A Slow Start to the Year

We are NOT coming in hot over here, let me tell you.

2020 started with a short but sweet family trip to Toronto to visit some relatives up there. It was fantastic to see grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who I had not seen in ages it seemed.

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we're literally Maroon 5 #cousinlove #happyaccident

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Throwback photo of me and my cousins from 5 years ago (!!!) Now Kate is taller, I’m definitely heavier, and Iain has a mustache. Ben and Megan look the same.

Then I flew into beloved Boston last Saturday to get mentally and physically prepared for the start of my last batch of clinical rotations for PT school. I am currently working at an outpatient neuro PT clinic, which I am amped about!

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this pic is also from a few years ago, but the Citgo sign remains 🙂

Day one (Monday) was great! I’m looking forward to learning from my clinical instructor and also implementing my own knowledge and skill. It’s a bit daunting knowing that I need to be at an independent level of practice in these last clinicals, but with observation and some review of my notes, it’s all coming back (🎶 it’s all coming back to me no-o-owww 🎶 – Celine Dion). My clinical instructor seems very knowledgable and skilled, and all the staff at the hospital have been so friendly and welcoming to me, which is 99% of the happiness factor in a workplace, I think.

Day two (Tuesday) started off fine. It’s been an adjustment waking up at 5:30am for this night owl, but I’ve still been getting 7+ hours of sleep. During one patient’s evaluation though, I was excessively sleepy. Like, my eyes would shut and I would almost fall over (my CI was the one conducting the evaluation, so I was just observing). That’s when I started realizing something was off. I figured maybe I just needed a little food in me, but after lunch, it was downhill. I started to feel a bit nauseated, and standing felt more laborious than usual. It was rather interesting paying close attention to the increasing levels of aches and chills, honestly. After a one-hour treatment session, I went to the restroom…and I knew then that I was not well. I let my CI know, and she kindly told me that I could go home if I wanted to at that point, since there was only one more patient on her schedule anyway. At first I tried to push through for at least one more hour, but as I sat to rest, I knew I needed to go home.

Long story short, I’ve missed two whole days of clinical already in this first week due to a fever/stomach bug. I’m super grateful that my CI has been very understanding and gracious about giving me time to take care of myself (in addition to the fact that I can’t return to the hospital given my symptoms). My roommate bought me some Gatorade (thanks, Yuka!), and sleep has been my best friend. Most foods right now make me feel pretty queasy, and the GI symptoms are persisting, bleh.

Thank you to everyone who has listened to me complain, and to all those who have sent me get well wishes ♥︎

It’s been a slow start to 2020, but things could be worse. I hear a lot of people have been sick to some degree — colds, flus, fevers. Take care of yourselves and wash yo hands!!

Small setbacks like this definitely make me feel extra grateful for what my body and brain can normally do on a daily basis. For example, I just did 3 sets of very light, slow lunges in my room (the PT side of me is like “mooooove, so you don’t get deconditioned and atrophied!”) and subsequently needed to lie down on my bed to take a rest. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Builds compassion for my patients, that’s for sure.

That’s the update for now. All is well overall, and even though I’ve complained enough, I really should not. I’ve got many people supporting me and a good God who is allowing me to offer up these minuscule sufferings for those who are in a much worse place than I am.

Hope your week is going a little better!

So tell me:

Have you or has anyone in your family gotten sick over the holiday season? (Every single one of my family members has been sick once since Christmas).

How has the start of your 2020 been so far? What have or have you not accomplished that you wanted to?

 

Current Mood(s)

It’s been a funky weekend.

My mood is currently a slurry of the following:

Upset, confused, uneasy, and heartbroken by the shootings (Christina Grimmie + mass shooting at Pulse) in Orlando this weekend.

I’m having a hard time just typing this blog post, because I’m watching several videos, reading tweets/statuses/articles, and just grappling with the whole situation and with the state of the world. May God be merciful to all, and may He grant rest to the souls of those who died and console their loved ones.

Friends, keep loving more deeply every day. Reflect on your purpose in this world. I don’t mean to be preachy right now, but when it comes to life and death, it’s important to ask yourself: What if my life on earth ended today? 

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Enraged, saddened, yet awe-inspired by the powerful letter the Stanford rape victim read aloud to her attacker.

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Unsure if cutting down on dairy is helping my tummy troubles. I’m currently drinking Lactaid milk (surprisingly, it’s exceptionally tasty milk) and avoiding Greek yogurt and cheese. I think I feel better with less Greek yogurt in particular (*tear*).

