I’m an introvert and that’s ok

If i am honest….. i have many times gotten sad over the fact that i am an introvert. I have tried to be extroverted…. but it just isn’t me.

I am not someone who needs to be around people all the time.

I am not someone who needs the attention on me.

I am someone who needs my alone time. I enjoy being with my close friends who give me energy… but it also takes alot of time for people to break down those walls around me to actually become a close friend

I am not saying that all extroverts want attention or to always be around people. Everyone needs their alone time…. i just need more than others.

Of course i am more of an ambivert in recent years. Wanting to be more social, wanting to spend more time with my close friends, wanting to meet new people and not always be on my own. Not needing as much alone time as i did before. In a way, i guess the majority of people are ambivert, i.e both introverted and extroverted… even if some are just either or the other.

When i ask people to describe me… or what their first impression of me is/was, the answer is 95% of the time:

You are rather quiet. You observe before you speak and you choose your words. You are never someone who judges and i feel like i can tell you anything without being judged. You are amazing at listening.

But i also get… You are very different when i actually get to know you. You are sarcastic, joke and laugh alot when you are comfortable around people.

Of course… for me to get to that stage where i feel comfortable just being myself, being sarcastic, open and laughing… it does take a while. Which is of course why i can come across as very shy, in the background, listening…. not taking up alot of space. I don’t like small talk…. i prefer to talk about other things and meaningful things. Even if i love jokes, sarcasm and memes. I am not someone who feels the need to speak… i can walk beside you in silence and not feel awkward or feel the need to say anything… but of course, if the person i am walking beside gives of an awkward energy because they don’t like being quiet… then i also begin to feel awkward. But i like spending time with people who are ok with just being quiet sometimes… not feeling the need to fill every second with sound and talking.

What is an introvert and extrovert?

“An introvert is often thought of as a quiet, reserved, and thoughtful individual. They don’t seek out special attention or social engagements, as these events can leave introverts feeling exhausted and drained.

Introverts are the opposite of extroverts. Extroverts are often described as the life of a party. They seek out interaction and conversations. They aren’t one to miss a social gathering, and they thrive in the frenzy of a busy environment.” (Healthline)

Being introverted, having my guards up does make it hard for me to make friends… or atleast very close friends. I have alot of friends, but maybe not ones who are super close because i never really get to that stage where i let my walls down.

And this does sadden me…. sometimes i feel like i need to change. I need to change who i am. I need to change my personality and try to be someone else… someone more extroverted… someone who has lots of friends… someone who is social all the time. But on the other hand, i tell myself that this is just who i am and i should accept it….

On my recent trip, we were talking about being extroverted and introverted, and everyone else was pretty much an extrovert, even if some were more like me…. slighly held back and maybe not as open and energetic at first. However i was told that i was very introverted…. and even if i am aware of it. It saddened me…. maybe because i feel like i am really trying? And i didn’t feel like i was holding back or being shy, infact… it was the most extroverted, open, friendly and energetic i have been around others. To think that i spent 12 hours a day with a group of people and never once felt tired or drained of energy from being social, instead felt comfortable being myself…. but yet, i still came across as very introverted. They didn’t mean it in a bad way, but it made me sad…. and that was what sparked me to write this post.

To make me realize it is ok to be an introvert. I am ok the way i am. I don’t have to change or try to be anyone else. People like me the way i am… even if it takes time to truly see my personality and true self. I still socialize, i still have friends, i still enjoy meeting new people and being social. But i also want my alone time…. i don’t always have to say what i am thinking, instead sometimes i can just listen…. be someone who people want to talk to or feel like they can talk to me about anything – which is what many people say that they feel when speaking to me.

I am telling myself that i am ok the way i am.

And if you are introverted, just like me…. tell yourself the same thing, that it is ok to be an introvert. Of course… do push yourself to be social, do push yourself to meet new people. When you find the people you feel truly comfortable and yourself around, they will fill you with energy. For me personally, my closest friends and family always give me energy and i can spend hours with them without feeling drained…. Find people who love you for who you are and want to spend time with you. You may feel lonely….

Even if introverts, like myself, love their alone time… love spending time alone and just doing what you want to do. It can get lonely, or it can feel like no one really likes you because you have a small group of friends or never really open up enough to let people know the real you. But remember, try to just be yourself… try to be as open and friendly as you can be with new people. People will like you for who you are, and you don’t need to be someone else… it won’t last anyway. In the past i have tried to be someone else… put on a personality and facade that wasn’t truly me, just because i thought i needed to act a certain way to please others and make them like me. The fact is, it doesn’t work that way. Be true to yourself and accept yourself the way you are….. even if you also need to be honest with yourself and change the habits or personality traits which may be self destructive or harmful to others. I.e just saying that you are a bithco r have a hot temperament as an excuse to be rude to people is not ok… and is instead a personaity trait that can be changed or atleast controlled.

It is ok to be an introvert… we need both introverts and extroverts in society. Just don’t isolate yourself because you feel/are introverted…. you still need to push yourself to be social and step outside of your comfort zone.

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!

Learning about exercise with a past of exercise addiction?

