Thunderbird Real Food Bars Review

A while back, Thunderbird Real Food Bars company was generous enough to send me a variety of their bars to try. So here you finally have it: a review of these bars! It took me quite a while to get through my stash because I’m not going to lie, I was savoring each flavor!

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Let’s talk ingredients. One word: simple. Thunderbird Real Food Bars are made with 100% all natural ingredients, such as nuts, dates, a variety of fruits, seeds, and spices. Spices were my favorite part of those bars. For example, their Cherry Walnut Cinnamon bar was one of my favorites- the hint of cinnamon combined with sweet cherry  balanced out the taste perfectly. It also helps that Thunderbird uses some of my favorite, less commonly seen ingredients for their bars, such as lemon, papaya, pistachios, and turmeric. Thunderbird Real Food Bars are just that- real food. No added grains, protein whey, fats, etc. What you see on the label is what you get, and the nutrition comes simply from a few ingredients. I also appreciated that there’s nothing listed in the ingredients that I could not pronounce!

I loved that these bars were convenient and portable. If you’re like me, often on the go and outdoors, you’ve probably discovered that many popular “protein bars” don’t do well with heat or being roughed around too much. Like being stashed in your car for an emergency snack break. Or being squished under a heavy water bottle in a hiking bag. You get the picture. I’m always snacking, so I took these bars all over the place with me- on kayak trips, hiking, in suitcases on trips, even to work in my scrub pocket. These babies don’t melt or crumble. Winning. It all goes back to what they are made of. You won’t find any fake chocolate chips melting to your wrapper and making your snack time look like that of a toddler. Thunderbird Real Food Bars uses cacao powder and cacao butter instead, giving their Hazelnut Coffee Maca bar a fantastic chocolate mocha flavor without the mess and artificial sweeteners. This bar also had real fair trade coffee beans in it…YUM.

For those of you that are into nutrition labels and categorizing food, Thunderbird Real Food Bars are certified gluten free, vegan, paleo, soy and grain free, and non-GMO. I have to admit, with all those labels I was a bit skeptical of this company, wondering if they were actually making good food, or trying to sell “health food” to people who like to hop onto that clean eating train. After tasting so many flavor bars, I can honestly say that this is GOOD food. Personally, I believe in balance. You can eat all the gluten free paleo no added sugar stuff you want because you think it’s “healthy”, but if it’s not even tasty, why bother? So you can feel better about yourself? Food is food people. If it’s not good, don’t make yourself eat it just because it’s “healthy” or “clean”. But, for those of you that do walk that line, Thunderbird Real Food Bars are delicious and nutritious, even for the pickiest health food junkie.

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Maybe I especially loved these bars because I tend to gravitate towards the fruity flavored bars. I can’t tell you the last time I bought a bar that was “cookie dough”, “double chocolate”, “peanut butter cup”, “vanilla cupcake” flavored. Give me all the fruits! And…BALANCE. Go for a REAL peanut butter cup or cupcake. I promise you the real thing is better than a fake version trying to lure your tastebuds. As far as my top favorite Thunderbird Real Food Bars, they are as follows: Cherry Walnut Cinnamon, Lemon Cashew Apricot, Cashew Fig Carrot, Hazelnut Coffee Maca, Pineapple Mango Papaya, and Almond Apricot Vanilla. Guys, I don’t even LIKE cashews, walnuts, or apricots plain! But mix them with some pure, yummy fruits and seeds and I’m all in.

Can’t find these bars at a store near you? Thunderbird Real Food Bars has a website where you can order them. AND, if you use the code BMR15, you will get 15% off your order until the end of September. Shipping is free on orders over $100. The company also offers a subscription service for bar delivery that gets you a 10% discount on all orders. It’s like subscribing to a magazine to be delivered every month…only this is way better because you can choose to have bars delivered to you doorstep every month, two months, or three months. Winning. I’m hoping to get my hands on more Thunderbird Real Food Bars in the future, and crossing my fingers that stores in my area discover these tasty snacks and start selling them! Questions about Thunderbird? Click on their website here: http://www.thunderbirdbar.com/ or shoot me an email or message on my Facebook page. Also, make sure to follow @thunderbirdbar on Instagram for news and occasional giveaways. Happy snacking!

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My favorite bar and my favorite beast!

Outsides and Insides

Long time no post! I want to take this post to talk about where my mindset has been lately. Recovery wise, the lack of writing has a lot to do with me kind of feeling like I’m at a standstill. I know that’s better than going backwards, but it’s still frustrating. So often I wish I had a timeline for recovery, and assurance that someday this illness will no longer be in my life at all. That is what I struggle with though; the thoughts of “is this as good as it gets?” I try to hold on to the truth and promise that God is the ultimate healer, and apply it to my recovery. In all honesty, I’ve discovered what I call the ugly side of recovery. After the weight has been restored, and I don’t look like the person with food issues anymore. People comment that I’m strong and healthy, and I try to smile. But then comes the shame. The feeling like a fraud. My insides don’t match my outsides, and if you’ve ever lived that way, it’s confusing. I want myself to match. I want to look at that woman in the mirror who flexes her muscles jokingly at her husband saying “suns out guns out” and be proud that I am strong. But, I’m used to having noodle arms, and I don’t anymore and sometimes I really miss that thinness.

