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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Redefining Rest

May 31, 2017

Magic. Pure magic is what I felt on Sunday afternoon as I settled into my place on the sand. The breeze was cool but the sun warm as I stretched my legs out on the wind-rippled dunes. For once the grains of sand slipping over the hills and valleys of my body didn’t bother me.

I breathed sea air in deep and melted, every vibrating particle of my being supported there on my towel in the sand. Grounded.

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It’s no secret to those around me that I struggle with resting. With sitting still. With ceasing the constant tornado of thoughts. I try the flick on Netflix and numb out way we’ve been defining as “rest” lately–and I can’t even sit through The Handmaiden’s Tale (sooo gooood!) or New Girl without getting up several times.

I often feel as though I am in a constant state of motion–checking off lists, stress-cleaning the kitchen or attacking the mystery piles underneath my always-made bed. Re-examining my goals. Reading up on self-improvement. Planning my next workout, my next vacation.

I strive for order. Cleanliness. A full schedule. An outward projection of perfection. Order.

But in reality? On the inside I am a mess. I am restless. Anxiety clouds my focus, disorderly finances haunt the far reaches of my brain, worries of career paths and relationships and what happens after tomorrow? tug at my joy. Instead I opt for just one more episode of Hulu, one more Insta-scroll, one more snack or drink or plan. I try to numb out, rather than simply rest in, the space I’m in.

Can you relate? (Can I getta aaaaaMEN!)

I know I needed to change my mindset when it came to rest. So this weekend, oh this weekend, for a few pure hours I brought my exhausted soul to the beach. I laid it down. I let it breathe. I let it rest.

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Wellness Trending: Welcome to My Health Discovery Series

May 23, 2017

My writing has been getting hella deep lately. (hella, did I really just say that. Yes I did. Moving on.) It’s no secret I am swimming in one very introspective chapter of life, one of those growing stages. (does it ever stop? My mom says no.) This particular period of life involves an excavation of layers physical, mental, and emotional.

My words lately have been challenging words, raw and real words, the kind that hit us where it hurts.

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But it’s important to remember: not all days are bad days. There may be moments of darkness, hours and weeks, but there is light, too, oh so much light seeping through the cracks I’m sealing around my tired body and soul. And you know what? It is time to give the light its fair chance to shine on these pages, too. So here we go:

Welcome to Wellness Trending, my new weekly (well, #goals weekly) series. As I recover from disordered eating habits, exercise addiction, the fallout to both of those and, well, all the other stuff I’ve been writing about lately, I’ve been getting curious. And I crave a space to really dig into this curiosity and talk it out with you all, because I know I am not alone in the quest for all the healthy things–

In need of an honestly messy, imperfectly-photographed smoothie bowl, sweaty post-workout-way, too.

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The Girl & Her Coffee Cup: A Life Metaphor We All Need to Hear

May 17, 2017

I heard a metaphor the other day involving a girl and her coffee cup. Hands outstretched and fingers gripping tightly to her mug, she runs. Thumb looped through the handle she is careful not to spill, but the faster she runs–and oh! how she must run!–coffee sloshes up and over the rim. Drops fly. The cup empties.

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The girl sprints by her source once more for a refill–but the running must continue. She receives only drips from the Maker in passing.

On and on she goes, day after day, week after week.

We all know how this story ends: when nearing empty, one cannot survive on passing drips alone. Dehydration takes it toll long before thirst is felt,

Empty knows this. Yet Empty refuses to slow down enough to receive Fullness: There is one more thing to do! One more project, assignment, workout class. One more night we just can’t miss out on. Promotions to chase and salaries to raise. Bodies to trim and clothes to buy.

Empty will eventually stop–perhaps the only way she will stop–when she is met with a slow burn ending in a crash and fall. 

I am the girl with the coffee cup. I, too, was Empty.

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Owning My Empathetic Badass-ery

April 10, 2017

And I got way too many feels, way too much emotion
I don’t even know what’s real, I just say f*&k it, keep on going

-Kiiara ( & Avery)

I am a feelings girl–my heart bleeds on my sleeve. I cry when I get excited. I cry when I laugh too hard. I cry at sad movies, like real, belly-deep ugly cry that keeps me up at night. (I avoid sad books and The Fault in Our Stars and movies where animals die for this very reason.)

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I cry when others cry. I cry at concerts when the music is just so good. I cry when I sense my sisters’ pain even from across the country. I also literally shake with happiness at good news, and can hear my heart crack under the weight of disappointment and unmet expectations.

For the majority of my young life, I thought this was wrong. I thought I was faulty. Too sensitive,  they said. Drama queen, they said. Toughen up, they said.

So I tried.

I stuffed down emotions only for them to explode later. I buried myself deep inside my head, weaving myself up tight in lies questioning my self-worth, my purpose, and my mistakes. Relationships and close friendships imploded.

It wasn’t until my senior year of college when years of depression and eating disorders became unignorable, a very wise woman (my therapist, God love her) brought me to a life-changing realization:

the very trait I was seeing as my weakness is actually my strength.

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