July 17th Blog Post – 1….Me – 0
Okay, so maybe the 6th time’s the charm with finishing this blog post. I seriously don’t know what my problem is with finishing this one! Sorry if this post is a little choppy or all over the place, as I was in a different mood every time I picked it up, so bear with me. ..
I’ve continued with my running and have done my June and July since my last post. Talk about sweltering heat in Texas. It doesn’t matter what time of morning, it’s hot, hot HOT! Here are a couple of pics from those races.
“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.” FDR
I’m breaking my routine. I’ve always hunkered down and followed my routine, resisting anything that might cause me to deviate from the norm. This usually means sitting on the couch and watching my shows. Anything that I was obligated to do outside of this would give me anxiety. I’d count down the minutes until I could get home and back on track. Now, I enjoy doing different things. And I don’t get upset, or thrown off if it’s not part of the routine. Dinner in the middle of the week? Sounds fantastic! Moving my evening run to a morning run? No problem! It is actually a refreshing feeling to be free of my former self. I never thought of myself as a high maintenance person, but now I’m seeing that on the inside, I really was high maintenance on myself.
I’ve been getting back into my running groove. Slowly and surely, since injuring myself. And then a bout of the stomach flu. I’m not quite back to where I was, but I’m slowly getting there. I realized, I didn’t post anything about my May race. This one was a 5k that started at my old high school. I ran it by myself, but my dad actually came up and watched me start and finish. That was really special to me. Then, we went for a huge breakfast. I also recorded my personal best time in a race making it in under 28 minutes! I have my June race this weekend. It’s an obstacle course race that I’m doing with some friends. It will be really fun and messy!
My sister and I recently took a road trip to the Grand Canyon as like a last sister trip before she moves to Florida. Here are some highlights of our trip...
Our camping trip got cut short. We fell asleep shortly after setting up camp due to sheer exhaustion and the fact that it was too cold to be outside of the tent. The next day was spent checking out our surroundings and touring the Grand Canyon.
That evening, we got hit with an unexpected and unseasonable cold front, which we were not prepared for in both attire and bedding. At first, it started with a little rain. Okay, we can deal. Then the freezing rain started to pelt our campsite. Um, sure… no problem. Then, the thick snow started to fall. Having left our parkas and snowshoes at the outdoors store, these Texan gals were not cut out for that, so we quickly shoved everything into the SUV (soaking wet and covered in mud) into the car. Now, take note that we had strategically packed everything into the car so that it fit just so, with no room to spare. We did not have the time, patience, or warm clothes to take the time to do this. We made an unexpected, hasty getaway to beautiful Sedona. Imagine opening the trunk to the car when we got to the hotel that night. We spent the next day in a parking lot reorganizing all of our gear. I don’t want to complain too much, this was our view while we loaded everything in.
I want to take a second to marvel at the beauty that is Sedona. I have never seen a place so spectacular in its beauty. Even with the overcast weather, I still got a glimpse at how incredibly beautiful this place is. I think, if it can take my breath away in this kind of weather, imagine what it will do when it’s sunny, clear, and 80 degrees. Arizona made me feel calm, at ease, in mind, body, and spirit. I felt like my heart truly belongs there.
Like David Bowie sings about, changes are on the horizon for me! The time has come for my graduation. All of the years, hard work, and especially the writing and effort put in this last semester has made this moment much anticipated. I wrote my Capstone and created the presentation to deliver to the Capstone Forum. This semester was very demanding, but it was a wonderful experience. I can’t imagine doing it not sober. I would not have appreciated the experience and my Capstone would not have turned out as good as it did. Now, I feel like I hardly get a break before I start all over again. I’m working on compiling all of the requirements to submit my application to another master’s program in rehabilitation counseling. This type of education will be completely different from the type that I’m accustomed to. Not only in content, but in style since it is a distance learning format. I’m very excited about this endeavor and moving toward a career change. It will be hard, but totally worth it.
A lot has been going on with me as of late. It seems that I’m at the doctor or physical therapy multiple times a week. I used to be terrible about going to the doctor for any kind of ailment. I’d often schedule appointments and then cancel them as soon as I sensed any kind of relief. Anything that threw me off of my routine was not something I wanted to sign up for. I’ve really made a point to make this year a year that I take care of Me. Now I’m working on getting the rest of me in tip top shape. Ironically, I’ve had a few setbacks with injuries, but these have sort of been blessings in disguise. I’m learning more about my body and getting to know myself physically.
