My Acceptance Is Resilience … Not Defeat: Crossfitter Turned Yogi

If you’re follower of my site, you know that I have always been all about all things Crossfit. I have so many posts that rave about how Crossfit completely changed my life… And well it did… But sometimes life throws things at you that make you change again; change from the person you thought you were.
CrossFit has been a part of my identity for years now. So much of how people knew me revolved around how much I loved crossfit; as a sport and a community. In fact, when I moved from New Jersey to Texas I had my new Crossfit community decided on before I had picked an apartment! It was the centerfold of what kept me calm, happy, challenged, and healthy. It changed my self-image, confidence, motivation… It changed everything. It turned me from this person I was so unhappy with to someone excited about life and tackling every day. But what happens when this thing that you loved so much, that made you so happy, is now the source of pain and frustration – mentally and physically – what do you do? How do you move forward?

I spend my days at work having patient after patient tell me about all the things that have gone wrong in their lives. I sit in this state jail listening to these men take a victim role and talk to me about how everything has happened TO them. I counsel them, I conduct group therapy, and I try to teach these grown men how to develop the skills to cope with, accept, and move forward from these burdens they carry. And all of a sudden, I found myself struggling to find a way to go through that same process.

About a year and a half ago, I started experiencing a lot of strange pains in my body – things I had never felt before. They came and went at first, then got gradually worse and more frequent. I started working with doctors and eventually had a laparoscopic surgery to diagnose Endometriosis. This was almost exactly a year ago. June 3rd 2016. I was officially diagnosed and told that 5 various areas of my body were affected. However, I was told that the lesions were handled and that my pain should subside. Well fast forward a year and I am in more pain than ever before.

The year following surgery has been a roller coaster and I am nowhere near the end. As many of my posts over the last year have discussed, my pain returned soon after. My doctor swore it was not the Endometriosis back so soon. They couldn’t find any cysts or other explanations. Specialist after specialist turned me away with clear tests and blood work every time. 6 months ago I began working with a Functional Medicine specialist. We were able to clear up some issues with my gallbladder and did some of the most expensive, as well as mentally and emotionally exhausting, tests and planning I have done in my life. We found out my hormones were a mess. I finally gave in and told myself, maybe it has been these hormones the whole time. I told myself that. I told my family that. I told my fiancé that.… But I really didn’t accept that. I couldn’t. I had a mental block.

I have spent the last 6 months struggling every day to try to force myself to accept that this diagnosis might be what is keeping me down. I have been working continuously on how I fight this. Now I have made a lot of positive changes for myself and I don’t want to discredit the things this journey has taught me, but I have also had to make a lot of very difficult and very discouraging changes. I have cried more days than not in the last 6 months and I just could not bring myself to believe that this was it. That there was no answer and I was destined to be in this much pain for an unknown amount of time. I tried to force myself to identify with the Endometriosis and chronically ill population. That is one tough pill to swallow. I found myself getting annoyed listening to the problems of others, especially at work – which is problematic since I am a mental health counselor and listening to the problems of others is the basis of my work – because I was so consumed with my own. I knew I needed to make a change but I didn’t know how. Then came all the events of the last two months…

About two months ago, I started noticing how few things I could do without pain now. My pain went from bad to worse and workouts were absolutely unbearable. I cried in the middle of a workout on more than one occasion before I finally took a step back. Crossfit went from being my form of stress relief and my happy place to the thing that was increasing my pain, making me cry, and adding a level of frustration with my physical self that was worse than anything I have ever experienced. Here I was in full swing of wedding planning trying be excited about getting ready for the most beautiful day of my life and I cried the day my wedding gown came in, not from excitement, but because I didn’t even want to go try it on. The pain was too much. My stomach was constantly distended. I could barely stand up straight most days because the pain in my abdomen was so intense. How was I supposed to put on this gown and feel beautiful?!

That’s when I decided that I needed a change.


