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Thinking Out Loud 10.9.2014 – Getting Deep Up In Here


Hey guys.

It’s, “Erin rambles on about the jumbled mess that are her thoughts,” day… Or, to put it in a better way, “Thinking Out Loud Thursday.”

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Thanks Amanda for creating this link-up and actually giving me the mental strength to sit and type a post (wow, that was melodramatic).

Workout – 45 minutes of intervals on the elliptical.

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1. Yup. As I briefly mentioned in my Monday post…. I’m still/yet again injured. I has been almost 2 weeks since my last “run” (ok, actually I ran 4 miles on Saturday because I thought I was healed, but I was wrong and am paying for it.

I strained a muscle in my lateral leg. The pain is most severe in my outer ankle area (hurts to the touch), but it pulls from my arch all the way up through my gluteal area. Not fun.

I just feel as though I am always injured, and yes, I am aware that I am to blame for this in a number of ways… But this just could not have come at a worse time.

Over the course of the last month or so, I have just been spiraling further and further down the rabbit hole of depression and self loathing. I am having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, I don’t feel up to talking to anyone (even if it is just over text messages), I don’t have the mental stamina to complete my school work. Basically, I just feel like curling up in a ball and turning the world around me off. The universe feels too big and loud and terrifying and I don’t feel strong enough to be a part of it.

During the course of this spiraling into a deep sea of depression, there was one single thing that filled me with hope and joy and a sense of meaning… Can you guess what it was?

If you said running, than you are correct.

In fact, the day that I discovered I was injured, I had a therapy appointment before I went to the doctor for my leg. We had an amazing session and we spoke about how bad I have been doing and how running has been my saving grace. She told me how important it is that I keep running, as it is the one thing that gets me out of bed in the morning and that makes taking on the world, while still almost impossible, somewhat bearable.

Of course, right after that appointment I was told that I couldn’t run again for a while.

I completely lost it.

Yup, embarrassing myself, as I frequently do, I started crying in the middle of the medical office. The worst part of not being able to control your emotions is knowing that your reaction to the given situation is inappropriate in respect to the situation. I just feel like a toddler throwing a fit over not getting a toy that they want or something. As a result, I wind up crying even harder because of how pathetic I feel. It is a vicious cycle.

On top of being in a black hole of depression already, not being able to run is a double whammy when it comes to worsening my already less-than-ideal mental state.

On one hand, running is my saving grace. It is my love. It is what I feel passionate about. It is the one thing that makes me feel like maybe I’m worth something. It makes me grateful to be alive in this wonderful, beautiful, and magical world of ours. it makes me thankful to be alive and to have a body, regardless of the size of it, that can carry me for miles and miles.

On the other hand, it is no secret that a lot of my issues stem from a deep loathing of myself, and, more specifically, my body. I was already freaking out over the fact that I feel as though I eat way too much and that I am gaining weight and getting bigger by what feels like the day. Now, I am unable to run or do intensive exercise. All I can do is the elliptical or the bike… Not exactly the top of the list calorie burning machines. I already wanted to get this extra weight off (which is almost impossible for me since I destroyed my metabolism with my eating issues…I really need to get back on track with working on that), but now it feels more impossible than ever. I feel and look puffy and larger. I don’t want to leave the room because I don’t want people to see me. I was already struggling with getting to class, now if feels almost impossible. In fact, I skipped out on two classes this week because I just physically could not get myself out the door. I just crumble… It’s bad.

I think the worst part is knowing on a logical level that a lot of it must be in my head. You don’t swell up 20 pounds over night, but to me it appears as though I do. I have trouble differentiating what is real and what is just a false projection from my disordered mind. It’s like there is this constant war going on inside my mind and I can’t make it stop.

It is exhausting… And quite honestly, I don’t know what to do about it.

Another piece of all of this is that I feel like every time I take one step in the right direction recovery wise, I wind up taking about 10 steps back. At the end of the summer, I was seeing progress, I really was. To others (mainly my mom), I know that it seemed as though therapy was doing nothing and I was in just as bad of a place as I had been for years… But I wasn’t. The thing with recovery is that it is a painfully slow process. Any change, infinitesimal as it may seem, is crucial and important. The recovering person notices them, but everyone around that person sees absolutely nothing.

I explained it, both to my mom and to my therapist, like this – For years now, I have hated my body. I obsess about what I look like, what people are seeing and thinking of my size, and how food is the enemy 100% of the time. At the end of the summer, these thoughts consumed my mind about 98.5% of the time. This 1.5% change of mentality may seem laughable in size… But to me is was huge. 

