Category Archives: Health

My Body Image Homework

Again, Happy NEDA Awareness week everyone! I realized I missed blogging about athletes day yesterday (easily one of the most relatable of the themed days for me), but I still participated by hanging more posters:

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Girl’s locker room at the university gym!

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Boy’s locker room at the university gym… I had to have a male identifying person hang it up for me, I think the urinals are super close to the door, so I felt odd about going in…

In light of continuing eating disorder awareness, I wanted to share today’s entry from the 31 Day Journaling Challenge from the Art of Manliness. And, to be fair, I’m kind of cheating. Today’s prompt, day 18, wasn’t something I felt I could fully relate to. I mean, like building things, and I still love Legos, but I wasn’t feeling planning a project like I’m going to take over The New Yankee Workshop next week.

Sorry, Norm.

I decided to then take inspiration from a new podcast I stumbled across this morning, Fearless Rebelle Radio. This podcast is all about improving body image, disassociating image from self worth, and neat feminist rants. I’ve only heard two episodes so far, plus a guest episode Summer did on Progress not Perfection (another good podcast to check out), but I’m so glad I stumbled across it.

Summer talked about to write down five things that would be different if you were cool with your body. My five came really fast.

  1. Going to the gym without wearing a baggy university sweat shirt over your tank top.
    Pretty simple. I’m kind of getting over this a bit already. Sometimes its a legitimate “I’m cold because the Weight Room is a drafty old 80s gym” but a lot of the time I’m feeling insecure about how I look.
  2. Wearing a bikini in public with confidence.
    I’ve worn one a couple times but just felt like hiding the whole day.
  3. Having pictures taken of you in a bikini. 
    See #2.
  4. Wearing a crop top in public.
    Crop tops are SO SO SO cute, especially with high waisted shorts! I’m always quite jealous of the girls who wear them because they have the confidence to do so.
  5. Wearing a slimming gym outfit to the gym.
    Guh, I have this weird rule in my head about wearing a baggy shirt, with tight shorts OR a tight shirt, with leggings or pants. So “slimming” in this context means a tight shirt AND shorts.

The second part of this exercise was do three of the above things! Since swim suit season is a while away with projected snow this weekend, I’m going to go for #1, 4, and 5. The crop top thing could be iffy too, but when spring gets warmer I’ll do that. I’m getting pretty excited!

I will blog about these when they occur, and detail my thoughts. Make sure you check out the podcasts, and I’d love to hear your 5 body image things!

Hair on point. :)

Hair on point. 🙂

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Happy NEDA Awareness Week!

This week, February 22 through 28, is NEDA awareness week! I’m happy to say I’m trying to participate to the best of my ability by hanging up some great posters in visible places on campus. The theme, “I had no idea” is extremely powerful on the subject of eating disorders. Not a lot of people fully understand them, so the theme fits well.

Here’s a view of some of the posters I hung up:

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My favorite, in my office.

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In our building in the hall

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In the Women's Service Center, which also is the LGBT advocates/allies HQ.

I’ll post some more about NEDA Awareness, as I haven’t finished hanging up my posters. On a final note, this week is needed more than ever. Someone I knew was frustrated that someone he loves is experiencing an ED. I think he just doesn’t know how to deal with this individual. I wish I knew how to help the situation.

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Power-loving

All the sweating and straining, all the anxiety and fears, everything brought me to this past weekend. I had a fantastic meet this past Saturday and Heath had an equally fantastic meet on Sunday. I am quite proud of our performance.

The night before, on Friday, Heath gave me his Valentine’s Day gifts. A dozen roses, a Steam giftcard, a box of peanut butter chocolate poptarts and (name brand) Pedialyte. Now I know the last two seem strange for Valentine’s Day gifts, but basically they were two gifts with my meet in mind. I weighed in, making my weight class. I then needed to carb up a bit, hence the poptarts, and replenish my electrolytes, hence the Pedialyte.

