How’s the Sugar Addiction?

20181020_215934Let’s just start with this so it is very clear: My 3 day fast, my sugar detox, every “diet” I am attempting… has nothing to do with weight loss. It is simply to get healthy again. To kick an addiction that is literally affecting my liver, my skin, my mind and my overall health.

I have a sugar addiction. I believe many of us do. Actually, I KNOW many of us do based on the dozens of you that have come to me since I shared my addiction publicly. I went to a nutritionist I respect and admire deeply who told me that if I do not stop my high sugar/high starch diet it will only get worse.

Based on tests she said my body was in an “autoimmune cascade” with adrenal & serotonin levels very low, joint & liver issues and also positive for Lyme disease.  She also thinks I have a wheat allergy, and if my current high sugar diet doesn’t stop it could lead to other autoimmune diseases like lupus.

That’s when I decided to do my 3 day fast. I wanted to “reset”. Try to give my body some time to heal and possibly my mind some time to rid the addiction.

The Fast:  72 hours of only water and lemon.

This actually was not as bad as you may think. You definitely have lows, but in a way having NO food made it easier to not choose the WRONG food.

I had some low energy moments, but for the most part I felt pretty good. My mind was clearer than usual and I felt more present and focused. The final day (Wednesday) I woke up a little woozy and I had a 6am-730pm day ahead, teaching 5 classes and training 4 clients.

The day ahead was daunting and with a feeling of wooziness to start the day I got a little anxiety and told myself if I can’t push through today I cannot risk missing 9 hours of training. At that moment I gave myself permission to eat something if that’s what it took to make it through the day.

However, after battling anxiety attacks in the past (many years ago I got stomach bug during class and proceeded to get the bug 2 more times that winter,  causing years of anxiety pre class when I feared I would get sick with a class of 20 depending on me. Side note – that sickness, 6 years ago was due to Candida Infection = sugar = common theme in my health)

Anyway, I was able to recognize that a large part of my wooziness was anxiety & I was able to breath through it and proceed with class. One key moment happened after this 6am class,  which I wasn’t even sure I could complete. One of our trainers, Kim, took this class and came up to me after and said, “I don’t know how you’re doing this, but that class was the most on point I have seen you in ages. That was phenomenal and you killed it.”

That comment has stayed with me to this day.

After the 3 day fast I eased back into eating with a salad. I was extremely hopeful at this point that my diet was fixed. Taking away food left me so much more time to work on other parts of me. I read, I meditated, I journaled, I stretched- I felt great.

It was amazing when one sensory was taken (taste) how I seemed to crave the others. I sat in bed at night with my salt lamp on, my essential oils burning, my Into the Mystic Radio playing, my hot water and lemon (heaven..who knew?) and my journal. I felt complete and so happy. Why would I ever go back to this horrible addiction that seemed to shadow all of these other amazing sensories?

Why?  WHY?? Well, I guess because it is an addiction, and addictions pull you back in.  I started with making “fat bombs”. Healthy craving fixes. Coconut oil, cacao powder, Stevia, peanut butter. Something to “take care of my craving if it came on.”  Well, I would eat 10 fat bombs in a day, atleast. To me it felt like an alcoholic being told they could just have one beer. It didn’t work.

**side note: with every detox I get one big takeaway. After this fast I switched mostly to Decaf coffee since my headaches had gone away.  For someone with anxiety, this has been big.**

I don’t know what’s worse about this addiction. Is it the feeling of being OUT OF CONTROL at night, telling yourself to not get up and just make tea, but you end up in a fat bomb comma? Or is it the fact that YOU KNOW that no sugar = clear headed and sugar = brain fog and you STILL DO IT? That feeling of having NO control is what drives me insane. I am so disciplined in every other area of my life, why can’t I get this under control?

Maybe because it’s a real addiction. Maybe because when rats were made addicted to sugar and cocaine then given both as an option they chose sugar. It’s real. It sucks. But, I know I can kick this and I know you can too.

So, what’s next? After doing a bunch of research on different diets it seems as though The Whole30 is the best bet for me.  I need specifics.  Shopping lists, recipes, community, etc.

From the whole30:

“Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition, like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies, or chronic pain, that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms are often directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?

