Apr 18, 2018

Food

I've always had a hard time eating healthy. Despite the stereotype of yoga teachers, I have only just started eating healthy consistently. I've been working on it for years. Years. It took me a long time to bring food into balance. For most of my life healthy time periods would be met with a longer and more intense period of binging on unhealthy foods. Sugar is the biggest one, but eating out in general has always had a huge appeal to me.

I think it all started with me being a picky eater. Anyone who knew me before the age of 22 (yes I said 22, not 12), and especially those that knew me as a child, know that there were a few very starchy white staples that I would eat and that was it! Spices, flavors, were all too much for me as a kid. Sounds boring, right? It didn't really bother me, unless I was eating in a group setting which was always awkward. However, as I got older and tried to eat well, my unadventurous eating got in the way more and more. I had a hard time branching out, eating more vegetables, and eating less pasta. I began to admit how it was impacting my health, so I worked on making a change. It started simple, like adding broccoli into my pasta. Slowly, I evolved.

I've learned a lot over the years, slowly branched out, and am now eating healthy very consistently. Yet sometimes it feels like more work then it should. I love sweets. I find a lot of comfort in food, I think most people do. I always have this idea of treating myself after a long day, but most days are long. Having a few beers on the weekend or a lot of ice cream when on vacation, really starts to add up much more quickly as I get older. I do great throughout the week, but when the weekend comes I go out to eat, I get dessert, I make quick and unhealthy meals, I forget about vegetables.

I've found that it impacts the way that I feel even when I wasn't noticing how it affected my health. It's embarrassing to say, but it took me a really long time to connect the way I feel with the things that I eat. I still sometimes don't quite connect the dots. In the moment it always feels worth it to treat myself instead of thinking about how it will make me feel later. But then it takes forever for my stomach to feel better again, I get jittery, I crave more sweets, I'm not regular again for a week. It's one of those lessons that I will continually have to learn, but hopefully the self-control will become of the norm. For now sometimes my self control will win and other times I'll learn the hard way. All I know is that I feel better, feel clearer in my mind, and much stronger in my workouts when I do eat healthy. I'll never be a person who is 100% plant based or doesn't eat sweets, but I hope to find balance in my diet and my health.

 

Apr 6, 2018

Self-Doubt

It is amazing how much self-doubt creeps in whenever I start to believe in achieving the goals that I set out for myself. I speak the self-doubt out loud. "I'm applying for a Masters in Occupational Therapy, but it's really competitive," or "I'm racing OABI for the third time, yea I've said I want to win, but it's a really hard race and I've never placed on the podium." However, perhaps louder, I speak this self-doubt to myself. I'll be a social media manager for a political campaign if I don't get into the Masters program, or When I don't win OABI I'll be able to share how much I learned about myself and it will still be meaningful.

It is strange that telling others, don't worry, I know this probably won't work out. I know my dreams are too lofty, I know I'll fail; somehow feels safer than just declaring my dreams and telling people the things that I am working on. But it is more damning to say that to myself as well. To prepare myself to fail, to get my mind ready for heartbreak. How much hope is lost in those moments, how much am I limited myself if I can't even dare to dream?

Don't get me wrong, I dream, big and often. But I also play out the worst case scenario, just in case. It is totally crazy, there are so many worst case scenarios. What a waste of imagination. But this relationship, this goal, this career might not work out, so let's think about what you would do if he left, if I failed, if the career wasn't a good fit. Instead of dreaming up all the things that could go right I have spent so much of my life dreaming up the way that things could go wrong. At first glance, no big deal, change the way you think, right? Not that easy. It's is an ingrained habit that is more than thoughts. Some days it grows into a monster and can manifest as an overall horrible attitude towards the world.

So of course all of these patterns came to a head when my first blog post went live. It was great to get all of the support and encouragement, but with each new like, each new comment a little voice in the back of my head started speaking up. That self-doubt. Your competitors will see this. It's all great for people on social media to hear about your goals but what about the people that are actually there on race day. Races are challenging enough, scary enough, you're going to add this pressure to it?

