Long time, no post. I have to admit that I found myself in a slump and the last thing on my mind was blogging. For those of you who don’t know, I have Crohn’s Disease and I fight it everyday. Some days I win, some days I lose, but I haven’t stopped fighting.
I have to admit that the disease has taken a lot from me: muscle mass, confidence, strength, but the biggest thing it stole from me was my ability to regulate my bowels. I never had a problem running/walking/etc. until this disease came into my life. My new “friend” has made me become extremely vigilant when I leave the house. I always have to know where a bathroom is and have a back up plan if anything were to happen (i.e. an “accident” of the most epic proportions). You don’t realize how much control you used to have over your bowels until you don’t have it anymore and I can tell you, it sucks.
It goes without saying that I have been apprehensive towards running, but it has also made me not want to lift. I remember working at the gym in MN in 2011 one night and a very nice member had been lifting a barbell that had too much weight on it. I was told that the gentleman had an accident (of the bowel variety) in the free weights area. I contacted our janitorial staff and they took care of the mess, but I couldn’t remember forgetting how embarrassed that man was when he left. He would normally drop by the front desk and say goodbye, but that night he walked right past me and didn’t say a word. I said goodbye, but didn’t receive a response. I only saw him come in a handful of times after the incident and I believe he may have stopped coming to my gym altogether.
I don’t blame him. I don’t know if he had bowel troubles like me or if the heavy weight was the cause of his accident, but every time I go to the gym, I am scared this will happen. A couple weeks ago I was at the gym and experienced muscle failure while doing a barbell chest press that had no weight on it. When I felt my muscles fail, I feared an accident was imminent. I didn’t have an accident, but holy hell I was terrified that, that was even a possibility.
Getting Things Together
All of this fear made me angry and I had become very aggressive towards people around me. My friend Lindsay would always post motivational photos or helpful information on Facebook in this workout group (SweatLife) and I finally decided to utilize this awesome resource for help. I shared my story and I had an overwhelming amount of support come my way. I sat down and really started to evaluate why I was afraid and why I was angry. Since then, I’ve been able to let some of my worries go, but I still have more work to do.
One of the members of the group, Donielle, is a figure competitor and she has really helped me get on the right track mentally over the last couple of weeks and I couldn’t be happier having her as a resource. Lindsay and Donielle’s encouragement pushed me to do something incredibly stupid and incredibly bold—I DECIDED TO GO FOR A RUN OUTSIDE YESTERDAY IN SHORTS! Crohnies, you can understand why this is a bad idea. If anything bad were to happen, my accident would be on display and my self-esteem would be non-existent, but I did it and I have proof courtesy of MapMyRun!
I ran up and down hills, down a busy street and around a park and I SURVIVED. No accident. No loss of self-esteem. I was so happy that I cried when I got home. Tears of joy! I’m so happy that I don’t have to be restricted to a treadmill inside of a stuff gym. I am so happy that I can run outside again without fear. If worse comes to worse, I now believe I can handle it. I couldn’t have done it without the help of Donielle and Lindsay and the support of the SweatLife group. Thank you to the amazing people who helped me get my head on straight.
So, for those of you who don’t have bowel issues, what are you waiting for? I know getting out of the house and into the gym can be scary. I know that getting your diet under control takes a lot of work. I know that getting healthy isn’t easy—that’s a challenge I face everyday, but please, don’t wait until you get bad news to put your life into perspective.
Think of all of the things you enjoy now and think of how much more you’d enjoy them if you were healthier. I’m not saying that you need to go and drop 20 lbs or hit the gym everyday, but I’m asking that you take a look at something you want to change and change it. I regret that I waited so long to take care of myself, but y’know what? I’m on the right track and that’s something to be proud of.
Here is Part 2 of Kelly’s Story. I messed up and forgot to post this back when she sent it to me, so I had her update it and now it is up and ready for reading. I can definitely say that “Jabbaish” has become part of my vocabulary. Kelly wants to hear from you: What is the cause/benefit of vomiting during a workout? Does it mean you pushed too hard, or just hard enough? Does it happen to anyone often? Please feel free to respond below.
Written December 28, 2013, Updated January 30, 2014
Still 150 pounds.
Still undetermined mile.
