Browsing Category:

Health

  • Articles, Health, School, Stress

    Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

    Self-Care Isn't Selfish

    Self Care ≠ Selfish

    Because being self-aware does not make you self absorbed

     

    I feel like I’m always enveloped in some sort of activity— finishing an assignment or project for school, cleaning my room and bathroom for the third time in a week, or spending time with my closest friends, doing anything from running errands to talking about our days.

    Recently, I’ve realized that there’s never a moment where I take a moment to breathe. A moment to relax, to clear my thoughts.

    Don’t do this. Make time for yourself, whenever it’s possible.

    After years of spreading myself too thin, I’ve finally recognized a crucial aspect about myself: I cope with stress and anxiety by keeping busy. Whenever I’m alone with my thoughts, I begin to think about all of the other, more productive things I could be doing at that moment. I feel guilty for taking a break.

    It’s difficult to define stress; it can present itself in a multitude of ways, ranging from napping to the inability to concentrate. However, once you’re able to detect when you’re stressed, much like I did, you can discover how to alleviate it. Is confronting your emotions easy? No. But is it worth it? Definitely.

    Self-care is not selfish. I have to repeat this mantra to myself every single day, and chances are, so do you. You’re allowed to be your own priority.

    One of my favorite anti-stress methods, and one that has helped me the most is journaling. Through writing my emotions, I have learned so much about myself, including how to identify my emotions and why I’m feeling that way.

    I’m not a fan of pushing my problems onto other people, so through journaling, I’ve found a way to express my thoughts and relieve myself of the pressure they put on me. After putting my feelings on paper, I typically engage myself in “me time.” This concept, something that leaves you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed, varies from person to person. It takes some trial and error to learn what works for you. Common methods are taking a bubble bath, applying a face mask, engaging in a type of exercise, or listening to your favorite music– as long as you’re doing something you love, you’ll come out the other end feeling better than before.

    As broad and cliché as it sounds, try to shut your brain off. Release the stress and worry of the day and be present in whatever you’re doing. We tend to become so wrapped up in our worries that we miss out on opportunities that can take the edge off, such as goofing around with friends or getting lost in the latest episode of New Girl.

    Stress is completely normal.

    So don’t be discouraged whenever that all-too-familiar feeling rolls around; above everything else, don’t burn yourself out by ignoring it. Recognize and accept what you’re feeling. Take a break to do something you love. Acknowledge that the feeling won’t last forever– you’ll wake up tomorrow, regardless of what happens day, to a fresh start.

  • Body Image, Confidence, Health

    My Fitness Journey

    My Fitness Journey

    Learning the Difference Between Self-Sabotage and Self-Care

    When I was 14 I decided to make a change. Chubby and tired of being labeled “the chubby friend”, I started a 30-day workout video called “30 Day Shred” by Julian Michaels. I also downloaded the My Fitness Pal app to count calories. All of this was completely new to me and I had zero knowledge of working out or healthy eating.

    However, I did know that the Google search results on “how to lose 20 pounds in a week” were not working.

    Within the first week of counting calories and working out, I noticed results. Because I was in the ninth grade, my metabolism was probably in its prime. I just needed to put in a little effort because of bad genes. Thanks, Mom and Dad. Without realizing it, I lost 30 pounds in a month! Often, I lost motivation and did not want to work out, but watching the scale go down helped me to persevere.

    If you know anything about counting calories – you know that once you factor your weight loss, it lowers your calorie intake and so on. Ultimately, this created an obsessive behavior. As the weight continued dropping, I managed to still see myself as the chubby, 130-pound girl I was determined to erase.

    I was miserable. I constantly thought about food, and wouldn’t hang out with friends if I hadn’t worked out. If I missed one day of working out, I felt like I had gained 5 pounds. If I ate more than 2 slices of pizza I would take laxatives to make up for it. After diving straight into an incredibly unhealthy mentality, I didn’t eat cake on my birthday because I was afraid it would make me fat. I was afraid of food and terrified of gaining any weight.

    This went on for a while until I was miserable enough to confess to my sister – which wasn’t much of a confession because all I ever talked about was food and working out so she had already noticed.

