Category Archives: HealthyBod

4 Life lessons learned in yoga
Apr
23rd

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how my yoga practice helps me grow in my day to day life. I am always raving about how yoga is life changing, but I don’t do a great job of identifying exactly how. In a lot of ways, it’s something you have to experience to really understand, but there are many lessons learned and practiced on your mat that clearly translate into daily life. These four in particular have impacted me strongly lately, so I wanted to share them all with you. <3

1. Return to your breath. Yoga practice is all about breath. During practice, you return to the breath to cultivate a sense of calm even when your body is working hard. No matter the situation, focusing on my breath brings the same sort of calm to my mind and body. I’ve written before about how this has helped me cope with my anxiety disorder, but it has even broader applications. Whether it’s managing a hectic day, or something much more stressful the ability to quickly tune out the chaos by focusing on even a single breath is an incredible tool to clear your mind and calm the storm.

Breathe background

2. The power of stillness. We live in a society that is always on the go. Rarely, if ever, do we take time to just be. Like most people, I am always doing: moving and fidgeting and thinking and worrying and planning. When I first started yoga I rebelled against the stillness. I fidget constantly in life (just ask John), and I fidgeted constantly in poses. Shifting my gaze, shifting my weight, making millions of micro adjustments while my mind ran wild with distraction.

pigeon pose mirror shot

The yin classes that I take once a week (where poses are held for 5 minutes each) really push me in this area, and I have seen so much improvement in my ability to calm my body and my mind and turn inward. Now I’ve come to relish those moments of complete stillness and quiet contemplation that come in my practice. Do I still have days where it just doesn’t come easily? Of course. But I’ve learned that amazing things can come from within if I just take the time to slow down and listen.

3. Honor your body. This has become my mantra recently. I used to be embarrassed of how “new agey” it sounds, but now I just embrace it. 🙂 Your body is your home, it’s the only one you’ll ever have. So don’t fight it or force it or abuse it. Mentally or physically. Learn to love it and respect it. Honor it by respecting its boundaries and edges in yoga (not forcing poses), in other areas of fitness (rest days, knowing when to stop), and in life (eating, sleeping, speeding up and slowing down as needed).

childs pose

4. Patience and acceptance. Progress in the physical postures is slow, at least for me. There are days when I am incredibly frustrated with myself and with my body for not being “better.” It is humbling to try difficult postures, and it tests my patience when my flexibility improves so slowly that it feels non-existence. I have to work hard, very hard, to embrace yoga’s message of accepting where you are in the present. The fact that it’s hard is exactly why I need it.

In reality, progress in yoga is not about the physical postures, it’s about the internal journey. It doesn’t matter how deep your backbend is or how long you can hold an arm balance. True progress comes from tuning into your body and connecting with yourself on a deeper level. Letting go of ego and the need to look like a yoga model requires patience and acceptance.

yoga is not about touching your toes

Questions: Yogis, do you agree with this list? What other life lessons do you take from your practice? Non-yogis, how does your passion translate into daily life?

Growing? Slipping? Or just addicted to dieting?
Apr
1st

One of my fav bloggers Arman had a great post last week about what he called the “diet mentality.”

I loved reading his take on it, and I thought the way he described it, as a mentality, was just perfect.

This is something I’ve been struggling a lot with lately, but I haven’t written about it because I didn’t know how to put it into words. I’ve been feeling uneasy, even unhappy. Reading Arman’s post really helped me get my thoughts together and put my finger on the problem:

I think I miss dieting.

am i addicted to dieting

It’s been about a year since I stopped counting calories and gave up my “food rules” and almost a year since I stopped weighing myself consistently. These are supposed to be big accomplishments and milestones towards a healthier, happier life. In some ways, they have been. I’ve talked about how freeing it is not to be constantly obsessed with food, with what I “can” or “can’t” eat, or how much, or when, and on and on. It’s nice to eat without a constant calculation running through my mind: what I’ve eaten, what I plan to eat, how much exercise I’ve done and plan to do and whether that will keep me on track.

But if I’m being really honest with myself, there are things I miss about about it. Things that I crave. I’m a person who needs structure. Someone who plans their day with a color coordinated google calendar and geeks out over task management apps. I always, always, need a plan. For all parts of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m flexible, I change my plan on a minute by minute basis sometimes. I just have to have one. Planning is how I manage stress. And not having that when it comes to my food stresses me out. I miss the rules and the rituals.

