The Parfait Way to Start the Day

So, there is this conspiracy the rest of the world seems to be involved in. I’m not sure how I either evaded or was eluded by this seemingly health community affirming thought, but here I am. Twenty-Nine years old, two children, a husband, even two animals, and I don’t get breakfast.

What? Nonsense! I know, and here’s the kicker, I have the time to make it! I have two children who require feeding in the morning upon my much awaited gift of my presence to my family, I have two animals that get fed by my daughter first thing in the morning (always because I remind her), so it’s not like there isn’t a chance to make myself something while I’m making the littlest bean her bottle or getting the bigger one some cereal (in a Ziploc baggie because she’s not normal) and instead I usually opt to just have a cup of coffee.

Here’s the problem; my disordered part of my brain wants to see all of this as a bonus, as one less meal in the day, one less opportunity to get in extra calories. Sure, why not? It’s not UNTRUE. Except that then, sometimes it leads to me forgetting that lunch is a thing too, so hey now we’ll just have a big dinner, right? Except dinner is after I run.

So, here is what I am getting at, if I let my disordered brain take control I will end up going out to expel the incredible amount of energy it takes to propel my plus sized body into running, while working off of no or very little fuel. Ultimately this means I get more shin splints, I get fatigued earlier, I am dehydrated and I’m getting home and feel genuinely pretty crappy about my performance and find myself wondering… why was it so bad?

So I guess what I’m getting at is that this all starts at the great conspiracy known as breakfast. I’m not likely to ever get up and make myself eggs and some kind of healthy hash, even though I love those things. So this week I committed to eating breakfast and what I found was the easiest way to do it, was to have some fun with bowls.

We’ve all seen Smoothie Bowls all over Pinterest and Instagram. They are pretty! Who doesn’t like eating pretty food? No one, because we eat with our eyes first, blah blah. They are really simply and easy to toss together, especially if you aren’t super inspired by smoothies like me (They are cool and all, but sometimes they just make my tummy feel weird and then I don’t eat for the rest of the day anyway. Unlike smoothies alone they are richer and creamier, and if we’re all being honest, they are prettier.

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Mixed Fruit Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

About 1/8th of a block of soft tofu

1/2 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt

1/2 cup frozen mixed berries

1/2 banana

1/4 cup Almond Milk

a handful of chia or flax seeds

Directions

This one is as simple as can be, just toss it all in a blender or food processor. If you like them a little thinner add more almond milk. Top with the rest of your banana, sliced up, some chia seeds and granola. BAM!

 

The other recent addiction, and possibly more enjoyed addition has been a classic and always in fashion parfait. Creamy, crunchy, fruity, sweet, just the right amount of tart. These bad boys right here have gotten me right back in the breakfast game, for the first time in a long time I get up looking forward to getting myself going with some calcium, protein, fiber! Not only am I nice and full but it reminds me to eat the right amount during the day and at moderate times, but it also manages to give me a nice little energy boost so I’m not curled up on the couch watching last nights The Daily Show waiting for my coffee to kick in.

Peaches and Strawberries Parfait

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Ingredients

Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Granola

1 Peach

Handful of Strawberries

Directions

So you can either make your own homemade granola, but I’m lazy and have three other people to cook for and only  the baby with eat granola with me so I just buy some triple berry granola. The first layer is granola followed by peaches then slices strawberries then some yogurt and repeat. If you want to sweeten the fruit you can toss them in some sugar and let them sit for about twenty minutes until they are nice and juicy. If the yogurt is a little too tart a drizzle of honey on each layer is also great!

 

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So, get up, go make yourself some breakfast. You deserve it, and your body needs the fuel, especially if you are trying to make yourself more active. These are both fairly inexpensive, delicious and a perfect way to start the day.

 

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Falling Through the Whole(30)

 

So as it turns out, blogging requires some level of mental presence, who woulda thunkit, eh? The last few weeks I have been coping with some pretty fun tooth issues. Ones that are extremely painful, and more than a little distracting. While they have been going on most of my adult life they have come to a bit of head in terms of needing to be dealt with. Due in good part to previous eating disorders and a healthy dose of bad teeth genetics I will more than likely be getting partial dentures in the next few months, so on occasion I may slip away into a semi non-existent state of being. I’m going to give it my best shot not to phone it in here though, because this is important for me, and hey blogging about my insecurities always seems to help me find other people dealing with similar things, and I’m a serious sucker for community.