In the past i have made posts answering the question of, studying nutrition when you have a past with an eating disorder, which you can read more about HERE.

But this term i am learning alot more about exercise, infact this whole term is primarily focused on exercise. Which of course is super fun to learn about, and to get a better understanding of exercise and different training programs and what happens in the body etc

However, there has also been a sort of internal conflict of learning about exercise – where we of course learn about the importance of exercising – and also having a personal history and background with exercise addiction.

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In the course we are reminded of how important it is to be active, but also to get in your daily steps as well as to limit the amount of time being sedentary and still. Of course i already know all of this, and also the rational part of my mind reminds me that it is ok to rest, sit, relax and be still. The recommendations are mostly aimed at those who are extremely sedentary and barely get in a any steps – then it can be recommended for them to think about standing, getting up to move and to really try to get in some daily activity.

For those who already are active, i.e walk, have some form of extra activity as a hobby, and are somewhat active, they may not have to think as much about trying to fit in even more exercise. However, it is recommended for everyone to try to get up and move/stretch after atleast 2-3 hours of sitting and being still – not just for your brain and better concentration, but for your whole body – muscles, heart, blood, oxygen flow.

Unfortunately our society is also built on helping people be lazy and inactive. It’s easier to take the elevator than the stairs. It is easier to take the bus than to cycle or walk. Meetings, school, lectures… everything includes sitting. For the majority of people it’s not easy to do their work while being active – you need to sit infront of a computer or sit and study or sit and take notes in a lecture. It is weird if you stand up.

The biggest problem in our society is that far too many people are inactive. Far too many people don’t reach the recommended 150min/exercise per week. Far too many people are sedentary their whole day.

However, there is also a small amount of people  who exercise far too much than is healthy. People who abuse exercise and overexercise. This is also a problem.

And one of the big problems is that the exercise recommendations and guidelines – the fear of being inactive and the negative health consequences of not exercising – is only being taken in by those who are already active. Whereas those who need to follow the recommendations don’t actually listen to the recommendations.

I can personally say – and this is why i am writing this post – is that it is hard to not want to begin exercising alot more than i am already doing. To begin doing 2 workouts a day. To try to walk more than 10 000 steps a day. To stand and be more active. Slight feelings and thoughts of “not doing enough, not being active enough”. And it doesn’t help that i have already cut down alot on my exercise recently due to lack of time and lack of motivation, so i am already feeling like what i am doing is inadequate and so little compared to what i used to once do. And then to be reminded of that more exercise i better (to a certain extent.)

Also the reminder of how bad being sedentary and being still is, is something that is really getting to me. During my type of exercise addiction, i was so incredibly scared to sit down and would stand (or be active) pretty much all the hours that i was awake. And i would even limit my sleep so that i wasn’t still while sleeping (not to mention i thought i wasn’t burning enough calories while sleeping) – that’s how bad it got for me. So to be reminded that being still – and sedentary isn’t good – is slightly bothering me.

Of course, the rational part of my brain reminds me that daily activity and going to the gym/running a few times a week is ENOUGH for health. And the recommended is 150min a week, i.e c.a 30 minutes moderate intensity exercise 5 times a week (as well as daily movement such as walking, taking stairs etc).

Why am i writing this post… well to be honest and to share my thoughts. I do find it slightly triggering in some sense – not triggering enough to affect me negatively, but it does get me thinking and feeling slightly inadequate with my exercise. And i am writing this, so that maybe if YOU are in a sensitive place or have/do struggle with exercise addiction, then maybe learning about exercise or training to be a PT or something isn’t the best thing to do. Not until you are in a better place mentally anyway.

I know personally that if i had started studying nutrition while still sick in my eating disorder – it would have been done for the wrong reasons. As well as been incredibly triggering, whereas now i am not triggered by learning about nutrition or how food is digested and absorbed. And neither am i triggered by testing different diets, counting calories or making meal plans for others.

I do also want to mention that in my course i am currently tracking my steps for 2 weeks, and i don’t find this triggering. But that is because i already have a step counter on my phone so i already know my average step count – but i do think it could be very triggering for someone who has had a past with exercise addiction/obsession with exercise.

Learning about exercise and exercise physiology and nutrition is very interesting, and a great compliment to all the nutrition knowledge i have. Because exercise and nutrition usually go hand in hand. And i am going to remind myself that i am doing enough exercise to be healthy and don’t need to do more or stress myself to do more when i already have so much else going on in my life.

I would love to know what others think about this, or if you have been in the same experience/situation 🙂

(Also, please don’t interpret this as i am sick/falling into old behaviours – it is just me sharing my thoughts and maybe able to help others!)

 

Posts about exercise addiction:

The importance of rest and my exercise addiction

Eating disorders come in one size: miserable

Eating disorders are not a diet, phase or a trend. And you don’t have to have a certain weight or size or be super skinny to have an eating disorder. You don’t have to look sick to have an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are a mental illness, and anyone, at any gender, age, size, weight, socioeconomic background etc can have an eating disorder.

There are however certain criteria, one of which is related to weight, to be diagnosed with anorexia. However there are other forms of eating disorders which are just as serious and need help, support and treatment to get better.