And now I’m back at 100% of the time for these bad thoughts… And I hate it.

I also feel like I am wasting my mom’s money on therapy and I am wasting my therapist’s time. I feel selfish for even going… I am just at a stand still.

2. SOMETHING MORE POSITIVE!!!!

There is actually one thing that fills me with as much joy as running does.

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(from my Instagram)

It sounds stupid, but if I could be absolutely anything in the world, I would be a musician. Now, I’m not talking like a Taylor-Swift-status-billionaire-superstar status musician… I would just want to be in a band with a moderate fan base that I could love. Music is the most powerful form of expression in my opinion. I have wanted to be a lot of different things career-wise in my lifetime, and none of the career paths that I have aspired to really had anything in common. The only common factor among my passions in life is this overwhelming need to make people feel something. I think this is why writing has always been a reoccurring theme in my goals in life. When you read a good book, watch a powerful movie, or listen to beautiful music, it elicits some sort of emotion within in you. Words have the power to be your best friend, your biggest motivator. Words can make you feel less alone… And that is what I love so much about music.

I listen to music by bands who weave words with melody in ways that make my heart cry out. I listen to music that can bring a real smile to my face whilst also brining me to tears… And listening to live music? There is nothing better.

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Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember absolutely killing it. 

It sounds like a cliche from a bad teenage movie… But music really has saved my life in more ways than one. I have been listening to my favorite band, Silverstein, since 7th grade. 7th grade also happened to be the time where my depression really manifested into something truly nasty. I have continued listening to that band through the years. I know that every time I am having a really hard time, their music has been there for me, and it will continue to be there for me as long as I have hearing.

There is also something truly beautiful, at least to me, about being surrounded by hundreds of people who all have the same deep connection to a certain song or band that you do. We are all pressed together like sardines in a can, we are jumping, we are struggling to keep up with keeping the crowd surfers from falling to the floor. My hair is being pulled and I am being absolutely demolished by the people around me (don’t even ask how many bruises I have on my body right now)… And for some reason, being accidentally punched and kicked, being knocked over while trying to hold up a dude about twice the size of me, and being drenched in sweat that isn’t even my own… It’s beautiful.

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So in conclusion, I have been doing really really awful lately… But I had one really great day on Saturday, so I am choosing to focus on that instead.

This too shall pass.

…Right?

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Mental Health Monday – The Negativity Trap


Hey everyone!
I’m not even going to get into another long-winded explanation of how busy and crazy life has been and how blogging hasn’t really been possible and blah blah blah. Instead, we are just going to get right into today’s topic.

The negativity trap.

This post is one that I have wanted to write for almost a month now. However, due to life and emotional stuff and all that nonsense, it just hasn’t happened. Needless to say, I am super stoked to finally be able to sit down and write about this close to my heart topic.

So, this “negativity trap.” What exactly is it?

In a nutshell, the negativity trap is the phenomena that occurs when you surround yourself with others who have a negative attitude about a particular topic, or just life in general.

For example, say that you are talking to a friend and they are going on about a certain professor/teacher/employer that they just can’t stand. You are also a student/employee of this particular person, but you don’t have the same extreme opinion about them that your friend does. Heck, you may really even like this person.

So your friend is going on about how horrible this person is, how much they hate them, the whole nine yards. At first, you just let your friend vent without interjecting with your own personal opinion. However, this only works until you realize that your friend is actually expecting you to have an opinion as well.

Realizing this, you try to respond appropriately, while still not agreeing with the hateful views of your friend. Eventually, as your friend continues to go on, you find yourself agreeing more and more. In fact, you find yourself complaining about this particular person as well.

It’s strange, and it is something that I notice very frequently. It’s a bit like peer pressure… When you surround yourself with negativity, eventually you will find yourself giving into it.

So how do you handle this situation?

It’s trickier than you would think. You don’t agree with someone’s negative opinion? Just say so! …Right?

Not necessarily.

Unfortunately, us human beings have the tendency to let our ego control our thoughts an actions. We have some deeply routed need to fit in, to feel validated, supported. That being said, just because the ego wants to control us doesn’t mean that you have no choice but to succumb to it.

The goal of not just avoiding the negativity trap, but of life itself, is to achieve the highest level of self-actualization…. And a huge part of this is to let go of the ego, of the herd need, of the fear (that sometimes you don’t even know is there) that is making you give into the negativity that is attempting to make its way into your mind to alter your thinking.

