Recovery

Reaching Higher

I had a bit of an identity crisis this morning. (It's certainly not my first--turning 20 was a strange transition. ;)) But today felt different. Today felt like two sides of myself were warring against each other. A Facebook post that I read at 5:30 this morning became the center of my day and it brought up some stuff that I've been struggling with for a while (read: I sort of had an emotional breakdown about it). Namely, how on Earth am I supposed to co-chair Embody and be a Beachbody coach?

The two roles often feel like they couldn't be more different--on one hand, I educate people about eating disorders and (hopefully) shed light on how horribly destructive they are while also being a resource to those who are struggling; on the other, I promote diet and healthy exercise which are often how people find themselves in the previous situation (I even know firsthand how addictive it is). So how can I wear both hats?!

After some loooong conversations today with some amazing people (including both my best friend and my amazing mentor), I've realized it's all in the feelings.

Eating disorders feel like death. They just do. It's a soul-sucking pit of despair. It's feeling like a slave to something that seems so. much. bigger than you. It's not being able to make your own choices. It's constantly worrying and being on the defensive. It's feeling weaker than the voice in your head. It's not feeling like yourself. It's like being lost.

In my experience (because I can only ever speak to that), my journey with the 21 Day Fix/21DFX/Beachbody has opened my eyes to an entirely new world. I've become a part of the best community I could ask for--a group of women (and a few men--shoutout to Shaun T, Rob, and the ShredNation crew) who are determined and strong and empowering themselves and each other and reaching for the best, most authentic versions of themselves.

In our Embody trainings, we define normal eating and talk about how full recovery means keeping food and diet and exercise to one portion of your life--not letting it invade who you are and how you define yourself. (For reference, studies show that people with anorexia think about food 90-100% of the time and 70-90% for people with bulimia.)

For me, Beachbody has taught me how to do just that. I'm finally giving my body the proportions of nutrients it needs in proper sizes and my exercise routine is structured so that I do it and can just walk away. I can tell a difference. And in case you haven't been reading my other posts--I would argue it's even entirely changed my life. For the first time, I'm comfortable using the word "recovered", even if it feels weird sometimes, instead of just "in remission" (my eventual WWU will talk about this more!). It feels like freedom.

So today I've realized--how can I not do both? How could I even dream of walking away from this amazing group of people I'm so lucky to be around, both at Embody and in Inspire Joy? How could I stop working to be the best, most healthy, most authentic version of myself? Isn't that all I could ever wish for? I've seen eating disorders completely rob people of their lives, seen them lose themselves, and I never take this place that I'm in for granted. But it's not all I am--not anymore. As Anna so elegantly puts it--I am the sum of my experiences.

I'm sure I'll have this struggle again or have those moments where I feel like a phony or feel inauthentic or just feel wrong. But reaching this point feels sure good.

xoxo.

Why I Won't Be Posting Before and After Pictures

So I've been dancing around this idea/topic for a while. It's hard to talk about in this community when so much of our relationships/photos/income depend on how we look and how far we've come. Before/after photos come with the territory and goodness knows, they're everywhere. I've even posted them before. But not any more. Why? Several reasons.

  1. Do I really want my body to be all over the Internet? Not so much. Not really. In my challenge groups and in media I can control? Maybe.
  2. wpid-2015-04-02-11.15.29.png.png
  3. I saw this on my Instagram the other day and it absolutely broke my heart. I am so so familiar with that feeling of looking at other people and thinking "I'll never be there" or "I can never do that". You can do it. You can take responsibility for yourself and figure out what feels good to you and go for it. But do you know what won't work? Crash dieting. Restricting. Binging. All of these things that we've been trained to think "if I do insert fad diet here I will look like ________". My only goal ever is to encourage health in other people, to share this amazing lifestyle that has changed the entire way I view my body and food and the mirror and...everything else, basically.
  4. There are tons of transformations already out there. I'll even post some links at the bottom of my favorite people sharing their story and, yes, their before and afters--and I will cheer them on the entire time. Their results are what got me here in the first place, after all. And I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing (I'll even admit that they can be hugely motivating!)--but I won't be participating.

