The Body Image Struggle

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When I was in high school I dated this guy who was really tall and skinny. One day someone asked me “does it bother you that you weigh more than your boyfriend?”. The thought had never even crossed my mind before that moment and looking back there’s no way that I weighed more than him. However, that one question haunted me and I made it my mission to be smaller than this boyfriend.

I don’t want to get into all of the details about this point in my life but it’s been 11 years and I still think about this question all the time. The question sent me into a spiral of body image issues that I still haven’t been able to fully recover from. 11 years ago I lost 20 pounds very quickly and still hated the way I looked. I basically starved myself and still couldn’t look in the mirror.

I think that body image is an issue that most people struggle with. I gained a lot of weight a couple of years ago but have worked really hard to remind myself that my weight is not a measure of my worth. Most days I do pretty good but some days I’m taken back to when I was 15 and someone compared me to my boyfriend.

On Saturday I went shopping for my Matron of Honor dress for my sister’s wedding. I’ve lost about 12 pounds in the past 6 weeks by eating healthy and moving my body. I’ve tried to keep this health journey really positive but the sight of me in a bridesmaid dress sent me back to a really dark place and I’ve had a hard time pulling myself out of it.

I’ve made so much progress in my body image journey but this proves that I still have work to do. I need to make decisions based on what’s best for my body and not the number on the scale or the image that I see in the mirror.

11 years ago I was asked a question that dramatically changed my outlook on life. Let this be a reminder that the words you say matter.

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Keto for Migraine: 1 Month Update

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I have heard SO many negative comments about the Ketogenic diet and I completely understand. For your normal everyday person a low-carb lifestyle might not doctor recommended. The Keto diet was created for people with Epilepsy and works well for other Neurological conditions. I have chronic migraines and there is no “cure”. I was told that Keto may lessen my symptoms and it sounded better than trying another medication.

One month ago I started following the Ketogenic diet. This is my third attempt and I was really successful on my first two so I went in very hopeful. My other two attempts were more for weight loss so I didn’t track my migraines as much as I should have. This time I’m trying to only focus on my headaches and migraines.

How were my migraines this past month?

I actually had a really great month overall! I caught a nasty cold but I didn’t let that stop me from following the meal plan that I had created. There was no guarantee that Keto would help me but I’m happy to report that I am feeling better! I’ve known for the past couple of years that sugar is a trigger for me so it makes sense that not eating sugar would have a big impact on my overall health. I basically cut my migraine days in half so far!

One of the hardest parts of chronic migraine for me is rebound headaches which are also called medication overuse headaches. I couldn’t beat my headache cycle so I started taking ibuprofen or another type of over the counter pain medication every day to get me through. This constant use of medicine started causing rebound headaches and I ended up in a never-ending headache. By eliminating my triggers I am hoping to be able to end this vicious headache cycle.

Have I lost any weight?

Yes, I’ve lost a little over 10 pounds in a month. In reality I’d like to lose 30 more to be at my “normal” healthy weight. I wrote my weight gain story here if you’d like to understand more about why I say my “normal” weight. Most of the weight loss at the beginning of Keto is just water weight and I’m really not concerned about losing weight at this point. I am tracking it in my migraine journal but it’s not my main goal right now.

Has Keto been hard? 

Not really! I have found myself reading my cookbooks and looking forward to grocery shopping and meal prep. I’m learning new recipes and I feel more confident than ever in the kitchen. My overall mood has improved so much and I think a lot of it has to do with Keto.

My sugar cravings went away after about two weeks. I don’t feel deprived of anything though! I eat a square of my favorite dark chocolate after dinner and that keeps the sugar cravings away. I’ve also found substitutes for my favorite snacks like salt and vinegar almonds instead of chips.

Let me know if you have any questions about Keto! I am not a doctor so please ask yours before you start any new “diet” program. I hate calling this a diet and I only feel the need to share how I am doing for others with migraines who may find this helpful.

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What I Do When I’m Feeling Overwhelmed

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One of my most annoying traits is that I am very easily overwhelmed. I’ve known this about myself from an early age and have always blamed it on the fact that I’m an introvert. Being around people drains me and I get so overwhelmed that I have a hard time functioning.