See, it is so much easier to think in the same way as everyone else… And once you do fall into negativity, it is just a slippery slope. Negativity is infectious. But guess what? So is positivity.

It’s a difficult process, and it takes a lot of mental strength and control to avoid falling into the negativity trap. Going against the popular opinion is  difficult, it’s terrifying and uncomfortable. It takes practice, but I assure you that you will feel so much better if you stay true to your beliefs.

When we allow ourselves to give into negativity and allow others to project their thoughts and opinions (that we don’t actually agree with) on ourselves, we allow ourselves to be lesser than who we actually are.

Think about it for a second. Think of a time where you allowed someone else so put their opinion on you. Think of a time where you said something that you didn’t mean or agree with just to make someone else happy. How did you feel after the conversation ended? Did you feel guilt? Did you think, “Why did I say that?”

It’s not a good feeling.

Also, when we allow ourselves to fall into the negativity trap, we portray ourselves as something that we are not. When we surround ourselves with negativity, even if we are not thinking the same negative thoughts as our peers, we are lumped together with those that we surround ourselves with. When we agree with ideas that we don’t believe in and voice negative opinions that are not even our own, we project an image of being something that we are not. Fall into the negativity trap and you take on the image of being a negative person, and that is not who you are.

As I said earlier, it is definitely not easy to avoid falling into the negativity trap. It requires mental strength and control. It requires not allowing your thoughts and behaviors to be controlled by the ego. It requires a constant awareness and constant analyzations of your thoughts, words an actions.

There are always going to be times when you fall into this negativity trap. There will always be times when you let your guard down and let other’s thoughts and opinions warp your own. No one is perfect. However, in this life, the main mission is to become the greatest and most authentic version of yourself. It is a journey, and staying true to yourself even when you stand alone is just one step on this never-ending journey.

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fitness, healthy living, life, recovery

SMART Goal Setting + My Goals For The Week


Hello there people! How is your Sunday going?

Workout: Insanity Pure Cardio + Abs

Today has been a day full of a whole lot of nothing. I’m not feeling well whatsoever, so I’m just trying to rest up as much as possible in anticipation of a long night at work tonight.

I don’t know about you guys, but with rest often comes a ton of thinking… And I have certainly been thinking about a lot today.

I have a lot to work on in my life. In fact, this blog has become a means of chronicling my own journey in doing just that. I have a lot of healing to do, both mentally and physically. I have a lot of growing to do. I have a lot of self-discovery to do.

I have been in a truly horrible place for so long and I have only just recently began thawing. It’s been a slow process, and unfortunately it seems that for every step forward I take in healing, I take 5 steps backwards.

So it’s time to accept the fact that what I have been doing, or not doing, hasn’t been working… And it’s time to move forward.

I think that something I do, and that a lot of us do, is set huge long term goals and leave it at that.

I am going to get healthy.

I am going to lose xx pounds.

I am going to get a good job.

I am going to get a 4.o in school.

The problem with these type of goals is that that they are so broad that they often leave the goal setter feeling less inspired and more overwhelmed.

In my exercise science class, we learned about a type of goal setting called the SMART model.

Goals should be:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Time oriented

Now, we were learning about this specific way of goal setting in regards to fitness and weight loss, but it can easily be applied to any and every goal that one sets for themselves.

And this SMART model of goal setting is definitely, dare I say, smart.

Here’s an example of how this model would be used (this isn’t a goal of mine… just one that I made up).

Broad goal – To lose weight.

Specific – I want to lose 20 pounds

Measurable – Weigh ins and measurements taken weekly

Achievable – Losing 20 pounds at a steady pace of 1-2 pounds per week. (What you wouldn’t want is to set a goal of losing 20 pounds in a month…)

Realistic – Pretty much the same as Achievable

Time Based – Lose 20 pounds in the next 4-5 months.

Braking up a huge goal into smaller, more manageable mini-goals makes the goal less overwhelming. It’s like when your room is a complete mess, so you decide that one day you will clean out the closet, then your drawers the next day, and so on and so forth.

That being said, part 1 of what I have dubbed Operation Makeover My Life, is setting weekly goals!

I always psych myself out when it comes to setting weekly goals because all I can think of is, “What if I fail at accomplishing all of my goals and then am a pathetic failure because I can’t do anything right?”

Is this a tad overdramatic? Why yes.

First thing to write down for yesterday’s challenge – I will fail at accomplishing all that I set out to do this week. I will accomplish my goals for the week… And if not, that is ok. There is always next week. I will be kinder to myself.

