Conditionally Fuelling

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Am I under-recovered because of over-training? 

Or am I under-fuelled?

I’m curious about where the fatigue is originating: is it from too many hard sessions and not enough rest, or is it from straight-up not eating enough?

I’m questioning this because I feel like I’m overtraining slash under-recovered this past couple of weeks.  I feel like it is related to mental stress, along with not eating enough.  And it freaks me out: my body is feeling like it’s tight after my runs, when it used to be more loose and ready to go the next training session.  My motivation is also waning.

This is sitting with, and hitting me hard: the catch-22 of not feeling strong enough to train, and then wanting to eat less, and at the same time feeling that BY eating more, I’ll be able to train better, recover better, and feel better.

But the fear comes when I condition eating upon training: I want to feel totally in control of training outcome relating to intake of fuel.

I chatted with a friend about this: sometimes after a harder session I have no appetite, and then sometimes when I’ve rested, I’m ravenous.  And this both confuses and frustrates me.  Also when food is tied to emotional attachment: I enjoy eating.  

I enjoy eating and then pair happiness with food, and then food with training.  So the three factors become clusterfucked in a web of pleasure-seeking, highs and deserving.

I become afraid of the space between the highs, and attach to the feeling of wanting to be the sole proprietor controlling when I can get those highs, and control how big of a space separates them so that I can leave the unknown factor (which is fear-evoking) out of the equation.

Perfectly planned and predictable highs.

Fear sets in when I have completely satisfied hunger with food, and don’t know when my body will again be able to “get high”.

The issue here is the association of pleasure and highs with food.  Food is tricky though, because as much as it is a fuel, it is also an enjoyment.  I think the balance of equanimity around attaching to the high is where I victimize myself to suffering.  When I put so much weight on the seeking of pleasure via food, depletion, repletion, and ultimately control of “nourishment” in all senses of the word, that I’m like an addict seeking sensation with bouts of in between numbness.

Why?

Because unlimited space freaks parts of me out.  Being sated, having balance, in a way, being in a state of calm, without knowing that a stress is nearby, without knowing which state is upcoming- be it high or low; this is scary.  In this state of seeking, I am not present, nor do parts of me want to be.

I’m watching these thoughts arise, and how they infringe on my training, on my happiness, on my freedom; on my Life.

It’s like I want to have an eye on the drug at all times, knowing where it is, being able to know when I can use it, whenever I please.

In this way, I’m standing in my own way of being able to eat, train, life intuitively, from a place of trusting my body.

I’m afraid of eating enough and then not wanting to train.  I’m afraid of training easily and eating enough to supplement it, and then having space to be and to sit in a state of health.  Because that means balance, and that means what.  Whoa.

What if by eating enough, I lose my motive to train?
What if I get “lazy”?
What if I don’t get hungry and have my peanut butter in the evening (my high)?
What if I eat the peanut butter, but don’t feel like training hard the next day?
What if I have to stop training or lower intensity, while at the same time eating enough, in order to regain my period?

Lots of feels. In the end, I know my damn wise-ass soul knows.  I trust it.  I really do, and want to break these mind-habits that have formed.  There are runs when I feel so liberated, and so in flow that I’m living from a place of harmony with myself.  More and more these moments, both with and without running, are liberating me.  Disordered pairing of eating and pleasure and depletion and exercise are maladaptive coping mechanisms that I experience.  And the windows of freedom in-between are like air from the freshest Alpine mountains, ever.

Willpower is Bullshit

You know when you overdo something, and then swear off of it for like, 30 daysorLife…and then fall off the oath and “succumb to weakness”?  Well, fuck, maybe it’s not a weakness.  Maybe it’s just inevitability in your humanity.

Example: eat 3 TBSP of flaxseeds because I was still hungry but feeling afraid of “overdoing” legit food like my snack of nuts that I nightly have, so I eat tablespoon after tablespoon of flaxseeds.  Knowing very well that this will not be pretty tomorrow….especially since my gut has been off since antibiotics.

