H.A.L.T.

SSA_HaltIt happened again…

Mid, very strenuous workout I had to shake off the tears.

It was a mix of thinking of my mom and a mix of the message the workout instructor was screaming at us.  Let me explain… she was screaming over the pounding music in a spin class – encouraging us to push harder, let go and even “get pissed” at times. Her music sound track was planned out to give us a killer workout AND a message.  She weaved her message into our class which boiled down to letting go of regrets, sadness, and self doubt and negative talk. It does us no good she kept saying.

As she encouraged us to let go of baggage I felt my legs peddling faster, my mind focusing and letting go of the constant dialog… the constant “to-do” list, constant disorded battles, the constant second guessing.  Just as I felt my legs flying I also felt the tears welling.  I was thinking of my mom, I was feeling the release of the disorder’s control (even though temporarily), I just felt a release.

Shaking off the tears I focused, pedaled faster.  I realized some of excessive exercise is simply me running away from feeling.  Even though I was pedaling faster, I was focused on feeling the emotions and release… not just running away.

As she encouraged us to leave the baggage behind and to treat ourselves with kindness and care she said… never be too H.A.L.T. 

Never be too:

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

She said… a little H.A.L.T. is good… keeps your fire burning – but if you’re too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired you can’t function to the best of your ability and you can’t be the person you’ve been destined to be.  For me – if I’m too H.A.L.T. I can’t be the wife, mother, professional, woman, role model or citizen I need … I strive to be.

This can be a very literal thing… don’t let yourself function in a constant state of hunger, don’t hold on to anger, don’t let yourself wallow in loneliness, and don’t try to get through barely rested.  In the abstract… have a hunger for life – don’t starve yourself from adventure and life; anger can keep you motivated but too much can crush you; you don’t need someone necessarily next to you every minute to not be lonely – instead find comfort and camaraderie in yourself and with others who lift you up; and if you’re tired of what you’re doing… change it!

As I type this I know I am often functioning too H.A.L.T. but I can change and I can continue to dedicate myself to getting healthier.

Join me – TRUE Strength 

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Feeling feelings.

“Reality is perception’s twin, but they wear different outfits.”   imgres

My disorder is roaring its powerful presence and feeding on the triggers of tragedy and change.  I’m constantly amazed by how strong and powerful our minds are and how damning they can be to our own health and wellbeing.

I am used to seeing a problem and fixing it.  Having a plan and attacking it.  I like steps, to-do’s, goals and then results.

This long road of recovery is nothing like this. There is a plan… but the disorder doesn’t follow the rules and I can’t just put my head down and power through. My normal “go to” reaction of “all is good and making good progress” just isn’t true.

Reality vs perception right? 

The worst part of this point in recovery… the reality… is FEELING the FEELINGS.  A big part of disorders is learning how (and then perfecting) to separate feeling from your brain.  You disassociate… think about it this way… if you FELT truly as hungry or as conflicted or as tired and you couldn’t separate the feeling from your brain and have something override those feelings… you’d eat, take a rest day or have the non-disorder thinking win out.

So currently the reality of my situation is that reality and perception are battling… constantly… and the feeling…plain and tumblr_mve9f2UQmV1qfvq9bo1_1280simple… is… it SUCKS.  Check out this “feelings wheel.” Recently I was challenged to identify the FEELINGS I was experiencing not the thoughts or explanations associated with them.  I challenge you to take a look at the wheel and practice identifying your feelings – own them, say them and give them value.  DON’T think of certain ones as “good” or “bad,” they are all only legitimate and valued.

A friend said to me… isn’t TRUE Strength all about feeling these feelings?

I won’t go into all of my battles currently going on, as for each of us they are different… but just remember… this is HARD and it can SUCK!!  Own that and own and value your FEELINGS.

I will share two great quotes about feeling those feelings… being scared of them and still pushing forward…

“Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared.” – Eddie Rickenbacker

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

Stay strong… feel those feelings… and have TRUE Strength. 

Finding the sign… a little luck, a lot of love

Yesterday was so hectic and a workout didn’t seem doable but something kept pulling me towards Hoover Dam for the stairs.  ** If you’re not familiar with “The Hoover Stairs” two flights of stairs flank the dam… it’s about 105 stairs up and a killer workout.

I changed clothes in the parking lot (sorry for the indecent exposure) and set out for stair repeats. After each set I started doing a few moves in the grass. During plank (and while feeling like I wanted to stop) I saw the tiniest four leaf clover.

My mom had a knack of finding four leaf clovers and would have said this one was perfect because it was so small and slightly torn – she always valued “imperfections”.

I smiled and said thanks mom and took my butt back up the stairs.

The next round, in a completely different spot, I looked down and saw another and another, and another to the point that I was giggling in excitement.

I took the first two and left the rest for others to find some luck.

This poem seems so fitting always 

IMG_3366

TRUE Strength

An open letter of frustration

Dear XXX, url

I don’t feel like this “treatment” is working.  

Have I gained weight?  Yes… great

But at this moment I don’t feel any better… in fact… I feel worse.   

I still feel obsessed with the thought of food.  During an early session I was asked how much time I spend looking up recipes (that then I rarely actually make – especially for myself), how much of my day is taken up with the thought of my next meal, how much I just ate, or how long I can wait until I need to eat again (how long can I push it).  Sadly, when asked during that first session I had to realize and admit it was the vast majority of waking thoughts.  HOW SAD IS THAT?  I was amazed that other people DON’T think about this stuff on a constant basis.

Just think how much more energy I’d have if I wasn’t always “double thinking.”  

(Double thinking is my term for having this constant dialog while also conducting everyday life as a driven, type A, mom, professional, friend, and woman.)

