Letting go of food anxiety and control when travelling | Advice

A post about travelling… there are many different directions i can take this post.

How to be vegan when travelling.

How to be healthy/keep up with routines when travelling.

And also… how to be ok with letting go of routines and control and enjoy your holiday.

I want to write about all three, because they are all relevant to different people. For some people, they do need tips on how to maybe stay active during holiday, what to think about with food so as to not go all in all day with the food.

But for others… that is not the type of advice they need. Instead, they need advice on how to be ok with letting go of routines. How to be ok with not exercising for a week. How to be ok with not having planned or structured meals. Eating out several times a day. How to enjoy your holiday, GUILT and ANXIETY free.

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Of course is there a magical answer on how to do this… not really, the first time or first holiday may not be the easiest. But i can say, the only way to find that balance, to be able to enjoy a holiday without letting food or exercise control it or give you anxiety, is to face those fears.

If your holiday is just a week, then realise that it is one week out of 52 weeks. It is 7 days out of 365 days, what does it matter if you eat more than usual? What does it matter if you don’t exercise.

If anything… it will just do you good, because the honest truth is that if you need this reminder that it is ok to not exercise and it is ok to just rest, then you are more than likely doing more exercise than necessary to be healthy and resting will just be beneficial for you. Not to mention, eating differently when you are on holiday, enjoying the food and allowing yourself to try new foods and get that spontaneous ice cream, smoothie or glass of wine is just part of it.

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Think like this….. in the future, you will remember the memories. You will remember the experience and you hopefully want to make it a positive one.

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  1. Photographer/credit: Amir Menahem

 

Some useful tips if you do struggle with anxiety around food because you are eating out or not able to exercise is:

Knowing where you are going to eat can be helpful. Just to mentally know where you are going to eat, what type of food is being served. NO… this doesn’t mean you compensate with salad for lunch because you are eating burgers for dinner, or that you skip breakfast because you are eating pasta for lunch. It can just help with the control issues which i am sure many know struggle with an eating disorder, or need this advice, may struggle with. Mentally preparing yourself can be helpful.

 

And just like i said in my most recent YouTube video about how to stop counting calories, (Youtube, IzzyM), is that when you go out to eat… ORDER THE FOOD YOU WANT. I know it may be tough, especially when you may be doing it 3 or more times in one day. But do it. I promise you, if you order a food you want, like or want to try, you will enjoy it so much more.

 

Hopefully you will be travelling with friends or family who don’t have any food rules or are very restrictive with their diet. Hopefully you are surrounded by people who can enjoy food, both vegetables and ice cream, and that can help you feel more comfortable and want to do the same thing.

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  1. Photographer/credit: Amir Menahem

Of course, if you are travelling with others who maybe are on a diet, make alot of food comments or are very restrictive in their way of eating it can be very triggering, and maybe make you feel uncomfortable with ordering and eating the amount or type of food you want. But then you have to ask yourself…. what type of life do i want to live? How do i want to remember this trip? Do i want to remember it filled with anxiety and restricitve behaviour… wanting to try a food but not allowing yourself? Or do you want to remember it with delicious food, seeing new places and a good time?

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Photographer/credit: Amir Menahem

It can be helpful to maybe spend a weekend away to start off with, where you don’t actively workout and allow yourself to eat the foods you want when you go out to eat. It can be a good way to start facing your fears.

Have coping skills and ways to cope with your anxiety planned. What works best for you… being alone or being with others? Does it help to just sit and breathe or do you maybe want some time to journal or maybe talk with others to help with the anxiety?

Also remember that the anxiety WILL pass after a meal. I know there may be anxiety before a meal and after, but it will pass… and the only way to make the anxiety lessen, is to face it. Unless you step outside of your comfort zone to face the anxiety, it will continue to control you.

Lastly a reminder… that even if you don’t have the courage to try a whole dish or a certain food all by yourself… if you are travelling with others, suggest you share. Because that can be the start of you facing your fears and fear foods. So if you don’t feel like you can handle finishing an ice cream by yourself, but you still want one…. suggest you share one. Of course… if you truly want th ewhole ice cream – then go for it, because you deserve it!