Or for me, it’s eating raw veg and vinegars like salads because they are “safe foods” and satisfy my feeling of needing to be a little ungrounded.  These foods are not what make me feel good in the colder weather.  My soul knows this well, but it’s easy to fool myself into thinking this is healthy because, like, it’s a fucking salad, bro.  But I am suffering with my gut so hard, and I know that the cup of coffee won’t be good on my tummy, but the other parts of me loudly speak their needs for sensation.  How good and like, superhuman do you feel after drinking a cup of coffee? It’s like I can do anything.  It totally masks any fatigue I may have felt, and poor sleep, it just makes me not feel the things that I believe will stand in my way of doing the things. Do you know what I mean though?

What else:

  • drinking too much coffee
  • eating too much __________________________
  • buying too much______________
  • doing too much_________
  • sleeping too much?
  • literally, anything in excess.

And then, the swearing off happens:

I WILL ABSTAIN FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And that feels SO PRODUCTIVE, right?!  Like, a bandaid, it gives peace of mind…until we break the fast, we eat the thing, we drink the thing, we buy the things.  And come in shame and guilt.

But the thing is, this “caving” is not a weakness.  It is not a lack of strength.  I ate too much flax again, and now feel terrible because it’s just that right time for gastric emptying from yesterday to be making its bowel-journey so that I’ve pooped like 6 times already and now feel so “unfinished”….you know?!  That feeling SUCKS.

So, I am learning to say that this wasn’t a lack of willpower.  This wasn’t weakness.  Because I was scared, right?  I acted out of a space of fear, of really trying to not wake up hungry in the middle of the night, so I ate what I felt safe eating.  I used my resources, and from a space of needing nourishment, I evaluated my means, and chose the safest one.  That’s actually pretty beautiful.  I actually was trying to sleep better.  Maybe I didn’t make the best decision for all parts of myself, gut-specifically, but I wanted to be rested.

Awwww!

THAT is a good reaction to this.  Actually, add:

Awww, sweetheart.

And isn’t that something you’d tell a little kid?  Because we actually chose the best thing to do, given our state of health.  Maybe the chocolate was a vice from emotional suppression all week.  Maybe the wine was because we are so fucking tired, used up so many resources, that the feelings are too much to handle and we uncork the whole damn bottle to dissipate the emotions.  The soul wanted to feel.  The soul was telling, yelling at us to be heard.

If I don’t examine where my feeling of being unsafe was coming from, I will continue to use my best and most readily available “safe” vices, at the detriment of other parts of myself.

I feel unsafe when I have disconnected from myself, and I fear of being “out of control”, so I latch on to safety with clawed fingers.  To the point of choke-holding my own neck.  But, that feeling of safety was satisfied.

Humans are incredible at adapting.  We use our ITB and knees when our asses are weak and don’t muscularly fire properly so that we can move, run, walk, ride.

We find venues to expel excess feels when we really need to meet that work deadline, so we eat the whole cake.

We have weak abs, and so our backs hyper-engage so we can remain upright.

We feel out of control in our lives, so we clean our houses like mad because it makes us feel the illusion of order.

Over-compensation.  It’s a thing.  And it works in the short term, but longer term, our bodies can’t handle it too long.  When we are in the over-compensation cycle for a prolonged time, we are sustaining self-disconnect and the soul doesn’t like this.  It can be silenced temporarily, but not long-term.

So, the “willpower” to not do the things, is not the answer, and it is not a weakness when we “run out of willpower”.  It is inevitability.

So the question is, where did we over-compensate?  Where did we satisfy a need with some other soothing thing that helped us feel safe, heard, in-control, or just FEEL?

That’s the ticket.

I didn’t feel nourished in my life, in feeling of purpose yesterday.  I instead wanted the safety and control over satiety, so I could wake up and be able to hop on my bike fasted, because when I’m bloated with flaxseeds, I don’t feel hunger as much.  And what does that bike ride give me?  A feeling of satisfaction guaranteed: I know that I’ll feel subdued, more peaceful, high.  I know that this will be my stimulus-addiction satisfied.  Until my next high.