When I walked into my first yoga class in a LONG time, I knew I found it. I found a place I was meant to be. It was slow paced, relaxed, and strongly based around meditation. But it was challenging and it was filled with things that challenged my skill level, challenged my fitness. It was perfect. It was the first time in 6 months that I felt calm. It was the first night in months that I did not cry.

I went a few weeks of trying to still fit in my normal Crossfit routine. I was scaling some things back but still pushing hard; still in denial of physical limits. I didn’t want to give in to pain. I didn’t want to be weak. I was trying to use yoga to counter my heavy lifting and intense workouts. It wasn’t working.

About mid-April I stopped going to Crossfit entirely. I went about a month that way. I did YouTube yoga at home and went to this new studio. I was running and maybe trying some slow paced light kettlebell workouts in my garage. I was emotionally struggling through losing something that was such a big part of my identity. I struggled with giving up something I was still so sure was the only thing that made me tough, made me great, made me the person that everyone expected me to be… That was it. I had to be the person everyone knew me as. I couldn’t change that image. I couldn’t disappoint people.

Eventually, a few weeks ago, it got to a point that I could not even run. I couldn’t do a mile without searing pain in my abdomen and an uncomfortable feeling that lingered for almost a full day afterwards. I went to the 6th new doctor I’ve seen in less than a year. As it stands we are exploring the possibility of a hernia or abdominal wall tear/strain. I still have no definitive answer … and a lot of pain… This journey still has a long way to go but what I am very proud of and what I want to share with everyone is that sometimes we have to reinvent ourselves, even when the self we were before was not a bad version of us.

Most often people think changes in fitness and exercise routines or diet styles are something that people who have a full swing routine don’t need to think about. Why would someone that participates in such a challenging and intense exercise regime change? Why would you give up something that has turned you from an unhealthy post –grad to a strong, fit, healthy role model?

Sometimes the things that make us who we are have to change. Sometimes we are forced to redefine ourselves. The key is doing that without losing yourself. When life throws something at you that makes you take a step back and re-evaluate your lifestyle it is not a cause to give up. It is not a cause to abandon your beliefs or your mentality. It is a challenge, a test of resilience. How would you stand up if the cornerstone of your being was taken away from you? When the way you define yourself is forced to change?

Over the last 3 weeks or so I have begun to embrace a new lifestyle. I have accepted that while I explore what is going on with my body, I need to find another way to keep myself stimulated. I realized that I love Crossfit because I love being challenged. I love having difficult physical feats that I can master. It validates me. Considering how limited I am physically, I turned back to yoga. I have done two crossfit workouts in the last month and they were EXTREMELY scaled. However, I have done yoga more days than not. And I am IN LOVE.

I am smiling daily. I am happy. I am relaxed. I am embracing the journey and allowing myself to find a calm in this storm… And I am challenged. I am pushed HARD. I am finding my body doing things I could never imagine doing before.

There are many days that I miss heavy lifting but there are NO days that I miss driving home in pain after trying to force myself through a workout. Yoga is what saved. Yoga has allowed me to feel strong even when putting 185# on my back isn’t an option anymore. Will I work myself back to where I was before in crossfit? I hope so. But for now, look out yogis 😉


Never be afraid to redefine yourself. You might be surprised with what you find.

 

 

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Endometriosis Awareness:Chronic Illness May Change Your Journey

NEVER GIVE UP

I started my journey into the world of health and fitness four years ago this month. Four years ago this month is when I first walked into a Saturday CrossFit class and had my life turned upside down *Will Smith voice* 😛 … But really… I finally found something that triggered a change in me. I finally learned how to love my body and how to treat it like I do. I started to eat better. I got stronger and leaner. I FELT healthy. I felt GOOD every day… Little did I know that something unseen was brewing inside me. There was a piece of my health that I didn’t know was not being taken care of, that I didn’t know was not well.