We arrive at the meet on Valentine’s Day after rules are done, and during the curls. After some anxieties about a missing singlet and forgetting the rest of my Pedialyte, I get on the platform and do my opener for squat. I went three-for-three attempts on squat, and my final squat was 264.55 pounds. Heath said it looked beautiful, and that I didn’t seem to have any major form breakdown, which is very impressive considering its a PR for me! My strategy of practicing squat with a pause at the beginning and end has worked wonders, as I have a terrible habit of missing commands.

Next was bench, and after the flights of bench I get my opener with ease, and my second attempt of 137.79. I go for a third at 143, and miss it. It was right where my triceps fail every single time. Marcin, on my team, told me how to “break the bar” with my grip so I can power through that sticking point. I am still very satisfied with a 137.79 bench because it is a meet PR, versus a gym PR.

Lastly, was deadlift. There’s always a ridiculously long break between bench and deadlift because mostly everyone wants to bench. I chugged a lot of preworkout for the deadlift flight. I opened at 10 pounds heavier than my October meet’s deadlift which was 230 something, and my opener was in the bag. I got 270 for a second, which was a PR for my meet performance.

Upon urging (one lady lifter told me “go and put some weight on that bar–that was too light!), everyone told me to lift 314.16and I got it. This is a 64 lb improvement from last year! Deadlift performance anxiety has killed my past meets, and I just obliterated my deadlift in this past meet. I’ve never gone near the end of a deadlift flight before. I just channeled every strong bad-ass fictional woman character I could think of (Mulan, Legion Commander and Phantom Assassin from DOTA, Alanna from the Lionness Quartet, and my own Dungeons and Dragons characters) and PULLED THAT WEIGHT.

“BE A MAN!”

Overall, I added 100 pounds to my total since last year yielding me an 8/9 performance and 716.50 raw total. I outsquatted myself from October by 10 pounds, and I was using knee wraps at the time. I missed no commands this time, and only missed my bench because it was heavy.

In my mind, there was not a single thing that could improve my overall performance, besides the bench miss. I’m not even bitter about the bench because I still got that deadlift.

I got a small trophy, and was able to act as Heath’s coach on Saturday. He went 9/9 and got a trophy too! Our school’s team also won first place for mixed powerlifting teams.

There’s going to be a meet in my town in April that I’m probably going to skip lifting at. I’d like to get trained as a referee by that point so that I could help and participate out since it’ll be only a mile from my house. I’m looking at a lifting at a Texas meet in June or July that’s the Women’s Nationals for my federation. Heath said that he’s probably going to do a different event for our October meet–I think he said power press (power clean and bench press). I might do powersports sometime (strict curl, bench, and deadlift), or maybe join him on power press.

Regardless of records, trophies, events, and logistics, I killed it. I’ve not been this proud of myself in a long time. Here’s to getting stronger!

Thanks for reading.

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12 Inspirational Quotes to Share–Part Two

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!! I hope you’re celebrating the overly-commercial day of love with someone special in your life.

A tiny little Valentine’s Day post before I get into the main post. Here’s what I did for Heath! For the longest time, we had always discussed how we’ve never gotten to go to a dance together. That changed yesterday. I won a ticket to our university’s Pink and Black Ball sponsored by the Women’s Outreach Center. I mailed his ticket to him in a card, for the utter surprise. I also made him this:

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They’re Valentine’s themed protein truffles! I also made him protein bars too, both using this delightful recipe from ProteinPow. Lastly, on a total impulse whim, I bought him a DragonBallZ figurine from a local anime/manga store (it’s Goku gone supersayan if you were wondering).

And because I love you, dear reader, here is the rest of my quotes! I split this into two entries because I got a bit verbose on the last entry, and I just kept finding good quotes. As you’ll be reading this, I’ll be at my meet. I’ll let you know what happens as soon as possible! Let’s jump right in, shall we?

