Tuesday Pick-Me-Up #1

Taking a quick break from drowning in paperwork to write this (aka on break at work) – I’m going to try and start a new type of post every Tuesday. I hate Tuesdays, they’re usually my biggest slump day of the week. Maybe that’s just me, but, Tuesdays are my “in desperate need of something to cheer me up” days. They also happen to be my biggest retail therapy day. Keep me away from Ann Taylor and TJ Maxx on Tuesdays. And the internet in general.

So, I want to try and compile a list of things that perk me up each Tuesday – whether they be something cute I saw online (buyable or no), an article that I read and really enjoyed, something nice that happened, or just an inspirational quote I ripped from my Pinterest board. Whatever. Probably better to show than tell:

Tuesday Pick-Me-Up #1

3 Simple Tricks to Improve Running Form (And Have the Best Run Ever)
3 Quick and Dirty Tips to Prevent Running Injuries for Good

Finding out what shin splints really are...

Finding out what shin splints really are…

These article, from Greatist, were short and to the point but the tips were great and better yet, information I didn’t already know. I’ve complained about it before I’m sure but I have a tendency to struggle with shin splints whenever I’m running a lot – I’ve learned they’re mostly from my stride and overworking myself. Luckily, though I had some pretty severe shin pain after running Friday, I was way more mindful yesterday and today and it’s completely gone (phew!). I genuinely love running and I hate when I have to cut back because my muscles are pulling away from the bone. Btw, yeah, that’s what shin splints do. And stress fractures, for those curious, are when the muscle pulls part of the bone away with it and – yeah. I’m grossed out too. So, I don’t want that. And the author of these short articles (seriously, check them out, even if running isn’t your favorite thing), Jason Fitzgerald, is a certified track coach so if he doesn’t know what’s up with running, we’re all screwed.

Mod Cloth’s Extra Soar-age Shower Caddy

CaddyI do not need this but it is easily the one of the cutest effing things in the whole entire world. My next place may (read: most definitely) have a woodland creatures-type theme. It’s okay, just call me Snow White. Can be found for purchase here: Extra Soar-age Shower Caddy. ModCloth’s home decor section in general is awesome – though a little price-y for a lot of cute but silly knick knacks. Don’t get me wrong, I troll their page endlessly and suggest everyone go check it out.

 

Fitness Blender

Not my photo, obviously.

My friend Meara first told me about this website and I finally checked it out. And it is AWESOME. You can search for workouts by the amount of minutes you are willing to scrounge together, the amount of calories you’re willing to let go of, even the part of the body you would most like to improve. FYI, there is no such thing as “spot reducing” so if you looking to lose fat from your abs specifically, it’s not going to happen. You’ll just lose weight in general. But if you want to actually strengthen your core, you know what kind of exercises to look up. I felt the need to throw that info in there. I’m just a wealth of knowledge today, aren’t I? So this website is created by a married couple that look like they make all of their friends on social media jealous and it’s pretty awesome. So far, it looks free too so it sounds like an all around win to me. I spend a lot of money on a gym but you really have a lot of options when it comes to home workouts.

Lastly and on a completely unrelated note, I’m a huge horror/thriller/suspense movie fan. I love ’em; love being scared, adrenaline-racing, edge of my seat, holy shit holy shit holy shit scared. So on Halloween, Beau and I rented a horror movie called Dark Skies to watch, then ended up falling asleep because we’re really exciting people. I still wanted to see it so I watched it alone the next night and you guys it’s about aliens. I love ghost movies, and it was from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious so I thought, “Oooh scary ghostie movie!” I was so wrong. They showed the aliens. They had the long thin appendages and big heads and big eyes and seriously it was the most incredibly wrong turn a movie that showed promise could make. Aliens. Aliens. STOP IT.

– a.

Advertisements

Hot Yoga Made Me a Masochist

Fall...?

Fall…?

 

I’m not going to promise to write within any amount of time anymore because it clearly sets me up for failure. That being said, holy shit it’s Autumn. Did anyone else do the stop, turn left, turn right, narrow your eyes, and then slowly turn your head left again? Because I totally did. What I think is probably weirdest is that it’s 50 degrees today and that feels chilly, when in Spring it feels like angels are bathing me in joy and light. Like, why? I really think it’s psychosomatic but who knows for sure. If it’s an excuse to get a cute new jacket I’m totally going to run with it.

So, the rest of this summer has been super eventful. Mia familia went to the West Coast and it was never the same. I think we realized, as a whole, how much we have a tendency to bicker. All families do, sure, but my family is A+ BONUS points good at it. And usually it’s good-naturedly bickering at each other, arguing for the sake of arguing. It was a stressful week – a lot of sitting and driving and looking and going here here here and here; but it was probably one of the cooler vacations I’ve ever been on. We went to Crater Lake, which, everyone needs to see at least once in their lives. We devilschurnstopped in the Redwoods National Park and hugged some really big trees – that actually may have been my favorite part of the entire trip. We hiked probably a total of three miles and it was incredible. I honestly can’t put it into words. Everyone was pretty quiet that entire hike, just looking at the trees. We spent a few days at the beach in Newport, Oregon, which was super freaking cold. But we also stopped at Devil’s Churn, which other than turning into a “let’s all get as close as possible to the death pool” adventure, was massively cool. My poor mother nearly had a heart attack because we kept inching closer and closer.

Safety first, everyone. San Francisco was awesome, though stupid packed. I think it’s the kind of city I’d love to go back to with friends and check out more of the hip and trendy areas as opposed to stereotypical touristy places. On our drive from Newport to San Francisco (oh, yeah, that happened), we stopped in Sonoma for an hour or two to check out some of the big name wineries. I think there’s a special weather that is only right there in Sonoma and Napa Valleys because it was 78 degrees, sunny, and gorgeous the entire time but before and after wine country was chilly and windy. Something’s up with that. I can’t even begin to really fit all of the goings on of that week in a blog post without taking up all of it but my favorite parts were the farm cafe we ate breakfast at with my brother and his wife (they live out there – hence the reason for the trip), Crater Lake, Cards Against Humanity with my family (unreal), the Redwoods National Park, trolling the college town we stayed in with my sister, and the Japanese place we ate at in San Francisco. I think by the end of the week we were all pretty ready for our own beds and Old Bay Seasoning, but it was truly an amazing time and I’m really grateful for the experience. Vacation week very well spent.

There's a little dip in that island. Do you see it? That's the length of a football field. Enjoy perspective.

There’s a little dip in that island. Do you see it? That’s the length of a football field. Enjoy perspective.

