On not being allowed to love.

My earliest memories start around three or four. In one, I have climbed up a wooden fence, trying to balance my weight against the top while I reach out to feed a neighbor’s horse, that I have named Cow, a piece of my apple.

In another, I am wandering down the street back toward our mobile home, having just returned from the post office a half mile away. I had told my mom I was going and she had said yes, but when I asked to go to the post office to mail Mema some leaves I had burned holes into with a magnifying glass, she assumed I meant the “post office” that I had imagined in my bedroom. The leaves did not make it to my Mema; I had remembered a stamp but the address “Mema, Raleigh” was not specific enough.

In one of the most vivid young memories, I am on our home phone, sometime in the evening because I was in my soft, pink footie pajamas. I was about as high as the counter, my eyes just barely reaching to see its top. I was speaking to my dad – my biological dad whom I wouldn’t know I looked like were it not for pictures – and I was about to hang up the phone to go to bed. Continue reading “On not being allowed to love.”

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How what you eat affects your emotions.

Two foods used to reduce me to tears when I was trying to cut them from my diet – bread and Diet Coke. I had such an emotional attachment to both that took me a LONG time to unravel myself from.

It’s easier for me to tackle something if I understand why it’s happening, so better understanding the gut-mind connection was CRUCIAL for me while going through this process.

Serotonin – which helps create feelings of contentment and well-being – is created in two places in the body, your brain and your gut.

It means that what you eat has an affect on the balance of serotonin in your body. Anything that affects the balance of your gut health – in this case gluten, which I learned through tests and experience my body cannot process, and sugar alcohols in the Diet Coke, which are horrible for any body to process – affects your emotional state. Continue reading “How what you eat affects your emotions.”

Diabetes + the inevitable eating disorder

Unpopular opinion time – I think having type 1 diabetes is a package deal with at least a low-grade eating disorder.

Even if most of the time we can have a healthy relationship with food, there are always the intense times when all the counting we did just didn’t add up and everything goes wrong. I know many of us have had the thought of “type 1 diabetes would be easy if I just didn’t have to eat.”

I’ve certainly had days when, after a week-long blood sugar roller coaster, I just gave up. It’d be water for the day because I could (usually) count on that to not affect my blood sugar, which I just couldn’t deal with anymore, but then after 20 hours of no food I snapped and ordered phad thai because fuck it.

Or, with a major low blood sugar that had me to the point I was shaking on the kitchen floor and could barely see, I would shove 4 sandwiches, a half-jar of nutella, and 6 packs of fruit gummies into my mouth before I felt like I wasn’t going to die. Continue reading “Diabetes + the inevitable eating disorder”

It’s not about cutting out bad food.

Lala4The best advice I’ve gotten about eating for health was from Kris Carr, who said something along the lines of:

Instead of trying to cut out “bad” food, focus on eating nutritious food more often; over time the good will crowd out the not so good.

Too many of us focus on cutting out the not so good stuff we eat; that leads to a feeling of depriving ourselves of the things we like. It feels like we’re punishing ourselves, so OF COURSE we don’t stick to the good habits. Continue reading “It’s not about cutting out bad food.”

I wrecked my gut health in my 20s.

lala3In my first full-time job out of college, I sat next to my department’s “snack fridge” that we filled with diet coke, string cheese, and peppermint patties. I had Subway for lunch almost every day. Healthy, right? Low carb snacks and tuna/veggie sandwiches?

Meanwhile my gut was SCREAMING at me because of all of the processed bread, dairy, and sugar alcohols.

In my next few jobs, I developed a chai latte and bagel with cream cheese morning habit, then wouldn’t be able to focus and would absolutely crash by 2pm every day. I had to learn, through a LOT of error, that this “fuel” was anything but.

These days, I’m in the office about 2-3 days a week (I work from home the rest of the week – I’m really lucky to work for JDRF – they understand my immune system’s need to rest). Continue reading “I wrecked my gut health in my 20s.”

The case for weighing yourself every day.

weighI weigh myself most mornings to better understand when my body is responding to something with inflammation, or when my body is responding well to something I’ve added to my routine.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I was only able to start doing this in a mentally healthy way AFTER I identified that my body was having massive issues with inflammation as a result of food I have an autoimmune response to but didn’t know. When I first went to a gastroenterologist to try to explain that this is what I thought was going on he said, “No, you’re just fat.” Continue reading “The case for weighing yourself every day.”

The worst nutrition advice I’ve ever heard?

lala2The most bullshit piece of advice I’ve ever gotten around nutrition was “it’s just a simple matter of calories in, calories out!” It was my OBGYN in 2012, and I had gained about 15 lbs while on the Depo-Provera birth control shot.

Knowing less than I do now about what affects my body, I took what she said and went with it. I started eating 1500 calories a day – STRICTLY – and really upping the intensity of my workouts. And I gained 10 more lbs.

I’ve since learned that a bajillion things affect my weight, and the large majority of them are not a “simple” calories in, calories out. Stress and hormones are two really big things, as is the quality of food we eat – 1500 calories worth of packaged, “low-fat, low-calorie!” food will kill you, promise. But perhaps the most significant and hardest to fix? Alignment.

I’m gonna get a bit woo-woo here, bear with me. Continue reading “The worst nutrition advice I’ve ever heard?”

Crave junk food every night?

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“How do I want to feel?” VS. “What do I have a craving for?”

I was craving McDonald’s all evening yesterday. I wanted a cheeseburger, chicken nuggets with honey mustard, an apple pie, and a chocolate sundae. For 4 hours straight.

The ONLY thing that kept me from walking the ONE block from my house to Micky D’s was reminding myself how I was going to feel afterward – bloated, dragging for a few days, feeling foggy and lethargic, probably with a headache and – if I gave into french fries, which, let’s be real I was going to give into french fries – with a hell of a lot of joint pain (I can’t do most nightshades without a fast train to pain city).

Sometimes I don’t feel all of those things at once or with the same intensity, but I certainly always feel not-quite-right for a few days after fast food. Continue reading “Crave junk food every night?”

What it was like for a white woman to watch Black Panther.

In case you missed it, a movie called Black Panther came out last week and it is uh… kind of a big deal.

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I saw the movie in New York on opening night, surrounded by excited fellow movie-goers adorned in kente cloth and other African prints. So what was it like for me, as a white woman, watching Black Panther?

Continue reading “What it was like for a white woman to watch Black Panther.”

Yaz birth control made me suicidal.

In May, I started taking a new birth control pill – the generic of Yaz. I talked about why I started taking birth control again after a three-year hiatus here.

Hindsight is everything. But at the time, I hadn’t linked two really crucial happenings in my life –

1) Starting to take Yaz birth control pills.
2) The start of the worst anxiety spiral I’ve ever experienced, eventually leading to multiple daily panic attacks and suicidal thoughts.

My Experience with Yaz

I had been a bit worn out and experiencing some chronic pain flares in May but was also coming off birthday month – for the entire month of April I celebrated the big 3-0 – so I hadn’t thought much of it. I was tired, but I still felt like myself and was able to process my emotions in a way that was normal for me – calm, balanced, able to maintain perspective, and able to remove myself from situations if I felt like I needed to take a break.

By late June/early July, I started to feel off. However, because it was a continuation of the fatigue I felt in May, it didn’t feel different ENOUGH to raise my alarms. I thought it was a continuation of *me* rather than anything different being introduced. Continue reading “Yaz birth control made me suicidal.”