I want to be clear that I’m not talking about the out of control feeling that triggers old demons and relapses. This feels very different. That is a high stress, panicked, deep need to control and restrict. This is a low-level, mild unhappiness. This is my Type-A personality and its inability to cope with anything haphazard or unclear. That said, since I’ve never been through formal recovery, I can’t say for sure whether this is related to my history or normal for people who thrive on rules.

The part of me that desperately wants to have a healthy, uncomplicated relationship with food wants to keep doing what I’m doing: making healthy choices but eating with freedom by listening to hunger cues and honoring my cravings. But the part of me that is uneasy and unhappy wants something to change. I’ve spent weeks and weeks trying to figure out what or how to change while respecting my food philosophy. The result has been a stalemate, and I keep catching myself dwelling on all those old habits, and even dreaming up new ones (but not putting them into action).

It is hard for me and stressful for me to eat without rules, and I don’t know how to balance that against the unhealthy mental and emotional consequences of eating with rules. I don’t know how to reconcile the two issues. Maybe I can’t. Maybe I’m just addicted to dieting and if I give it enough time, it will eventually start to feel better. I can’t figure out if I’m struggling to shake the diet mentality and this is just part of the journey, if it’s a sign of something more fundamentally wrong, or if I can incorporate some rules again to satisfy that craving without taking it too far.

I don’t have any answers right now, but I always want to be open and honest here, and this is where I am right now. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a journey, and I’m still figuring things out. Thank you for listening, writing always helps me think things through <3

No questions, just your thoughts.

Disordered eating: My story
Feb
28th

*Deep breath* In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness week, which I posted about yesterday, I thought it was time to share an incomplete history of my troubled relationship with food.

I have never really felt comfortable talking about this topic. I think it’s because I was never actually diagnosed with an eating disorder. I feel like those in ED recovery are a community of their own. It’s an amazing, supportive community, but I feel like I don’t belong, like my experience wasn’t “serious enough” to count. Because of that, I feel like I don’t have a right to discuss it. I guess I’m afraid people will read and think “who does she think she is writing about this?”

I’ll never know if I would have been diagnosed had I sought treatment, but what I do know is that there was nothing healthy about my relationship with food. I may or may not have had an eating disorder, but my eating was (and sometimes still is) most certainly disordered. I had symptoms consistent with an eating disorder, and whether I belong or not, I see two big reasons to share my experience: 1) too be open and authentic in this space, and 2) more importantly, to show others that you don’t need an ED label to have a severely unhealthy relationship with food that damages you physically, mentally and emotionally. No label doesn’t mean you’re alone, it doesn’t mean you aren’t suffering, and it doesn’t mean you can’t recover.

It’s hard for me to remember a time when I had a healthy relationship with food, because my disordered thinking started in middle school, as I’m sure it does for many girls. I hated what was happening to my body, and I hated everything I saw in the mirror. I started to agonize over everything I ate. I spent weeks trying to make myself throw up after every meal – without success, thankfully – which made me hate myself even more. I would refuse to eat at school until friends literally forced food on me.

I’ve written before about how my issues with food have always been tied to anxiety and the need for control. For that reason, I think it would have been hard to notice at that time just how bad of a problem it was on the inside. When I was feeling ok, I ate more or less normally. When I wasn’t, I didn’t. And with so much of my time in middle school and high school spent at school, sports, and work, it was easy to hide. But on the inside, things had gone seriously wrong. Food was the enemy. My body was the enemy. It felt like a constant war with myself. My inner dialogue was a never ending stream of insecurity and self-loathing that continued largely unabated from the time I was 13 until just a few years ago.

This inconsistent outward expression of what was going on internally also meant that I was never really “too thin.” There was no reason to look at me and be alarmed. My weight did start to drop the summer before college. I was working a lot of the time and seriously restricting my food intake. But then I left for college which was a happier time for me. I gained friends, confidence, and direction. I still struggled with body image. I still had a hyper awareness of food – what I was eating, when I was eating. I still felt guilty every time I ate. But I didn’t act on those feelings in an extreme way. On the surface, I looked like your average college serial dieter.

The darkest time for me was in graduate school. It was a difficult time for me mentally and emotionally.

My whole world was dictated by calories. Certain foods were a “waste” of calories. Workouts were to negate calories. Foods were defined by calories. Calories were to be minimized, sometimes at all costs. I was obsessed with food rules and rituals. I had a long and growing list of foods I wouldn’t eat. Eating anything without a label made me anxious because I couldn’t easily count it up in my head. I didn’t have a limit, just a constant goal to keep the number as low as possible. It’s a miracle I had any brainpower left to devote to school.