So the West Coast was incredible. After we got back, life went pretty back to normal. I received a promotion at work and am really, genuinely enjoying what I do, met a really nice guy who I’ve been seeing for the last two months, and found hot yoga. I can’t begin, I mean really can’t begin, to promote it enough. I love yoga; have the apps on my phone, yoga clothes in my drawer (other than just yoga pants because I’m pretty sure all females between the ages of 14-40 have at least one pair), prerequisite yoga mat and carrier in my backseat, etc. I am a huge fan. I have woken up, intentionally, at 6:30 a.m. to prostrate myself in a room full of other half-awake humans. I say “Namaste” at the end of a class and mean it. I genuinely enjoy sitting and meditating – at least for roughly 20 minutes and then it’s all, “oh my god why is it so quiet,” and “someone turn off the repetitive flute chords.”

I digress. On my birthday, I decided to hit a hot yoga class at a place in my home town with my friend, Taylor. Neither of us had tried it before but I think we both kind of assumed it’d be some asanas in a warm room. A little downward dog, a little corpse, some warriors thrown in for spice…and I have never sweated so much in my entire life. The room was easily near 100 degrees and it was aggressive. I mean, we moved fast. Hard things happened. Buckets of sweat poured from every place in my body sweat can come from. And minus the one gentleman who took “breathe vocally” as “make extremely angry orgasm sounds every time you exhale for an hour”, it was euphoric. Taylor and I turned to each other halfway through, both looking like boiled beets (which don’t sound very appetizing, I might add), and said, “This is freaking awesome.” The rest is pretty much history. Sure, there was a time when getting up from a goddess squat into Warrior II that I got tunnel vision and almost blacked out, but the first time I did a yoga headstand was also in hot yoga. I praise it to everyone.

Back in August, I think, I tried aerial yoga with my friend Vicky up in PA and thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever tried, athletically. It still is super cool and I’m hoping to get back there in the next few weeks. But hot yoga challenges me, pushes me, makes me feel like 5’2″ of rubber and somehow I leave feeling like I can scale buildings. It’s hard. It’s really hard, and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But since then, we’ve coerced a few other friends to join us and they’ve liked it just as much. I already loved yoga – the movement, the difficulty, the spiritually, the lightness afterward – but, this kind of yoga brings me to a place I haven’t been able to find elsewhere. I feel home in three places – my actual home, with my support group, and in a yoga studio. I know yoga definitely has a cult following of perky 20-somethings looking for their latest calorie-burning fix but it’s so much more and with the right instructor, it becomes a lot more. I used to do yoga on break at work in the rehab; found empty group rooms and tried not to break my neck in the 30 minutes. But now I find other time, when I can genuinely focus on it and really work. It really hurts, I really push myself, but I love it.

Now all I need to find is a good yoga top that doesn’t chance any Janet Jackson-esque slips while doing Sun Salutations. Lots and lots of back and forth, up and down…can get dangerous fast. And I wanted to tack on the end here that my friend Meara and I are challenging ourselves this month to write for our respective blogs every day. I have a tendency to really only write when I’m going through big changes, usually painful ones. Like break ups. I write when I go through break ups and it makes for a really depressing blog and I’m really not a depressing person so I’m making an effort to change. I’m also concurrently doing a challenge via tumblr called “Happy Healthy Holidays” that’s all about setting your own goals, but strongly encourages clean eating 80% of the time and working out at least 3x a week. I’m incorporating a morning workout into my work days…I really don’t want to but it’s become excruciatingly clear that evening workouts aren’t working because I’m usually too tired or have other important places to be. So, I’ll be up at 6 a.m. tomorrow. I’ll try to at least mention my workouts here, for accountability if nothing else. Now, I have to go prep my lunches for the week because yeah, that happened to. I plan so many things now. My neurosis is so happy.

It’s great to be back!

– a.

That time I threw my scale at the wall

I disappeared for a bit, but only because I’ve been incredibly busy! The last few weeks have been full of work, working out, and as much time spent with friends and family as possible. In some cases, the best way for me to work through things is alone; after all, I’m someone who craves solitude. But, recently, getting out and doing things has really helped me to feel satisfied at the end of the day. Now that I’m really committed to getting in the best shape I can, my evenings are full of burpees, fast feet, sprints, V-ups, and the dreaded pull up bar. I have never, and I mean ever, been able to do a pull up. I don’t know if I’m alone here, but in all my active years, those muscles were never ones I worked on often. But, lucky for me, one of the instructors I really like (his classes are always upbeat, he’s full of energy, and his classes don’t murder my knees) always tries to incorporate pull ups.

This hasn't happened yet but I'm expecting it.

This hasn’t happened yet but I’m expecting it.

How strange, to feel trepidation at something as silly as a pull up bar. Before pull ups, it was push ups. Before that, sprints. But the more I work at something, regardless of how challenging, the more I look forward to the challenge. I think I should probably add mountain climbers and squat jacks to that list. Another trainer that I really enjoy loves to combine those and it makes my poor knees cry. But all this pain and growth has played a vital role in finding and better understanding myself. Who honestly enjoys admitting their shortcomings? Not me. But I have to.

I don’t have great knees, thanks in part to my own stupidity. I dislocated my knee in college one night at like 4:30 in the morning. My leg gave out, completely out of the blue, and I found myself laying on ice in starburst-worthy pain. I looked down, saw my right kneecap sitting at a 90 degree angle from where it belongs, and promptly shoved it all the way back into place. That was the first time I’ve actually been in such acute pain I almost threw up. I then got to drive my car across the parking lot to the first open spot available (I forget why I was all the way up at the full front…something stupid I’m sure) using my left foot, and limped across the entire parking lot screaming bloody murder and leaning on cars. I then hopped up two flights of stairs, wrapped my knee in sweaters and raised it on a pillow, and fell asleep. I called my mom the next morning to let her know what I ‘thought’ happened…like what else do you call the definite dislocation of your knee? After being completely appalled that I hadn’t sought medical attention yet, she drove up and drove me to the hospital, where I’m pretty sure they tortured me, then prescribed me Vicodin and a leg stabilizer. Thanks, hospital. Being the smart person I am, I worked on my healing knee as a server, using painkillers to make it bearable. I do think, to some extent, working on it has helped it from swelling and rebuilt strength more quickly, but I

These are just the injury pictures I had on Facebook. Clearly, I'm not a careful person.

These are just the injury pictures I had on Facebook. Clearly, I’m not a careful person.

definitely notice that my knees respond to high impact body work a lot more quickly.

Other than that, I managed to get thrown from a four wheeler in the middle of the woods directly onto my back two years ago. How I didn’t break my back/neck/smash my head against a tree/crack my head open/etc. is an honest-to-god miracle. The two guy friends I was with, one being my old roommate, thought for a few seconds that I had died. Did I ever seek medical attention? Of course not. What did I do? Get up, ride back to the campsite (aka my roommate’s backyard), take some ibuprofen, and continue to drink and camp with friends. I then went on vacation for a week, during which I didn’t have full range of motion and mysterious swelling in various places on my back. Common sense all around.