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12 Inspirational Quotes to Share–Part One

It’s Friday! Do you know what Friday is? If you answered, “my day off,” you’re right! (And creeping me out because you know too much about me… just kidding!)

I’ve taken this entire week off lifting for the most part. I did some super light lifting on Tuesday, mentally giving myself commands for each lift. I also have done yoga EVERY DAY this week (except for yesterday because I volunteered from 2-9, drove home, and promptly forgot). Despite missing yesterday, I am so proud of myself. Just a week of practice and my sitting wide angle forward bend is already way easier. Before, I could only get my legs in, no joke, the angle your fingers make when you do a peace sign with your first and third fingers. Now I can almost get it to where it needs to be when you do one! Of course, I can’t lay entirely flat (or even close to flat like Rodney Yee) but I’m sure I’ll get it eventually.

Yesterday, I helped run the Junior USA Weightlifting Nationals, which is Olympic weightlifting not powerlifting. For a lot of the day, I helped one of the meet co-sponsors, then did weigh-ins, and ran the table with lifter cards and laptop for an entire high school meet.  Weigh-ins are simple enough, but man was keeping track of weights a bit tricky, because they do sequential loading, not flights.

my face the entire meet.

But as I am writing this in between playing games of DOTA2, I want to leave you with the first part of twelve quotes to inspire you. These are hopefully what I keep in mind for my meet tomorrow, and for the rest of my non-lifting adventures. Stick around for part two tomorrow!

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A Year Ago…

Doesn’t everyone?

Trying not to beat myself too hard on this one, but I learned first hand recently what sticking to a habit does to you. An old coworker/friend of mine had her yogi-anniversary this past week. She posted on Instagram some really inspiring photos about her mobility. She started as a complete beginner, in fact I was the one who helped encourage her to take up this habit, and I’m quite proud of her progress!

But of course, in terms of the “you can’t have nice things” point-of-view, I am beating myself up for not sticking with a practice so consistently. I am aware this is not a positive mindset. But I can’t let this wake-up-call go to waste. I just need to figure out how to positively apply this energy into not self-loathing, but self-loving behavior.

I started this 31 day journal challenge from the Art of Manliness and yesterday was the third day. Day three reads:

Decide on one positive habit you’d like to implement in your life. Whether seemingly mundane (like flossing) or perhaps life-altering (exercising every day), think of something you’d like to add to your life that will be beneficial. Then, think about the steps you’ll take to get there, and how you’ll keep yourself accountable.

Well, this seems like a no-brainer.

This coming week is my meet-prep week. I’m going to be lifting light, doing a lot of walking, and mobility work. I can’t think of a better time to try a daily yoga practice since I won’t be tired from lifting. I just downloaded the HabitBull app to keep me on track. I am aware that it takes 66 days to form a new habit. But maybe a week of daily practice will show me the benefits of doing some every day, thus encouraging me to do more. I just did a great standing poses routine for 25 minutes. I’ll report back on what else happens!

I want to be able to do this.

In other news, I finally joined the three-plate club. Deadlifted 315 this past week. Wow. WOW. I can’t believe it still. There was a slight hiccup when I staggered forward–wouldn’t have cleared the judges, but I still got it on raw strength. I tested bench earlier in the week and I got an unpaused 145. That’s pretty much what I expected there. Squat today–aiming for an unwrapped 275. Let’s see how that goes!

(Also, it goes without saying, I’m watching a LOT of Sailor Moon.)

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Unexpected Gift

via the Soulful Spoon

Weekend was extremely busy–some of this was my fault. I did choose to stay up to 4:00 AM on Friday night (technically Saturday morning). I also chose to stay up till 2:30 AM Saturday night (Sunday morning) to watch an NXT two-hour special. Side note: I’m now getting into professional wrestling. More on that in a different entry.

