Honest Monday Check-in: Nov. 28, 2016

I have to be honest in today's Monday check-in.  I'm okay. I am not thriving like I know I can and I would be lying if I said that the holidays have been easy. I don't have any grand answers except that when I reflect on the last month I definitely did less movement (walking, yoga, exercise), less sleeping, less meal planning and thus grabbing for crappier food options, more wine, less vegetables, less connection and more. I feel like my energy, generally, was dispersed in many different ways, leaving me feeling like I was running around with my head cut off with not a lot to show for it. I did get a new teaching gig and I am grateful and excited to share more! Also, I am spending time enriching my yoga studies through the Vinyasa Krama online training with Rod Stryker. It has been work, but I am so grateful to learn and expand! 

Based on all of this I choose to be kind to me and honor that I am not just sitting on the couch. However, I know that I can feel better, physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

If you are curious of more of what isn't feeling good I have captured below. 

My body:

It hurts. Physically my joints hurt, my skin is inflamed and hurts and itches in various places. My physical body hurts because of being out of alignment; I have been teaching, doing workouts out and yoga, but not enough foam rolling and restorative activity. Ouch. Additionally, I feel puffy everywhere. In fact, it isn't a feeling it is a reality because my clothes are fitting a lot tighter in just the last few weeks. And finally, my bloat is awful. I know my tummy is off and not happy lots of times in the day. in fact, almost every time I eat lately my stomach hurts or I can hear the rumbling. Because of all of this I know a little healing will go a long way. 

Emotionally/Mentally

My mind is all over the place. I have a lot on my mind regarding work and home, specifically thinking up various ways to approach each. I am experiencing a great amount of mental spinning (where I take a thought or idea and run with it, usually not for the positive). I am harder on myself, sensitive, and sometimes so anxious I can barely sit still during meditation. This is absolutely a reflection of me being out of balance, in particular not sleeping and more importantly short-cutting my practice to the point that even when I do it I am so tired it doesn't count. I feel connected to something higher than me when I am in nature and when I sit still and find myself in breath and meditation. When I do not do that, the cumulative effect is noticed. In fact, I talk about this a bit in the Pain of Not Practicing post. This awareness will definitely be leverage and motivation for me to show up in my practice because my mind will absolutely benefit. :)

The Process of Healing - why don't more people talk about the process of healing? I am curious.

In reflecting in the last couple days following the peak of feeling crappy I have been thinking a lot about how not a lot of people talk about the process of life or the journey of losing weight or healing from a sickness. I wonder why? It is in the process of pain/suffering where I feel the most alone and confused. I know I am not alone and I reach out to those close to me who often hold me up, but why do I hesitate to share the journey, especially when it isn't pretty? I think it is because it makes me vulnerable. Also, a lot of people share the story of, "one day I had this suffering and then I did x, y, and z and now I feel great!" I am not judging or saying that is not an okay way to share your story, because each one of us gets to choose how we tell our story and how/when we share. What I am saying is that I crave to hear more of the journey and process of others on the way to moving through something that was hard and didn't feel good.

I also hesitate to share sometimes because when you look at my life I am pretty damn lucky. How could someone that has a lot to be thankful for be suffering? It doesn't make sense at all. But then I realize I am not alone in my journey of internal suffering. In fact, we all have these things inside that are here to teach us. And if it wasn't painful we wouldn't have the desire and drive to stand up again and keep moving forward. If it wasn't painful we wouldn't want to make changes and choices in our lives to feel better. And as much as I know that is hard to make changes, especially at the beginning (because sometimes it is easier to stay out of balance), I know what is on the other side, and thus I am very very determined to keep moving forward. I also hope that me sharing the process I am going through as I struggle and get back up again might help just one person.

My Aha-Cycle - Specific to eating, body image, and health (gut health, skin stuff etc.)

I want to go in depth soon about my aha-cycle that I realize I deal with, in particular with my eating and body-image issues. If I am being honest, I am carrying a good 15 pounds, maybe 20 pounds more than what I used to call my set-point weight. In fact, I used to feel chubby during that weight, and now that I have the extra puff (for lack of a better term) and I think, "what was I thinking?" For me it is more than the weight; It is the fact I can feel so awesome one moment and so awful the next moment that I wonder, am I doing it all wrong? Am I defective? Do I simply not have enough will power? And on and on on. So when I was not feeling so hot this last Friday (post Thanksgiving) I pulled out the book, Women Food and God, by Geneen Roth and I found my notes I wrote in the summer. It was pretty incredible what I learned in my reflections from reading this book back in July. (This book moved me faster in my healing of my eating issues than anything I've every done). In my own reflections I quickly became aware of three stages that I am often cycling through. Each stage has a set of behaviors and thought patterns. Essentially, this cycle is one that helped me see the destructive pattern I often find myself in, which ultimately sets me up to not feel good and frankly, think too much about it (food/body) all. 

