Learning and Growing

I’ve slacked on my blogging goal for 2016.

My other goals are going well, so I’m being lenient with myself about this one!

The past few weeks have been more of the same – going through the motions, biding time until we move home. I am to the point where I know it’s so close, but like a kid anxiously pushing through the last two months before summer break, I am finding it hard to be patient. I am taking life one day at a time, trying to enjoy the last little bits of the life we carved out for ourselves here.

That being said, when D came home two weeks ago with news that one of his co-workers I knew in the states would be visiting soon, I was super excited! I have only hung out with said co-worker a handful of times, I don’t know her very well, but it’s funny that the thought of a familiar face can be comforting when you are missing home.

I think I bugged D every day to make sure he finalized plans – I’m sure that wasn’t annoying at all! 🙂

On Saturday, we met his co-worker to show her around a city we live close to. It was such a fun day! We met up with her around 1, and I assumed we would spend a couple of hours, be home by 4-5, workout, and eat dinner. After a day’s worth of touring the city, we ended up at our favorite bar and stayed until well past 7 talking and enjoying each other’s company. Like I said, it was nice to see a familiar face!

Although I had a great time, it was in my reflection of the time that I realized just how special this day was in terms of recovery.

Before we moved, I had plenty of opportunities to hang out with D’s co-workers – not just this one, but many others – but I chose not to. Not because I didn’t like them, but because the thought of spending time with people I didn’t really know well scared me. These people weren’t by best friends who knew my nuances, habits, and routines. They didn’t know that eating dinner after 7 made me anxious. They didn’t know that simply eating dinner in front of them would make me anxious. They didn’t know that half of the time during a conversation, I had no idea what to say or do or think, that I was anxious and sweaty and wanted to cry.

At that point in my life, I wasn’t at a place where I could be comfortable spending time with people outside of my little circle. I had just recently invited my people into my comfort zone – I was just over that stage with the people I trusted – I wasn’t ready to step outside of my comfort zone and brave the world of time spent and conversations had with acquaintances.

But, as proven by Saturday (and a few other times before), I am ready for that now. I was able to have conversations with this person – not just responding to questions, but also starting conversations of my own. I talked to her when D was at the table, and when he was away. I felt comfortable being myself and I could feel that comfort zone behind me – I wasn’t inside of it anymore. It wasn’t holding me back.

I also enjoyed a meal, a snack, and a beer with D and his co-worker. I ordered what I wanted to order, and I ate as much as I wanted to eat. At one point, I did look over to her plate to see how much I had eaten in comparison. But, after I realized what I was doing, I consciously made myself stop. I know how much fuel my body needs, and I know how to eat accordingly. I don’t have to compare my food intake to anyone else’s. That was huge. As we were walking around the city, I spotted a stand for a delicious sweet treat that I wanted her to try – I split one with D, too. At our favorite bar, I had one beer, with no desire to have another, so I didn’t. Usually, when in an uncomfortable, out of my comfort zone situation, I would drink to feel comfortable, but I didn’t need to. I was able to relax and enjoy conversation and company without help.

Finally, as the night came to a close and we headed home, I began to panic a little about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to eat dinner until after 8:30. A year ago, that, coupled with the fact that I missed a workout, would have sent me over the edge. Not this time. I had a conversation with C about how it was just one day, and in the grand scheme of things, had zero impact. I ate dinner and went to bed.

The past 14 months have been hard. Yes, I have had an amazing opportunity to travel Europe, live in another country, meet so many people, learn so many things. But, there were times when I hated my life. I was depressed, I let food control me, OCD has been tough, and I’m leaving here with more scars (mentally and physically) than I came with. Ultimately though, I have learned so much about myself and I have grown more than I ever imagined possible. Being here forced me to take sole responsibility for my recovery and for my life. It made me hold myself accountable. It showed me just how supportive an amazing group of “home team players” could be.

14 months ago, I would never have experienced Saturday the way it played out. I would have been anxious, quiet, and reserved. I would have eaten too little and probably drank a little too much. I would have told D we needed to leave at a specific time to be sure I worked out and ate dinner before 7. I wouldn’t have had fun, nor would I have been very much fun.

