Dear Sleep: I Miss You.

Today’s Happy Note: Went to a fun poetry/art event tonight with a friend I haven’t seen in a while (hi Joy!!!!).

Okay, no proper post tonight because Caronae is CRANKY.

Why am I cranky?

Because I. Can’t. Sleep.

Ever.

I have tried everything: tea, yoga, stretching, disconnecting from technology, melatonin, magnesium, relaxation techniques, meditation, very active daytime, quiet environment.  I repeat: EVERYTHING.

I have reached a point of tremendous frustration and have resorted to a prescription.  I want to be honest with you guys here since this is my blog about all aspects of health and this is an extraordinarily frustrating (health) situation for me.  I don’t understand why I can take care of myself in so many ways — I run, I walk, I do yoga, I lift weights, I savor my veggies and fruits, I do positive self-talk — and still have this one major issue going on.  It has gotten much worse this semester.  And not sleeping affects everything else in my life: I can’t concentrate in class or at work, I can’t eat at the right times or get my workouts in (although usually I force myself to anyways which ends up exhausting me even more), I don’t spend as much time on homework or with friends as I’d like.  All because I waste hours everyday trying to fall asleep or being asleep when I don’t need to be (i.e. the middle of the day).

I have tried getting on a regular “schedule”, but my life is so varied that this doesn’t work; the minute I have to stay up late studying until two AM one night, everything is thrown off for weeks.  This is not reasonable.  This is not normal.  I have a serious sleep problem. Insomnia, but also something else, I suspect.

I saw a psychiatrist a few days ago to figure out what we can do in terms of medication.  I now have a sedative and another anti-depressant that works as a sleep aid.  I have been taking this second medication, we’ll call it T for about three days now and I feel absolutely bizarre.  I feel hungover all day and downright drunken when I wake up.  This afternoon I was so exhausted that I had to take a three hour nap instead of running and when I woke up, I stumbled around my room and fell into my door and hit my head.  Not cool, T, not cool.  I then proceeded to lose my phone in my 150 square foot room.  Later on, I found it.  Sitting in the center of my desk.

In sum, I feel at an impasse.  I don’t really know what to do.  I’ll probably stay up all night tonight since I slept this afternoon and I won’t be able to fall asleep unless I take the sedative and if I do that then I won’t be able to wake up for my morning classes.

I won’t lie, I’m angry.

Dear Body, I work so hard to take care of you.  Why won’t you let me sleep?  Love, Caronae.

Suggestions?  Sympathy?  Random things to distract me?

April Fitness Fun

Today’s Happy Note: Coming home after work and class and not immediately passing-out or eating carbs!  Normally this is a bad habit for me on my longer days (I think it’s a sort of stress-induced exhaustion), but today I did my workout instead, then cooked a nice dinner and savored it!  Score one for stress management.

Exercise: I did levels 2 and 3 of the 30 Day Shred this evening.  Doing more than one level at once is actually really hard!  I was screaming at miss Jillian and dripping with sweat by the end.  I used to scoff at the idea of having a good 45 minute workout, but this felt really effective.  I was planning on doing half an hour of strength followed by six miles of speedwork at the gym, but I wasn’t feeling it.  Does anyone else really hate the gym?  Maybe it’s just because mine is crowded, dirty, smelly, and not that great.  And there aren’t any cool classes.  Blech.  I can’t wait until I’m in the “real world” with a real job and can have a real gym membership.  Scary to think that all of that is only a little over a year away from now!

April Fitness Goals: While I certainly get plenty of exercise, I want to spice up my routine a bit!  Running 40 miles a week with the occasional yoga class get’s boring.  And my muscles are ready for something new…

1. Strength training twice a week for half an hour.  This should be manageable; I’ve already done more strength since the half than I have all year (hahaha) and I feel so much stronger!  Plus, I like feeling like I can keep up with the boys in the weight room, and that I’m just one of those silly cardio-only girly girls.