I am sure you can tell by the title what that lovely piece was so let’s really start this discussion by defining endometriosis. It’s a term that I heard very few times before my own diagnosis. It was something that I didn’t fully understand even up to and after my surgery. Endometriosis is a chronic illness in females. It occurs when tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus starts growing on the outside of the uterus; growing on the outside of any or all organs within the abdominal cavity. Because this tissue is similar to that of the tissue that lines the uterus it follows patterns and signals from the female hormones. Meaning that it reacts the way it would if inside the uterus, thickening and shedding in correlation to a women’s monthly cycle. However, with endometriosis, the tissue has nowhere to go, it cannot shed, and therefore creates scar tissue and adhesions on these organs.

Endometriosis is an unseen and for some silent (until its very much not) kind of disease. So, back to my journey, throughout this time making my body so healthy I was unknowingly developing what I would later find out to be 5 different spots of growth and adhesions caused by endometriosis. Because this disease not easily diagnosed, often misdiagnosed, and rarely discussed openly I went – what my doctor said was probably years – having these growths develop without knowing. Now they still don’t know the exact causes of endometriosis so could I have stopped this? I don’t know. Would it not have been as bad if I found it earlier? I don’t know. My point in stating that this was a silent development in what I otherwise thought to be a healthy body is simply to show that there is not shame in developing an illness. That just because you lead a healthy lifestyle does not mean you cannot also have a chronic illness. You are not guilty. You are not a failure… But you can read more about my feelings on that in my first Endo post back in June.

Now where was I… Oh yeah… These growths where developing with me knowing. That is until everything came to a head and what used to be a “weird feeling in my right side of my abdomen sometimes” turned into an inability to function for days at a time. It turned into this incredible, incomparable pain in my abdomen. It turned into lying in bed crying. It turned into nausea, dizziness, and agonizing pain during various activities.

MONTHS of repeat ultrasounds, CT scans, birth control, pelvic exams, and blood tests with no results and no subsiding in pain later and finally in June of last year my doctor decided to operate. You see the only way to really truly diagnose endometriosis is through Laparoscopic surgery. So we did the surgery and she told me she was able to laser it all off. She made it seem as though that was it. I was good now, I would be pain free. She gave me a high dose birth control and sent me on my way.

I think I lasted a couple months without having pain again. By around the end of August I was back in her office. I told her there was pain and I didn’t know why. She said there was no way it was the endometriosis coming back so quickly so I thought it had to be something else. What else could be going wrong? She told me again it might be cysts – even though she didn’t find any – and again, I let it be. You see I was healthy. I eat paleo. I do crossfit. I coach crossfit. I am active. We use all natural products in our home. There was nothing that I could think that could be adversely affecting me. How could I get sick again?! It had to be nothing. It had to just be residual from the surgery.

Unfortunately everything got worse around October and November. I was so sick some days I would wake up in the middle of the night with my stomach swollen to where I looked pregnant and crying in so much agony. I would wake up my fiancé at 3 or 4 in the morning just for comfort because it felt like some sort of attack. In fact, many times this kind of severe endometriosis pain gets mistaken for appendicitis… or even worse, women with endometriosis don’t know they have appendicitis because of having dealt with the same pain for so long. I was nauseous and throwing up every day. I had to give up coaching crossfit because I couldn’t commit to being well enough every day to be physically active and able to do so. My health was so unpredictable. I was frustrated and angry. I went to doctor after doctor after doctor looking for answers, looking for a solution. If it wasn’t the endometriosis what else could it be?! What else could be wrong with me?!

I was told there was nothing wrong with me. My body is functioning great! Every test came back negative. Every exam from a specialist in every area possible showed nothing. While this would usually be good news, I knew I was in pain and I knew there had to be an answer. Even a desperate and scary ER visit resulted in a prescription for pain meds and nothing more. Finally I found a functional medicine doctor who ignited change in my search.