Therefore, despite all the coffee I drank Monday, and the Soda Stream “Red Bull”  I had at dinner last night, about half way through my three hour Organizations Theory class I was going to pass out.  I called Heath so that I didn’t fall asleep at the wheel going home, which I have done before–both the sleeping and the calling. My roommate just blamed it on the class, which certainly didn’t help, but I had feeling like taking a nap since lunch.

My original plan was to do like last week: wake up 6:30AM to do yoga, shower, breakfast, work 8-5PM, class 6:30 to 9:20PM, and then cardio for a little bit.

This week, 6:30 has been transformed into 6:50AM, I grabbed a shower and one of my home-made freezer breakfast burritos. I went through the rest of my day like the schedule above, because that’s the inflexible part. But, as I left the class, I realized I would be hurting myself if I went to do cardio.

Let me be clear, this cardio desire I had wasn’t a compulsion. It wasn’t punishment. It wasn’t to blast fat, to quote Denise Austin. I wanted to do cardio because I had been sitting for almost 12 hours with only a few breaks. I knew cardio would feel good for my body, which had almost been sedentary all day. So that’s why I was really proud of myself to put the breaks on and say “hold it–you might actually get hurt if you do this.” And, for once, ED didn’t scream in protest. I think he was tired too.

Heath made the suggestion on the way home that I do a video workout of some sort. I kind of poo-pooed the idea. But when I hung up and went inside the house, I realized that was precisely what my body needed. When I sit all day, my stupid tight hips get tighter. By the time I got home last night, they were aching. I took a moment, looked at my two Rodney Yee tapes and saw that there was a hip openers sequence.

When you see this, you know I did my part for the week!

When you see this, you know I did my part for the week!

So, last night when extremely sleepy, I did a gentle hip-openers sequence and the bonus restorative sequence (which honestly was just a lot of laying down, but I give no fucks). Thirty five total minutes on Monday! I’m thinking I should memorize the flow of that hip opener session so I can do it without Rodney. Some day, the seated wide-angle forward bend will be mine!

(Also, for your information, I learned if you look for “yoga gifs,” its mostly girls in yoga pants being sultry…sigh…great.)

Another gift I gave myself is a new way to journal. I am a daily email subscriber to Tiny Buddha. If you don’t already read their work, you should! I’t is daily bite-size enlightenment that always improves my mornings when I see it in my inbox.

I’ve been doing a daily gratitude journal for awhile now in the mornings that is separate from my regular evening journaling time. I am grateful for even the silliest stuff sometimes, like how I didn’t stress at all about being late to class last night. One thing I’m going to add to my gratitude journaling is this technique from this entry “3 Steps to Instantly Boost Your Self-Esteem.” While I’m doing pretty good on the self-esteem front lately, I loved the tips from their #2 suggestion:

Step 2: Create an activity diary for achievements, fun, and relaxation.

This step had the biggest impact upon my self-esteem by far. I was given instructions to list daily entries with an A (for Achievement), an F (for Fun), or an R (for Relaxation) besides each task or activity. I was also told to list small things for A’s to build up my confidence before listing bigger tasks.

These simple instructions transformed how I saw my time and, most importantly, how I viewed self-care. No longer did I think of fun and relaxation as frivolous or insignificant. I now saw them as equally valid to tasks and an important use of my time.

That’s such a wonderful idea! Yesterday I was pretty wound up about thinking how I had no time for doing anything for me. I proved myself wrong when, after I performed my Achievement (I read my chapter of my Orgs textbook that I had no desire to read during my lunch break…a seemingly small feat) and STILL had time to knock out a chapter of “The Golden Compass” by Phillip Pullman before I had to go back to work! I also allowed myself to light a soothing candle and read another chapter before I drifted to sleep as well. Scheduling self care like a boss.

smug face included.

I have a bad habit about playing hard (all nighters, days like last Monday) and having to rest hard because of burn out (NXT till 2:30 AM). Maybe this will help me give myself a priceless gift: balance.

How have you incorporated balance into your day lately?