Here is a pic of the high-level cycle I drew out one day that hit home for me:

In no particular order the three phases are:

  • Connection to Source: Highest good/choice
  • Awareness of positive feelings (or negative) and/or change, leads to Attachment and more focus/attention on food/body.
  • Disconnection to self and not being fully present, feelings of shame.

I look forward to digging deeper into this as I grow and hopefully I can share even more in the future. For now, I will honor that the cycle can exist for me and that I am healing and getting stronger each day. I respect and am accepting of my ability to use my awareness to drop into the present moment and love me exactly as I am today, and tomorrow and the next day. I cannot image that this self love will do anything but help me to make better choices, be kinder and to hopefully thrive. Thus, in sharing I am thankful for this suffering because it has made me more awake and alive. 

So what next?

  1. I am doing everything I can to be fully present in ALL of life. I am challenging myself to feel all of my feelings and slow down. Often times I numb myself or distract myself with staying up too late, looking at my phone, getting a snack or thinking about food too much. Thus, I am not truly living in the moment, right? Also, I realize I am often crabby and impatient at home and at the stem of it all is that I am often thinking about what I need to do to be prepared to teach or do something esle and instead I am doing parenting things. Thus, I am quickly reactive and not my best self.
  2. Honor my truth. I am working closely with my coach to realize and accept/love all of me, the good, the challenging, and the quirky. And instead of constantly try to improve or judge myself, I am working to accept and LOVE it all. After all of this recent awareness I realize that I am so incredibly hard on myself it actually makes life a lot more difficult and amps up my anger and impatience to a pretty high level. 
  3. I will LIVE my YOGA! Daily yoga means living my yoga; each moment I see as my practice. To be kind to myself, my kids, and those I come in contact with. This will lead to nourishing foods, moving my body, connecting, and practice--giving myself the healing gift of yoga to move, change my energetic body and pause my mind enough to connect to the place in me that is unchanging and bright.

I believe in my heart that this small moment of not feeling so hot is a gift to me to adjust and do what I know I need to do to honor me, my path, my blessings and more. I also now know what it is like to physically feel not awesome and to have my weight not budge, regardless of what I am doing. I know what I need and I plan to carry on. I allow the hurt and the feelings. I dig into a deep place of me that will not try to be it all or be perfect but to be present: more breaths, more pausing, more allowing feelings to come in and out. Thus, hopefully more real moments of bliss, laughter, joy and true gratitude with effortlessly flow into my life. 

Am I right? Does any of this resonate with you? Do you have something you are working through and are you allowing or are you pushing it away? Can you learn from your challenges and honor the process? Ask yourself questions and continue to be curious because the lessons are in the everyday moments and your heart. And of course the real sweet spot is allowing it all to happen and find that acceptance in your mind, body and spirit. You are worthy of love today.

Thanks for reading and for honoring you! Wherever you are today and on your journey you are exactly where you should be. Can you give yourself a little more love and grace today? Can you slow down and be a little more present? I know I can and I will try. I look forward to reporting back on how it is going. 

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin 

p.s. I couldn't resist putting this little cutie and our bright tree in the pic. The tree might be my favorite part of December. :) 

p.p.s I am feeling better now that it is Friday and I have made small changes. I look forward to sharing more. xo

Listen to you body - or maybe not today

What does listen to your body mean to you? Honest. What comes up when you read those words? Read them again, but this time insert your name. "________, listen to your body." Pause. What are you feeling in your body? 

For me, when I hear the phrase "listen to your body" I have a mixed bag of reactions; it depends on when you catch me:

-On a good day I might feel: empowered hopeful, excited and trust 

-On a bad day: anger, distrust, defective, frustrated, and alone. 

The good day is pretty easy to understand right? It's the same reason so many of us in the health and wellness field say these words, "listen to your body." It makes sense in in theory—when you tap in and listen, you know exactly what you need physically, mentally and emotionally. 

