August Updates

At the beginning of the year, I had a goal to make 3 new recipes a week. I was signed up for 2 races, then a third. I was in the most peaceful relationship of my life. In February, for my 29th birthday, I visited my cousin just outside of Las Vegas, where we enjoyed meaningful conversation, delicious food, and we ran a half marathon relay together and I PR’d everything. I was hoping (and planning) to ride that momentum through the entire year.

In April I got shin splints and had to cut back on training a lot. I started adding in more trails (less of an impact on my body).

In May that peaceful relationship ended—which was fine, but it was hard to lose such a close friend.

Also in May, I realized that any pavement running caused my shins to ache, so I moved completely to running trails. I ended up dropping out of my June half marathon (more on that here).

I kept my July half marathon on the schedule, but I had just barely started adding pavement runs back into my schedule so the race was pretty rough. I felt so good as I started the race—but I soon realized that I went out too quickly. I started out at my usual pavement race pace, but I was NOT prepared or trained for that (trail running is very different—my pace is slower and I do a lot of power hiking). I crashed FAST. By mile 5 I hit the wall. I stopped and slow walked, calling Kathryn and leaving her THE MOST pathetic voicemail. I finished though, and am glad I did the race. But man oh man, I think it burnt me out more than I realized.

It’s been about 4 weeks since that race. My third planned race this year is next month, and my new training cycle was supposed to start yesterday. Every time I even THINK about running right now, I feel like my body gets 20 times more tired and I feel like crumbling into a ball on the floor. SO.

I feel like my body is craving slowness and gentleness. At the beginning of the year I taught a 3-class series of gentle yoga classes, but by the time I finished teaching those classes my focus had turned more to running. I felt like I was done teaching yoga—at least for the foreseeable future, and maybe forever.

But now I feel like it’s time to come back. To be gentle to my body. To come back to that space.

The year so far is not how I planned it to be. My hips are wider than I expected them to be (despite exercising more intensely and eating better than I did last year, if I’m remembering correctly), my bank account is about where I expected it to be, and I have run far fewer races than I had planned to.

And yet, this year is so much more than I thought it would be. I have healed from multiple heartaches faster than I ever have in the past. I feel SO much fulfillment in my job—a job that has grown over the last few months in really great ways, and I am so grateful. My heart has healed in miraculous ways, and things that would have triggered trauma in the past no longer shake me like they used to. I have been blessed with greater closure from past heartaches than I ever thought I’d receive. I have the joy of serving in the LDS Temple every week, which is bringing me more joy, light, peace, and clarity than I ever expected it to. I upgraded my living space to include more space and light. I’m learning how to care for my body better. I made really good cookies last week, and on Sunday I cooked my first roast! Monumental times over here! 😉

 

This year so far isn’t what I expected it to be, but despite the setbacks, losses, errors, and what have you, this year has led me to exactly where I need to be right now. I have no idea what the rest of 2018 will hold, but I have a feeling that it will yield some of the greatest gifts I’ll ever have.

I’m leaving doTERRA… but not leaving doTERRA!

Some people can have their hands in 20 different pursuits and thrive. Some people have a single focus and prefer to do just that. I’m somewhere in between: if I’m doing one too many things, I get burnt out, but if I’m only doing one thing, I also get burnt out (and feel unfulfilled). I’m learning to find that balance.

Becoming part of the Daily Essential Co doTERRA team a couple years back was SO good for me. My mentor, Kelly, not only pulled me into a team of awesome women, included me in social events, and helped me find opportunities to share oils and earn some extra income, but she also was a loving support in the midst of emotional trauma recovery, sickness, and more. She was always aware of me and loving me. Kelly, and our entire team, gave me life and purpose when I was at my lowest.

photo by megan mitchell

I love doTERRA—as a company and as a product—and I intend to keep using doTERRA. They are top notch and I can’t recommend them enough! But I realized that having this as a little side business for me is taking too much mental energy now—mental energy that I think it’s time for me to shift back to other pursuits, like hosting yoga workshops!

I’m still using doTERRA—but just as a wholesale customer instead of a wellness advocate. I still recommend doTERRA to anyone. I still love using these oils and products every single day. I still think a wholesale account is a great deal! And I still think the Daily Essential Co is a great team, and if you want to be a part of it, go talk to Kelly (@lemonsandlight)—Tell her Allie sent you!