And remember, even if you don’t go to the gym or go for a run, you are most likely active in other ways…. exploring a new city and walking around. Walking to the beach, moving from place to place. And even if you don’t do that, and all you do is lie on the beach for a whole week… that is ok as well. Remember that it is just a short period of your life.

I know this post isn’t for everyone…. but for many, they may need these reminders.

In the past i could never travel or be away from home. Just the thought of having to eat out more than once in a week or not being able to workout while still having to eat several times a day would have sent me into panic mode. But the only way to get over those fears was to face them…. to travel, to allow myself to eat and enjoy food, to allow myself rest and know that my routines and habits will be there again when i am home. But allowing myself to truly enjoy myself, enjoy food and enjoy the company while i am travelling is so much more important than the amount of calories i eat or the amount of time i spent exercising.

 

When travelling, there can be a lot of anxiety… just because of all the changes… so just be aware and be prepared. Find out what works for you… what helps you cope with your anxiety. Be kind to your self and know that the only way to get better is to step outside of your comfort zone and do the things that scare you, and in that case it means facing fear foods and allowing yourself to rest. It may be easier said than done for some, but you can’t reach that place if you don’t even try or try to face your fears.

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If you have any other post suggestions you want me to make, just let me know!

Good food = good mood | Listening to your body | Perfect diet and balanced intake?

Sometimes i think i give off the image that i have a “perfect, balanced diet and intake”….. Or maybe i don’t. But i think i can give off the image that i always eat vegetables, always have balanced meals and always listen to my body… which isn’t always the case.

I mean, if listening to your body was easy, then everyone would do it. But it is not always easy to listen to your body or interpret your signals. 

Sometimes tiredness can be interpreted as hungry so you eat something instead of actually going to sleep. Sometimes (or quite often) i can eat just out of boredom. Sometimes i drink coffee instead of eating (or sleeping) (but then realise it is food or sleep i needed, not caffeine). Sometimes i eat more food than my body may call for, just because it is delicious. When i am stressed or anxious or nervous i can feel too sick to eat or lose my appetite and not eat because i don’t feel hungry, and sometimes the stress can lead to stress eating. I follow my cravings and try to listen to my body and eat regular meals but listening to (my) your body and interpreting the signals isn’t always easy. It is not just the body and hormones that send physical signs, but the mind also plays a role in hunger and what you eat.

 

 

The truth is i don’t always have a perfectly balanced diet, i am just like anyone else and can have days i overeat or days where i undereat. I can have days where i eat lots of processed food with little to no vegetables all day.

Of course, in a way you could see that the ability to overeat and not feel guilty or compensate is a sign of health and balance. But also the ability to eat less than usual when i am not hungry and not feel like i “Have to eat”, like i once did in the past when recovering from my eating disorder.

I am writing this post just to be honest. Listening to your body sometimes means you overeat or undereat. Sometimes you think you are listening to your body but you aren’t actually because there are different thoughts that are interfering with the physical signs/how you eat.

Some people can’t listen to their body, especially if hormones and hunger signals aren’t working as they should. Whether it is because you never feel hungry or you never feel full. Or maybe you have a far too negative relationship with food so you don’t trust your body or can’t judge right portion sizes. Or maybe you are going through very stressful times or feel very anxious or worried which affects your hunger signals. Or maybe you need to gain or lose weight which means you need to eat more/less than your body signals for. Or maybe you are taking medication that affects your hunger levels.

In all those cases, then maybe following a meal plan or more strict form of eating (i.e eating at certain times and having certain meals planed and measured) can be helpful, instead of just eating whenever and how much you want.

The one thing i have realised throughout my years is that regular meals with focus on “whole foods” is what makes me feel best – physically and mentally. Food and eating impacts so much more than just giving you a satiated feeling. It impacts your thoughts, your energy, how you feel. The food you eat becomes the building blocks in your body and part of your cells.

