National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Warning: This post may act as a trigger to those suffering/recovering from an ED.

This week, February 24th – March 2nd, is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I’ve known for a while I wanted to write a post on it, but it’s been very hard for me to figure out the jumble of thoughts in my head about something I feel so strongly about and whether to write on such a personal topic.

Somebody

The theme of this year’s NEDA Week is “Everybody Knows Somebody”. With 7 million women and 1 million men suffering from Anorexia or Bulimia (that means 1 in every 200 with anorexia and 1 in every 100 with bulimia) that is almost certainly the case.

One of the most important things I feel the need to stress is that an eating disorder is not a choice. Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, and “Eating Disorder not Otherwise Specified” are classified mental illnesses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). In fact, these three classifications of mental illnesses have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness. 5-10% of women with Anorexia die within 10 years of developing the disease, while 8-20% percent die within 20 years. The mortality rate of people with anorexia is twelve times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death in women 12-24.

These are very serious diseases.

Yet society today still does not remove the stigma placed on people suffering from these diseases or offer the research and care necessary for prevention. A study conducted by the National Institute of Health in 2011 showed that the average amount of money spent on research per person living with Schizophrenia was $81, for Autism – $44 and for Alzheimer’s – $88.  The same study showed that the average amount of money spent on research per person suffering form an Eating Disorder was $0.93. This is a mental illness that needs to stop being ignored.

Many people can’t comprehend why people suffering from an eating disorder “can’t just eat” or why they don’t see the sickly state their body is in. To understand that, one needs to realize that the mindset of someone suffering from an eating disorder is not one of someone just trying to look good. That may be how they describe their desired body. It may be how their disorder started, counting calories and restricting food to try to loose weight and slowly spiraling out of control. But a person suffering from an eating disorder truly feels powerless to the control the disorder has on their mind. It is the feeling of worthlessness and disgust that come from putting food in their mouth due to the thought that they should have had the self control and strength to resist the temptation. Not because they fear getting fat, but because at that point it is strictly a mind game equating self control with self worth, thinness with value.  The shame and solitude that comes from binging and purging, whether through vomiting or use of laxatives, because they know that what they are doing is wrong, but cannot help the suffocating anxiety and self loathing that fills them until they force it out.

To anyone currently suffering from an Eating Disorder, I urge you to seek help either through someone you know or by contacting someone here . It can be difficult to seek help, because you know that treatment will mean forcing yourself, or even being forced, to break from the obsessive rituals that currently define your life. There is the fear of loosing that control, that small bit of reassurance and happiness that you currently have. It seems impossible to have a positive relationship with food and yourself and that may cause you to resist entering treatment.

That is not the case. There are millions of people, myself included, who have proven that wrong. Getting past that initial hurdle is the hardest step, but the most important one on the way to recovery and happiness.

Dispelling CrossFit Myths – Base Camp Week 1

I have not been asked by CrossFit Sanitas to endorse this gym. All opinions in this blog are my own

Well guys, I have officially drank the kool aid. Today was the end of week 1 of my 2.5 week CrossFit “Base Camp”. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4:45am I got out of bed and drudged out into the snowy cold and headed towards CrossFit Sanitas like a moth to a warm flame. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:30am I excitedly texted anyone I knew who was awake at that time (mainly my parents on the east coast and my boyfriend) everything we had done that day, what the WOD had been, what my time was, what technique methods the coaches had used and how excited I was for the next class. Needless to say, I’m hooked.

I thought I’d start out by going over some of the many things I had heard about CrossFit and whether or not I found them to be true.

Myth #1: The coaches lack in training/aren’t educated well enough. FALSE

Doesn't really apply, but makes me laugh anyway.