I’m excited for all that is to come, especially with this extra mental space to use!

Food these days

I just ate a WHOLE PACK of chocolate chip cookies, and they tasted SO GOOD. Sure, I didn’t mean to eat the whole pack, but also, I feel okay having done that. And that feels good. (Though I realize I should probably stick with the single serve cookies).

The thing is, sugar doesn’t bother my stomach. Gluten doesn’t bother my stomach. I know those two are pretty common no-no’s, but I have several food sensitivities, and those two things are fine. (Now if I ate 10,000 M&M’s and chased that with 20,000 pancakes, we’d probably have a problem, but you know).

Two of the most prominent sensitivities I have (and that are most often found in everyday food items) are dairy and soy.

I can eat dairy, but my gut definitely feels it. If I eat too much soy, it affects my hormones/emotions, so I aim to avoid it altogether. (Hence the dairy and soy free cookies I linked above. Mmm.)

There are also several little sensitivities that I have as well, like a lot of fruits and nightshade vegetables. But the main two, again, are dairy and soy.

Remember that sugar detox I did earlier this year, and how skewed my relationship with food was in the several weeks following that? This week, I finally feel like I’m back to a good place with food. Here are some of the steps I’ve gone through to get here:

Sugar Detox (rarely felt satisfied, though I felt other physical benefits which were nice)

Binge Eating (toward the end of the detox, and continuing for a few weeks afterward. I just couldn’t feel satisfied)

Tracking Food (in the MyFitnessPal app for a few days. This helped me simply observe what I was eating, and be more mindful about how much I was consuming, without judgment)

Counting Macros (on and off for a couple of weeks, to specifically observe how many carbs/proteins/fats I was consuming, learn about that, and be more mindful about it)

Letting Go (and eating without tracking or judgment)

Eliminating Dairy and Soy (my most common sensitivities)

Different things work for different people, and I think I personally needed to explore my relationship with food even just briefly in these different ways to get to where I am now.

I had eliminated dairy and soy before the sugar detox, but somehow, during those 3 weeks of no-sugar and following weeks of distorted eating habits, I had forgotten how to eat to feel good. What would I eat for meals? For snacks? I just couldn’t remember. Over the past few months I’ve been re-discovering foods that I used to love, that I had forgotten about.

For example, on Tuesday I suddenly craved a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so I bought a jar of store-bought peanut butter and a loaf of bread for probably the first time since that detox. I ate two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at work that day, and they were SO GOOD. And it FELT so good to enjoy it!

When I eat these foods like cookies and PB&J sandwiches (as long as they’re dairy free and soy free), I feel full and satisfied, but not bloated, gassy, or sick. When I’m eating foods like bananas, tofu, red peppers, cheese, all natural fruit snacks, watermelon, avocado, and a bunch of other random “healthy” items, I feel a level of discomfort—ranging from a sour stomach, to 4-hours of intense can’t-move-from-the-fetal-position-or-talk-or-think nausea (that’s avocado).

What I want you to know from this post is:

1. Every body is different, and every body has different needs/sensitivities. Maybe eliminating gluten or dairy or sugar etc. is for you, and maybe it’s not! I really don’t believe that there’s ONE way to eat to feel good (if I followed every healthy-eating-diet recommendation, I’d probably be dead. Yikes!) If you think your body could be performing or feeling better, perhaps try eliminating common allergens for a few days/weeks, then slowly reintroducing them back into your diet one at a time. This will help you see how your body reacts to each one. If you want to learn more about this, I recommend the book The Virgin Diet, which outlines this whole process. (Check your local library!)

You could also get an allergy test at your doctor’s office, but even then, the results won’t be perfect. I did a skin test a few years back, plus a blood test to double check a few of the allergens, and some of the things that came up don’t bother me enough to worry about, and some of the things that make me sick to my stomach didn’t come up at all! It did offer me a lot of insight (and confirmed some of the suspicions I had about dairy and soy, both of which I had reactions to), but eliminating then later reintroducing possible allergens is the best way to know your individual sensitivities.

2. I’ve been eating cookies and PB&J and I finally feel happy and satisfied, body and soul. That really was the reason I started writing this post—ha!