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Five Reasons to Blog Today

I hate feeling like I have to catch up on here. I hate feeling like blogging is work. My brain is running on two cylinders right now due to sleep deprivation.

So, in order to keep this short and sweet, here is my top five interesting things as of late (giving me a reason to blog today):

5) I’m satisfied with my lifts and how training is going. Monday yielded 220×5 squat and a lot of accessories. Wednesday yielded 135×3 bench. I miss my benches at the Weight Room. Lovely to go in when there’s no one there.

4) I get to help plan a social justice conference! Last year, there were topics about misogynist memes, body image, racial diversity, and LBGTQ advocacy. We’re currently deciding on keynote speakers. I can’t wait to help out more.

3) I submit my Proud2BeMe piece today. I also ordered NEDA Week Awareness posters to hang at work and on campus. It’ll be great when they come in.

2)

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I had to evaluate my yoga strat. My current strategy wasn’t working (putting it off till Saturday at 11). This time, I got it in early. I did an hour long yoga video with my roommate. Then, the next day, I did a Rodney Yee iyengar video. So I missed a week last week, being honest, but I think finding a new strategy for carrying out my goals is more important.

1) I visited friends last weekend in Tulsa. I love my friends and I had a blast. When I’m dying less, I’m going to totally write a Tulsa entry. Tulsa is hip. Tulsa turns their old Barnes and Nobles into fancy-ass grocery stores. Tulsa has arcade cabinet bars. Tulsa has Food Network famous pizza. More to come on that.

Bonus: I love Aldi. The whole system (have to put a deposit down to get a grocery cart, you bag your own groceries, bags cost money, super cheap) is favbuklrhhs  fabulous….sleep deprivation and auto correct do not mix, folks.

I’ll be writing again when I am more alive.

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Filed under Adventures, Friends, Goals, Health, Project Enrichment, Workout, Writing, yoga

Here I Am, Plus Yoga

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few days on what it means to be me. This long weekend, at the first opportunity to jump back on the me-ness train, I did.

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Goodbye hair!

I got a pixie cut and donated 8 inches of my hair in order to get back to my roots, my more authentic self. The hair was a blending-in mechanism, make me like everyone else so I don’t stand out, don’t make any big waves.

But you know what, fuck that. Fuck stifling my voice, dampening my spirit and not being honest with everyone-including me. I got new nose rings, a shit ton of cheap jewelry at Claire’s and admitted to myself some important things about my own human nature.

I have friends again who aren’t bad for me. I have a lover who supports me 100 percent. I am growing beyond my self imposed prisons.

Deep breath. Release.

Good.

Now to the yoga!

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Second week of the yoga challenge did not go as planned (when does life)? My wellness center had free yoga classes all this week and I missed all of them. I had an appointment with a mobility trainer for 30 min, but I didn’t want to just count that as my yoga. So on Saturday night, I realize that I had not done a lick of yoga.

So I took out a new yoga anatomy book (I love anatomy books, never seen one like this!) and did the sequence they recommended for tight hips. Holy smokes, a full pigeon is practically impossible at this point, but I’m getting there. I didn’t get my full 30 minutes, but I did do as much as I could before midnight rolled around. I know I will get it this week!

In the land of podcasting, the GoodTrash Genre Cast covered 2014’s abysmal, yet fun, “I, Frankenstein.”

No, they don’t just turn into iPods and defeat the demon horde.

 

Speaking of demons and the afterlife, our “Nightbreed” episode has dropped, if you’re interested in crazy monsters and homoerotic subtext. Arthur blows it out of the water with his Queer theory reading, check it out for sure.

This coming Sunday, we’re recording “The Interview” after a fun communal watch after our “I, Frankenstein” show.

Finally, some reading for you that I picked up this Monday.

The New York Times discussed the power of writing to alleviate chronic stress, anxiety, and a host of physical ailments. I feel that’s what’s going on in this blog, so I must continue it!

