Physical Wellness: Don’t Get Sucked In.

The other day, Eric was talking to me about something he had read about on Nerd Fitness. Which Nerd Fitness is a website that helps break down fitness in terms of kind of like video games. When you PR, you level up and they just kind of relate everything in a different way to fit that “nerd” demographic. He was telling me about an article that was breaking down supplements. Basically it was saying that using supplements that promise immediate results is like using a cheat code in a video game. Usually you have to put in hours into the video game to get to where someone else has gotten with a cheat code.

As he was saying this, it really made me think about how many people get sucked into these gimmicks of the diet industry. Whether it be losing weight or gaining weight. But everyone, and I do mean everyone, knows that the real secret to sculpting the perfect body is that it takes time. And beyond that it takes realistic expectations. I have been running this blog for almost a year and I can tell you that hands down my most popular post I have ever written is my how to set SMART goals. Having that realistic component to your physical goals is really important.

There is no cheat code. There is no short code on the road of health and wellness. It takes time. It takes dedication. It takes realistic expectations. It takes trial and error to figure out what works for you. And honestly it will probably be changing often throughout your life. It might side “pessimistic” to say, but I don’t think you ever get to the end goal of total health and wellness. Because you work on it every single day. You are constantly on this journey. And even when you get to the point where you are like, “ok, yup, I’m there” you still have to work every day to stay there.

Enjoy the journey.

Occupational Wellness: You’ve Got Mail!…er E-mail

I suppose this could fall under life wellness as well…

I’m so guilty of letting email run my life. I hear the ding and in a middle of a person to person conversation (even when I’m at home or out or at Eric’s) I grab my life vest (aka my phone) and start checking my email. Just typing that sentence, my brain is screaming at me. It’s SO rude! I hate when people interrupt me while I telling a story or talking…I hate it. It drives me up the wall. But I will just grab my phone in the middle of a conversation and start scrolling while claiming that I am listening to whoever is talking to me (IN REAL LIFE).

But honestly, my day is run by email. If I’m not at my desk with immediate access to my outlook, then I have my Surface (yes, I’m that person) that is updating me with my emails or my phone is dinging letting me know that I have a new email. And of course I have to check it. But once I get home? Oh the dings do not stop. The dings are still there and the last minute frantic emails about something that has to get done right this second haunt my dreams as I toss and turn then inevitably get up and get whatever needs to be done. That damn email ding is like Pavlov’s dog experiment. Except less salivating.

Well, last week, LearnVest had an article in their daily newsletter about 5 steps to help keep email from making you salivate at a ding. And the tips aren’t too shabby. But I know that what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for anyone else. So I’m asking you, yes you reading this post. Go ahead in the comments and give one tip that you have for making yourself not chained to your email 24/7. Let’s share some ideas, shall we?

Life Wellness: Just Stop What You Are Doing

And read this. Stop reading this article right now and READ THIS BLOG POST.

Oh my GOSH! This applies to not just the gym but LIFE! You hear (or read) fashion bloggers all the time talking about how you just wear whatever you want to wear and whatever makes you happy and don’t worry about what other people think/say/post about you. We hear/read about it in the fitness community. You go into the gym and you do what works for you. When I first started running I would get so self conscious about how slow I thought I was running or if I needed to stop to take breaks to walk. I would always think, “oh man, people are definitely making fun of me.” But 1.) WHO CARES? You are out there being active! Plus those people don’t know your workout plan, they don’t know your injuries and they sure as h-e-double hockey sticks don’t know you. And 2.) DON’T BE THAT PERSON MAKING FUN OF SOMEONE.

STOP BULLYING!

Side note:  I’m actually really into this blog post and wish that my readers could see me typing this up. I’m quite literally mouthing all the words that I am typing and typing ferociously fast and loud and whatnot.

DON’T BULLY PEOPLE.

Don’t do it at the gym. Don’t do it on the internet. Don’t do it in the grocery store. Just don’t do it. And when you do, apologize. In whatever way you can.

Key takeaways from this article? Vanessa gets animated when typing about something she is passionate about AND DON’T BULLY PEOPLE!

Occupational Wellness: The New Trend?

A couple weeks ago the world was stunned when a 24 year old copywriter passed away after working a 30 hour shift, a lot of us were introduced to a word to describe something that a lot of us are guilty of:  binge working. Before this, I had only thought of the word binge being tied to drinking or eating. Binge working seems to be a result of people being connected to their job 24/7 (hello work email on my phone), desire for money, and the oh so amazing invention of caffeine. Normal office hours seem to have been a thing of the past. But these binge working circumstances have negative consequences. Negative health consequences. Not just death. These long binge working hours can actually lead to a decrease in the quality of your work.

So, like most things in our life, why do we subject ourselves to unhealthy behavior?

(Source)

Physical Wellness: To Flu Shot or to Not Flu Shot?