So for what it’s worth, I am still present, just juggling the process of becoming an even better me with several different levels of health, and that makes a pretty great transition into steering away from where I have been into where I am going!

THE WHOLE30

So for better or worse fad diet exists and I, typically, have a few rules when it comes to them. First, I  have to be intelligent about how the restriction of any diet will affect me because of my dubious history with all things food. Second, this is mostly personal (and probably petty) I hate diets with names; Paleo, Keto, Atkins, blah blah blah. I hate it. It’s not a fair loathing by any means, it’s a hold over from a history spent jumping from fad diet to fad diet, and growing up with the women (and only the women) around me doing the same thing. (Did anyone else’s mom have shelves full of those pre-bought diet meals? The ones that you know probably could have funded a new car for your petulant 16 year old ass. The ones that no one could stick to because the food is always gross?) So now I have this overwhelming mistrust of them. Unfortunately, I also really like a challenge.

I had been thinking for awhile that I needed a change so when my pal Riley mentioned thinking about doing Whole30 for the month of May I started looking into it. I recognize that this kind of diet appeals to some of my BPD sensibilities, an all or nothing mentality makes things interesting when you enter into an elimination based diet, but I wanted something like this. Something that professes to cure me of my All-American sugar addiction, my dependency on all things carb related, and if it could cure me of the chronic headaches I seem to get and give me more energy on top of that? Well that sounds like a party.

Except for the part where you aren’t dumping spoonfuls of sugar into your morning coffee, or hearing the comforting pop of a can of Dr. Pepper, or probably worst so far, bread. Just bread.

In case you aren’t familiar here is a quick summary of the basic rules of this diet, trust me there are a lot of exceptions and weird rules, but the basics are as follows.

  1. No dairy, grains, legumes, or sugar (including sugar subs, ie. Stevia, agave, honey). Also no alcohol or tobacco products.
  2. Eat almost exclusively meat, vegetables, fruit and fats.
  3. Don’t mess up, and if you do start over.
  4. Don’t step on the scale.

 

Now if you check out Riley’s post on Whole30 you’ll see a really solid list of issues that both of us have with the tone of the website, so I won’t reiterate how frustrating I find the smarmy voice the author uses, especially right now, on day three of the program.

 

SO WHATS GOING ON?!

I am currently entering day 4 of the Whole30 and it has already been a wild ride. I can safely assure you that I will be stepping on the scale. Not because I just don’t care about their rules, but because I have issues with food and body image and if I want to see what I weigh while I do all this other stuff that my body already hates, I’m not putting it through the extra anxiety of breaking my scale habits right now. I’m going to try and not do it every day, but once a week? That’s just my reality right now. Aside from that, there hasn’t been any major slip up, which I attribute mostly to the fact that I am doing this with a buddy and if you have someone who will endure this with you, I wholeheartedly suggest it.

THE PRO’S

So I have lost some weight already, in two days I dropped two pounds. I may or may not maintain that level of loss, but still, it was nice to see that the hangover like symptoms I dealing with are made up for somewhere.

I am eating better. I am much more focused on vegetables than I have been in awhile and I’m not drinking one or two soda’s a day so there isn’t much I can complain about there.

I haven’t been so wiped out that I couldn’t manage my run yesterday, in fact I ran further and faster than I have so far while running. (It had only been two runs before that, so I wouldn’t use that as conclusive data)

THE CON’S

Holy withdrawal headaches! There just isn’t any getting around it, day two was miserable, and most of day three wasn’t much better. I had trouble sleeping because of headaches. I woke up with a throbbing brain. Moving made me want to die, and the sounds that leave my two children’s mouths?

Nope.

I am tired, just so incredibly tired. I-have-meant-to-write-this-blog-post-for-three-days levels of tired. Sit on my couch and stare at nothing while I play mindless phone games tired. That is getting better today too.

Here’s a tip, coffee without sugar is gross. And as it turns out, not even the migraine caused, in part, by caffeine withdrawal was enough to get me to drink more than a sip of it. Thankfully my friends rallied and we found a solution together. Bulletproof Coffee (instead of ghee, which I don’t have, or butter I have simply been using coconut oil and it does the job). It’s not my favorite thing in the entire world, but it’s 100% better than drinking the bitter bean water you coffee purists love.

Generally Positive

All in all, it’s 2 AM, and all the sudden I have too much energy to sleep. I still feel excited about  what is happening, about the amount of good habits I am building. I can’t promise that this diet is the end all be all, but for me it’s having some positive results and I’m pleased with where it’s headed. Keep your fingers cross for me as I step out of the hangover phase and into the blinding rage phase (or maybe cross them for my husband and children that have to deal with me.)

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Fitness Hyperfocus and How to Handle the Fallout

 

Sometimes in the eternal struggle to find a way to be healthy and get fit we find ourselves in a unique position, one that at the time seem’s like a godsend. You know what I’m talking about, you’re working out constantly, you’re feeling that burn in all the right places, you aren’t even complaining about it because hey, ‘No Pain, No Gain’ or how about ‘Pain is weakness leaving the body?’ You’re eating all the right things, the perfect blend of protein and vitamins, you’ve found some fancy named diet that makes you feel like you are on the very cutting edge of science and nothing is going to stop you! You wake up and eat, breathe, scream fitness! It’s during that phase that your instagram is flooded with workout selfies, sweat pouring down your face as you grin defiantly into to the iPhone, and your facebook is full of comments telling you how proud they are of you and how great you are looking! It’s addictive. Everyone around you hears what you are eating and why, you meticulously track every calorie on intake and when burned. You buy new pieces of exercise equipment and by god, you use them! This is the high point of fitness.

Some people call it the honeymoon phase, I call it…

Hyperfocus

Hyperfocus is a term I learned when I began to deal with my adult ADHD, simply put it is a period of deep and intense concentration. You find something you love and enjoy and the rest of the world becomes a big grey blur. In ADHD this can be anything, large chunks of time expressed in doing one activity on repeat. Art, video games, writing, cleaning, it can be anything and you aren’t satisfied until it is fully completed, and therein lies the problem with hyperfocus and fitness. You cannot complete fitness. There will never be a giant finish line to cross.

Hyperfocus in fitness isn’t necessarily a bad thing, at least not at first. Usually you find yourself making a lot of commitments and holding yourself accountable in ways that you might not otherwise. That is a positive thing! Commitments, friends, accountability, a community, those things will hold you through the inevitable fallout that you will have with your blooming storybook love with all things smoothie and barbell related comes to an end. I’m not here to discourage the intent laser-like focus we get on fitness right away, instead I would like to remind you, that it will slow down. You cannot maintain at 100% forever, it’s simply impossible. So while you feel passion, feel it, really feel it. Love it, soak it up. You get out there and join communities, you start those commitments and hold yourself accountable!

Once you hit the point where suddenly it’s not so exciting to eat another fruit bowl or make another protein shake for breakfast, when you want a waffle or a Pop-Tart instead, once you would rather go out instead of work out, or you just need a day to lay on the couch, once those things happen another thing usually happens. Guilt. You feel guilty for not working out, for not eating right, for not doing absolutely everything you could. I think we all know by  now that guilt and fitness are not great friends, they are the kind of friends that keep hanging out, but just tell all their other friends the other ones dirt. We can’t be guilted into loving ourselves, into fighting for our better selves. We have to want it, really want it.

So enough of telling you what Hyperfocus is and where it inevitably leads, here is how I combat it.

How to fight it

MODERATION:

I’ll be the first to admit that I have Borderline Personality Disorder so extremes are in my nature. I am all in or all out and I struggle with that with physical health more than anything else, so I have to be especially diligent in my all in phases. So instead of letting myself push for absolute perfection, I force moderation. Now, everyone will tell you how important moderation is, and when you are in the honeymoon smoochy phase of loving that runner’s high and convincing yourself that kale tastes great, the word moderation seems like a dirty word. “Why be moderate when I CAN be perfect?” You might ask yourself. Reasonable question, so here are some good ways to trick your brain.

  • Metabolism is a fickle mistress and if you eat a specific caloric intake all the time you can make yourself plateau. The way I have burst through that plateau time and time again seems counter-intuitive. I cheat. One day a week, I don’t count a damn calorie. Usually it’s a day when I’m going to get drunk and the idea of counting empty alcohol calories makes me want to cry, so I just don’t. I eat what I want, I may or may not work out, but I simply let myself be for one day. I don’t preplan the day, it’s not the same day every week. It just happens. Organic is the key here. If you want to wake up and eat a waffle and six strips of greasy bacon. Do. it. You have six other days to eat right.
  • Don’t restrict yourself to the detriment of a social life. If your friend makes her super special brownies once a year and she brings them to your house. Buddy please, eat the damn brownies. One day will not break you. Guilt over one day can!