 

 

For me personally, whenever i go through times when i don’t really listen to my body and maybe i overeat/eat lots of processed food, or times when i undereat it always impacts me in different ways. More tired, sluggish, don’t feel as great about myself, end up bloating and getting stomach pain. Not to mention it usually impacts my skin as well if i consume too much of certain food . Such as the times i end up consuming a little too much sweetener ex. i.e i add sweetener to yoghurt/chia pudding or drink too much diet soda, it gives me this weird feeling and i don’t feel so great in my body/ in myself after a while. So it is not just eating too much chocolate or bread or overeating, but also consuming too much sweetener and “low kcal/sugar free” foods that can give me that strange, not so great feeling.

 

 

The times i eat regular meal times with predominantly whole foods (i.e vegetables, grains, tofu, legumes, nuts) is when i feel best. Nourishing my body with frequent/regular meals is when i feel best physically and mentally. And when i listen to my body, that is naturally how i eat.

The quote, good food = good mood really is true. (I hate the term “good”, “clean”, “bad” “healthy”, “unhealthy” when it comes to describing food because no food is good/bad/healthy/unhealthy.. it is all about the amount you eat, not to mention it is very individual on what is healthy or unhealthy. There is food which has more nutrients than other foods, but that doesn’t meant the food with less nutrients has to be bad… it is about the amount you eat.)

I like to eat rather big meals 2-3 times a day, and usually some smaller snack 1-2 times a day depending on life/if i am hungry or not. Sometimes 2-3 meals a day with no snacks works, othertimes i am more hungry and want to snack.

Why am i writing this post…? Well because i wanted to share with you that normal eating and listening to your body isn’t always perfect. We are just humans and our thoughts, cravings, feelings impact how we eat… not just the physical hunger signals. Even things like what others are eating, ads we see in our daily lives impact how we eat. Example if you are with friends or family and they eat or buy some food, you are more likely to eat as well even if you aren’t hungry. Or if you see an ad for some new food you want to try, or maybe you smell freshly baked buns or bread you might go buy and eat some even if you weren’t actually hungry…. that’s called being a human.

Food is more than just energy and nourishment. Food can give you a good/happy feeling, it is a social thing, it is delicious and can make you want to eat more.

The problem of course is when people begin to abuse food and rely on food to make them happy, such as emotional eating – when food and eating gives them a calm or happy feeling.

I really hope this post helps someone and makes you realise that a perfect diet or a healthy diet isn’t always eating the same meals at the same time each day. A balanced and healthy diet can sometimes mean that you eat more or eat less than your body calls for – even if that of course shouldn’t be the goal. The thing is to not feel anxious or guilty if you do overeat, instead just get back to your regular meals the next time you eat.

Also remember, that people only post some of their meals online, i don’t post all the meals i eat and don’t post about the times i undereat or overeat, so don’t base your own intake off of what people show online because you never really know how a person eats.

 

 

 

Struggling – life with a chronic illness: Cystic Fibrosis

I have been unsure whether i wanted to write or share this post, but i felt i wanted and needed to share my thoughts.

After Mondays appointment at the hospital with my CF doctor it just sort of clicked for me how much i have been struggling. I have tried to suppress the feelings and thoughts i have had, but on Monday i realised i can’t. Especially not if i want to make a change.

Recently i have been struggling alot with my chronic illness – Cystic Fibrosis. I feel like i am 13 years old again and want to scream that i am normal, just like everyone else. I feel like the 12/13 year old who sat on the stairs crying because i didn’t want to be abnormal. I didn’t want to have this illness. I didn’t want to have to take medications everyday and do inhalers that take time each day. Most of all… i wanted to just be normal and like everyone else.

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Of course, now when i am older i know that so many people have different illnesses, and i am lucky that i have a rather mild form of CF. Some people with this ilness spend their lives in hospital, so i am lucky in that way. But it doesn’t take away my struggle or my feelings.

Recently it has gotten alot harder to breathe. Both due to the extreme heat which has made it hard for me to breathe deep and has limited my capability to exercise, which in turn makes my breathing and CF worse. So it is a dark circle where if i skip exercising it makes my CF worse and that in turn makes it even harder to get back into doing cardio.