I needed Saturday. Yes, I needed a familiar face and familiar conversation. But, I also needed the opportunity to see just how far I’ve come.

I am proud. I am thankful. I am happy.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly…”– English Proverb

2016 Goals

January 2016.

A new year. A new beginning.

A time to reflect on the past year’s successes, failures, highs, and lows.

A time to set goals for the year ahead.

This New Year’s Eve came and went without much of a celebration (besides Clemson winning the Orange Bowl – Go Tigers!). Living in a different country, away from our friends and family meant no New Year’s Eve festivities – no parties, no countdown, we even missed our midnight toast due to a stubborn cork and a broken wine opener. But, we did have FaceTime calls, a great football game, and the promise of this being the year we move home – not the worst New Year’s Eve ever!

The new year tends to stress me out a bit. After all of the alcohol is consumed, food eaten, fireworks finished, the topic of resolutions or goals is breached.

Although I know goals are important – they push us to better ourselves – the thought of setting a goal and not reaching it gives me anxiety.

I decided to ignore that anxiety this year, set multiple goals, and post them here to hold myself accountable for meeting them.

(In all honesty, I’ve already given up on one of the goals and decided I should probably post the rest before they went the same way!)

2016 Goals:

  • Read 50 books
  • Yoga 30 min/day
    • This is a lofty one for me. I HATE yoga. Or, I should say – I hated yoga. On Monday, I started Yoga Camp on Youtube by Yoga with Adriene and it’s been an incredible experience. I know my body is definitely going to benefit from the stretching and I hope I can learn how to quiet my mind and be present in the moment!
  • Read my Bible 5 days a week
    • I started this one late last year – just trying to keep it going!
  • Read 1 chapter of a business book 5 days a week
    • I just realized that a lot of my goals center around reading!
    • I would like to start some type of fitness related business within the next year or two, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can!
  • Increase bench max to 125 lbs
  • Increase deadlift max to 225 lbs
  • Increase squat max to 225 lbs
  • Run at least 1 5k
    • I need some motivation to continue including cardio in my routine of workouts
  • Reduce OCD symptoms
    • More to come on this in a later blog
  • Blog at least twice a month

There you have it – my 2016 goals!

2016 is going to be a big year for D and I! Between moving home, new jobs, and very soon, a new puppy sister for our soon to be 3 year old fur-child, we have a lot to look forward to! Here’s to a happy, healthy, much awaited 2016!

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” – Melody Beattie

HIIT workout

It finally feels like summer here! Or, at least it did for a week…

After a week of temperatures in the 80’s and no air conditioning, I can safely say that I am okay with average summer days in being in the low to mid 60’s. I would rather be cold outside than sweat when I am inside!

The start of summer is bringing many visitors, trips, and outings! With the less than consistent schedule of the next few months, D and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to mix up our lifting routine a bit.

Instead of jumping right back into another 4 week mesocycle of heavy lifting, we decided to go a little more high intensity, met-con type with our workouts. This gives us more flexibility with our workouts so that we can focus on enjoying our company, while they are here!

I’ve come up with a lot of different workouts over the past few months, but our most recent dedicated HIIT workout is by far my favorite! We’ve combined some of our favorite lifts with some cardio and timed it to create a fast-paced, killer workout!

As always, be careful when trying a new workout. Take your time, pace yourself, and don’t go past your limits!

HIIT Lifting Workout

Warm-up: 1 mile run (not too fast – just focus on warming up your body)

Complete all 5 of the lifts below (at prescribed reps) without a break (you can time yourself during these rounds)

  • Hang Cleans x 6
  • Deadlift x 12
  • Push Press x 10
  • High Pulls x 10
  • Front Squats x 12

After all 5 lifts, rest 60-90 seconds before the next round.

Complete 3 rounds total.

This workout is designed to be fast-paced, but not easy. Choose a weight that you can lift the prescribed amount. Don’t go too heavy! Work on speed and quality of the lifts over lifting heavy sets!

