless I still have a brand spanking new box of s’mores waiting for me to enjoy!

Some of you may think

Why is she eating questbars if she’s not a bodybuilder, cross fitter, runner or any labelled athlete.

The truth is that they’re just too damn good not to.

Some people reward themselves with jewelry or clothes, yeah I just like expensive food, a lot.

When this flavor came out I wasn’t in a rush to try it to be honest simply because I’ve never been a huge s’mores fan. Of course that didn’t seem to stop me any considering that the majority of the bars I have tried even when I thought I wouldn’t like them, ended up being editable and worth the money.

The first thing I noticed about these bars was the texture and composition compared to the others. They actually held the shape of a bar and didn’t lose their form. 
 Baked or Raw? 

This is a tough one because there are very few that I actually enjoy raw but this one I definitely can handle with pleasure. That’s not to say that baking it isn’t amazing as well because I do love both ways. Verdict: Raw. 

Nutritional Content

These bars, hands down have the best overall nutrition for the buck. 180 calories, only 8 grams of fat (but lots of chocolate!), 23 grams of carbs, and a whopping 20 grams of protein, which I know we all love.

Check out the Quest Nutrition website and order yourself a box, or two!

Seeking Help for Eating Disorders 

As we become more health conscious as a society I personally believe that a higher level of awareness needs to be put on eating disorders. In the world today, It seems that either we’re faced with advertisements promoting the newest Mcdonald’s menu item or the hottest diet trend. 

There is no balance. 

An imbalance in life leads to more issues than we realize at times, especially medical ones without proper care. 

I’ve been struggling for 3 1/2 years with an undiagnosed disorder after proactively seeking help from doctors and nutritionist to “gain weight”. Not once was the term eating disorder brought up in the multiple appointments I went to but there was a whole lot of “You’re eating so healthy”. 

That was the problem. I was eating TOO healthy. 

It disgusts me that lack of help there is for people suffering from these illnesses and how often they are overlooked or misunderstood. Like depression they are a mental illness and notice how I said “they” because there isn’t just one eating disorder out there, but yet more than we even understand enough to diagnose. 

The other day I randomly scanned through the headlines in the news back home and came across this heading 

Capture

Click here to read article

Come to find out after reading more of the article, our government cut 23% of the funding for a group that actively helps those with eating disorders. This group provides support and guidance for schools and workers so they can relay the information to students and young people needing help. 

In the article itself its states that these disorders are the third more common to affect adolescents but yet the support is not there. Also stated that since 2010 the number of patients rushed to the emergency room because of eating disorders has doubled each year.

Another Stat posted in a previous article posted by the province

“According to a parliamentary report released in November, eating disorders are the most fatal mental illness in Canada”

DING DING.

These disorders on on the rise, not on the decline meaning more support and attention needs to be put on helping those in need, not less. More often than not, those suffering are unaware of the extent of their disorder and do not proactively seek help or want to admit there is a problem.

Personally I was unaware that I was in need of support and thankfully snapped into my senses before it was too late and needed medical attention, but what about those who don’t? What happens to them?

Apparently It seems that in my province, absolutely nothing. We let them suffer until they require medical attention costing the country more in return than what it would to have given funding for support in the first place.

This is wrong, and more action desperately needs to be taken.

 

My healthy is not your healthy

We judge. Its human nature. Sadly the judgements we make about others often are negative because we base their choices off of our own. We have perceptions on how life should be, how we should dress and how we should treat other people. When it comes to our eating habits and exercise we seem to judge as well, I mean like I said it’s human nature. Can we change that? I believe so.

Take a look at this video below.

When I first watched this video I thought it was stupid and unrealistic but really… that’s exactly what goes on in today’s world. We are constantly putting ourselves down because of our behaviors that we feel are negative simply because of how we base of perceptions on perfection.

These women feel they have been “bad” because they essentially went against what society leads us to believe is the healthiest way of living, but what we need to realize is that there is not one right way to be healthy. Being an intuitive eater and shaming the people who follow an iifym lifestyle is WRONG just as it is in the reverse sense. Just because you don’t follow the particular diet of someone else doesn’t mean that they are doing anything wrong or bad, in fact if they’ve been able to find a balance that works for them, than they’re actually doing it right.

Some people can’t consume gluten, does that mean that because I can that I should think any less of them or belittle their choices? NO.

If someone eats a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream yet I eat a pot of yogurt does that make me “Healthier” than them? NO. I don’t even want to count the amount of times

I’ve gone out with friends for dinner and I would order a salad and they would get a pasta dish without even thinking twice. My brain wanted to believe that because I was ordering a salad that I was making the better choice as opposed to them. Boy was I ever wrong…

Looking back, I think I was more jealous of their ability to have the strength to order what they actually wanted instead of what I felt I had to eat in order to live the “healthiest” life possible. I would often wish that I could order pizza and snack on ice cream and still be healthy but my self control wouldn’t allow me to indulge.

Little did i realize that I CAN be healthy and enjoy the foods I want, because MY healthy isn’t based on anything else except what I create it to be. If my friends want to order a salad and I want a hamburger and my body can accept that hamburger, then gosh why shouldn’t I give my body the nutrients it craves and deserves.

We need to learn to accept that our own diet that works for us is not the only right way to live as we’re all unique. Stop the diet shaming, and instead find your fit.