This was amplified by the fact that I was in immense pain in my thoracic spine. I have this area between my shoulder blades that sometimes can feel a little bit sensitive, but last week it was worse than it has ever been. I've been adding a lot of strength to my shoulders and haven't been as good about stretching as I should be. Sure I do yoga everyday and I stretch it then, but I haven't spent the dedicated time before and after every work out to stretch my shoulders and upper back. All Saturday I felt like I was on the verge of throwing my upper back out. I couldn't stop thinking about how I had just declared I would be doing this big race and I didn't even know if I would be able to complete it.

This is the work. Awareness of my limiting beliefs and habits is the first step, the next step is starting to catch them before they turn into a long story. Usually at first I catch them about 15 minutes in, Oh shit, I just spent way too much time thinking about how I'll explain loosing OABI. Then, overtime eventually I catch myself just a few minutes into it, Oops, I'm fantasizing about failing again, [insert replacement succeeding fantasy here]. This process is really never ending. It's helped me through anger, anxiety, depression, and is obviously still very relevant to me today. Through this slow shift in perspective, my goal is to invite more hope into my life. Because honestly what is the worst case scenario if you dream big and fail? Failure? I don't think anything can truly be a failure if we learn and grow along the way.

Mar 29, 2018

Goals Alive!

I don’t often declare many of my big goals loudly. The sure to be successful goals, definitely. You won't be able to get me to shut up about those. The risker goals, I keep those hidden as I work through the uncertainty quietly. When there is competition, self doubt, the unknown; I keep it to myself. Better to fail without an audience. Better to strive alone and share victories once they are sure to be just that, victories.

It’s not that I don’t set goals. I do. Often. Huge goals, small goals, long term goals, short term goals. But I don’t write them down, I rarely speak them to anyone but John. 

I’ve been working on prerequisite classes to apply for a masters in occupational therapy for three years. Three years, but most of my closest friends are only just finding out about it. It’s a competitive program, no one needed to know. In case I didn’t get in.

What a lonely place to be. Most of my friends thought I was just taking classes for fun. Not wanting to risk the vulnerability of failing enough to announce the things that I'm working really hard on. But here's the thing, if I'm not willing to risk sharing the failure, then I'll never get to truly share the victory.

So here I am. Ready to set a huge, possibly unachievable goal. Ready to take a risk. Ready to work hard, to do my best, and maybe fail. My goal is to win OABI.

OABI stands for Once Around Belle Isle. It is a paddleboard race, the biggest in my area. The 7 mile race, that I have participated in for the last two years, is the distance around the island, Belle Isle. This island is in the Detroit River with Detroit on one side and Windsor, Canada on the other. We start about a two thirds of the way up on the Detroit side, go up around the tip of the island, continue on the Canadian side, around the bottom of the island and then up the American side to the finish line. The Canadian side of the island is wide so there are freighters and large yachts in the water. This means that when the weather is good, there are about four feet waves coming from all directions. When the weather is bad, it's really bad. But we race anyways. Two years ago the rain was so brutal we could hardly see in front of us for some parts of the race, but we paddled on.

I love this race for a few reasons. It is a huge community event, it probably has the best turnout in the midwest. All the Instagram paddleboarders from Michigan you follow are there, which is one of the ways that I've made some really great friendships! My SUP yoga company, Root SUP, teaches paddleboard yoga there every year. There is live music, food trucks, beach games, etc. I also love this race because it is the most challenging one that I do every year. Being from inland Michigan, I'm a flat-water paddleboarder. I don't get much practice on big bodies of water like the Detroit River, aside from the couple times each summer that I make it to Lake Michigan. The current plus the choppy waves make for a super challenging and rewarding race.

The awesome thing about setting a goal that is this big is that there are many other goals that I'll be checking off on my way to the big one. I'll train all summer and work hard to do my best at OABI, I'll hopefully get my best time in the race, I'll train and fuel my body in a way that I'll feel like I can walk after the race is over (something that has been lacking the last two years that I raced through the finish line and immediately collapsed into a chair), I will write about the journey of training in a consistent way, I will hold myself accountable to listen to my body, to feed it well, to work as hard as I can towards this goal.

So here I am committing to some big, scary, probably impossible goals. I want to win OABI (in women's 12'6" division). I would rather shoot for a crazy goal than sell myself short, and I would rather share it with the people I love then keep it quiet for fear of failing.

Tune in here, every week to keep up with my journey to OABI. And keep an eye out! I'll be offering a training program in the weeks leading up to OABI if you'd like to train with me!