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anxiety

Food, Health Posts

On Changing How We Speak to Ourselves

Unhealthy Food 3

Unhealthy Food 2

 

Think of what you say to yourself when you look in the mirror or open your closet each morning. How about when you’re in the changing room shopping for new clothes? Or when you’re going over what you ate that day. Studies show that most of us are not very nice to ourselves. Personal experience shows that we are not very nice to ourselves. Now think of that same language, but someone is saying those things about your friend. It’s not okay right? You would step in and squash that negativity, because you love your friend and know how wonderful they are and even if they have a flaw, that type of language is just plain cruel and unnecessary. If someone spoke like that about you constantly, or even once, chances are you wouldn’t be friends anymore. So why then do we talk to ourselves that way? Why do we girls find it so hard to be nice to ourselves?

I recently listened to a webinar by Marna Thall and she spoke about our use of the words “good” and “bad”. Fries, ice cream, pizza, bagels, junk food, soda, bread, sugar – BAD. Carrots, apples, oatmeal, shrimp, avocados, spinach – GOOD. (But too much of good = bad. ugh). Depending on which category we eat from that day or how our calories stack up, we say “I was good today,” or “I was bad today.” It seems harmless, but think about how you just categorized yourself. Over time we get used to calling ourselves bad and letting our inner goodness and love for ourselves depend on what we ate that day. As if by eating the pizza, I take on the negative qualities of it. If I eat beer and wings or berries and yogurt, that does not constitute who I am as a person. We know this, but after years of calling ourselves good or bad, we subconsciously start to believe it. We allow our sense of accomplishment or self worth to teeter on the scale, threatening to move from good to bad with each bite. And that one bite can ruin your whole day and make you feel awful and unhinged. Then that feeling can lead to more bites and so on until negativity is breeding negativity and you’re so far past “being bad” you can’t even see it anymore.

As I mentioned here I thought for many years that I was gluten intolerant until I found out it was the yeast in the bread and beer that I was intolerant too and not the gluten. That night I sat down to a pasta dinner, but there was something very different about that particular meal. For the first time in five years, I felt no regret, no shame, no inner dialogue of how I was harming my body and health. I felt nothing but the joy of pasta and it was freeing. It dawned on me how much my emotions are tied up in food. Not only because what you put in dictates what you put out and eating poorly can affect your mood, but also because with my constant autoimmune and health struggles I always felt like such a failure and a weak person for giving in to cravings I knew would only make me feel worse. It wasn’t until this meal that I realized how down on myself I had gotten. Even though I love myself and am my own cheerleader, I had also become the person in the crowd booing and heckling myself. After years of the seemingly simple “good” and “bad” connotations we use so mindlessly, that negativity had snuck up on me.

I’m riding that aha moment and changing my inner dialogue. I no longer use the words good or bad to describe my food or myself. Instead I say “I ate healthy today,” or “I did not eat in line with my goals for myself,” or “I don’t like eating X because it makes me feel jittery and sluggish.” It seems like such a silly and miniscule change, but it has been such a huge one. I hope this little trick helps you or a friend to be nicer to yourselves.

xo Alina

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The Great American Road Trip: On Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone

Yellowstone 1

SD 13

 

The Badlands kicked us out with a bang, ripping our tent and flooding our gear in a supercell storm. We packed up our muddy and wet gear and headed an hour and 15 minutes to Rapid City, SD, racing to keep ahead of the ominous storms. It was stressful to say the least.

I’m a bit of a paradox in that I love adventure and living outside my comfort zone and throwing myself at situations, but I am also a big-time worrier… and I mean big time! On one hand, I can take on anything. No showering for 5 days? Ok with me. Going to the bathroom in nature and packing out my toilet paper? No biggie. Sleeping in a tent for a couple of months? Can’t wait. 10 hour strenuous hike? Bring it! But you better believe I’m going to be thinking about those bears, fearing those rattlesnakes, stressing about getting injured. I’m going to toss and turn and have nightmares about being killed by a bear. I’m going to picture myself falling off of that 60 foot ladder. I have a vivid imagination and a very, very active mind. It’s what gets me into such life-changing and wonderful adventures like these, but also what can turn my stomach and grind my nerves. 95% of the time I am blissfully happy and soaking in the view and the exhileration of pushing my body to the limit and the heart soaring feeling that is sharing this with friends both new and old. Then there is that other 5% where I can become crippled with fear and question what on earth I have gotten myself into.

And yet, I’m here! I showed up, and I’ll continue to keep showing up and pushing through the fear because it’s always worth it! I have loved every second of all of my life travels and experiences. I have loved every second of all new endeavors and friends and schools and homes. I may worry at times (and cry!) but never once have I backed down, because it’s just not an option for me. I refuse to do anything but live my life and see the world… and I think there’s a lot of us in that same boat, and maybe a lot on the dock who haven’t pushed past their fears and discomfort and just gone for it. I urge you to.

 


 

And now let me tell you about a time when I had a very large freak out over a menacing…cow?

Night four of camping and I’m awoken at 2 am by an animal noise. My heart starts beating fast and I hold my breath waiting for the next sound. Did I really hear a noise or was that in my dream? It comes again and my mind and heart start racing. It’s a weird sound but it sounds a whole lot like a baby bear. (Side note: before this trip I became obsessed with this baby grizzly bear named Eva on instagram. She was so cute my heart could break. And through following her I learned a lot about grizzly bears, including the sounds baby grizzlies make…). Danger Will Robinson! I wake up Kiera and Lauren and as the noise gets closer I make a dash for the car. Let me tell you fear loves company and pretty soon Kiera and Lauren are in the car with me and we’re going for a drive. I have got to get out of here! The initial freak out subsides and we drive back to the campground  and spend the rest of the night in the car. It was a rough and sleepless night of me questioning how on earth I was going to make it through the next few months and if I could do this. I knew I wasn’t going to quit but I also knew I couldn’t go on like this. But minute by minute and deep breath after deep breath, I made it through the night. And in the morning we learned the noise was from a calf. That’s right folks, a calf!! Boy did I feel ridiculous, but in the end it’s one of the funniest memories. And do you know what else? There were countless other nights where we woke up to bear and animal noises in the night and heard a mountain lion purring outside our tent and I kept it together. Worried yes, but together.

Keep adventuring,

xo Alina

 

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On Changing How We Speak to Ourselves
April 19, 2016