Lastly, last summer, in the wake of a break up, I was running a lot to help get me out of my own head and managed to do something to my lower back/right hip that causes me chronic pain and my hip popping out of place for no reason. Out of nowhere, during a run, I felt something, I don’t know, pull or change, and had pain that radiates from my sciatica ever since. I’ve mentioned before that I saw a doctor for it and he came up with a brilliant conclusion (basically that it was all in my head and I’m a big ol’ baby). All in all, I haven’t taken great care of my body from an impact standpoint. Before my injuries, I had 12 years of swimming, four years of tennis, 7 years of ballet, a year of gymnastics, 8 years of

My body's response to more than 5 SF classes a week.

My body’s response to more than 5 SF classes a week.

cheerleading, and one very sad attempt at track under my belt. My body has straight up had it with my bullshit at this point. So, this means that even though I’d like to go to SoldierFit classes 86 times a week, I have to limit it to 3-5, depending on the impact level of the classes that week. Otherwise my body will most definitely cry foul and I can only assume throw itself into a 300-esque pit.

Which leads to my point (finally, right?): I threw my scale the other day. Not away. Like, at a wall. After losing a disturbing amount quickly thanks to my break up and inability to eat during tumultuous times, I was shocked when it stayed stubbornly at the same weight for not one, not two, but THREE WHOLE WEEKS. Am I fully aware that this is likely due to muscle building and have I measured myself instead? Yes. I’m not an idiot, I know how the body works. But sometimes you just want the numbers to reflect it, weird as that sounds. And treating your scale like a frisbee, as momentarily gratifying as it was, doesn’t actually solve my problem. I’m sure it’s all a part of society, we’re taught that we aren’t healthy unless our weight is a certain number (I feel like women always try to round it to 120 pounds as being that ‘number’ they try to attain…even as a size 2 I was still 125 so I have no foggy notion why this is).

Caaarbs. Carby carby carbs.

Caaarbs. Carby carby carbs.

It’s really hard not to get impatient. I want the strength, endurance, and super fabulous body right now. Of course I do. But that’s not how it works, and the only way I’ll see results is if I keep going in a way that won’t cause my body to start self-flagellation. Will the results be as quick as they have been for others? Of course not. My body is different and, frankly, I love carbohydrates. I’m still craving pretzels like no other for reasons I’m still not fully aware of. I eat gluten (GASP). Once recently, I even put bacon down my feeding hole.

Okay, stop really quick. Feeding hole is disgusting and I apologize for that. Ew, Alyssa.

Otherwise, life has been pretty decent. I ran my first 5k two weekends ago. By ran, I mean jogged half and walked half because HAHAHA I can’t run 3.some miles nonstop yet. It was the Glo Run in Carlisle, PA and it was an absolute blast. My endurance definitely has increased though; another troop I take a lot of classes with told me last week that he’d seen a big change in my endurance already and I almost hugged him. I feel different, energy-wise and physically. My legs are normally where I see changes first and already they’re becoming pure muscle. I have muscles whose names I don’t know that are showing up to the party and helping me rock out the tire flips and 8 zillion squats. I find myself pushing to get just one more push up in before we change stations, even when my muscles are burning and that lazy part of my brain is saying, “He’s counting down from 3, you can stop…stop…ALYSSA JUST STOP MOVING.” It’s a good feeling. I mean, it hurts, but it’s good.

Nicki (left), Taylor (right), and me (where else) at the lake on the Fourth of July.

Nicki (left), Taylor (right), and me (where else) at the lake on the Fourth of July.

Last weekend was the Fourth of July (for anyone living under a rock since the Roman times, who has no concept of the calendar we use today) and it was a lot of fun. Last summer, my friends threw a party at their house and I had to sit through watching my ex and his new girlfriend be super in love for several hours. I had a good time, but nothing can put a damper on that like your ex-manthing’s new girlfriend talking to you about giving him fellatio. Let me tell you. This year, we all have kind of moved up and on our separate ways. I spent the morning/afternoon sitting by the lake at Cunningham Falls, lazily hooping and eating veggie chips. It was absolutely beautiful outside. We moved our party elsewhere around 3pm, due to the need for grilling and poolside nonsense. So, my group of friends and I traversed back to my friend Nicki’s house to grill and blow water out of pool noodles like 6 year olds. And it was just as hilarious as when we were six. Eventually, we toddled off downtown to watch the fireworks (which were astoundingly better than last year), then home to bed. Because even though pool noodles are hilarious, we all are usually asleep by 11 because…adulthood.

I have to note before I end this post that I typed it up yesterday and didn’t finish it until today because, you know, work and stuff, but I went to class yesterday and we practiced running backwards.

We practiced running backwards.

I AM TURNING INTO A SUPERHUMAN…with the hamstrings of a demigod. I also stepped back on the scale today and almost threw it again so I’m thinking it might be time to put it far away in a dark corner where I can’t get on it. I’m going to try and write more in depth about my experience running my first 5k, which is why I didn’t delve too much into it here. To some people, running a 5k is nothing. It’s three miles. But for me, this was about three years of “Oh I think I should” in the making before it actually happened. It deserves its own blog post with its own incredibly inappropriate gifs.

So life is picking up. On the ex front, my body decided it would be a super good idea to start having out of the blue, vivid dreams about him. Like happy ones. I woke up crying one morning because I hadn’t thought about all of those memories in a while – trying to forget, I guess. I’ve had a few others, sporadically, since then and I’m really hoping they stop because they’re creating way too many feelings I don’t want to have anymore. Loving someone who actually used the sentence, “Regardless of my feelings about you, I have to at least see if it can work with ____,”  is only asking for more pain. I also know that I can’t force myself to not love him anymore. Love and betrayal aren’t mutually exclusive. And I’m a person who finds it really difficult to fall in love, but when I do, it’s with all of me.

So pulling myself back out of that is going to take more time than I’d like it to. And for now, I’m going to accept that I still love him and use it to my advantage rather than as an excuse to wallow. I’ll continue to try and send only positive thoughts his way, and use it as a learning experience. If I’ve learned one thing (okay, I’ve learned a lot of things), it’s that I have changed. I’m not the person I was two or three years ago. I don’t have the same low self-esteem I had then. I found my loyalty, fidelity, and, honestly, maternal instincts I didn’t think I had. Somewhere in the last six months, I found my biological clock and now I feel like the crocodile in Peter Pan. I don’t know, that’s a whole other conversation for a different post. Anyway, only three more days until I’m on a plane to Oregon! There will be so much picture-sharing, I almost feel guilty already.

But not.

– a.

West Coast here I commmee!

West Coast here I commmee!