People talk about missing your eating disorder. That always sounded weird to me, but in some ways I get it. It makes me feel a little dark and twisted- to miss something that was slowly killing me. But I’m not going to lie, I miss weighing 20+ pounds less and wearing size X jeans. Not because I felt accomplished, but because it felt familiar. Let me be clear, it did NOT feel good. I felt like shit. But I was so used to that. It was my normal. And wether a person’s “normal” is healthy or not, it feels comfortable. I miss feeling more secure because I was “smaller” than all the people I was around. Shallow? Selfish? Maybe. But it’s the ugly truth.

Recovery, in the long term, is like slowly having a rug taken out from under you that you didn’t even realize was there. The rug is my eating disorder. Intensive treatment was different- that rug gets YANKED out from under you FAST. But slowly seeing just how much of my life changes when the eating disorder fades often makes me lay facedown on that dang rug and cling to it for dear life. Change isn’t easy. The realization that so much of my life is still affected by this illness isn’t easy. Sometimes I’ll feel great about where I am, but then I’ll walk into my dietician or therapists office and get hit with the reality that I am still very much disordered in some ways. Not always by my behaviors, but more so with my thought processes. And then I feel the standstill and I’m angry; because My God, I look healthy now and I can go more than a day without exercising and I can eat donuts; so why the hell can’t I just be FREE. And I’ll come to admit to myself that once again, my outsides doesn’t match my insides, and it is SO unfair. I look fine. And most of the time, I am fine. For that I am thankful. But when I do not feel fine, I struggle with wishing my appearance showed that.

Eating disorders don’t make sense. My therapist has told me this approximately 9825 times, but giving myself the grace to accept and understand that is still hard. I’m an ICU nurse, and I want to understand exactly why A causes B, and what can fix it. Recovery and eating disorders aren’t like that though. So, acceptance. Acceptance that my journey is not over, and that it may be far from over. That’s difficult to sit with. Grace. Grace for myself because I am human and I can’t “cure” myself by beating myself up over things. Grace is having hope. Right now I’m sitting on a plane flying to California for vacation with my family. Last time I was on that side of the country, I had just started recovery. It was my secret. I have a lot of good memories from the trip, but one of them was carefully hiding my eating disorder while still trying to not completely throw everything my treatment team was teaching me out the window. Kinda exhausting. Here I am three years later. I have a blog where I put my experiences and struggles out there for absolutely anyone in the world to see. I’m eating a snack right now. I’m not stressing over when I’ll get a workout in today after sitting so much. I see how far I have come, and I hope. I hope for the days when the things that seem impossible now no longer are. Just like the things I never thought could change, actually have.

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Food Review: Chocolate Sea Salt RXBAR

Thanks for reading my very first food review!
I had gotten in touch with the nice people at RXBAR, expressing my desire to try their bars. After being unable to find them anywhere, the company sent me not one, but TWO boxes of their bars to try and review on my blog! One box was a variety pack and there other was their Chocolate Sea Salt flavor. I’m still working my way through the variety pack (there’s a lot of flavors!) but to be honest, it’s more so because I’ve been snacking on the Chocolate Sea Salt bars. Yum!

Ingredient wise, RXBAR is a simple bar. The Chocolate Sea Salt contains dates, egg whites, almonds, cashews, cacao, sea salt, and natural chocolate flavor. Of course it’s gluten, soy, and dairy free for all of you out there with allergies (real or imagined). This bar contains 12 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbohydrates; with 200 calories.

I honestly didn’t expect to care for this flavor. Surprise! When I snack on bars, I tend to gravitate more towards the fruity flavored ones rather than what I refer to as “fake chocolate or peanut butter” bars. If I want chocolate or peanut butter, I’m going to eat just that, not substitute something that imitates it. Chocolate Sea Salt RXBARs have just the right amount of chocolate flavoring without tasting “fake” or chalky or too sweet. They are also sprinkled with real sea salt- which I loved! The sea salt enhances the overall flavor of the bar. Although I would love to see a bit more sea salt added, it was still good. This bar was chewy but soft, without being too much of either.

I could go on, but I’ll be posting my full RXBAR food review as I finish tasting all of the flavors. I recommend trying the Chocolate Sea Salt RXBAR if you can get your hands on it! All of the RXBAR flavors can also be purchased online at http://www.rxbar.com/

Happy snacking!

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Overcoming Overexercise

by Lindsey 0 Comments
Overcoming Overexercise

How I overcame over-exercise:

It wasn’t my choice.

