It’s Okay To Struggle

I want to be as honest as I can – I struggle. More often than I would like to admit sometimes. I don’t know why but when my life isn’t going the way I envision it or I am piled with stress from every direction, I can’t help but feel a fog come over me. As many of you may know that I used to deal with eating issues, I can gladly say I have that under control completely. I never let my negative feelings interfere with how or what I choose to eat. However, I am one to struggle with overwhelming anxiety and sometimes depressing thoughts…

Today I was sitting in my room and really thought to myself, “my life has no purpose”. I started crying after that because the immense feelings of rejection and loneliness hit me like a bag of cats. Emotional much? Yes. Because I am naturally an introvert, it is so easy for me to spend the entire day by myself without a problem. But when it becomes day after day, I can’t help but feel empty. Now, don’t get me wrong- I become a total extrovert when I am finally around my friends or a group of people, but with a lot of emotional self-image issues I have been dealing with lately, I haven’t even had the motivation to reach out to others.

I do see the problem here- I’m too comfortable being alone. And this is something that I have to change. There is nothing wrong with spending some time with yourself, but there comes a point you have to balance it out, let loose, and be around those that bring you joy.

I have made goals for myself to hang out with my friends at least every other day this week and to even talk to random strangers every day. Sometimes even the smallest conversations with others can make the biggest difference in the course of the day.

I wiped my tears. I will stop feeling sorry for myself. I will not let my negative self-image hold me back from being the REAL me. Because I realize that the more I surround myself with genuine people that make me laugh, all the other stuff becomes quiet. And I can breathe again. My life does indeed have purpose. God does have a plan for me even if I cannot see it yet. I will have faith ❤

“Comfort zones are great places to be, but nothing ever grows there.”

Fuel YOUR Fitness

Do you like lifting heavy things? How about running til your feet hurt? Or how about a spontaneous hike with your friends? All of these wonderful ways of moving your body require something very essential: FUEL.

It isn’t uncommon that I see athletes under-fueling themselves and wondering why they aren’t making the progress they want as fast. That’s because our bodies run primarily on glycogen! And where does that come from exactly? CARBOHYDRATES. And since carbohydrates are the fastest form of energy, they are essential for every living thing. Our brains alone need at LEAST 130g of carbs a day! So can you imagine how much you actually need if you are trying to lift 200 lbs or run to China and back?….A LOT.

When the body doesn’t have enough glycogen stores in the muscles and the liver, the body then turns to fat stores instead.And when there are not enough fat stores, protein from muscles are used as energy which is NOT healthy as it can lead to heart problems and even death. While using up fat stores may seem ideal for an overweight individual to lose weight, I would never recommend a super low-carb diet to anyone. It all comes down to the types of foods you are choosing to fuel your body with. Growing, healthy young adults need not to compare their needs to someone of that context as their needs are going to be different.

For me personally, I like to get my early morning workout in before breakfast or sometime in the morning. I never train fasted because I have found that my energy is way more sustained throughout my workout if I at least have a small snack beforehand.

These are some easy pre-workout snack ideas that I enjoy:

  • 2 rice cake with peanut butter/jelly
  • GoMacro vegan bars, Larabars, RX bars, really any little energy bar 😉
  • 1 slice whole wheat toast with nut butter + banana
  • Dates with nut butter (can you see a trend here, haha, i’m nutty)
  • Protein smoothie with frozen banana, scoop of plant-based protein powder, cinnamon, ground flaxseed, maca powder, and sometimes cacao powder!
  • My almond butter chocolate chip energy balls
  • A few slices of cold cinnamon baked sweet potato that I usually bake the night before and stick in the fridge (aka perfection)
  • Coconut water
  • Cereal + fruit+ almond milk + MRM vegan cinnamon bun protein (right now I am loving Kashi cinnamon crumble cereal, Kashi dark chocolate karma wheat biscuits, Peanut butter puffins, and the ever so classic Cheerios!)


Really think about combing a good source of carbohydrates before with a little fat/protein to keep you from having a blood sugar crash mid workout. Having something small like in the list above 30-45 minutes before a workout is just enough time for it to digest a little to power you through!

And of course after, follow the same guidelines of eating a good quality source of carbohydrates with protein for muscle synthesis and a little fat. Personally, I love having a big breakfast to start my day and to keep my energy lasting so I don’t have the “afternoon slump”.

I have learned something about myself over the years of trail and error and that is to not ever compare your needs to someone else’s. Some people can do a fasted workout no problem, however, from what I have researched- the stress hormone, cortisol, is the highest in the morning. Eating in the morning helps lower cortisol levels which can help some who have hormonal imbalances. I strongly believe that healthy hormones play a huge role in the overall well-being of the body and I will do all it takes to keep it that way.