Strip them from your diet completely. Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the reset button with your health, habits, and relationship with food, and the downstream physical and psychological effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, long term health, body composition, and feelings around food.”

I am also a fan of the keto diet and will implimant parts of that into my 30 days.  However, I am a little concerned with both these diets as they are largely dependant on meat and I do not eat meat.

This has been a battle in my mind and a conversation my husband and I have had a few times.  I am open to going back to meat, but I would stay very true to my beliefs and continue preaching passionately about the animal cruelty side of meat eating as well as the factory farms and the processed meat causing cancer.

Erik and I are contacting local farms, (some of them are good friends) and find out not only how the animals are treated while they are alive, but more importantly, how they are slaughtered. This is very important to me.

If I do feel like I am not getting enough nutritients without the meat and my body is craving it, I will strongly consider adding very small amounts of meats back into my diet. It has been 6 years now since I have had meat, so this is how serious I am about fixing my health.

I plan to start the Whole30 on Monday and I also have my first doctors appointment in years on Thursday (Collaborative Natural Health…yay!!)

I will keep you posted how this next “reset” goes and I hope you continue to share your obstacles with me as well.  Together, we can do this!!!

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I Have an Addiction

I battled with writing this blog, but after a couple conversations last week with my clients, I thought I had to.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that social media is a bit of smoke and mirrors. That you do a good job of highlighting everything you do that is good, but very rarely does it show the bad. The ugly.

So maybe that is why when I explain to my clients that I have a VERY bad addiction to sugar they respond, “no way. Not you. I would have never of guessed that.”

My thought is, “really, you wouldn’t have guessed that?” I guess it’s because it’s just been something I’ve dealt with my whole life.

I seem to have many other areas dialed in. I’ve learned and try to practice transcendental meditation regularly. I spend countless hours listening to motivational videos & podcasts. I’ve read so many books about finding your purpose, the law of attraction and becoming your best self.  I train hard and have had a pretty successful running and racing career.  I’ve eliminated most toxins in my life switching from candles to essential oils & have eliminated all toxic chemicals in my cleaning products, beauty care etc.

I’ve spent the last 6 years vegetarian and eating as clean as possible. However, there is one thing I can’t seem to kick no matter how hard I try….SUGAR!!

It’s not like I’m eating Oreos, Snickers or Captain Crunch. It’s organic cookies, dark chocolate, Lara Bars, Halo Top Ice Cream, etc. However, I feel like my cravings are out of control, especially at night. I feel I have no control of my actions, and that drives me insane.

On top of that, I know it is causing me to feel like shit. It’s hard to explain, and I won’t go too deep into it, I just KNOW that the way I feel is not the real me. Not even close to the best me.  The anxiety. The highs and lows. The pain all over my body – always. The brain fog.

These things aren’t new, they’ve been ongoing symptoms forever. I’ve always known that sugar was likely the culprit, but it’s an addiction…it’s not so easy to JUST. STOP. EATING. IT!!! Which is what I tell myself constantly.

I think sugar is an addiction that so many of us suffer from, and I think many of us have no idea how bad it is affecting us.  It was recently when I started to get really bad eczema that I said “enough is enough!”

This was the physical ‘red flag’ I needed to make a big change. However, soon after mentally I started to make the shift as well.  I started to ask myself, “are you willing to let this one thing get in the way from Optimal Health?”

So, I took the first step. I went and saw my mom’s best friend who is so passionate about nutrition and using food to heal the body. She has been studying & practicing nutrition longer than I’ve probably been alive and after doing biofeedback on me, she looked at me with compassion and said, “we have to kick this sugar my dear.”

She then went into the long list of issues my body is experiencing which are all direct affects from my high sugar/starch diet.

So, I need to make some drastic changes which includes a 30 day sugar detox. I will jumpstart this with a 3 day fast (water only) starting tomorrow.

I won’t go into too many details of my diet because I don’t want anyone to think that what I’m doing is right for them. Every person is unique and you shouldn’t do anything until you see a professional. While my plan may seem drastic to you, it’s personal and it’s being done with professional guidance and lots of my own research and education.