2. HIIT twice a week for half an hour.  Old, body dysmorphic Caronae would have said “only half an hour; yeah right, that’s nowhere near enough cardio!  Don’t even think about it!”  New, happier Caronae says “sometimes a 30 minute interval sesh can be really effective and makes me feel strong and fast!”

3. Continue tracking calories and not mindlessly snacking in the evening.  I’ve been doing well with this lately and have noticed that a lot of times when I reach for something tasty to munch on, I’m not really hungry!

This is my version of an April shape-up plan.  I want to feel even more confident than I already do when I go swimsuit shopping and go to the beach.  I want this spring and summer to be the happiest time of my life, and taking care of myself physically is one of the best ways to achieve that.  I think I’ll include some mental health goals tomorrow!  Other things I’m going to focus on include drinking more water and getting more protein.

Gotta make this post short and simple so I can get to bed.  I am going to try to wake up early for a long run tomorrow morning.  I want it to be far enough out from my ultra that my legs are well-rested!

I’ll leave you with pictures of my Trader Joe’s goodies that arrived today (I sent some to myself when I was home for spring break).  It was a nice little surprise 🙂

I’m most excited about my Naturally Nutty honey cinnamon pb (not from TJ’s), chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate raspberry trail mix.  Yum!

Do you have a favorite grocery store?  Local or chain?  Specialty or discount?  Around the corner or a long drive away?

Sweet And Savory/Therapy Monday

Today’s Happy Note: I had the most delicious breakfast with the juiciest blackberries I have ever consumed in my entire life!

Exercise: Shred Level 2 (does anyone else think this one is harder than Level 3?  It’s those damn v-raise shoulder thingies at the end…) and somewhere between one and two miles of walking.  Would have done a bit more but it was raining.  A lot.

Eats: I have been loving sweet and savory stuff together lately!  This is weird for me because normally I like them on their own, but I’ve found that combining them can be super fun.  I have lots of ideas in my head for future combinations!  Meat with berries, shrimp and brown sugar, carrots and maple syrup, sweet potato and banana, vanilla yogurt with quinoa…

Sometimes I don’t really know how my brain works.  But it has gotten me this far in life so I’ll take it, I suppose.

So that breakfast I told you about in my Happy Note?  I have pictures.  Lots of them.  It won’t be quite as good as if I could give you all samples, but they shall have to do.  Oh the pitfalls of food blogging!

This is Three Sister’s Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal cooked up with water and blackberries then poured into a near-empty AB jar.  Topped with a French Vanilla yogurt hat.

Look at that purple blackberry deliciousness.  Sigh.  I might have this for breakfast everyday.  For the rest of my life.

Bowl.  Of.  Morning.  Bliss.

This is one of the best oatmeal combinations I’ve ever heard.  I love trying new fruits in my oats!  What’s your favorite fruit or other oatmeal add-in?

Other culinary highlight of the day:

Introducing almond butter and jam eggs.

It might look a little funky, but I assure you, this is beyond good.  One of my rare moments of kitchen genius.  And it’s so easy, your three year old could probably make it.

Simply crack an egg in a microwaveable safe bowl and whisk until scrambled.  Top with a half-tablespoon (ish) of your favorite jam (I used mango butter) and a tablespoon of nut butter (I used maple almond).  DO NOT stir in the AB and jam yet.  Microwave on high thirty seconds.  Take it out and NOW stir everything together. Microwave for another thirty seconds.  Consume in about five seconds flat.

I’ve been wanting to try sweet eggs for a while and am so glad I did.  I think that maybe you can add PB and  J (or some variation thereof) to anything and it will taste good.  I might have to try a PB and J salad next…

Therapy Monday:

I actually don’t have a lot to say today, believe it or not.  How very un-Caronaeish.  I started out talking about running — last weekend’s half-marathon and my upcoming ultramarathon — and then somehow we started talking about professional athletes and endurance in general.  It was really nice having a semi-normal conversation with my psychologist actually.  I mean we still made insights and I definitely talked about me, but it was nice not having this intense analyzing thing going on for the whole hour.  She told me, firmly, that I am an athlete.  Sometimes I doubt myself in regards to my athleticism: I don’t win awards or break records, but I do spend hours training every week and pushing myself.  So it was nice to hear her tell me that a) I am an athlete and b) I have athletic talents: namely, my endurance.

