Tragedy Hits

I must apologize: I have not been talking about my half marathon training like I wanted to.

Honestly, it was going great! I was running more and more miles each week at longer distances and even saw an increase in my pace. It was beautiful! My long runs left me feeling proud and accomplished (while sometimes exhausted) and my other runs always put me in a good mood.I was learning so much about myself and about running that I could have shared. Like how I learned to pace myself through long runs and to always share my accomplishments. I learned that when you eat candy and cookies, the next day you run will be slower. I saw how important it was to have good shoes and not to buy ones on sale. (Those never quite were comfortable and I returned to my old pair). Not all were great runs, but they were all milestones on my way to the finish line. I was a happy happy runner. With big hopes of finishing my half marathon in less than 2 hours and fifteen minutes.

My friends were planning on coming to my race to support me and I had recruited some friends to run some miles with me towards the end. My family had booked a hotel to spend the weekend in Tallahassee to watch me complete my first race. Everyone knew I was training and was so supportive of my effort. I was convinced this would be my first race of many and that a full marathon would be in my future.

Well, I was wrong.

Last Wednesday,   I began to have a lot of trouble running. I had been having bad shin splints (or what I thought were bad shin splints) but this run was different. Every step was painful and my right leg kept giving out. I could hardly complete a mile and half. I walked home and the rest of the day my right shin was in horrible pain. I decided to took a few days off from running but every time I went to go run (perhaps from the kitchen to my room or to the car, etc)  my right shin would hurt like crazy and would also buckle. I knew something was wrong but I refused to say anything.

I started to do the ellipitical and bike instead of running on Thursday and Friday but my right shin still hurt. Not crazy pain but a dull aching pain in my lower right shin and then a sharp pain randomly. My right leg was also buckling a lot, sometimes when walking and other times when I was simply standing on it. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I began limping and I knew exactly what was going on. There was a particular spot on my shin that hurt a lot when I touched it, there was a slight bump and it was hot at the end of the day (from inflammation). I had already began researching and then when I couldn’t believe what might have happened, I cross-referenced. I then emailed a fellow runner that I found a blog and she confirmed what I thought on Christmas Day.

When I received new running sneakers, new running tights, new armband for my iphone, and  running jackets for Christmas it felt bittersweet. I knew what was coming and I would have to let everyone know. I cried to my parents on Sunday night and they reassured me it wasn’t the end of the world but I was unconvinced! I talked to my doctor the next day and she also believed the same thing. A stress fracture in my tibia. An x-ray wouldn’t show it. Only a bone density scan. I wouldn’t need a cast or anything but I would need to rest from running for about 8 weeks. A stress fracture in my tibia.

I think out of all the injuries, this is the most frustrating. A majority of the time I feel fine and think I might be able to run but I know I could never complete 13 miles. I can work out using low impact cardio which is where I am each morning but running is out the question. In addition to how much it hurts when I try to run,  I can do serious damage if I try to run on the fracture. There is no way I could not run for the next 8 weeks and complete the half marathon on Feb 6. My race dreams are squished. My training is not complete. And most heart breaking, after all the hours spent running and sacrfices made, I will never cross a finish line.

For me, this race was to prove to myself how strong I am. I never believed it. I always felt weak. I was diagnosed with a form of spondyloarthropathy (back arthritis) known as ankylosing spondylitis in Decemeber of 2009. I found out when I ran 14 miles over Thanksgiving day and the day after and gave myself a stress fracture in my back. When they took an xray there was also a significant amount of calciumfication on my sacroiliac joints. Sometimes I have ‘flare-ups’ similar to those with rhumatoid arthritis and I will feel especially weak and stiff.  I do feel a lot of discomfort in my hips when I sit too long or aren’t active but I refuse to complain. The doctors told me the importance of being active and taking care of all of my bones. My bones were more sensitive than other and any impact on my body would have a greater affect than normal. I was told to gain weight to protect my bones since I was at the height of my eating disorder and had maybe 6% body fat. When I wouldn’t gain weight, my parents and doctors realized the  anorexia was a bigger fish to fry.The whole time throughout my disorder and recovery, I was driven to prove I am more than the diagnosis.