The point of this blog isn’t to tell you to do the same thing I’m doing. It’s for a couple reasons. 1. To hold me accountable: this is an insanely hard task for me. While many were surprised when I told them of my addiction, it’s real and it sucks. It’s a step that needs to be addressed to reach my optimal health and full potential in life.  2. To share my journey with others who also may be suffering from sugar addiction or a poor diet.  I want others to understand how much your diet affects how you feel and your health.  I hope to be a guinea pig for some other people who may be ready to make some changes and start to feel better too.

Wish me luck freinds!!!

My Sister – The Silent Inspiration

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Couch to 5K Workout done!!!

Some of you may not even know that Matt and I have a sister.  Actually, that’s why I am writing this post, because you need to know about her.  Kristie is the oldest of all of us, and she lives in Windsor Locks. You may have seen her at mission FITNESS taking an occasional class, attending a seminar, or cheering Matt and I on at a race or fundraising event.

Kristie has been open with her journey, so I am sure she doesn’t mind me sharing. Her weight has been an ongoing battle, she has seen highs and lows and has fought weight loss for many years.  Currently, she is on a great track and has recently loss 42 lbs, dropping 5lbs last week.

When she posted that she was doing the C25K (Couch to 5K) app and had a tough time with her last workout, I replied saying to let me know if I can do anything. She wrote back and said, “maybe you can run with me tomorrow” I cannot tell you how happy this made me.  For her to allow me to share this journey with her and to trust me enough to run by her as she tackled a tough run challenge really made me feel good.

I can’t imagine what it must be like for my sister. While she is struggling to lose weight she has a brother and sister who are doing IRONMANS, ultra marathons etc.  However, here’s the thing about my sister, even if she had the desire to do events like these, she probably wouldn’t.

Why?  Because doing endurance events like those above takes a ton of time, and a little bit of selfishness.  Well, maybe a lot of selfishness.  And Kristie is the most unselfish person you will ever meet.  I hope for one second Kristie does not think that me doing an IRONMAN makes me any better than her.  While I was out biking 100 miles on a Sunday morning, she was volunteering at her local church, and teaching CCD classes.  While I spent hours upon hours in the woods alone bettering myself, she is busy being the Girl Scout Leader for her daughter and taking a group of girls into the woods to make THEM better.  While I spend the summer hours in the lake swimming, she is out tutoring those who are having a tough time in school.  While my job as a personal trainer allows me to workout while I get paid, her job is working with children with autism, a job that not many would be able to do with so much love and passion like she does.

So, as I ran the trails Sunday morning right before I was going to meet her, I couldn’t help but think that some may think I am inspiring for what I do.   (Don’t get me wrong, that is a big reason why I do what I do) but, it must be said that my sister – and so many out there just like her – are just as inspiring, if not more.

I saw Kristie pushing herself as she ran up the hill during her C25K app and thought it was no different than me pushing myself at the 5k the day before.  We were both out of breath, nearly puking, wanting to stop…. and neither of us did.  So whether you are doing a 6 minute mile or a 15 minute mile…it doesn’t matter.  If you are giving it all you have and you DO NOT QUIT and keep showing up, YOU ARE INSPIRING.

So Kristie, you will probably never do an IRONMAN because you would never take that much time for yourself… and man, do I honor that.  However, what I hope you continue to realize is 30 minutes to an hour a day you MUST take for yourself and keep doing what you’re doing.  It is the most unselfish thing you can do…because a HEALTHY you is so important for your future and your daughters future.

I am so proud of you and I know that you will keep progressing.  Not only is our family here for you, but I KNOW that the mission FITNESS family is here for you too!!

Keep pushing, keep inspiring.

What’s Next?

What’s Next?

You may have remembered me saying on Facebook or on this blog that I was ready to be “normal” for a while.  Sleep past 6am every once in a while.  Workout once a day for an hour.  Skip a day of working out if it didn’t fit into the schedule.  Play lots of golf.

Why? Well, for the last 3 years I have had “key” races on my calendar that I worked hard for.

2015 the 50 Mile Championships at Cayuga.

2016 Vermont 50 where I trained for the win.

2017 IRONMAN Lake Placid.

This meant lots of early morning wake ups.  It meant saying no to a lot of social events and dialing in nutrition and sleep for maximum performance.  It was lonely and it was tough.  It brought blood, and LOTS of sweat and tears.  It made me question what the hell I was doing and broke me down physically, mentally and spiritually.