So tell me,

How do YOU fuel your fitness?

I Don’t Need A Label

I’m just going to jump right into this because it’s something I have been wanting to get off my chest. As most of you know I made the change to a completely vegan lifestyle in September 2016. You can read about that here. While I feel like this was exactly what I wanted to do for my body and for animals, I am trying to decide if this is exactly what I need to do right now….

Having recovered from a restrictive eating disorder, I know I am in a place now where I would never put that stress on my body ever again. However, I will admit that sometimes I do still feel restricted from certain things if it’s not 100% vegan. I think back to my life before I went vegan, before my eating disorder, heck even before puberty when I was completely carefree about everything. I want that again. Not saying I have been cutting back on my intake because I actually got myself to gain some weight being vegan, but I did it in ways that was a lot harder to do than if I had eaten some animal products.

I still truly believe a plant-based diet is one of the healthiest ways to live, but I do not want to feel like I have to live up to a certain standard just so I can label myself as “vegan”. Food should not have that much control over anyone…. its just food.

I was nervous about posting this out of fear of judgement from other vegans, but I really don’t care anymore. I do not need a label. I don’t need to live under anyone else’s standards either. If I get judgement from my choice, that doesn’t make you a better person. I just want to be happy. Completely happy. And as a college student it’s sometimes really hard to find a 100% vegan option when out with friends or at a social event. In that case I don’t want to be the only one left hungry and missing out on fun times because I couldn’t eat something that wasn’t completely vegan.

You have to do what is right for you. Doesn’t matter if you choose to be vegan, paleo, gluten free, whatever… we are all still human and food shouldn’t be super stressed out about. I will decide what is right for me. That being said, if something I eat has a little dairy or egg in it, it’s okay. No one should care so much what I choose to do anyways. I still don’t want to eat meat and that’s a personal decision of mine.

Shout out to Jen’s video for inspiring me to speak out ❤ She says it perfectly.

Afterthought, I would one day love to post videos of me talking instead of just blog posts but I find myself so camera awkward that I don’t think I could handle it hahah. But if anyone has any thoughts I am all ears!

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Balls

I just posted the recipe on my Instagram page (@lil.emmy97) this week! I obviously had to make it official and put it on my blog so I never forget it 🙂 

I enjoy having these right before a early morning workout because I’m usually not really hungry first thing in the morning. These are also great after a workout because it has a nice balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fats! With the ground flaxseed, chia seeds, and almonds- these suckers are full of both omega 3’s and 6’s which are both important for a healthy diet. 

Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 60g rolled oats
  • 1 scoop vega vanilla protein & greens protein powder
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed 
  • 1 T. chia seeds
  • 3 T. blue agave syrup 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1-2 T. Enjoy life foods dark chocolate chips 
  • Just a little bit of water to loosen- but not too much or else you will lose the thickness!

Just mix all ingredients together in a bowl and form into 15 balls!

My whole family and I loved them so this recipe will for sure be continuously used 😉

What is your favorite little snack?

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Mugcake

Before becoming vegan, I used to eat a lot of those protein packed mugcakes for snacks. But I thought, how could I still make a satisfying mugcake without the whey protein and egg? Actually a lot simpler than you think! I don’t even remember how I came up with this delicious treat but it sure did come out perfectly!

mugcake

You don’t need eggs to make a fluffy mugcake. All you need is a moist substance like mashed banana, ground flaxseed, pumpkin… in this case I used applesauce! Made this mugcake really soft and added a little sweetness too ❤

Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup (50g) oat flour + 2 Tbsp. oats
  • 3 oz. unsweetened applesauce
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • enough almond milk to make a batter (about 3 oz.)
  • *optional: sweetener of choice (I used english toffee liquid stevia)

First, mix together the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Then stir in the wet and mix until well combined. Microwave about one minute until cooked through. Microwave times will vary depending on the size of the bowl. Sometimes, I have to cook a little longer but I actually don’t mind a little mushiness in the middle (preference). Make sure you don’t cook for too long or else it could dry out and you’ll just be sad. I love to top with some kind of nut butter and fruit! You could also add in dates, ground flaxseed, or other mix-ins to the batter and it would still come out nice.

Delicious little snack to have before bed or for a small breakfast! Like eating a pancake in a bowl 😉

If you give it a try, lemme know what you think!