However, take a tougher day—a day when you've spilled your coffee, yelled at your kids, screwed up a proposal, you are battling a heartbreak or a loss of any kind. These are the days it's hard to know what you need in all areas of your life. 

Let's break down "listening to your body" a little more. 

Physically—Breaking Down Listening to your body

My physical body has been a huge battle for me. I gained an extra 20 lbs in the last two years and I'm not Preggo. There is a long story that goes with my weight gain that I will share as I talk more openly about my story. However, in this regard I trusted nothing and nobody. At this time in my life healthy food made me sick, sleep wasn't happening and disordered eating was at its greatest. Additionally, my psoriasis was high and my heart was torn, I wanted to be home with the kids but I felt like I was trapped. To stick with the theme of my body, in a nutshell, my body wasn't working for me. The more I tried the more I could hear jack squat. Nothing. I was so angry that I couldn't even make a damn soup because they all had tomatoes and beans and peppers, all which made me incredibly sick. Not to mention I felt like I was not myself with extra 'love' and a wardrobe that didn't fit. Sweats and yoga pants were the name of fashion in my world. And if you've ever been there you know how that feels. It makes you feel worse. Finally, why is my psoriasis so bad? Why is my body fighting with me as I nurse my sweet baby into a healthy world? Enough said. 

Mental-Emotional—Breaking Down Listening your Body

Let's put mental and emotional together because they go hand-in-hand and are easier to talk about at the same time. As I mentioned above, my heart was hurting. After having my son I found the transition into life was harder. I cried a lot, was angry a lot and while I knew I wanted to inhale the smells, sounds, and touch of this gift to be home with my baby and my little girl, I couldn't actually be present enough to enjoy. I compare it to eating lunch while driving or watching a movie while doing work emails, but even more painful. Because not only am I NOT enjoying, I am also hurting and filled with feelings of SHAME. What the F is wrong with you Kristin? Can't you see what you have In front of you? Can't you actually enjoy what you wished for? Why are you mean to the best husband and dad you could dream up? And why is your body failing you? I would think, "I can't eat anything yet I'm still fat," or "I must be defective because my stomach hurts, my joints hurt, my skin is fared up, my girlie part is broken, not to mention my abs are separated and I might never do a sit up again. And I don't have the willpower to eat what doesn't flare me up." I felt broke. 

The food stuff started with me sneaking the cereal in the cupboard with oats and sugar and things that make me sick. It had been a couple years of me trying to eat a fairly restrictive diet. Quick snapshot of my no's and yay's in the food department. The bottom line, I attempted a modified yeast-free diet and then it turned into variations of that as I progressed. Just because this was my attempt doesn't mean that I followed this the entire duration; there were ups and downs. It was always my intention to eat clean and lots of the right veggies, gluten, dairy, yeast and sugar free, but there were many moments I would choose otherwise. Sometimes I would physically feel worse when I ate things off of the "no list" and sometimes I wasn't sure. This experience by itself caused a lot of confusion in my mind because I wondered if what I was trying to do was actually going to work? That is just a small part of the equation. Below is a snapshot of the Yes/NO list from 2011 - 2015

Snapshot of Yes/No List from 2011 - 2015

Foods on the "Yes List"

  • Proteins were a yes, fresh is best (beef, chicken, pork, eggs, etc.)
  • Vegetables, the non-starchy ones were better. Sweet potatoes were only on occassion or a little amount, same with other squash like butternut squash, but I could eat just not loads of them.
  • Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa (this is now a no for me ironically)
  • Fruit that were a yes: apples, especially green because of the low-sugar content, strawberries, some blueberries and raspberries
  • Fats like avocado, nuts, seeds all okay. These sat well with me sometimes and other times almonds, cashews and other nuts made me sick. So it truly depended on the day. 
  • Beans were okay at the beginning

Foods on the "No List"

  • No Gluten
  • No Dairy
  • No sugar, including maple syrup or honey
  • Little to no fruit 
  • And absolutely No dried fruit
  • No vinegar
  • No ketchup, dressings or sauces
  • No wine, or very minimally
  • No coffee (but I figured espresso seemed okay)
  • No dessert even the "healthy upgrades" including chocolate
  • No Nightshades
  • No Corn
  • No Oats
  • No beans of any kind as time progressed