Since I was a teen, I managed to hide my eating disorder through exercise. From the outside, it was a pretty good disguise. As a college soccer player, my pride for starting games and playing every minute outweighed my desire to be thin. For a good bit of my life, my eating disorder was not about weight. It was about coping and lessening the anxiety that food brought me. People didn’t notice, because I didn’t let them see. Going running on vacation and eating as little as possible were more important to me than the places I went. I always claimed to not be hungry; and hungry equals a shit ton of stuff I missed out on, because when you’re starving, you aren’t present. I justified my 2 a day workouts during the summer as following a “training program” coaches gave me for soccer and cross country. I would workout 7 days a week in college, going for runs after practice if I felt it was too “easy”. When I moved out and lived on my own, I had absolutely no one to answer to about my obsessive exercise patterns. I spent hours at the gym, carefully burning more calories than I figured I would eat that day- and extra if I was supposed to go to a social event. When I was in day treatment, I snuck in all the exercise I could when I got home.

Here’s the thing, and I’ve said it before. THE BODY ALWAYS WINS.

I thought I was invincible, forcing myself to come back from injuries, because oh my gosh, I could NOT miss my workouts and runs. What would happen to my body? For most of my young adult life, I’ve been told I’m athletic. What if I got huge?! My body couldn’t possibly know what to do with food. How would I deal with stress? Anxiety was always a fantastic excuse for my lack of appetite.Before leaving for college, I made a vow to myself: “I will NOT get fat. I probably won’t be able to workout at much as I do now, so I better watch it.” Never mind the fact that I was a collegiate athlete and a full time nursing school student.

I wasn’t invincible, and it caught up with me.
My body was screaming at me, and I didn’t listen.

I had my ankle reconstructed my junior year of college. I tore all the major ligaments and had no idea, because I was so set on running my first half marathon. I spent 5 weeks in a hard cast, then several a more in a boot, then a few weeks in physical therapy before I thought the trainers at my school were going to slow with me, and took things into my own hands. I ran cross country for my college the following year, but not before having leg surgery to relieve acute compartment syndrome, which was likely from overtraining. Two years after graduating college, I had knee surgery to “clean out” scar tissue, etc (yes that’s a thing). I came out of surgery, and my doctor told me my knee looked like one of his football or hockey players knees, that had been playing for years. “No more distance running.” I was told. So I ran 3 half marathons.

A little more than two years ago, my back started hurting me. A LOT. I noticed it during hot yoga, when the normal easy back ends became a source of pain. I chalked it up to (another) old injury from college. After all, I got knocked around a fair amount playing soccer.

My back pain eventually got bad enough that standing straight up hurt. I could hardly lean backwards. I finally saw a chiropractor. After having x-rays, the doctor sat me down in his office (this is rarely a good thing when you see a chiropractor). Showing my my x-rays, he proceeded to explain that I had very little disc left between my L5 and S1 in my spine. It was almost bone on bone. “Degenerated disk” was my diagnosis. The doctor suggested chiropractic care, but told me he didn’t really know how much he could help me. “Spinal fusion surgery” was mentioned as I sat in shock. I asked if this could have anything to do with my eating disorder. “Yes. That certainly couldn’t have helped.”

I was angry. I was upset. This injury was one of the things that truly woke me up as to how damaged my body was.
I had done the damage.
I had tried to kill it, wether that was my true intention or not.
And I had to change.

I didn’t want to- I was scared. I knew my life had to look different after that day. Let me tell you, a serious back injury DEMANDS you listen to your body. It demands you take care of your body. A back injury is crippling, and if it doesn’t get better, the reality is, your quality of life is going to decrease. When people think of exercise bulimia and anorexia and over-exercise, they think of frail bones and fractures, but not necessarily spinal injuries. I was terrified. My priorities had to change. I could no longer treat my body like a machine. I’m a nurse; I absolutely need my back to be healthy. Hell, I’m a human; I need my back to be healthy so I can enjoy my life.

For a long time when I was at my sickest, I was apathetic. Sure, I wanted to get better, but I also didn’t want to do the work. It seemed impossible, because this life of earning and justifying food wth exercise was all I could remember. I never thought I was sick enough, thin enough, unhealthy enough, etc. At my lowest, I angrily begged God to send me a sign that I had hit rock bottom, not realizing I was there. “I’ll get treatment…when…I’m really underweight…when…I have something serious happen to me…”

In those moments of questioning how I could really change, I realized that all along, I had signs. I was the only one not thinking they weren’t serious enough. I didn’t need GOD to send me an epiphany; I needed to acknowledge that my relationship with exercise was very disordered, and had hurt me.

I quit running. I stopped doing hot yoga. I went to a chiropractor three times a week for 8 months. Then twice a week for another 3 months. I cried a lot. My back hurt, and so did my heart. I didn’t know who I was without the “athletic, healthy girl” label I had defined myself by. Eventually, I got down to weekly visits to the chiropractor. Somewhere along the way, I wandered back into my Bikram yoga studio. I was healthy enough to get away with being there, but as I lay on my mat in the middle of class one day- hot, soaked in sweat, and miserable- I realized something.