Washington Post posted a nice article in regards to getting a flu shot. It detailed all the benefits and options that people have to make sure they get their flu shots. But how many of you grumble and groan every year when you get that phone call from your mom saying, “Get your flu shot!”? Anyone, anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Just me?

This is NOT a post telling you to get your flu shot or to not get your flu shot. But as someone who gets the flu every single year regardless of flu shot status…for me, it just isn’t worth it to get the flu shot. Perhaps when I start falling into those high risk brackets (already completed the 5 and under category like a boss) of over 65 or if I for some reason start to have a more compromised immune system I will rethink my stance on the flu shot. But for me, going through getting flu shots and not getting flu shots and still always getting the flu every single year…I’d rather keep my $25. I don’t have a fear of needles or anything like that, the flu shots just never seem to work on me.

But this is why it is important to know your body and to know what your body responds to. Read the research, absolutely. Know the risks of your decision. Be knowledgeable. But don’t just be a blind sheep. Don’t just do things because people tell you too.

Mental Wellness: My Struggle.

As I said in yesterday’s post, this week is going to be a theme of personal posts. Some will be light-hearted while others will not be. As I sit here preparing myself to type of this post, I am ready to admit my struggles but it still is not an easy task. I often spend a lot of my time worrying that I am going to let someone down and disappoint others. And this post should (you know how I feel about that word) be read knowing that this is my personal point of view. I cannot speak of how others feel or what they thought. This will also be a bit of a lengthy post, so if I were you, I would grab your coffee and settle in.

This is a post about my struggles with eating disorders. While I have never been diagnosed or gone to treatment for eating disorders, I did seek help in the form of counseling my junior year of undergrad. I also come from a psych background so I have some elementary knowledge of the diagnosis. I will not go into detail about my weight and habits I had, because honestly that’s one of the ways I “learned” how to fuel my eating disorder. I will not go into detail at all.

I don’t ever recall a time in my life that I wasn’t worried about my weight. I grew up with a scale in the bathroom and being conscious of gaining weight. I was often the smallest one around partly just because of my genetics and partly because as a kid I was so active. I don’t remember the day of the time that I looked in the mirror and decided that I was fat, but because I journaled throughout high school, I can admit that the first time I documented my desire to lose weight in an unhealthy way was the summer before my freshman year. And while those first few years were simply just a “diet”, I was laying the ground work for a hell I could never have imagined.

My senior year of high school, I decided to do a paper on body image for my college writing class. Through “research” for this paper, I found myself on these pro-ED sites that would disgustingly give tips. I remembered these types of websites from an Ellen or View or some daytime talk show I had watched one summer that featured two girls also battling eating disorders. So I got on them and created an account and started diving into my Hell version 1. During this time, I restricted my calories to a ridiculously low amount while spending hours in the gym just walking. And with every step I just kept thinking, “walk off all the calories, get rid of them” among other destructive thoughts. I started dropping weight and started restricting more and more and more. I was aware of what I was doing and recognized how weak I was. I was coming up on my senior season of tennis and wanted to have a good season. So I pulled myself out of the hole I was in and got myself out of the physical aspect of restricting. Years later, I would tell my counselor this information and watch her jaw drop. I was able to pull myself out of the physical danger I was putting myself in, but struggled much more with getting myself out of the mental mess I had made.

One of the most misconstrued attributes of eating disorders is that it is a mental disease just as much as it can be a physical disease.

When I entered college, I entered at a healthy weight. By Thanksgiving I had put on the typical Freshman 15. It was the first and only time in my life I have ever lived without a scale. I asked my mom if I could bring one of our scales from home that was broken back to my dorm with me and she said that was fine. This is the same scale that I would weigh myself around 20 times a day on the year before. My roommates and friends after Christmas break were also wanting to hit the gym more and lose some weight, so I joined. When my boyfriend at the time finally  got worried enough about me after seeing me break down multiple times about my body and my hatred for what I saw in the mirror, he suggested I start going to counseling (seeing as it was free for students on my campus). I made one of the toughest calls I have made (which is strange seeing as I have a background in psychology but I still conform to norms that crazy people go to counseling) and set up and intake appointment. After that, I received my counselor assignment and was placed with a wonderful counselor who I saw weekly for a semester and then monthly for another semester. I got to the point where my counselor felt that I was ready to stop session and that I was “recovered”. I did a number of exercises to combat negative thinking and made solid strides in being proud and thankful for having a body that helped me do so many things I loved (at the time dancing and climbing).

But I being a manipulator, had manipulated my counselor, and if I am being honest myself. Within a year of leaving my counselor, I started down the path I call “The Worst Hell of My Life.” I started binging and purging. From the first time I successfully tried it and I flushed the toilet and got up to wash my hands and face and I saw this look in my eyes that scared me…I knew…I knew I was in major trouble. But I had no idea how bad it would get.

