Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Why I've Been Gone...

I don't know about you, but I follow a lot of blogs about fitness and nutrition.  My Facebook News Feed is full of people I don't know who post motivational sayings and water reminders and what not, which I originally enjoyed.  I love when a blogger that I follow posts a new recipe that is easy to make and something that I can actually eat.  It's kind of the reason why I wanted to start my blog in the first place.  I wanted it to be a motivational tool for myself first and foremost, and THEN anyone who decides to grace my pages with their presence.

However, in the last few months I have been quite disgusted with a lot of these blogs on social media or really any form of media.  In my mind, being healthy and fit doesn't fit one mold.  How boring would that be if we all looked the same or wore the same size of clothes?  I often see pictures of women and think, "I wish I looked more like that."  Or I see the other ladies at my box and long for their muscular legs and squat-lovin' butts.  I hate that I do that because I'm a firm believer in loving where you're at and making the most of the process, but it is human nature to compare.  I feel like this comparing to other women has amplified in the last couple of years and is going to have a very negative effect on our young girls and since I have a young daughter with an impressionable mind, I'm very bothered by this.  Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Thigh Gap

This is a sad trend that is popular among adolescent girls.  The thigh gap is not a natural occurrence to most women so it is sad that people see the need make their thigh muscles disappear so much that your legs no longer touch.  If it was a contest of survival of the fittest, who do you think would win:  the girl with legs that are merely bones covered in skin or one that has some muscle to run from predators or catch prey?  If you just Google "thigh gap images" it is a very sad picture of what some people think it means to be sexy.

Here is a video from GMA about Thigh Gap


What's Your Excuse?

Maria Kang is one of the mommy motivational FB pages I follow.  I saw this picture right after I had Elie when I was feeling like I would never have a body that I was comfortable with again.  To me, this was motivational.  Not once did I think that she was bragging or putting down other moms for not looking like this after having kids.  I get the phrase "What's your excuse?" because if you put the time in, you can look like this version of yourself, whatever that may be.  That's my biggest pet peeve when people say they can't lose weight--all the excuses that follow.  It has nothing to do with how many kids you have or how many hours you work a day.  It's about what you are eating and how you are getting active.  Did I look like this 8 months after having Elie?  Probably not, but it gave me hope and the drive to push myself to limits I didn't know I had.  I can tell you without batting an eyelash that I am in better shape AFTER having Elie than I ever was before--and that includes my college volleyball days!  I saw this picture and thought, "It can be done and I can do it if I put my mind to it." 

Then came the uproar from other mommy bloggers.  Maria Kang was actually temporarily banned from FB because somebody flagged her account as inappropriate.  She got all sorts of hate letters about how she must be a terrible mom because clearly all she cared about was looking like a swimsuit model.  I personally do not know what kind of mom Maria Kang is but I think it is ludicrous that people can judge that behind the keys of a computer or smart phone.  THAT is what irritates me.  I struggled with this when I still lived in Nashville and I asked Brian if we could get a membership to the Y.  I felt bad that Elie was going into daycare for two hours a day just so I could work out, but I got over it very quickly.  I want to be the best mommy possible and in order for me to do that, I need to make my health a priority because I want to be around for as long as I possibly can.  I want to instill in my daughter the benefits of eating healthy and exercising.  It is also good for my mentality to take a much needed break from motherhood a day.  Does that make me a bad mom?  No!  I think it makes me a better one because I was given the chance to recharge my batteries and given the energy to play and have fun her when I would have felt exhausted and run down otherwise.  Am I saying that you're a bad mom because you're not taking the time away from your kids?  Absolutely not!  Surely you're more of a saint than me because I would go crazy.  BUT maybe putting your health in the top with your priorities will help you out.

Bottom line with this one:  I think people missed the point and ended up doing what they said she was doing to begin with--tearing other women down.  How does that make sense?

The Bikini War

Ugh...Just read the headline and then come back.


Seriously?!  In what world is it okay to say who looks better in a swimsuit?  Disgusting!  If you really want to get my point of how thoughtless people are, read the comments.

Let's end on a good note!

Jennifer Lawrence

This is actually something that I'm glad made it into the media.  I LOVE Jennifer Lawrence.  I love her even more now that she has really come out and talked about empowering other women and how the media can be destructive when it comes to how women view themselves.  This video is really awesome.


"Screw them!"

It's New Year's which means a lot of you are making resolutions, and statistics show they are most likely going to be about getting healthier.  I agree that we should all strive to be healthier, but for the right reasons.  I have a better idea for a New Year's resolution.  Let's try to be more empowering to other women.  Let's recognize each other's accomplishments and listen to each other's struggles.  Build people up, not tear them down.  Deal?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

An Experiment With Food Intolerance

I know, I know!  I've been gone for a while, but I will try to be better in the new year.  After all, I have so much to share with y'all about my adventures in CrossFit, running, and nutrition.  But first, I feel that this post is something I need to share now while it is so fresh in my memory.