I know I am blessed to be able to somehow still run even though, statistically, those with AS cannot. I know I could have hurt myself much worse. I know that mentally I made huge breakthroughs. I believed I was capable of doing something great and I was able to be left alone with my thoughts for long periods of time without using toxic talk. I know that I ran 11 miles in 1:45 minutes and that is a huge achievement. I learned to love what my body can do, even if I couldn’t appreciate what it looked like. I overcome binge eating while dealing with marathon hunger and learned to eat normally (This is not an accomplishment, that was a miracle). I was prepared in the beginning that the AS could affect training but it did not lessen the shock. The disappointment. The saddness.

Generally I am pretty optimistic about the fracture. I can still do a lot and am thankfully not immobile. I am not in a severe amount of pain most of the time and its not in my back. It could have been so much worse considering my bone health and the amount of work and stress they were going through daily. I can work out still and now I can make new different fitness goals. Perhaps that’s actually the most exciting!! I have always focused my goals around running but now I can try new things! I learned how important it is that I take care of my bones and calcium intake will be a daily goal of mine. I got through a majority of my training. I was mentally and physically (well muscle-wise) capable of completing the half marathon and knowing this makes me feel somewhat complete.

I am grateful for what I was capable of doing and the experience of trying to complete a half marathon.

……..Even though I may start to cry every time I talk about having to back out of the half marathon. And even if I consider throwing things at people who are running when I am driving. Even if I think it is cruel the treadmills are in front of the elliptical at the gym. Even if I can’t quite look at my garmin yet knowing we wont be together for some weeks. Even if I think the bike is boring……..

I am still a happy runner gym rat.

Making Reindeer

I was sent an offer I could not refuse not long ago ….

Make Cake Pops and Spend time with Natalie? Well I’m in!

Reindeer Cake Pops

Makes 45 Pops (About 30 More than you Need)

Ingredients:

- 1 Cake Mix

- 1 Tub of Frosting

- Candy Melts (About 1 pound) We used both milk chocolate and dark chocolate to make different breeds of reindeer

- Red and Brown M&M’s

- Pretzels

- White sprinkle ball things (technical term right there)

- Lollipop Sticks

- Wax Paper

- 1 Best Friend Who Doesn’t Judge Your Impatience

Instructions:

Before anything else happens, make the cake.  Duh. Follow the standard directions on the back and then wait for the cake to cool. We placed it in the fridge for five minutes, tried to work with it, burnt our hands, and then put it in the freezer for 10 more minutes.

Once the cake is cool, crumble it up into a large mixing bowl. You want it to be in small pieces. Then add the tub of frosting. Some use a spoon to mix or maybe a spatula. We used the best tools God gave us: our hands.

After it being sufficiently mixed, form cake/frosting balls. They should have the diameter of a quarter but really just make them a size that would look good on a stick and not fall off.

Then melt some candy melts and dip the lollipop sticks tips into chocolate before placing them in the balls. Place them in the fridge or freezer to completely harden.

This is where impatience got the best of us and we took them out too quickly. As a result, the chocolate on the sticks had not always stuck and the pops sometimes fell off. This was completely my fault. I saw the finish line and I wanted to get there. As a result we had a reindeer graveyard for the pops that fell off their sticks.

Finally, melt the remaining chocolate melts. Place the chocolate in a microwaves safe dish and heat in 30 second intervals until melted. Dip the cake pops. Twirl them a couple of times to get access chocolate off. Then stick two pretzels in the top of the head as antelers. Give the reindeers a face by using the M&M’s as noses and the while sprinkle ball things as eyes.

If you really have no life like decorating, you can use an edible pen to create eyes and thus facial expressions. If not, they are just as adorable.

But the most important part is doing this with someone who doesn’t think you are crazy when you ‘awww’ over every reindeer and begin to name them. Trudy was still my favorite….

Enjoy!

