Category Archives: Mental 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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Filed under ED Recovery, Health, Journaling, Mental Health, Project Enrichment, Writing

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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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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Filed under Adventures, Health, Mental Health, Project Enrichment, 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

To Do

I would have been lying to you if I said that I was looking forward to work this week. I have to make up hours from the Christmas break, which I will be working after my usual hours for awhile.

But that’s okay. I’m the happiest I’ve been with my job, which I didn’t expect at all. Primarily, I’m returning to an old to-do list technique which I find helpful.

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A bad example of a good technique. This mostly has DOTA references on it.

I used to have notebooks full of pages and pages of sheets just like this one.

This technique is derived from a productivity how-to from the internet. To set it up, you have four columns, with the column headers “Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Break”. On the sides, you have today’s date, tomorrow’s date, and the day after tomorrow’s date. I charted these tasks for the day of, and two days in advance.

In terms of task priority, a primary task is the most important task to do, secondary the next two important tasks, tertiary the next three important tasks. Break is just stuff to do that isn’t important, but should be done sometime, perhaps as a break between these other tasks.

My favorite part about this technique is autofilling the next two days. When you complete today’s primary task, secondary task one moves to primary. This happens for all of the tasks in the columns. If you make it through your entire day, the next day replaces the one you’re on.

Yeah, it’s a to-do list on steroids. One that never finishes (unless you stop charting) which is probably why I stopped doing it.

I remember in undergrad thinking, “wow, this list sure gives me a lot of anxiety!” That doesn’t discount it’s effectiveness though. When I was in the midst of having panic attacks in my car at the thought of studying for World Lit II, I don’t think I was in a place to handle this technique.

A couple years later, I think I can handle this much better. Putting boundaries on the list it helps a lot. You could do this by only charting today’s activities, or not being focused on “go go go” every second. But in those stressful periods of forced “go go go”, nothing can beat this technique.

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Hello New Friends, New Lifelines (Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, Part Three)

May trigger–be careful, friends. 

I must say, I was surprised to see so many new people interact with my blog after that last post! I am truly honored you want to read this outlet from me. Welcome, then, to the new faces and welcome back to those who were already following.

…I hope this entry doesn’t scare you off.

I need to talk about my eating disorder recovery. It’s a heavy topic, but I need to address it since half of my blog’s title is inspired by my recovery story. I’m putting the rest of this under a cut because I don’t want anyone to read this who may be hurt by it.

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Four Life Hacks I’ve Been Toting Around Lately.

Got to love them.

Seriously, life hacks/pro-tips are probably one of my guiltiest pleasures on traversing the internet. Whether they’re from Life Hacker itself, Reddit, or 4chan–although, do NOT make crystals using house hold bleach. Also, treat any peanut butter cookie recipe with suspicion–these little priceless gems have been making my existence easier.

Here’s a handful that have been making my life lately run much more smoothly:

1) Tying your shoes… the right way. 

This tip comes from the fact that I didn’t learn to tie my shoes until about the second grade… So when I finally did learn, I didn’t learn how to tie them well. I’ve had a running commentary of “you need to tie your shoe unless you want to trip over it and break your face” most of my life.

Therefore when I stumbled across this little gem on lifehacker, I had to start doing it the right way. Not only do my shoes stay on better by using a reef knot instead of the typical granny knot, the bow looks so much nicer.

2)  Clean your blender easier with a soap smoothie.

H told me about this one. Use your blender to blend lots of smoothies or protein shakes? And don’t you  hate it when you find that you weren’t quite as thorough as you thought you were on that cleaning job and now your lovely blender smells like feet? Me too. Especially since I use dairy in my blender.

So the way to clean it is the most obvious method, considering the blender’s function is blending things. You put water and soap in the blender and blend the mixture. Not only does it dislodge a lot of the food gunk, it typically removes the smell. Of course, it is encouraged to do more than one round of this process, especially with hot water, and a rinse cycle. And, of course, your blender should still receive a weekly go through the dishwasher.

3) Rid your face of acne through doing lots of laundry.

