What is “Strength”?

strength.jpgPhysically:

  • 33:35s Grind Time
  • 60 pushups
  • Trail racing
  • A 5km swim
  • Riding the IM Whistler Bike course
  • Holding plank for 8 mins

Mental:

  • Finding beauty in process
  • Sitting with discomfort, mental, physical
  • Trusting the process
  • Having faith that this too shall pass
  • Meditation
  • Observing thoughts
  • Non-distraction and being present
  • Self-care
  • Standing up for yourself
  • Letting go (of ego, of beliefs that don’t serve, of control)
  • Viewing the bigger picture, instead of getting caught up in the microcosms of mind-games
  • Doing less
  • Being more

Fuck

I don’t feel physically strong atm, in fact I feel vulnerable, fragile, injured, weak, permeable, loose.  I am observing my association with the concept of strength and its manifestation in the physical sense.  In my injury rehab for my rib right now, which is leaving me very vulnerable and forcing me to rest, do things slowly etc…I am re-evaluating the term strong because I want to feel strong.

It’s a perspective shift, it’s all in my mind, and by practicing firing these neural pathways, it’s a universal strength.

OM.

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Body Language

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Listen to the whispers, or you’ll be forced to abide by the screams.

I (brilliantly 😉 ) came up with this quote one day while hiking Quarry Rock in Vancouver with a friend who’d had a stress fracture and was contemplating running a 50km race on it…It came from a deep place inside of myself of experience.  It’s a lesson I’m still learning:  that of doing less, and stopping when we hear niggles of intuition.  

I’m realizing that “pushing through” doesn’t work: it catches up with us.  I pushed through a lot in the past little while, under the desperation of intending to train and maintain fitness through my body fighting to overcome Hypothalamic Amenorrhea .

I’ve biked though pain, woken up through hunger,
pushed,
endured,
“sucked-it-up”
HTFU (Rule #5)

and my body has been like,

bitch please

With personality types that crave engagement, feeling, intensity: the fine line between pushing though laziness, or actual pain, is pretty distinct.  My mind tries to fool me into saying “you’re lazy” but my body definitely speaks loudly, and I often ignore it.

Well, there’s no ignoring a (most likely) fractured rib (turned down the x-ray to save myself the radiation exposure, from Physician who said it would’t do much for treatment protocol).  Yesterday, after trying to “rest” by speed walking (because it’s the only exercise I was able to do without extreme pain) 12kms a day….my rib had enough and I waved the white flag to go to the Emergency room in the hospital.  Rib treatments are always the same regardless of sprain, strain, fracture, break: rest.  But my intent was to get drugs, something I never do – I didn’t even take Gravol when I had food poisoning and felt like I was being beaten up while on the Cyclone…(fun ride tho, hey?).

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So this pain had me in fetal, cringing, unable to breathe without excruciating pain, and wanting relief.

I ended up taking a CBD tincture which was more ideal than an NSAID anti-inflammatory med, and it helped heaps.   I could actually breathe and crack (no pun intended…) a few jokes to the nurses.

I’m so grateful for my good friend, Corinne who picked me up, and stood by me along with my Dad the whole time in the hospital.  She’s truly a gift, as is my Dad. (thanks for introducing me to Snapchat, so fun!).

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So I am in a state of non-doing (like, literally house-ridden…maybe cafe bc #coffee).  I really want to learn from this, and understand that:

Don’t wait for a storm to rebuild your roof.

Because honestly, you really can’t “trick” your body, “fool” yourself into thinking everything is “fine” (such a bullshit word), that we can “get away” with ___________ this time.  It comes back and bites us in the ass, no?

I want to learn to catch myself in the amber zone before it turns flaming red, and I want to help other do the same by living it.  Because “pushing though” helps no one, and only harms myself, and those who I could potentially help in my life’s purpose.

Feel me?  Let’s tune in, hey?