(sorry not sorry for the picture quality, the only one I have haha)

Weekly Recap: Being More Mindful

Is it just me or has this year completely flown by? I mean it’s November now but just last week it was 80 degrees… Definitely took me by surprise when I woke up this morning to 40 degree chills. Just wanted to share my completely mindful, intuitive, stress-free weekend with you all! If you know me well enough you would know I am the biggest planner… but sometimes it’s good to not plan but just go with the flow. You never know what kind of stuff you’ll find yourself doing!

My friend, Jenny and I tried a hot yoga class for the first time. I don’t normally sweat, like EVER, but sweet Jesus, there was sweat droplets flying off! Never have I ever been this drenched, even Jenny who is a runner said this was the most she sweat. The class wasn’t too difficult itself as far as the poses because I am overall pretty flexible… but because it was over 100 degrees I’d say that changes things.

After yoga (and a much needed shower), we found a park. Then we had a picnic on it and talked about life for a while because we just deep like that 😉

Please applaud my dearest friend’s parking. She tried.

But apparently if you do this so often, you get letters from fellow humans from the back of a condom package….

Twas a really relaxing Saturday. Not stressing about finals or even tomorrow’s troubles. Just being present and enjoying the day.

On Sunday, I was visited by my parents. Cannot emphasize enough how blessed I am to have them. They literally make my day anytime they come because family means everything to me. Oh, and they buy me food which is a perk 🙂

I usually have a hard time with last minute things but I got together with a group of people and went bowling to celebrate the end of America on Election Day. We had no class sometimes you just gotta make the best out of a rainy day. Fun fact: I was better at bowling when I was 10.

Overall, I am getting better at trusting life’s curve balls and making the most of tough situations. It helps when I laugh at myself but sometimes it isn’t enough. I laugh, I cry because I am not perfect and not every day will be. I think one of the most interesting things about life is that we all have inner demons but all of it can be forgotten when you surround yourself with the ones that make you feel good.

 

Who in your life are YOU thankful for?

Have you tried hot yoga before?

Less Protein For MY Health

I have changed quite a bit from last year. Mentally, physically, socially, but my health has changed too. But up until recently when I made a trip to an endocrinologist about my hormones (hypothalamic amenorrhea) and just a general blood test, I discovered something I had no clue existed. For starters let me say that my hormone levels came back normal except for my LH being too low. Hence, no menstrual cycle. While discussing this with my doctor on the phone, he strongly suggested birth control and gaining a little more weight. Of course I happen to be a little frustrated because I told him birth control didn’t work on me and that’s not the way I can get a natural period. Doctors are really one-sided and he continued to tell me it’s the only option.

my response…..

So gaining weight it is! Gotcha doc.

eat-all-of-the-food

But he failed to tell me something that could be very important to my health long-term…

my blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine (not creatine you gym junkies) were HIGH.

Curious little me did some research. What I learned was…

Urea is made when protein is broken down in the body. This also is an indicator of how your kidneys and liver are working. Causes of a high BUN is heart failure, dehydration, and a high protein diet. Well, I haven’t had heart failure and I drink well around 64 oz of fluids a day. Oh, but I’m sitting there eating a protein bar with yogurt just because “gains” right?

Creatinine relates to BUN as it shows how well the kidneys are working. Having high creatinine is a sign that the kidneys are not working properly.

Well damn.

But it all makes sense. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one out there that has fallen victim to buying a shit ton of protein bars, powders and supplements because it’s what you need for building muscle, right?! Well…. what about your kidneys?

Yes, it is science that protein consumption increases muscle synthesis. But what if you are over-doing it?

I think of all the other women out there that live their lives everyday not eating protein bars, protein cookies, protein pancakes, and protein shakes for their snacks every single day. They live perfectly fine and they still seem to be in shape and have muscle.

What I get from all this is as long as you are eating a good amount of protein from a variety of whole foods such as beans, meat, yogurt, cheese, etc. then why are we supplementing so much? I am so glad I did my own background research to see what I was doing. And I am surprised he did not mention this to me.

                      

Am I going to completely cut protein bars and powders from my diet? No. I am going to limit them. I will use them if it’s after a workout and I don’t have time to make a full meal. Maybe I’ll have a quest bar if I REALLY crave it, but by no means will I keep eating them day after day. I am going to focus on just eating whole foods and change my snacks up a bit. I am not a “clean” eater by all means but instead of a protein bar, maybe I’ll have an apple with peanut butter… popcorn, trail mix, a REAL non-protein cookie instead.

And I will be just fine. I don’t expect my body to change much from this. If it does, it doesn’t really matter. My overall health is what matters. I would love to have healthy kidneys that last me my whole life.