Lift: ~50 pounds.
Cashier at a liquor store.
Had for lunch: Pasta.
A realization dawned on me a few days ago. I don’t know how I didn’t notice it sooner, I mean, I look at myself in the mirror every day— two mirrors, to be exact, with very different types of lighting. I stalk my own Facebook weekly to make sure my roommate and auntie didn’t tag me in anything unflattering. I admit I haven’t been working out like I said I would, but I was consciously monitoring my intake over the holidays, figuring that should count for something as a quick fix. I thought I had a handle on this personal body image thing, but it happened anyway.
I HAVE JOWLS.
I never thought I’d say this, but I actually miss working in a gym. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and all that it has to offer, but my job is making me even more unhealthy than I already am. When I was working at the gym, I was on my feet for most of the day. At least once a day I had to chase down a sales counselor, re-rack weights (even the heaviest dumbbells) and go back to the locker room and cut a lock (which is actually really difficult). Sometimes I’d be working in the daycare area and instead of sitting down, I’d try to get the kids to play tag with me or do something active.
At my current job, I’m sitting for about 90 percent of the day and I strongly dislike it. I have noticed over the last month that my lower back has started to bother me more and more. My shoulders and upper back have started to bother me as well. I have audio streams to monitor, so I have to be in my office while those are going on. I will stand up from time to time and walk around the office or when I have to go to the bathroom, but for the most part I’m confined to my office.
Save Yourself has a great article about this very topic. It’s not surprising that sitting for too long is bad for you, well it didn’t surprise me at least. I’ve found other articles online that go into more detail than the one above about how women are more likely to die earlier from having a longer (hour or more) commute, due in part to sitting. It has been said that sitting for too long can cause your gluteal muscles to atrophy. I’ve noticed this in my butt. My butt used to be the most firm part on my entire body and although it is still firm, it isn’t as firm as it used to be.
So, how do we remedy this? Exercise and stretching are the first things that come to my mind. Sure, those will work, but the simple fact is that tomorrow you’ll go right back to work and plant your butt back down in a chair for another 8 hours. I get paid this Friday, so my plan is to buy some small weights that I can keep in my office. We have large exercise balls in our office for people to sit on, but I find myself being distracted by them. I can’t get my work done because I’d rather bounce up and down than edit audio.
An hour lunch break isn’t enough time for me to change clothes, go run outside (I also don’t feel comfortable going for a run in downtown Seattle), change back into work clothes and eat. There are also days where I have to work through lunch, so that wouldn’t work. I would love it if our office building had a gym, so I could go lift weights. I’d rather lift than do cardio any day.
Do any of you office dwellers have any suggestions for me?
So, I went on vacation over Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend and boy did I indulge myself. I definitely indulged myself too much. I ate, drank, was merry, and woke up numerous times during the night to go to the bathroom. That’s not my idea of fun. Was it worth it? Totally. No one wants to go on vacation and be a stick in the mud. To top it off, I felt so normal for the first time in a long time. Did I run to the bathroom a lot? Sure, but again, it was worth it.
I also wanted to indulge myself because for the last couple of weeks we had been dealing with a sewer problem at our house. This problem resulted in us packing up and moving back in with my boyfriend’s parents, as we wouldn’t be able to use water in our house—no flushing, washing clothes or dishes without fear of it coming back up our tub, sinks, toilet, etc. I was stressed to say the least: 1) I had a limited number of clean clothes/underwear. 2) You don’t want to step on anyone’s toes/impede on their space. 3) You don’t want to eat too much of their food/use too much electricity and water since you’re not paying to stay there.
Yes, I did justify my pigging out was due to stress. It happened again yesterday and I was really disappointed in myself. I actually felt guilty and a bit ashamed (and I NEVER feel ashamed) that I let my stress run me. I was mad that I used it as an excuse to eat poorly. My week has consisted of that, rolling my ankle on Wednesday, not sleeping well all week and feeling sorry for myself. I’m not a fan of feeling sorry for myself. There are so many good and wonderful things in my life, so why feel sorry? I feel like I failed myself. So what’s a girl to do?