Walking the Walk

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This is Emelie Forsberg, love her, epic trail runner (currently dating my future husband, Kilian Jornet….just keeping him safenstuff for when I’m ready ;)).  I love her for many reasons, among which this quote:“Eat what you want. But learn a little about nutrition that will make you eat sustainably and healthy!”
In the end, she says it’s about feeding your soul. “Don’t read ‘weight-loss’ or ‘get these abs’ or ‘how you get this skinny’ articles,” she says.
“Love your hips, breasts, butt and belly,” she concludes. “The fat keeps you warm. And healthy.”

Read more at http://running.competitor.com/2015/11/news/emelie-forsberg-a-world-class-athlete-with-a-balanced-approach-about-food-weight-and-her-body_139891#2VyMxXW56vrtA63e.99  

Our bodies are wise.  When we don’t listen to them, the speak loud.

Realization: I had a gnarly cold, and didn’t take a day off working out, through horking (againandagainandagain #thisiswhyimsingle) on my rides and snot rocketing #likeapro on my runs through a migraine and coughing and straight up feeling like shit.  

My body knew, just like the philosophy of karma, and that we don’t ever fool our bodies: now, that stress has manifested in a breaking point, and any breaking point would come – in that of blowing my nose so hard I’ve tweaked my rib.  No core, no training, walking and breathing.

That’s so important though; learning in the now, tuning in momentarily to our bodies in order to avoid the cumulative dump of allthefeels at one time sooner or later.

So I’ve read a lot about how during Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery, women find that their bodies feel so drained, that waking up in the morning is a struggle.  I feel like it’s a combination of things;

  • finally allowing feelings (and realizing how badly we’ve ignored them)
  • allostatic stress load dump being all: “You didn’t listen for SO long!”
  • The body taking charge and having enough, and choosing Life over death (literally)

There’s merit in the idea of restorative, replenishing, re-re-re, you know?  I used to eye-roll at those yoga classes that were so damn slow, and how I couldn’t imagine sitting through one.  But honestly, one of my favourite quotes is:

Don’t wait for a storm to rebuild your roof.

This applies to the idea of mindful tuning in so that were not stuck in a pile of shit.  Tuning in even when we don’t feel such a need.  We are a generation of sensationalists: we crave intense feeling in order to justify stimulus.  

We crave: more, bigger, better, stronger, spicier, louder.

I think we’ve (I have anyways) desensitized ourselves so much, numbed ourselves, distracted ourselves so much that it takes a huge BANGBANG stimulus to engage in registration of feelings;

  • newer faster phone
  • louder ring-tone
  • louder alarm clock
  • sriracha on sriracha on franks on tabasco
  • 12/10
  • aerobic zone, like, 8…
  • HTFU Rule #5 Velominati to the power of “n”

And when is it enough?  When can we go back to unconditional sufficiency?
Answer: RN. (not registered nurse….RIGHT MEOW NOW RAWR!)

mindful eating love.pngSo, right now, I’m sitting on my bed, reading about what I’ll be making a workshop on when I go out to BC (or now)…post walk with a tea.  I’m injured, and I’m resting, and for this moment, I’m OK.  I know my mind will come back and kick me, but I’ll bitethatdamnVegan….and then eat Rabbit for dins (lol what?! I have ground rabbit in my fridge that I defrosted from Angela Wood, fam friend Chef guru woman…kinda excited to try…although they’re so cute…but like…*****gottaneat!).

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Stay with me, stay with yourself, even for 5 seconds, that’s a damn good start.

Take a Step Back

Taking a step back from the monkey mind and stepping out of the cycle of struggle brings huge insight.

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This morning had me waking up before my alarm, in parallelled anxiety over my training.  I’ve strained my rib probably hard enough to go to the doctor to get an x-ray, but equally pointless because the treatment for any rib injury (break, strain, fracture, sprain) is the same: rest.