Then we talked a little bit about my family and I shared my scariest childhood memory (already wrote about it so I won’t share again).  I definitely experienced inconsistencies in my childhood and hated it; at school/home/family/friends.  Whatever it was, I hated change.  There were two bad things that my teachers always wrote on my report cards: Caronae does not like change and Caronae does not work well in groups.  I think both of them make sense, looking back.  And I have gotten soooooo much better at both: I am proud of this.  I think my group-work hatred has shifted towards effective leadership and trust, and my hatred of change has morphed into a good thing: today, when there is a major shift or transition, I approach it with caution, but I also let myself simmer in the new joys and feelings that change can bring.  Normally when I travel back and forth between MI and NYC, I take days, weeks, or months to adjust to one environment over the other.  I noticed that I din’t experience that during spring break, for the first time ever.  Maybe I have grown.  Or maybe I’ve gotten better at taking care of myself — physically and mentally — and of observing the world around me and making minor adjustments.  I think this is it.

Today my therapist said something along the lines of “happy people are kind people.  I’ve never met a happy mean person.”  So true.  And guess what?  As I become happier I am becoming nicer, and vice versa.  I like this.  It’s calming to feel like I can finally begin reaching out towards others who may be unhappy or struggling; this in turn helps me feel stronger and just more in-tune with myself.  In-tune is a good thing.

Off to go spend some time with my main man Marx!  Kidding.  He’s sort of a weirdo.  But a thoughtful, interesting weirdo.

Happy (almost) Tuesday!

Good Old Sunday Exercise and Eats

Today’s Happy Note:

This is a black cherry steaz bottle cap.  My last one said “I am powerful.”  I think they’re kind of great, and they make me feel happy and strong and unique.  What more could I ask of a bottle cap?  Thank you, steaz!

Workout:

I listened to my body today and she said she did not want to run.  So I didn’t!  I headed to the gym and did 25 minutes of serious weight lifting followed by 30 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training on the elliptical.  I first heard about HIIT a few years ago and then was inspired to try it by Janetha.  Basically, HIIT involves a brief warm-up followed by 15-20 minutes of intervals that alternate from easy to, well, high intensity.  Pretty self-explanatory.  You can vary the ratio of hard to easy depending on how you feel; wikipedia suggests 2:1, I have seen 4:1, and currently, I’m at 1:1.  I would do a minute relatively easy (think “jogging” pace) followed by a minute of everything I’ve got.  I kept this up for 20 minutes, followed by a five minute cool-down.

This sounds easy, and the concept certainly is, but let me tell you it is KILLER.  The sprints make it feel like a great workout (and it is) in a small amount of time.  It is, I believe, supposed to burn more fat and be good for anaerobic capacity.

I like to do supersets when I strength train.  This means I pick a group of four to five exercises, and I rotate through them.  So round one consists of, for example:

Superset 1:

12 captain’s chair crunches

6 pull-ups (I can only do 6, even with plenty of assistance)

12 V-ups

12 real-delt rows

I then rotate through the set three times.  I like to alternate arms, abs, and legs so that each muscle group gets a little rest but then has to work again.  I am not sure how scientific this is, but it works for me.  I usually do 3-5 supersets like the one above.

After my power hour at the gym I went to a yoga class at The Shala.  I wasn’t trying to be exercise-obsessive; this is the only time of week for the donation-based (read: inexpensive) class and I like to take advantage of my weekends to do actual yoga classes.  By the end of class, I was exhausted.  After lunch  I took a nice long nap instead of being productive. 🙂

I saw this wonderfully concise and truthful quote in Oprah magazine today and wanted to share with you guys:

“Exercise should be a habit, like brushing your teeth.  It wouldn’t cross your mind not to brush your teeth, and physical activity should be viewed the same way.” – Bob Greene (Oprah’s trainer)