I’m too confused and haven’t “figured” this all out yet, but I trust this much.

I’m stopping here.

Namaste.

“I Couldn’t help it”

Have you ever said this to yourself, after maybe eating too much, picking at your skin, biting your nails, sleeping with your ex, sleeping in, compulsively waking up at 5am again to jump on your bike (I know this isn’t just me), drinking that extra glass of wine, smoking that doobie?

Maybe it’s not your fault. Maybe it’s not my fucking fault.

I think that through running away and distracting our(my)selves, we lose our connection with our own needs.  We run around, work late, “forget to eat”, get neck spasms from being glued to the screen.  We lose ourselves.

Then, when our body comes back to yell at us, we’re fucking famished, we’re thawing from numbness and itchy.  Itchy and unconscious.

Itchy and unconscious.

Itchy and unconscious. I’ll say it again.  When we feel depleted, unknowing as to why or what we need, we cope.  We need to fill again that void, a seemingly sourceless void that is hungry.  Hungry for nourishment.

  • Love
  • Connection
  • Some mother fucking nutrients
  • Support
  • Creative expression
  • Outlet for release
  • TO FEEL

(Wo)man, doesn’t it feel somewhat comforting and safe to be numb?

Parts of me feel like it’s a warm blanket.
♬ I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety ’til I sank it ♬

Hey Amelia Boone if you ever read this #jahbless firstly, secondly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUgwM1Ky228

These lyrics are so damn good and bang:

We go to the doctor, we go to the mountains
We look to the children, we drink from the fountain
Yeah, we go to the Bible, we go through the work out
We read up on revival, we stand up for the lookout
There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine

So, back to when it hits us, the body no longer will be silenced.  So, we eat too much, we cope with whatever drug we choose: a cig, a J, a beer or 5, a run or 5, etcetcetc.  And for me, when I get to this state, the yuck scary space of overwhelm with feelings, they rush in unsilenceable, like when you cut yourself shaving and the bleeding just doesn’t stop.  Fuck, you are on a ride of pain and it doesn’t end till it does.  You gotta ride it out, one giant wave of overwhelm.

The jump from numb to being overflowing is huge, and it’s terrifying.

This is when the excess asks for dissipation through whatever accessible means we can grab.  ANYTHING.

Ok, so now what?  Left bloated, drunk, high, bloody, now what?

Enter guilt and shame.  The worst.  These two are also scary emotions.  So, the innate thing to do for us to feel safe again is to disconnect further, to numb because these are scary and unpleasant feels.

I don’t know about you, but when I skin pick, or eat brussels sprouts (and aioli) till I’m 16 weeks preggers, I am definitely not interested to sit with myself, gently, compassionately.  Ho wanna run, (wo)man!

img_8244And this has been my cycle for a hell of a long time.  And it’s exhausting.  And the thing is, behind the pain and noise, is my soul’s voice, quietly and ever-presently there telling me to come back to myself.

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The cycle breaks eventually.
That’s it that’s all.
“To sit with the shit”, as say the yogis and #Bae Pema Chodron, that’s eventually what we learn, when numbing no longer works.  When our bodies say “No”.

And, sweetheart, also: it’s not your fault.

Namaste.

Stress Addiction

This term has been around my body and percolating for the 12 years whereby I have had no period.  Hypothalamic Amenorrhea: a state I’ve talked about in previous posts is when the body perceives external threats to be such that it preserves life by shutting down peripheral processes.

I believe that parts of me survived by fight/flight/freeze in response to past trauma.  Now, their habitual tendencies latch on whenever they perceive outside experiences as outside their realm of coping.

Bring in addiction.  Addiction to this state of stimulation is what I feel.  And as I’m becoming more aware of this state in my life, I am speaking more about it.  I have come across people on the Squamish Chief, in cafe’s around Cumberland and now Squamish, in the therapy room for sure, in the library.  After chatting, they can relate to the feeling of ease and comfort with being “turned on”.