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Recently it has been a real struggle to breathe. Imagine having a belt around half your lungs so that you can’t breath all the way in, and at the same time breathing through a straw…. that’s how it feels for me all the time. For the first time in my life i have begun waking up coughing in my sleep, and for the first time in my life i can actually sort of relate to the feeling of drowning from the inside, which is how some people describe Cystic Fibrosis. Because that is how i feel at the moment.

Instead of this dip in my health making me motivated to make a change and really focus on getting back on track and improving my health, it has made me less motivated. I have just felt like… “what is the point?”. Why even bother – it most likely won’t make a difference. So instead of taking my medication and doing my inhalers i have decided to be like my 12 year old self who began to rebel and just think ” f**k it”.

That of course has made my health and breathing decline and it does scare me to not be able to breath. To constantly be coughing and have people at the gym tell me i shouldn’t workout if i am sick (when infact working out is one of the things helping me and that my coughing isn’t contagious.)

Sometimes i wish i could just put a label on my head that says i have CF and have an illness so that people would know… and wouldn’t just think i am walking around coughing and being contagious.

On Monday i got my results back from all the various tests i did in May/June, and the results were as expected…. not as great as they have been or could be. A slow decline in health and lung function. My bone density being affected, which could also be due to hormones. My blood tests did come back good though and no deficiences, which is a good thing.

For a while my CF doctor has asked me if i want to talk to a psychologist which is part of the CF team, and each time i have declined. I don’t want to talk to someone, i don’t need help.

But for the first time i decided to say yes….  to say that yes, i do infact want to meet the psychologist. I don’t know when. I don’t know if i will go. I might cancel just like i have done many times in the past… but maybe, just maybe i will go and get help.

I am struggling with my illness. Both physically and mentally. My decline in health and breathing is affecting my mentally and physically. I feel tired. I don’t want this illness anymore, i just want to be able to breathe like everyone else and not have a constant struggle with one of the most basic human things.

I know i am not alone in having a chronic illness – everyone has their struggles. But we all have our right to struggle and find that sometimes our struggles are just too much.

Part of me just wants to continue saying “f**k it” and disregard everything with medication and inhalers, and the other part of me is thinking…. what if i try to do my very best for the next 3 weeks before my next appointment. What if i could just turn things around and make things better? Just like with recovery from eating disorders and depression, it is about making the choice and the change. Breaking the negative cycles and habits you have gotten into.

I need to try to find my motivation – which of course should be increased health and better well being. But i might need to find some type of outer motivation as well such as a holiday or a new tattoo if i can manage to turn things around with my health and get back into healthy habits and routines with my CF.

I may study health and promote health and healthy habits, but i don’t always do things according to the books. Motivation and changing behaviour isn’t always easy.

I am struggling at the moment and feel extremely low on energy and just low on motivation and life motivation. But i hope that i will turn things around that with improving my physical health i can also help improve my mental health.

Being strong doesn’t always mean being alone and fighting in silence, sometimes you need to reach out to others and just tell them how much you are struggling so you can get help from others.

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Scars, stretch marks & cellulite | Self love & dealing with your body changing

This is going to be a rather open and honest post, and i am questioning whether i even want to share this post or share my thoughts. I wrote this post several days ago but just haven’t really wanted to post it….. something holds me back when it comes to writing about body love/self love posts… it just feels like there are far worse problems in the world and that this is just a “silly, first world, white girl” problem….

In the past i was more open about struggles and wrote alot more body love and self love posts. It feels like body love/self love posts don’t really fit into the theme of nutrition-veganism which i have here. However, it is also part of my personal posts as well as part of a healthy lifestyle and mindset…. to be able to analyze and reflect over certain thoughts, and maybe be able to help someone in the same situation.

I am not someone who spends alot of time caring about my appearance or looking in the mirror. Infact, it wasn’t until April this year, when i moved into my own place that i finally got a full length mirror after 2 years of moving and renting a room in someone elses house.

Now that it is summer i have no problem walking around in shorts and a tank top. Infact, that is one of the things i long for during the winter…. to be able to walk around outside with shorts and a top!