I waitressed in a busy sports bar/restaurant to help support myself, but I had no energy. I relied on energy drinks to power through my shifts. I lost weight and kept losing it. People started to comment. For a while, it was light-hearted. I’d complain about being cold at work and the cooks would tell me to eat a sandwich (I was cold all the time). “I’m a healthy weight.” Became my go-to comeback. I knew the line on the BMI chart and I knew it well. I wasn’t eating enough. I hardly ate at all. But in my mind, I was healthy. The chart said so, right?

One of my best friends worked with me, and when we worked together she could coax me into eating real food by offering to split a meal with me. High calorie foods were consumed in small amounts at regular intervals in an attempt to convince the world (and maybe myself?) that I didn’t have a problem. “There’s nothing wrong with me, I split a quesadilla with Lindsay.” “Guys, seriously, I eat. I had ice cream tonight.” No one bought it. The old, lighthearted comments gave way to real concern. One night , I collapsed at work. One minute I was standing with a tray, and the next thing I knew, I was on the floor surrounded by the heavy pasta dishes I’d become too weak to carry. I still refused to eat. Lindsay pleaded with me, but could only convince me to have orange juice.

I was terrified of food and of eating. Every time I ate something, it felt like a crushing failure. I kept believing if I could just lose a little more, things would be better, everything would be ok. Just a little more. But those little mores kept adding up, and I kept feeling worse.

So many aspects of my behavior in that time were truly frightening, but there’s no way to share them in a way that doesn’t risk triggering others who might be dealing with worse or similar struggles.

I wish I could explain what turned things around, but I can’t. It was so many things. I was growing up, learning to deal with my anxiety bit by bit. John and I were maturing and our relationship was more stable. The strength of his support in all aspects of my life gave me the strength and courage to approach my body with love and acceptance. In some ways, changing the outer expression has been the easy part. Changing the inner dialogue is the real battle. I’ve accomplished a lot in my life, but one of the things I am most proud of is just how far I’ve come in how I treat myself. At times, I still have cruel thoughts, and at times, I have to fight hard against the urge to tear myself down. There are times I would rather give in to the urge to restrict than keep fighting. But those times are increasingly rare. I feel transformed. If you had told me four years ago that I could feel the way I feel now, I would have laughed in your face. Younger me would never believe I could love what I see in the mirror instead of loathing it. It’s been difficult, and there are still hard days, but the joy and the freedom are worth it.

The progress back has been a long, slow journey over the last five years. A journey with lots of ups and downs. Lots of setbacks, but also lots of breakthroughs. Almost a year ago, I started this blog because of those breakthroughs. Not because I wanted to write a recovery blog (obviously), but because I was seeing my body and my health in a new, nurturing, and positive light. It was and is an incredible feeling, one that I want everyone to experience.

As always, thank you all so much for reading, and for your love and support. No questions today, just some resources and gratitude to you for listening, but please share your thoughts if you have them. <3

Resources

  • If you are suffering, you are not alone. Chat online with NEDA’s confidential information and referral helpline or call 1-800-931-2337.
  • Take a free, confidential, online screening of your symptoms. Note: this is not a substitute for a professional diagnosis, but it can help you consider your symptoms and provide you with recommended next steps.
  • Parents, educators, coaches, and athletic trainers can benefit from pdf toolkits available from NEDA.
  • Learn more about eating disorders and find additional resources on the NEDA website.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
Feb
27th

I had a different post planned for today, but in honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness week, I thought I would help do my part to raise awareness and spread the word.

I sat down to write about my own, related experience, but it just isn’t ready to share yet. I want to make sure I’m not triggering, and that I’m comfortable with what I’m sharing. Honestly, it was much more difficult than I expected, and it brought up more emotions than I expected. But I’m hoping it will be ready for tomorrow. For now, I’ll stick to sharing information and resources.

We learn about eating disorders as teenagers, but most people underestimate their severity and their prevalence. These infographics do a much better job of communicating the statistics than I could, but I wanted to point out a few things. First, I was shocked that body dissatisfaction begins at such a young age. This, to me, seems like a huge change from my generation to the current generation. Second, I only recently learned that anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Third, you can’t make assumptions about whether you or someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder based on what you see on the outside.

People with eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. They also affect both genders:

Please take some time this week to learn more and get educated. You never know when someone you meet or someone you know and love might be suffering, and you never know how your support and understanding can help.