I should also note that I still have a green smoothie every day. I still incorporate a lot of vegetables and good things into my diet. I’ve been focusing a lot on hydrating well and fueling well, especially with all of my athletic goals I have this year. I’m sure that I will continue to refine my eating habits as needed to reach these goals. But for right now, I feel pretty good where I’m at.

*P.S. Photo is of a dairy-free and soy-free pizza I got the other day from Blaze Pizza. Mmm!! The allergy finder on their website is awesome. I indicated what allergies I have and it told me everything on their menu I could eat. It was AWESOME. And their crust is dairy and soy free, as is their vegan cheese (that’s always hit or miss with the soy). It was SO GOOD.

** P.P.S. This post contains some Amazon Affiliate links, which means that if you purchase these products through these links, I’ll receive a small % of the sale. Which is cool! So thank you if you do ever buy anything from my blog through these affiliate links!

Transformation/Throwback Tuesday

I was searching my old-old blog tonight, trying to find old pics of me running to see how long I’ve had my running shorts, haha! (Turns out the oldest picture I can find with them is only 4 years old, but it feels like I’ve had them for longer! But I guess thank goodness I haven’t). But I ended up finding something FAR better.

On October 9, 2009 I wrote the following intentions:

For the past several months, I have had intentions building in my mind.
These are two of the ones that have stuck around.

  • Become a certified yoga instructor. Look for chances to offer the blessings of this practice to those who normally would not be able to afford going to an expensive studio.
  • Run a 10k, half marathon, or a relay race. Any of those will do. I just really like running.

So, basically, I’m thinking that if I publicly announce these things on this blog, I’ll actually get them done. And by the time I save up enough money to enroll in a yoga instructor training course, I’ll be about ready to do that! 🙂

crow pose, probably held for .2 seconds, october 2009. header photo, crow pose 2017.

I don’t remember writing these. I remember having thoughts that I’d like to become a yoga instructor someday, but at that time I only casually practiced, and mostly at home. I remember thinking it’d be cool to do a half marathon someday, but at that time, I only casually ran/walked some 5k races, probably just casually run/walking a couple miles some evenings to be ready to just finish that distance come race day.

You guys.

In 2014 I ran my first 10k, and then my first relay.

In 2016 I completed my 200-hour yoga teaching certification.

In 2017 I ran my first half marathon, then my second.

(Uh, also, p.s. Thank you to my parents for funding my yoga teacher training. That whole bit about “saving up enough money to enroll” didn’t actually come to pass. Whoops. Gratefully, practicing better money management is already an intention I’ve set and am actively working on, haha!)

You guys, I did these things. These dreams and intentions that seemed so far off, so unlikely, especially considering how little I was working toward them at the time. It makes me think, what other someday-thoughts have I had in my life (I can already think of some), and what would happen if I focused even a little bit more on working toward them? Writing them down? Being more intentional about my time and efforts in those particular areas of life?

Same questions for you. What intentions can you set today? What are those quiet someday-thoughts you’ve had? Then start making them happen.

___

Header photo by Tiffani Berthold at The Station Fitness Studio in Orem, Utah!

After the Sugar Detox…

I admit, I wrote this in a moment of feeling pretty dang low. The feelings of sadness, inadequacy, and frustration were pretty high. I thought about not publishing it, or erasing it and sharing a more optimistic, hopeful draft, but I think that this view may be beneficial to someone. Or at least sharing this will let me honestly convey the low points of the last few weeks as I try to find some peace and balance in my body again.

______

I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this low about my body and food.

Backing up—

I ended my 3-week sugar detox on February 6. I am grateful for the sugar detox because it helped me understand what it felt like to be fueled by slow carbs (vegetables instead of breads), I can now see a stark contrast between the sugar highs and sugar crashes (I’m SO aware of it now, and it’s INSANE), and for the first time in my life, I realize that I experienced VERY FEW cramps when I was on my period IF I had very little sugar in my body (I didn’t even take any painkillers last month, which is unheard of for me. If I’m cramping, it is intense, and I have to layer on the painkillers to even go to work or get out of the house).

BUT, while there were those good points about the sugar detox, I rarely felt satisfied. And in all honesty, the only one time I remember thinking how satisfied I finally felt was after eating a bison burger for dinner one night.