My Definition of Healthy Eating

Now I know I am only 21 and I don’t know everything. However, when it comes to eating, nutrition, and healthy living I like to think I am becoming an expert. First off, I have been through it all with eating from starvation to binging to dieting to moderating to well everything. You need a reason to eat, I have stories and picture I will gladly show you. I read books about it like Eat What Your Love, Love What You Eat, Intuitive Eating, and Woman, Food and God all in hopes of finding the right way to eat. I stalked blogs and waited patiently each month for my Self and Fitness magazines to come with advice.

Here’s the clincher:

After doing all of this research and being so damn knowledgeable about food, I spent much of my life not following what I had learned. Here I was with this dream to become a healthy living coach and I spent years dealing with anorexia followed by a short stint of binge eating. I was not promoting the healthy lifestyle I so strongly believed in.Perhaps what really made everything different is that I decided to not have rules with food and to find my own form of healthy eating. I talked about this months ago when I discussed how rules had ruined my relationship with food and that I was leaving them behind for good. This took a couple of months to really accomplish but these days, rules don’t dictate my days, I do.

You see, I have spent much of my life trying to eat the right amount to have the body I deemed perfect to be happy. I was unaware of the fact that I could do this without living by rules. I thought I had to monitor every bite I ate, restrict all things that were fattening, and work out whenever I could. There were my rules. Even after the eating disorder when I couldn’t follow one, well I threw the rest out the window which lead straight to binge town (Occupation 1 lonely girl). The fact was I didn’t rule food, food ruled me. And it was a breeding ground for eating disorders, negative talk, and toxic thoughts- all things I would never want for anyone else. I needed to accept that I do eat M&M’s in mass quantities at times and sometime one serving of pasta is not enough. Sometimes I am cranky and the run won’t help so I need to eat some  chocolate. After years of restricting these types of indulgences from my life I am positive of the physical and mental need for these indulgences. However, even with this knowledge and personal experience, I would feel horribly ashamed that I did not eat perfectly and would vow to not eat them again.

Go ahead and call me a hypocrite right not because I would never recomemand anyone restricting any food from their life. I felt I was once again alone in the world, and other people could indulge but I must live by rules 24/7. I was not allowed by some greater force in the world to enjoy eating food and I had to be better than that.  But it did not stop there. Not only would I restrict but then I would feel guilty and then try to componsenate. If I was restricting, I was missing out and my Ed made me miss out and I did not want him back. I must make up for trying to diet and eat and eat and eat. However, the compensation would lead to more guilt which would lead to restricting and the cycle would continue.  Quite the conundrum, right? Do you notice a pattern?

Guilt was at the center of my problem.

I threw it out. I no longer allowed myself to feel guilty and it was hard but I refused to be ashamed for how I ate. Whether it was healthy or not, I was not going to be ashamed of what I ate. I knew the lifestyle I wanted to promote, the kind that relies on intuitive eating and healthy choices to find happiness, and I needed to be the change I wanted to see. This worked in two ways: a) I could no longer feel guilty for something I ate in the past because in my world, I ate it because I wanted it and needed it in the moment (helloooo, less stress) and b)  I began to make sure that my decision were something I would be proud of. So when I have the choice to eat sweets and I want it, I make sure I eat an amount that I know is normal because I don’t want to be ashamed later. I do not want to feel grossly full and lethargic so I stop when its becoming too much.  When I find myself restricting or skipping meals, well I think of how that is never something I would promote and I need to act responsibly with my body.

I do not know if this makes sense, but it has made a world of different in my world. For the first time in my life, I am completely unaware of how many calories I eat a day and I cannot recall exactly what I ate yesterday morsel by morsel. I spend my days living.  I make sure I eat so that I can live to the best of my ability. While M&Ms will not be a daily part of my diet, I know that eating them for a couple of days made some serious fun memories with my mom while we watched TV together that were more important than saving calories. I also know that for dinner that night, all I wanted was green beans and chicken sausage and it felt good to listen and eat a nutritious meal. I know that I don’t need to eat to run or run to eat but instead both are enjoyable hobbies of mine. I know many may notice that I make completely healthy choices most of the time but more noticeably, I am in the situation and not sitting back and analyzing the food.

 

So whats the point of this?