    My mentality was so messed up. I started to research on maintaining my weight and tried to find stories about people who had gone through the same thing. I found nothing.

    It wasn’t until I came across a girl on Instagram who had just finished a workout guide called BBG. Grace had abs and that was what I was striving for. I worked hard and wanted abs to prove it. So I started doing BBG and I did not like it, at all. I thought the workouts were boring because I was a runner. I didn’t finish BBG but I continued to follow Grace and her fitness journey. BBG lead her to fall in love with lifting weights and cured her unhealthy relationship with food.

    Finally, I found my solution to this madness. Although the weight room was unfamiliar to me, I threw myself in. To be honest, I was clueless and felt like a man. Eventually, I  learned the correct form, put my headphones in and pretended to know what I was doing – using the Nike Training app as my guide. I fell in love with the gym. It became my stress reliever and my favorite part of the day. My body was sore, but seriously who doesn’t like that feeling? I felt so strong but just wanted to transform my body.

    Weight lifting resolved my eating issues. I fell in love with healthy eating and learned how to balance my meals and fuel my body according to my new active lifestyle. I stopped counting calories and solely focused on how my body felt and the nutrients I was consuming.

    It is incredible the way my body has transformed. Now, I workout 4-6 days a week and love it. Also, I’m much stronger and am learning a lot about form and technique with the help of Youtube and Instagram. It is crazy what you can accomplish if you just change your mentality. 

    Be healthy and take care of your body! WE can do anything. Girl power!

     

  • Health

    How to Start Working out and not get Discouraged

    Start Working Out

    It is the beginning of a new year and you may feel like it’s finally time to start making time for the gym and start your journey to a new you. You may have no idea where to start or whether or not you need to have a gym membership to lose weight. If you are feeling desperate for a quick fix then understand now that there is no such thing as a quick fix and your body will not change overnight. It is going to take hard work, dedication, and persistency.  You are not alone I, myself have Googled “how to lose 20 pounds overnight” and it was left with the only option: eat healthy and exercise.  So how do you get started?

    Find a workout you enjoy:

    You can workout in so many different ways: running, cycling, yoga, H.I.I.T., weights, and so many other things. Whatever gets your heart rate up and causes you to wipe the sweat of your brow. You need to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. H.I.I.T. otherwise known as high intensity interval training is a fast-paced workout where you give it your all for 30 minutes at a very-high intensity. It is proven to be extremely effective in burning fat and showing results quickly. Cycling and running are also high intensity cardio options that will guarantee results. Don’t be afraid of the weights! The weight rooms are usually men-dominate but there is not reason to feel intimidated. Weights will give you that toned definition you want and don’t worry you won’t walk out of the gym looking like Hulk.

    Change up your diet:

    If you continue to eat the way you did before you decided to get healthy then working out will not cancel that out. Essentially, your body will not change if you do not give it the nutrients it needs in addition to working out. So add some veggies and fruits to that grocery list so that you can get the results you want!

    At-home workouts:

    If you are intimidated by the gym or can’t afford to go, then workout at home! I was so surprised that you could do so many workouts at home. at the beginning of my fitness journey. I lost 30 pounds by working out at home. Youtube has so many free workout videos. Julian Michaels and Blogilates have free workout videos on Youtube along with many other fitness youtubers. Nike Training Club is a free app that has so many workouts. You can even select how much time you have and what you want to workout. Popsugar Fitness has a workout generator and I promise you will wake up sore after all those burpees. Going for a run is free and it not only improves your heart health but it gets you outside and the endorphins will leave you antsy for tomorrow’s run.

    Do not get Discouraged:

    Getting started is the hardest. It is easy to give up when you are just beginning to get in shape. You will feel defeated and like you aren’t strong enough. Keep pushing through! Don’t give up on yourself. If you lose motivation then pick yourself up and remind yourself why you are doing this, why you want to better yourself, and why you want to be healthy. Start off small and gradually work yourself up, when it starts to feel easy then challenge yourself by running two miles instead of one just keep going!