Before I made the big move across the states from Nashville, Tennessee back to my home state of Idaho, I was dabbling in the nutrition part of my life.  My husband and I came to the conclusion that I have a gluten intolerance and with that comes a dairy intolerance.  I was trying to eat clean, whole foods and not processed or packaged crap and I couldn't believe the change in not only my physical appearance, but my health and mental state as well.  I was doing so good--and then I moved home.  All of a sudden I'm around family and friends again that want to hit up our favorite restaurants and catch up or just for the pure enjoyment that I wasn't a day's worth of flying in an airplane away.  Willpower has always been my weakness.  I am not a mentally strong person.  When I'm sad, I want to eat my comfort foods.  When I'm sick, I want grilled cheese sandwiches and Hagen Daaz Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream.  When I'm celebrating, I want some Dairy Queen ice cream cake.  A few months of this after the move and I said that enough was enough.  I went back to eating like I was in Nashville when I realized that food was either going to heal me or hurt me.  Within a few days, I had my abs back because the inflammation and bloating was gone.  I had more energy.  I was working out more.  My skin was clearing up.  I turned 30 and even made my own gluten/dairy free birthday cake and turned down all the foods I couldn't eat that were at my own party.  I was proud of myself.  I even did great at Thanksgiving and ate only turkey and the gluten/dairy free chocolate chip cookies that I had brought.  Then the Christmas season started...For pretty much the whole month of December, I have been letting myself have whatever I want to eat and that includes all the foods that I was so mad about missing out on before.  I'm an "all or nothing" kind of gal, so this led to a pretty steep downward spiral.

So I titled this post "An Experiment" because I knew that with my lack of willpower, this would be a good time to make note of the changes I have when I eat this way.  I'm hoping that when the new year starts in a few days and I go back to the gluten/dairy free approach (who doesn't need "to eat better" as a New Year's Resolution, right?  Original, I know...) and I have the bitterness towards people who eat "good" food in front of me, that I will remember the awful way I feel when I eat those foods.  Here is what I have been going through the last few weeks and see if you can relate to any of these symptoms.  I'm betting you can.

1.  Bloat.  Now I'm not talking about a little that-time-of-the-month puffiness.  I'm talking about the no matter how much you work out, you would be on the cover of a magazine with "Baby Bump" by your name if you were famous.  That may seem extreme and unlikely, but I promise you that those are the days that you will not catch me in a tighter shirt.  Before I knew what my food intolerances were, I even had middle school students of mine ask me if I was pregnant.  Leave it to middle schoolers to speak their mind, right?  Now here's the crazy thing about this food intolerance bloat:  if I go three days avoiding gluten and dairy, I have abs again.  You can actually see them.  I should take pictures with the dates on it because it is unreal.  My husband even said that it was crazy how quickly a change in my diet affects my midsection.  If that's not crazy enough, I have been known to drop 5-10 pounds in those three days just because of flushing out the foods my body cannot tolerate.  No diet tricks or cleanses, just eating meat, nuts, veggies, and fruit and drinking water.

2.  Acne.  I've never had great skin and I have just accepted that as a way of life for me and makeup has been my best friend but there is something different about the zits I get when I eat my body's trigger foods than the zits I had as a teenager.  Now, I'm a little sick and I KNOW I'm not the only one like this, but I LOVE to pop zits!  Nothing is more infuriating that having zits that are painful, huge, and unpoppable.  Unfortunately, that's what all the zits that I get from my food intolerances are.  They mainly cover my jawline, neck, shoulders, and back.  It's really sad that they are so bad that they hinder me from going about my normal life.  I won't wear tank tops to CrossFit when I have them or I'm super self-conscious about it.  In fact today I didn't go to the group WOD when I really wanted/needed to because my skin is so bad.  My skin is a very visible sign that I have not been eating the way I should.  There's no hiding from that.  I can't down a container of Oreos in secret because in a few days time, you can see it all over my face.

3.  Headaches.  I have been a headache/migraine sufferer for as long as I can remember.  In the last year when I have been cutting out gluten and dairy, I can count the number of headaches on one hand, I believe.  However, the last few weeks have been plagued with headaches.  Why take medicine to make a headache go away when all I really need to do is read more food labels and be more aware of what is going into my mouth?

4.  Dehydration.  I find that when I eat foods that I'm not supposed to, I'm more inclined to drink things I'm not supposed to as well.  I just got back from a movie and I had buttered popcorn and a Pepsi.  I'm not a pop drinker at all, but when I'm eating badly I think, "Why not have the drink as well?"  I can only think of a few times in the last few weeks that I actually had my normal intake of water.  It has been mostly energy drinks or nothing at all.  I'm sure this has a lot to do with my headaches as well.

5.  No Energy. Shocker that being bloated, having a headache, and being dehydrated does not make me want to run to work out, right?  Especially with CrossFit where it is essential to be well-hydrated or your performance will suffer...and you might get dizzy and throw up.  But I haven't really felt like doing anything.  Everything feels like a chore and I just want to take a nap.  I actually took a two hour nap today.  It's a very frustrating feeling to be restless from not having worked out in a week, but yet not having the energy to get up and go.  Boo!

6.  Stomach Discomforts.  I'll save you all the mental image of the tummy troubles that couple with having food allergies but I'm pretty sure you have a pretty good idea that it is not fun.  Having the constant "yuck" feeling during most waking hours is clearly not going to be enjoyable.  What is really sad is that I know that I am going to feel that way, but it didn't stop me from having a quesadilla 30 minutes ago for dinner.

7.  Compromised Immune System.  I recently read somewhere that your small intestine is the gateway to your immune system.  If you are having issues there, as in food allergies/intolerances that are not being taken care of, you can become sick more often.  Those of you that personally know me know that I'm ALWAYS sick.  Er, I was always sick.  I haven't been sick that much in the last year when you compare to my previous track record of colds and what not, but I have not felt "good" in the last couple of weeks--sore throats, chest and head congestion.  Could this be coincidence?  Of course!  It is that time of year that people are getting sick.  However, if I can cut down on my number of sick days just because of what I'm eating, why not do it?

8.  Depression.  Now I don't know if this is directly related to having a food intolerance even though it is listed as a possible symptom when you look up information from any source, BUT after the seven symptoms I listed above, how can someone not feel depressed?

If you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, try messing around with your diet.  It may surprise you in the difference of how you feel.  And now I think I'm done with this "experiment". Tomorrow, after I finish the chocolate ice cream in my freezer tonight. :)