I can’t remember the last time I was this in-my-head and shame-filled about foods and their relationship to my body. It’s getting better, but that shame crept in early in the detox, and continued after it ended.

I intended to add in foods gradually after the detox ended, but as soon as I let a little in, the floodgates opened. I really struggled with bingeing during at least the last week of the detox and the two weeks following the detox. I’d binge on “healthy” foods. I’d crave nuts, I’d start eating, and I couldn’t stop. One day about a week after the detox ended, I needed a snack after work so I bought a bag of nuts at the store and ate the whole thing. All 1700 calories. I still didn’t feel full. Something was missing—something had been missing for weeks—and I still can’t pinpoint what it was.

One thing I should note about the detox—it was very strict, and prohibited most forms of sweetness. Even sweet potatoes and quinoa were off the list, and I felt guilt when I was told that even the 1g of sugar in my protein powder was too much sweetness. While I usually steer toward intuitive eating, I spent 3 weeks being told that nearly every modification I was making to try to feel better on this detox was detrimental (sweet potato, quinoa, protein powder, etc). And then, the guilt set in. And then, the floodgates.

About a week and a half after the sugar detox ended, I was miserable. Absolutely miserable. I finally got to a point where I could consciously practice releasing that guilt associated with food.

On February 18 I wrote: “I’m letting myself release the emotional/mental guilt tied to what/how/when/how much I am eating, and practicing just eating what I want to. I’m grateful that I had only been experiencing the feelings/behaviors for probably 2-3 weeks (maybe a bit more) before deciding to make that shift, because it really was just a couple days of having to be very mindful about allowing myself to eat what felt good, instead of denying it for myself, or feeling shame for eating it.”

That was a positive shift, but I’ve still really struggled through the past few weeks. I’ve been gradually remembering how to eat to feel good. Before the sugar detox, I was simply not eating things that I know I have intolerances to, like dairy and soy, and my body was responding really well to that! But, as silly as it sounds, I’ve had a hard time remembering the specific foods I ate, even just two months ago.

I still haven’t felt great. It’s been a really crappy experience trying to help my body feel good and satisfied again.

I made the mistake of stepping on the scale this morning (which I rarely do, as I’d rather eat to feel good and not worry about a silly number), and promptly went into my room and cried. The scale read 8 lbs higher than it did a month ago. I knew I hadn’t been feeling as great as I wanted to, but seeing a number describe to me a reason WHY I didn’t feel good? That felt crappy. (And I know, logically, a number on a scale doesn’t really mean much. I haven’t been taking physical measurements with a measuring tape, which I should have been. Plus, I did just run a race two weeks ago and PR, so my body is still functioning fine enough. And my period should be starting any day now, so there’s also that water retention and fluctuation. But still. You know? Sometimes the emotion comes through far more than the logic.) (Update: The next morning, after a normal day of eating, I decided to get on the scale again and I was down 2 lbs. Obviously, water weight. That just shows, the scale is not the best indication of our fitness or wellness levels at all! Now, back to the emotions, haha!)

It’s been an emotional day. I’m having a hard time understanding how I physically feel, or how to mentally feel about my body. I’ve had emotionally lighter moments today when I remember how good my new jeans feel on my body, or when I simply enjoy the foods I’m eating. But there are also times like right now, when I’m feeling the emotions attached to writing all of this out.

Why am I telling you this, you ask? I think I just needed to get it out, to be open and let you know that I’ve really been struggling in this area over the past month. That while I’m usually a huge proponent of intuitive eating, of loving your body exactly as it is in this very moment, and eating when you’re hungry and not eating when you’re not hungry… I understand now more than ever that sometimes those things are easier said than done. That sometimes there’s a huge mental/physical/emotional disconnect, and that can throw your body into a degree of chaos.

Sugar detoxes may be for some people, but they are not for me. I think that’s a blog post for another time, though.

Things that have helped me feel more peaceful about all of these things:

Lee From America — My Bingeing Story

Nutrition Redefined — Instagram + Podcast

Katiesfitscript — Quit Freaking Out Over Weight Gain

All of these things have helped me feel less alone, and reminded me of the things I know, but haven’t been able to remember/connect with for a few weeks.