One of the many things I’ve done to improve my health is to start taking daily supplements. I was always a skeptic of supplements. And part of me still is. The old me would have stuck with taking a daily supplement for a week or two and then given up. My mom always nagged me to start taking a multivitamin. I would scoff and think it’s a load of crap. In part of taking care of Me this year, I had my general practitioner do a blood test to test for vitamin deficiencies. I highly recommend you get a vitamin deficiency panel done. This can help you more accurately pinpoint any issues, whether mental or physical ailments.
When I got the test done, I’d already started taking supplements, but I could feel in my body that something was a little off. It was the dead of winter and with enough research I figured I had a vitamin D deficiency. Here is a link to symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Some of these symptoms are very unpleasant and most commonly result in depression. So, if you find yourself feeling a little down in the winter months, this could very possibly be a contributing factor. Sure enough, that was the really significant deficiency that came back on my results. I added a vitamin D supplement to my daily intake and made sure to stand in the limited sunlight that was available during the winter months.
I experiment with a variety of vitamins and supplements that I contribute to improving my quality of life. A year and a half ago, I ate an extremely clean diet. No processed foods or refined grains or sugar. It was a very hard thing to do and ended up consuming my life. Granted, I was still consuming copious amounts of alcohol while “getting healthy”. Everything I learned during that time of clean eating has helped me find a happy medium. I avoid most dyes and additives, to an extent.
The things I learned while living a clean diet surprisingly became useful when choosing the supplements that I would take. I found that certain brands like Nature Made add the toxic Yellow # whatever to many of their capsules. What the hell for?! I don’t get it. I can’t stress enough, ALWAYS READ THE LABELS! The name of a product is no indication of what actually goes in it. I found a multivitamin formulated for women that I really like. You can check it out HERE.
There are some supplements that I take that I probably won’t continue once I finish the bottle. However, here is a list of everything else that I could not live without.
I know this seems like a lot of vitamins, but I just portion them into a weekly pill case once a week. It doesn’t take a whole lot of time, and I feel much better since taking them. In fact, I stopped taking the Sun Theanine, being the skeptic that I am. About two weeks after taking it, I noticed a significant change in my mood. After analyzing what might be causing this, and trying to wait it out in case it was a monthly thing, I ordered my Sun Theanine and I’m back in business.
What are some supplements you all can’t live without?
Next week, my sister and I will be heading on a week long camping trip to Arizona. I will be able to disconnect, go off the grid, focus on my health and fitness, and connect with nature. Hopefully, I will come back refreshed and relaxed…though, my parents may end up down a daughter with our head butting! But how can we argue when we will be staring at views like this…
A quick update on me. The accident prone, clumsy-ass that I am fell last Sunday while visiting my parents. I have a micro fracture in my left patella, and a sprained right ankle. I’m a limping, groaning mess. I’m not able to run for a couple of weeks, but I hope to be back up and running in time to run my May race. Fingers crossed. I’m thinking of signing up for one in Arizona when my sister and I take our Southwest road trip toward the end of the month. Here’s to a speedy recovery!
So, a topic that I've been meaning to bring up is about some of my health and beauty routines. Back when I was attempting to rid my life of all unhealthy toxins I experimented with quite a few, interesting techniques. Everything we use on a daily basis, from our beauty routine to our cleaning supplies, is chock full of chemicals and toxins. Since our skin is the largest organ of our body, and the first to come in contact with these chemicals, you can imagine the overtime our body has to take in order to detox and rid our bodies of these foreign molecules. Many studies and experiments have been done on this subject and the results are staggering (I won’t go into them at this time, but you can easily google them). Since I knew my body was working so hard to when I was eating clean, I figured I could help it out a bit by removing a few of these items from my lifestyle.
For a short time, I did no-poo for my hair wash routine (I know it sounds gross, but google it). I have since settled on a low-poo hair care routine that is much more manageable. I’m slowly switching out beauty products and cleaning products to more natural versions (don’t trust the name, READ the ingredients label, people!) And I went on a totally clean diet at one point. Well, we all know how that’s going now with my gummy bear diet, and all. I've actually restrained the sugar monster, some. It’s a work in progress. Anyway, I really wanted to become a much healthier person than I’d been. I've read so much about how “you are what you eat” and so many chemicals in processed food contribute to anxiety and depression (something I know we are all familiar with) and the impact to the overall quality of life. The main change that I've made and kept is with my dental routine. I know what you all are thinking, that is a really risky routine to mess around with. Trust me, I know. I have an odd obsession with my teeth and I’m fairly proud of them. So, I really did not want to jack this experiment up. I believe my mom even said I would have to pay her back for all the dental work she paid to make my teefs look so pretty.