I wanted to start with this because it’s one of the ones I’ve heard most often and because of the amazing experience I have had with my coach, Dan, so far. My CrossFit box offers an 8 session base camp to all incoming CrossFitters to help teach proper technique. Each workout begins with about a 30 minute “skill” session (this is true for their regular WODS outside of base camp too, I believe). Each day we focus on 3 main skill sets (for instance: deadlifts/sumo deadlift shoulder raise/press or squat/push up/ring row). Dan not only was able to demonstrate each move slowly, while articulating exactly what he expected of us, but would walk around individually correcting each person’s form. Prior to even adding any weight we had to do about 30 air/body weight versions of whatever move we were doing.

Now youmay be thinking – well how do you know what good instruction is? Thanks to my trainer boyfriend, I watch strength and conditioning videos all the time that focus on proper technique. While I am far from having perfect form, I do know the areas I need to improve on and Dan called me out on all of them. He would also continue to do so during the actual WOD, even AMRAP WODs which focus on a high number of reps where your form can easily get sloppy. So, as far as qualified coaches go, I’d give him as an A+.

Myth #2: CrossFit is only for super intense crazy people who like flipping tires, climbing ropes and wearing tiny spandex. FALSE

Not my box, but this grandma is kicking some butt.

Not my box, but this grandma is kicking some butt.

The group of people in my base camp are so incredibly diverse. There’s 14 of of us total, a surprisingly large number for a 5:30am class, and the participants range from a trainer at CU who wants to know what the fuss is about to a group of amazingly bubbly and motivated moms who want to get more fit to be good role models for their kids to twenty something’s looking for a challenge. Each WOD we do can be adapted to each individuals level of fitness and abilities to make it perfect for people of all ages and fitness level.

MYTH #3: CrossFit workouts only last about 10 minutes and aren’t actually that hard. FALSE

I aspire to be Andrea Ager.

I aspire to be Andrea Ager.

The opposite of the myth above, but also one I have heard (conveniently from people who had never tried CrossFit). Before base camp I also believed that people just came in, did the WOD and left. As I mentioned above, however, there is a whole other section prior to the WOD that focuses on skills and lifting heavier for shorter reps and is a whole other workout in and of itself. While I haven’t tried a non-basecamp workout yet, I’m hoping to try one this Sunday so I can get the full idea of what this pre section is like. Also, a lot of the olympic lifting moves are combined with dynamic athlete moves (box jumps, lateral jumps etc) that will help any athlete improve. Lastly, we are encouraged to stay after the WOD to do some more cardio or work on things not covered that day to help us reach our own individual goals.

Myth #4: CrossFit gyms are small and dingy. Definitely False.

Does not even begin to capture it. Also, that's my coach. Hi Dan!

Does not even begin to capture the Sanitas Box. Also, that’s my coach. Hi Dan!

I know that my box is exceptionally nice, but literally I could not ask for a better CrossFit gym. The space is HUGE, brand new, with every piece of equipment you could ask for from competition kettle bells, tons of barbells and racks, boxes, ropes, rowers, sleds and even a turf area. Plus it has childcare. Not all boxes have to be in someone’s basement.

Myth #5: They will pressure you to be Paleo.

paleo

My second class we had about a 5-10 minute talk on nutrition. It basically came down to “Do what works for you, but try to follow the basic principle of ‘If man made it, don’t eat it'” Simple. True. No pressure. We also were given a packet on the first day that had further information on nutrition, should we desire to know more, as well as information about lifting techniques we would be learning.

Myth #6 It’s a cult that will suck you in and make you never want to stop. TRUE & FALSE.

obs

I don’t like the word cult, as that has a negative connotation. I don’t associate loving something that is beneficial to your physical and mental health with the dangers of a cult. I do believe that it feeds on human natures desire to work as a community to succeed, while also individually pushing yourself past your own personal limits. I didn’t realize how motivating it would be to be working out with a group of people and how much harder I would push myself when doing it. I also didn’t realize how exciting it would be to see everyone, especially the people who were struggling, complete the workout. It motivates you to work harder, because if they are pushing themselves through the pain, you can too. I remember reading somewhere that a great thing about CrossFit is that the loudest cheers are for the last one to finish. I definitely think that is a reality.