So here are a couple of my goals for the week:

1. Drink green tea!

 

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I have actually already started on this one! I’m enjoying a cup of green tea with lemon while I am writing this!

Green tea is something that I used to enjoy daily, and I have to say that I actually felt better when I did. Green tea has such a huge amount of health benefits, curbs the appetite, helps control sugar cravings, and helps stimulate the metabolism. It’s also very hydrating.

And delicious.

It seems simple and silly, but as part of bettering my health and body, incorporating a cup or two of green tea into my daily routine seems like as good of a place as any to start!

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I also want to work on getting my hands of some matcha (it’s just so darn expensive) for even more health benefits!

2. Reduce my intake of processed carbohydrates.

We all know how I feel about my (grotesquely large) “snack” plates as meals.

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See all those pretzels and rice snaps? Now, there is nothing wrong with enjoying some pretzels now and again. I know that a lot of people look at carbohydrates and breads as the devil… But the way I see it is that if pretzels are the most unhealthy thing that I am eating, then I don’t exactly see it as the worst thing in the world.

What makes my pretzel habit problematic is that they seem to make up almost half of my total intake for the day… I include them in my lunches, and often my dinners since I often have snack plates for dinners as well. Along with incorporating them into meals, I also snack on them throughout the day.

I just don’t feel comfortable with the percentage of my total intake coming from these types of foods or with the lack of nutritional value that these foods offer.

And this leads me to my next goal.

4. Eat more protein!

I seem to have fallen out of incorporating lean protein sources into any of my meals… I maybe have something like tuna or chicken breast of fish twice a week… And that is certainly not ideal. Funny thing is, I know that part of my aversion to protein sources is my stupid fear of calories… I feel like if I am going to intake x amount of calories, I would rather get them from something that I enjoy more (hello pretzels).. Which is dumb.

Protein has a thermogenic effect on the body, so incorporating more protein into my diet would actually encourage a higher metabolic rate after meal time which would encourage a leaner physique.

and that brings me to my final goal for the week…

5. Normalize my meals.

One cannot and should not live on acai bowls, snack plates, and pretzels alone… I strongly believe that if I started eating more normal meals, my issues with constant grazing and high intake of low fiber carbohydrates would greatly lessen.

Then maybe I would feel better about myself and less bad about my diet and eating habits.

 

Small steps. Small steps.

Here’s to a good week!

Question(s):

What are your goals for the week?

What is your biggest dietary downfall?

 

 

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For The First Time In Forever…


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Haha just kidding… But please tell me that you guys are as obsessed with Frozen as I am…

But really, I did do something recently that I haven’t done in God knows how long.

I. Took. A. Rest Day.

Try not to pass out from shock… (I think I’m a lot funnier than I am)

But in all seriousness, I haven’t taken a full-on rest day in years. I know that I am supposed to take at least one day off a week. I know that it is unhealthy to never let your body rest… I just can’t do it. I’m still feeling guilty about not working out on Saturday. 

It was a crazy weekend, I started work and was there a total of 20 hours over the weekend. I also had chapter for my sorority, along with school work. I had full-on meltdowns two days in a row about how busy I am and how I can’t handle it. I then proceeded to break down even more over the fact that I felt pathetic for not being able to handle it all. 

Saturday night, I didn’t get back to school until almost 10. I had been on my feet and running around all day at work with no break, and had also walked the 1.7 miles that it takes to get to work, and then home. I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I just really wasn’t feeling a run and the gym was already closed. My roommates were supposed to go out to a club at 11, so I just decided that I would do Insanity in my room once they left… Well guess what? One of them didn’t wind up leaving until 1 in the morning… And i had to be up early the next morning. Normally, I would compromise sleep in favor of getting a workout in. But somehow, I managed to silence the crazy, compulsive exerciser Erin inside of me and made myself go to sleep instead.

The result? I feel bigger… But logically I know that I am not.

And I got in a darn good workout today!

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(stair master portion not pictured)

followed by this extreme burner

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You know what? In a few months, I probably won’t even remember that day that I didn’t do. Sometimes, it is important to remind yourself why you workout. Do I want to lose weight? Heck yes I do! But working out is also a part of who I am. It calms me down when I am feeling anxious, it lifts me when I am feeling down. I exercise because I love it. I need to remember that on days where I treat exercise as a punishment for eating more than I would like to.

The ability to exercise is a gift. I am so lucky to have working legs and lungs and a healthy heart. I need to remember that.

Questions

Do you take rest days? How often?

Why do you workout?

 

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