Alright, so you’re probably wondering, what did she change?! Well, for one, I started making my own toothpaste. It took a while to get used to, since the marketing and commercial world have convinced us that if something is super sudsy and foamy, then it must not be working. Well, I hate to break it to you, but those suds and foams and bubbles are most added using chemical ingredients that have a chemical reaction when you use them, the by-product being the glorious lather. The suds aren't serving any purpose to the effectiveness of the soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. except to invade your body with unnecessary evils that it will later have to work to detox. Poison. Why do you think it says to call poison control if ingested? Not good, y’all. This is the recipe that I pull from to make my own toothpaste. Here are the ingredients that I buy from Amazon:
Tea Tree Oil
And another added bonus? I save soooooo much money making my own. With this version, I really just add bentonite clay, peppermint castile soap, and filtered water. I switch it up each time. Eventually, you will find your own concoction that you like best.
Okay, so that’s not the end of my dental care routine. The most important part of my routine is possibly the most difficult to adjust to. But, man, once you get used to is, you can’t stop. So, I was always told (along with most Americans) that once your enamel has worn down, chipped, eroded, you can’t replace it. Well, I’m here to tell you that that is all a bunch of hokey. Sure you can’t remineralize your teeth if you’re applying harsh chemicals and abrasive crap to them. I’m sure that’s what the ADA and Colgate would love you to believe. Have you ever thought about how people kept their teeth clean BEFORE there were blue striped pastes and gels (don’t even get me started on the toxicity of the dyes they add). No, they did not just let their teeth rot out of their head before reaching adulthood. They used natural remedies to keep their teeth healthy. One of these old as time techniques is oil pulling. I started practicing oil pulling about a year and a half ago, and I've never looked back. you want to know more about oil pulling, look here. Or you can google it to find all the interesting, nerdy history stuff about it. Oil pulling is a method of dental and oral hygiene by pulling oil through your teeth. Take a teaspoon or more of oil (high quality, unrefined oil) and swish it in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. I know this sounds like torture, but you get used to it after the first week or so. It cleans, strengthens, and is even reported to help your body detox and rid toxins (something I know all of us could use). If I do it every morning after I wake up. While the timer is counting down, I pack my lunch, put away dishes, pick out my outfit, and I don’t even realize that I’m swishing. And it’s not like you have to do the dramatic, forceful swishing, just move the oil around your mouth enough to pull through all of the hidden nooks and crannies that your toothbrush can’t reach. When you’re done, spit the oil out in the trash can (never the sink!). Oil pulling actually allows the enamel on your teeth to strengthen and remineralize. Don’t listen to the lies of “once it’s gone, it’s gone.” Now, I’m not saying that it will eliminate the need for a root canal or grow back a missing tooth, but I've read that it can strengthen weak teeth and even repair small cavities. It also whitens your teeth (don’t expect them to whiten like you've dumped bleach or peroxide on them) and freshens breath. What’s not to love?!
I use a good quality, unrefined coconut oil (you can find it HERE), but I've heard you can use unrefined sesame oil or other oils. I buy coconut oil by the bucket because I use it for so many things that I will get to in other posts. Coconut oil is naturally antimicrobial and kills bacteria. What are cavities? Tooth damage caused by bacteria eating away at the enamel of your tooth. So, you all might be wondering what the dentist thinks of all this. Well, you can imagine how nervous I was at my first appointment after making this switch. I’m here to tell you and quote my dentist “my, this is one of the cleanest, healthiest mouths I’ve seen.” I don’t floss, unless I have something stuck in my teeth, because the oil pulling acts like floss moving through your teeth. It takes them no time at all to clean my teeth (and this is after waiting a bit longer than the recommended 6 months for a checkup). I've had two appointments since I've started this routine and each time he has just raved about the cleanliness of my teeth and I appreciate the no cavity report! I’m scheduling my third checkup soon. I will keep everyone posted.
So, there you have it. I oil pull for 15 minutes every morning, and follow up with a once over with my tooth brush and homemade toothpaste. I brush again before I go to bed and that’s it!
Okay, so this is just one of my little secrets for living a healthy lifestyle. I've even gotten my sister hooked on it!
I recently finished the The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. Here is the description of the book by Amazon:
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.
If you're looking for an entertaining read that builds your personal development library, I highly suggest this book.
I ran my April 5k last weekend. I ran my fastest time and beat the goal I set for myself. Here is a pic of all of us at the finish line.