So, again, I ask myself… how far have I progressed?  I feel uncomfortable in my own skin… I can tell my backside has rounded out some, which is better than skin and bones, but it doesn’t always make me feel better.  I still feel like my brain is in overdrive and I still don’t feel enjoyment out of eating.  I still eat the same things over and over.  Rules have been loosened, but are certainly still there.

Something I’ve been told during this long road is that while you get better the “voice” and doubt gets louder… it’s like it’s seeing your really starting to turn things around and it’s trying to fight against you.  How manipulative!  I continue to find amazing is how your own brain can fight against you.

What I still find amazing is how within one mind, one body, logic and the disorder can tell you two different things.  I logically know what I’m doing is positive and I can look back and see the progress I’ve made. BUT at the same time, I can feel uncomfortable and almost give up…

Working hard to ride on logic for a bit more while I hopefully continue to get strong enough to “outweigh” the disorder…

Stay strong – TRUE Strength

Feeding on strife

So what are you to do when you’re working on battling an eating disorder and because of life circumstances the thought of food just sounds gross?  Who is in control here?  Is the disorder drill sergeant calling the shots or is it the legitimate grief playing a role… both?

I recently learned during a session with my nutritionist that when people lose their appetite – legitimately lose it – not in a restriction/disorderly way… the first thing to go is a taste for meat.  The nutritionist said this holds true for women who have morning sickness, people in the hospital, those going through grief and any other reason you may have a physical loss of appetite.  Personally, for the time surrounding my mom’s passing the thought of chewing meat (sorry to be so graphic) made me gag.

To validate my feeling of sickness and grief we restructured my meal plans to simply get food in… whatever it was – forget variety and trying to expand the list or challenge myself to new meals (this is a goal of recovery).  At this point we decided surviving and just getting things in was most important.

prvDoor AjarSO… now the door has been cracked… the disorder sees this as an opportunity.  I share this because I want to give validity to those going through multiple struggles.  They are real.  AND at the same time, I hope to share some strength that you can make sure that in times of challenge you can keep moving forward and continue recovery.

Sometimes – just surviving IS recovering.  

What I’ve learned through my recovery journey is that the disorder often feeds on times of weakness and when you’re under eating it allows for the sergeant to become louder because you do not have enough fuel to think clearly or battle the disordered thoughts.  Often if the “voice” is getting louder… telling you you’re eating too much or need to do a two-a-day at the gym, it’s because you’re restricting and can’t battle.

We all have so much that we’re dealing with.  Sometimes it feels all too much to handle and at least for me, going back to restricting and over exercising is my comfort zone.  BUT I know the road to recovery is uphill… and worthwhile.

And the only way to travel it is with a clear mind and at the strongest I can be.

TRUE Strength

Brutal Honesty

Sometimes the hardest TRUE Strength is honesty.  stronger than this

And the chart topper is honesty with yourself.  It’s amazing to me how easy it is to lie to ourselves and convince ourselves what we want to see as reality.    

My lie… the reality that my disordered thinking and tendencies have started to resurface.  In my experience, and I don’t dare speak for everyone, the harshest reality as a person who has battled eating disorders or disordered thinking is that it never really goes away or is officially treated.  It’s my addiction. Compared to someone’s alcohol or drug addiction. As odd as it sounds… restricting, over exercising, controlling is comforting to me.  The scariest part for me is that my disordered thinking comes under the veil or cloak of doing something healthy.  It just goes too far.  It’s enticing… alluring even.  Always under the best of intentions… and then slips.

It’s very easy to say there’s nothing wrong or I’m all under control.  

But the TRUE Strength reality is … honesty is harsh… and it’s time to get honest.  

My friend, Meggie is someone I really look up to.  She is brutally honest and open about her struggles and as a recent first time mom has been experiencing all the amazing ups and downs and blurred reality of newborn life.  All while still being honest about these ever present disordered thoughts.  Her article about Orthorexia encouraged me to seek more guidance and to acknowledge I may be loosing control and need to be more honest with myself.

Meggie writes for Saltyrunning.com.  You can read her full article HERE.  

Perhaps, such an honest post is not all that fun to read… but, if it can encourage even one person to get some help, it is vital.  Thank you for sharing your TRUE Strength with me.  

 

What’s in a bio

I am doing a little presentation later in the year and have to send a bio to the conference.  I was looking into my files for a bio and came across this one.  It accompanied a piece on The Catalyst Project by my friend Jon Giganti.  If you haven’t read his work, please do!  You’ll enjoy it thoroughly!

In reading the bio I sent Jon I realized it’s pretty cool to look back and do some self reflection.  Have you ever written a short bio?  Do it!  It’s a fun experience and will teach you a lot about where you’ve been, what you’re doing and where you’re going!

This is the bio:

Megan Ellis has been in the nonprofit world for over six years translating a background in economics and special events into development, fundraising, and outreach.  Currently Megan is redeveloping and redesigning the Development and Outreach department of the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Franklin County (CASA-FC).  Her role with CASA-FC includes engaging community and business leaders, corporations, foundations, and community members to help support, financially and through awareness the innocent child victims of abuse and neglect in Franklin and contiguous counties.
Megan’s drive and work ethic transcends the office walls into her personal life.  She is a competitive CrossFit athlete and enjoys each day’s new challenges and triumphs athletically and recognizes the value in struggle because it brings you one step closer to success.  As dedicated as she is to her athletic adventures, Megan is also equally passionate and dedicated to her new role as a wife and stepmom.  Her goal is to teach others how to take their lives to the next level through a positive attitude and never ending drive!