I fucking hate this.
What am I doing?
Exercise shouldn’t be about burning calories. And that’s what I am here for.
Exercise shouldn’t be harmful. And that’s all it’s ever been for me.
Why am I doing this?
Exercise shouldn’t be a permission slip to eat. And that’s the only reason I was doing it.

I walked out of the yoga studio that day, and never went back.

I’ve lost track of the timeline, but I stopped hurting my body after that day. My body won, and it had made me listen. The consequences of my choices were too much. I felt like a quitter. felt huge and gross. I felt lost.

But I found myself.
Corny. But so freaking true.
I let myself figure out what LINDSEY liked doing. What filled me up, made me happy, and helped me be healthy.

One November afternoon, I took a yoga class at a random place a few miles from my house. I KNEW I would hate it- it wasn’t Bikram yoga. It wasn’t running. It wouldn’t be hard enough. I braced myself for skinny, pretty girls in matching Lululemon outfits, who drank green juice and shopped only at Whole Foods.
And I fell in love. My first class, I had so much fun. I LAUGHED. I was energized instead of exhausted.

The Baptiste yoga practice redefined my view of exercise. I found that being strong was better than being sick. I found community. I found friends. I found opportunity. I found my breath, and in that, I found awareness of my body and my feelings. I found out those things aren’t really that bad. Unfamiliar and scary, but necessary. I found healing in an unlikely place, and I am so grateful to the good Lord above for bringing me to that little studio that day.

Redefining my relationship with food and exercise is a process. I still struggle. It’s a journey. There are low valleys, but also high mountains that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I am healing. I am learning. I don’t own a pair of running shoes anymore, because that’s what I need to do to keep myself safe. I doubt I’ll ever set foot in a gym again. I wasn’t invincible, and I learned that the hard way. I don’t have words to tell you how thankful I am that my back DID heal- yes, I still have to be careful, and I still see a chiropractor. But now I listen to my body, which is something I never would have done before.

I hope that no one has to go through a story like mine to finally wake up and take care of yourself. Maybe some of you already have, or maybe you’re getting ready to and just don’t know it. Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. It’s the one thing on this earth you truly own. Someday you will be more grateful for health, relationships, and memories than you are for miles run, calories burned, or what number you see on the scale. Don’t wait, because you might not be so lucky.

 

Transformation!

“This Too Shall Pass”

Last week, I had dinner with two girls I met in my recovery journey. I was struck by how much we all had changed. When you’re in treatment- any level- you hear it again and again: “This too shall pass”. I seriously wanted to punch people in the throat for saying that on some of my worst days. But you know what? It’s so freaking true. All the things I felt tortured by in treatment, all the things my eating disorder and anxious mind raged about- they passed.

No- the hard things, the hurting, the annoying decisions, the loss, the anger, the confusion, the regret, and the tears- they certainly have not and did not just disappear. But as I have gotten healthier, the time have passed where those things no longer control my life and every thought.

Here is what no one tells you starting out: treatment is kind of traumatic.

Sounds extreme, but think about it. Facing something you hate/are afraid of (food) up to six times a day. I remember knowing I was drinking 1000 calories a day in supplements alone on top of my meal plan. Forcing myself to bundle up and walk for an hour & a half in 30-40 degree weather after I got home from day treatment, because I was sneaking in exercise. Getting yoga taken away. Sitting on the kitchen floor crying and wondering if I could ever get myself out of this hell. Finding out insurance didn’t cover labs and tests required for treatment, and owing hundreds of dollars in medical bills. Finding out my primary care physician wasn’t covered either, but secretly being relieved because when I got a respiratory infection, I knew without a doubt she would have hospitalized me. My life became a series of trying to avoid the higher level of care I needed, even if it almost killed me. Going to sleep at night and not caring if I woke up. Carefully hiding the Holter (heart) monitor under my work clothes. Not speaking to my family for weeks, because this illness can and will creep into every aspect of your life. My mom coming to visit and yelling at me in the kitchen because she finally understood, and so did I, that eating disorders are a matter of life and death. Lying to my friends about “where I’ve been” because who wants to explain rehab? Even I didn’t understand it. Missing holidays with loved ones because I’m in treatment. It’s the day after Christmas and it’s snowing; but it doesn’t feel like Christmas at all because my life is a lie and a secret.

Honestly, some of those things have passed and become funny stories. Stuff that no one else except those of us who went through it would understand. My friend hiding cookies in the Nurse Practitioner’s plant when she turned her back. (I wonder if she ever found them). Crying over my pasta being “too shiny”. Bringing snacks to my nutritionist appointment and refusing to eat them because I was a brat. Spiking supplements with various forms of alcohol in a desperate attempt to make them more appealing and drinkable. (Fail). Watching my nutritionist roll her eyes and sigh; because I’m choosing to be difficult. My therapist hardcore dropping the F-bomb during group therapy, just trying to get me to feel SOMETHING. I ended up bawling like a baby and it was absolutely not funny in the moment, but 2 years later, I have that therapist to thank for my life.