After round 3, 2 minute cool down.

Finish with alternated jump rope/crunches (for time).

  • 50 jump rope
  • 50 crunches
  • 40 jump rope
  • 40 crunches
  • 30 jump rope
  • 30 crunches
  • 20 jump rope
  • 20 crunches
  • 10 jump rope
  • 10 crunches

Cool down by stretching…you will need it!

This workout has kicked our asses more than once in the past few weeks! It’s great because you can set yourself to go a pace that works for you at a weight that also works for you, and still have a great workout!

More workouts to come! If you have any questions, just ask!

Happy lifting!

When brain and body don’t match…

“I wish my stomach was more flat and toned.”

“I wish my legs were thinner.”

“I wish I had abs.”

All things I’ve either heard or said within the past 24 hours.

Then this much needed, very straight-forward text from a friend:

“Maybe your brain needs to change!!!!”

Maybe she’s right. Maybe it does.

So, now what?

I’ve come to realize that sometimes, my brain doesn’t always match my body. This can happen in so many different ways.

Sometimes, I see fat that isn’t there. Sometimes, where D sees defined ab muscles, I see rolls.

But, mirrors lie, and eyes can deceive.

I know that I eat healthily. I know that I enjoy my workouts AND they are in moderation. I know that I am strong and that I can lift heavy barbells. I know that I can run a mile if I want to.

And even though I know all of those facts about myself, my brain still jumps to those “trouble areas” I pick at. It ignores that my muscular core allows me to do squats and burpees and deadlifts and toes to bar (and hopefully one day soon, handstand pushups). Instead, it focuses on the flaws that it makes so vivid and real.

So today, I’m working on changing my brain in hopes that one day, my brain might match my body. In hopes that one day, my brain appreciates a thicker core that allows me to meet my fitness goals.

Maybe my stomach isn’t the most flat or the most toned. Maybe I don’t have super defined abs. Who cares?

“You’re a human being, you live once and life is wonderful, so eat the damn red velvet cupcake.” – Emma Stone

Macros and Lifting

When will life be more than macros and workouts?

Don’t get me wrong, I still stand by IIFYM! Macros gave me a freedom with food that I had never experienced before!

And working out – I enjoy my workouts now! Lifting makes me feel powerful and gives me bigger, healthier goals. I’ve even thrown some running into the mix; though I still stand by the fact that I HATE cardio! 🙂

But, I still feel a sense of definition or control from these things.

By lunchtime, my entire days worth of food is written down and calculated. Any deviation from that plan leads to instant panic. Yes, my meal plan is higher than it used to be. It includes foods like Oreos, chocolate, and snack foods. But, if something that I want doesn’t fit, I am not okay with eating it anyway. If I change my mind about a food, I must first consult the plan before actually eating the food.

I became very aware of this yesterday. Every week D and I make a menu. This week we were supposed to have fish tacos. Long story short, our normal grocery store was closed and the one we went to didn’t have our usual tilapia, so D bought a different (breaded and marinated) kind.

When I was calculating my macros yesterday, I noticed that one piece of tilapia was over double the macros it usually is. I panicked. Quickly, our favorite fish taco meal turned into a piece of tilapia and some quinoa – that’s the only way I could get it to fit my macros.

Throughout the day I was angry – I wanted fish tacos for dinner. That was what I had planned on and what I was looking forward to. Lunch was lacking due to the high dinner macros and after lunch I wasn’t satisfied. I found myself going back to the pantry again and again trying to find something to make me feel better. But, I only felt worse.

Instead of being proactive and realizing this spiral I was in, I let it get the best of me. When I wasn’t in the pantry, I sat on the couch sulking or sleeping – sleeping is usually one of my semi-negative coping skills because I use it to shut everyone out.

When D got home and asked what the plan was for dinner, I told him about the macro issue. I didn’t explain how my day had taken a downward spiral because of the macros, simply that we would not be having fish tacos for dinner.

