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.

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.

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!

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:

say what.gif

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

Separate Food from Exercise

My holistic health philosophy I’m realizing for myself:

Separate eating from exercise: related but intuitive not controlled: “so that/because”. Injury and overtraining related to allostatic stress load, and rest is separate from earning or deserving food. Food comes with body cues and fluctuates outside of our control. We only need to listen.

Morning Journalling

Awareness note:

Because I need more reassurance that lowering my cortisol is vital ATM…

Why minimize stress? My body is in fight or flight mode- literally surviving and just trying to get my nutrients- it’s like “screw gut comfort”- all that isn’t the priority bc priority ATM is energy- the higher functions won’t even work. Hunger is skewed bc of hormone and high endorphin and emotions all whack. Must minimize stress so I can calmly eat, calm my gut-be in a state where my body has enough energy to create a peaceful digestion. Then I can explore my mental capacity and life purpose capacity and all life (refer to picture). Now priority is de-stress: lower cortisol.

Recovery and Stress

I’ve realized something big:

Hypothalamic Amenorrhea is something I can’t turn my back on anymore, and if I ever before needed an incentive to “get better”, well it’s time I focused on getting my period back.  Along with this comes all the other things; weight, happiness because #grounded #present, running freely, swimming, biking, bar dates, less fear.

The source of focus is to minimize stress.

It’s taken me a long ass time to come to this realization, approx 7 years (same amount of time I’ve been period-less).  It’s taken me that long to realize that not having a period is NOT normal, and not only my bone health depends on getting better.

I’ve realized that my symptoms are all uni-sourced: stress.

  • Gerd
  • IBS (basically a blanket term for stress, expressed by the vocally wise and intolerable gut)
  • feeling ungrounded
  • headaches
  • no period
  • inability to sleep in past 5:30AM
  • low energy
  • fear
  • nails falling off
  • stress fracture
  • muscle soreness
  • low stamina

I’ve felt like I’d be entitled if I focused on de-stressing.  My stress is self-inflicted, albeit, but I don’t care anymore.  I don’t need to hurt myself anymore in order to “deserve” to focus on minimizing my stress.  My cortisol levels are high as fuck, my set-point of functioning has become malignantly reliant on such a high level of hormone exertion that my anxiety runs at a constant fight or flight level.  I’m running myself into the ground and I’m 26 years old.  I don’t deserve this, and I am accepting my own hand in my recovery focus.  I’m blessed as hell that I’ve got a good home to support me.  This isn’t a joke, this idea that I’m needing to “deserve” not to slowly kill myself as I’m doing.

So fuck that shit, I’m focusing on my recovery: minimizing my stress levels.

Because I deserve to be alive, and to one day have children, and feel free, have boobs, rest.

Peace

P.S. As I’ve “turned on” this decision, feelings are coming back.  Literally unblocking the wall – like, yesterday, I ate #allthepate at dinner (a portion I’d expected to last like, a week….which isn’t that much, coming from a restrictive standpoint…).  My body’s talking, and I can finally hear myself.  The difference is that now I’m willing to accept my own love.

english bay