Monthly Archives: January 2010

Grieving and Gaining

It’s no secret: feelings of loss and sadness can affect your eating habits. For some it means losing all sense of appetite and for others it means finding comfort in food. Losing my father definitely made an impact on my diet. For a few weeks we ate pizza, take-out, restaurant meals, and food brought to the house by loved ones. My diet seriously lacked fresh produce and whole grains and was high in fat and sugar. After weeks of worrying and grieving I was feeling overstuffed and uncomfortable. My jeans are fitting noticeably tighter this week and I know it’s grieving gain. I’m trying to not let it get me down. Everybody who deals with such a tough experience is likely to either lose or gain weight. It’s OK that this happened, it’s acceptable. The Michelle that I was a year ago would be relentlessly harassing myself for the weight gain. I’d get down on myself and make the problem worse.

Instead of focusing on the weight gain, I’m trying to just focus on eating healthy. I know that if I just eat a balanced diet and stay active I’ll lose the extra weight. It may not come off as quickly as it came on (in fact, that almost always the way), and I just have to be OK with that. I like eating healthy, it’s my major after all. My dad also took a nutritional route to his cancer treatment, which inspired my choice of dietetics major, so when I eat healthier I feel like I’m honoring him. I also have no desire to restrict my diet to lose the weight because what father would want their child to have food issues? I’m also enjoying the feeling of eating until satisfied instead of stuffed. Overall, I’m just doing my best to continue the work that my dad started. If it weren’t for him, I’d still probably be eating fast food once a week and looking at vegetables with disdain. I have him to thank for my love of fresh produce, hearty whole grains, and organic/hormone-free chicken. He taught me so much about nutrition that went beyond calories and fat grams. He opened my eyes to things like superfoods, sprouted grains, checking labels for hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. He left me with all these tools for healthy eating, the best thing I can do on his behalf is to use those tools, eat healthy, and be happy with myself and my body.

My plan for making my jeans fit again:

  • Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, low fat milk products, and lean meats.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Eat consistently throughout the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
  • Eat when hungry. Stop when full. Take time to make sure that hunger cues are physical not emotional.
  • EAT! Not restrict.
  • Not over-think it. 🙂

May your day be filled with healthy eats and few food thoughts.

Your friend,

Michelle

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Injured but Not Discouraged

At some point during fall semester my knee started to hurt after runs. I would switch to the elliptical for the next few days, then try running again. I continued this pattern all semester and my knee never healed. In fact, it got increasingly worse. But I couldn’t bear the idea of not working out, I’d rather work through the pain. I was being stubborn, and I was also being a perfectionist. I didn’t want to be injured, I wanted to become a runner. I wanted to be like the girls on some of the blogs I read (i.e. Healthy Tipping Point’s Caitlin) who can run 5 Ks, half marathons, marathons. But there’s only so much persistent pain you can go through before enough is enough. The last time I did cardio was the day my dad passed away. I went to the gym to blow off some steam. I stayed out of the gym for the rest of the week because I was so busy with family stuff. Then my gym membership ran out. But since coming back on campus last week, I can use the campus gym.

Last year, if I was still my obsessive, self-destructive self I would have jumped right back onto the elliptical the second I got back to school and continued to do damage to my knee. I would have said to myself that I had to do cardio or else I’d gain weight unless I was always eating minimally. This year, with my new outlook, I am giving myself a break. I am taking at least two months off from cardio. So I will not start cardio again until March 12th. It feels like such a long time, but it’s what I have to do. I’ve been working out on an injured knee for at least three months.. it needs a few months to heal. I’m buckling down and doing what’s ultimately best for my body.

I also don’t plan on jumping right back into my old cardio routine on March 12th. I pride myself on being pretty kick-butt in the gym, but with an injury, it doesn’t matter how awesome you were.. you have to pull yourself back a bit to avoid further problems. I don’t plan on running right away. Instead I plan on starting on the elliptical for only 20 min, then going up to 30 min after a week or two, then 40 minutes. After that I’ll try running, starting at only 2 miles, then 3, then 4. I’ve never been a fan of taking baby steps to achieve my goals, I’m more take-charge than that, but I wanna do this right.

Here’s how I’m trying to stay positive about my two month cardio break:

  • I’m still going to the gym, but putting my focus on strength training and yoga instead of cardio. I’m learning to absolutely love strength training (makes me feel so sexy!) and I’m working towards seeing more muscle definition in my body. I’m really looking forward to the results I’ll get from weight training four times a week.
  • I remind myself that I get a lot of low-intensity cardio outside of the gym. I look at my waitressing shifts as work outs. I walk everywhere at school, probably miles each day. I still have a relatively active lifestyle being a college student, with or without daily cardio sessions.
  • I focus on how great my work outs will be after my knee heals. Maybe I’ll be able to increase my average running mileage. If running never works out for me, maybe I’ll use this as an opportunity to try new cardio, like making spin class a regular part of my routine.
  • I smile because taking this break (which is 100% self-prescribed) is yet another example of how far I’ve come.

Have you faced an injury before? Did it upset you? Did you take it as a challenge? Do you think that negative food thoughts and exercise thoughts are related? If so, when you improve one do you improve the other?

Let me know.

See ya later, ladies.