I have so much more to say, but I can save that for another post about what we actually did during each session, but hopefully this helps convince some of you who may have been on the fence to give it a shot.

(Re)New Year Resolutions

It’s that time. The time when the gym starts emptying out again. When you start giving into your cravings. When all those things that seemed so important January 1st don’t seem worth the effort anymore.

But now is not the time to give up.

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Was your goal fitness related? Finding it hard to get motivate to work out after a long day? Try morning workouts. It will boost your metabolism, give you more energy throughout the day and get it out of the way so you can enjoy your evenings. If that idea makes you cringe, try at least getting up 30 minutes earlier. It won’t  ruin your sleep, but can provide you time to squeeze in a 3 mile run or a quick HIIT workout to start your day off.  Still can’t do that? Try doing squats while you brush your teeth or take 1 minute to do 10 pushups and 10 sit-ups.

Is working out cutting into your social life? Find people who support your changing lifestyle and try new ways of socializing.  Bring a friend to a group exercise class. Instead of meeting to catch up over drinks, go for a walk, a hike or a bike ride. Guarantee you’ll relieve stress and feel better that you did something to achieve your goals.

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Was your resolution diet related? The biggest thing to remember is “By failing to prepare, you plan to fail”. Take the time to have healthy snacks in your fridge to avoid mindless snacking. Prepare healthy meals that you can take with you on the go. Eat out a lot? Try to pick restaurants that have healthier options and avoid appetizers and alcohol. Once again, try to surround yourself with people who are supportive of the changes you are trying to make. Making dinner can be a fun and healthy way to hang out with friends and you have complete control over how healthy the meal is you’re making.

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Was your resolution non-health related? Get better grades? Be a better friend/mother/father/daughter/son? Read more? Watch less TV? Finally apply for your dream job?

No matter what your goal, make sure you set attainable benchmarks where you can measure your progress in small steps so you don’t get discouraged. Image

Whatever you wanted to improve upon this year, keep going!

Spicy Mango Mahi Mahi

I feel like I have been up for days. This morning I had to get up at the crack of dawn to go to my first CrossFit Basecamp Class. Luckily, I have today off from work so I can nap if I need to.

Edited out the profanity my pre-5am mind needs to get me out of bed.

Edited out the profanity my pre-5am mind needs to get me out of bed.

I’ll be writing a whole post about my first week on Friday, but for now I’ll say that I am actually excited to wake up before 5am to go to the one on Wednesday. The box is fantastic, the coaches are informed and very sincere and I am super excited.

When I got back from my box I made a quick breakfast of some sunny side up eggs over some baked sweet potato. Delicious.

Sunny Side Eggs over Sweet Potato

Sunny Side Eggs over Sweet Potato

Now for lunch I plan on making Spicy Mango Mahi Mahi. I’ve been on a real fish kick lately, so don’t be surprised if the next couple posts are all from the sea.

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SPICY MANGO MAHI MAHI

1lb Mahi Mahi

4 Tablespoons Mango Chutney (also, Mangos are currently on sale in my town so feel free to add fresh mango chunks as well)

1tsp siracha

juice from 1 orange

salt

chopped green onions/scallions

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees

2) Mix together the mango chutney, siracha, orange juice and salt

3) I always like to cook fish in tinfoil pouches because it heats thoroughly and it saves on the stinky fishy pans afterwards. So, take a sheet of tinfoil, place the fish on it.

4) Pour sauce on top of the fish, and wrap the tinfoil around the fish to seal it shut.

5) Bake in oven for 15-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. Enjoy!

Swimming Workout #1

I have a tendency to forget that swimming exists. Maybe it’s because it’s not as easy to do as running unless you have a pretty awesome house where you can just step out your door into a pool.

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You would think that for someone who spent 8 years of their life swimming 2-4 hours a day, every day and traveling from pool to pool all along the east coast every weekend, I would remember what an amazing workout it is.

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Prior to my ankle injury, I hadn’t been in a pool to workout in over 5 years. After I broke my ankle, it was the only form of cardio (just pulling, no kicking) that I could do. But once again, as soon as I could run again the pool was just a distant memory.