Resources:

  • If you are suffering, you are not alone. Chat online with NEDA’s confidential information and referral helpline or call 1-800-931-2337.
  • Take a free, confidential, online screening of your symptoms. Note: this is not a substitute for a professional diagnosis, but it can help you consider your symptoms and provide you with recommended next steps.
  • Parents, educators, coaches, and athletic trainers can benefit from pdf toolkits available from NEDA.
  • Learn more about eating disorders and find additional resources on the NEDA website.

Back to basics: Smoothies
Feb
25th

As you may know, I’m drinking all the smoothies lately.

It was my go-to breakfast this summer, then the weather got cold and I took a break for a while, but they are back in my life in full force.

One of my good friends asked me recently about smoothie recipes, so I thought I’d put together a post with my personal smoothie formula. 🙂

BusyBod: The Perfect Smoothie Formula

Now, by perfect, I mean perfect for me. Obviously, everyone has their own specific tastes and preferences. But after a few years of messing around on my own (without bothering to do anything helpful like look up recipes to try…), I found that this formula works for me.

There are two basic rules I follow for smoothies: 1) always use banana, and 2) never use yogurt.

Bananas are the key to make a smoothie creamy and frothy. Without it, you end up with something like juice or something like a slushy. The no yogurt rule is definitely a personal preference. I used to always use yogurt, but I felt like my smoothie coated my throat and I hated that. I finally realized the yogurt was to blame, so now I never use it.

THE FORMULA

  1. Banana – Usually one half. A whole banana will make it even frothier but for me that’s a little much. I save the second half for a snack with peanut butter later in the morning. In the summer, I cut up banana and keep it in the freezer. Using frozen banana gives the smoothie a milkshake consistency which is divine.
  2. Other fruit – Preferably frozen. For me, this is usually berries, but sometime I use pineapple or something else creative. Between the banana and the other fruit, my individual smoothie cup is about 3/4 full. This is what really dictates the flavor of your smoothie.
  3. Liquid – I always use unsweetened original almond milk, but you can use whatever you like. I fill the cup to just above the fruit. About 1 cup.
  4. Protein (optional) – I usually add protein powder and the amount depends on the flavor and on what else is in the smoothie. Lately I’ve been using vanilla protein powder. I find vanilla a little overpowering so I only use about a third of a scoop. If it’s right after a workout I might bump it up to a full scoop.
  5. Extras (optional) – Extras add nutritional or other value to your smoothie without changing the flavor. This can be lots of things. My baby blender doesn’t handle greens very well but I still add them from time to time. Chia seeds make it extra filling. Oats are another favorite of mine. Sometimes I’ll add 1/4 cup of old fashioned oats again to make it extra filling.

Looking for more fit tips? Head over to visit Lisa at TSOH for more Fit Tip Tuesday posts!

Fit Tip Tuesday Button

Questions: What do you put in your smoothies? What other fit tips would you like to see?

Unplugging with yoga
Feb
17th

Hello loves! Sorry for the slightly late post. And actually, this isn’t really a post at all, because I’m just popping in to tell you that I’m guest posting about unplugging with yoga for Amy at Long Drive Journey!

legs up a wall

Even though yoga is a big part of my life, I haven’t talked about it much here. I mention it from time to time and if you follow me on IG my pictures are blowing up your feed, but I haven’t really shared how much yoga has benefitted me mentally and emotionally. When Amy asked me to guest post as part of her From Start to Finish series, it gave me a chance to do just that. I hope you’ll head over and check it out! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and feedback (I’ll be checking the comments both here and there).

From Start to Finish – Unplugging with Yoga

Determination vs. Ego: Knowing your limits
Feb
11th

I’ve talked before about the negative impact your ego can have on your workout routine, but today I want to talk about how ego can affect your health and even your safety. If you follow me on instagram or Cody, you may have already seen most of this rant, so you won’t hurt my feelings if you skip it (I’ll see you tomorrow for WIAW ;)).

Let’s start with a story from Sunday, because it is what motivated this post originally and illustrates my point perfectly. This month, I’m doing an inversion challenge on instagram to work on some of my fitness goals for this year. Sunday’s pose was half handstand. Basically, instead of straightening your legs, you keep them in a tucked position. This forces you to really engage your core to keep your feet in the air. After my morning practice, I got to work on the pose. It was not going very well because I couldn’t hold the pose in the air. I started to get frustrated, and I started to get tired. The bunny hops that get you to handstand fatigue the shoulders surprisingly quickly.