A MyFitnessPal blogger discusses how to set good exercise goals. #8, Forgive Your Slip Ups, is super helpful for my tiny error on Saturday. I know I’m going to become more consistent in this yoga practice.

Roomie and I have been watching A LOT of Sailor Moon.

Calm determination.

Let me know your thoughts, goals, and dreams!

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Filed under Adventures, Goals, Health, Likes, Mental Health, Movies, Podcast, Project Enrichment, Yoga

Silver Linings

I would be lying to say this week has not been a challenge. Monday was the worst–my roommate’s case of the flu was confirmed (poor thing) and I’ve been  staying at a friend’s house, one of my podcast co-hosts, D1. This was so I could sleep (our townhome’s walls are quite thin) and so I would not be infected.

My anxiety about getting the flu got so dastardly, I went to our health clinic to get a flu test done. I don’t have the flu. Yay! But, in my hasty celebration, I shove my wallet in my pocket. A couple hours later, when I cannot find it, I realize it’s gone–as in lost permanently.

No, this is not as bad as one of my favorite podcaster’s stories where he loses his bag which contains his passport, iPad, laptop, 3DS, and all his possessions in a crowded Tokyo train station at rush hour. No, it’s definitely not as as bad as that. And while that does make me feel better, it’s still problematic. I cancel all my cards, and realize that pretty much everything in there is replaceable, and keep going with my week.

The first silver lining to this whole debacle is that I start talking to D1’s new girl friend, R, on the phone while I was over at his house, and mildy tipsy on Tequila. She’s one of the sweetest, smartest people I’ve met in a long time. D1 is gaga, and who can blame him, honestly? Do you remember the last time you talked on the phone with a gal pal of yours for an hour and felt totally comfortable? I don’t. That may be because that’s never happened to me before, ever. I hope we can meet in person soon.

Another silver lining, unrelated to the flu and wallet thing, is that I pulled a 245 5×5 deadlift, followed by 275 for a triple. 275 is a PR, and considering I got it for three feels almost surreal. I was so focused on getting that weight, that I didn’t notice until I got home that it was my first time getting that, ever. But, I got it for three. Incredible. Couple of my PL guys put some great tweaks in my form and approach, and I think at this point, this lift is going to skyrocket.

Needless to say I’m sore. And I’m tired. Had an interesting talk last night with H. We really discussed some valuable things, and I think our relationship is only going to improve. While that cloud darkened the horizon of my mind for a while, the fact that we are enjoying the sun right now speaks to the potential longevity of our relationship. We’re going to start up our little tiny Book Club again, and I’ve picked the selection. My Risk, Policy, and Law class assigned the first two chapters of Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, which sounds extremely dry, but I LOVED it.

Probably the best silver lining of all this week was that my faith in humanity was restored. Someone turned my wallet into the police station, and I got EVERYTHING back yesterday. It was in front of a building I never walk in front of. The world will never know on that one.

Last, but not least, here’s some great reading that’s been keeping me going this week:

“Why Don’t I Look Like Her? A Guide to Stop Comparing” I’m pretty bad about this, but I’m beginning to love my body for how I’ve improved and look. This was a pretty helpful read. I might have goals for my physique, but I’m starting to learn to love the process.

“Taking Care of Yourself When You Feel Like Shutting Down” This got me through Monday. Self care is paramount, and no amount of self flagellation will return a wallet to you.

“Get Your Hair Wet Activity” I love this idea! I really want to do it. It’s kind of like a love letter to yourself almost. Here’s from the site:

“A creative way to catalog all the upcoming adventures you’ll have is to keep them safe and tidy in a decorated mason jar. Each time you get out of your comfort zone or try something new, write it down on a strip of paper place it inside your jar. You can even color-code your memories — red for a time you spoke up, blue for a time you faced your fears, purple for learning a new skill — you get the idea! At the end of the year you can empty out the memories and bask it all the ways you got your hair wet and feel proud to be you.

I love that proud to be me part. I am learning how to be, slowly.

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