Keeping with my goal for the year, I ran my March 5k. Actually, this was my second 5k for March, but the first one was unofficial, and I did not register for the race. Gasp! I know. I ran for free. This particular race is called the Firefly. It starts at night and everyone wears glow sticks and flashy lights and runs the race. I ran with a couple of friends who are trying to get back into the running lifestyle after taking some time off. We had a great time despite the crowds, late start time, and my belly full of Tex Mex. Note to self, DO NOT eat a big meal before a race no matter how long you think you have to digest. Heartburn city! Here are some pictures from the race!
The weather has been unseasonably cold and snowy in Dallas. We typically get 1-2 ice days per winter, and usually in December or January. Here we are in March and we are snowed in...again. With actual snow, I might add, instead of sheets of ice and muddy slush that is typical of this region. I’m so ready for spring! Our average temps are easily in the 60s this time of year. I want to get outside, soak up some vitamin D, and be active OUTDOORS!
I’ve started collecting weights and other exercise tools so that I can still get a good workout in my home when weather or time does not permit me to go to the gym or get outdoors. I’ve found that when I don’t exercise, I crave the bad stuff more. Staying active is important for curbing those cravings or bouts of moodiness.
My house is spotless. I go around cleaning all of those nooks and crannies that normally get neglected on my cleaning days. Not to mention, it’s a great workout to move around and clean all day. I’ve also rearranged all of my living room furniture about 5 times. I think I’ve finally settled on a position for everything.
I’ve decided to dump cable and cut the cord. I watch too much TV as it is, and I don’t mind saving the $100 per month that I waste on rotting my brain. I've invested in a Roku to watch shows on apps. So, still rotting my brain, but at a cheaper price.
I’ve been collecting books from my family and friends to add to my reading list. I also found out that I can check out ebooks from my local library online. Not sure if this is a common thing with all library systems, but check with your local library! A reading habit can get expensive! The most popular reads for free? I’m sold!
So, to keep moving in the right direction with improving myself mind, body, and soul!
Here's a snowy pic from a Texas winter wonderland. Enjoy!
I feel like I’ve been MIA, lately. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, I keep making mental notes of things that I want to share. I’ve found myself stressing out about my work-load, between thesis writing, and picking up new hobbies, I started to get the disturbing sense that I’m over committing myself. It took me a couple of weeks, but I decided to take blog writing off of my plate for the week to get caught up on other things. Blogs are supposed to be a welcome release of stress and emotion, but sometimes, the overachieving, people pleaser in me felt obligated to write. I shouldn’t feel obligated. I should be looking forward to writing down and sharing my thoughts.
My area was hit with an ice storm. Now, this may seem insignificant, except that my city shuts down when there’s an ice storm. I’ve been going a bit stir crazy, and was in a bit of a weird mood due to the weather. I was actually excited to come into work today and be able to have a face interaction with human beings. Not that I don’t enjoy being alone and just having to deal with my four-legged friends, I do need that human connection at times.
Now, let me get into some back story. I’ve always been one of those people that “hates people”. Okay, maybe not always. And, maybe hate is a strong word. But, since my 20s, I’ve developed pretty much sheer disdain for any individual. Aside from my friends and family, which I only occasionally feel sensations of disdain for, I just really dreaded having to talk to or interact with people. I guess my unhealthy lifestyle was making me intolerant to the general public. Though, I don’t want to put all of the blame on my lifestyle, because, let’s face it, the general public can be pretty stupid.
Previously, in my efforts to reduce the negativity in my life, I would practice yoga and force myself to see the divine in every human being. Now, sometimes I was successful, but most times I just ended up letting my inner self give the other’s inner divine a visualized flip of the middle finger. Since I’ve made the change to become healthier, I’ve discovered a more social, patient, understanding, genuinely kind inner self. One that I’m beginning to see as truly divine.
These new feelings are VERY strong and can be overwhelming and difficult to work through. Almost like a flood of emotions at once. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s almost as if I’m pulling from the other person’s emotions and feeling them all at the same time. Excitement, nervousness, deep understanding of the individual. This is usually followed with a sense of mutual understanding, similar to being in on an inside joke with a close friend. I know what most of you are thinking, this lady is off her rocker. Now, I don’t think I’m empathic or psychic or any of that specialness. It’s like the book The Celestine Prophecy (if you haven’t read it, I highly suggest it), this is the closest comparison that I can come to minus the Peruvian setting and topping the best sellers list. These feelings have never been negative or malicious. Scary, sure, but only due to the overwhelming nature of the emotion flooding through me. A lot of this might be built up energy from the years of isolation, and social outcasting I’ve placed on myself.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve found myself being more social, putting myself in social situations that I never would have before. For instance, I’m running a 5k every month this year and I ran my February 5k on Saturday with a total running buddy that I met in an online group. And it turns out, this experience was one of the best, most fun experiences I can remember having. I was in the moment, genuinely enjoying another human being’s company, blocking out any other cares in the world. Normally, I would have been too concerned with “I’m not good enough of a runner to be included in this crowd. Do I look funny when I run? What if this person doesn’t like me?” None of this even popped into my mind. It was just two people, who can relate to each other, enjoying a shared hobby. And not to mention that I met a very kind hearted, genuine individual with some sage advice, mad running skills, and the most enjoyable company. I look forward to catching up on these types of missed connections that I replaced with saccharine coated relationships, forced enjoyment. Man, we shoulda taken a selfie! I did get a shot of myself with my participation medal. Enjoy!