I believe that addiction is a universal term.  I believe that my own path is this:  the more I live out of automation, haste, anxiety, the more I feel the need to detach myself from the actions and ensuing choices that just don’t seem to align with my subconscious virtues.

Do you understand or relate to this?   I know the “that’s not my hand!” feeling when it’s almost as if you’re watching someone that isn’t you, do things?

night eating

 

This is the act of living outside of the present moment and being disconnected from yourself.  I believe that the more I feel threatened, the more I am living numbed.  The more I live numbed, the more I make choices that don’t make me feel aligned and the more I want to numb.

Vicious cycle.

It’s in details like:

  • when an injury/pain arises (I wasn’t listening to my body, I wasn’t in-tune)
  • when I crave an ice-cold shower (repenting, compensating, punishment)
  • when I CRAVE.  Straight up, just crave.  It could be anything, but it is noticeably charged
  • when I get a migraine (probably from undernourishment)
  • when I feel lonely or a sense of “ennui” (I didn’t seek out the support I needed because I was preoccupied with the insanely energy-consuming task of tending to my anxieties, my anxiety experience in general, busying myself and exhausting myself subconsciously as a way to escape and run away from the pain)
  • Bloat, gas, discomfort in digestion, GERD, IBS: food choices as a source of coping vs intuitive nourishment.
  • Excessive and obsessive skin picking in the bathroom mirror. (hot/cold flashes, sometimes self-inflicted, leaving my insides seeking a release)

This is a big realization for me.  That the remedy as the yogis have always said, the very definition of Yo-Ga (oneness, mind-body, connection), is to tune into myself.

I actually want to have a harmonious relationship with myself, my body-mind.

I want to feel my body.

I’m actually fully writing this in the library bathroom right now because I am having some gut-issues (lingering antibiotics “hangover” of diminished gut flora).  I feel that when my digestion is off, I run around in a hurried state because of the utter confusion that ensues and the choices that I make after it: food choices that make me body more confused, energy fluxes, emotional upheaval.

That’s it: confusion.

Confusion from the disconnect from my body, mind and soul.  Uncertainty is a state that can be peaceful if I am present with it, present fully in my body with it.  But the honest and imperative remedy is to be connected with myself.

(Breath is huge in this journey.  HUGE)

Namaste. Or something.

Stress-addiction

When do you experience these?

  • high heart rate
  • thinking about the next thing to do
  • frenzied rushing
  • furrowed brow
  • night sweats
  • “stuck” breathing
  • overwhelm
  • frequent peeing
  • immobilization, feeling like you’re moving through a barricade of peanut butter
  • indigestion
  • picking your nails, skin, scalp, toes, body
  • indecision

I feel these things daily.  I have become normalized to them.  Habituated to the extent that I seek them out, and feel very uncomfortable if I am comfortable.

This brings comfortably numb to a whole new level.

I honestly believe that along the lines of survival coping through trauma, my mind has created and implemented ways to disconnect from presence (from myself) so that I could continue surviving.  Past-trauma-shit.

These states listed above serve to disconnect me further, keep me numb.  When last week my body said “NO” in halting me with an ingrown toenail so painful that I had been taking advil nightly and resorted to antibiotics due to infection after a month of sleepless cold-sweats and throbbing, I was so full of feelings that I didn’t know what to do.  I still don’t know what to do, and so I am still waking up to do a bike ride then a hike after breakfast every single day.

I further it with now for the past 3 Squamish Chief hikes, timing myself from the start of the stairs to the metal staircase before the summit (34mins/ 31:45/ 30:34 <– #hadmelike holy fuck.).  It’s a catch-22 because there’s ying and yang to it; after the yang of the hike, I can exhale at the top of the Chief and cry a little as I observe, just observe the world up there.

orendawellness May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.
– Edward Abbey

And so, it’s tough because I haven’t had my period due to Hypothalamic Amenorrhea for 12 years.  Because my body is protecting itself for life because my stress and cortisol level allostatically is too high such that it attempts to preserve physiological functions to minimize peripheral energy, and the risk of bringing a child into an unsafe and subjectively perceived, threatening environment.

Fuck.