Recently, I have completed all the tests he recommended. I found out how crazy irregular my hormones are. I found out that yes, this all is the endometriosis. Yes, this is all from my hormones wreaking havoc on my body. The difference is that now I have a doctor that is not defining me based on my diagnosis and treating me just to ease my pain. I have a doctor that is working to get to the root of the problem. A doctor that is trying to figure out how to FIX my hormones – not mask them. It has been a grueling 4 months working with this new doctor. I discontinued my birth control in November. By doing this, some of those symptoms subsided. I stopped having gall bladder attacks. I stopped vomiting regularly. BUT I started feeling the most severe pain I have ever felt in my entire life. I started REALLY feeling my endometriosis pain. There was no shield anymore. What I thought was bad before was multiplied by 100. My hormones weren’t being suppressed. My cycle wasn’t being stopped. My hormones were allowed to function however they naturally wanted to. We had to see what they do on their own to know what they aren’t doing right? I was warned about the pain but not really… No one can be warned about this pain…

So what does endometriosis feel like?

I think this is the biggest, and most difficult to explain, factor when it comes to awareness. Awareness means spreading information – information of what the disease is, that there is no cure for it, that it is more common than you think (1 in 10 women), that it is NOT talked about enough, that there really is not enough scientific data for doctors to understand it enough, and that the pain is crippling. 

Endometriosis pain is chalked up to be “female pain” and thought up as just a “bad time of the month”. No. It is NOT just period pain. It is not just cramps. It is not just irritability. It is not the stuff that women can take Midol for and be able to go about their day. I have had trouble putting it into words myself but there are a few ways I have heard it described that hit home… 

One way is by Yellow Paper Dress:

“It feels like someone is grabbing your insides and twisting them as tightly as they can. Like the “rug burns” that children give each other on the playground by twisting the skin on their arms, but inside of your pelvis and abdomen…

Like a dull knife making quick jabs into your abdomen repetitively for days…

It feels like your body and insides are entirely bruised. Like your legs, hips, back, and stomach have all been punched repeatedly. Like pushing on a sprain or digging your thumb into a fresh, deep bruise…

Like a large hot iron, being prodded at your insides every few minutes. And even when the iron gets pulled away, there’s a lingering pain from the burn…

It is a relentless pain. Sharp and then dull. It teases with previews of what is to come, then magnifies your pain to points you didn’t know a person could tolerate until you had no other option.”


To me this picture here brings me almost to tears every time I see it because of how accurately it describes what I feel. I can almost envision that is what my insides look like. That is how powerfully accurate this is. My daily life consists of a dull pain, a discomfort if you will. I am never without it. Some days I do just have throbbing and “cramp like” symptoms. Those are good days in comparison. For about week or two each month I am bloated beyond a comfortable amount and I have a loss of appetite. In fact, I can almost barely eat because it just causes more discomfort or pain. But the physical pain is not even the worst part…

I am writing this post because awareness means knowing the torment we feel, including the psychological torment. It means letting other know they aren’t alone in this either. For me the worst part has been how exhausting this has been mentally, how much it has changed my entire life – without my permission. My new hormone treatment has left me exhausted and emotional. I cry more days than not. Sometimes I don’t know why and sometimes I can’t make it stop. Some days it almost feels like a wasted life. Some days I struggle so hard just to make it through the day. Some days the only thing in the world I want is just to not have to; to not have to leave my bed that day. Those days I am so blinded by the physical pain that I find myself heading home after work not even knowing what just happened in my day. But even more than all of that is the feeling of failure… Failure to continue this life of fitness I worked so hard to build. Too many days I feel like a disgrace to the person I want to be.