As I’ve grown older I’ve come to realize that my environment is what overwhelms me the most. I avoid being around large groups of people because having many people talking at once makes me completely lose focus. Sometimes I can’t even hold a conversation with the person sitting next to me because all I can hear are the other voices around me.

When Brett and I bought our house my mental health started to deteriorate. I was so overwhelmed with cooking, cleaning, laundry, unpacking, organizing, etc. Brett and I had an apartment before so it wasn’t the stress of moving in with him that created this monster inside of me. We had way more space in our house than our apartment and I was feeling overwhelmed taking care of all of it.

My environment is important to my mental health. When my house is clean, I am calm. When my house is a little messy, I feel a bit chaotic. When my house looks like a tornado blew through it, I am a hot mess. 

Let’s be super honest here, I’m not the neatest person in the world so I constantly feel chaotic. I’ve learned to deal with these overwhelming feelings in a couple of ways.

  1. I take a quick break. Sometimes I just need a moment to breathe away from the chaos that I’ve created around me. I’ll grab Oscar and head out for a quick walk around the block or just hang out with him in the backyard for a bit. Anything to get me out of my head.
  2. I read a book. Reading is so therapeutic to me. I love getting lost in someone else’s story and it makes me forget about my life for a few minutes.
  3. Create a to-do list. When I’m feeling super overwhelmed I grab my notepad and jot down all the things I think I need to do. This is fun to look at hours later when I’m not so stressed because I can tell how chaotic my brain was when I wrote it. Creating a list gets my stress out of my body and onto the paper.
  4. Have Brett talk me down. Brett and I have been together for almost 9 years so he almost understands me better than I understand myself sometimes. He knows how to deal with me when I’m at my most overwhelmed and always talks me back into a good place.

Being overwhelmed is a normal feeling and there’s nothing wrong with feeling it at times. I always tell myself that I’m stronger than any feeling I’m having and I’ll get through it like I always have before.

Life is for living. By being so overwhelmed with housework I was truly forgetting to live. I’m trying to be better about how I spend my time. One of my Q1 goals is to spend more time tidying and less time cleaning. I hope this helps me calm down and enjoy everyday.

I hope these tips help you if you are also feeling overwhelmed! Let me know if you have any other tips.

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Migraine Update: Keto Diet & Positive Thinking

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My migraines and headaches have progressively gotten worse over the past couple of years but I have gotten stronger. It’s easy to let my fear of a migraine or my day-to-day pain bring me down but I’ve decided that I am stronger than my migraines and I deserve to live a life worth living.

There is no cure for migraines. There’s no easy way out. I haven’t been able to find a medication that will magically take all of my pain away and leave me symptom free. Instead I have decide that I am mentally strong enough to withstand the pain. There are still many days where I don’t want to get out of bed and sleeping is the only thing that helps. And that’s okay.

I had an appointment with my neurologist last week and I was a bit disappointed at first. It’s easy to feel like all of my doctors have given up on me when they can’t find a way to help my migraines. In this case, I think my neurologist was trying to push me to make a decision that I wasn’t ready to make at the time. He wanted me to make the decision on how much I’m willing to put my body through in order to be pain free. He wasn’t doing this to be hurtful but wanted to have an honest conversation with me. He’s a good guy and a great doctor.

I needed to take a step back. We talked about Amiovig at my last appointment and I had been thinking about it since. I hadn’t decided if I was ready to make that leap. So instead I decided to take some time to take care of myself for once. I’ve had a little success with my current medication so I’ll keep taking it. I’ve had a lot of success with eating a low-carb, low-sugar diet so I’ll try that again.

This is my third time doing the Ketogenic diet. I know that tons of people say that it’s not healthy but both of my neurologists have suggested it to me. According to them, Keto was originally created to help people with Epilepsy and can help those with other neurological problems as well.

Losing weight is not my main concern. I just want a healthy and happy brain. Sugar has always been a huge trigger for my migraines so now I’m putting my health first and saying no to sugar.

I don’t know how sustainable Keto will be for me. I already have so much more energy, less brain fog, and I’m sleeping better. I did not experience the “Keto flu” and I’m making sure that I still eat enough calories and drink enough water. I’m cooking new recipes and meal prepping and planning. I feel really good.