Attempting the restricted diet f'ed with my mind. Because I couldn't have it, I wanted it. Then I wanted it because my turkey and broccoli didn't satisfy my (wonder why), and at nap time I would sneak in the kitchen and pour a bowl of that cereal. Just a little bit. I would eat it and want more. So another pour and another. And then shame quickly happened. That moved on to days when I would eat a little and then say something like ,"wtf" and I would pause and spit it out, but then go for another bite and then spit it out again. And there became the dysfunctional pattern. The dichotomy of wanting something I knew would make me sick but the desire to have it. I was stuck between two worlds. Thus, I picked neither. I didn't resist nor did I eat it. I would eat and spit it out. It was so nauseating and awful, yet I continued to find myself in that situation. Sometimes it was a small bowl of something and sometimes it was a whole bag of candy. Yup. The day it became more than a little "event" (we will call it) was Halloween night three years ago. Eat some of it? Nope. Forbidden. And bedtime happened and hubby was out with neighbors. And I thought what the hell, it's the closest thing to enjoying the candy right? I won't do it again. And there it happened. How could I do it so I left zero trace? A little of this and a little of that. A few times I ate a little and a lot of others I just couldn't. 

Holy f. What just happened? It was such a blur to me and so out of body (just like writing this is**). One more important detail in all of this. I had been trying for almost two months to not eat (or eat as little as I could). What? Why would anyone do that? Again, this one is a long story I would like to elaborate on later because it is a huge piece of my story. The summation of this desire was I was sick with a parasite in July that year (2014( and lost 10 + pounds--you know, the extra baby weight I couldn't lose plus five extra. Once I was well again, instead of have the wisdom to be grateful I was so SCARED to eat. I was so AFRAID of getting fat. Thus, I tried to eat the least amount I could. I completely disconnected from my mind, body and spirit. And in that state, there is NO way I could "listen to my body." None. I was so clouded by this fear and this desire to stay in my clothes. And to be enough. And to top it off my food choices still were quite limited so I had to plan and cook and think about food all the time. 

Needless to say, this was a silent pain in my heart. A suffering that made me feel even more defective and alone and an inability to trust my body or mind. My suffering, in hindsight is the biggest blessing I could have ever had. It is now becoming clear to me that I needed to learn a lot. That although I thought I got help in 2002/3 I still had a "monkey on my back." I had more healing to do, and as I write this I know I must stay true to always knowing my triggers and realizing each day I can create a safe and healthy environment where these behaviors are not me, they were just moments or " an event." And that is so freeing to think about. I am not Kristin with an eating disorder. I am Kristin with moments in my life where I had disordered-eating behaviors. I am free and I have power within to choose my thoughts and thus my actions. These were misunderstandings in my mind and moments that likely have many causes and reasons. In fact, I still wonder if there are additional factors during that October 2014 when I had just taken an anti-parasitic and was likely beginning my challenge with adrenal fatigue. Those can all impact your mind and behaviors. 

A year ago I wrote a post filled with so much push-back and anger against the phrase "listen to your body!" However, it never felt right or that it was the whole story. Until recently, I read the book Women Food and God, by Geneen Roth. 

This book asked me to pause, listen, and feel. This author asked me to be curious and see what this whole "food thing" was all about. So I gave it a shot. I tried to pause more and listen more. I've found thought and story lines and key points to it all just pop in my head. My little girl caught me not in the cupboard the other day but feverishly writing post-it notes. These notes came from a different place, a place so deep in my soul and heart that I had to write fast. Perhaps I am not defective at all. Perhaps my story and experiences are critical to exactly where I am now. Perhaps I have even more to learn. And although it is coming to me in pieces, and my hormones continue to feel off (I am burning hot when it is 60 degrees out and am wired at midnight), I have promised myself to keep listening and be curious. But what I have also promised and learned through it all is that "listen to your body" isn't easy or clear or even simple. It is a journey and on many days can be clouded by life, experiences, feelings, and situations and deep-rooted pain or joy. 

I cannot say what this phrase ("Listen to your body") means to you, but I honor that is different for all of us. Thus, I beg all of you to keep being curious, keep dropping into the present and to the NOW. But know, it's okay if listening is just too hard, you are doing your best, you are enough and only YOU KNOW what YOU NEED.  

I wish you only the best and many moments of joy and present moment contentment. Thank you for honoring your story and your life. 

In deep gratitude, love and light,

Kristin

P.S. After reading this story and my list of "no's" you can get a better understanding of why the name, "No Rules Wellness?" I think we all know that when someone tells us "no" to something we almost instinctively want it more. Thus, the No Rules Wellness was born because instead of what the experts say, how about you be the expert? I like that a lot more. Namaste!