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.

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?

Why even Relax, Though?

S’Ho moved to Squamish.  I feel much better here than on the island.  It’s a different vibe here.  It was a really easy transition minus the actual move: I just truly put the intention out there, and a lovely little suite of my own surfaced.  It was right.

I’m in a space of working with compassion. Compassion for parts of me that trauma has led to feel really unsafe.  Somatic Experiencing is the therapy I’m doing which is basically a way for me to slowly reconnect with the parts of myself that I basically unplugged from the umbilical cord of my own prana, my own life force energy.

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You know when you’re in just like, a haze of feels, and can’t find a release? Man it’s tough; the face of the Human Condition.  Somatic Experiencing is a therapy modality that recognizes that through trauma, the young parts of ourselves that experienced the pain that was too much for our current coping abilities at that time in our lives, those parts learn to cope through fight, freeze or flight, so that they are able to survive.  They cannot handle the stimulation because it feels like a threat to survival, so they build an armour around those parts to shield, to blunt the blow.

I realized that the state of utter terror that I felt growing up, I still feel that during everyday life.  It was a big realization, not one for words.  It’s been a journey with the therapy, to experience a state of functioning that wasn’t the modality of terror; and in that space I could come outside of my habitual state of functioning to see just how frightened and threatened those parts of me still feel.  They still feel very threatened, and haven’t been taught how to feel safe and nurtured in the world.  The somatic, the bodily feeling that I was able to see outside of myself was a feeling like I was going to be beaten, physically, it was terrifying and terribly insightful.  WHOA.

They have begun to relearn how to feel safe in the world, this is what I’m teaching them, teaching parts of myself.  It doesn’t work to “suck it up” and “just do the things” that terrify me, and to name a few;

  • abiding by authority
  • rules
  • restrictions
  • control
  • time constraints

The way my little soldiers fight back when threatened show in the following fight/flight/flee ways;

  • skin picking
  • terrible gut pains and digestion
  • exercise
  • restriction of food
  • restriction of nurturing (in all senses of the world)
  • somatically by thumping heart
  • migraine
  • depression
  • indecision
  • mean self-talk
  • rushing like a chicken without a head

So this therapy is to begin by identifying when these soldiers are mobilizing; basically anytime the above presents itself.  Those are survival-mode soldiers.  The process is slow AF. And it’s supposed to be.  Because the moment I go too fast for my parts to feel safe, they latch onto a coping strategy.  This is where a quote sums this shit up eloquently:

I don’t “let go” of my thoughts.  I meet them with understanding, and then my thoughts “let go” of me. – Byron Katie

Beautiful description.  An explanation of why “ripping the bandaid off” won’t work.

I often forget why I’m changing, though, because this way of life has become so normal and change is fucking hard.  And parodies have showed up to reinforce the need for this shift; the need to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system– the relaxation response (that sweet spot that basically initiates our own knowledge of how to heal ourselves);

(in jot dots because Ho’s tired):

  • in physio for alignment while running; tight hip, tight glute, literally stemming from tension and stress where I am not belly-breathing, such that a rib isn’t aligned in my thoracic/lumbar spine area.  why breathe deep?  whoa this is why…body is so wise.
  • gut health: shits on run, shits all damn day, gut = second brain = depression and incomplete poops. worst. feeling. ever #amirighttho?  Relax, tune into my soul; make different food choices, or at least begin by watching and observing my choices and how they’re affecting my body.  Further than that- when eating in a relaxed state, food can actually digest better.
  • Cramp on run: alltheabove

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So the body is telling me and I’m actually beginning to watch myself, and am slowly actually becoming open and even able to feel that I want to relax.  This is so new.  Some things I’m doing:

  • child’s pose
  • letting my belly go out to breathe
  • unstructured meditation nightly
  • legs up the wall (did this once, forces body to belly breathe literally because the chest and shoulder muscles aren’t physically able to fire)
  • physio to flex at hip while breathing with full belly breaths, which actually disinhibits the response of my hip flexor firing in place of my glute

Ok, that’s it.

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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

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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: