I don’t totally have my stuff together.

I don’t totally have my stuff together.

I want to make that clear. Today an article came out in my local University’s newspaper, and I was interviewed in it—and I LOVE sharing about yoga, wellness, meditation and all the good things. (And it’s pretty fun seeing photos of me lookin’ cool, you know? Thanks for that, Tiffani and Megan!!)

But I want to make it clear that while I’m sharing how great yoga is and how much good it’s brought to my life—and it absolutely is SO great and has brought SO much good to my life—that doesn’t mean I get on my mat every day. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about what I was going to eat for breakfast during my guided meditation this morning. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t had this ridiculous underlying anxiety the ENTIRE WEEK, or that I had to remind myself to exhale several times at work yesterday.

I love this quote from the article: “I’ve been practicing conscious relaxation, especially through yoga and meditation,” Barnes said. “I’ve noticed beautiful improvements in my running performance, relationships with others and overall day-to-day peace.”

Yes, amen. All of that. But also, I just ate spoonfuls of peanut butter and am slouched over on the couch drowsily writing this.

But also, I DO remember to exhale, and I can consciously recognize when I’m not, and when prana (“life energy”) is not effectively flowing through my body. I’ve meditated every day for almost a month (instead of just occasionally, as in the past), which is a huge accomplishment in itself, knowing that I have the drive to dedicate even a couple minutes a day to something that is good for my heart. I value the time I do give myself on my mat, because regardless of what my practice looks like or how long it is, I truly do always feel more alive, calm, and peaceful afterward. Caring for my body and spirit HAS improved my running performance—I am sure of it and can’t wait to share more about that—and it HAS blessed my relationships, and I think even this week, in the midst of this silly anxiety and tiredness, I still feel a measure of peace. Or I can access that peace, and that recognition that I really do have it pretty dang good. (#blessed)

Just in case you read the article and thought “Allie sure has her shiz together!”, I assure you, I do not. But I can promise you that the little things do make a difference. That even taking a few long, deep breaths can make a difference—and an immediate difference at that.

If you want to read more about how much yoga/breathing/meditation can improve your life, check out that article here. But also, if you want to lounge on your couch, watch some Hulu and eat spoonfuls of peanut butter, I absolutely support that too.

Namaste!

P.S. The cover photo for this blog post? Thanksgiving 2017. Baggy shirt and belly full of dinner. Keeping it real. Ha!

Race Recap: Saints and Sinners Half RELAY with Dani!

On the morning of my 29th birthday, I woke up at 5am, drove down to a starting line at 6:50am, and started running at 8am. I ran 6.45 miles, high fived Dani to run the second 6.5 miles, then took a bus down to the finish line to run the last .05 miles with her through the finish chute. We ate pretzels, cookies, and donuts at the finish line, then left and got more donuts at Friendly Donut House in Henderson. I ate more donuts, drank some beet juice, showered and napped. Then Seven Magic Mountains and a delicious dinner.

But more about that race, shall we??!

First off, I realize that running AF Canyon as my first half marathon has made me kind of a snob about half marathons. All money going to charity, a beautiful course, AND really great swag? Such a good race.

That said, the Saints and Sinner Half Marathon is a BEAUTIFUL course, at least the half that I ran! (And the bus ride to the finish line, in which I saw the last 2 miles of Dani’s run along Lake Mead, was incredible).

Dani and I ran the race as a 2-person relay, so we each took a half. I chose the first half because it included a hill, and I wanted that hill training for another upcoming race. Dani’s half included running through huge tunnels that were used to transport materials while constructing the Hoover Dam! Pro: History. Con: Dirt trails and very dark tunnels. From what I heard from Dani and another runner I chatted with at the finish line, it was dusty and warm, and not their favorite. BUT, those last two downhill miles by Lake Mead, they agreed, were beautiful!

One unexpectedly awesome part of the race: the title wasn’t only referencing the “Sin City” aspect of Las Vegas— members of the Latter-day SAINT church were involved in running the race! Haha! It was awesome. A lot of the volunteers were missionaries for the church, and were awesome with holding signs, directing runners, and passing out water cups. The only other run I’d done that missionaries helped with was the Temple to Temple 5k in Provo, Utah, which made sense. This was a fun surprise!

Now, let me tell you about MY run:

I went into this race telling myself it was a training run. For various reasons (including I had just signed up for the race literally 2 weeks prior, if that, when Dani suggested it), my training wasn’t where I would want it to be going into a 6.5 mile race. So I told myself (and others) that I was just going to take it easy.

But secretly, I did have a couple of little goals: get under 1 hour for the 10k, and pace myself well. I haven’t always paced myself well in races, so I really wanted to practice that mindfulness and awareness during this race.

The results: I not only hit personal records for both my 5k and 10k distances (!!!), but even more importantly—I paced myself exactly as I had hoped to, I listened to my body and adjusted my pace/breathing/form as needed, and I did NOT stop ONCE on the hill. I felt incredible about my run because I LISTENED to myself, and I pushed myself (with learned wisdom). Those are more important to me than any number.

…but if you wanted to know the numbers (because I’m sure excited about them still!):

According to Strava (a running app I have, that syncs with my GPS watch):

Best estimated 10k effort (54:12)
Best estimated 5k effort (26:14)

So I hit my best 5k and 10k times within that 6.5 miles I ran!

I worked hard for those times, both in the race and also in the preparation I did outside of it, by spending the last couple months working to heal my body, build strength, and improve my hydration and race nutrition (more on all of those things in future posts). I can’t think of a better way to start my birthday and a new year than by pushing myself and showing myself what I can do!

Thank you for all the birthday wishes! And thank you so much Dani and David for letting me spend the weekend with you guys! I LOVED my birthday!!

Next races in March and May! Can’t wait!

Re-Discovering Creativity

Toward the end of last year, I recall reading a book or listening to a podcast in which the writer/speaker noted that if we reach back to our childhood memories—our hobbies, interests, talents, etc.—we’d better remember what we love to do, what we wanted “to be when we grow up,” and from those things, find our life paths and callings. I remember hearing this and thinking back to middle school, and how my FAVORITE class was English. I had an awesome (6th grade?) English teacher who encouraged creativity. I have this memory of walking out of the classroom at the end of the school day, down the ramp to the sidewalk, and feeling so bright inside.

Ultimately (and ridiculously), after receiving an Associate of Arts degree in English, the only reason I remember for not pursuing my Bachelors in English was that 2 years of a foreign language was required for the degree. I remembered not being great at Spanish in High School, I didn’t want to go out of my comfort zone to take those classes, and I definitely wanted to just get done with college. Those four extra classes were not on my agenda.

I let go of writing, more or less.

By 2017, writing was barely on my mind—so much so that I was SHOCKED when I went home to visit family for Christmas last December and discovered a box of old short plays, essays, and poems I had written early in my college career. A box full of things I had written, that meant so much to me, and that were actually pretty good. There was a huge binder full of research, articles I had torn out of magazines, pictures I had printed out for color/tone/mood inspiration, little things I had gotten published here and there that I had completely forgotten about.

I realized that this part of me was missing, and I wanted it back. I wanted to infuse my life with creativity again—intentionally and passionately.

I made a goal to try cooking more new recipes. I began writing a bit more (just for fun). My Instagram posts became (to me) more heartfelt and thought out. I began cross-stitching! There are pictures torn out of magazines and taped onto my bedroom wall. I have notes scribbled in the corners of a notebook with ideas for content, projects, or things I want to research.

Additionally, I’m building a whole new yoga program curriculum, which is using creativity in one of my favorite ways!

One of the coolest things: as soon as I made that intention to practice creativity more, more opportunities simply came about to do so. When I returned back to work after the new year, I was immediately invited into a meeting where I was asked to take on a more creative role in the company—and I LOVE it. When we set intentions, and when we move forward in them in whatever way we can, everything else will fall into place.

I am grateful for little-Allie who loved to write, sing, make, and do. It feels so good to come back into that space again.

The Sugar Detox!

Today, 6 February 2018, I finished a 3-week sugar detox! Here are all the details straight from my journal.

19 Jan 18:

Hello! A little backstory to why I’m doing this detox. I connected with Amy on Instagram earlier last year, and in December she invited me to create a couple of videos as bonus material for her nutrition program, and also invited me to join the 5-week program as a participant. I think Amy is awesome, and I definitely have an interest in nutrition, so I jumped at the chance to work with her on this. Truth be told, I didn’t fully realize the commitment I was making at the time, haha! But I’m so glad I signed up!

The program is called the Restart Program, and is a 3-week sugar detox (within a 5-week program with an awesome group of people) to help balance blood sugar levels and rid the body of toxins. At the beginning of the first group, Amy had each of us take a toxicity questionnaire where we added up all of the symptoms we have been living with (and honestly not thinking much of), and my number fell in the “moderate toxicity” level.

I should note, while I do eat a LOT of veggies each day, I also love “junk food”—cookies and burgers are two of my favorite foods. Ha! I also have a lot of food sensitivities that I hadn’t been honoring through the second half of last year, so I was feeling pretty crummy. After Christmas, recognizing that I was growing even more sensitive to these foods, I decided to focus on simply not eating the things that made me sick. So truly, going into this detox, I was in pretty good shape—when you don’t eat dairy or soy, that takes care of a lot of the “junk foods” that I used to eat so often.

Four days into the sugar detox: my energy levels are low, and while I’ve had some good workouts this week, my “slow run” ended up feeling like a max effort run. Amy reached out to me and offered some clarity to the week: “What’s happening is that your body is so used to relying on quick energy sources that it is having a hard time using fat as a source of energy—which is what you want!” …It’s a transition, let me tell you! I’ve also struggled to feel satisfied with meals and find myself snacking a lot, though I’m starting to recognize the meals that help me feel more satisfied (soups and broths, surprisingly). I’m planning on taking it easy this weekend for sure, trying a couple more new (hearty) recipes, and pondering what foods to bring to work next week to help me feel more satisfied through the morning and afternoon. I also may add in some sweet potato, maybe (which is not on the list of approved foods, but is mentioned as a modification if needed) to help fuel harder workouts.

25 Jan 16:

It’s been over a week since I started the sugar detox. I think at the week mark exactly (two days ago), I was feeling pretty dang good. I got in a really good workout—I even added on a short sprint workout to my original planned workout, ha!—and I felt good the whole time! I crashed at the end when I didn’t eat right away afterward, but that was my bad. Nutritionally, I felt good and well fueled.

The next day at work the munchies came back a bit. I work at a pie place, and it’s a bit hard with all the temptations to keep saying no to delicious dinner and dessert pies (seriously, I’ve had multiple offers of free pie over the last week, and it’s been a huge bummer to say no—even though I’d have to say no regardless because before this sugar detox, I was avoiding allergens, which for me includes dairy. ANYWAY). That day someone DID offer me some ham from a filling of a dinner pie, and I was WENT FOR IT because ham is just meat, and meat is totally okay on this diet, right?

…Not brown sugar ham! I ate a couple slices and could taste the sugar more than I ever had in a ham! Holy moly! And I did not like the way it made me feel! It was so odd feeling that intense amount of sugar (from MEAT, good golly, not even a legit dessert) after not eating it for a week.

The next day—today!—I’ve just been feeling more cravings for cookies and diet coke (like, sometimes I feel like I can vividly imagine the taste of coke. Haha! Who am I?). Like, I haven’t even had legit diet coke in WEEKS (I had been drinking Hansen’s fake diet cola, which tastes pretty different). I’m excited to get back to that pre-ham day, when I was feeling good and well-fueled.

In tonight’s Restart class we talked about blood sugar regulation. I know I’ve struggled (and currently struggle) with this, and I’m excited to feel it level out more.

26 Jan 18:

My digestive system has been WRECKED today. I thought it was a soup I had for dinner last night, but now I’m thinking I may have consumed too much fat or nut protein over the last two days. Either way, it got me thinking: I want to simplify my diet. I’ve been enjoying trying new recipes over the last few weeks, and my regular meals are jamming a lot of everything (especially veggies) together, and truthfully, my “treat” has just shifted to sunflower seed butter instead of listening to my body and only eating when I’m hungry.

While this restricted of a diet is merely a 3-week detox, I want the things I learn and practice in these weeks to carry on indefinitely. I want to shift my diet to eat to help stabilize my hormones even more. That’s what I’ve been studying. That’s what I’ve been planning to do.

So right now, this week, this second, I want to simplify.

I want to aim for 1-3 veggies, 1 fat, and 1 protein for each meal. I want to go to the store, buy frozen chicken breasts, and learn how to prepare meat better. I want to eat when I’m hungry, and not eat when I’m not.

I also want to get used to vegetables as snacks. Amy recommended raw vegetables and cauliflower hummus the other day, so I think I want to do that. (I had cucumber in a salad today and it has never tasted better!)

29 Jan 18:

I have been overeating nuts and seeds for days. I drink plenty of water, eat plenty of greens, and still do not feel satisfied. They say eat fats to fill you up, but I can eat plenty of fats, technically be “full,” not hungry, and still feel so unsatisfied. (And I’ve been eating TONS of fat, because it’s what I’m craving and wanting).

I think week 1 was getting the hang of things; week 2 was refining my diet, but also starting to feel digestive issues more and I didn’t know why (I think sunflower seed butter). Today I tried to stick to a schedule with eating but still didn’t feel great. I wanted to put in more raw veggies but those just made me feel hungrier. I’m pretty frustrated about it. And also frustrated with emotional eating, because is something wrong and I don’t know what?

30 Jan 18:

At dinner last night—where I ate a bison burger stuffed with bacon and apples… mmm!—I realized, I FINALLY felt satisfied! I think I was low on animal protein. That doesn’t mean that I’ve been awesome with eating today. I still ate a lot of nuts this afternoon.

1 Feb 18:

My period started yesterday and I didn’t even know it was coming. Most of my usual symptoms? Gone or minimized. I’m not even on any painkillers. This will warrant a whole separate blog post, but holy moly. I have never not been in excruciating pain while on my period.

3 Feb 18:

Two things: I had a great run this morning! 4 miles and I felt really, really good! On this sugar detox, I’ve had some workouts that were good, and some that were really hard (especially at the beginning when I was trying to push through before my body had adjusted to using slow carbs—and it may still be adjusting. Who knows!) I’m glad today was a good one.

I also think my period ended yesterday. Which means it only lasted 3 days, which is UNHEARD OF.

I’ve been more intentional about eating animal protein, which I think has helped me feel more satisfied. I’ve also been drinking a LOT of green smoothies, to fill in cravings and such, which has been working well, too.

Today is Saturday, and on Tuesday will be our last Restart meeting. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next, and the best way to move forward.

6 Feb 18:

Still figuring out how to stay full (though I’m feeling more satisfied now), but it’s getting better. I was just hungry toward the end of work. Came home, ate some food, then went out on a run. The run went really great—it was a speed workout!—and I felt strong and well fueled. I had no stomach issues either, even though I was working so hard on my run (sometimes I do when I run that hard).

We had our last Restart class tonight! I’m grateful for flexibility with moving forward—Amy made some recommendations and taught how to introduce foods gently into our diet again, making note of how they make us feel. I’m really excited (and just a little tiny bit intimidated) to explore this.

I came home with the intention to eat a truffle I had been saving (it’s the one treat I said yes to over the last 3 weeks, and I put it straight in the freezer for this moment!)—but on my drive home realized, I felt like carrots! Haha! So I came home, enjoyed some carrots, then ate a delicious locally-made chocolate truffle and a sparkling water.

And now I could really go for another green/chocolate smoothie 🙂

Conclusion:

I’m so glad I did the Restart program. I’m very anti-diet—I don’t believe in quick fixes, and I definitely don’t think they’re sustainable. This isn’t that. This is learning to be more aware of my body. This is balancing blood sugar levels. This is removing toxins from my body (my toxicity symptoms legit went down 30 points—from the “Moderate Toxicity” to “Mild Toxicity” ranges). This is getting to a base level so I can build from there—being aware of what foods make me feel good and what foods don’t, and eating mindfully.

It wasn’t easy, but I’m so glad I did it. I can’t wait to go from here!

To find out about the Restart Program, visit Amy’s website at nourishfamilynutrition.com! Her next classes are all online, so you don’t have to be local to participate! Enrollment for the next classes ends tomorrow (7 February 2018), but I’m positive she’ll continue teaching these every few weeks. You can also find Amy on Instagram and on everydaywholehearted.com, where you can subscribe to her email newsletter for the latest updates!

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Resources (and Strong + Gentle Episode 7 Show Notes!)

I’ve written a bit about betrayal trauma recovery on my Instagram (#allietalkstrauma), and now I’ve talked about it on a podcast episode (the Strong + Gentle Podcast is available on iTunes and Stitcher). I’ve had people ask me for resources for recovery, and here are some that I’ve found beneficial.

Friends, doing the work to heal is some of the best work you’ll ever do… it’s some of the best work I PERSONALLY have ever done. If you are just at the beginning of this, if your loved one just disclosed a very difficult thing to you, I’d say, find yourself a support group— the LDS church (of which I am a part of) has spouses and family of addicts support groups all around the world. There are other organizations like Al-Anon for family members of alcoholics that I have heard are great resources. I would recommend not telling everyone, or even most people, because often these things are so delicate for everyone involved. But I highly recommend finding SOMEONE you can confide in—ideally someone of the same gender, someone you trust, perhaps someone who has been in your situation, or someone who can show compassion, love, and support. One of my best support people hadn’t been in my situation, but always listened, always showed loving empathy, and showed love to both me and the other person involved. She was/is an amazing friend and support.

Here are some resources I’d recommend.

Spiritual + 12-Step:

I incorporated a lot of spiritual work with my recovery. Here are some resources and general inspirational words from the church I am a part of, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Addiction Recovery Program for the LDS Church (+ Spouse and Family Support Program) — Support groups + 12-steps for both addicts and family of addicts.

Healing Through Christ — a 12-step manual from an LDS perspective, but not specifically put out by the LDS Church. This has been my favorite resource, though. My copy is marked up, at least the first few steps 🙂

The Master Healer by Carole M. Stephens — This talk is not specific to betrayal trauma recovery, but it is so comforting, and was one of my regular listens. (I often listened to the audio while I was driving, or when I was in bed.)

Heartbreak and Hope: When a Spouse Uses Pornography (Ensign Magazine, February 2017) — A beautiful article that shares the silver linings to working through this tough situation.

Websites / Blogs:

Bloom — The Bloom program, associated with Addo Recovery in Lindon, Utah, is an online program for partners or former partners of addicts. They have a lot of educational videos, hobby videos (because learning to feel joy again and living your own life is absolutely a thing!), and even yoga for betrayal trauma recovery. — and more!

Adam M. Moore — is a therapist in Utah. His website has a lot of really great resources—from articles to lectures and workshops. I highly suggest his video on setting boundaries.

Scabology.com— Scabs is a life coach, hosts retreats, is a beautiful writer, and sistas, she has BEEN there. I suggest reading through her blog just to even feel less alone in this.

Books:

Codependent No More by Melody Beattie— GAMECHANGER. I used to feel shame at the word “codependent,” but this book helped me understand my experience: I loved someone deeply who was dealing with some really dark things, and of course I want to help. It logically makes sense. Does that mean it’s the best approach? Nope. This book still helps me feel grounded if I find myself falling into codependent thoughts or patterns.

The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie — Short, daily meditations to help you heal from and stay out of codependency.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay — This is the book I universally suggest to everyone ever. It is all about using affirmations to heal your life, improve your circumstances, etc. …which sounds so basic, but she dives into it beautifully. I have the book AND audiobook. It’s just a really good book to help me feel more balanced and hopeful.

What Can I Do About Me? — This book is specific to partners of sex addicts and pornography addicts. It suggests (brace yourself 😉 that instead of trying to change our partners, we should work on our own healing, growth, and lives. Crazy stuff 😉 haha! But it’s the truth. The author has been there, in the crummiest situations, and both she and her husband are a great couple to look at who has gone through the darkness and are now healing, thriving, and helping others.

Out of the Shadows — If you are looking to straight up understand sex addiction, this is a great book for that. While some of it was hard for me to read (and brought up more fears at the time), I know people who swear by it and suggest it to everyone. It goes into not just pornography addiction, but the different levels of sex addiction, some quite severe. But, knowledge is HUGE in this journey. And that makes this book worth at least looking into reading.

And finally…

Lemonade by Beyonce. 😉 Haha! (But really: Hold Up. It’s a good one!)

And the Strong + Gentle episode about healing from trauma, featuring my friend Tyler Carpenter.