To introduce you to a new definition of healthy eating . Not one that is filled with rules about what you eat or your activity level but rather one that allows you to enjoy life. One that allows you to be proud of how you eat. One that allows you to make memories with friends and families instead of making food choices. One that promotes your well-being. This is my definition of healthy eating: Knowing each day I ate what I wanted and what my body needed.

What is your definition of healthy eating?

 

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Failing at Blogging

Obviously blogging has fallen to the wayside but I have legitimate excuses.

a) someone hacked my blog (why, oh why would someone do that to this little ole blog?) and I couldn’t get in for quite some time.


b) I was too busy kicking ass and taking names in my academics

No Big Deal. Straight A’s. Not like I was stressed or anything

 

c) I spent my days shopping for Christmas Gifts and then shopping some more to make sure I got the best deal.

d) I have been using all of my inspirational sources to work on leaving as many Operation Beautiful stickers as possible. I love Caitlin and her blog but Operation Beautiful holds a special place in my heart. I have been leaving notes for about a year but only recently have a began to take responsibility for them and tell people of why I do it. I once found one when I was really sick and it said ‘remember: someone out there loves you even with your flaws’. Obviously it was exactly what I needed and I hope that in the last year to have that impact on at least one girl. During final/holiday season I felt there was a huge need for notes for all those girls dealing with their own demons or self-doubt. I may have gone through several pads of sticky notes….

e) After living on my computer for five months, I needed a much needed break from typing. For one and half weeks, my laptop was close and resting. It was a glorious and a well needed break.

f) I was lazy. Plain and simple. And in a way it feels great that I know I didn’t do something perfect and I am living to tell about it. So with that little life lesson behind me, I am really really ready to be back to blogging. Again.

So what have you been upto?!

Fill me in!!

 

 

How to Not Look Like a Fool at the Gym

First off, today marked the last day of classes for me :) I have one more IEP to write and I am home free. I literally feel like I can fly I am so stress-free.

But anyways, while at the gym today daydreaming on the elliptical I thought of how many people look so out of place at the gym. They clearly are not there to ‘get their fitness on‘. I understand that some people simply go to the gym to say “Hey, I work out”. However, I feel that at a university, this epidemic significantly increases. Like maybe people believe that simply spending time at the gym, they will get a fitter body. Hm, doesn’t work like that but nice try. And I don’t think I deserve the gym amenities more since I am serious about getting a good sweat in, but I wish it wasn’t so obvious.

So if you are going to the gym to just, I don’t know, kill time? at least act like you are there to work out. Below are my top 3 ways to ensure that you do not like a fool when you are at them gym.

1. Skip the Full Face of Make-up

Let’s just talk about how gross this and how this makes your face a petri dish for bacteria. Now, you looked cute at the gym last night but now you have a pimple the size of Labrador and a larger population of blackheads living on your nose. And you didn’t even get swoll or a good work-out in. So fail. Second, you just may sweat more than you think during your ‘workout’. In that case, waterproof mascara is useless. Just saying.

I should probably pop my pimples before I put my make-up on for the gym today.

2.  Check for see-through leggings

There is a huge and important difference between workout bottoms and leggings. Main difference= the rest of the world can see all that your momma gave you when you wear leggings as workout tights. Always do the ‘bend-over’ check before leaving the house and a good rule of thumb is that if you spent less than $20 on them, they should not be worn to do crunches, lunges, squats, or any stretching exercise. It seems many girls go to the gym to work on getting their leg over their head; prime reason to not wear see-through leggings.

If it could happen to Paris Hilton, it could happen to you.

3. Stopping your ‘workout’ to text

First thing, multitasking is a beautiful thing and when you are hardly doing the first task, the second task should be easy. Just saying. Perhaps this is what sparked this whole post because I saw a beautiful young girl on an Elliptical and she would literally stop every time she had a text and then would go back to her perfect little workout. So i don’t know: maybe the workout was suppose to be light, maybe it was an emergency, but I am not here to judge. However, I do know every time she stopped to text, the people waiting for an Ellipitcal machine behind her were sending looks that could kill. Just saying. If you are going to use the machines, then USE the machines. Just saying. I text all the time at the gym, but I can also move my legs and fingers at the same time. This skill needs to be considered if you have urgent matters to discuss and plan on ‘killing time at the gym’.