This too shall pass.
It will.
I promise.
Someday, you will be healthy if you keep fighting. Your life will be yours again. I know it doesn’t feel like that in the moment. I’ve been there too; those dark times where you feel hopeless and helpless. It gets better. Would I tell you that if it wasn’t true? Absolutely not. For a long time, I didn’t believe that some of that pain would end. I didn’t believe my life could ever be in color, instead of the awful grey it was. I wasn’t sure if I was fixable.

But, GOD. By His grace, I have put one foot in front of the other. There were times I fell. Times I didn’t want to get back up, or didn’t think I could. Sometimes, the struggle is still real ya’ll. But the God I serve is the ultimate Healer, and He has done amazing things with my life in recovery. I am REDEEMED. In so many ways. I don’t know the person I used to be, because she was a shell. I have hope, because I have a Savior who promises to complete every good work He has started in me. Maybe you’re not a believer. Maybe you are. But God is the center of my story, and at the end of the day, I am grateful He chose to keep my here to use my voice and fight this illness. That’s huge- when I was at my worst I truly would have rather died than continue to live that way.

This too shall pass. It absolutely will. Your struggles will not always define you.
If you choose recovery- no one can make you. You have to do the work. There will be days you want to throw in the towel, sometimes more days than not. But that will pass and you will see how beautiful it is to be alive and to be loved.

So be brave.
It’s worth it.
Ok?

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Oatmeal Protein Bars

by Lindsey 0 Comments
Oatmeal Protein Bars
Easy to make, great to eat!

Fiiiinally getting around to posting this recipe I decided to try out! The recipe itself is not mine- it came from Kodiak Cakes Protein Packed Flapjack and Waffle Mix (say that 3 times fast). Kodiak Cakes is basically a pancake and waffle mix on steroids, and it makes some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had! You can learn more at www.kodiakcakes.com and find more recipes too.

Oatmeal Protein Bars

1 cup Kodiak Cakes mix

1 scoop protein powder of your choice (I used Cellucor Cinnamon Swirl)

1 very ripe banana

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1tsp cinnamon (optional)

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups oats

Combine all of the above ingredients and mix well. Then, the fun part- choose your mix ins! Some suggestions I have are: raisins, dried fruit, shredded coconut, chia seeds, almonds, chocolate chips, peanut butter, almond butter, etc. For the batch of bars I made, I used a little bit of everything, plus some chocolate covered dried super fruits I had from Costco.

Mix in your mix ins (these are optional), and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!

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Loss and Limes

I’ve learned a lot about loss the past year. As I sit here and write this, I even feel a little bit guilty- why choose to write about the bad stuff when I also have SO much good stuff in my life? I have a tremendous amount to be thankful for, but I’ve learned that the good does not cancel out the bad and vice versa. So yes, in many aspects I’ve had the best year of my life, but it has also been one of the hardest. And I choose to share my struggles, because it is in not sharing our sadness that life gets overwhelming. Unmanageable. Too much to handle. Not worth fighting for. I choose to share my struggles because without them, I don’t know if I would fully appreciate the blessings that God gives me too.

Three days before Christmas I lost my best friend. She cut herself out of my life for reasons I’ll never know or understand. I know her better than anyone, and I know this meant I might as well be dead to her. Two days ago, it was my husband and I’s one year anniversary of our marriage. Five weeks after we got married, my brother in law; my husband’s very best friend; took his own life. The day of his funeral was exactly five Sunday’s after our wedding. One day after my 30th birthday my sweet sister friend from treatment died, leaving those of us who loved her in shock. She had fought SO hard for SO long.

Three. Two. One. Gone.
I didn’t get to say goodbye. I didn’t get to try and understand their pain and help them.

Grief makes us quiet; probably one of the reasons I’ve written so inconsistently. We think grief is like a shell- eventually it hardens and keeps away the rest of the world- but that’s not true. I would love to sit here and say grief is healing but I’m not sure I feel that way just yet. Grief made me unreasonable, bitter, afraid. Grief kept me up with nightmares, it made me worry if I didn’t know where my husband was at every minute, it made me try to fix other people’s problems for them.

Grief is me picking up limes at the grocery store and suddenly having tears in my eyes because limes remind me of how Will showed me how to get the most juice out of them for margarita making, when we visited us 2 weeks before he died. Grief is me seeing Kaila’s happy Instagram life, and knowing what she is hiding- how she is suffering from a severe eating disorder- and lashing out at her in anger. It’s not fair. I tell her. You’re a fake. Emily was fighting and you aren’t and why is she not here. Grief is me dreaming about the beautiful toast Amanda gave at my rehearsal dinner, the night before I got married. It brought tears to almost everyone’s eyes and I never felt so loved, so when I wake up the next morning I roll over and reach for my phone to text her, but suddenly remember she isn’t part of my life anymore.