    Take progress photos:

    You see yourself every single day so it may be hard to see your body changing, but if you take photos you will be able to look back and see just how much your body has changed. Scales don’t always tell the truth and usually leave you feeling discouraged so stay away from them if you can. Don’t be so hard on yourself or become obsessive. Your body is your temple so remind yourself you are doing this, which is to be kind to your body, not to achieve some ridiculous “model” body.

    Make a schedule:

    If you change up your workout routine everyday or every other day then your body will continue to be challenged which means more change! It will also keep you from getting bored and burned out if you do the same exact workout everyday.

    Working out at the gym:

    You don’t have to only do cardio at the gym. If you want to get stronger and challenge your body with weights then don’t be scared to do so. I walked into the gym completely clueless about weights or what a “rep” even was. At first, I used Pinterest to get my ideas about working out with weights, but then I soon discovered Whitney Simmons on Youtube. She will show you her workouts and she will also give you tips on your form and breathing, for free! So if you want to jump into the weight room, do it with confidence. You got this!

    Sample beginner workout plan: 

     

    Monday

     

    Run 1 mile

    Tuesday

     

    Yoga

    Wednesday

     

    Run 1.5 miles

    Thursday

     

    Rest day

    Friday

     

    H.I.I.T.

     

    Saturday

     

    Run 1 mile

    Sunday

     

    Rest day

    You can customize this however you would like, but this is a sample of what a week would look like. I hated working out and once I started my fitness journey I feel in love with exercising and living a healthy lifestyle. Now, I am passionate about helping others find love through exercising, too. Don’t give up, you can do anything!

    Happy working out!

     

  • Health

    Buying healthy groceries on a budget

    Eating healthy may seem difficult when you find yourself always going over your weekly budget and it always seems like healthy food cost twice as much as junk food. Healthy eating shouldn’t be hard and you should be able to buy the groceries that you want without spending too much. So how do you ditch the Ramen noodles and buy food that will fuel your body and give you all the nutrients it needs?

    Grocery Cart With Item

    Make a list and set a spending limit:

    It may seem like simple advice but making a list of your favorite healthy foods will keep you focused. You won’t be grabbing anything and everything that you see off the shelves. Every time I make a list I feel like I have no other choice but to stick with it. Another tip, use a calculator. This will give you a range of how much your groceries will cost so that you don’t end up overspending. Trust me, that has happened to me way too many times.

    Avoid Junk Food:

    No matter how bad those chips are calling your name, don’t give in. You will this save money, AND it will keep you from midnight snacking on foods full of salt and fat. Those shiny wrappers are wrapped around processed food that has a long shelf life but will not be beneficial to you, whatsoever. So focus on groceries that are more organic and stray away from foods that have 20 ingredients or more.

    Don’t by ALL your fruit and veggies fresh:

    Frozen and canned fruits and veggies are a lifesaver.  Not only do they last extremely long, but they are so CHEAP! Frozen fruit does not get rotten fast and has a lot more flavor packed into it. Canned veggies are fast, easy, and will save you a lot of money. If you can’t buy all of them fresh then these are alternatives that will still keep you on track to being healthy

    Get some grains:

    Rice is so cheap. It is a perfect side to any meal and can be made in less than ten minutes. If you are trying to eat healthy brown rice will give you the whole grain you need and keep you full long longer.

    Don’t go to the store hungry:

    I’ve found myself buying way more groceries than I needed for the week only because I was hungry, so make sure you aren’t starving when you are perusing the aisles.

    Budgeting is not easy, especially when you could easily buy cheap food that will seemingly agree more with your bank account but, if you actually take a few moments to plan your grocery store trip you can successfully walk away without a dent in your bank account and a full grocery cart.

  • Health

    Battling an Eating Disorder During the Holidays

    Can I tell you a secret? Recovering from an eating disorder or struggling with an eating disorder during the holidays is going to be tough.

    You’ll try to not disappoint your family, but everything they say will make you feel trapped. They will likely comment on your weight, how much you are or are not eating, and ask questions about why you are so skinny, or when you gained so much.

    If you begin to feel uncomfortable, it’s okay to say so. Let people know how it makes you feel when they say hurtful things. They may not realize that what they are doing is bothering you. And if they do know, then call them out.