My attempts were getting sloppy, but after about ten minutes, I finally got about a half-second of hang time.

half handstand

Instead of being satisfied and calling it quits, I decided to try again. “I can beat that.” I thought to myself. I knew I was too tired, but I wanted to feel like I had really done the pose (insert eyeroll here). On that next set of attempts, my arms buckled and I came crashing down on my neck and shoulders.

fall from half handstand

(Note: I have pictures because the video was running.)

Luckily, John was there, and he rushed over to check on me. It pays to be married to an athletic trainer – it’s his job to rush out and treat injured athletes.

IMG_5096

I’m fine (just some mild bruises and some lingering pain similar to a stiff neck), but I was in a lot of pain, and it could have been much worse. The neck is not something to mess with. [Note: Ironically, it wouldn’t have been as bad if I hadn’t been using a wall. Rolling out of it would have reduced the impact, but instead I got stuck.]

Now here is the real question. What motivated me to push that extra bit? A lot of people would see that as a sign of determination. I didn’t want to give up, I was going to the max. The fitness world is all about that lately aren’t they? “Puke, faint, or die!” “Don’t stop when you can’t, stop when you’re done!” “Beast mode!” “Rawwwwwwwwwwr!!!!!!” But it wasn’t determination. It was ego. When you ignore your health or your safety in the name of fitness, that’s ego, and that’s stupid.

To be honest, I kind of hate myself for giving in to it. Normally I roll my eyes disdainfully at people who embrace this attitude. If you puke or faint, that’s your body telling you that something is wrong, and if you die, well, you’re dead. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be determined. Be determined! Set big goals. Push yourself outside of your comfort. But there is a line, and when you cross it, don’t try to justify your actions by hiding behind your “commitment” and “determination.”

Compromising your health or safety is counterproductive and really silly when you think about it. Why are you working out anyway? To get healthy/be healthy, right? It doesn’t matter whether it’s yoga, running, CrossFit, or something else entirely. Know your limits. I mean your true limits. Yes, you should absolutely push through the “eh, I don’t feel like it” and the “but I’m tired,” but just like you should listen to your body when it comes to food and rest, listen to your body during your workouts.

I feel like this post ended up sounding kind of angry and accusatory, but it isn’t meant that way. It comes from a place of love! I just want you all to be safe, happy, and healthy. <3

No questions, just your thoughts.

My nerdy girl reading list
Jan
31st

I read a lot. Like, a whole lot. I know what you’re thinking: “Well duh Kim, you’re in law school, we know you read.” This is true, I read a whooooole lot of law everyday. But on top of that, I read for fun. And no, not just blogs. I’m talking about books! Reading may seem like a weird topic for a healthy reading blog, but I promise I’m not getting off topic. One of the best ways to keep your brain healthy is to read. It’s relaxing, it improves your memory, it keeps your brain sharp, and it may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease {source, source}.

I’ve always loved to read because I love getting lost in a story. I’ve always had an overactive imagination, which makes it extra easy to disappear into the world of a book, TV show, or movie. It often surprises people to learn that I make time to read more than just law books, but I do. I mean, I read the entire Hunger Games trilogy in 4 days (which involved lots of reading during classes… whoops!!!). Usually, though, I read before bed, and sometimes in the morning when I’m having more trouble than usual putting my book down.

The thing is, my taste in books is fairly… unique. They fall in the “young adult” category, even though I’m pretty sure that’s code for teenagers. Whatever, it’s fine. And I’ve always loved fantasy novels. Yes, fantasy. Can’t you tell I was the coolest kid in high school?? While I still love fantasy, these days I’m obsessed with all things dystopian/post-apocalyptic. Side note: John thinks I’m a borderline doomsday prepper and he’s probably right.

book list cover picture

I used to be very secretive about my taste in book because I was embarrassed. Not anymore! I’ve long since embraced my nerdy side, so today I’m sharing all of the books I’ve read and enjoyed in this genre in the past two years. You know… in case you share my nerdiness and are looking to do a LOT of reading. I should also note that I have some super favorites not included on this list because I read them longer ago. Classics like Ender’s Game, alllll the Harry Potter books, His Dark Materials trilogy, the Hunger Games, just to name a few.

Favorites

Here are the books I’ve loved the most, in no particular order. I could rave on and on about all of these, so I’m trying to keep the commentary short. You’ll notice I read mostly trilogies, so those are grouped accordingly.

  • Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant – This is probably the most popular and widely known of the series’ on this list. The third book was disappointing after how much I loved the others, but I still recommend it to everyone.
  • Legend, Prodigy, Champion – Definitely recommend for Hunger Games fans.
  • Girl of Fire & Thorns, Crown of Embers, Bitter Kingdom – I could not put these down and flew through the trilogy.
  • The Scourge, The Defiance (Brilliant Darkness trilogy) – I can’t wait for book three in this series! I adored the first book, and I don’t think it was originally planned to be more than a single book, but I”m so glad it’s a full trilogy because I’m obsessed.
  • Uglies, Pretties, Specials – I thought the basis for this series looked kind of dumb to be honest, but I’m really glad I gave it a chance because it sucked me in SO FAST. I even bought the mini novellas that go with it.
  • Pure, Fuse (Pure trilogy) – I debated including this in the favorites list, but I really like the characters. The last book in the trilogy, Burn, comes out on 2/4 though so I’m super excited about that.
  • Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem – This is another one I thought looked stupid until I started reading. Love as a disease? *Rolls eyes* I was so wrong, I burned through these wicked quick.
  • Cinder, Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles) – Definitely more on the fantasy side, but it’s a cool, futuristic, dystopian/fantasy take on old fairy tales. And it weaves them together which is even cooler. Book three, Cress, is also coming out on 2/4, I’m going to have a lot of reading to do!
  • Matched, Crossed, Reached – This is definitely up there with my top top favorites. I fell so in love with the characters. I may or may not plan to name my someday child after one of them. No guessing, and no stealing my idea!
  • Birthmarked, Prized, Promised – Maybe my number one favorite series. So good. Soooo good. I sound like a broken record.
  • Graceling – A rare single book on my list, but I WISH it was a trilogy. There are other “related” books, but they are based on other characters and I really just want more of the main character.
  • The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure – The first book especially I loved. It’s like dystopian fantasy and a mystery all rolled into one. Read this before it becomes a movie, please pretty please!

Other good reads

These didn’t make my favorites list for various reasons, but I still recommend them!

  • The Handmaid’s Tale – I loved this book, but it left me with so many questions!
  • Under the Never Sky, Through the Ever Night, Into the Still Blue – This was a close call, so good!
  • Touch of Power, Scent of Magic, Taste of Darkness (Healer trilogy) – Ok. I love the story in these books, but there are some stylistic choices that the author makes that grate on my nerves, otherwise it would be a favorites!
  • Gravity, Hover (The Taking trilogy) – These are definitely on the sci fi/fantasy side so it might be too much for most people, but I love them! Still waiting on a book three release date.
  • Anathema, Oubliette, Severed (Cloud Prophets trilogy) – More fantasy, I really liked it though.
  • Soulkeepers, Weaving Destiny, Return to Eden – Definitely fantasy.
  • Glow, Spark, Flame (Sky Chasers trilogy) – It’s been a while since i read these and book three is sitting and waiting for me (I just got it). I remember really loving it but it’s been a while so I kept it out of favorites.
  • Starters, Enders – I haven’t read Enders yet (also just got it, waiting to be read), but I enjoyed Starters!

Phew! That was a lot. There are over 50 of them, and that’s just the one’s I liked enough to share and that were this general style. How am I not failing law school again?

Questions: Are you a big reader? What types of books do you like to read? Are you totally overwhelmed by how uncool I am? See any of your own favorites on this list?

Fit Tip: How’s your BS-o-meter?
Jan
21st

Sometimes, I take for granted my (and the rest of the HLB community’s) ability to spot healthy living-related BS. When you spend a lot of time reading and learning about health and fitness, the gimmicky nature of a lot of the mainstream stuff becomes glaringly obvious. Ironically, a lot of this stuff is what got me interested in fitness in the first place, and for most people, it’s their starting point for information. But sadly, most of it is designed to do one thing: sell you something (a dvd, a magazine, a book). Nowadays, when I roll my eyes at outrageous claims, I forget how many people are eating it up, just like I used to. BS-o-Meter graphic With so many resolutioners looking for answers on how to lose weight, get in shape, etc., this time of year is rampant with garbage claims and bad information. I thought it might be a fun post for Fit Tip Tuesday to highlight some of the offenders, and point out how you can tell it’s an offending claim. While I’m sure most of you, my lovely readers, are pros at spotting and ignoring this stuff, hopefully it will at least give you a few laughs.