During our workout, I started talking to C and K. With a more clear head, I decided to ignore the macros for the night and eat a more filling dinner than quinoa and tilapia. It wasn’t fish tacos, but it wasn’t so blah either.

I still fought the thoughts the remainder of the night. Between knowing I went over my macros and knowing I spent a large part of my day asleep on the couch, I ended up skipping my normal protein shake. All in all, calories probably evened out at a severe cut to my protein intake. But, I was weak. I couldn’t shake those thoughts and feelings.

So, what I realized was this – even though I eat things I enjoy now, even though I eat more than I used to, I am still controlled by macros. I still wake up thinking about food. I still go to bed feeling the fat on my stomach. I still feel panicky when my macros don’t add up right. And, do I really want to spend the rest of my life like this? Hell no!

K pointed out that with time, we will stop being so reliant on macros, or whatever else we are using. That we will not be counting macros when we are 40. I hope she is right!

I had this same realization today with lifting. I enjoy lifting. I look forward to lifting. But I also see lifting as the piece of the puzzle that is keeping me healthy. So when D decided we should probably push deadlift day to tomorrow, I immediately felt the panic kick in. I took S on a run this morning, but a part of me feels like that wasn’t enough. If I start my day knowing it is a rest day then I feel safer not working out. But I started today thinking I would go on two runs and deadlift. Once that plan changed, the feeling of safety fell away.

I want to live a life at peace with myself. A life where fish tacos are okay if that is what I want, even if it doesn’t fit my macros. A life where pushing a workout to the next day isn’t a big deal. I want to realize that as long as I am eating healthy and exercising moderately most of the time, one day of being “off” won’t matter.

D and I are heading to Italy next weekend. I am beyond anxious over this trip. I’ve talked a big talk about all of the gelato, pizza, and pasta I will eat – but inside, I can’t stop thinking macros and lack of lifting. But, this is exactly what I’m talking about with this post. A vacation should be fun – not a time spent worrying about what I will eat or when I will workout. It’s going to be tough, but I know I am stronger!

“Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live

Maybe one of these days you can let the light in

Show me how big your brave is.” – Sara Bareilles

Food For Thought

Funny how whenever I’m feeling a bit “off,” I decide to write a new blog post!

Turns out I didn’t think about the things that come along with being a world traveler before planning tons of trips (aka – eating out every meal). I get that this makes me sound ungrateful. Who would spend time and energy worrying about something as simple as food while visiting another country?! That would be me.

Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing time this past weekend with D visiting southern France. The weather was great, the views were incredible, and the food was delicious! But, starting Friday night after dinner, I began feeling a little guilty with my food choices, especially with the lack of exercise.

D is really good at helping me with reality checks during times like these. He was on board with eating breakfast in our AirBNB, eating lighter meals sometimes, and splitting desserts (even though I know he really wanted his own)! He also reminds me that even though I’m not following my normal lifting routine, I am still getting exercise. By the end of the weekend, we had walked over 30 miles – and that definitely counts for something!

So with some gentle reminders from D mixed with some thought stopping and other coping skills, we made it a very successful and fun weekend getaway!

This weekend we leave for Spain. I’m already beginning to think about food choices there. I want to let myself experience the culinary treats that all of these countries have to offer. I don’t want to look back and regret skipping the crepe in France, the chocolate covered churro in Spain, or gelato in Italy. Instead I will continue to remind myself that traveling and touring a city is indeed exercise, and the occasional treat will not impact me in the long run!

Traveling WILL be fun!

When I first started seeing my therapist, C, she introduced a poem to me. So many times I have assessed where I am at on my journey by using this poem. It helps me to stop and think about where I am at, what decisions and choices led me to that place, and how I should proceed.

I thought about this poem a lot over the weekend and I wanted to share it.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

By Portia Nelson

Chapter I

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost…I am hopeless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in this same place.

But, it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it there.

I still fall in…it’s habit…but,

my eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

I have seen myself in every one of these chapters. Some days when I should be at chapter 5, I go back to chapter 3. In some areas, I am still at chapter 2. Sometimes I revisit a chapter over and over again. But, I am growing, I am moving forward, I am progressing, chapter by chapter, day by day.