One thing i have always struggled to accept and like about myself and my appearance is my legs…. throughout all the years, it has been the one body part that has taken the longest to accept and love. Though when i took the focus away from how my legs looked and instead focused on the fact that i can run, walk, use my legs and live life i stopped caring so much about how they looked and instead was happy that they work. I have legs that function and that is the most important.

However, a few days ago while looking in the mirror i realised that i have gotten a bunch of stretch marks on the back of my legs/hamstrings…. something i have never noticed before. I do know that i already have some cellulite, which is absolutely normal and i have pretty much just accepted that. Most normal, healthy female bodies have some cellulite as that is just how the female body holds fat. Last year, when i first noticed i had cellulite on the back of my legs it did bother me and i stopped wanting to wear shorts at the gym for a while. Which is so silly thinking about it.

But back to the stretch marks….. Maybe they have always been there and i just haven’t noticed because 1) i haven’t had a full length mirror, 2) i have been so pale during the winter and 3) it’s not everyday i am looking at the back of my legs hahaha

My first reaction to seeing the marks was to think…. “what, why, when?” Have my legs really grown that much…. i can’t do any real strength training with heavy weights for my legs because of my knee and hip pain, so it is alot of body weight exercises. Maybe my legs have grown and i haven’t really noticed – and if the muscle/leg grows quicker than the skin can adapt, then it can lead to stretch marks.

I already have some light faded stretch marks on the inside of my legs from during recovery. That was real hard to accept back in the past. But i have had them for so many years and they are very faded so i barely notice them now anyway. Just like my tattoos they are just there and a part of me!

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So why am i writing this post? Well because it is my sort of self reflection and to share my thoughts.

Because the crazy thing is that my first (well second) reaction was to think, “i need to stop training my legs. I should lose weight so i don’t get bigger legs.” I felt almost embarrassed thinking, should i stop wearing shorts… have people seen the stretch marks and what have they thought?

It BOTHERS me so much that this was my first & second initial reaction and thoughts. Living in a diet and photoshop culture where normal things like cellulite and stretch marks are something to embarrassed about, when they infact are very normal and not a sign that you are unhealthy.

My third reaction was to self analyze and reflect on my first response…. to realise that 1) why make myself feel bad about something i can’t control. 2) Why feel ashamed or embarrassed about something that is actually very normal and 3) why stop doing something i love because i think i should lose weight?

Did i feel better at once? No…. but i have spent years hating my body and struggled for so many years to accept and like my legs. I am not going to let a thing like this knock me down or make me spend more time and energy disliking my body.

The most important thing for me is that i have a healthy body and legs that work. The important thing is that i can use my body, use my legs… that i can workout and do something i love. I am not about to change that because society just shows us pictures of photoshopped models.

And i understand that there are people who have far more cellulite, stretch marks and scars than I do, but this is just my thoughts and my body.

It is not always easy to accept your body changing. And i remember when i was in eating disorder recovery and had to gain weight and realised that the gaining weight process had given me cellulite and stretch marks, despite still being underweight. That hit me HARD. But i just want to remind those of you who are in eating disorder recovery, or just anyone really, that those things are normal and not something to be ashamed of.

Of course, it is easier said than done. But my best advice is to just focus on being healthy and happy. Instead of focusing on your appearance, focus on creating a healthy life and a happy life. Making choices based on happiness and health and not on appearance. Do the workouts you enjoy, not ones you hate because you want to try to lose weight. Eat nourishing food that you enjoy so that you have energy to live, think, move.

But also to not spend so much time looking in the mirror. One of the worst things you can do is just stand infront of the mirror and be critical and analyze yourself… in the end you will just tear yourself apart.

HOWEVER, one positive thing you can do is to say 5 (Or more) positive things about yourself and/or your appearance each morning. Either say them out loud, think them in your head, or you could write down on a post it note and put it on your mirror so you see those things each day.

Also writing down what you love about yourself and your body as well as focusing on what your body can do, instead of how it looks can be very helpful with learning self love.

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Like mentioned, it is not always easy to  learn self love. Sometimes you just need to accept your body and move on. Realise that you are more than your body – and i know i might get comments saying that, “It is easy for you to say this when you are already thin”.