I strained my rib from blowing my nose too enthusiastically, apparently…my cold left me phlegmy, and my inability to sit with the discomfort of feeling like there’s a tiny pug napping while slowly sliding down the back of my throat had me blowing and blowing and blowing my nose.  So my back seized up after a strain I’m self-diagnosing from my over-active diaphragm.

The inability to sit with discomfort is a never ending cycle – until I choose to end it.  I challenged the phlegm, and I’m not challenging this rib pain now.  I ran and biked through it yesterday, and suffered.  Breathing hurts.  So this morning, I didn’t push through a swim, that wouldn’t be enjoyed, for zero training gains.

Allostatic Load of Stress:  This means that the cortisol I’d produce by stressing over the pain, paired with attempting to swim in a way to avoid the pain, would negate any training benefits I would gain from actually doing my training session in the pool.

So in taking a step back, in breaking the cycle of my mind’s compulsion of unhealthy habits with stress addiction, I was able to see the wisdom I had all along.  The wisdom inside myself got clouded by my mind games of:

  • not good enough
  • only good when ______
  • badge of honour with stress
  • stress addiction

Image result for meme take a step back

Breathing helped (shallow…bc #ribpaintingz), by honestly putting my hand on my heart and feeling what my body needed, not what habits I’d accustomed myself to through years of body dishonouring.

And where has that body dishonouring got me?

Injured.
Sick.
Miserable.
Stuck in a pattern.
NOT helping others because I WASN’T living “my truth” or the truth that I condone.

So, I ate breakfast, showered, went for a walk, visited my grampa.

Now, I’m sharing this insight, of the power in taking a step back to view the situation.  I’m meeting with a friend who’s helping me with my move out to British Columbia, and I’m speaking with a mentor from my Holistic Nutrition school in New Zealand, a fellow Canadian, and wicked smart woman Michelle Yandle of Michelle Yandle Nutrition for guidance as I continue on my journey as a Wellness Practitioner.  I’m so keen to help others through the insight I’ve gained with my own struggles, and what I’ve trained in.  I’m also looking for tools from other successful practitioners like Michelle, who’s helped many people not so much through the actual food aspect of Holistic Health, but the encompassing triggers and emotional baggage and meaning behind the food.  THAT is The Shit.

Have a sweet day,  I’m going to be present as fuck, because the monkey mind comes back with thought suggestions, but I’m going to watch them and choose from a space of wisdom with big picture intention tingz.

Also….I love this song:

A “Human” Professional

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Hi, my name is Melanie, and I’m a recovered Bulimic, and recovering Anorexia Nervosa monkey-minded human being.
I’ve sat with crippling depression, anxiety, and taken laxatives while scared shitless of the idea of imperfection.
I’ve run trails in a healthy state, and I’ve also gone to morning swim practice in Uni while probs still drunk from the bar having come home a couple hours before.
I’ve aced papers, and I’ve also retaken courses.
I’ve googled ways to purge, tried many, and I’ve searched the shit out of the internet about how to heal.
I’ve gone to India to become a certified Yoga instructor, and I’ve pranayama’d the shit out of datstuff.
I’ve traveled across the world to New Zealand and am now a certified Holistic Nutritionist.
I’ve been a vegetarian, I’ve done Paleo, I’ve hashtagged #lchf like it’s going out of style, and I’ve been a devout “I Quit Sugar” spokesperson.
I’ve gone from eating full tubs of sugar-free/fat-free yogurts with 8 packets of TwinSugar in one sitting, to beef jerky.
I’ve found that food isn’t as important as the emotions behind it, and that sugar is OK.
My beliefs have changed more times than pugs fart (and they fart a lot….#teamantipugs).
I’ve learned that you can’t hate yourself into a version of yourself you can love, and that you can’t find yourself in New Zealand, or anywhere other than inside yourself, for that matter.
I’ve learned that happiness has no correlation to your pants size, bra size, or bathing suit size.
I’ve learned that being present is the most important part of life, and that awareness brings solace in darkest of times.
I’ve observed myself self-numbing, escaping, and also sitting right with pain; a bloated belly post-binge, an emotional smack in the face after a sexual abuse, a stress fracture from literally running away from myself.
I’ve honoured and dishonoured myself, and I’ve fluxed the shit out of life.
And through it all, I am exactly where I am today, flawed as ever, and loving myself anyways and always.