Where do you see yourself in the poem? Where are you currently at and where do you want to be? Food for thought! 🙂

No Equipment Workouts

The past few weeks have been tough.

I really don’t know why. I don’t even know how to explain how – they just have been.

Getting out of bed each morning has been difficult. I lay there and think about how it would be so much easier just to keep laying there. Not really sleeping, but not really fully awake. Just there.

But, eventually I get up. Usually this coincides with my puppy refusing to sleep any longer and insisting that it is time for a walk. But, ultimately I get up because I want to be prepared to lift. Lifting makes me happy. It makes me strong. It helps me cope. And I know that if I don’t get up, eat, move around, and start my day, I won’t be able to successfully lift later on in the day. So, I get up.

With that, I want to share two workouts that got me through the period when we just moved and I had no equipment. One of these is a strength workout and one is a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout.

I want to start with these because they are the easiest to tailor to fit individual needs.

First is the strength workout.

No Equipment Strength Workout 1

3 sets

Each set to failure or to 50 reps (whichever comes first)

  • Burpees to warm-up (10)
  • Pushups
  • Jump Squats
  • Sit-ups
  • Jumping Lunges
  • Dips

I chose burpees as the warm-up because they are a dynamic move that warms up many of your muscles. If you don’t like burpees, choose another way to warm-up your body!

After warming up, complete 1 set of each of the exercises either to failure or for 50 reps (whichever comes first).

Once you make it through each exercise once, continue for 2 more sets for a total of 3 sets.

Cool down by stretching after you have finished all 3 sets.

This is a fun workout because anyone can modify it to fit their personal needs and goals! You can make it harder by pushing yourself to the 50 rep max. Or, you can make it easier by modifying the exercise (pushups off of knees instead of toes). No matter what, just make the workout fit your current ability level!

The second workout is a HIIT workout.

25 min HIIT Session 2 (no equipment):

5 minute slow jog warm-up

15 minute interval sprints with built in HIIT

  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute burpees
  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute jump squats
  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute plyo push-ups
  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute mountain climbers
  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute jumping jacks
  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute plank to pushups
  • 30s sprint/30s walk
  • 1 minute walking lunges
  • 30s sprint/30s walk

5 minute slow jog cool-down

This workout involves a lot of the strength exercises from the first workout, but with this workout, you are constantly moving.

HIIT is meant to get your heart rate up and requires you to push yourself to a high level of intensity for 30-40 seconds.

But once again, this workout can be modified to fit your needs! Can’t sprint for 30 seconds? Try to reduce to sprint to 15 seconds and work up from there!

As with anything else, do what works for you! These workouts are designed to push you, but not to an unhealthy point. So, take it easy and go slow!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask!

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” – John F. Kennedy

IIFYM

IIFYM – 5 letters that changed my outlook on food forever.

These 5 letters stand for 5 beautiful words that when strung together equal a freedom with food that I hadn’t experienced since being a carefree child (we’re talking like 6 years old).

If It Fits Your Macros.

Throughout my recovery, I tried many different ideas in relation to food. I meticulously counted calories, used MyFitnessPal to track calories, counted exchanges, tried not to count anything at all, and finally stumbled upon macros. Macros was the best of both worlds. The control I sought through counting something and the freedom I sought through eating whatever I wanted. I set my macros (with guidance from my personal training textbook), I tracked my macros (not using an app), and I updated my macros based on my workouts, my body, my strength, and my goals.

Let me back up and explain macros. Macros are the building blocks of a diet (diet in this sense being your nutritional intake each day). Basically, the essential nutrients – protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Sometimes fiber is thrown into the mix.

For me, counting macros started when I started lifting. I wanted to gain strength, I was lifting heavier than I was used to, and I knew my body needed protein. Once I started counting protein, I realized that you can’t just grow muscle off of protein alone – you also need carbs and fats. Contrary to popular belief, carbs and fats are NOT the enemy. They can and should be included in a diet in appropriate amounts.