But hating your body takes so much energy and time. It prevents you from being truly happy as well as prevents you from living the life you really want to. Learning self love and self acceptance makes such a difference to your life and mindset. It may take weeks or months, but at some point you will reach that stage where you can just be happy in your body and realise that health and a healthy body is the most important, not so much if you have scars or a thigh gap.

I had thought i would share photos but i realised 1) i am not in the state of mind or acceptance that i want to do that and 2) it really isn’t relevant or necessary.

Why am i writing this post? Well because i wanted to share my thoughts, it is also a form of self reflection for me. But also to show that sometimes your first initial reaction or response to something isn’t always the best or healthiest… but it is the self reflection and how you actually react/your response that matters. I.e i am sure we have all had a quick unconscious judgement or initial response to someone or something, but with a few seconds after thought reacted differently or had different thoughts.

I hope this post helps someone else in someway!

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Healthy outside starts from the inside

Ever heard the quote, “ a healthy outside starts from the inside”? I am sure you have…. and this quote is so true.

Many think that healthy is about a certain size, weight or clothes size… but you know what, that is only very little (if anything) of being healthy.

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Being healthy is also about your mindset, how you talk to yourself and your thoughts about yourself and life. It is about how you live life as well as what your diet consists of, if you are stressed, how much water you are drinking, how much sleep you are getting and of course whether you exercise or not.

A healthy lifestyle consists of mental health, social health, physical health and even emotional health, spiritual health and environmental health!

I eat alot of vegetables, drink lots of water, exercise regularly and have a rather healthy lifestyle, diet as well as mindset. But on the days i am very stressed, feeling very anxious, overwhelmed or panicked… it is almost visible in my appearance. I am not as “glowing”, my skin looks more pale, my hair is more dry (or greasy!) and it is like something is “missing” despite having a healthy diet, healthy weight, regular exercise and normal water intake.

But on the days i feel positive, feel happy, don’t feel stressed, anxious or overwhelmed it is like i look and feel so much better, Like there is a glow.

I believe that mindset and your thoughts make such a difference. Even if your diet, exercise, sleep and water routines are perfect, if you are constantly stressed or anxious or have very negative thoughts or mindset, you won’t feel completely healthy. You might still feel like crap even if you eat healthy. I.e a negative mindset won’t bring you a healthy life or happy life.

But of course, a crap diet makes you feel like crap.

And eating crap can be overeating, undereating, skipping meals, only eating junk food…  From personal experience, the times i undereat or eat alot of junk food or even the days i end up overeating, i usually feel like crap. And i don’t mean feeling guilty or anxious for overeating, but just this general feeling of “not feeling ontop or like myself” as i do when i eat my regular meals and eat enough to keep me energized. Infact the times i am stressed and end up undereating, i actually don’t feel healthy at all… i feel tired, lack energy and begin to think more negative. So eating a healthy diet with enough calories is key to feeling and looking healthy.

And of course drinking enough water, having a regular exercise routine and getting enough hours sleep impacts your health. If you never exercise (or you overexercise) or you don’t sleep enough (Or sleep far too many hours) that will affect how you feel and your health.

A healthy lifestyle starts on the inside. Forget about weight or fitting into a certain clothes size, but focus on inner health.

How are your thoughts and your mindset? Are you always stressed or anxious? 

How is your sleeping routine? Do you need to destress?

What about how much water you drink.. .do you need to drink more water?

What about exercise… do you need to increase the amount of workouts you do, or maybe you actually need more rest because you are doing too much working out and are constantly stressed?

And lastly what about food…? Do you need to eat more or eat less? Maybe add more veggies and fruit into your diet? Decrease the amount of junk food you eat? Eat less salt… or in some cases, actually adding salt can be healthy (i.e if you always cook from scratch, never eat produced food and don’t add salt to your food, then that can cause an imbalance in your body.)

Focus on those things and on finding your inner health and it will show on the outside.  (Not to mention that the times i am feeling mentally very negative/low or very stressed, that is also when i get alot of spots and my skin looks alot more pale/dry.)

Less focus on cellulite, stretch marks or fat and more focus on inner HEALTH AND HAPPINESS.