    For those of you currently struggling with an eating disorder

    I have been there. I have been all around the block and back when it comes to not eating, overeating, forcing myself to vomit. It’s not pretty. You’re using your digestive system to deal with emotional or physical baggage. I can’t promise you that things will immediately get better if you stop what you’re doing right away. Nor can I say that it is even possible to do that. But what I can say is that it does get better.

    I know. I know. You’ve heard it all before: “You look better this way.” “Eating/Under eating won’t solve your problems.” “Try going to therapy.” Though these may seem like the obvious answers to having an eating disorder, they’re not rational when your emotions control your body. Besides, someone telling you to do something versus actually helping you accomplish something are two different things.

    Keep in mind that there are people out there willing to help you. Seeking council doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you broken. It makes you strong. It shows that you are willing to acknowledge a disconnected piece within yourself and find a way to fix it, even though it won’t be easy. You can beat this, despite the self-doubt and self-deprecation.

    For those of you recovering from an eating disorder

    You’re going to go through a serious of emotions. If you haven’t started already, then get ready. There will be tears, anger, and if you are not already going through a depression it is possible that you may experience it. Continue talking to your support group, whether it be close friends, family, or complete strangers. Anything helps when you are being held accountable.

    Find forgiveness for yourself. You are not the eating disorder, you are a victim of circumstance. It is important to be your own biggest supporter. If you forgive yourself, then you can help yourself heal by accepting that things can be taken slow and will get better. You are not to blame.

    If someone comments on your weight during the holidays or any day of the year, remind yourself that they are not you. They do not know what you have been through or what you are going through. They can’t understand how strong you are, and that what you are able to eat or not eat is a step in a better direction. If you can only take three bites at dinner and that’s one more than the night before, you have accomplished something. You should take pride in the little things.

    Continuously thinking about how you could do something better will only make you more sad or angry. If you take a small bite and hate yourself for not being able to take a larger or smaller one, then you will go back to where you started from. Let yourself have these moments. Digest the progress.

    Here are some links to check out from GirlSpring that cover eating disorders

    http://girlspring.wpengine.com/the-nine-truths-about-eating-disorders-from-the-cast-of-to-the-bone/

    http://girlspring.wpengine.com/signs-of-eating-disorder/

    Here are some external links to aid in recovery

    https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/stages-recovery

    https://www.waldeneatingdisorders.com/7-secrets-to-eating-disorder-recovery/

     

    If you have any questions for me about my journey or would like to share your own story, please comment down below.

  • Health

    Endometriosis

    Endometriosis

    An important health issue for women is that of endometriosis.

    It is a condition in which there is tissue growth surrounding the uterus and other areas where it shouldn’t be. The extra tissue growth can be found and located in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other areas that surround the uterus. Excess tissue growth also has been located on the vagina, cervix, vulva, and the other regions surrounding the genitals. This extra growth can cause pain because the growth bleeds. This is similar to the lining of the uterus during a menstrual period. Since the blood cannot leave the body quickly, it causes swelling and pain in the areas where the extra tissue is.

    According to womenshealth.gov, 11% of women living in the United States have endometriosis, which is equivalent to 6.5 million women in the United States. Endometriosis can affect a girl or a woman that has had her menstrual period, but it is more prevalent among women who are in their 30’s and 40’s. It is more likely for women to get endometriosis if their menstrual cycles are short (27 days or fewer), if their menstrual period is longer than seven days, or if there is a health problem that prevents the normal flow of menstrual blood.

    There are some significant symptoms of endometriosis. Pain is the most common symptom.

    Women will feel different types of pain with endometriosis. The pain can range from painful menstrual cramps, chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis, pain occurring during or after vaginal sex, abdominal pain, pain that occurs while urinating and having painful bowel movements. In some rare instances, blood is found in the urine or stool. Another severe symptom is excess bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods. If this happens, it is essential to check in with a doctor. Other symptoms include not being able to become pregnant and digestive problems (especially during periods).

    There is still some speculation as to what is the cause of endometriosis.

