Read this over and over and over again

Please read this over and over and over again. This great article was originally posted on October 28 by Dr. John Rusin.  The full article link is below.

THE DANGERS OF TODAY’S FEMALE FITNESS INDUSTRY

No, the fitness industry isn’t perfect. But there are some downright shameful and disgraceful aspects of fitness based marketing that needs to be brought to the forefront. Nothing may be more dangerous than the popularization of female fitness based marketing that largely preys on the insecurities and the mis-information this population has been getting force fed in the main stream media for close to a decade.

It’s one thing to be ignorant to scientific facts of exercise and training, but it’s an entirely different story when false and societally detrimental ideas are starting to overtake the sound principles that should be guiding our industry. Here’s how we stop the BS in the female fitness industry and create a foundation for women, young to old, when aspiring to achieve health and wellness from coach Meghan Callaway.


HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW…

1. The new age of self-proclaimed female fitness experts lack overall credibility, yet continue to spew out misleading, insulting, and often dangerous information to the masses, most of which is geared towards taking advantage of misinformed women.

2. Lets quit treating female clients like delicate little flowers that are only capable of executing sets of 100 with pink dumbbells as toning resistance. This notion is incredibly insulting. Women are strong and have unlimited physical potential that deserves to be tapped into. Toning is for printers, not strength training.

3. Don’t be ignorant to the use of photoshop and professional full body makeup art. The idea of comparing yourself on an even playing field to a Women’s Health cover is dangerous. There are truly no natural images of females out there anymore. So take this for what it is, a false marketing ploy at best.

4. Food and exercise are meant to be enjoyed. Focusing on food and cardio as a form of punishment can create a slippery slope of health sociology.  If your diet or training program isn’t sustainable for the long run, then your priorities need to be reevaluated.  Less treadmill death marches and more social and emotional engagement.

5. Being viewed as a popular and successful female athlete has become largely dependent on how well females do at selling themselves as sex symbols.  With less correlation to on-field performance, and more towards half naked Instagram shots, our future population of female athletes are being negatively influenced at younger and younger ages.

I encourage you to read the full article HERE

Read and repeat – take it in. – TRUE Strength

Advertisements

Practicing non-violence against yourself

Yesterday I took my first real yoga class.  I’ve done a class here or there in the past but never with the intention of really trying yoga.  It was more because the instructor was a friend and it sounded nice to do for a class.

I’ve been searching for something… something different… something maybe kinder on my body…. something.

I’ve also been talking a lot with my counselor that I’m seeing that I’m healthier and stronger but I don’t feel comfortable feeling so thick.  **NOW remember – this is a disordered perception but the question came out… well maybe it’s time to change something.

Ever heard this?  “The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Well… yes – time for a change.  

I’ve been doing CrossFit for over six years now.  As my story on TRUE Strength has shared – I’ve been a competitive athlete and no just focus on having fun and working hard. I don’t think I have a desire to stop CrossFitting but I do have a desire to challenge myself in different ways and try new things.

This was a hot power yoga.  I enjoyed the sweat and the challenge of a brand new routine, method and flow.  I was physically challenged and mentally challenged. I am not very good at quieting my mind but can see how in yoga it’s not just an aspect of the practice but is a principle of the practice. The importance of feeling the breath and whatever is released within when you do the moves is a challenge.  As I’ve shared, a large part of my disorder is an ability to NOT feel and block out feelings, needs, or desires.  Yoga may just help open that guarded door.

I enjoyed that I wasn’t competing with anyone else… which was surprising because I like the competition side of CrossFit.

But above all of this, the thing that stuck with me was a comment the instructor made.

She said…

“Yoga is about the practice of non-violence against yourself.”  

WOW.  

What is my disorder if not violence against myself? 

The instructor encouraged us to try different poses and binds but said… if it doesn’t feel right … don’t do it. “In yoga… pain NO gain.”  Coming from a workout like CrossFit where you train yourself to not feel pain and to just push through this was so refreshing AND uncomfortable!

At the end of class I’m learning that it is typical to have several minutes just being still on the floor.  Someone more experienced in yoga could tell you the name for what we did but I can tell you that afterwards I found it almost sad that it took someone else telling me and leaving me with no other option than to lay down and be still to actually do this.  It wasn’t like I could get up and fold laundry… I had to just BE.  My body felt heavy with satisfaction and almost as if I blended with the floor.