Thus began my experience with macros. I used many different sources to calculate my macros, found an average of each of the calculations, and used it as a starting point.

Each week, I monitored how I felt in the gym and throughout the rest of the day. Was I tired? Did I feel strong? Was I sore for an extended period of time after a workout? Was I losing, gaining, or maintaining weight (only weighing once a week)? I used this assessment of myself, along with the guidance of my personal trainer, to update my macros.

I ended up finding a set number of calories that I could eat each day. This amount of calories left me satisfied at the end of the day. I didn’t feel tired anymore. I felt strong. And most importantly, I wasn’t losing weight. Once I found that caloric level, I was able to adjust the macros to fit within that number.

For me, that meant adjusting my macros to 47% carbs, 23% protein, and 30% fat. Many calculations later, I set my macros for 270 grams of carbs, 130 grams of protein, and 77 grams of fat per day. This seemed intimidating at first, but once I got started, it became a puzzle to solve each day.

Each morning, I would pack breakfast, lunch, and snacks to take to work. When I had a break at work, I would calculate the macros of everything I packed and plan dinner. After the main meals were set, the rest of the day was focused on eating when I was hungry and meeting the rest of my macros! I ate whatever I wanted – I just made it fit my macros!

At the end of the day, I was never perfect. I don’t think there was one day that I hit all of my macros. My first goal each day was to hit the amount of calories I set for myself – I finally realized that I had deprived my body for long enough and that wasn’t going to happen anymore. If I went over calories, that was okay! But, I didn’t want to be under. My second goal was to hit protein. I was in the gym between 4-6 days a week. I knew that in order to build muscle, I needed to provide my muscles with adequate fuel to repair themselves. After that, carbs and fat fell into place. Sometimes my carbs were lower and fat was higher. Sometimes it was the opposite. But, as long as I hit my calories, got close to hitting protein, and went to bed feeling satisfied, not deprived, I counted it as a success!

For me, macros were about taking back control. Food became fuel and my body was the tank. I knew how much fuel my body needed and macros helped me provide that fuel.

After a while, I stopped counting macros. I had counted for long enough to know about how much my body needed each day. I began relying on my body to tell me if it needed the macros adjusted and I complied. I proved to myself that I can eat intuitively without counting something, and that was yet another success.

But, life isn’t always picture perfect. There are times stress sets in, doubts form, you may get sick, you may not have access to a gym or your normal foods. All of these changes can bring about a change to your eating habits. In my case, D and I moved to another country. In the transition period (still currently in it), we didn’t have a gym, we didn’t have access to the foods we were used to, and it was difficult. So after realizing I started restricting in order to cope, I began counting macros again. Doing so allowed me a little bit of control in a new environment where I don’t have much control. It allowed me to reign in my thoughts and refocus on being healthy.

I think that’s how life will go for me. There will be times where I feel confident enough to eat without counting anything. There will be times where I need to count to make sure I am providing my body with adequate fuel. Both are okay. Both are me choosing recovery.

If you are struggling with food, I encourage you to look into macros. Do some research, see if it’s for you! And as always, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about macros, lifting, or anything in between!

“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.” – Jillian Michaels

What fuels you?

The first topic I want to hit on is fitness, lifting in particular. Fitness has always been a big part of my life. From basketball in middle and high school to running and tennis in college, I have always been relatively active. If you read my journey, you know that my mindset around fitness wasn’t always the healthiest – I tend to take things too far. Basketball practice turned into a way to burn extra calories; running turned into obsessively overtraining for races. It wasn’t until I was forced to take a step back from whatever exercise I was doing that I realized I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. This was most evident in running.

I thoroughly enjoyed running – I experienced the runner’s high, I loved the feeling of finishing a race, but eventually all of that didn’t matter anymore. Once I pushed myself too far, once I overtrained, it took the fun out of running. Running became a chore – I ran so that I could eat, and I ate so that I could run. If I couldn’t run, I didn’t eat, or I had a bad day. Eventually, I trained so much that I developed shin splints. I still wasn’t at a point where I could listen to my body, so I continued training until I developed a stress fracture. I couldn’t run anymore. At least not for a while. During that time, I found other ways to move, exercise, and have fun. I didn’t enjoy not being able to run, I was not happy with my treatment team at all, but I dealt with it. Once I was given clearance to run again, I realized that it wasn’t something I enjoyed anymore. I’ve tried to pick up running again – there are races I want to participate in, but generally, it just doesn’t do it for me anymore!

