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.

Can a “fake brownie” replace a real one?

I don’t know, what do you “feel”?

I’m at a place where I don’t crave sweets anymore.  I lived in a sugar addicted state for a couple of years, and it was tormenting.  I’d binge, and wait for the next high while sitting in utter shame and guilt leading to self-loathing.  The cortisol and insulin spike from the sugar made me feel alive.  It’s wicked that I don’t have these urges anymore….but in blocking out the cravings, I also blocked out my intuitive needs.

I’ve been chronically injured for years, I can track back to 2014 when I first mucked up my rib after riding the IM Whistler bike course, and not recovering enough – overtraining led me to the ER for a rib tweak.

I’ve honestly been injured since then, unable to race, train consistently, and have since endured multiple rib fractures, a stress fracture, evidently bone fragility, and a prevalent case of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.

So, it’s not to say that I don’t eat good food- I do, and I eat a lot.  I’m currently sitting with a rib fracture, that’s healing, not as fast as I’d like, but it’s better everyday.  I am toying with the idea of tossing out “rules” and foodisms from “the guides” and then what my body asks for.

Like, I know what I eat is healthy, but I feel like the routinized safety lying in the foods I choose to eat, although nutrients dense (like nuts, eggs, fish, meat, leafy greens, lentils, beans, (not a lot), berries, coconut, kefir, squash), aren’t intuitively what my body wants.

Like, I actually feel that my routine meals are so habitual that they leave no room for what my body wants.  I numbed that voice for so long.  I’ve been sitting more with my feels (ummm partially bc I’m forced to…walking is still slow and my body can’t move a lot yet) and letting them come and go (like clouds, right Thich Nhat Hanh?).

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I remember when I was in the sugar addicted cycle and I’d attempt to suffice a craving for cake with some mish-mash of things: a “mug cake”, or a “protein brownie”.  It didn’t work…

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I honestly feel though that nothing would work in that state.  I feel that I had to endure the binge, feel that yuck of a bloated tummy after eating heaps of cake.  I think it stemmed from an inner need to realize the causes of the pain.

The only way out is through.

I think this is why those of us who’ve experienced binge-eating aren’t able to “just follow a mealplan” to rid ourselves of the condition.  It doesn’t work that way.  The way is to go through it, in awareness, and dig deep: look at the why, compassionately, gently.  I think that as we learn to be kind to ourselves, unconditionally, then the resistance is gone and we’re free to do things guiltlessly.  When that “forbidden” barrier is out, then we don’t crave what is maybe not the best for us as much.

Resistance is futile.

#amiright?

Take away the resistance and we can be.  Non-judgementally.  In forgiveness and gentle kindness towards ourselves.

So as I learn this, my body won’t be in a state of resistance anymore, the struggle will end.  No more pain. After all, our bodies and our hearts both want the same thing.

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.

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!).

Image result for bird shits on car eat eggs
Stay with me, stay with yourself, even for 5 seconds, that’s a damn good start.

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!