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the day before my mom picked up some Lactaid // carbs+pb isn’t the same without a glass o’ milk

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leftover green banana pancakes + banana cream sauce + glass o’ Lactaid (← doesn’t have the same ring to it)

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overnight oats made without Greek yogurt but with extra Lactaid milk, chia seeds, and half a scoop of vanilla protein powder — not bad!

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classic banana egg white oats (video tutorial coming soon!)

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baked banana bread oatmeal for this week’s breakfasts

I’m also unsure because I’m weak. I had a tiny bit of ice cream Saturday night with our leftover apple strudel from the farmers’ market 🙂 And I had a few cheesy jalapeño Popcorners yesterday.

I didn’t keel over or anything though, so it’s all good.

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Another likely culprit is definitely stress. I don’t notice my stress, but I think my body/mind has objectively been stressed these past few weeks.

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All that being said…

I’m ashamed and disappointed in myself. Honesty is the best policy. I feel ashamed that maybe my tummy troubles were actually coming from a few too many days of eating until I was stuffed, even if it was just a bunch of vegetables.

I have definitely not been binging by any means, but I do know that I sometimes stress eat and/or eat too quickly when I’m stressed. I was struck by the possibility that maybe my insides haven’t been cooperating because I just haven’t been too kind to them in regards to the volume I eat.

So I’ve been more aware of my stomach cues (without worrying about calories or anything), which (DUH) has been helping me feel more comfortable. I’m tempted to beat myself up about my recent eating habits, but I know that will just do me a disservice. Evaluate, learn, make the changes, and move on.

Somewhat off topic: Lunches these days have been all about eggs, which I find are easy on my stomach.

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two egg omelet with greens and onions + cherry tomatoes + avocado toast

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avocado toast with sunny egg and sriracha (among other things) for lunch on Saturday

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delicious bowl of quinoa, roasted broccoli, sautéed greens, onions, cherry tomatoes, chorizo + sunny egg + sriracha added post-pic

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Thankful that my body can move and exercise. I always try to be, but I’ve had to especially remind myself to be thankful this weekend because of some recent body image issues that I’ll talk more about tomorrow.

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Mom and I have been doing 7 minute workouts and Pilates together. So wonderful to move and groove with Madre.
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Working at a rehabilitation hospital has also done wonders for my perspective on physical ability, movement, and health.

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scene at lunch break

Saturday’s workout was a doozy! 4 rounds for time:

  • 10 burpee tuck jumps
  • 20 crazy Russian twists (10 each side, 15#)
  • 30 side jump lunges
  • 40 air squats with side leg lift
  • 50 mountain climbers

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HUSTLED on those last squats and mountain climbers when I saw that I could finish at 20 minutes

I did this yoga video yesterday, since everything was sore and my body had been craving good, organ-nourishing twists.

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Happy that I get to spend quality time with my parents on the weekends. We went out for sushi on Saturday night after Mass, followed by an evening walk.

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Mom and Pop’s sashimi for two

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cutest soy sauce dish

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my order: “Soho roll” (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, rice, roe, wrapped in soybean paper) + eel cucumber roll

Ain’t nothing like gooooooood sushi.

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Excited for friends and family in their adventures and endeavors. It’s so cool to see loved ones explore the world, learn, grow, and allow God to work through them.

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So there’s a lot happening in the head and the heart right now. A lot of it is growing pain, I think, which is encouraging and comforting. God is good, always.

I’m sorry if this post seems like a big, negative smash on your Monday, but that’s not my intent. This is just a reminder to myself and to all who read this that we need to support and uplift one another. Joy, beauty, heroism, and love exist, and it starts with you.

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So tell me:

What are your current moods?

Have you ever gone through periods of “meh” eating habits, even if you have a healthy mindset?

What are you thankful for today?

What is the best thing you did this weekend? Mass + dinner and walk with the parents ♥︎

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Reflecting on My Exercise…Again

Deep breath. This post is important.

I’ll start by saying this: I genuinely enjoy exercise. I have learned this past semester especially (through my anatomy course and just through lack of time to work out) that I truly love exercising because it is a blessing to be able to move, sweat, produce endorphins, and do something good for my body. I no longer see it (primarily) as a way to burn calories or “look good.”