Michelle

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Finding the Blessings in a Tragedy <3

Hey everyone!

I NEED to stop this pattern of — blogging — taking a two month break — blogging —. Every time I do it, I restart blogging because I think I haven’t been on the blog forever, I should just delete it.Then I go on the site, see all your wonderful comments and I think “These ladies are SO beautiful/thoughtful/smart/intriguing/inspiring/amazing” and then I write a post. 😛 BUT that initial “I’m back” post is soo long because I need to update you guys on everything!! Promise you don’t hate me for being such a bi-polar blogger?!?!

Warning: This post will be looong. But I promise that if you stick with me and read, you’ll enjoy it.

OK.. so I’d mentioned it several times in the blog, so I’m sure that many of you remember that my dad was sick this fall. Well, on January 12th, 2010 he passed away. After a long six months and an extremely difficult final week, he passed in his sleep at home. That morning, my mom woke me up with tears in her eyes at 8am to tell me that he’d died. It was the most surreal thing in the world. No matter how prepared you are (or you feel you are), it’s an indescribable moment when it happens.

My father and I never had a great relationship (we often lost our temper with one another) but through it all, he was extremely supportive of me. Sophomore year when I was battling with severe depression that surfaced in the form of chronic binge eating, my dad tried his best to understand but couldn’t. All fall semester he heard about my struggles with late night overeating and didn’t get it.. he thought it was as simple as not eating the food. Then, that Christmas break, after a late night binge in my living room, I went to my room to go to bed. Instead of sleeping I was hysterically crying, screaming into my pillow, and kicking around because I was so mad at myself for bingeing. After some time, I got up, went into my parents room, crawled into their bed, and poured my heart out in between sobs for an hour. My parents had no idea how deep to-the-core my depression went and it tore my dad apart knowing I was suffering so much.

The next morning my dad had informed me that he’d ordered 6 books for me about eating disorder recovery and was looking at herbal antidepressants and omega-3 supplements online. My dad always wanted to fix problems, and he was in Mr. Dad Fix-it-Mode. That following year as I struggled with relapses and the daunting task of reshaping the way my mind worked, my dad supported me. He still didn’t always get it (very black-and-white thinker, so the pattern of a few good days, a few bad days didn’t make sense to him.. he thought that once the good days hit I shouldn’t have any more bad days), but he was always willing to try. He stood up for me when my brother belittled my problems, even telling him that his battle with cancer was nothing compared to my battle within my self. My dad always tried to get me to look at life positively, and his happiest moments were when he saw me truly happy.

When you have time to prepare for the loss of a family member, you have the opportunity to imagine how it’ll be. You wonder how those first days will be, the first month, the next year. Believe me when I say this, I could have never predicted it..

Now, two weeks afterwards, I look back with an overwhelmingly positive outlook. Yes, it’s a horrible thing to lose a father so young and it hurts deeper than I can describe to know he’ll miss my future birthdays, holidays, walking me down the aisle, holding his grandkids.. but those aren’t the things I think of most. I think of all the blessings that came from this tragedy. I think of how lucky I am to have a mother that I am so close to, who I love and respect more than anyone else on this earth, who was strong enough to care for my father. I think of how my brother and I grew closer through caring for my dad and ultimately losing him. I think about how we were all home when he passed, and all at peace in our beds, as he would have wanted. I think about how when things got too hard to handle, he only had to suffer one more week. In the seven days before my dad’s death his health spiraled quickly, he spent three days in the hospital, he went into at-home hospice care, and then almost immediately he was gone. His death was not prolonged or agonizing. I think about how he got to spend his last days at home with his family instead of in a hospital with strangers (my dad didn’t have many friends or an extensive family.. his immediate family was all he ever really wanted). I think about how, the day before his health took a swift downward turn, he sat my brother and I down and played us a song he wanted us to listen to on our birthdays, at our weddings, and when our kids are born. I think about how lucky I am that I have amazing friends and family, who helped me get through this month. I think about how I need to live each day with a purpose, seek out others when I’m sad to make me happy instead of wasting hours or days on miserable feelings, see things and meet people to enrich my life, all because when you see life come to and end before your eyes… you realize just what life is. It’s all about learning, loving, experiencing, and living.

For some reason, although I’ve been plagued with depression throughout my college experience, I can’t help but look at this experience, the loss of my father, with a positive spin. Maybe it’s a final gift from my father. The way I’m looking at this is the way he always wanted me to look at life. It’s like he’s turned his passing into one big, final father-daughter heart-to-heart where he gives me advice and positive words of encouragement.

I hope that you can look at negative things and find the positive in them. It might be one of the most important skills to have when trying to pull yourself out of depression/ED and into a happier life. If it’s not the way you think, don’t worry,with practice you can learn to think positively. Hopefully in further posts I’ll be able to share examples of how I am positive in my everyday life, and it can inspire you to do the same. 🙂

Loooooong post. There’s still more to tell.. but way too much for one post. Stay tuned for the next one, where I talk about how I’m currently on an injury-induced break from all things cardio and how I’m NOT freaking out over it and restricting or getting depressed about it and bingeing.

Stay positive,

❤ Michelle

In Loving Memory ~ 8/26/55-1/12/10

(Doesn’t he look sooo adorable in this picture?! It’s my favorite)

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized