healthy

Update from the Mile High City!

So I finally have a quick minute to provide an update! I wrote this over a week ago, but all of it remains true.  I'm learning a lot here about myself, my struggles, and my future.  What I have some to realize is that life is not just about being "happy".  In fact, it is this endless striving for happiness that keeps us unhappy.  Living a full and fulfilling life means to feel all emotions--happiness and sadness, fear and anger, hope and joy.  We must experience all of these and not try to blunt them.  I am also learning that the eating disordered thoughts I am having may always be there, but I'm ok with that.  I've just got to learn how to control them, manage them, and tolerate them while acknowledging that, yes, they are there, but I don't have to act upon them.

I wrote this email to all my team, family, and friends to let you know all that has been going on.   I wanted to give you just an update of what's been going on here.
To start, last week, my treatment coordination team (Psychiatrist, therapist, dietitian, family therapist, and nurse) asked how my impulses had been around exercise. I at first wanted to lie, but then realized that that is not the man I want to be anymore and I told them I had been doing push ups in my room. It was not a ton, and probably not burning and calories, but from talking through it what I realized was that the purpose it was serving was not that I woke up every day thinking "yay, I feel like I would really enjoy some push ups!", but really it was just my eating disorder telling me, "we don't really want to feel the awful things we feel when you don't exercise, all the real problems in your life, so lets just do enough to take that edge off ti all to make this day bearable."
So this weekend I swore to myself and God that I would not engage in any of those behaviors. I had to keep in mind that 1) I swore to God, so breaking that trust was unthinkable, 2) if I did the actions I would have to deal with one of two feelings: first, I would either lie to my team and feel awful about that, or alternately, tell them truth and feel awful about letting them all down. So I didn't do any of my behaviors. But it did not help waking up on Saturday morning feeling that overnight my stomach had ballooned into this fat, gross, flabby, unattractive blob. that looked like I had been stung by a bee and was swollen. This had me really upset emotionally and physically, but I still did do any push ups or exercise which only increased the anxiety.... but I got through it! And I sat with those emotions of feeling how much it sucked, how much I hated it, and how much these feelings allowed me to actually feel what the eating disorder was making me hide.
Now, there is so much more under this all that I can get into later, but while talking to my dad on Saturday night, one of the reasons just sort of came out. One of my values is connection--with friends, family, God, and just socially (we've seen how good that ha gone, right? lol). What came out in the conversation I was having with him was that I realized I want to feel included. Let me elaborate. Every time my friends (or family) do anything without me, or if I'm not invited somewhere, my immediate reaction is that "they don't like me" or "I'm not cool enough that they would want to hang out with me." (Yes, I am aware that lately, that has actually been true; that I am not someone who people would probably want to hang out with). But, in order to handle, or to not feel these feelings at all, I engage in my eating disorder behaviors. Therefore, I am back in control. In 2 ways, first being that I blunt the feelings altogether. But second, and more importantly, I realized that I am just using these behaviors to give me control and reasons for not being invited. If I "have to do my workout" or "have to prepare all my food, etc etc", then I am back in control, and the reason I am missing out on whatever my friends or family are doing is back on me. "I couldn't have gone anyway because my workout had to be done." Then my eating disorder lies to me and says "I don't mind being alone, this is the way I like to be."
When clearly this is NOT the case because I so badly want to be included and want to be part of that connection.
The other thing I am petrified is, of course, gaining the weight. To me, if I'm not where I was when I came in, I'm obese. I am trying to work through these emotions and look it as a pendulum-- On one end these is the state I came in at: No health, no friends, screwed up hormones, no testosterone, but feeling like I am healthy, fit, fast, and lean. On the other end is obese, no exercise eating twinkies and drinking Slurpies all day. I figure if I'm not where I was when I got here, that I just automatically swing right to the other side. I am trying to remember that "healthy" is a good word. It's got "heal" in the word, and that, lets be honest, 95% of Americans are NOT healthy, so being healthy needs to be OK with me... it's still in that 5%.
Also, I fear that I won't be a fast, or I won't be as "good"a triathlete, or people won't like me, or I'll be fat if I'm not where I am now, but how do I know that? How can I make those assumptions if I've never actually let myself get there? What if I am faster and fitter and can enjoy exercise again? What if my relationships are 100 times better and I can actually think clearer again? What if I can find a way to balance exercise, health, and friendships at a happy equilibrium and to actually enjoy life once again?? I'll never know unless I give myself that acceptance, which at this point, is the hardest, most difficult, most manly, most courageous, most scary, thing I could do. What if i turn out to be a triathlon beast which I never knew? Or a for damn sure good and reliable friend?
But I need to remember--a pendulum has to hit every single point while it makes its way from one end to another. Therefore, I just need to let this pendulum start swinging and know there is a point I will find, where my body feels healthy and strong and will tell me where it wants to be, and I also can balance good friends and the enjoyment of exercise.

Well that was a novel, but I just wanted to keep you updatde (and to reiterate this all to myself)!  Thank you to everyone who reached out and to everyone who reads. Here are some pictures from the couple times I've been able to get out.

I apologize if I can't respond to any comments as I can't always access the blog from inside the center, but I will try!

Changes and Challenges

I had another triathlon this weekend... but since my past 2 posts have pretty much all been about triathlons, I'll keep this recap short, ha.  This race was at the country's "Number 1 Beach" at Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, Florida, about an hour south of Tampa.  It was gorgeous, although I would definitely want more waves if I was going to spend very long there.  But the sand and water were beautiful... you could actually see the bottom! For the race, I finished 3rd in my age group and was generally pleased with the results, although not elated.  This was a train-through race, meaning the only taper I did was a short workout on the day before, which in itself was still tough considering I'd run 9.5 miles the day before, a 30 mile bike ride, and 1800m swim.

This beach is on the Gulf of Mexico so the water was extremely warm, which doesn't really make for fast swimming.  It was also pretty choppy considering there weren't really many waves.  My swim split was awful so we won't even get into it lol.

The bike was ok- I average right about 21 mph.  Also had a fun little crash where the chick next to me didn't seem to want to move over during a turn and I had to slam on my brakes to avoid smashing into a car.  Couple scrapes but nothing remotely serious.

The run (to my surprise) was totally along the beach.  Ha, ok the beach is pretty and all, but damn.  The sand is hard pack, meaning its pretty firm and not hard to run on, but still not nearly as easy to run on as pavement.  I was able to hunt down a lot of people who were ahead of me from the swim and bike and ended up with the 6th fastest overall run split.  My average pace was about 6:38 min/mile which I was ok with later on once I found out how I did comparatively.

This was also my first race since I had been trying out a Paleo lifestyle/diet.

Now, I know some people may have issue with this: “you’re cutting out an entire food group”, “all fat is bad for you”, “saturated fat causes heart disease”, “cholesterol clogs your arteries”, ”you need grains!”, “you won’t get all your vitamins and minerals.”

While I am not a paleo hardcore advocate, I have done plenty of research, consulted with many people and experts, and will never push this way of eating on anyone else.  I can’t even say I’ll eat like this for the rest of my life- that would be absurd.  However, to all the critical statements above, I have plenty of evidence and research to refute:

While my diet will be lower in carbs, it will be higher in fats which are burnt as a fuel source.  I am also still including carbs in the means of fruits, squashes, and sweet potatoes… I could probably eat butternut squash fries or sweet potato fries every night and not get sick of it

Next, fat is not bad for you!  What is important here is where the fat comes from—all fat that is “created” is bad, i.e. trans-fats.  What is also important is your Omega 6 to Omega 3 balance.  Ideally, these should 1:1 or 2:1 but our diet has most people eating about 20:1 or much much more.  The fat should also be pure and come from grass-fed sources, not from grain-fed animals like is found in most commercial meats.  Remember, “you are what you eat eats”

It has also been proven that saturated fat does not cause heart disease.  It can be exacerbated, however, from things like processed carbohydrates and excess sugars.  I just heard of a study that “showed that saturated fat corroborates heart disease.”  However, this study looked at people eating Egg McMuffins with hashbrowns: White, processed English muffins, pasteurized commercial cheese, trans-fatty margarine spread, and potatoes made in vegetable oil.  I think we have a lot more at play here… plus, the saturated fat would have to come from egg, which is relatively not that high in saturated fat.

Speaking of eggs, I won’t get started on how many articles show that egg yolks don’t raise cholesterol.

Finally, I’m getting tons of vitamins and minerals from the fruit, vegetables, nuts, squashes, sweet potatoes, organic dairy (Most paleo diets leave out dairy, but I am still including it right now—but in organic and raw versions where I can find it), and grass-fed meats.  In fact, I’m probably getting more vitamins now since so many vitamins are fat soluble and my diet now actually has that fat to absorb it!

This is a tough one for me though—the adding of fat.  Since ‘”fat” is what spurred my eating disorder so many years ago, it’s still a tough bump for me to get over.  I am hoping as I eat this way and hopefully see only positive outcomes, that I can change my mindset forever.

Many people also think that paleo just means going low carb because it makes you leaner or lose weight or whatever.  This is what you will see in published studies on “what is the best diet” etc.  In fact, the reason for moving these grains—and most importantly wheat—are for the negative effects the reap on your body.  They have an impact in your digestive tract and cause many issues which I will go into in another post.—I’ve written enough as it is haha.

So, there you have.  I’ll let you know how I progress, but don’t think I won’t still have some awesome recipes!  Here are some of the meals I’ve been making lately as well a bonus recipe video at the end!

What do you think of the paleo diet—are you for or against it?

Would eating this way really be any different, from a societal standpoint than if someone followed a vegetarian diet?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvb8Ecl5A54]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvb8Ecl5A54&feature=youtu.be