As I lay there all of a sudden my eyes welled up and I cried.  I was thinking of my mom.  Thinking about how she wasn’t very kind to herself until much later in life. She always ran herself ragged, she did everything for everyone else… and herself was left folding laundry.

Let’s all try to practice non-violence against ourselves.  No matter our struggles or if we are battling a disorder or not… non-violence… be kind to ourselves. 

TRUE Strength

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. 

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

All eyes on me

Some people like to be the center of attention and some people prefer to blend into the background.  What does it mean to admit that I enjoy being the leader, in front of people, taking charge and being a slight ham at times… especially when there is a camera before us?

We just returned from a week long family vacation at the beach… with 17 other people all in one house.

Let me break this down… 

Vacation = wonderful … so thankful to be able to take a vacation

Family = I love my family and our family unit (the five of us) are tight knit, supportive, easy going/relaxed and fun.  If you peal away the disorder being around extended family is wonderful – they are fun loving, smart and enjoyable.  I love our family.  But we know you can’t just simply shed the disorder – or we would!

So… I’m used to eating in front of my family unit, and even with that comfort I often “apologize” or explain why I’m eating (as if they are thinking anything other than… yea – all good! Go for it).  That means there were 13 others living with me day in and out for the week, who I am not comfortable enough with to push through the struggle and not let restriction try to take over.

At the beach = is this a surprise that this would be a stressor for someone who has battled eating or exercise disorders?  Clearly not.

Before the trip my anxiety levels and disordered thoughts were firing on all cylinders. A good and bad thing about this trip is that our routine is to make most of our meals in the house – we grocery shop, make our own food throughout the day and then have family meals for dinner.  It is helpful that I was able to have control over some of the grocery list.  Helpful because for myself and many who’s disorder makes them feel more comfortable in restrictive mode will use any excuse not to eat.  Mine has always been… well there’s nothing here I can eat.  “Nothing I can eat” is simply not true but the disorder justifies it.  What it really means is I don’t feel safe eating it.  I do have a dairy allergy so my disorder loves to use that as an excuse as well.

Family dinner meals are the hardest.  The disorder has given me very rigid routines… times to eat, foods to eat, and exercise needed to justify the meal. All of that has to go out the window and a BIG part of going through this long road of recovery is to function each day without this strict routine.

Here comes the all eyes on me moments…

We all sit down for a meal (or the meals all week).  It happens to be a type of food I truly don’t like – not that the disorder doesn’t like – I just don’t.  All eyes feel to be on me as I pass on the main dish and gingerly take a few green beans… I know in my mind I’ll eat some of “my food” later … but feel the questioning eyes.  In reality no one probably even noticed but my disorder liked to “feed” on this feeling.

Later I quietly made a small meal.  All was going fine and I felt like I was making some progress, albeit baby steps, I fought the desire to eat in my bedroom in private and that made me feel like I was moving the disorder mountain.  All good until… one family member said… “having a second dinner??” Oh my goodness. The comment was innocent on their part and goes to show that when I thought all eyes were on me during dinner I was being more self centered than anything because this person hadn’t noticed at all that I hadn’t eaten before.  BUT I felt like I’d just been gut punched.  The sergeant fired up and wanted me to put the meal down…  I immediately started thinking… well they all saw my crazy hard workout this morning.  Maybe I don’t need this… I could just stop eating.  NO… I was hungry and I wanted to win.  I didn’t want to just go to sleep, I wanted to have energy for the next day, I wanted to play with the girls, I WANTED TO BEAT the disorder.

Fighting an ongoing battle with the sergeant is what I’ve signed up for and I will quiet him.  Something that has helped me and maybe it will help you too is to find things to focus on as motivation for getting better.  Mine are my young daughters.  I want them to have a healthy and happy mom who is a positive and healthy role model.  I am driven by them, but the action has to be from within.

I share this experience because the fear of it was almost paralyzing before the trip.  At times, facing it while on vacation was exhausting, but all in all, it all passes and I not only survived, I loved the memory making and laughter filled week.

You, too, can survive what scares you and continue to make strides to beat whatever disorder you’re battling through. Stay strong…

TRUE Strength.

Here are my motivations … what are yours? 

IMG_2776