Until this week.

Last Wednesday morning I woke up to go for a run and my legs were killing me. They were so tight that I could barely extend them far enough for a full stride. I thought about going to yoga, but it’s not really my cup of tea, so instead I decided I needed a date with the pool.

The minute I jumped in and the cold water flooded over me, I remembered just how much I love to swim. Here are some reasons swimming is good for you:

1) It’s perfect for people with knee problems (or other injuries like, say, bum ankles)

2) It builds longer, leaner muscles compared to the more short and compact ones you get from weight-training.

3) It’s perfect for cross-training, as it can give your joints a break from the pavement pounding.

4) It increases flexibility

5) Strengthens your core, as well as the rest of your body.

6) It’s fun to channel your inner child and pretend to be a dolphin.

Here is the swim workout I did. It only took about 30 minutes, but left me feeling so much better.

SWIM WORKOUT #1

1*200 yd freestyle warm up

4*50 yd sprints with 15 seconds rest in between. 1st 25 freestyle, 2nd 25 butterfly

100 yard butterfly kick on back (really works the abs)

4*50 yd sprint with 15 second rest in between 1st 25 freestyle, 2nd 25 backstroke

100 yard back kick

Repeat the 4*50s and 100 kicks again

200 yd “Lung Buster” – First 50 breathe every 3 strokes, 2nd 50 breathe every 5 strokes, 3rd 50 breathe every 7 strokes, last 50 breathe every 9 strokes first 25, then swim the last 25 butterfly breathe every 2 strokes.

Warm down 150

TOTAL: 1,650yds (swimmer’s mile)

Obviously adjust to your own personal skill level. I was a swim instructor and swim coach for 3 years as well, so if you have any questions ask away and I’ll try to help!

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My 10 Favorite Workout Songs

Okay, this is awkward. I know I’ve been gone for a while, I’ve been having a crazy week. But it’s about to get even more awkward, because I am about to admit my 10 favorite songs to work out to. These are not my “10 favorite songs ever”, but the ones that always get my blood pumping and make me want to sweat it out.

1) Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris

This one has a great beat to get your body moving.

2) If you want to – Travis Barker (ft. Lupe Fiasco)

I was a drummer for 5 years, so this song just does it for me.

3) Wipe Me Down – Lil Boosie ft. Webie (NSFW)

Anyone who knew me in college knows my relationship with this song. This was THE song to put on to get pumped up and always fills me with energy.

4) Animal – Mike Snow

I bet you cannot listen to this song and not get it stuck in your head for DAYS.

5) Ven Conmigo – Daddy Yankee (NSFW)

This song is perfect for fast cardio. Plus, it reminds me of one of my best friends who currently lives in Brazil, but came all the way out to CO for my birthday a month after a moved her and danced like a fool to this song to cheer up my homesickness.

6) Neato – Three Loco (NSFW)

I feel like this is one of those “you love it” or “you really really hate it” type songs. I personally love it, especially when lifting. Also, it’s pretty vulgar so you’ve been warned.

7) Sexy Love – Ne-Yo

Sometimes on long runs, you need to do a little day dreaming to get you through…

8) Right There – Nicole Scherzinger ft. 50 Cent

Pretty much along the same line as the one above

9) Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men

So upbeat, plus I always picture the music video in my head which keeps me entertained.

10) Take Care – Drake ft. Rihanna

Okay, I’ll admit it. I am in love with everything Drake produces. Including this one. I have no shame.

National Women in Sports Day

Today, February 6th, is National Women in Sports day.

Over 40 years ago, in 1972, TItle IX was adopted to Federal Law to prohibit discrimination in school based sports programs (and other after school programs) based on gender.  In 1972, 1 in every 27 girls played high school sports. Today, the number is 2 in 5.

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Time Magazine in 1978

So, I just wanted to give all you women athletes and the men who support women atheletes a pat on the back. Keep on working it!