I’m glad to start a new calendar year, and another year older as a happier me! I’m looking forward to my birthday plans. I’ve invited a couple of friends to attend a murder mystery dinner. It’s an interactive show with a 4 course meal included. Think of the movie Clue. I’ve been wanting to do this since I was a kid, but never got my act together in organizing it. They even promote coming in costume, and I have the perfect 1920s flapper theme outfit to wear! Playing dress up and a show?! Sign me up! My actual birthday is on Saturday and I will be doing my traditional family dinner at a nice restaurant. It should be a perfect and entertaining weekend! I will update with pictures later.
Before I talked about signing up for a 5k every month of the year. For the month of January, I signed up for the Hypnotic Donut Dash. That’s right, donut dash. I figured keeping the races fun will help me stay motivated with my running. Well, I finished the race (running the entire time) in under 32 minutes. I had a couple of friends join me, but they aren’t as into running as I am, and I think they were more dedicated to enjoying the free beer and donuts that followed the race. Of course, I only enjoyed the donuts! I’m so glad I did the race, it was a really fun experience! I can’t wait until the next one.
Here is a picture of us post race, donuts in hand.
The race went around Fair Park, which is the historic fairgrounds in Dallas. If you’re not familiar with Fair Park, or Dallas, this is where the famous State Fair of Texas is held every year. The grounds hold a special place in my heart, as the State Fair is my favorite time of year. It’s a magical time, and Dallas is a different place during the month-long fair. The architecture on the grounds is spectacular, historic structures mostly following an art deco theme. I’ve included a picture, below. Actually, now that I think about it, my cover picture on the homepage/About Me page is of the Texas Star, which is the iconic ferris wheel that has become an integral part of the Dallas skyline. Here is a picture of my friend and I post race with the ferris wheel in the background.
After the race, I hung out with a few close friends and we made a nice 3 course dinner. I guess I was super anxious that night. I completely binged on so much food while preparing the meal. I mean, it was disgusting. Even my friend asked what was wrong with me and if I was nervous about something. I ate chocolate, candies, hummus and dip, and anything else I could get my hands on. This is after having donuts for breakfast and Thai food for lunch. I never felt full the entire day. And then I had seconds of dinner. I’m not sure what my 2000 calorie (on top of my normal daily caloric intake) binge fest was about, but it grossed me out. I have tried to put it behind me and be kind to myself instead of feeling disgusted with myself. I’m very strict with my diet and exercise regimen during the weekdays, and I’ve been struggling with finding the right recipe to get the results I’m looking for.
I stress all week with logging and calculating every meal and regulating my macronutrient percentages only to see the numbers go up on my Friday progress day. I think I’d just had it this weekend. I do allow for quite a bit of flexibility on the weekends, as far as cheat meals and treats are concerned, but this weekend was out of control! About 4 years ago, I’d hit such a high weight that I decided I had to make a change. I was always the pudgy girl growing up. Getting teased, binging on afternoon snacks when I got home, and all around feeling fat and depressed for most of my adolescence. I lost 50 pounds and I’m now considered quite small. This was frustrating since for the past few years I knew my body to a T. I knew when and what I could eat and how my body would react. I maintained a weight within a 5-10 pound range depending on the time of year, and could accommodate for those events/holidays that involved eating. I guess I have to learn a new recipe. I also keep telling myself that I need to finally love my body and be happy. I’m fit and healthy, yet I still see the little fat girl when I look in the mirror. I’m taking a lifetime of insecurities and trying to reverse them in a fraction of the time that it took to cultivate. I’m figuring out that I need to find a happy medium of nourishing and exercising in a healthy way, but not falling into either extreme end of the spectrum. Like I say, this is me in progress. I’ll figure it all out and the stars will align…someday.
Has anyone else struggled with their eating habits and weight? I'd like to hear your story :)