Breathing through it

The unexpected response from my last post has left my overwhelmed with gratitude – I have amazing, truly amazing, friends. One of the comments left on my blog page (Meg Mac) had me near tears. I don’t know what I did to deserve such kindness and caring from others, but I’m blessed to receive it. I wrote that for me to finally get my feelings down. To accept the pain, instead of running from it. It’s not easy, I have ups and downs and I’m embarrassed by it because I pride myself on being a strong, independent person. So to feel so much because of one person makes me feel very powerless. It’s hard. Especially when I don’t know, at the end of the day, if the other person is able to just forget everything. That makes me feel even more powerless, you know?

On Saturday, I impulsively went with a friend to get a tattoo at this place I’d never been before in my college town. Ever since I was probably 19, I wanted a tattoo on my ribs. I knew it was one of the more painful places to get one, I knew it could be more expensive (the one on my neck, $60 I believe, would have been $200 on my ribs!), I knew that I would see it all of the time. The choice changed over the years from a quote, to a dove, to a phoenix, to a phoenix and a dove, to a phoenix, a dove, and a quote (okay, now I’m kidding), to a list of other various things that never stuck. But the last few months I’ve been very sure I wanted one there and knew I wanted something that related to spirituality and balance. I ended up laying, shirt off in all of my semi-sheer running pants glory, with a young guy gouging into my skin for 45 minutes. And holy hell, did it hurt. I have multiple tattoos and piercings, I’m no newcomer to the pain, but when that needle hit the underside of “the goods”, it took all of the breathing exercises I knew to not tense up or move. Darlanna, my friend who’d gone with and already received her inked gifts, resorted to one-finger petting my shoulder. Apparently my face is not as stoic as I assume when facing acute pain.

But anyway, I had been laying there, wondering where on the 1-10 How Peeved Am I Scale my parents were going to land for this tattoo, and trying to follow what another friend had suggested during rib tattoos – breathing with the artist. It involves deep inhalations while the needle isn’t in your skin (that line made me cringe, not going to lie), and as he was tattooing, exhaling very slowly and steadily so as to not move too much too quickly. The last thing I wanted from my surprise excursion was a shaky kindergarten scribble decorating my side for the rest of my life. It wasn’t easy, there was a good looking guy stabbing me with an ink-filled needle and loud, raucous music eliminating my ability to focus. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the raucous music. I downloaded it when I got home, but when you’re trying to reach a state of zen, any state or sub-state of zen, it’s rather impossible with sliding guitars in the background. I digress.

Doing that, trying to breathe with and through the pain rather than clenching my body and curling further into the fetal position (or falling to the floor, which I felt like doing for a few minutes there), helped immensely. I read an article about how people are only taught to breathe when facing great pain – like women in labor – but the benefits of breathing exercises are innumerable. Yoga and meditation first helped me understand that, though I can openly admit I still struggle with it and find myself holding my breath when expecting pain. I breathed and then it was over and I was filled with lightness (also known as endorphins) and was ecstatic. Thinking about it last night, I realized that the experience had other real world applications.

I woke up this morning in a bad place. It’s Tuesday, I stayed up entirely too late watching Gilmore Girls (Team Jess forever and all that), I still have to peel my ribs off of the sheets because I have a tattoo healing and apparently I like sleeping on it, and I’m sad. Not devastatingly sad, not world-ending sad, not oh-god-hide-the-butter-knives sad…just sad. And hopefully, as today goes on, that’ll pass and I’ll distract myself with more important things and feelings, but right now I feel heavy. Not literally heavy, mind you, I’ve lost almost 20 pounds since the break up. Not healthy, no, but do I look awesome? Yes. I’ll accept it as positive collateral damage. Does that exist? I need more sleep.

If you ever want to make yourself very aware of the passing of time, troll your own Facebook. Look at what you’ve said. It’s like the world’s most public diary, for some more than others. I try not to post too many emotional things to Facebook (Twitter, etc etc) because…well, it’s not everyone’s business. Some people like posting shit about how miserable they are, how badly they were hurt, and so on but I really try not to. I usually end up regretting things I’ve shared in moments of strong emotion. But, anyway, I looked back and saw way too much that made me sadder. I have that tendency, to fully accept an emotion I drag myself more deeply into it so that I can really feel it. There’s a slight possibility I’m a masochist. But there was this status I had posted about being taken care of when I was sick and a comment from him saying that he loved me and would always take care of me. Fuck, that hurt. And then I promptly wanted to kick myself because all I was doing was twisting the knife. Of course he said that, and probably meant it, but he doesn’t now and it is not fucking healthy to wish anything otherwise.

I spoke with a friend last night on the phone at length, first about the over-medication of our generation (um, because for real you guys, it should be talked about), but then about part of what I had written. I went on and on because I have a tendency to do that when highly caffeinated but I also said things important for me to let sink in: I am right in how I feel. It is okay for me to be conflicted, angry, hurt, lonely, and sad. It’s okay to not be sure what the right choice is. It’s okay to miss him. It’s okay to wonder. And there’s nothing wrong with playing out the millions of conversations (most of them involving yelling) I would have liked to have had. But, though those feelings are perfectly okay and I should let myself feel them, I need to play the reel all the way through and acknowledge that for all he’s said, even last week, it is not right, okay, fair, or acceptable to let someone put me in a one-sided relationship. I deserve far more respect than to be told all of these things I want to hear and not have the actions reciprocate. You want to keep me in your life? Okay. Answer the goddamn phone when I text you, not when I get angry about it. I am not, nor will I let myself be, someone who stays hidden in the background of someone else’s life. It would be doing a disservice not only to myself, but to him, to let him believe that it is okay to hold onto someone without actually being willing to be an active part of their life. Relationships, no matter what kind, are a two-way street. I know his past is littered with people, especially the woman he’s with right now, who have let him believe that it’s okay to treat someone like that and they’ll just come back and push down and try to forget everything. I can’t do that to him, or myself.

I keep trying to tense up, like I normally do, to this pain. I keep trying to block it out, or ignore it, when it does come and pretend like I can shed that kind of love like a winter coat. But to forget that the same winter coat kept me warm when it was cold outside it to damn myself to repeat the same mistakes. I’m like the kid who curls over and tries to let the dodge ball hit my shoulder instead of my head when I should be reaching out and attempting to catch it. I am no less accepting than I was the other night of anything, but I am also trying to be more aware of myself. Accepting pain doesn’t mean not feeling it. It means taking that deep breath and exhaling slowly and feeling it, all of it. I can compare it to anyone’s break up I want to try to make myself feel guilty, but that won’t make the pain less. Trying to shame myself for hurting won’t solve the hurt. Then I’ve just added shame to the hurt and oh wow, can you say downward spiral?