I really hope that whoever reads this really considers how much extra protein you are eating and what that could do for you in the long run. We are set out to believe it’s the best macro nutrient out there but just like anything else, moderation is key.

I love to hear any thoughts/comments/concerns so hit me up! 😉

emlove814@gmail.com

Exercise Obsessed?

Exercise. It’s what keeps people “healthy” right? Usually, yes it does. But what about if it’s all you think about? What if you can’t go a day without it? Do you start feeling anxious and scared? Do you not allow yourself chocolate or pizza on those days?

If you could say yes to any of those, you may be in the same exact position I was just a couple months ago.

Rewind to the first few months of weight gain (a year and a half ago), I completely cut out exercise, including long walks so I could focus on what needed to be done. Then once my  weight was progressing higher and my vitals were appearing more stable, I introduced walks and lifting a few times a week. Fast forward to a couple months ago when I finally reached a healthy weight. Something changed in my brain. Of course I had made tremendous mental and physical progress but as soon as I realized my body wasn’t starving and depleted, I developed a strange relationship with exercise.

Food was still be eaten like I was used to, but the exercise increased. I almost felt like I HAD to go workout 5-6 days a week. I wanted to gain muscle and start “changing” my new, recovered body into something I tend to see in the media. I started tracking macros and following fitness accounts to find out all I could about fitness just of the idea of having “aesthetics”.  Yes, I am admitting to this because I want to be as transparent as I can with you all.

Tracking macros was both a good and bad experience for me. Since I am going to be majoring in dietetics, I wanted to learn more about food/portion sizes/etc. However, I can see where the obsessions can begin. I am already a perfectionist as it is and knowing every single macro was too much for me. I DO NOT recommend this for anyone recovering from an eating disorder. You know why? You won’t listen to your body fully. Plugging it in and seeing numbers is just as bad as weighing yourself every single hour. You freak out if the numbers aren’t what they are “supposed” to be and it will lead to unnecessary anxiety. Food was not meant to be seen as a certain number. Seriously, you do not need to count macros or follow a certain diet to be healthy and fit. Trust me you don’t! I stopped within the second month of using it and I feel SO MUCH MORE FREE. I haven’t lost any muscle and I don’t force myself to workout when I don’t feel like it.

Now you may be reading this and not agree with me. So be it. I know for a fact not everyone in this world likes me. You are totally entitled to your own opinion and if tracking macros makes you happy, go for it. But ask yourself this. Do you really want to continue that the rest of your life? Are you going to be 70 years old and still be tracking? I know I wont. I’ll be that cool old lady that makes awesome chocolate chip cookies and eats the damn batter with my grand kids.

How did I overcome exercise?

I learned that the human body is fragile and very smart. It doesn’t know the difference between today and tomorrow. If I don’t get off my butt for one day, that means absolutely nothing in terms of how much I am allowed to eat. I learned that I don’t need to do obsessive cardio to have a body I love. I really love taking walks outside. I learned that if I don’t go on a walk today, I always have tomorrow. If I don’t lift weights in the morning, I can still have a nice big breakfast if I want or a big bowl of ice cream at night. I learned that all food is important, whether it’s a protein, carb, or fat. They all play an important role one way or another. I learned that my body likes the same amount (or more) food on rest days than active days. I know that intuitive eating means eating even if I am not hungry but if something sounds good.

I have always loved this picture

Our bodies still need fuel even if we do nothing all day. It is a huge waste of time getting all worked up about having dessert at a get together or trying to plan all your food out. If you force yourself to run even though you know you hate it, why are you doing it? Stop for a second and reevaluate if that’s the way you want to live your life. I promise you won’t die if you stop. Life is about discovery and figuring out where you belong and what your true passions are. It’s refreshing to know that you can choose to live it any way you want to.

Here’s a turtle being all intuitive

Me? I choose to do things that make me feel free and happy. I never would have thought I would have learned so much about myself in the ways I have.

So tell me, what is something you truly love to do?

Are you an intuitive eater?

 

 

Shitty Mornings & Pizza Dates 

It all started when I woke up to a damp, rainy day. I had fully intended the night before to smash my early morning leg day with my mom but my body told me differently in the morning. Instead of the energy and motivation I am so used to having before a workout, I felt sluggish and still not awake. I sometimes take a pre-workout drink with my pre-workout snack but I’m trying to not be so reliant on those. I still put on my shoes and headed to the gym in hopes of energy being regained when I got moving.