Also fuck: gut-brain connection is reflected in me being 3-days off the high dose of antibiotics now for my toe, and I’m pooping like 10x a day…this is bullshit.  Literally and figuratively.  I’m taking a high dose of probiotics now, but feel the effects of a sad gut microbiome as it depletedly, defeatedly attempts to digest food.   Maybe my life brought me to this to learn to adapt and listen to what my body is actually craving in terms of nourishment; maybe Ho can’t do all those Brussels sprouts anymore….time for Sattvic dal? But aha, the stress addiction cycles because again, part of me doesn’t want calm-inducing foods – it craves the coffee, the acidic, the olives salsa wasabi Sriracha etc.  Whoa.

Where to go from here?
I feel like I’ve been aware for so long, but theory only takes a body so far.  Then to feel, holy shit, to feel, that’s a whole new kind of Next Level Shit.

Anyone feel me?

The Body on Stress

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I truly believe that the person eating a Big Mac is better off than the one stressing over whether their dinner is made with “free-range-organic-non-GMO” meat.

Stress is the response in the body when our resources are strained from an event that requires adaptation to our current state.

I’ve been addicted to a certain level of stress brought on by the hormone cortisol.  I think that our society in the Western world is addicted to a high level of cortisol.  It my belief that is is why we crave more and more sensation, more and more distraction, more and more numbing. We find these outlets through both addiction to highly engaging substances, or ones that cause us to dissociate:

  • drugs
  • coffee
  • alcohol
  • food (sugar)
  • exercise
  • endorphin rush from stunts
  • self-harm (general term)
  • the third arm: the phone

I’m bringing awareness to my addiction to cortisol, and I’m using mindfulness-based techniques to tune back to my inner nature, one of peace, calm, ease.  

So much of my days have fallen pattern in the go-go-go lifestyle, with the supposed belief that in order to deserve, I must have endured.  That the level of stress is a badge of honour.  This is a false belief that my subconscious has taken to believe as truth.  This is a false badge of our society.

This is why concepts like Blue Mind and Shinrin Yoku which are predicated on the foundation that nature is a healer.  Shinrin Yoku, or roughly translated, “forest bathing”, is actually a treatment prescribed by doctors as a means to lower stress and anxiety.  The invisible illness of mental unrest is of integral vitality to these cultures, whereas in our society it is often swept under the rug to make way for illnesses that are recognized and can be visibly seen.

After all, the people who I admire the most are the calm ones who in spite of struggle, are able to be peace.  

I don’t think I’ll ever forget one spin session in uni when I was an avid member of the Triathlon Team, when my beautiful pro triathlete friend Angela Quick (yes that’s her real last name, and it rings true to her ferocity as an athlete) had a big brick workout this particular training day.  We were together as a group doing a 2-3hr ride, and a run.  I had a 2 hour ride, 30 min run.  She had something like a 3 hour ride, 1-hour run (prepping for some longassrace).  I had been really anal about getting enough sleep and rarely had fun in the final year of uni.  This chick, who comes out first among the top athletes in the whole world at national events, hopped on her bike at the start of the ride expressing quickly, “I am so tired and hungover from dancing all night at Cowboys yesterday.”

I was like:

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She proceeded to engage in #beastmode and finish the workout so strong.

Ange continues to be the support I call on when I’m whining about my anxious mind when I am sick/injured and can’t train.  This is where my mind is craving that set-point of habitual stress I have come to be addicted to.  I’m weaning off it.

Angela honours her needs:

If she is sick, she rests.
Injured? Rest.
Pool closed? You guessed it: rest. (not like I was in uni, instead, finishing a ride, whereas she went back to bed — swim is at darkoclock in the AM).

She’s an inspiration.

So stress:

Are you addicted?

Do you find yourself busying yourself, rushing so fast when you have nowhere to go, no plans.  And even if you have plans, WHAT is so important, that even 5-10 mins late is worth the cortisol in your body?

I truly believe that the person eating a Big Mac is better off than the one stressing over whether their dinner is made with “free-range-organic-non-GMO” meat.