Last year, I started lifting. First, I started in a BodyPump class at my gym. I wasn’t lifting very heavy, but I was lifting many reps, and my body responded. I enjoyed lifting. I enjoyed pushing my body in ways I hadn’t before. I enjoyed feeling sore the day after. I enjoyed not feeling like I needed to lift everyday in order to maintain a certain level of fitness. After months of participating in BodyPump, and doing some things on my own, I decided to purchase some personal training sessions. I started lifting heavier weights, I started seeing my body change in response, I loved it!

This time, I was determined not to ruin another enjoyable form of exercise for myself. I listened to my personal trainer about how often to train and how much fuel (food) my body needed. This was incredibly hard because I know this stuff! I can give friends and family tons of advice when it comes to eating “right” and exercising. But, when I tried to give the same advice to myself, I never trusted it. I am grateful that I had a trainer I trusted. Someone who knew my journey and could tell me to “get out of my head” and follow her advice.

Lifting became my hobby, my sport, my motivation to keep trudging through recovery. My squat max became more important than the number I saw on the scale. My deadlift max was fueled by an increase to the most calories I had ever eaten in a day. Everyday was and is still a fight, but I have something to fight for.

Lifting showed me that my body is a badass machine, capable of so much more than I ever thought possible. I starved, beat up, made fun of, destroyed my body for years, but instead of holding onto all of that negativity, it happily accepts the fuel I provide it, carries me through life each day, and powers through my workouts.

Lifting gave me hope. Lifting makes me feel strong, even on days where I feel weak. Lifting provided me with an outlet for frustration, a realization that food is indeed fuel, and the courage to try new things, including eating more without constantly worrying. Lifting has been my lifesaver.

I am going to start posting some of my favorite workouts. But in order to do so, I first need to provide a disclaimer:

This blog provides general information about health, fitness, and other related subjects. The content provided in this blog is the opinion of the author and is not a replacement for medical advice. If the reader has a medical concern, he or she should consult with a licensed physician or healthcare worker.

Please consult with a medical physician before beginning any type of lifestyle change including, but not limited to changes in diet, workout/exercise programs, and/or recovery practices. The author claims no responsibility for any injury that may occur from use of provided workouts. Content from this blog should not be considered a substitute for medical advice.

I will end on this quote by Jim Rohn – “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to life.”

A Life Without Limits

I’ve been trying to start this blog for a while now!

Different things keep holding me back. Fear of my story being out there. Worry of what others might think. Apprehension that I won’t always have the right words to say. Regardless, today is the day.

After years of struggling with self-confidence, body image, anxiety, and an eating disorder, I feel like it’s time to step up and share what I have learned along my journey. I am hopeful that through sharing my experience, maybe I can help someone along the way.

Through this blog, I want to provide information, updates – both successes and struggles, and guidance in each of the areas I have struggled with – fitness, food, and recovery. In my journey, I found both strength and a desire to recover through lifting and fitness. This direction provided me the opportunity to redirect my thoughts and feelings towards food to something more healthy. The two combined, along with many recovery tools, helped bring me to the place I am today.

Fitness. Food. Recovery. A life without limits.

I am still learning, still growing. Each day is a choice, an opportunity to choose health over restriction and hating my body. But, I am also a lot more knowledgeable, prepared, and strong than I was years ago. That I what I will try to pass on to you! Knowledge of food and fitness – recipes, workouts, and more! Preparation for times of struggle – coping tools that I have found useful! And, strength – strength in knowing how to take care of your body, both mentally and physically; strength in having the tools you need to choose recovery; strength in knowing that you are not alone.

“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” – Oprah Winfrey