Pick herself back up and hit the ground running. I’m definitely exhausted (partially my fault/partially not my fault) but I’ve got an exciting weekend ahead. Our team has an ultimate frisbee game on Saturday, I have training on Sunday, Yoga on Monday, training on Tuesday and Wednesday, cardio Thursday, Friday off and then Saturday has a double header for frisbee. I know I’m going to be so exhausted, but I know it will be worth it. I’m not done and I know I have a lot of work to do. Let’s GET SUMM work done!
We’re 16 days into 2014 and I’m happy to say that I’ve worked out for 8 of them. Sure, 50% isn’t a passing percentage in school, but I’m going to applaud my effort. It is no small feat to get yourself into the gym, especially when you’d rather be sprawled out on the couch watching Netflix. Putting in the effort and actually going to the gym is only a quarter of the battle; doing a workout that you’re proud of/were able to leave the gym sweaty is another quarter; reminding yourself, no matter how sore you may be, why you need to go back is what I consider to be half of the battle.
What is your motivation? Are you trying to have a healthier body? Are you trying to lose weight? Are you looking for a new way to relieve stress? Are you afraid you will develop diabetes or a heart condition? These are just a few questions you can ask yourself. I highly recommend that if you are paying for your own gym membership that you should just use it! Times are still tough and the last thing you want to do is throw away $30 every month. The cost can be one of the biggest motivators for why you should go. I’m not a fan of throwing away money, but hey, to each their own.
If you’re looking for some tips and tricks to up your motivation, something I do is add reoccurring calendar reminders every week saying, “Keep it up! 10 lbs to go!” I also threw in one around March that says, “20 lbs to go! Wait..what? Get your butt to the gym now!” All of the reminders are set for times after I’d be off of work, so what excuse do I have to not go? None! Another trick I liked was creating a workout jar. Every time you work out, you put in $1 for every half hour you worked out HARD. Once you’ve hit $100, you can spend it on yourself as a reward for your hard work. Personally, I think you shouldn’t spend it until you’ve met your goal. Seeing/knowing you have a wad of cash waiting around for you once you’ve met your goal can be very enticing!
In closing, I wanted to tell you that I have added two more resolutions this year: 1) don’t stress so much and 2) find my voice. Everyone close to me knows that I allow just about anything to stress me out. It’s not good for me or for my intestines, so I’m taking the initiative to reduce my stress-o-meter this year. As for finding my voice, I went from someone who was shy in middle school, to a social butterfly in high school, to a moderately outspoken college student. I’ve noticed I’m not as assertive as I used to be. Recently, I’ve made my voice heard when I’ve seen things in public that weren’t right and I’ve tried to be more stern at work. I get the feeling that as 2014 wraps, I will have found my voice again.
How is this year already over? Since the year is coming to an end, I’m playing song after song by Innerpartysystem (hence the photo). New Year’s Eve seems like the most appropriate time to drop the bass, y’know? Anyways, I don’t have many complaints about this year, except for the fact that it passed me by. 2013 was honestly one of my better years, despite being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I quit my job and started my career, I started to take my health seriously (more so than last year) and I’ve been reminded time and time again how fortunate I am. Warning: this will PROBABLY get a little sappy.
Even though I am not in close proximity to my immediate family, I know and have been reminded how much my mom and sister love me. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call or a text saying, “hi,” and I can’t help but smile because I know that they’re thinking about me. My niece has to be one of my greatest inspirations. I want her to think of me only with positive thoughts, so I’ve been pushing myself harder and harder to become a better person. My mom’s youngest brother has been my career and spiritual adviser the past few years and I’m so thankful to have someone like him in my life. He’s taught me to put myself out there and in doing so, I’ve become more marketable, which is part of the reason I was able to start my career.
My boyfriend and his family have been more than wonderful. My vocabulary isn’t vast enough to find a better, more exotic word than wonderful. They’ve welcomed me as one of their own, and since my family is far away, it is so nice to have people nearby who love you and enjoy your company. My boyfriend has been my rock. I don’t have any idea how he has dealt with my health issues but I’m so thankful that he’s stuck by my side and helped me remain strong and keep fighting, even when I don’t want to.
Once I moved out here, I got into the habit of complaining that I missed my friends and that I didn’t want to make any new friends because it would feel like a betrayal. I learned that it isn’t a betrayal to my friends back in Minnesota and that it’s not a good feeling to be lonely. My boyfriend’s friends have adopted me and I couldn’t be happier or farther from feeling lonely.