I want to push myself to do Keto for at least three full months and am keeping notes about how my body feels. I’m hoping that eating a healthier diet and avoiding my known food triggers will help me. I want to do what’s best for my body and this feels right for now.

I’m still taking things one day at a time but every morning when I wake up I remind myself that I am worthy of having a good day. I won’t let migraines bring me down forever even when I do have my really bad days.

Have you tried the Keto diet? Let me know if you have any tips!

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Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🇬🇧 on Unsplash

 

2019: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly

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My first post of 2020, woohoo!

I wrote a 2018 reflection like this last year and it’s one of my favorites. 2018 was one of the hardest years of my life and it was tough for me to find positives to list. But it was also a reminder that it’s easy to find positives if you are looking for them.

In 2019 I tried to focus more on the positive things in my life and it ended up being a great year! Like I said last year, please don’t read this post and think that I have a perfect life. I really don’t but I try to make the best of what I do have.

In 2019 I…

  • Turned 26 and celebrated my golden birthday
  • Visited Florida (2), Arizona, Illinois, Ohio, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Oregon
  • Fell in love with blogging again
  • Celebrated two years of marriage and eight total years with Brett
  • Reunited with my German BFF in Oregon
  • Tried a new migraine preventative and steroids to break my migraine cycle (they didn’t work)
  • Spent SO much time with my family
  • Prioritized my happiness for the first time
  • Learned to say “no”
  • Celebrated three years at my current job
  • Had a girls night with my work friends
  • Lost 15 pounds
  • Became an Aunt to two perfect twin girls
  • Went to my first NFL game
  • Painted and organized at my parent’s house
  • Read a lot of great books
  • Threw a baby shower for my sister in law
  • Celebrated the lives of Brett’s grandpa and my childhood friend
  • Went to Cedar Point
  • Had a date beach day with Brett

I’m looking forward to a great 2020! I’ll be posting my first quarter goals soon and a recap of the last couple of months of 2019.

How was your 2019?

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Migraine Update: Steroids & Trying Aimovig?

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I had an appointment with my neurologist in September and was surprised with how helpful he was. Is it bad that I’m still so surprised to receive good medical advice? After having a terrible neurologist for years I’m so happy to have found a good one!

We started our appointment by talking about my migraines and how we haven’t been able to find anything to break the cycle. I was on day 8 of a migraine when I saw him and I’ve had constant head pain since December 2017. Late last year he had me do a round of steroids to try to break the cycle and I had mild success. We decided to try another round of steroids to see if they would help.

I had a couple of good days on the steroids where I didn’t need to take anything for the pain. I still had a headache but it was more mild than normal. Unfortunately, as I weaned off of the steroids my headaches came back full force and I ended up with another migraine week. I’ve had to take a couple sick days or leave early in the past few weeks because the pain has been unbearable.

My neurologist also upped the dosage of my preventive medication that I’ve been on for 9 months or so. I’m really hoping this helps!

We ended my appointment with talking about Amiovig which is an injectable migraine medication that was released in 2018. I’ve done a ton of research on Amiovig and am unsure if I’m willing to try it. I could experience some serious side effects and I’m deathly afraid of needles so I’m not sure how I’d handle giving myself a monthly injection. I’m still weighing the pros and cons but am excited that he’s willing to try something new! Have you tried Amiovig?

I’m feeling pretty hopeful after this last appointment. I just have to keep advocating for myself and fighting for a pain-free existence.

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My Honest Opinion About Self-Care

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Sundays are always stressful for me. I’ve mentioned the Sunday Scaries before and I haven’t found a way around that feeling yet. Yesterday I woke up and promised myself that I would do something to take care of myself and I couldn’t manage to do it.

Self-care is glamorized as face masks and bubble baths but I’d actually just love to read a good book and drink a cup of tea. Lately I’ve been so busy that I even feel like I need to rush through my daily shower in order to get more things done. Self- care is needed but it isn’t happening.

My generation puts so much pressure on themselves to succeed. My university has something called “30 Under 30” which highlights graduates under 30 who have moved on and done amazing things with their lives. I hate that. I don’t need a daily competition reminder.

I’m burnt out and frustrated with this self-care talk. I’ve spent so much time taking care of other people and sometimes I really just need someone to take care of me. I have a ton of negative energy around me right now and I need to get away from it.

Do you have any tips for self-care?

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