It’s stupid. I tell my therapist, a dozen times. So stupid. I’m crying over limes in the store, trying to reason with my friend who doesn’t want help, and I should have seen the thing with Amanda coming. She’s crazy. I hate this, it’s stupid, and I hate that I can’t use my eating disorder to effectively cope with all this anymore.

It’s NOT stupid. She says. You say that about anything you don’t want to feel and process. It’s scary and hard but calling it stupid makes it insignificant to you.

The woman has a point. God knows, she has seen enough of me the last several years to often know the truth before I do. And we both know I’m right- I can’t use my eating disorder to cope with all the scary feelings anymore. I’ve tried. But I can’t starve, cut, drink, run, throw up, or over exercise the feelings away. I can’t go numb anymore.

I have to feel.
And it’s hard.
And it hurts.
And I hate it.
But it isn’t stupid.

Stupid is pretending those things that meant so much didn’t matter. Stupid is trying to minimize the losses and cancel them out with the happy, fluffy stuff. Stupid is listening to what the world says and “sucking it up” so no one sees my vulnerability. My God, what would happen if people actually knew people were hurting?!

Maybe there wouldn’t be so much hurting.

I’ll show you mine, if you’ll show me yours. We all have scars. Pain. Heartbreak. And a lot of times, we hide that. I’m not saying to walk around like an open book, professing your sorrows to anyone who will listen.

But grief makes you quiet.
And when we are quiet- we can listen.

If you try hard enough in the listening part, you can hear. You can hear things other people can’t. You can hear others, and you can see others grieve. Before you think what the hell, listen. Look.

That woman in yoga who came up to me before class and thanked me for sharing my story on my blog- she’s suffered with body image issues for years and is trying to juggle being a mom to two little kids. I gave her a little bit of hope.

The older woman I sat down next to at the all day immersion and told my story to- she’s never felt like enough. Now she feels less alone, and more brave.

That Instagram post where I hash-tagged “eating disorder recovery” and boldly declared that despite the struggles, recovery is worth it- someone saw that and maybe for the first time, started to believe it was true. They messaged me and we exchanged stories, and that person is in recovery now. They’re struggling but they’re trying and that beats the hell out of living with no hope.

That time I changed my profile on Facebook to the eating disorder recovery symbol- someone I was in Girl Scouts with saw that and decided that if I were brave enough to do that, then maybe she was brave enough to to try to fight.

That time a nurse from another unit asked me what my tattoo meant and I told her- she has a daughter suffering with an eating disorder and doesn’t know how to help her. Her daughter is the same age you were when things got really bad and no one said anything.

That patient I admitted who overdosed and starts crying then I helped her get dressed- she wishes she would have died; but no one means it more than me when I whisper to her I know it feels that way now, but there are so many people who are glad you’re still here.

Those parents I handed their dying child to- I ignore the rule that says “There’s no crying in the PICU” and dammit, I cried with them because I’m freaking human and death sucks and life is completely unfair.

Grief makes you quiet, but do not let it make you hard. Don’t let loss silence the one thing God gave us that we don’t ever use for evil- compassion.

There is so much sadness in the breaking of our hearts, but there is beauty too. It allows us to relate to other people genuinely. We can grieve without stopping time and looking like the fool so many of us are afraid of others seeing when we feel our losses. Maybe when bad stuff happens, I can listen, and I can hear someone in their grief, turn to them, and say: Me too. I know. There isn’t a need to create a fake Instagram life; to take yourself out of this world with no explanation; to end a relationship to punish someone else; to lose this fight we call life. You aren’t ever alone. Ever.

So I try to own it. I try to own the mess that I feel like I am sometimes but rarely let myself be. Like it or not, deny it or confirm it, admit or hide it- we all have our stuff. I’ve been through a season of loss and it isn’t stupid. I can be sad. I can be angry, even if I’ve had amazing things happen to me along to way too. I can hate having the loss there to dim the amazing. Pain is pain is pain. You and I do not have to justify that at anyone. But in the silence, when grief slides in and covers all the light- because we know sometimes it will- be still and listen. I can’t save the people I are lost, but I can do the best to help others find healing in my wounds.

It’s not stupid. I say. Even if I don’t really feel that way. I’ll make myself say it. It’s not stupid that I’m sad, and angry, and hateful. It’s human.

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Life Right Now

I haven’t posted much at all lately, sorry guys! Life has been nonstop busy so I thought I would pop in and show you a little of what I’ve been up to. Life healthy is great- yes, I still have struggles daily, but for the most part, I am living how LINDSEY wants to. That is worth every hard day in recovery, hands down.

Spending time with the people I love is one of the most important things to me. I’ve been to lots of fun social events that would have been miserable for me if I was still letting the eating disorder rule my life.

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Nashville Predators wine festival.

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Being silly with my favorite humans.