For me, and probably for many of you guys, this is obvious.  Whether it’s twenty minutes on the yoga mat, playing in the ocean with friends, or a marathon; we get it.  But not everyone approaches physical activity this way.  I like to think of my exercise time — my 30-120 minutes a day, typically — as primal: the urge to move feels incredibly natural and human to me.  I think that deep down, this is true for most people, it’s just that many Americans have gotten out of touch with this.  Sometimes my friends question my dedication to running or yoga or laugh when they see me doing a half hour workout dvd.  But my body and mind need this time.  When I exercise, I actually end up having more energy, I’m happier, and, I think, kinder.  It really is like brushing my teeth.  Outside of the occasional rest day, I couldn’t not do it.

How do you guys feel about this?  Is this approach obsessive or just natural?  Do you feel better when movement is a part of your daily routine?

Eats:

I have been consciously trying to eat every three to four hours, and to include plenty of protein and fats.  And I’ve been feeling more satisfied!  Go me!

This is Three Sister’s Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal with a half a serving of Tera’s Whey vanilla protein powder (which was not gritty and tasted nice and creamy!  Yay!).  I can’t wait to try the rest of their oatmeal varieties.  I am really liking this company so far, go check them out!

This was one of the best weekend brunches ever.  Well okay, it was three o’clock so I don’t know if that’s really brunching hour.  But whatever.  Two eggs, white cheddar, and spinach on whole grain bread, broiled for five minutes (I have no toaster and the broiler is a decent substitute).  Three large carrots sliced up with two tablespoons Justin’s maple almond butter.  This meal was mountains of delicious.

Dinner: veggie stir fry (swiss chard, peppers, baby bella mushrooms cooked in coconut oil), steak, and hummus.  With steaz on the side, of course.  I marinated this steak overnight in maple syrup, soy sauce, and ginger.  Um, YUM!  This was a bottom round cut from the farmer’s market.  It is a tougher cut so the texture was a bit chewy (I also overcooked it a bit), but the flavor was wonderful.  I won’t lie: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love red meat.  This is not something that I would ever skip out on.  I also believe that meat can be a healthy part of a plant-rich diet, for many people.  That’s my meat philosophy in a nutshell!  Agree or disagree?  Or do you just not like meat? Regardless, I respect everyone’s individual dietary choices; I promise I’m not judging you. 🙂

Triple chocolate hot cocoa.  Dessert is my favorite part of the day!

Minus three ginger cat cookies (tiny) and a similarly small square of cherry dark chocolate, I think that’s everything I’ve eaten for the day!  I’ll probably do full day eats once or twice a week, since I like to have a visual record, but don’t want to bore you.

The end!

Have an excellent week!  Make sure to smile and think positive; this will improve everything, I promise.

Anatomy of My Snackage

Today’s Happy Note: I had TWO social activities.  Hey, that’s a lot for me.

I’ve switched from daily creativity notes to happy notes!  I was getting bored (and, um, a bit uncreative) and needed a change.  So far I’ve done positive notes, mini goals, daily creativity, and now happy notes.  The happy note has to be a comment on one happy thing from my day.

My friend J and I headed out for our run this morning and he finished so strong!  I even made him run up a hill at the end.  He was such a trooper; my legs were so dead, I could barely keep up with him!  I want to do a long run tomorrow and get it out of the way, but I can’t decide if my legs will be happy and rested.  Decisions decisions. Also, my running club is doing a small 5k for charity.  I hate 5ks but I feel like I should participate?  To race or not to race?  To do the long run afterwards or not to do the long run?

Caronae fact of the day: I am terribly indecisive.  I used to make my parents crazy saying I wanted one thing and then changing my mind at the last minute.  Oh wait, I still do that.

I won’t lie, I didn’t get much done today.  I did my five mile run and a nice hour-long yoga class, plus had brunch with J, did a little school reading and watched a lot of pointless TV.  But I don’t have class Monday so I feel like I shouldn’t have to start homework until tomorrow!  Lol, that’s just silly 🙂

Snackage:

I didn’t take a lot of food pictures today so I though I would do a round up of some of my typical/favorite healthy snacks and why I like them!  There are a few qualtiies I look for in a snack:

1. Must hold me over: this means that it should be nutritious.  Usually I go fo some (or all) of the following elements: fiber/vegetable matter, fat, protein, smart carbs, deliciousness.  If a snack is healthy as all get out, but it doesn’t taste good, I won’t want to eat it, and will therefore end up just eating what I really crave later on.