So, why did I do it?  Why?  Because when I look up at those three races listed and I think about those days….June 1, 2015….September 25, 2016 and July 24, 2017…..I can’t stop the tears from streaming down my face.  Those three days…and the thousands of hours that got me to those finish lines…taught me more about myself then ANYTHING ever will.  The amount of joy I felt in those 29 total hours of racing cannot be described.  The pride I felt at the end of each of those races were worth every ounce of pain I endured.

blog5However, after IRONMAN I thought that maybe it was time to take a year off.  For the first few weeks it worked well.  “So, this is what it feels like to be a regular person?”  However, it quickly became old.  I kept trying to convince myself that this is what I needed to do.  I needed to give my body a rest.  I needed to not have the stress of training for something.  I listened to those around me, “take some time off…stop doing this to yourself.”  Yes…this is what I needed.

One thing…I was lying to myself and I knew it.  What I need to do is keep pushing myself EVERY DAY and EVERY YEAR to be a better me.  And waking up late(r), doing casual workouts, etc IS NOT WORKING!

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I don’t regret these last few months.  I learned a lot during them and also gained a perspective that will serve me in my career as a coach and personal trainer.  I learned that mental toughness is a habit.  It is a muscle that needs to be trained the same way any other muscle group has to be trained.  It becomes so EASY to give up during a workout when giving up is an option.  It becomes so easy to start eating shitty food when it won’t affect your performance.  It becomes easy to become MENTALLY WEAK and start to convince yourself that this life is okay.

When you aren’t stretching, growing, and training for something bigger than you, you lose a certain “something”.  I KNOW THAT NOW.  These last few months have taught me that.  The only way you know what I am talking about is if you have been through it.  I have realized long ago that you can NEVER explain to people why you would want to “run for 50 miles” or “do these crazy things”.  It is hard to understand until you have done it.

blog3Being on the other side of it right now, when 3 miles on a treadmill feels like an eternity….I can understand why people think it is impossible.  I can understand why people think it is stupid and crazy.  I am there now.  I understand.  But I don’t like it.

However, what I have going for me is I’ve seen the other side.  I know I have it in me to push through this funk that I am in and get back to the other side.  I know I am capable of 50, 100, 200 mile races even though 3 miles feels SO. DAMN. HARD. right now.  I KNOW I need to get back to spending time with those who are stretching their limits and living a life of passion.  Those that are literally CHANGING PEOPLES LIVES by what they are doing on a day to day basis.  I realize that by distancing myself from them it made it easier to think, “this life is okay.  It’s okay to just live this life that may not challenge you.”

blog4Ha!  Nope, that’s not me.  It physically hurts me to not be that person right now.  I know deep in my soul I was born to be the person I am when I am training for these events that I once thought were impossible.  I know I am a better wife, daughter, sister, friend and person when I am that person.

It has been something I have known for awhile, but it has been easy to bury it down because I’ve been so busy and not able to spend much time with those who inspire me.  Then last week happened.

blogIt started with a mission FITNESS meeting.  A sat there and looked around at my coworkers who are so freaking inspiring.  Each one of them makes me want to be better in one area of my life.  The are all working every day to be the best version of themselves, and it is so special to be a part of.  Toward the end of our meeting, Matt took time to thank Kim as we celebrated her 4 year anniversary at mission.  Anyone who knows Kim knows what she has done for mission.  It is incredible.

To think of the lives she changes each and every day brought tears to my eyes.  Isn’t that what life is about? I am so passionate about the fact that it is our DUTY to make this world a better place by being in it.  My TEAM at MF does that, certainty Kim.  He then said, “I don’t know how you do it.  I wake up at 430am and you already have an inspiring post on MFers on a mission Facebook Group.  You work full time, your a single Mom and in July you are going to do an IRONMAN.  I don’t know how the hell you are going to do this, but I know you will.”

Kim then said with so much certainty, “I WILL”  That’s when I lost it.  See, it isn’t about the IRONMAN.  It is more than that.  Kim will do this IRONMAN and know that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.  More importantly, she will now take away so many peoples excuse that they “don’t have time”.  By her doing this IRONMAN she knows she is affecting hundreds of peoples lives.  That’s powerful.