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While my relationship with exercise has improved during my freshman year of college though, one thing has not. My period. (Sorry, TMI for the fellas.) This is straight-face talk, and it’s very similar to my talk on this blog about a year and a half ago. I haven’t had my cycle in nine months, and I’m sure that my amenorrhea (absence of menstruation for an unusually long period of time) is due to a combination of school stress and— unfortunately—exercise stress. My history with an eating disorder very likely contributes as well.

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Another big reason why I think exercise is causing my amenorrhea is because I got my cycle last summer after only walking and doing yoga and eating more for a couple months. However, I have a hunch that I jumped back into intense exercise way too quickly, and although I had this hunch all year during school, I was in denial.

Finally, after reading Emily’s post about amenorrhea and Julia’s post about how she gave up exercise, I realized that I’m definitely putting too much stress on my body. Those two ladies are incredible— humble, honest, and inspiring. Ashley, Sam, and Courtney also have experience with hypothalamic amenorrhea, and they have been amazing resources.

(If you’re wondering why I don’t just check with my doctors, it’s because I did that last year for this same reason. All of them say my bone density is fine, my thyroid is fine, my weight is fine. They say exercise is fine, but I know in the depths of my being that my current exercise regime is not fine. See this article for more information.)

Even though I view exercise in a healthy way currently, I’m eating plenty, and I feel 100% healthy, I’m not actually quite where I need to be. Honesty is the best policy here on Moves and Grooves, and honestly, there has been pride involved in all of this too. All my friends see me as a healthy and active person, so if I stop exercising intensely, I feel as though I will lose this “image” that they all have of me.

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But I must remember that ultimately, fitness is not about lifting myself up— it’s about taking care of my body in order to lift up glory to God. Fitness is not what makes a person beautiful, and I firmly believe that. I have to believe that about myself too.

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So what am I going to do?

  1. Eat more. Like, EEEEEAAAAAATTTTT.
  2. Decrease exercise and intensity. Only walking, yoga, low impact bodyweight strengthening (barre/pilates). No burpees.
  3. Gain weight (fat, not just muscle).
  4. Pray.

Yes, I’m bummed. Yes, I question whether this is even worth it. What woman wants a period anyway? But alas, it’s important, and I don’t want my lack of menstruation to have future repercussions on my health/fertility. I am beyond thankful that I still have the sheer ability to move.

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For a while, I was disappointed that I would lose my fitness progress that I had worked so hard for in the past couple years. I’ll be losing some stamina, endurance, and strength. However, I realized that I have come to love the journey of reaching fitness goals, not just the result. I have learned to appreciate and celebrate progress. So wherever my body is when I start increasing my exercise again, I will hopefully be less frustrated with my slow start.

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Thank YOU for your support, encouragement, inspiration, and prayers. If you ever need a friend to talk to about this issue, email me at dailymovesandgrooves@gmail.com.

Hope you all have an awesome day!

So tell me: Whatever you’d like. 🙂

Behind the Scenes #11: I Used to Have Hips

Hi guys!

Your comments on yesterday’s post seriously made my heart sing and dance with appreciation. Honestly, I was so nervous that my thoughts on the whole “blogging niche” thing wouldn’t make sense to anyone, and I would be given weird stares through the computer screen. Maybe that did happen and you’re not telling me, but whatever the case, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my peanut butter-loving heart. That’s a special place in my heart ya know. 😉

Today happens to be one of those days in which I would like to participate in a linkup (actually, I always want to participate in these random thoughts posts hosted by the amazing Amanda)! 

Thinking-Out-Loud

This week’s edition of Thinking Out Loud will be focused on one of my biggest past struggles— my eating disorder. On Monday, Amanda posted about NEDA (National Eating Disorder Awareness) week, and suggested that any bloggers with past eating disorders make their Thinking Out Loud posts about their thoughts and experiences on the issue. This will surely be a more somber post than usual, but perhaps a look behind the scenes of my disorder could help raise awareness about something that so often torments young women (and men).

1. I distinctly remember the first time I was really not satisfied with my body. I was watching a video of myself dancing that I was going to send to the Orlando Ballet School as an audition tape. The thing that made me cringe the most: my hips. They were wider than I would have liked, but in reality, they were just feminine curves. The thing that pushed me further into my negative body image was comparison. A lot of my friends were petite and skinny, and I was NOT diggin’ the fact that I didn’t look just like them.