Let’s bring awareness to the stress level at which we function most often.  Let’s look at that dial, and dial it down a bit.

What if life were easy?

#riddlemethat

How to sit with a Binge

(starting this post with shameless self-promotion for my emotional eating workshop where Deanne and I will be sharing our insights and human honesty with our binge and emotional eating journeys)

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Was that a binge?

I’m letting myself eat.  I’m listening to my needs.  I’m realizing that even when there’s some kind of feeling telling me to nourish, even when I’m not in a state of being famished, I follow it.

Ever have what my friend once explained as “itchy teeth”?  She called it the feeling where you feel like munching on something but aren’t necessarily hungry.

It’s times like these where I have to tune into my gut, ask myself what I need.

What am I hungry for?

  • Connection?
  • Love?
  • Self-care?
  • Rest?
  • Creative expression?
  • Meaningful work?

Today, I finished lunch very aware of my craving for connection.

BUT: there are times, especially during this re-feeding, where I am actually physically needing nourishment, and in spite of my mind saying “You’ve had enough!”, body’s actually asking for nourishment.

My dear friend expressed herself after feeling like she’d overeaten, I asked her what part of her felt full, or like she’d binged.  She said her tummy wasn’t bloated, it felt comfortable and sated.  Her mind, on the other hand, didn’t want to believe that her body required that much food.

That’s the shit though, eh?  I’m hearing both voices, the mind and the soul when I eat.  I often feel like I can have an extra spoonful of peanut baetter, hummus, extra handful of nuts.  

And then, I’m full.

It’s a new feeling.

Sometimes I’m in shock at how much I am eating, and it fucking terrifies me.

My mind wants to flee, to distract, to numb.  I want to busy myself and get back to that feeling of being “in control” of how much I’ve eaten, or of how much I’ve decided my body needs.

How silly is that though!?  As IF my mind has enough say over how much nourishment my wise-ass body needs.

And so, fuck man, if I overdo it a bit, or if I’ve err’d on the side of a little too much, so what?  I’m not perfect!

The fear is in old ways of void-filling with overeating; bingeing and purging.  But my soul has found its own wisdom there to overcome that.  I’m tuning into all parts of myself; mind, body, soul.  I won’t dishonour my needs anymore.  Nor should you!

If you eat a piece of cake, or three, OK: it’s always OK–the key is to be so damn present and aware of the fact that you’re coping, that in your presence, you can be with yourself.  The whole way.  Man, that’s fucking powerful!

In the evenings, generally this is when my body speaks about if I’ve undernourished or not in the daytime.  This is when rules go out the window.  This is the scary time!  

You can’t trick your body into fake nourishment!

AMiRIGHT?!

There’s a reason for the fridge light…and nighttime #humancondition in form of binges.  This is when the body is like:  bitch please

“I’m still LE HUNGRY!”

This is when the body tries to play “catch up” with the under-nourishment, lack of nutrients, fasting.

So, it’s not willpower we lack.  It’s the idea that we can fool ourselves into in-authenticity, into being something we’re not.

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And the first things we try to do after feeling like we’ve overeaten, or if we have overeaten, or goddamn under-eaten for that matter – is run, is escape, is distract, numb: sex, self-pleasing, cigs, alcohol, work-addiction, drugs, even distracting with mindless media scrolling, which is fucked because of all the images of sculpted abs and the impossible flat tummy post-meal…we don’t want to face what our body is speaking to us.

BUT

This IS the pivotal moment to connect and to stop the binge cycle in the future!

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From Michelle Yandle Health

I’m sitting with it when I do it, I’m breathing, in lotus pose bc itsbetterfortheburps….I’m journalling.  I’m asking myself:

  • “was that too much?”
  • “Did I under-eat during the day? or even yesterday?”
  • “Did I turn away from another part of myself I needed?”
  • “Was I trying to fill a void?”

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And, after this reflection, know this:

This too shall pass.

It always does.  May we be wiser for next time.  Tune into our needs periodically so we don’t get hit with the headinthefridgesyndrome.

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