I’m at a low point…I honestly didn’t realize I was until my husband, Nicholas, asked me if I was depressed again. When I started to take a closer look at my mood and behavior lately, I realized something was definitely off. I want to take this moment and give a huge THANK YOU to my other half. If Nicholas didn’t know me so well, who knows how much longer I would have stayed in this not so happy place. Sometimes, it’s hard to recognize when we’re in a dark place and I’m so fortunate that I have someone who notices when I’m not acting like me.
When I started this blog, I wanted it to be brutally honest. So much on the social media looks too beautiful and perfect and I know my life can often seem that way to an outside observer. However, I’m here to break that illusion. I was afraid to get THIS honest so soon, since I just started my blog. I’ve talked about the mental health issues that I’ve encountered with those that are closest to me, but to put it all out here on a blog is a little intimidating. BUT, this is the only thing I’ve had the motivation to write about lately, so here we go.
The truth is, I’ve been in a quite a health and fitness funk since the beginning of June. We got back from a trip to Arizona where I caught a run of the mill (or so I thought) stomach bug. That stomach bug turned into 3 months of gastroparesis (half of which went without a diagnosis). Basically, my stomach stopped moving food into my small intestine so it would sit in there and start to rot/ferment. Then I would throw it up. Over and Over. I would have a couple of good days and then a couple of bad days. I couldn’t figure out a pattern. My doctors thought it was a stomach bug at first, then possibly a parasite, then, after six weeks of no improvements, the diagnosis of gastroparesis. It turns out that whenever I ate my favorite fibrous foods (broccoli, brussel sprouts, salad, etc), my stomach would shut down. I was placed on a liquid diet and then a low fiber diet which allowed me to get the calories I needed, but if you read my last blog post about what I eat daily, you will know that it’s the farthest thing from a low fiber diet. Unfortunately, my body wasn’t able to tolerate vegetables (even cooked ones). I ate a lot of smoothies, raw spinach soup, and mashed potatoes. As much as I love those things, it gets old when that’s all you can eat. Eventually, when I was able to introduce more solid foods, they were all highly processed and low in fat and fiber (fats make your stomach work too hard just like fiber). These were foods that I typically avoid (gluten-free bread, vegan and gluten-free mac and cheese, rice cakes, etc) and eating this way honestly sent me into a tailspin for my nutrition that I’ve been trying to get out of ever since. My stomach (mostly) recovered by September and I’ve been able to tolerate my higher fiber fruit and veggie-filled diet with a few modifications. But the truth is, the processed foods I was consuming are hella addictive and I’ve found myself falling into old patterns of bingeing. Because I have a history of bulimia, bingeing often leads to purging, especially when I see changes in my body that I’m not happy about. Cue the negative self-talk, add in the fact that my husband/other half/best friend just went on his first deployment, and the fact that I’m beginning to grieve our amazing island life since I know we will be leaving in 2019…and you have a recipe for a potential disaster.
So that’s the funk I’m in with nutrition. Let’s talk about the effects all of this has had on my exercise. Typically, I don’t take days off from working out. I might have easier days here and there where I might only go for a swim, or an easy spin on the bike, or jog, but in general I workout every day. Most days I workout more than once. I might run in the morning and do an 80 Day Obsession workout, yoga, swim, or bike in the afternoon. Sometimes, I workout three times depending on how energetic I feel and how much time I have on my hands. Call me crazy, but I’m not great at sitting still. I’ve had way too much energy (my parents can vouch for this-I’ve NEVER been able to sit still for long) my whole life and I love to spend it exercising.
With that being said, the gastroparesis really threw off my fitness game. When you’re throwing up everything you eat, or you’re so bloated that you fear your stomach may explode from all the gases created by the fermenting food in your stomach, it’s pretty hard to get out and go for a run. I would do my best to get out there on the days where I felt decent, but I was definitely taking more days off than usual, and my fitness has suffered because of it. Now that the gastroparesis has resolved, I’ve found myself struggling to find the motivation that I usually have to get up and get out there to workout. Running is my absolute favorite form of exercise, but I’m finding myself dreading it and sometimes skipping workouts because I can’t find the motivation.
I blame this latest lack of motivation on my inability to get back on track with eating to fuel my body properly. In my last blog post, I wrote about the changes that I notice when I’m not eating right. My mood and motivation decline and my body doesn’t recover as quickly from hard workouts, which makes it harder to do my best during the next workout. I just started training for the Boston Marathon (April 15th) and it is the absolute worst time for me to have a lack of motivation.
The lack of motivation and not eating right create a vicious cycle. I wake up and I’m not super motivated, and then it throws off my whole day which, in turn, creates cravings. I get home from work and all I want to do is shove my face full of unhealthy food. The unhealthy food affects my mood and weakens my motivation, and I wake up the next day and complete the cycle all over again.
So what am I doing about it? I’m starting off the new year by doing a 28-day raw cleanse. I will only eat raw fruits and vegetables and I will eliminate cooked foods and all overt fats (including nuts, oils, and avocados). Why am I going to such extremes? Well, I’ve done this cleanse twice before and I’ve seen amazing results. My energy improves, my motivation improves, my digestion improves, but most importantly, my mood improves significantly. The name of my blog is Surviving on Sunshine, and I one hundred percent believe that consuming such colorful, nutrient abundant food is equivalent to consuming sunshine. These foods give so much to my body that I literally feel like I’m glowing from the inside. That’s what I’m hoping for to start off this new year.
I actually started on New Year’s Eve because I like to start things on Mondays and I was tired of waiting until the next day to start something. I wanted to start feeling better sooner rather than later. So, here we are. In writing this blog post, I’m helping to keep myself accountable. I’ve had several attempts in the last few months to get back on track with eating and exercise but I remained stuck in that vicious cycle. I’m hoping that posting about it and then documenting my journey on Instagram, I will stay true to myself and my goals for my health and well being. If you’re interested in following along to see how I’m feeling and what I’m eating, be sure to check out my Instagram posts!
If you or a loved one have been feeling stuck in a similar place, please feel free to reach out! No one should have to suffer alone. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year of Surviving on Sunshine from the inside out!