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For a little light-heartedness 🙂

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2. I think I followed the path of many others who have struggled with eating disorders. Initially, I just wanted to shed a few pounds, become healthier, and exercise more. (I didn’t even need to lose weight at all. Sure, I gained some weight, but that’s what happens to growing teenagers. I failed to realize that.) Then entered the calorie counting, fitspiration, and reading up on how to eat less. Before I knew it, my initial intentions magnified month after month into a monster that just wanted skinny.

3. I would try to hide my phone from my friends and family as I counted calories on it. One chip? That goes into the log. Gummy vitamins? Those as well. I would also overestimate calories BIG time, leaving me with fewer calories in my body every day.

4. A lot of people say they never knew that I had disordered habits because I was always snacking and excited to have food. Little did they know that everything I ate was calculated, and I was so enthusiastic about food because I was starving a lot of the time.

5.. The delicious cheesy pastas, noodle soups, and fried rice that my mom made so generously for the family were never touched by me. I had eaten those things every day prior to my eating disorder, and I was fine back then! But during my eating disorder, those foods became enemies. I cut out most carbs, most meats, most desserts, and anything that had an unknown number of calories. On the rare occasion that I did eat one of those things, I would invest extra time in estimating how many calories I would have to shave off my next meal.

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6. The thing that hurts me the most: I would be judgmental and critical towards my family for what they ate. It makes me want to cry thinking about my attitude. I’m so sorry, family. Please also forgive me when some remnants of those comments come out to this day.

7. I went to bed thinking about food and woke up thinking about food. I didn’t have enough of it in my system, but I still restricted myself day after day. If anything interfered with my meal plan for the day, I would secretly (or sometimes not so secretly) be angry, frustrated, and anxious. Same thing goes for workouts. No workout=not a happy Alison.

8. At the time my eating disorder began to heighten, I was dancing for 5-6 hours a day. After the summer dance program ended, I continued to increase my exercise. Ate a few too many craisins? Gotta work it off ASAP. I thought I was doing great things for myself by increasing my strength and stamina. Although this did happen to an extent, I was compromising my overall health in the process.

9. Cold. All the time. At my school’s homecoming soccer game two years ago, my body was trembling from the cold, and nothing could make me warm. I was bundled up, I was jumping around, but I was still freezing. Everyone else was cold too, but I was suffering. My body did not have enough insulation or energy to keep me warm.

10. My dance teacher called my parents, expressing concern over my lack of energy, drawn face, and weight loss. A priest at my church even asked me why I looked so skinny! That’s when you know…

11. I knew that I wasn’t doing something right for my body, but the habits were too difficult to break…on my own. As my habits became more alarming, my parents reciprocally became concerned. God intervened through my father one day when we were on vacation in Florida. My mom had accidentally bought 10% Greek yogurt instead of fat free, and terrified of all that fat, I asked her if she could exchange it for fat free. She later talked to my dad about my request, and I later learned that he became both angry and deeply saddened. The morning after this, he put on his “dad face” with raised eyebrows, and I knew that I was in trouble for something. He told me to go weigh myself, and when I did, we saw a number that was way too low. I had lost weight since my doctor’s appointment the month before, and we both knew it. Then and there, with tears in his eyes, my dad said, “As your father, I am telling you to eat. And as my daughter, you are to obey me.” As hesitant and fearful as I was, I knew I had to obey. Not just for me, but for my family and for God. Because how the heck can I serve Him if I’m withering away to nothing?

That’s when my recovery started. When we got back to NY, my dad took me to an awesome nutritionist who was able to teach me the how and why of fueling my body. I am so fortunate to have a family that was able to pull me out before my eating disorder became any worse.

12. Blog-reading and blogging myself have been gifts in this process. Without the support, love, and experience from so many bloggers and readers out there, this would have been ten times more difficult. Thank you.

…Phew. We made it to 12 thoughts, and now I’m getting teary-eyed here. All I can say is: Thanks be to God that things have changed tremendously for the better. This journey has impacted me so deeply that I actually wrote my college essay about it. It hasn’t been easy or straightforward at all, but it’s been a wonderful learning experience. 

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I just found this on Pinterest— how appropriate that it’s 12 steps to recovery! Even if it is technically for Alcoholics Anonymous…It can apply to eat disorders too. 😉

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I hope you all have a lovely day!

Feel free to share any of your thoughts and experiences with disordered eating if applicable.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder and would like aid and/or support, you can visit the NEDA website for more information. Also, feel free to email me at dailymovesandgrooves@gmail.com if you want to talk about anything!

Things do get better ♥