    Some researchers think that these factors may explain why endometriosis occurs: hormones, previous surgery in the abdominal area, problems in the immune system, genetic factors, and problems with menstrual period flow. However, there are methods of prevention and treatment.

    Even though there is no established way to prevent endometriosis, you can lower the level of estrogen in your body to reduce your chances of getting it. You can lower your level of estrogen by exercising regularly (more than 4 hours a week), not drinking an excess amount of alcohol, not drinking an excess amount of drinks with caffeine, and using some form of hormonal birth control. If you do have endometriosis, there is no cure, but there are ways to alleviate the symptoms. Hormonal birth control is one way to help with symptoms if a patient is not trying to get pregnant. Another option for patients who do not want to get pregnant is an IUD, which stands for intrauterine device. An IUD can help with the pain and bleeding.

    If a patient with endometriosis intends to get pregnant, a medicine called GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) agonist may be recognized. It can help regulate the growth of endometriosis. Surgery is also another method of treatment to remove the extra tissue.

     

    If you have more questions about endometriosis, go to this website: https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis

     

    Credits:

    “Endometriosis.” Womenshealth.gov, Office on Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 16 Mar. 2018, www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis.

     

  • Cooking, Food, Health, Holiday

    How to Have a Gluten Free Christmas

    How to Have a Gluten Free Christmas

    Recently, I got tested by my doctor and found out that I was gluten intolerant.

    Do I ignore this diagnosis most days? Yes. If I didn’t, would I feel a whole lot better? Absolutely. Around the holidays, it seems impossible to avoid gluten. The holiday season tempts me at every family get together or holiday celebration. I want to eat every bread, cookie, and a piece of cake at holiday parties.

    For starters, a lot of people don’t know what gluten is or what types of foods have gluten.

    According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, “Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye.” Gluten helps food maintain their shape. It acts as “a glue that holds food together.” Basically, gluten is found in basically anything made with dough or batter. Gluten appears most often in bread, cakes, cookies, etc. What does NOT have gluten, however, are foods made with rice, corn, or oats. This means corn chips and corn tortillas, rice-based cereal, rice noodles, and oatmeal are safe to eat as long as they don’t have any wheat flour added.

    It’s safe and healthy for anyone to avoid foods with gluten. To an extent.

    Those with Celiac Disease (an autoimmune disorder diagnosed by a doctor) must avoid gluten every day. As a result, people prevent painful symptoms. Learn more about Celiac symptoms and treatments at the Celiac Disease Foundation website: https://celiac.org/

    Those who don’t have Celiac, but have gluten intolerance or sensitivity (like me!) should still avoid gluten. You can still consume a small amount of gluten. However, you may experience problems such as migraines, anxiety, depression, upset stomach, fatigue, abdominal pain, and iron deficiency.

    Before you make any diet changes, consult a dietician or medical professional.

    For me, an extremely food-motivated person.

    That means I have a hard time practicing self-control around foods I want to eat. Especially bread, cookies, cakes, and biscuits. Even though I know that I’ll feel better if I cut them out of my diet completely. If you feel like you may have any form of gluten intolerance, stay gluten-free for this holiday season. In January, see if you feel any different at the beginning of next year.

    Here are some recipes that will help you accomplish this without feeling left out from all the delicious holiday food:

    Grape and Cheese Board:

    Find the recipe here: https://pin.it/jkk3az5okpjrcu

     

    Popcorn Snowballs:

    Find the recipe here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/141793088243731373/

     

    Cream Cheese Cranberry Dip (serve with gluten-free crackers/pretzels):

    Find the recipe here: https://www.julieseatsandtreats.com/cream-cheese-cranberry-dip/2/#wprm-recipe-container-44418

     

    Cornflake Butterscotch Crunchies:

    Find the recipe here: https://www.greatgrubdelicioustreats.com/butterscotch-crunchies/

     

    White Chocolate Candy Cane Heart Pops:

    Find the recipe here: https://onelittleproject.com/how-to-make-candy-cane-hearts/

     

    Cranberry Barbeque Meatballs:

    Find the recipe here: https://pin.it/tecyljqkzlrpin

     

    Peppermint Popcorn:

    Find the recipe here: https://pin.it/ssbkacz7k7emnj