I moved to Kentucky for grad school, to a place where no one knew me. I was hoping to have a fresh, clean start. But I battled so much with being alone all the time, that I turned to my comfort-food. I would binge and binge and binge. Eating enough food to easily feed a family of 4 and then purge it up. I got the point where I could hardly keep food down that I was actually trying to eat and keep down. My knuckles were scraped up. My eyes were bloodshot. My face was swollen. My teeth were getting more and more sensitive. I went from hating the reflection I saw in the mirror to hating the girl I saw in the mirror. But nothing stopped me. Until I got more and more involved in my Graduate Assistant position in Wellness. Again, I pulled myself out of the danger I was in and started getting my act together. I started running more and being more conscious of my decisions. But it didn’t stop me from being triggered and falling right back into either restricting or binging and purging. I moved in with a few girls my second year of grad school and was able to see what being healthy is really like.

I’m not “recovered” and I realistically don’t think I ever will be. There are triggers all over waiting to happen. But I can handle and deal with my triggers much better now. That year that I lived with my roommates in Kentucky did more than help me keep my sanity, they saved me from my own personal hell, and I will never be able to thank them enough. Those days, weeks, months, and years that I spent suffering were some of the hardest in my life. And learning how to deal with my problems head on rather than comfort them with my ED tendencies is an on going process. From the age of 14 I have been conscious and aware of the fact that yes I do struggle but that doesn’t mean I cannot prevail.

Overall Wellness: Why Do Dreams Matter?

Hi. This is a post that has no research to back it up, just personal opinions. So…yup. Sometimes I do these types of posts…

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an article from Thought Catalog that just made me think back on my dreams. My goals and my ambitions for myself, both professionally and personally. And it got me to thinking, why do dreams matter? I get that they matter in a sense of direction that you take your life and setting goals (or that could just be the analytical side in me), but why do they matter in your life? How many people really achieve their dreams? We hear stories about so and so overcoming all the odds and making their dreams happen, but what about the others? What about the people who are still chasing their dreams but will probably never catch them? What propels them to keep chasing? What makes dreams so powerful? Is it because it gives you that internal motivation to do something/be something/be somewhere/etc that you love to your core?

I mean really, how many people just in your life have you known that have said all they want to do is live in New York City? I see this quote pop up all the time on tumblr about just give me a small apartment, just enough to live off of and insert dream here (usually it is to live in NYC or to be a writer). What is it about a dream that makes a person believe that they will be inherently happy once the dream is achieved and they can throw everything else out the window. They just need the basics, the necessities and they will be fine. But the problem with that is there is no definition of the necessities. No definition of just enough money to get by. Do you mean just enough money to pay the bills and that’s it? Because research definitely suggests otherwise that having more than “just enough to get by” actually does increase happiness. (Just to be clear, money does not equal happiness but stability and more specifically financially stability does.)

Do we live in a too whimsical world that believes that magical things can just happen? When does having a healthy does of reality help out? Or should be keep our dreams alive and keep chasing them relentlessly?

Or should I stop asking a million questions 🙂

Overall Wellness: Perspective.

Like the majority of your facebook/twitter/blog feeds today, I too am going to reflect on 9/11. But mainly because I’m in need of some cold hard perspective. Last night das boy basically discovered that he is dating “Bad Luck Brian”

Because honestly, the past few weeks have been that for me. I escape one disaster only to find myself in another disaster. It’s really been just one thing after the other after the other and I am just waiting for a break in the storm. But as I was wallowing this morning, I remembered what day it was and I remembered that even though I am going through what can really only be described as a complete shit storm of life, it could be worse. I’m healthy. I have a support system. I have things that make me happy. It could be a lot worse than it is. I live in a country that I am allowed certain freedoms that other countries don’t have. I live somewhere where I may be scared of frat boys but I’m not terrified to walk down the street to see das boy. I live in safety. My basic needs are always met. And that’s not something that everyone has. And that is really when it hit me. I need some perspective on my life and the situations I am in. Because as much as I want to wallow and be upset that there is so much going wrong with my life, there is so much going right as well. And even the things that are going wrong aren’t the end of the world. They are manageable. Fixable.

And the bottom line, I’m here. I’m alive. 12 years ago our country was attacked. I was in 8th grade checking a girl’s spelling paper during 2nd period when they turned the TVs on. It wasn’t really until 4th period that I understood what was happening. Honestly, I still don’t understand it. But the bottom line is that even through all the shit I’m going through, I’m still lucky to be around going through it.

And that is something to be thankful for.

 

Mental Wellness: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Too often, I see people who are waiting for the other shoe to drop. Don’t worry, I fall victim to this syndrome as well. But see myself and others in situations that are, “as soon as x then y”. As soon as, as soon as…It’s a never ending cycle it seems like. Because as soon as x then what really happens. Do you really need x to happen to be successful?

New Year’s Eve resolutions are the perfect example of this. We wait until the New Year to start in on our goals. But why can’t we start right now? Today? This hour? What is keeping us from starting a goal now instead of after the other shoe drops?