I took the necessary steps to remove negative things from my life. I removed people from my social media accounts who I didn’t really desire to keep in contact with—exes, “friends” who would put me down/drain my energy, “friends” who borrowed money that I’d never get back. I’ve learned the hard way that those are people I don’t need in my life.
I’ve tried to mend and foster better relationships with members of my family, but I don’t think the feeling has been mutually accepted across the board. I find it incredibly disappointing when people project their issues onto others. I have grown tired trying to go above and beyond with my extended family because I’ve learned that my accomplishments and achievements, no matter how great, will pale in comparison to theirs.
So, what does all of this have to do with being healthy? Negativity in your life will definitely hurt you—physically, mentally and emotionally. Negativity has worn me down and beaten me to a pulp, but by taking steps in the right direction, I’ve cut out a chunk of the negativity. Relationships can be exhausting, but it is healthier to make the effort with friends than to be alone.
I encourage you to start off 2014 with a bang! Clear your life of negativity and excess clutter that you don’t need. I can confidently say that I’ve had a huge weight come off of my shoulders because I removed a lot of negative aspects from my life, not just people. Have a safe New Year’s Eve, make good choices and enjoy the last day of 2013.
As 2013 comes to a close, a number of us have begun thinking about what our New Year’s Resolutions will be. I was a bit shocked to have a friend tell me one of their resolutions was to create a better fitness blog than GET SUMM. I can’t lie; hearing this frustrated me. I didn’t create this blog in the hopes that it would develop a following. I started it to hold myself accountable for trying to make positive changes in my life. To hear them say it with a condescending tone frustrated me that much more. Long story short, I haven’t made all of the progress that I would have liked, so it felt like a slap in the face. On the other hand, I guess I should feel good that I’ve encouraged someone else to make a change in their life.
On that note, since I started GET SUMM, at least two of my Facebook friends have started their own blogs. I can’t say that this has anything to do with my blog, but it is so cool to see people taking the initiative to start a blog. When I was attending the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, I thought blogs were horrible. I thought that blogs would assist in the slow, painful death of journalism. I’m happy to say that I’ve changed my views on blogs, but there are still some pretty awful blogs out there.
Back to the resolutions! I can’t wait to see what the new year brings my way. It’s crazy to think that I’ll be 24 this year. It feels like just yesterday I was in high school, anxiously awaiting graduation and worrying about what kind of dress I wanted to buy for prom. Ugh, life was so much easier then and I didn’t even realize it. Ok, I want to apologize. I am so tired I keep getting off track.
After much delay, here are my goals/resolutions for 2014:
I get the feeling that I’ll be able to accomplish all three goals by the end of 2014, but you never know; the last one will definitely be the most difficult, but I’m up for a challenge.
If you’re wondering about the picture, December 28th is FIGHT NIGHT for Ronda Rousey (blonde) and Miesha Tate. Personally, I’m cheering for Rousey, but if the match makes it to the second round, I’m not sure that Rousey will win. Oh well! Either way, it should make for a great fight. #teamrousey
In closing, I hope that your holiday celebrations were wonderful and I hope that you’re as eager for the new year to come as I am!
This quote is a wonderful reminder for anyone—healthy or unhealthy. If you don’t have your health, what is the point in having all of the money in the world? You can try to buy your happiness, but you may not be around long enough to enjoy the wealth you have accumulated.
My boyfriend and I had a great conversation today about my health and diet since we had gotten back from Florida. I binged and ate things I probably shouldn’t have and I paid the price. Since we’ve been back I’ve been working on getting myself back to eating clean. This is funny to me, because a friend posted this article on Facebook about how what you eat (namely red meat and dairy) can change the environment for bacteria in your gut. While we were on vacation I ate a lot of red meat and dairy, so I felt this article explained why I felt the way I did very well.
If you have time, I would give it a read. As for me, I’m back on FODMAP. Today is day two and I can’t wait for it to be day 14, so I can start incorporating other foods back into my diet. Ten days to go. I know I can do it. Here’s to getting back on track and retraining myself on healthy habits.
Cheers and have a great weekend everyone!