Every day I miss him. Every day, at least once, something happens and it reminds me of him or makes me want to reach out. I have never ever felt this way, and it’s weird, because I compared my post to the last post I wrote regaling that last time someone dumped me, so to speak, which was exactly a year before. Like same week and everything, how’s that for shit luck? But, I compared it and found almost stunning similarities in my mindset. I reassured myself last year that I shouldn’t want to be with someone that doesn’t respect me. And that’s difficult, because he did respect me…until he didn’t. So it’s okay to miss him, it’s okay to want to talk to him and wonder if he has thought about me or if he is as conflicted about it all as he’s said, but it’s not okay to pretend like I’m in any state of being to forgive and accept what he’s done. That would be impulsive, codependent, toxic, and cruel (to me). To act like all of this isn’t effecting me would be a lie. To continue to put myself in a position wherein I feel like someone’s second choice, whether I am or not (let’s face it, he made me that), is cruel. If he really can’t live without me, if he is as messed up over all of this as he’s said, he’s just as capable of picking up the phone and telling me the things he sees that made him think of me.

Today, my tattoo is still tender, scabbed, and healing. My mom poked it, because sometimes she thinks things are a good idea that are just not, and it still hurt intensely. The rest of me feels very similarly, but I think the most important word is the last one: Healing. It is healing, I am healing. I am still tender, hurt, confused, and sad. I am very, very sad. But, I am healing.

 

A Story, of sorts.

This is an airing of dirty laundry, I suppose. But rather than spend the next however many weeks making subtle daggers on Facebook or posting leading quotes on Instagram, I figured it would be best for me to get my feelings down and out. If you read this, I’ll assume you wanted to. If you didn’t, then simply don’t read it.

I fell in love with an addict in recovery. At his best, he was honest, charming, trustworthy, kind, funny, sweet, endearing, charismatic, emotional, heartfelt, optimistic, and down to earth. I was so lucky as to see that for the majority of our relationship. At his worst, he was sneaky, unfaithful, dishonest, disrespectful, thoughtless, depressed, and impulsive. I saw and recognized these flaws, and loved him anyway. Some who read this know him, many don’t. I fell in love with a man separated from a high school sweetheart, who had two beautiful children, and a laundry list of baggage from that relationship that I acknowledged, and trusted him to work through. Not for me, mind you, but for himself. Nobody deserves to carry that heavy a load.

From the day that I saw him again, I knew that he had a spark in his eye for me. I was fully aware of it and chose to ignore it to the best of my ability. I downplayed the flattery, ignored the flirtation, and fully believed that as his life moved forward, he and I would likely never speak again. But he persisted and found me online and reached out and I found myself falling. I was on my phone all day, laughing those serious stomach-clenching, face-turns-purple laughs that are often times hard to come by with people you don’t know all that well. I started accepting his flirtation and I flirted back. We talked until 4 a.m. those first few nights, never running out of things to say. We watched movies from our beds and laughed about them, making jokes about the hair gel budget for the Percy Jackson movies and the abomination that became City of Bones (seriously, what the fuck you guys?). I had ideas of us grabbing coffee and getting to know each other slowly and maybe letting it blossom into something. I forgot the impulsivity of addicts. We met, hiked, and he kissed me at the summit in quite possibly the most romantic way possible. We spent the rest of the night together, giggling and touching like two kids in high school. I imagine that’s probably what’s going on now, with her.

Within a week or so, he had me calling him because he wanted to tell me that he loved me. It’s crazy, it’s way too soon, I don’t even understand how this is happening or how I feel this way – that kind of “I love you.” And though I didn’t say it back at the time, regardless of my feelings, it was there. I had loved him the first night that I spent at his house, watching him run around cooking for me. I loved him when he lay down next to me after sleeping with me, uttering comments about how he’d never experienced anything like this before. I loved him with all of my stupid, stupid heart.

Our relationship progressed and everything was…I mean, it was perfect. I laughed with him all of the time, had the most amazing sex life a 24-year-old could dream of, and was awestruck with gratefulness that I had finally found someone who could be so wonderful to me. When we argued, we argued with purpose. When he was down, I was there to lift him up or at least stay on the phone with him until he lifted himself up. When I was down, he reassured me and helped me to see another perspective. He told me I was beautiful almost every day. He told me I was the last woman he ever wanted to sleep with, that he wanted to marry me, that he had never felt this way about another human being. He called me his soul mate. And I believed him. I still do, to an extent.

I met his children, earlier than I would have liked due to the brevity of the relationship, but I trusted him and I fell in love with them. The two sweetest, most amazing children. He held his daughter and me in his arms and called us his two favorite girls in the world. He almost cried when he saw me holding his daughter, dancing with her and kissing her cheek. I almost cried when his son told me he loved me. I loved them fully, without condition or explanation.

And then something unexpected happened. And it shook our relationship, made everything very serious very fast. He supported me, to the best of his ability, through it. But I think something during that broke the pedestal he put me on. We were both very human. One night, we argued horribly and I had ended up enunciating that I was not his ex. And he hung up on me. Then called me back. And we talked about it, because that’s what people in healthy relationships do. But I had to say it, because I’m not. I am a confrontational, upfront, honest person who will tell someone exactly how I feel and I have always been this way. She, from what I have been told and what I observed during their regular (she saved them for the weekends when she knew he was with me) screaming matches on the phone, is far more passive aggressive. So when he would accuse me of not meaning what I said, I took offense. I realized, and he acknowledged, that the relationship he had with her was all he knew of relationships and he was still learning that not all relationships are like that. People aren’t always snide or cruel during arguments.

But then, she wanted to talk to him about the kids. I encouraged it; after all, I fully believe two people can co-parent and be adults about it. They were going to meet somewhere in public and talk. They didn’t. And while I was at a work function, he slept with her. The woman he had done nothing but bad mouth for the last six months. The woman who had tried to keep his kids from him, who had turned his mother against him, who had done nothing but belittle any accomplishments he had made. Who, while I fully believe that she loves him in her own way, told him that she hoped I got pregnant and stalked my Instagram, and watched his house as I left one day. The woman who made him scream “CUNT” in the hallway and I had to follow him outside and peel out of him what was wrong, before he and I ever got involved. And then he spent Easter weekend with me like nothing had happened.

He slept with her again and finally told me about it two days later. I gave him credit, most people hide it for far longer. Almost relapsing will do that to you, I guess. That night, I raced down to his house and held him. And the next day, he broke up with me. After a slew of excuses, he used his infidelity as ammunition to make me hate him. And I was broken. What had happened? Only a week and a half ago, this was the man who drove and hour and a half down to take care of me when I was sick with the stomach flu on a work night. The man who even that past weekend told me I would make a wonderful stepmother. A woman sitting in the car next to me at a stoplight saw me crying on the phone with him. She stared and I just didn’t care, because my life was turned upside down.

