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Wellness

This is what I want you to know about my depression

February 23, 2018

It can be risky to publish posts like last week’s. But lately God has been granting me more and more opportunities to speak up about my struggle with mental illness. This truth has helped tie authentic relationships even tighter, while allowing me to seek help and support, and partner with others in the hurt so they know they aren’t alone.

Well, I promised things would get real around here. So today we’re getting even more real, if you will.

There have been moments this past year when I have not wanted to wake up the next day. When I wished I could lie down for a nap and let the world slip away. When I thought my heart was literally going to explode in my chest. When I thought it was possible for me to drown on oxygen. When thoughts I never even knew humans were capable of having ran wild through my head. Like someone else was controlling my brain. Scary sh*t.

It didn’t make sense to me, and it certainly didn’t make sense to my loved ones as I pulled away or put my walls up.

I heard multiple stories this week (including my own) where family members and dear friends wanted to know what they could do to help, who wanted to understand what mental illness actually looks like. I felt the tug to share my honest experience here.

From my perspective, from my experiences, this is what depression can look like: waves of happiness and laughter followed by the crushing blow of helplessness, exhaustion, disinterest, and darkness. Even for me, who many describe as generally joyful and engaging. Who appears to be thriving. There are weeks, there are days, where I may experience this seemingly unending and inescapable darkness.

But it isn’t all just like that. There’s more to our story. Know someone suffering through depression? Here’s an insight into our lives, and how you can be supportive through it all:

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Cardio-Induced Panic Attacks are Real—Here’s How to Manage Them

September 7, 2017

It was just another Tuesday night at the indoor cycling studio when it happened.

I stepped off my instructor bike to bid my clients goodbye, slapping sweaty high-fives on their way out. Suddenly I was overcome by a deadening squeeze in my chest and an overwhelming need to get away.

When I got into the locker room, I thought my heart was cracking apart and the world was about to end. My hands wouldn’t stop shaking and my vision grew foggy. I sat down hard on the tile floor beneath me and wanted to scream, but my lungs couldn’t gather enough air from my quick, shallow breaths to make a sound.

It was my first panic attack.

Cardio-induced panic attacks are real—but there are ways to manage them. Read the rest of my story and gain some knowledge from the experts in my latest post on POPSUGAR.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON POPSUGAR >> 

Stay up to date with my latest on Popsugar Fitness. Impacted? Pass it on! Let’s spread mental health knowledge to all of our friends, families, & coworkers. 

I’m Still Amazed at How the Whole30 Impacted My Life — p.s. I’m on Popsugar!

August 22, 2017

As a fitness instructor, I always thought of myself as more or less a healthy eater. I lived by the “everything in moderation” rule and dispelled food guilt with thoughts of I’m worth itTreat yourself girl! and Hey, I worked out twice today. I packed my lunches (when I remembered), tried to only eat out a few times a week, and blended as many fruits and veggies I could into smoothie bowls.

But in reality, as clean as my diet appeared, my lifestyle wasn’t working. I was sick.

For as long as I can remember I have suffered from digestive issues, migraines, acne, and ovarian cysts. I tried a myriad of medications over the years to no avail, often seeing only short-term relief — or feeling even sicker than before. I continued to try to eat healthy and work out religiously, but something wasn’t working. There were lifestyle changes I needed to make to bring my mind and body back to full health.

After thumbing through the Whole30 Cookbook at a friend’s home one night, I felt the conviction hard and swift: I needed a challenge and some discipline to get back on track. This would be my reset.

A few long, sugarless-breadless-wineless weeks later, this is what I noticed…

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON POPSUGAR >> 

p.s. this is my very first post on Popsugar Fitness! Love it? Share it! Pass it on to your family, coworkers & friends. The power of food is real, my friends. 

6 Steps You Need to Take Before Starting Whole30

June 7, 2017

After publishing my Whole30 reflection, I’ve received more than a few emails and messages from friends old and new about the process, changes I experienced, and how they can incorporate the program into their lives–or even if it is right for them.

I am certainly no professional, but after looking back over my own experience, I’ve boiled it down to these 6 must-take steps to set yourself up for a successful Whole 30 Program. Here we go!

Let’s do the dang thing! But start from the bottom, mmmkay??

#1 Read the Book

This is a non-negotiable. No blog, no friend, no article, and nope not even the Whole 30 website! can prepare you for your journey more than the book can. You wouldn’t build an IKEA dresser without a manual, right? (Wait– don’t answer that…)

The Whole30 book will be your guide and your lifeline before, during, and after the program. Read it once, then read it again. Get it messy with dog-ear pages and underlines. Pour over the why. Pay attention to the timeline of what to expect in your body, in your mind. Skim the recipes and get yourself excited for your coming adventure. This is your journey. Do. Your. Research!

#2 Define Your Goals

The Whole30 program creators are adamant (and so am I): this is NOT a weight loss program. This is not a quick fix. Sure, you may lose weight. But the ultimate goal is not reflected in the numbers on a scale, but in mental clarity, strength, and general feelin-good-ness.

I journaled my goals at the beginning:

  • Level my moods and anxiety, let my food work in tandem with my other treatments to lift depression
  • Achieve stable energy levels and improve sleep
  • Reverse PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
  • Break my unhealthy habits and relationships with food

When you read the book, you’ll see page-long lists of Whole30 purposes and desired outcomes. Pick your top few (not weight loss please) and write them down. Then it’s time to decide WHEN to begin, which leads us to…

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Wellness Trending: My Whole30 Reflection

June 2, 2017

If you  asked me to give up all gluten, dairy, soy, legumes, alcohol AND sugar for 30 days straight a few months ago, I would have laughed in your face. I maybe would have whipped out some cheese and crackers and poured the wine or reached for the bread basket.

Really? Giving up all this is going to do all that for my body and my health? Girl you crazy.

Then I got sick. Like really, really sick. And I wasn’t getting better.

My doc prompted me to look back on all of my recent illnesses and chronic health struggles: migraine headaches, the worst PMS and cramps, digestive issues, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome– more on that later) hormonal and mood imbalances. Even since I was a little girl,  was constantly plagued by stomach aches and fatigue.

I was sick and tired of being sick and tired all. the. time. 

I realized I had hit the point where I was used to feeling at least a little bit icky each day until I forget what it was like to feel truly healthy. I was caught in a new normal that is really not normal at all, or the way God intended for me to live. (I think we can all relate to this in some way, yea?)

While sipping wine in a pal’s kitchen in late April, I picked up her Whole30 book at random. The conviction was fast and piercing like an arrow through the heart: I had lifestyle changes I needed to make. The Whole30 Program was to be my fresh start.

Now on Day 33, I’m reflecting. Here’s what I noticed during my journey:

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