Beware of “quick fixes”

Anything that promises to transform you in days or weeks is nonsense. First of all, it probably won’t work, unless it is requiring you to take extreme measures, and extreme measures aren’t good for you long-term health. Second of all, even if it did work, it won’t be sustainable. If you don’t make lasting changes, you’ll just go right back to where you were (which is what the mainstream weight-loss industry wants, otherwise they’d go out of business). More importantly, no one can keep up this craziness for long. Third, it probably isn’t healthy to change your body that quickly, even if you could. Some examples: lose overnightFour pounds and six inches overnight?! Wowza it’s a miracle! I just have to eat “bloat-busters” and it will “melt trapped bely fat!” IMG_4620 IMG_4619 Yes, I own these magazines (free subscription through Zumba). They do have some good things to offer (new moves, etc), but you have to be able to distinguish the good from the bad. If there was an “all natural” tummy tuck that worked in just days, people wouldn’t pay thousands of dollars for an unnatural one.

You can’t spot reduce your belly, no matter how you try it

Trust me, I wish you could, my middle has always been my “trouble spot,” if you will. But sadly for me and for the rest of the world, there is no magic fix. Some examples: IMG_4621 Just two weeks (time promises again)! It’s a miracle anyone hasn’t lost their belly. secret to belly fat Running can help you lose weight, but there’s no “secret” running trick that will make your belly go “bye-bye.”

Shhhh it’s a secret

Speaking of secrets, the only secret to health/weight-loss/fitness is that there are no secrets. Anyone purporting to have a big secret to sell you is full of it. Another example: IMG_4214 A new no-starve weight-loss phenomenon!? Tell me more! Actually don’t. Oh and look, they’re also promising you’ll “get-thin-quick.” So many red flags!

Just follow the rules!

You know how they say there is an exception to every rule? That’s how I was taught to spot “false” T/F questions on exams. The same thing applies to diet rules. Beware anything that tells you to always eat something or never eat something.

beyond diet food to NEVER EAT

(There’s that belly fat promise again!)

popsugar weight loss rules These kinds of strict rules don’t guarantee results and often lead to disordered eating habits. I used to have a laundry list of things I never ate because I wanted to lose weight. Some of them worked, but it promoted an unhealthy mindset that still plagues me today.

It’s easy!

Personally, I don’t find living a healthy lifestyle to be hard most of the time, but getting to this point was definitely hard, and it took time. Think twice about anything that tries to tell you otherwise. fitness mag crash diets There is no such things as a good crash diet, that’s an oxymoron! I don’t care if someone lost 14 pounds. It’s a crash diet! All crash diet are bad because… you know… they are crash diets! Crash inherently implies short-term, quick-fix, unhealthy deprivation. FBG great content but gimmick titleI was extra sad about this one because I love FBG, and I hate to call them out. They are amazing women and do good work promoting body acceptance and healthy, balanced lives. And the content of the article was good and helpful, it focused on your mindset about weight-loss, and I think it’s good advice. But the message was still all wrong. The tips in the article won’t make weight loss easy. They are relying on a gimmicky title to draw people in with a false promise. It’s these empty promises that leave so many people feeling discouraged and convinced that they are the problem. Because if it’s supposed to be easy, and it isn’t working, who else can you blame?

So, to summarize:

  1. If it promises unbelievably fast results, you shouldn’t believe it.
  2. There is no magical spot reduction.
  3. The only secret is that there are no secrets.
  4. Beware of grand promises based on following rigid rules.
  5. Easy is not the answer.

Thanks for indulging my rant today. These are just a few of the many many many examples I see everyday, and they make me crazy!

Fit Tip Tuesday Button

As I mentioned, I’m linking up today with Lisa from The Skinny on Health for Fit Tip Tuesday. Head over to get even more health and fitness advice from some fabulous bloggers 🙂

P.S. Don’t forget to enter The Color Run giveaway!!

Questions: What are your healthy living pet peeves? Biggest BS diet promise you’ve seen this year (or ever)? What are some other telltale signs of bad health/fitness advice?

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Jan
7th

Warning, I’m putting on my serious pants today. I honestly considered not publishing this post, but since writing it is what ultimately helped me, I decided to share it anyway in case it could help someone else. If you’re not in the mood for serious, hopefully I’ll see you tomorrow for WIAW.