Few know my story, who I was and who I am today. He didn’t even really know. If he had met my friends from college, they could’ve told him all of the changes I made being with him. I spent my weekends changing diapers and watching Pokemon, for Chrissake. The latter wasn’t as out of the ordinary, but still. For the first time in my adult life, I had truly known what it meant to be in love with someone else. As shocking as I found that, I accepted it. As surprising as it was to hear a man tell me he wanted to marry me and sing song what my married name would be, I accepted it. And I believed it. My happiness had shined out of me like a homing beacon. It was ripped away from me.

While I laid on my friend’s couch sobbing that night, he laid in bed with her posting Facebook statuses about butterflies and deleting any acknowledgement of our relationship from social media. God forbid should they acknowledge that he had loved another woman, right? I tried to make sense of what the actual hell had just happened because everyone was blindsided. Everyone. I thought of the last time he broke up with another woman to go back to her, the last time they separated, and wondered if maybe she wasn’t so crazy as to throw things at him. The next day, I gathered all of my things from his house and gave him back everything while he worked. I cleaned the dishes in his sink and put a load of laundry in his washing machine because, well, I reasoned that it was the decent thing to do. I’m still not sure why. I broke down crying in his living room seeing everything we had built in piles. His roommate’s dog came over and laid on me and licked my face while I gathered myself. I went home and texted him a goodbye that night.

The next day, he asked me to call him and told me that he still loved me, that hadn’t changed, that he may be making the biggest mistake of his life, that he was sick over what he did, and a barrage of all of the things that I wanted to hear. He started calling me my nickname and asked me to come up to an event with him. He told me she hadn’t changed, he had no idea what he was thinking. He asked me to see a movie with him, asked if I would spend the night. I obliged, the optimistic idiot that I am. And it was perfect, because of course it was. He ran to me in the rain and kissed me and held me so tightly I couldn’t breathe for a moment and it was glorious. I was shining again. We said we had a lot to work through, a lot of honesty needed to come back into our relationship, and we spent the night like we had never lost each other in the first place. He asked me if I was excited about the beach trip we had planned with his friends over the past few months, that was due to happen…today actually. I held onto him tightly and said that of course I was.

By Sunday morning, he was moody again. Conflicted, pushing down his feelings and trying to generalize everything. Said he needed to work through his emotions. And then he said he had to go start this mysterious new second job but no, he didn’t want me to drive him. When I suggested that I would wait around for him, he looked alarmed. “Here?” he asked, gesturing at his house. I shrugged noncommittally, because I had friends in town I could visit. Before I could even sit down to lunch with said friends, I received a flurry of texts explaining that he was going to Hershey Park with his ex, whom he had said he broke things off and who didn’t want to talk to him, because his son wanted him to go. He said he wouldn’t stay long and it was for his son. I asked about his job and he said he was already off. I told him it made me uncomfortable, but I wanted to rebuild trust so I trusted him, and I wanted him to make his son happy. He made me wait until she dropped him off to come back over to his house, like a mistress. We ended up arguing that night, horribly. I cried in the fetal position, finally saying what I hadn’t wanted to: That he devastated me. That I had trusted him, implicitly, and he violated it. He shattered it. And then made a joke about the infidelity after spending the afternoon with her. That he should, for once, put himself in my shoes.

The next morning, he needed time to think. That Wednesday, he asked me to come down because he needed me to hold him. I intended for it to be a night where we hashed things out because he said what likely caused his infidelity were resentments about a choice I had made. When I got there, it was clear sex was his first choice and then afterward said he didn’t want to talk about anything, he just wanted to have a good night. Like someone can just push aside all of those thoughts and feelings for the time being with no regard to them. I had told a friend on the phone the day before that I had a feeling he hadn’t actually told his ex he didn’t want to be with her, and my friend said, “Alyssa, what have I always said about your intuition?” I swallowed dryly and replied, “It’s right.” So I asked him, point blank if he had after he tried to dodge me hearing him call to his kids to say goodnight. He said that yes, he had told her he didn’t want to try to make things work and he didn’t want to be with her. He had said this on Friday, but what I had started noticing were his actions didn’t follow his words. And I believed him, because I wanted to trust him.

That Saturday morning, he broke up with me again. On Facebook. And when I tried to call him to figure out what the hell had happened, he refused to answer. It broke his heart hearing my voice, it killed him to do this. He needed to focus on himself. Little did I know, he had spent the night before with her. I had laid at home, anxiously wondering why he didn’t want to talk to me again, while he was sleeping next to her.

I found out Sunday for sure. And since then, I have been back and forth with everything. My heart keeps telling me to hold out because “look at what we had!” and “he says he still wants you in his life!” and “he says it makes him sick to his stomach to not have you in his life!” and every other various thing he had said to me. Meanwhile, he’s still sleeping next to her and she has no idea that this is going on.

I recollected my things this past week and during the conversation, he painted a picture of wondering. He wondered if their failed marriage had been entirely his fault (of course it hadn’t). He told me all of these things that reassured me what a good person he was, and that he did care about me.

And then he took her on our vacation. And I spent the entire day on and off seething, depressed, confused, and powerless. I felt so completely disrespected. And I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the lines, I realized something.

I was in a relationship with an addict in recovery.

He had every opportunity to make different choices, every opportunity to be honest, every opportunity to show me even the smallest amount of respect and time and time again, his actions spoke completely differently than his words. Time and time again he continued to sneak, lie, and hide things so that everything would be “easier”. He masked his lies as not wanting to hurt me. He blamed others for me finding out about his bullshit relationship changes instead of blaming himself for posting things to social media, or better yet, doing them when he knew they would hurt me and supposedly didn’t want to. He wanted me to stay in his life but didn’t want to make any effort to give me a reason to stay. He consistently, and without fail, tried to replace me with her. Because it was easier. It was easier than admitting to her that he was conflicted and needed to be alone, easier than admitting to me that he didn’t end things with her because he wanted the best of both worlds without having to deal with the wars within them. He wanted the relationship he had with me, with her. I will never know why. And it’s not worth me losing my self-worth over finding it out. He lied to the woman he is supposedly trying to make things work with and still likely is because it’s “easier” that way. I can’t hate her for that, it’s not her fault.

I will also never know who he was telling the truth to, in the end. Was his confusion and soul-wrenching pain genuine or was he bullshitting to make things easier? I will never know. I told a friend tonight that wishing away your past, that pushing it away, will never make it go away. And that is especially true in this case. None of us will ever be able to truly forget that he and I were in love, that we had made plans mostly laid by him, that he had told her he didn’t love her anymore.