Traveling is also something I’ve started to get to do more and enjoy. No longer is it am opportunity for me to use travel as an excuse to restrict and lose weight. I’ve been to visit my brother in Florida and road tripped to a wine festival in North Carolina.  Later this week I leave to visit my college friend in New Orleans!

Chill in' at a winery in Boone, NC

Chill in’ at a winery in Boone, NC.

 

Who run the world- GIRLS

Who run the world- GIRLS!

For anyone who does not think the hard work is worth it- it absolutely is.  For anyone who doesn’t believe in freedom- is it there waiting for you. Do the hard work. Make the scary decisions and step into the fear. Accept hope and support. Recovery is for everyone; I will always believe that now that I have seen healthy. It’s never too late, you’re never too far gone, you’re never the exception to the rules your eating disorder gives you. You CAN be better. I’m proof. Recovery will eventually become DISCOVERY.  You get to see what you really llove and enjoy. You find favorite foods. Relationships with people deepen and are more meaningful. You feel experiences, not just exist through them.

“You have the power to heal your life and you need to know that. We think so often we are helpless, but we’re not. We always have the power of out minds…claim and consciously use your power.” 

Celebrate life

Celebrate life

Creek walk days with my lil sidekick

Creek walk days with my lil sidekick

 

Vulnerability

“Rather than deny our vulnerability, we lean into both the beauty and agony of our shared humanity. Choosing courage does not mean we are unafraid; it means that we are brave enough to love despite the fear and uncertainty.” –Brene Brown

I didn’t go through life thinking vulnerability was a good thing. I actually associated it with negativity. Being vulnerable automatically means you can’t handle your emotions, and you’re just one of those dramatic people that cry all the time about stupid shit.

I could be wrong. I grew up playing competitive sports, and I’m an ICU nurse. There isn’t a whole lot of room for vulnerability in those two things. Suck it up. Work harder. Don’t cry; don’t let anyone see you cry.

I remember when I moved to North Carolina, where I started my recovery journey, and my best friend there jokingly labeled me as a “crier.” I remember feeling like SUCH a loser. Shame crept in as I told myself, “How can you look so weak and needy to other people? How embarrassing. What the heck has recovery done to you?”

Recovery has made me vulnerable. It has made me dig through times in my life I am ashamed of. It has made me expose parts of myself I’ve kept hidden from everyone. It has made me cry IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE- like, more than once. Or twice. Or more times than I can count. Snot-nosed, red-faced, ugly crying in front of all sorts of people in my life. Vulnerability has come with owning my story, and with sharing it. Vulnerability is messy. It is uncomfortable.

I know it’s just not me that feels this way. How many of us were raised with the “don’t talk about it and it doesn’t exist” mentality? Isn’t avoidance easier? We call it “not liking confrontation” to justify tip-toeing around the things in life that make us uncomfortable and emotional. For many, addiction (eating disorder or otherwise) takes the place of being vulnerable. Example: Someone hurts my feelings…like legit hurts my feelings. When do I cry? When no one is looking. How do I cope? I restrict, exercise, and/or minimize.

I wonder if we are afraid of vulnerability because deep down, we know what power it has. Emotions are powerful- they can determine the course of your life. Vulnerability seems more out of control, and who wants to feel out of control in any part of their life?!

What I’ve learned about vulnerability in my recovery is that it means I am brave. I have the courage to share and show my feelings, even when the opinion is unpopular. It allows me to admit I am not perfect in a world that is constantly trying to define and redefine perfection. I had this idea in my head about therapy- that once I talked about something, everything I felt about it would simply melt away. It’s the idea I started recovery with- give it a few months of treatment, and I’ll be all better. But, treatment is not a cure. It is a band-aid, and the medicine is vulnerability. Being brave enough to sit on a couch in a therapists office for an hour a week going through all your shameful shit- that’s hard stuff. Sometimes I have to count to ten really slowly in my head so I don’t just get up and leave a session because I’m so frustrated. And honestly, I spend more time bullshitting in therapy because it’s easier than owning my stuff and having feelings. Writing posts like this and putting myself out there for whoever the heck wants to see- it’s not easy. I worry about what people might think, how they might see me differently, etc. I am afraid. I am uncertain. Vulnerability is hard.

Being vulnerable allows others to learn from your life. When I write a post on Instagram about how I’m doing so well but BAM, one day my eating disorder decides I need a FitBit, and I jump on a scale, and I want to go back to being unhealthy- I have people thank me for that. For me, vulnerability has had a lot to do with admitting everything is not rainbows and roses. Being vulnerable ties us together as humans, because we all struggle. Being vulnerable creates meaning between people who don’t even know each other- “Hey, I feel that way too.” What a relief to know we aren’t alone in our crazy, irrational minds. What a blessing to know we are not alone in life.