2. Portability/convenience: My afternoon snacks (generally consumed anywhere between 3:00 and 6:00 pm depending on lunchtime and hunger levels) are most often eaten between classes or walking to work or the gym or volunteering.  I usually look for something that can be taken in a plastic baggie or tupperware.  BTW, I LOVE tupperware.  If you have extra tupperware, send it to me 🙂

3. Nutrition: This relates to number one.  You will not see me eating 100 calorie packs or processed stuff.  I try to keep the snack as “whole” as possible.

Time for pictures!

Apple with nut butter.  While this was clearly eaten on a plate, you can easily cut up an apple into slices ahead of time, store it in a bag or container, and throw in a spoonful of nut butter (or a Justin’s on the go packet!  Love these!).  Sometimes I sit sheepishly at my desk at work and just smear some of the packet onto a whole apple 🙂

Veggie slices with hummus!  Also can be easily put in a container and thrown in your bag.

Homemade trail mix and/or whole fruit.  I take two snacks if I know I will be out and about for a long time between lunch and dinner.  I like the following for fun, unique trail mixes: nuts, exotic dried fruits (think pineapple or blueberries), whole grain cereal, dried edamame, chocolate chips, animal crackers, etc.

Good old plain fresh produce!  Carrots and peppers are really easy to cut into manageable strips.  I also like cucumber and cereal.  Snacks like this are perfect for when you have several hours before your next meal and you know you’ll be hungry, but you don’t want to get too full.

Frozen yogurt with toppings is my favorite occasional “treat” snack!

Yogurt with random toppings.  I like greek yogurt for the protein, and as long as I don’t eat more than one serving a day, my tummy feels fine.  You can get super creative with yogurt mix-ins.  This one had pb pretzels and chocolate raspberry sticks.

Bars: These are my in-a-hurry or need-calories choices.  They can be a bit processed, but some aren’t bad.  They usually keep my nice and full, but you do have to experiment to find ones that taste yummy to you.

Smoothies!  Smoothies can be a super fun but also filling choice.  Since I am still blenderless (*tear*), I have to buy mine and add toppings if I want them.  I like a little yogurt and a sprinkle of nuts.  Mmmmm.

Okay, I think I’ve covered my most typical snacks!  I’m looking on doing more protein/savory snacks, since I know that carbs/sweet stuff can be a little bit addictive for me.  I’m thinking of plain edamame and hard boiled eggs.  Anyone have any other protein/fat snack ideas?

I hope your Saturday night is going superbly.  Off to a friend’s birthday party 🙂

See you tomorrow!

PS — Averie is giving away some awesome Tazo tea stuff here.  Seriously, the blog fairies love this girl!

Running, Protein, And Fat!

Daily Creativity: I won’t lie, nothing much creative has happened yet.  Maybe some sketching?  I’m so mad at myself for forgetting to bring my pastels back with me when I was home last week!  Well, my dinner salad was kind of creative I guess.

Cook’s Mission: Go vote for my cook’s mission entry (you have to scroll down quite a bit) here.  Or vote for whatever one you like the best!  I personally thought Mae’s muffins and Health-Foodies apricot and rosemary filled pretzels rocked.  To vote, just leave a comment on the recipe you like the best!