That doesn’t mean that I should spend my days waiting and trying to figure it all out. I deserve far more than the way I’ve been treated, but beating a dead horse will not bring it back to life and it certainly won’t answer any of my questions. Hoping that the honest man I knew comes back will not bring him back and I cannot love him into anything. That no matter how sweet, kind, wonderful, silly, handsome, and honest he was to me – he cheated, lied, and disrespected more than enough to make up for it over the last month. And I can’t deny it anymore. I can’t pretend like he didn’t, or like I’m okay with any of it, or that it will go away if I show him enough love or support. And that if he wanted to be with me, he would be with me. Nothing is stopping him. That if he is miserable, it is nobody’s fault but his own. It is not my job to keep him happy, it never was, and it certainly isn’t now.

Anger doesn’t help. Anger causes me to blame people, myself especially. It is useless because no matter how angry I am, things are the way they are and I cannot change them. They are out of my control. And the only way to take back control is to eliminate what’s making me angry. In this case, it’s him.

I tried bargaining with myself, even with him. Told him that I would stay in his life if he rethought his decisions. I told myself that if I didn’t contact him, he would contact me. Told myself that if he did come back, I would make him wait months until he hit a year of sobriety. Bargaining puts me back into the sick cycle of wanting and not having and wondering. I begged God for him to forgive me (HA!) for my choices, for him to see me. Bargaining is painful. And pointless.

I’ve been depressed. I cried every day, at first, though now not so much. I didn’t eat. I felt worthless; why would he cheat? With her? Why would he hurt me like that, after going on for ages about how he would never do something like that to me? Why Why Why until my head felt like it was exploding. Depression stunted my ability at work, encouraged my codependence, made the genuine things he said and the bullshit meld into believability, and made me question what was wrong with me. He cheated, he lied, he failed as a faithful, honest person and I felt like there was something wrong with ME? WHAT?

So, at last, I’m reaching acceptance. I cannot change what happened, I cannot go back to the way it was. He did irreparable damage to something wonderful because he. is. an. addict. And addicts struggle, intrinsically, with instant gratification, self-worth, control, and impulsive decision making. One in recovery usually makes a daily effort to work on all of those. He may be now, I don’t know, but he certainly wasn’t. And, like I said, I cannot love him into understanding what he did, I cannot support him into wanting to love himself first, and I cannot make him see what everyone else is – that he made a huge mistake. And I cannot wait around to see if he figures it out. Because that won’t help him, sure, but most importantly, it won’t help me. Banging my head off of a wall won’t end his headache. He disrespected me over and over again, apologizing but continuing to do it. And maybe she can ignore it and pretend like he doesn’t do it (to both of their detriment!), but I can’t. And I love him, and myself, too much to encourage that kind of mindset. He wants to live the life he pictured for himself at 18. Maybe it will work out in his favor; some relationships that begin with lies and cheating end well, I guess. But it is not my job to make sure he does anymore. It is not my job to worry about him. It is not my job to love him, or encourage him, or hold him when he is sad. And it was wrong of him to use me as that, even as he was telling her that he wanted to make things work. But being angry at him for it will not make me feel better.

I deserved the openness and honesty I saw in him before I ever loved him. I deserved the respect he showed up until the day he impulsively decided to sleep with her “because they were getting along.” I deserved him to look me in the goddamn eye when he broke up with me, rather than Facebook messaging me after a date night with her. But I didn’t get those things. And sitting here waiting for god to knock some sense into him will likely only leave me more angry, sad, and hopeless.

For better or worse, I have to love him enough to let him go and make the mistakes he wants to. I can still pray for him, but I need to let him go. Because no matter what he said to me, he took all of those things back when he slept with another woman, regardless of their history.

I am posting this, though not on Facebook, because others who are going through a break up should read this. Take peace in the fact that eventually it will get better. It’s not better for me yet, but it isn’t as bad as it was and I have faith that it will be. Because whoever you are, you deserve someone who will be honest with you. Always, not just when it’s convenient. You need to know how valuable you are. You know that he made the world’s biggest mistake and even if he doesn’t, that doesn’t matter. Someone being unfaithful makes them less of a woman or man, not you.

So, if you read this and you are the man I spoke of, I want you to know: I’m not angry anymore. But I will not be a party to any more of your inability to live an honest life. Because I love you too much. I am moving on with my life. Maybe one day things will be different, but they are not, and I am not going to wait for you to realize anything else. I deserved the man you were, not the man you are right now. Remember the story of the wolves? Try to remember which one you’re feeding. And again, unlike her, I love you enough to let you go. I am finished. This is finished.

-a.

imout

A guest post on fitness and cancer

First things first, I was approached by a lovely woman a while ago about sharing an article of hers with my reader base. I think it’s great information and considering that almost every knows someone who is struggling or has struggled with the big C-word, it’s really pertinent. I think most people know I’m a pretty huge fan of alternative therapies or combination therapies, and showing the benefit of fitness in helping with cancer? Oh, I’m so excited.

Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness.  To read more from Melanie, visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.

Fitness and Cancer – A Brief Overview


As many health experts know, cancer can be a very difficult disease to grapple with. This is the case for many reasons, including the fact that cancer can make an individual feel helpless and subsequently fall prey to a variety of negative emotions such as apathy and depression. Additionally, cancer can be a very expensive condition to treat, thereby precluding sufferers from spending money on things that they desire. Finally, cancer can have a very adverse effect on one’s health and increase one’s susceptibility to other debilitating conditions. Despite the health challenges cancer can create, however, there are a variety of things individuals struggling with the condition can do to walk in greater health. One of these things is exercise. View the three types of exercise listed below and decide which type of workout and fitness level is most appropriate for you or for someone you know. 


Light Exercise Recommendation 

 

Light workouts are a good form of exercise for individuals who are not very physically fit or have been advised by a doctor to avoid intense activity. One great light exercise cancer patients can greatly benefit from is breathing exercises. These exercises involve inhaling and exhaling slowly. Some of the benefits that result from breathing exercises include improved blood flow and circulation, reduced fatigue, ability to do self-care, and improved lung function. Breathing exercises can be especially beneficial for individuals struggling with mesothelioma or other lung-related cancers, in which case a lung may be removed. With simple breathing exercises, mesothelioma patients can take in more oxygen and improve respiratory function.     


Moderate Exercise Recommendation 

 

Moderate exercises are a great tool for individuals who have at least some experience exercising as well as the cardiovascular stamina necessary to complete such workouts. With moderate exercise, individuals will notice a quickening of breath yet will be able to carry on a conversation. One great form of moderate exercise includes yoga. In short, yoga is a form of exercise that maximizes the individual’s mental and physical potential through stretching and controlled breathing mechanisms. Some of the benefits that result from doing yoga include decreased cortisol (stress hormone) levels, improved physical functioning, decreased fatigue, improved flexibility, better quality sleep, management of psychosocial and physical distress of treatments, and decreased pain. In many places, cancer centers offer yoga for individuals struggling with the condition. 