Fast forward a week.  I have a new fire under me.  I woke up again and realized it is my duty to inspire others through my actions.  It’s what I chose to do in my career and I know it’s what I was put on this earth to do.  So, my workouts picked up a notch after that.  Wednesday I was on the treadmill, finishing my last half mile at a 7:02 pace.  I was dying.  Then…Kim walks in.

She walks over the treadmill and asks how much longer I have.  I say 1/4 mile.  She says, “well pick it up then.”  Suddenly, my 7:02 became 6:45.  I felt her energy, “that’s it!” 6:20.  “Hell Yeah” as I finished at a 6:02 and I felt amazing.  3 minutes ago I had nothing left.  What changed?

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What changed was who I was surrounded by.  I jumped on the bike and talked to Kim for the next 30 minutes.  She listened as I poured my heart out to her after she asked, “what are you training for?”  She didn’t need me to explain why I needed something on the schedule.  She gets it.  And I realized in that moment that this is what I need…this is why I feel my life is so broken right now.

Surround yourself with those who get it and that will push you to your greatness.  I couldn’t be happier to have so many of those people around me…it’s time to start spending more time with them and time to get something on the calendar.

I am happy to say that things have turned around quite nicely since my last post. Now, this was something I knew would happen. I knew when everyone was telling me, “everything will be fine in the end” that they would be right. I knew that the little “mistakes” and “imperfections” would fade away as the beauty of the decor and overall look of the condo took over. However, when you are in the moment, staring at those imperfections, those comments don’t really mean anything to you. In those moments it isn’t about what it will be, it’s about what is.  That’s not true with everything for me, just when you are spending a lot of money to pay professionals to do a job you expect to be perfect. That’s when it’s hard to look past the imperfections.

Anyway, that phase is over, and while I can still see some of the imperfections, they are starting to fade as time goes on.  We still have a lot of work to do, but at least it is livable now.  We aren’t rushing on the decor, so the pictures you see below may look a little empty.  However, if you scan down to my previous post and see the before pictures you will appreciate the differences:

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I can’t tell you how much everything has changed since we moved into our own space. I had no idea how much staying in a small bedroom in someone else’s home affected me. To now be able to wake up and have the whole house to ourselves is so freeing and inspiring. I feel like my mind has opened up and I have such a clearer vision of everything. I am starting to actually SEE the views from our condo and appreciate the town that we live in. I can’t imagine what it will be like when we come down next year and almost everything is done and we can relax and enjoy.

 

Condo Renovation

If you feel as though I have fallen off the face of the earth as a blogger and as a friend, I’m sorry. It has been a trying 6 weeks and I feel as though I have just shut down. As a writer.  As a creator. As a motivator. As a friend. As a person.  I am not proud of this…. I hate it. I hate the way I feel and the person I am at this moment, and I hope I’m not far from becoming the person I was not that long ago. A person full of happiness and grateful for such an amazing life.

I won’t sit here and bore you with all that has gone wrong. That wouldn’t be fun for you to listen to, and it would not be healthy for me to put out there. That’s what my journal is for. Let’s just say that since we have been handed the keys to our condo, everything has seemed to go wrong. I have NEVER felt so out of control, putting faith in “professionals” to completely renovate our condo and feeling as though each day things got worse not better.

My close friends know the details, but let’s just say it has been a learning experience.   I know that in the end we will be not only be relieved, but happy with this move. However, right now what was supposed to be a 2 week project is now 6 weeks in, with an overwhelming amount of work left. On a good note, the place is slowly starting to look like a home, and I cannot wait to move in.

Here are some before and during pics. Since the “during” pics were taken there are even more updates, which I will post soon. We have a long way to go until the place starts to look like our home, but I will try to remain patient and positive.

Again, this is not who I am or who I want to be. This last month and a half has proven to be a test and hands down the hardest thing I have ever been through in my life. I have obviously had single harder moments and days, but never a prolonged period this difficult.  I know there are reasons for these trials, and I will come out stronger than ever. I know that.

Thank you all who have lifted me up when I needed it. Being so far away from friends and family has made me realize how important good friends are and that distance can never break true bonds.  Here’s to progress and patience!

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