Over the holidays, I had what I’m calling a relapse. Now as I sat down to write this, I realized that because I still haven’t done the work to write the story of my own health and fitness journey, this is out of context, and it may not make sense. So, I apologize for that, and I promise that post is coming, but I’m writing this one anyway. So let’s start with some background.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you may have seen me mention in passing my history of extreme caloric restriction. I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder, but there was definitely a period of time in my life when I was eating a dangerously low number of calories. Even outside of that time period, I’ve always tended toward restrictive eating and obsessive exercise. I will never know if I would have been diagnosed with EDNOS had I sought treatment (probably not since I “recovered” without treatment), but I do know I was very unhealthy both physically and mentally/emotionally.

you are more powerful than you know you are beautiful just the way you are

When I was young, they taught us in school that anorexia was ultimately about control. I always thought that was odd. I didn’t care about control, I just wanted to be skinny! This was one of the many justifications I used to avoid facing the fact that I had a problem, along with things like “I still eat ice cream” (even if it was all I ate that day) and “I’m not wasting away” (even though I reached an unhealthy weight for my height). For the purpose of this post, what matters is that as I matured, I began to recognize that exact pattern in my own behavior.

I have always, always felt the need for control, whether I’m actually in control or not, I need the feeling of things being under control. I’ve also always struggled with anxiety (and my anxiety disorder actually has been diagnosed, many times), and control is a way I have countered anxiety throughout my lifetime, so it’s not really surprising that it’s something I struggle with. When my life feels out of control, my immediate, instinctual reaction is to eat less. It took me a long time to make the connection, because it isn’t conscious. It requires stepping back and recognizing that my sudden desire to diet, skip a meal, or workout an extra hour is being triggered by something deeper.

I’ve read enough books that I don’t need a psychologist to tell me this is my attempt to regain control of something, anything, when I feel like I’m losing it. Understanding my issue with control and learning to recognize and respond to anxiety attacks has helped me tremendously to live a more healthy and balanced life. But, like anyone else, I’m human, and I have my moments. Adding to the frustration for me this time has been my failure to identify the trigger. Over the past couple years, it’s been easier to fight them because, most of the time, I can quickly pinpoint the underlying, “out-of-control” situation. Once I’ve identified the real problem, I can focus on coping with that (or fixing it if I can) instead.

choose health

Over the holidays, I was getting the urge to eat less. Much less. The feeling built up over a day or two. I felt it and recognized it, but couldn’t immediately identify the trigger, giving the old urges more time to fight their way back. It culminated a couple days before Christmas. It was 10:30, I was exercising, I hadn’t eaten, and was relieved not to be hungry because I wanted to see how long I could go. I had lunch scheduled with my dad. Could I make it until then? How little could I eat at lunch without arousing suspicion? I struggled to stop exercising. The day before, I did an hour of TurboFire (cardio kickboxing), and when I finished I felt like I needed to do more. John intervened because I was (am) dealing with tendonitis in my foot and he wanted me to rest. That day I had already done a HIIT workout and a bunch of core work on the TRX, but I got on the treadmill anyway. I felt like I couldn’t stop. John didn’t want me to be running at all. I cried mid-workout because I wasn’t as “in shape” as I used to be. I felt the familiar panic response that precedes my anxiety attacks. Even though I recognized what was happening, I didn’t want to fight it. I wanted to just give in. That’s the relapse.

But I didn’t. I finally talked myself off the ledge and shut off the treadmill after just a couple miles, but it was hard. I had to trick myself. I convinced myself I was stopping because if I didn’t, my injury might worsen and affect my ability to keep overexercising. It was enough to stop me in the moment, which was all I needed. I sat down and wrote this post to force myself to face it and deal with it. It worked, I felt better. I went upstairs and had a handful of nuts, ate a normal lunch with my dad, and continued my balanced approach to the holidays by indulging in candy and cookies and wine.

you are worthy

I’m thankful to be at a point where I recognize what’s happening and what I’m doing. At least that way I fight it instead of just giving in to old destructive habits. I’m thankful that, watching me from the outside, you’d probably never know there was a struggle on the inside. But that doesn’t make it easy. It’s still hard. Incredibly hard. There’s an overwhelming feeling that if I just give in, I’ll feel better. It’s a powerful feeling, and it’s hard for the rational part of my brain to win in that fight. I suspect that’s what an addiction feels like (but thankfully, I wouldn’t know). I wanted to share my mini-struggle story because I know it’s a struggle shared by lots of people, whether in recovery from treatment for ED, just trying to move past the “dieting” approach to “health,” or somewhere in between like me.

Thank you for listening. Even though I didn’t publish it right away, having the blog as an outlet to encourage me to write my thoughts in the moment helped me immensely. It also helped me feel accountable. I didn’t want to let you all down. I wanted to continue setting what I hope is a good example. I am grateful <3

No questions, just your thoughts.

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