What will I be doing?

I will be living my life.

I'm not saying I'll never post a photo of myself in a bikini or doing a push up. I'm not saying I'll never flex in the mirror because holy biceps (the 21DFX results are too real, y'all, and I'm kind of really proud of it). And you'll definitely still be getting all the sweaty selfies (along with gratuitous pictures of my lunch).

My body is my body and I am not ashamed of it. 

But the last thing I want to do is make others feel like they are too much or too little--like they are not good enough. I never want to encourage comparison by myself or by others.

I've struggled with this for a while, had several conversations about it, gone back and forth over and over again, read articles, and done some real soul searching. What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them.

xoxo.

Before and Afters:

Anna: 21 Day Fix, Insanity Max 30

Brittany: 21 Day Fix

Katie: her story

Shamira: 21 Day Fix

Investing In Me

So I meant to write this yesterday. I forgot/there was snow/I binge-watched 5 episodes of The West Wing instead.

Honestly, I’m glad I waited.

Yesterday was rough. Today was rougher. I caved to most (if not all) of my cravings when it was just…totally unnecessary, really.

Now I am not in the habit of denying myself things I want at all. Let’s get that straight. But I’ve come to learn that my body is a temple. It carries me and supports me and does damn near everything I ask. And I want to honor that. I want to respect that. I want to give myself the best possible life and part of that means eating things that are good for me and balancing that out with things that make me happy. I’m lucky that oftentimes, those two things coincide. But sometimes my mind tells me that what will make me happen often just leads to upset stomachs and icky lethargy later. That, my friends, feels a little bit like mud in the temple. And I’m not a fan.

So I ate clean treats yesterday. And I ate crappy treats today. Tonight, I feel like crap. I feel heavy and greasy and…it’s not pleasant. There are muddy shoeprints all over this temple and I am not about that. But I want to get back on track.  I love the way I feel when I put myself first, when I prioritize health.

I smile when I do my daily checkins for my challenge group. I feel strong and empowered. I know that I’m making the right choices for my body and it feels amazing.

I just tend to forget that in the moment. Damn cookies and gravy biscuits.

So I’m letting myself relax. I refuse to beat myself up about this. I refuse to criticize myself for doing what I feel like I need in the moment, even if I regret it later. (As a sidebar—I don’t believe in regrets.) Instead, I’m learning.

I took the plunge and ordered the 21DF Extreme tonight. OH MY GOSH Y’ALL I AM SO PUMPED. And it’s not just because it’s on sale right now (BUT IT IS). 

I’ve been considered trying Insanity Max 30 but 1) I wouldn’t have enough time to complete it before I leave the country and 2) I’m scared. It sounds intense and I’m not quite sure if I’m ready to push myself that hard just yet. The temple still needs a bit of foundation work. But the 21DFX is meeting me right where I’m at and making me level up. 

That said, I definitely couldn’t be doing this alone. I am so thankful for Anna and the accountability we’ll be bringing each other and the support of the rest of our challenge group. I’ll be starting it on March 16 and anyone on any program is welcome to join us! 

It’s going to be tough but I know it will be so worth it because I will feel so good. My body is worth all that I can invest in it. Let’s go.

Why Beachbody? Why now?

image

I hadn’t really heard of Beachbody before Anna began posting about it regularly, but I was so intrigued. When the 21DF first came out, I thought it sounded absolutely perfect, but I couldn’t justify the cost at the time.

That was last April.

I debated, deliberated, tried to imitate the program using “hacks” I found on Pinterest, did a clean eating challenge Anna offered on FB and fell even more in love with the idea, gave up and pushed it to the back of my mind…for seven months. Anna messaged me in early January asking what I was thinking about trying the 21DF and I just…knew I needed to it.

image

When I’d posted this picture on Instagram a few days before she messaged me, it was because I needed to remind myself that I needed to fight. When we’d first gotten to the ice skating rink, I was cold (one of my least favorite feelings ever), I’d left my jacket in the car, and I was horrible at skating. I’d been restricting pretty heavily again and was feeling so trapped in this negative, awful, miserable cycle that my disordered behaviors flourish in.