No one is perfect, and no one will ever be a “certified perfect professional”, in my humble opinion.

I’m certainly not, and this by no means takes away from the ability for someone to have a gift to help, myself, or anyone else.  In fact, the warriors with battle wounds, healed and healing are the ones I connect with and trust the most.

I’ve been afraid of sharing my story lately, uncensored, because of the stigma of mental health shame, and the thought of being unhirable in flaw.

Fuck.
That.
Shit.

This is me, there’s you, let’s do this shift.

2:57AM Le Hungry

Sometimes hunger doesn’t come in pangs of stomach notifications, like waking up with a headache and some intuition saying “eat”. I went to bed after being too tired to expend the honestly exhausting energy #tuningin to see if I was full after eating a snack. Maybe this is where the core cause is #lettinggo of the need to be “perfectly” sated. I honestly think I was so tired of the mind games, paired with being end-of-day-wiped, that I was just in a #fuckit place and hit the pillow, not feeling like living up to my own standards of eating “just right”.

That was another form of escapist-numbing, I now see. And also of rubbish high standards of perfectionist ways. Well, I’m eating now, and it’s a learning lesson that “perfect” is bullshit. And even in this imperfection there’s beauty of self-discovery and awareness.

Awareness is key.

Also: yes, I genuinely enjoy Brussels sprouts. #maybethisiswhyimsingle

Gaining Weight & a Stress-Tracking App

I’ve been told that I look “stronger” and that I have gained some weight and look better.
These are great things.  My mind thinks otherwise though.  So many thoughts go through my head:

  • I now must be able to train really hard (but am still injured)
  • I still have some of my habits going – and if I am gaining weight, then I should instantly let go of them and have an untethered life (meal stringency, control over all things – I feel like now my whole concept that I condone of “living intuitively” should happen instantaneously)
  • When will it stop?  What am I going to become?  What will I feel like when I no longer have my life preoccupied over my habits, routines?
  • If I have more free space, what the hell do I do?

I want to continue observing these thoughts and choosing to heal anyways.

I want to trust that things take time, I ran for the first time in a month this past Saturday, 3.75km, 17 mins, and I stopped before I felt that I wanted to.  I did my walking loop, and it felt empowering to stop before my mind wanted to.  I am going to be getting back slowly.  Slower than comfortable.  I want to work on strength, my one-legged squats, “one-legged lateral BOSU ball hops”, ankle mobility, etc.  I need to get my body ready for trails.  And the fact that I’ve gained weight doesn’t mean that I’m like 100% able to go on long-ass trail runs now.  My fascia and tendons will need time to become adjusted, to feel recovery.

I’m sitting at a cafe now and so glad I bumped into a friend of mine who has also battled.  She told me that she still has these thoughts, but she trusts that they’re fleeting, that this too shall pass.

I am looking forward to being capable:

healthy enough to doallthethings

Clare Gallagher, wicked cool trail runner, refer to pic below for clarification of status: Bae

I have to remind myself that if I am so present with myself in the moments of my life, then I trust that I will listen to my needs, and deny the hurt from myself.  I don’t feel like my soul will lead me astray.

I won’t become a “whale”.

I know that to do what I want to do, to live the life I want to live, the body I’ve sculpted as a byproduct of my coping mechanisms won’t be able to handle it. I know that my muscles, fascia, bones and blood won’t be able to traverse all the rugged terrain, all the fallen logs, all the boulders that I want to catapult myself over.  In the state that I’ve been in, if I tripped, I could easily and instantly break a hip.  My soft tissue wouldn’t be supple enough to allow my limbs to soar, they’d taught and tight and constrict.  I’m sick of foam rolling (PVC pipe) for an hour a day only to not be in pain.  And my training load doesn’t merit the amount of strain my body feels.  Food is wicked recovery.  I want to remember this when the shit voice comes in.