An elephant can write a book while working out. What can you do??

I hope this wasn’t too much of bitchy post. Just something I am sure we have all experienced at the gym… the girls (sometimes guys) who are clearly…well, taking up space at the gym.

Do you agree?

What would you add to my list of how to not look like a fool at the gym?

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Change

I am not quite sure f I have ever mentioned before what is my dream for the future and my ED on here.

You see, as soon as I was diagnosed with Ed, I knew it was for a reason. I like to believe it was to help others. Thinking of how there is much unknown about Ed and also the rise of Ed in our society, I will always be an Ed awareness advocate. I opened up to all my friends and family about Ed for the simple fact that I would never want anyone to go through it. I never sugar-coat it and I am willing to people completely open and honest about it just so people realize the severity of Ed. I thought for awhile that just telling my story would be my contribution to the world, but I know now I want more.I want to see a difference in the amount of girls with eating disorders. I want girls to find happiness with their bodies when they are young and not grow up trying to change themselves. I want change.

Working in the school system this semester provided me with the perfect opportunity to try to impose healthy body images on young girls. And I LOVE that idea. It hurt me when girls talked about dieting in young grades or even called themselves fat. I was quick to correct them and try me best to teach them the ‘right’ way. I hope in the future I can do more things like that because with eating disorders starting so young, intervention needs to start earlier, (Intervention= you can tell I am a Special Educator). But it still doesn’t feel like enough.

It seems like something needs to be done with the older girls as well. To be honest, my groups of friends have changes since recovering for the simply fact that some girls are triggers. I now surround myself with girls who not only are healthy with food but healthy with their body image. As much I want to help people I still deal with Ed on a daily basis and I have to protect myself from these sort of triggers. When I am around people who are negative about their body, Ed is right there agreeing and before I know it the behaviors creep back in.

Now I know Ed makes me very sensitive to such comments, but when I separate Ed from the comments and conversations I hear girls my age participate in, I am astonished. For example, I am no longer friends with a group of girls because they worked together to systematically put themselves done. Example: ‘Oh I am so fat today for eating that candy bar. I need to not eat till tomorrow’. Friend says ‘Yeah, me too. I probably shouldn’t eat till Friday!’ So I understand this is suppose to be a joke but it seriously urks me when friends don’t help friends fight those negative thoughts. You do not agree with your friend when she calls herself fat! Your remind her how beautiful she is! That is what a friend is for!

The reason I bring this up now is that this weekend I had a major trigger and then proceeded to realize how truly conducive society is to eating disorders when girls talk like this. I overheard a girl bragging about using some sort of diet pill that made her lose 3 pounds in a week. Pretty scary stuff, right? My Ed went crazy and I soon after left the party to cry to my boyfriend that girls are crazy. But then I breathed and realized how truly crazy it was that someone would brag about that to friends. Perhaps she doesn’t realize how dangerous that is but no true friend would want their friend to lose 3 pound in one week from a crazy diet pill. I found this scary that she was proud of such a dangerous feet.

Shouldn’t girls be protecting each other from such negativity?

What  if girls became fighters of negative self-talk instead of being producers of it. There is no reason why any girl should allow another girl to put herself down. This is our job as woman and as girlfriends to protect ourselves from those parasites. Perhaps they may never develop an eating disorder but regardless they are calling for help by saying out loud these negative thoughts. They may be looking for attention but they are saying ‘someone is bullying me and I need someone to put it down’. And if you were a good friend, would you allow someone to bully your friend? Would you allow someone to tear your friend down? No, so we need to stop it.

I always believed that you should become the change you want to see. And I need to learn to speak up and correct my friends when they use such negative talk. It’s not healthy for me and it’s not healthy for them. I want to be a good friend and I want to protect them. So I will. But I truly can’t help but to wonder what would happen if we all learned to do this? Would the Ed population decrease? Would woman feel like they are worth more? Would men be able to gain control over woman who feel insignificant or subpar? Would our little girls simply not even have negative self-talk?

So what do you guys think?

Is this something you think would protect our girls from Ed’s? And are you willing to participate?


 

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