But I was struggling. So hard. 

I was literally skating around the rink chanting to myself all the things I wouldn’t be able to do if I continued to restrict. My hair would fall out, I would be cold all the time, I would be tired all the time…I can’t even remember all of them now. But I knew I needed to break out of these thoughts. And so I decided I would try the 21DF—at the very least, I’d get to meet some amazing people and get closer with Anna.

I got so much more.

This weekend (not even a month later!) I wore this for our Galentine’s day: 

image

Yes, the physical results have been great, but the mental results have been incomparable. I am getting so much stronger and breaking out of these cycles and trusting myself and believing in myself and gaining so much confidence. …how can I not shout it from the rooftops?

I want everyone to have that. I want you to have that.

And I’m always here to talk.

(One day, these posts won’t be so deep. Someday.)

21/21?

It didn’t feel quite right to make this a declaration, because honestly…I don’t feel like I’ve finished the program at all! And I mean this in the very best way possible. :)

image

So Sunday was my last “official” day of this round of the Fix (starting a new one on Monday because I can’t stay away!!) and I was excited when I sat down to meal plan. I was thinking “oh, I can have anything I want now! No limitations! All the carbs!” but I just didn’t want them anymore. (It was such a freakin’ letdown, honestly. I WAS SO EXCITED. I’d made it 21 days to not want all the cookies?!)

image

(That’s not to say that I haven’t eaten them.)

Everything that the Fix advertises is 100% true. It is habit now for me to think “how much protein am I having today?” or “do I want carbs? Nah, veggies”. I feel so balanced and in control of what I’m eating now in a way that’s never happened before.

image

I got this message from Anna when we were talking about me ordering the 21DF and I just…couldn’t imagine it. At all. I was heading down a dangerous spiral of restriction again and needed to break out of it. I needed to readjust my perspective on what food meant, on what healthy eating was.

Y’all. This did it.

I think I’ve probably said that before, because I’ve been saying it constantly but I literally can’t get over it.

Gah. I’m so excited to start the next round. If you have any questions about the program, just let me know and I’ll be happy to answer. :)

18/21

It’s crazy to think it’s already been 18 days since I started this program. I had intended to do daily, or even weekly, updates, but…we see how that went. (Very well, clearly.)

Long story short, I am in love with the 21DF, y’all. I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know, doing the daily workouts, pushing myself and reaching a whole new level of recovery that I used to think people made up.

image

Recovery is so difficult to define because like eating disorders themselves, it’s so individual and so complex. Recovery never looks the same for different people because it won’t ever be.

I was worried going into this that even though I wouldn’t be counting calories (which is my number one trigger. Always. Period. End of story.), it would still feel restrictive or difficult or like I was pushing myself, but it hasn’t. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s taken me until the last few days to really get used to structure and eating so many times a day and what the heck does a full meal really look like anyway?)

So, for my individual recovery, the 21DF has gotten me to really look at food like fuel, but also occasionally treats to be enjoyed, and nutrients that my body needs to keep going. It’s reminded me of how much I love exercise (Dirty 30 is my FAV. Dripping sweat at 10am on a Saturday? YES PLEASE.) and how good I feel when I’m able to appreciate everything that my body can do.

image

That said, I wouldn’t recommend this program for anyone that’s just getting started in their recovery or easing back in to exercise because there is the “slippery slope” feeling sometimes (at least for me). I’ve been on this journey for five years, y’all, and have just now gotten to the point where I felt able to take this on. Pleasepleaseplease be careful.

If you’re looking to redefine your relationship with food—maybe it’s just not quite as peaceful as you would like or you don’t feel like you know how to balance your nutrition; if you want challenging but not terrifying (I’m lookin’ at you, Insanity Max 30) workouts; if you want to find a group of motivating, encouraging, like-minded, inspirational people that are on this journey as well—then I 100%, completely, entirely, wholeheartedly recommend the 21 Day Fix.

image

I’ve wanted to do this program since April. I am so glad I finally did it and my only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.