Advanced Exercise Recommendation 

Advanced exercises are a great form of physical activity for individuals who have attained a formidable level of fitness. This type of exercise is often advisable for cancer patients who are entering the later stages of their recovery. Some signs that one is engaging in advanced exercises include deep and rapid breathing, an inability to sing, and the development of sweat after several minutes. 

 

One great type of advanced exercise is weight training. Generally, weight training involves lifting weights of varying sizes for the purpose of toning muscles and/or increasing cardiovascular strength. Some of the benefits of weight training include improved cardiovascular system, improved muscle strength, and feeling more energized. As you increase your amount of resistance and increase your volume of activity, the American Cancer Society states that you will experience increased benefits.   

 

Although cancer can be a difficult condition to grapple with, adopting healthy practices such as exercise can make dealing with the disease easier. One of the great things about using physical activity to generate greater wellness while recovering from cancer is that there are a plethora of activities one can engage in. In so doing, the cancer patient is likely to begin living a much more powerful and productive life. 


I hope you enjoyed the article! 

Have you ever had a cancer scare yourself or known someone who has?

What are your thoughts on alternative therapies?

-a.

 

Who ever would’ve thought green smoothies could taste like happy?

Good morning all, happy Saturday! This month has been kicking my butt, in a totally acceptable way. My veganism challenge is going along swimmingly, minus one time when I accidentally ate something with whey in it but oh my god it was ONE TIME.

Image

 For the most part, I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of finding new things to eat so I don’t get bored and being mindful of my own eating habits. The first day I accidentally only packed food for dinner and zero snacks. I snack all the time. I snack constantly. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t gain weight from it and could eat salt and vinegar chips and peanut butter bananas ALL DAY ERRY DAY. I can’t. But basically, I almost died on that first day. I had never been that hungry for that long in a while. It was a pleasant surprise though. I hadn’t realized that my snacking habits were bad enough that I was never truly hungry before a meal. So, this has forced me to plan ahead meals and snacks so no matter what, I know what I’m eating. The first week or so was fine craving-wise, but this past week I think I actually dreamed of cheese. I became irritated by others eating cheese. I stared wistfully at the shredded mozzarella and block of goat cheese in my fridge on more than one occasion. I can honestly say that cravings for dairy far outweigh any craving I’ve had for a cigarette when quitting (except perhaps when I’m intoxicated…that’s rough). But, when I thought about it, I’ve been eating dairy products my entire life, as opposed to cigarettes. For the most part, however, I’ve really really enjoyed a plant-based diet. I can feel the difference with my energy and stamina. I feel good.

So what do I eat? ImageMornings usually consist of either Kashi cereal and Almond milk (I really like Berry Fruitful or Blackberry Hills or god forbid a combination of the two that is like god is reining down sweet heaven on my face), oatmeal made with any combination of ingredients, or a green smoothie. I make mine ala OhSheGlows with a frozen banana, two handfuls of spinach and/or kale, a cup of almond milk, a few ice cubes, chia seeds, and a tablespoon of peanut butter. I’ve mixed it up with cocoa powder, almond extract, and similar fun things. So good. I’m drinking one now. 

I think I’ve mentioned my weird work schedule before but I usually don’t eat another meal until around 5pm with the patients. I’ve done a lot of big bowls of veggies, or pasta with kale, or tofu wraps. I’ve eaten a lot of wraps. Spinach wraps, hummus wraps, yellow pepper and broccoli sprouts with whatever else I can find wraps. I’m a fan. They’re fast, easy, and filling. Snacks are usually one serving of a carb and a snack bag with a half-serving of craisins and almonds. I’ve made the best roasted broccoli I’ve ever had in my life this month. 

I’m lucky; there’s a My Organic Market (or MOMs for short) near my house that stocks every vegan thing you could ever want. I purchased my vegan cheese there (daiya is hands down the best – I prefer it melted to straight out of the fridge though), coconut ice cream (craving satisfied – better than regular ice cream), nutritional yeast (inactive yeast – I put it on basically everything), chia (surprisingly hard for me to find elsewhere) and any other odds and ends I couldn’t find anywhere else. They also have the best selection of kombucha tea, which I personally adore. I could drink it every day.

I’m considering sticking to a mostly plant-based diet after this month. Regardless, I honestly prefer how I feel now even with the cravings for cheese. No, but seriously the only thing I crave is cheese. That and one day I had a craving for one of those gourmet fancy burgers with bleu cheese, bacon, and a fried egg on top. I wanted to get it all in one visualization, I think. That still sounds so good. Image

Eating out has been the hardest thing to maneuver. Though I think everyone in my life is sick of hearing about vegan this and that, I’ve had a lot of support. Minus my one coworker that keeps asking me if I want bites of his chicken or beef (COREY). My response is to the right. My parents have been surprisingly tolerant of my constant use of the blender, my friends for the most part don’t mind eating vegan with me, but when I go out I feel very limited with options. I’ve found a few websites that locate nearby restaurants and stores that are vegetarian and vegan friendly, or just straight up vegan. I’ll post them ASAP for you guys. All in all it’s been a fun change, a harder challenge than not drinking for a month (aka last year’s challenge), and eye-opening. I have had to remind people quite a few times though that I’m not doing this for the bunnies and after August, I would be maintaining a plant-based diet rather than actual veganism. Meaning? I’m still drinking wine and beer even though it’s often fined with animal bones. Yup. I know, it’s gross.

Exercise-wise, I haven’t been getting out there all that much for a lot of reasons. One? I did something to my hip/lower back area. I’ve been told it’s a pinched nerve, my mom thinks it’s just an inflamed muscle, who knows. But I haven’t wanted to exacerbate it. I’ve still walked and jogged a few times but I don’t want to lift until I am seen by a doctor. I have been doing light yoga though and forgot how much I’d loved it. I’m trying to incorporate it more often. I also seem to be struggling with finding the time. No, really! My morning is very full of cooking, planning, and then attempting to clean up my messes before work (I don’t always do well with that). After work I like to read or relax to unwind before bed. I should try to add yoga in then, I think. Or perhaps a bit in the morning and night!

Lastly, I’m going to be posting an article a very nice woman asked if I would share of hers on cancer and fitness. While I forgot that I had another email account for this blog (probably not my shining moment), I finally was able to get back to her. I think it’s insightful and interesting. I should be able to get it up tomorrow for everyone!

Side note: I’ve fallen completely in love with maxi dresses. I think it’s a bit of a forbidden type of love because I’m 5’2″ and they’re always about six inches too long but I went from 0-4 in a month time span and wear them quite literally all the time. 

Alrighty then, I’m off to find a recipe for vegan cupcakes to freak the actual shit out of my friend later and then I have some birthday prezzies to purchase!

– a.