We made it to the gym, starting with a 5 minute incline walk and I still didn’t feel 100% when it was time to squat. Needless to say, this resulted in a terrible performance. I could only squat 60 lbs which is a little lighter than what I am used to, only doing 2 sets instead of of the 3 I planned to do. I was with my mom and found myself being snappy towards her which I later apologized for as she did nothing wrong and it’s not fair of me to take my stress out on her. We continued with the rest of the workout and I tried my very best. Towards the end I started feeling shaky so we lowered weight and did more volume work. I will note that I did eat before and always stay hydrated during my workout.

I left feeling like a failure. I tend to be a victim of the comparison game and I just do not understand why I am not getting stronger. I feed myself really well everyday, I am at a healthy weight, I give myself rest days…. But luckily, my mom reassured me that I am doing sooo much better than I was before and to not let a bad workout discourage me.

When I came home I had breakfast and got ready. While I was getting ready I couldn’t help but break out into tears. I felt sad and I didn’t know why. I changed my cute outfit 3 times until I caved and just threw on a T-shirt. Body image was a complete shit storm. TMI but it has a lot to do with waking up bloated and being constipated.

I lay on my bed sobbing like a little girl until I was dehydrated and tears stopped coming out. I pulled myself together and put on some makeup. I stared at myself in the mirror and almost laughed because of the mess I saw. I went to my mom’s room and told her I was breaking out, bloated, wanted my fucking period, and needed to poop. We actually started laughing because I find its sometimes best to laugh in these situations.

A couple hours later we headed out for errands and to grab lunch. Despite my terrible morning, I felt up for a good lunch. We tried Blaze Pizza and I started to feel a little happier. Mine had mozzarella, roasted peppers, spinach, banana peppers(new fave), mushrooms, garlic and oregano. All it all and it was delish!

blaze

We returned some things at the mall and while we were checking out I told the cashier she had the most adorable nails. Because she did! They looked professionally done and all glittery. She smiled and I could tell by the way she told us goodbye that my small comment made her happy. Seeing that makes me happy. You can choose to be a total hermit when you are having a bad day or you can try to brighten others… Who knows, you might just get some of that positive energy back 😉

The entire day was on and off with mood swings. I had my highs and lows but I definitely know this has to do with my hormones not being right. Next Tuesday I have an appointment to see a gynecologist who will hopefully refer me to an endocrinologist. I had all the signs and symptoms of having a period but still no luck for me.

I decided to make this more of a longer post so congratulations if you made it this far through. I sometimes like to write because it allows me to reflect and just tell about my day 🙂

What I learned is to not beat myself up over things not in my control. Yesterday just wasn’t my day. What helped get me through it was finding those people that make the day more meaningful and to still be there for support even when I was snappy. Mom, if you are reading this, thanks for putting up with my delusions ❤

Check out my new kicks ;Dconverse

I’ve never owned a pair of high tops before.

What do you do on days your hormones are being a bitch?

Ultimate pizza topping?

 

Making Moments Count

Sometimes, I find myself trying to find things to “fill the time”.  Whenever I am waiting for something or just have nothing to do, I fill the time with mindless things as I keep checking the clock to see how much time has passed. While this can be good if you are distracting yourself from something, why not use that time for something else? Make it count. You may be a little confused at what my point is so lemme give you some things I have been doing lately…

puppyInstead of doing things that I do not want to do like cleaning or scrolling through social media(which I still enjoy sometimes), I have been living life a little more carefree. The other day I took my dog in the backyard and just played with her. That was something I always used to do as a kid because I loved being outside and truly enjoying myself in nature. I was simply more mindful of my surroundings. I felt the damp grass on my toes, smelled the honeysuckle aroma in the air, laughed because my dog was eating a stick instead of bringing it back to me, and just didn’t give a shit what time it was or any obligations I felt I “needed” to do. Following that, I got my swim suit on and let my body toast under the sun.

pool

I wasn’t doing any of this to “pass time”. I was existing. I let all my worries or anxiety leave my body and felt like a kid again. We sometimes forget how precious life is and if you aren’t careful, the days will fly by too fast and you kind of regret not being more present.

This is true for how I spend my nights too. I sit down with my family to eat dinner and it’s no longer a chore and I don’t let myself sit in silence. I talk, I laugh, I eat, just like the rest of them. My voice is just as important and eating with your family is a time to enjoy good food together and just be with each other! It kind of makes me sad when I see that people don’t have this time of day with their loved ones….

I want to start living my life more spontaneous and with an open mind. I hate when I immediately assume the worst of a situation and I am working on changing it to being more positive and willing. This my friends is what makes life so much more meaningful. I know I have the best memories when I just let myself go. Life’s too fricken short to spend it worrying or waiting for the day to be over.

Live right now. Not tomorrow. Not yesterday. Just live ❤