So, I challenge you. And, I challenge myself. The next time someone you care about genuinely wants to know how you are, tell them the truth. When a friend calls you out, own it. Don’t just own it, but really think about if what you are doing serves you and the people around you. When you’re too anxious or scared to do something you know needs to be done, do it. Don’t wait. We always think we have time. If someone hurts you, tell them. Instead of holding a grudge or cutting them off, talk to that person. Admit you have feelings. They do too. The next time you want to lie in therapy, skip a meal, or run that extra five minutes- don’t. Take a look at why you’re avoiding vulnerability.

Note to self: To have vulnerability is HUMAN. It is not weakness, it doesn’t make me a wimp, it doesn’t mean there is an absence of strength. The ability to be vulnerable, and confident in such a place- is it actually a sign of strength?

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Recap: Baptiste All Day Immersion

by Lindsey 0 Comments

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One Saturday, I got up at 3 a.m to do yoga. Last weekend actually. I went to Louisville, Kentucky with several people from my yoga studio to an all day immersion, led by Baron Baptiste, the son of the founder of Baptiste Yoga.

What is Baptiste Yoga? It is a practice that is built upon a physical yoga practice, meditation, and inquiry. The goal is transformation- into full potential, creativity, passion; and development of confidence, autheticity, and possibility. Yeah so…what does that mean? In my own words, Baptiste is a practice that will change your life- if you are willing. In this practice, I have found anxiety relief, physical strength, breath, FUN, new goals and intentions, and confidence. More importantly, I have found community. Friends! Like friends who like the same exercise as I do! For the first time in my life, I’m not just exercising to burn calories or “earn” food; but I am practicing to be a better version of myself. I am practicing because it gives me peace. I am practicing because yoga plays a huge part in my recovery.

Anyways. In classic Epic Yoga style, the group I carpooled with arrived approximately 10 minutes before the programs start. We grabbed our mats, straps, and blocks, and made our way to the very back of the room. Music was blaring and the room had so much energy! Baron Baptiste appeared shortly after, thanking us all for coming.

250+ yogis!

Until lunchtime, we were led through several fundamentals, breaking down parts of the practice we frequently do. It’s amazing what looking at something in great detail can help you change the way you do it…and leave you sore in muscles you didn’t know existed the next 3 days after! During lunch our Epic tribe took the opportunity to snap a few group photos as we ate outside in the beautiful weather.

I Am...EPIC

Since Baptiste Yoga is not solely about the physical practice, we spent the first part of the afternoon in “Inquiry.” For these exercises, we partnered up with someone near us and got pretty personal with some self-exploration (wait, this is supposed to be YOGA OMG). The room was filled with vulnerability, but also hope, as some brave yogis stood up and shared with 250+ people where wanted to give up being “stuck” in their lives, and what would be available if they let go of what keeps them stuck. Think of it this way:

Q: Where are you stuck? What would be possible if you let that go?

“I open myself up to the possibility of ____ and I let go of ____.”

What would you fill in the blanks with? Some of the things I heard were:

“I open myself up to the possibility of love, and I let go of being hurt and angry.

“I open myself up to the possibility of being enough, and I let go of insecurity.”

I open myself up to the possibility of deepening my practice, and I let go of expectations I have for myself.”

Baron Baptiste had us repeat these statements over and over again to are partners. You could see the tears and hear the laughter as people dropped what they knew. I could straight up FEEL the lightness, relief, confidence, and joy that came from this. One of my teachers is a firm believer in not putting labels on yourself and speaking what you want out loud. To be in a room of 250 people doing just that was pretty powerful stuff. Try it. See what comes up.

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After Inquiry we moved on to Meditation. Personally, this aspect is my biggest struggle. I have a hard time quieting my mind and focusing on being present! I fidget, my legs all asleep, my back hurts, my mind wanders, etc. I can’t say I was particularly moved by the meditation aspect of the program, but I know many yogis were. Meditation is something I want to work on, because I am aware of the benefits it will bring.

Then…PRACTICE! It was SO neat to practice a yoga sequence with such a large number of people. Breath and flow filled the room, and I for one forgot about the outside world and its stressors. It was just me and my mat and my heartbeat and my body moving. Peace.

 

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My teachers say “Yoga is about life.” I have to agree with them, even though some days I wonder if I “drank the Kool-aide” when I feel in love with this practice and the people I share it with. The weekend taught me to never say never. Had you told me a few years ago I would spend my time doing something like this, I would have laughed. If you told me I would be healthy enough to do this, I wouldn’t have believed you.But God knew what I needed in my life so much better than I did. Everytime I have said NO, He has helped make me a YES. Epic Yoga- the practice and the people- they’ve helped save me. I can see that there is life beyond my comfort zone, and that I can thrive there. I can see that letting go of fear and insecurity is healing. If you don’t change, you don’t grow.

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So do something that scares you. Give something a chance that you’ve written off. Let people into your life. Be emotional. Be vulnerable. Fight for what you want. You might just surprise yourself- your life might just be transformed if you remove what isn’t supposed to be there in the first place.

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