I want my mind to have the fuel for my being not to be in a fight or flight mode which restriction ensues.  I had a private swim coaching client this AM, and I actually had the mind stamina to be able to use my wicked skills that I innately have, to analyse her stroke and tell her how to improve. These analytical tools are lost when I’m undernourished.  There’s straight up no fuel for the synapse of neurons to THINK.

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Women like this make me feel hopeful, alive, like, damn straight – focus less on food, more on life, food is great, and awareness is key – healthy is a universal term for honouring all of ourselves.

I have to be aware of my stress load for this shit.  I have been tracking my stress via Logit AI Logit AI from a good friend of mine.  I highly recommend you check it out.  It’s an app that quantifies stress.

Stress is pretty much an invisible illness – and the notion of Allostatic load (I talk about this in my upcoming e-booklet Fuck Diets- 10 ways to Stress Less, and Weigh Healthy”).

Allostatic Load of Stress: the body doesn’t differentiate between different stressors. Be it the load of an ill family member, the physical load of athletic training, or the fact that you’re anxious over what to eat for dinner; the body only registers this as threat, and engages in the fight or flight reaction.

Basically, the Logit App prompts a questionnaire daily that with time, you can grasp a relative gage of your stress levels.  I’m bringing this up now, because despite being sick with a gnarly cold, and getting shit sleeps because I’m moving to British Columbia in 24 days (without a job or home yet), and a loud grenouille living above me…. my state of mind has been spot on sweet like gravy.  It’s actually surprising me.  I feel much less stressed, and the numbers show it, the “proof is in the pudding”.  (my logit scores are in a pic below).

Even my shits are better #jahbless

It’s actually kinda blowing my mind, first: how useful this app has been, and I’m not even one to log shit. I don’t really love data, online apps for things the body is innately born to calibrate….but the accountability, and the ability to consistently track how I feel, it’s helped me see the benefits of lowering my stress, and I definitely need this to get my period back and beat Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.  It keeps me in line, motivated, true to the ultimate goal.  The fact that the data is relative based on my previous logs (after about a week, you get the hang of it, and get more accurate data – the more you log, the more accurate your outcomes are) is a good feedback loop for motivation.  If it was based on other people’s cues, I would truly be less inclined to log. But it’s basically a relative reflection based on my own feelings, my own stress, my own perceived cortisol load.

SO, in spite of being sick and tired, my spirits are great.  I am so grateful for this feedback while I observe myself “getting stronger” (gaining weight), and am wondering if the fact that my cortisol is lower (be it from my mindset of “fuck this shit”, like, letting go of control) is a reason for my coping mechanisms (Anorexia, restriction) to lessen their stronghold because I am no longer putting myself in the line of fire for needing to be in a “survival mode” state, or a state of desperation.

Here are my numbers:

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My Logit Scores for the past month

Some of the daily questions include my perceived ability to:

  1. Get annoyed
  2. Find things overwhelming
  3. Feel capable to completing tasks
  4. Feel under pressure
  5. Laugh/have fun with friends (like when my swim student swam backstroke into an old Portuguese man this AM…and like, stroked his [hairy…very hairy] back hahahh…poor woman).

My answers have surprised me in being on the healthy side of life, less suffering, more feeling good.  I feel good in spite of gaining weight (HA, my mind wants not to feel good, even while typing this, but physiologically, this is a really influential marker for recovery – mental, spiritual, physical, emotional).

Fuck the struggle

On this note, that’s my update, I’ll continue getting STRONGER, fuck diets, and listen to my own tips from my e-book.  I actually am loving referring back to them when I feel stuck in life, they’re damn good.  Stay tuned for the launch!