Run: Today was my first run since the race.  Perhaps I should have started out low and slow, but for some reason I really wanted to do eight miles.  When I get an idea for a route or distance in my head, I tend to stick to that plan no matter what, even if I’m not really feeling it.  Not the greatest habit, but today turned out alright.  Very slow though; I think I did about 8, or perhaps a little bit less, in 85 minutes.  I was doing a lot of hilly trails in CP though, so that was part of the slowness.  My legs just felt generally tired too.  If I still feel sluggish in five days I’ll be annoyed, but right now I’m just accepting that they might have a little residual exhaustion 🙂

Tomorrow I’m going to take my friend J outside for his first ever outdoor run!!!!  He can do 3.25 on a treadmill, but I know I can get him up to 5 outside.  He’s a trooper. I’m SO proud of him; three years ago when we started college, he was overweight and really out of shape.  He started making simple changes like eating whole wheat bread and low fat milk and having more fruits and veggies and now he is strong, powerful, and way healthier.  Go J go!

How long does it take you to recover from a hard race?

Announcements, Announcements, Annouuuuunnnnncements: Okay, sorry, that probably seems really random to you.  We used to have to sing that phrase every morning at the camp I went to for nine years.  It will forever be stuck in my head.

1. Thanks for everyone’s sweet comments yesterday

2. I really want a blog header/fun layout, but I’m very poor and can’t really justify spending money on the blog.  Anyone have any suggestions/know-how/friends who design websites?

3. I’m going to be running another race soon.  A really awesome but very difficult and painful race.  One that I have run once before (hint: it was in December and you can learn more about it on one of my pages from the sidebar).  Drumroll…

Run around the island 33 mile ultramarathon!!!!!!!!  I AM REALLY EXCITED this time around: I have no tibia issues and my microfractures are long gone.  I know I’m strong and I have the endurance.  And it’s in two weeks.  Gah!  This isn’t really something that I would train for outside of my normal running, and since it’s so soon I don’t know that I’ll want to do any 18-22 milers before it.  I’ll probably do a 12-14 miler during the middle of this week, and I should be fine.  Last time we did 33.4 miles in 6 hours 8 minutes.  I guess it’d be cool if we could beat that time; I ran it with two guys and they were both so supportive and encouraging.  Not sure if we’ll have more people this time, but it’d be cool if we did.  More people=more fun!

Random eats  from the day (forgot to charge my camera so I don’t have everything):

Whole wheat pasta with lots of veggies, chicken, a little alfredo sauce and too much cheese.

Luna protein bar: OMG this was wonderful.  I have high bar standards, and although this may not be super “clean”, it was super tasty.  Most chocolate peanut butter flavored things fail, but this one was downright impressive.  It tasted like the girl scout peanut butter patties cookies (which, in my opinion, are way better than thin mints)!

Grocery heap!  Things I’m excited about: Tera’s whey protein powders, chocolate almond milk, black cherry steaz, and justin’s maple almond butter (ON SALE!).

Dinner: lentil soup, giant salad with romaine, spinach, carrots, bell peppers, blackberry, and half of an apple chicken sausage.  Dinnertime perfection.

Emotional Eating (warning: wordiness ahead):

I think one of the first things I need to do in evaluating my emotional eating/over eating, after examining what my feelings really are (which is a lot of what therapy is about, so this is already covered mostly), is examine the ways in which my diet is and is not working for me.  There are a few things I have noticed so far:

1. I am someone who needs a lot of vegetables, protein and fat.  I know it’s cliche to say that “carbs are not your friend” but for me they pose one major problem: if I have a carb-based meal at any point in the day after breakfast, I will only want carbs for the rest of the day.  If I have cereal or granola at lunch, I cannot resist having it for snack and dinner too.  I think that for my body chemistry (insulin-resistant), carbs actually have an addictive property.  I am one of those people for whom sugar necessitates more sugar.  I have noticed a few things that help with this: small servings of whole grain bread, pasta, or actual grains with lunch or dinner seem to help keep me full and satisfied, include lots of plant based volume at most meals, and eat more protein or fat.  Sounds simple, and really, it is.  So this is something I have observed (non-judgmentally) and plan to work on!

2.  If I get too hungry or wait too long between meals, I will dive into the sugar (ice cream, cereal, chocolate,whatever’s around).  I think the solution to this is as simple as making sure I’m eating every 3-4 hours, and when I do get into a hunger state, respond by having some fat and protein immediately.