SELF EVALUATION:

 I have to talk to myself. It’s nine pm, I already took a shower, it’s too late to work out, I had a heavy dinner. So what? Just do it. There isn’t a time at which you are not allowed to work out, showers can be taken again, next time hit the workout video before dinner. Just do it this time, you will feel better. That’s the real thing I have to tell myself every time. You will feel better for having done this. It has never been a lie. Even laying on my yoga mat, shirt soaked with the always attractive boob sweat, and gasping for air, I feel good. 

BRIBE YOURSELF:

Deep down we all like material stuff, and we are all still five years old. You might think, why bribe? I can just get what I want? I’m an adult. Absolutely, you sure can. Don’t though. Make goals, weight, fitness, food, inches any of those things you can make goals about. Make a list of goals and then assign a prize. For example, I could go get my nose pierced right now, nothing is stopping me. I have the money, I have the time, the gas is in the car, but if I get it when I hit my next milestone… it’ll mean something more to me. So here I am waiting for this thing I really want. You can do it, too.

Above all else remember this, love the hyperfocus while it exists, but be realistic with yourself. Don’t set yourself up for failure by pushing so hard you get injured or that if you miss a day you can’t get back on the horse. You will fail, you will fail a lot, and that is okay! You can always start fresh, and we are all waiting for you when you are ready to hop back on.

What do you do when you hit that wall at the end of hyperfocus? How do you keep yourself motivated? Do you even deal with that beginning hyperfocus? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Starting Always Sucks

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It really does. Starting anything sucks. Even worse? Starting something over, especially if it was something that at one point in time you were fairly successful with. Education, a new diet, cleaning a room you cleaned two days before but is magically destroyed again by the unknown forces of destruction that cohabit with you, and my personal (least) favorite; starting to work out again.

I am an adult woman of a spry twenty-eight years old, four years ago my husband and I moved to a place called Twenty-Nine Palms situated conveniently nearly two hours from the nearest Target, and at least forty minutes from the nearest Walmart, were the average summer temperatures can melt your car tires into asphalt if you are cautious of where you park. I had no friends when we moved there, a two year old, and began therapy for the first time in my life. I was quickly diagnosed with a panic disorder, agoraphobia and this awesome little thing called ADD. My doctor controversially started my on adderall as an adult and it changed my entire life. Suddenly I could get off the couch, I wasn’t depressed eating non-stop and I started something I never expected. I started running, in the high desert. The altitude is one of the hardest ones to run in, it was often impossibly warm even at night when I ran, and my running path was full of hills that I am fairly certain only went upward no matter which way you took them.

There I started using a paid app called Zombies! Run 5k, which was a precursor to running with the main app Zombies! Run. It was fun and engaging and I managed through shin splints, and bad shoes to complete the program. After my first solid three miles of running I was on top of the world.

And then I quit.

I don’t know why I quit, I assume it was because we were in the middle of moving to another state in the middle of Christmas time, stopping for a few weeks in Kansas to visit family and ending up breaking down in a strange state and having to buy a new car for the first time in our lives. Essentially things lapsed. When we arrived in our new home in Jacksonville, NC I struggled to get back into fitness in general and for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I never sought out a therapist until I hit a very serious mental low, something I am sure I will discuss at a later time.

I spent years off of adderall because of this mental low point and being sure that it would only increase my mental issues. As it turns out, adderall has been essential to managing my anxiety. Without it I lay around and can’t make my brain focus on anything long enough to complete a single activity. So now, after the birth of my second child, recently back on my medication I look around and see that the body I struggled so hard for in that high desert, running which I could see rattlesnakes and coyotes, sweating through massive elevations just because I felt strong and empowered has slipped away because I didn’t take care of my mind and my body.

So here I am, four years older, with a, nearly, six year old and a baby. Finally consistently struggling to begin something I started four years ago.

Every time I work out I feel the shake in muscles that once felt so solid and strong, and they are so weak and loose now. I try every time I finish a workout to remember that this is a process, and even if the process happened faster when I was younger, it is still one I can participate in.

So here we are, starting over sucks. It’s a rough, sometimes painful, and usually ugly, red-faced mess, but one day it won’t suck quite so hard!

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