Weightloss is just a symptom of an eating disorder, or for some eating disorders, weight gain is a symptom. But they are mental illnesses and can not always be seen from the outside. Many are functional sufferers, meaning they can live life somewhat normally but still struggle and suffer in silence – don’t be one of them.

If you are struggling – you need to seek help.

You don’t need to get sicker. You don’t need to lose more weight. You don’t need to look sick.

If you are suffering and struggling with an eating disorder and an unhealthy relationship with food and your body, then you should seek help. You may think you can live life and be ok, but in the long term it won’t last. You are still missing out on life and not truly living if you are suffering at the same time.

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And i understand that many think that they can’t seek help if they don’t look sick, because they won’t be taken seriously. But if you go a professional who is actually knowledgable then you should be offered help – whether it is talking to a therapist, getting help from a dietitian, CBT training, inpatient or day patient care. Whatever is best for your health and situation.

Don’t go your whole life struggling and suffering. Know that there is help and you don’t need to suffer in silence.

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There are consequences – physical and mental – that can occur over time if you don’t seek help. Anorexia has one of the highest mortality rates of psychiatric illnesses. And binge eating is actually one of the most common eating disorders- and there is presumed to be a huge amount of people struggling and who never seek help, making the percentage higher than what is documented. (I have had many ask me about binge eating and bulimia, so i plan to write a post/masterpost about this topic. Many find it incredibly embarrassing, whether they have just developed binge eating or whether they have transitioned from anorexia to bulimia, it is an awful dark circle and people find it incredibly embarrassing to talk about or seek help for. But also because of the embarrassment, many suffer in silence for years).

Know that you do deserve help, support and treatment for your eating disorder. Don’t think that you have to wait until you look sick or get sicker – eating disorders are serious nonetheless. And you can’t live a truly happy life if you are struggling and sick at the same time.

 

Micromanaging your food and your body just gives you a false sense of control – in actuality you don’t have control at all, it is your eating disorder, your illness that has control. Instead you are just running from the actual problem and the guilt and anxiety that goes along with recovery and facing your eating disorder. But the only way to recover and get better is to face your eating disorder and your fears, and deal with the actual problem. (And with help, support and treatment you can get better ways to learn to do that, as well as get support so you don’t have to try to face your fears alone.)

And remember that just because you can eat doesn’t mean you are healthy or have a healthy relationship with food. If you feel that you have an unhealthy relationship with food, or you feel like food controls you or gives you guilt and anxiety, then you need to rethink your relationship with food.

Eating disorders come in one size… and that is miserable.

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Fears & fear of failure

Last night i couldn’t sleep and was just up thinking about different things. Instead of just lying in bed and not getting any sleep i decided to get up and write down some of the thoughts in my mind. And those thoughts included writing down all my goals and dreams… turned into 2 full pages of goals i want to achieve.

But not only did i write down my goals and dreams, i also wrote down all my fears. I don’t plan to share my goals/dreams or my fears, apart from one fear and that is…. the fear of failure. I have mentioned this before, but writing it down really got me thinking.

I have a rather deep rooted fear of failure, and i don’t know why.

I think it is because i am such a high achiever, i always want to do my best and achieve the best. I want things to be perfect and i want to succeed at everything i do, and if i think i won’t succeed i don’t even try. Like, if i know i am bad at something i don’t try because i don’t want to seem bad at it (or just have it confirmed that i am bad.)

This of course means i never really get better at certain things because i don’t work or practise them – because i don’t want to be bad.

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But it also means that i don’t even try certain things, or try to work for certain things because i am scared of failing. This holds me back ALOT.

In a way i just want to fail at something…. of course i don’t actually want to fail. But i think failing at something is a life lesson i need to learn. I need to learn that it is ok to fail, that things will work out anyway, even if they don’t workout the way i want or planned them to. Failing isn’t the end of the world and yes… i am sure it is awful to fail at things you have worked hard for whether it is school grades and assignments, applying for jobs, or work assignments/other goals. But i think i just need to learn that even if i fail at something, atleast i tried and that is SO MORE IMPORTANT than not even trying.

You learn so much from failing – or so i have heard.

Like the quote goes, “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried”.

Everyone starts off somewhere. You have to be a beginner and learn to get better. No company starts off successful, i am sure there are ALOT of failures and mistakes behind successful businesses. Different successful athletes have all begun somewhere and practised and worked their way to success.

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I really need to overcome the fear of failing and learn that life goes on and i am sure i would learn alot from trying and failing than never trying at all.

 

Like with all fears, to overcome them you have to face them. You can’t keep running from your fears unless you want to be controlled by your fears.

Writing down your goals and dreams can help you achieve them, but also writing down your fears and what holds you back. Analyzing and reflecting over your thoughts.

(This is also great to do if you struggle with an eating disorder, i.e write down your fears and think rationally. That was what i had to do in recovery…. i had to write down all of my irrational fears and just try to think clearly and rationally about them.)

Maybe one day i will stop letting my fear of failure hold me back so much and just get more confident and realise that failure is just a learning experience.