3.  After-dinner snacking: if I occupy myself after dinner with blogging/reading/homework/cleaning etc., I tend to not have the snacky feeling!  I am not sure why, but I get really intense sugar cravings after most meals, regardless of what the meal consists of.  If I wait a half an hour or so though, these cravings typically go away!  I need to practice mindfulness and consciousness in the evenings.  I think this is a good first step.

I really wanted to do a Flashback Friday (Janetha makes them look so fun) but this post is already way too talky.  Maybe I’ll do one tomorrow?  Is this allowed?

Alright bloggettes, what are you up to this weekend?  Any fun exercise classes or adventures planned or delicious new meals waiting to be consumed?

Food and Feelings

I’ve been feeling really lazy in terms of exercise this week.  Lots of walking and a little bit of yoga; maybe I’ll do a little shredding after this post.  I do plan on getting out for a nice long-ish run early tomorrow morning.  I think it’s fine to be resting a lot after an intense training cycle and race, I suppose.  I feel like I need some exercise-adventure in my life.  Just something new and exciting, like surfing or rock climbing or mountain hiking or coral reef snorkeling.  Unfortunately, those things aren’t really options right now.  Anyone have any ideas for fun but still intense exercise options in NYC?

They were planting flowers all over campus today!  Mostly pansies and daffodils, but the colors were quite lovely — lots of periwinkle and lavendar shades.  This kind of thing makes me super happy.

Okay, no pictures today because I was pretty lazy, but also because I felt like I wasn’t eating healthfully enough or was eating too much.  A lot of times I feel negatively towards my relationship with food regardless of what fuel I use, but today I really did feel like I wasn’t giving my body what it needed.  I’m going to take pictures of everything for (at least) the next two weeks so I have a visual record at the end of each week.  I’ll only post highlights though so as not to bore you 🙂

Food, Love, Emotion:

I’ll be honest with you guys (and myself): in the past few weeks, I have been struggling with managing my emotions without turning to food.  Because of my activity level, this typically isn’t a major problem: if I have eaten several hundred extra calories, I’ll probably just burn them off on my next twelve miler.  But this isn’t the issue. The issue is that sometimes I eat when I am already full and sometimes I eat when I am feeling intense emotions, instead of turning to healthier outlets.  With that said, I am proud that I have been surviving (and even beginning to thrive) despite my mental illness.  It is not always easy to function through serious depression, but I have taken ownership over my disease in so many ways.  I see a therapist, I have lots of hobbies and passions that I can turn to, I have supportive friends and family members.  I acknowledge these triumphs and take pride in my improvements and newfound ability to love myself.  I think, however, that this might be the point at which I’m finally ready to begin moving away from using food as an emotional assistant.

These are the things that food can do for me:  fuel me through long days and workouts, help my brain and heart and organs to do their jobs, help me connect with those around me through social situations, and serve as a source of pleasure through cooking/experimenting/eating.  These are the things food can do for me.  Notice what I did not include in the list: food cannot solve my problems and it cannot be a friend.

For me, I think it is helpful to sketch out the reasons, emotions, and situations that cause me to turn to food:

1. Frustration: earlier tonight my computer was alternately not working or running really really slow (like Stone Age slow).  I reocgnized intellectually how frustrated and helpless this made me feel.  And then I proceeded to eat chocolate and granola.

2. Anxiety: when I feel tense or confused, food often seems like an easy remedy; it helps me ignore the situation rather than actually dealing with it.

3. Loneliness: this is the big one.  I have friends, acquaintances, family members, coworkers, peers, teachers, mentors.  I have a huge human support network who I can turn to when I feel sad or scared.  Learning how to do this will be integral, I think.

So this is where I am, emotionally, at this point.  I am a smart, educated woman.  I have begun the process of growing self-esteem over the last year, and I believe that this knowledge can translate to improved self-awareness regarding my eating patterns.  I think I’ll probably talk about these issues more in upcoming posts.  I apologize if that’s really not what you want to hear, but I think it’s something I need for my personal development.

Do you struggle with confusing food and feeling?  Do you have ideas or tips or thoughts about it?

See you tomorrow!

Caronae

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