I’ve been lucky that I’ve never had severe acne. Just annoying acne. Because I don’t shower at night, sometimes the nightly facial wash doesn’t do the trick in regard to keeping my face relatively blemish free for the next day. I read somewhere once across the internet that one way to prevent acne is to put a towel on your pillowcase and wash it, or get a clean one every day. I don’t have that many towels, but I do have lots and lots of pillowcases.

So what I did was take it to the next level and just began changing my pillowcase every time I slept on it. This also includes naps. I also sleep with a light cloth headband on to keep my bangs out of my face. What a difference this has made! H asked me once why my acne was disappearing because apparently it was noticeable. I’ve noticed that my zit getting frequency has also gone down. It also helps showering after lifting if I lift in the mornings. Whenever we lifted at night, I would usually fall into bed right after due to being so tired and my face would be rather…well, you can only guess. Therefore changing these habits have prevented me from trying Proactive, which I’ve honestly considered for years.

4) Know when to wake up according to REM sleep.

My work at my new job now has me participating in delightful things such as 5 AM shifts, so this nifty website has made my life again. sleepyti.me is a simple tool where you figure out when to sleep or when to wake up in regard to your sleep cycle. If you wake up during the middle of REM sleep, you can be quite exhausting, so it is vital to go through as many full cycles of 90 minutes as you can. While waking at 4:30 for work isn’t the most fun thing in the world, it can be tolerable if you do it right.

I’m definitely going to be using that tomorrow to get up at 5:00 to lift before class. Tough, but most things worth it in the long run are.

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Health at a Happy Size

I finally told my counselor that I lift weights.

I don’t know why it took me so long. Or, in reality, I do. I’ve been slightly ashamed of this part of me for a reason I can’t iterate. Is it the fact that I feel like a poseur for saying I’m a weightlifter? I know I’m out of the “casual zone” in regard to lifting. I’ve already invested so much time and money into making my body what it needs to be.

I think some of it is that I think he would think it strange or weird (“this girl goes from having an eating disorder to lifting weights–madness!”) but now that I write it out, that looks silly. I mean, what is a better success story than someone gaining thirty pounds and learning how to properly utilize their body?

It felt refreshing telling him that. I feel much more comfortable after telling him. Especially since I can safely say weight lifting has saved my life.

After my appointment, I decided to give blood in our local drive. I had great iron (46 ct) and I filled up my bag in less than five minutes. Honestly, the needle didn’t even hurt going in.

I’m having to adjust to a lot of body changes after lifting weights. For instance, I’ve grown an inch and a half. I began to notice whenever I had to adjust the car driver’s seat from the notch that I’ve had it on since I got the vehicle to one back. I can also reach the pull chain on the ceiling fan in my house with relative ease.

Also certain, ahem, womanly aspects have grown as well.

I think I may be going under a second puberty. I feel healthy, better than I have in ages. Things are turning around and I’m finally liking what I see and feel.

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Right Here, Right Now

I’ve found that a certain calmness has crept into my spirit as of late. The act of actively doing nothing is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Assimilating your expectations to a fixed point. That fixed point is the target of that activity that receives all of your attention. Then, once complete, move on to the next task.

I’ve obviously had quite a meditative Wednesday.

Besides having good lifts the past couple of days (deload was the week prior, so we’re finally making upward progress again), I’m starting to reach a more consistent contentment with myself. It is a feeling of quietness amidst noise that I’ve never experienced before.

H and I aren’t doing the same program for the first time in our co-lifting history. I’m enjoying the sensation as well as what it symbolizes: that I am growing into my own as a female lifter. I am beginning to feel comfortable enough to mention to people in real life that I lift weights and it is an empowering feeling.

Can it be that the dust is finally settling? Starting from the beginning of college, it seems like I got hit with by the garbage truck called “change.” From moving out to my parent’s divorce, as well as my own eating disorder, things have been tumoiltous. But now, it isn’t like that. States of flux happen but they have patterns of order.

I read somewhere that randomness is merely a human concept. There is a pattern to everything if you just look…

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Filed under bro, H, Health, Mental Health, Uncategorized, Workout