Karen Hitchcock’s Fat City will make you question everything you know about obesity and I have to say I am so thankful for that. I want you to take a look at your life, as I have taken a look at mine. What are you eating/drinking/snacking on that has gotten you to where you are today? If you are like me and you have weighed over 200 lbs at one point in time, you certainly were not eating salad—and if you were, you were eating too much.
Obesity is becoming an increasingly touchy issue and it was recently recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association. The idea behind this was that recognizing obesity as a disease would cause physicians and doctors to pay more attention to their patient’s health (NY Times). Personally, I think this was a bad move. There will always be those schemers out there who try to take advantage of the system. My fear is that people will take advantage of this and cause insurance rates/taxes to go up if they wind up in the hospital without insurance. I do not have data to substantiate my fear, but that’s just the path my mind is following.
The author talks about her experience working as a physician in an obesity clinic and some of the stories are shocking but sound very familiar. One of the patients is told the bariatric surgery wouldn’t be for him—he doesn’t have pleasurable experiences in his life outside of eating, so his risk for overeating and vomiting/damaging his esophagus/etc. is too high. His response to them was, “Well, what are you going to do for me if you won’t do the operation? Don’t you have some kind of ethical responsibility to help me lose weight?” (The Monthly).
That statement shocked me and saddened me. What I’m going to say next may get a negative reaction, but it’s just how I feel. How can you put responsibility on a doctor for your own actions? I remember sitting down with my doctor in 2011 and she told me if I didn’t lose weight I would be at an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease. I was obese. I asked her for recommendations on what I should do to make myself healthy and she said to change my diet, lower my caloric intake and exercise more. My doctor couldn’t and wouldn’t (because I couldn’t pay her) be with me every moment of my life, telling me what to/not to eat, what to do/not to do. Her responsibility was to inform me; to give me the tools I would need to lose the weight. It was my responsibility to use those tools and hold myself accountable. No one forced me to eat pizza or cheeseburgers. I chose to eat like that because it satisfied me.
Nowadays, we are so quick to blame others for our own actions or misfortunes. This needs to stop. It is not your doctor’s fault you aren’t taking good care of yourself. I know this is redundant, but it needs to be repeated: a doctor or nutritionist can provide you with the tools to change your life. It is up to you to utilize those tools. I am a firm believer in the motto, “If there is something in your life that you don’t like, then change it.” I am not perfect and my life and body are still under construction, but I am working on it. It isn’t easy to change your eating habits. It isn’t easy to exercise when you have no will power or you’re exhausted after a long day, but if you want to see changes, then you need to make changes!
There is no magic pill that will solve all of your problems. Believe me, if there was I would have bought them in bulk and stocked up for life. If you are looking for support, there are tons of us out there who are willing to help. Do we have all of the answers? No, but we will help push you and motivate you and try to get you to where you need to be. Take things in stride—you will not lose 20 lbs overnight, so don’t be discouraged by this.
If you feel that surgery is the only option, you need to be prepared for the consequences. A handful of my friends and acquaintances have had bariatric surgery. Some have been successful in changing their habits and have gotten out of the obese range; two have continued to struggle with their overeating and one of them ended up in the ER with an esophageal infection from vomiting; some made few to no changes and continue to gain and lose weight. I considered this option, talked with my doctor about it and decided it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want the lap band hanging around with me for the rest of my life; I didn’t want to have a chunk of my stomach cut out; I didn’t want to have my food rerouted past my small intestine. I hated getting my tonsils out and having my wisdom teeth removed, so I knew surgery just wasn’t for me.
In closing, I would like for you to understand that I’m not bashing anyone. I just think it’s unfortunate that we don’t take better care of ourselves and are quick to blame others for our own messes. This article is a great conversation piece and it definitely makes you think about your habits. Take a read and let me know what you think.
I hope you’re all having a great Thanksgiving—I know I am! I want to thank all of you who are following GET SUMM and who have helped grow this blog. Your support means so much. I am also thankful for my family and my boyfriend’s family who have been a huge support network for me while I’ve been battling Crohn’s Disease. I hope you all have things that you’re thankful for and I hope that you can and will do something that makes a stranger’s day a little better. Thanks again and have a fantastic holiday!