I am writing this post because there is not enough of this out there for women like myself… Trust me I looked… Over the last couple months I have spent countless hours doing research, reading other women’s stories and figuring out everything I could do to make my body as equipped to deal with this chronic illness as possible. The one thing I have not been able to find much of is support for women who are struggling with losing their athletic identity. Having to go through the recovery from surgery was difficult for me because I was limited at crossfit. I was forced to back off, not do certain things, and lift lighter or not workout at all. It was frustrating because crossfit has been such a part of my identity for years that I felt lost not being able to participate. I had no idea that this would be made worse. Over the past 4 months I am learning the things my body can and cannot tolerate. This month there were two full weeks that I was unable to participate in crossfit workouts or lift weights – at all. It just wasn’t an option. My body was in too much pain and strain of any kind only made that infinitely worse. Many times even when I do go to crossfit my body is so unpredictable that I have had days of crying myself through a workout because I felt so uncomfortable in my own body or days that one movement unknowing exacerbated an inflamed area and prolonged my abdominal pain for an extra few days that month.

Changing my routine has been the most difficult part for me; acceptance of having to change even more so. Chiropractic, herbal supplements, acupuncture, yoga – lots of yoga, eating a mostly paleo, super food dense, and anti-inflammatory diet, and participating in crossfit workouts when I feel physically comfortable and able … Those are how I am getting through this time. That is what my routine looks like now. Trying to maintain an active lifestyle 5-6 days a week by participating in whatever activity my body is telling me it needs or wants – or can handle – that day.

The path through life is ever winding. The only constant is change. Having a chronic illness is a difficult thing to adapt to. It’s not a surgery or a broken bone where you heal after a given time and resume normal activity. It is a forever change. It is a change that is itself always changing. Most often, as is the case with endometriosis, it means a re-evaluation of your daily activities. It means a big lifestyle change. It means finding acceptance in yourself, in your illness, and in the changes you need to make.

I want women like me, struggling with having fitness routines of heaving lifting and hard workouts, to know that you are not alone in your mental battle to stay on your journey. I also want women like me to know that you are not weak and you are not a failure for changing your path. You are not less because you can’t lift heavy every day. You are not less because you can’t keep up with people in a WOD one day. You are not less if you cannot participate in intense workouts for a week. You are not less if you change your routine. You are not less if you shy away from what you used to do in order to open up space for things you can do… In fact, I think the acceptance to listen to your body and do these things makes you stronger than those who do not.

My advice is…

Set goals for yourself, realistic goals. Plan out your exercise routine for days or weeks at a time –avoid allowing yourself to fall into the slump of doing nothing for too long. BUT also find acceptance in the days you cannot stick to that plan. Know there is peace in having to run or go to yoga on the day you had planned to lift because that is what your body needs. Remind yourself that there is no shame or guilt in changing your fitness routine; that there is no failure in change but rather success. In fact, I think the acceptance to listen to your body and do these things makes you stronger than those who do not… For the most successful of people are those able to adapt to changes; in themselves, in their lives, and in their environments.

And always remember – You are strong. Even on the days where you don’t feel like you are. You are powerful. Even when you can’t hit that same power output in the gym. You are beautiful. Even through the weeks streaked with tears. You are everything you want to be.

NEVER GIVE UP.

Find what works for you, what works for your body. A change in your health and fitness journey does not have to mean an end.

“Where there is no movement there is pain. Where there is movement there is no pain.”

Keep moving. Keep going.

All Natural Everything: My Adventure into Homemade Shampoo

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When you deal with health issues it forces you to assess and re-evaluate all pieces of your lifestyle; be it the food you are eating, your exercise regime (or maybe lack thereof), your stress level, your household, and also your personal products…

The things that we use on a regular basis in our homes are so incredibly loaded with chemical after chemical. We breathe in and absorb more chemicals than any living being should; and we do it daily. It is easy to go along with the societal norms. It is easy to go to the store and purchase personal hygiene products. It is easy to just do what is the least amount of work to look good each day… Especially as a woman…

Women are constantly under pressure to take care of themselves a certain way. So when you are expected to look good, or at least hygienic, how could you possibly deter from your normal beauty plan? How could you STOP using conventional beauty products? It just doesn’t make sense.

Well I am here to break all of that! I can tell you that for over a month now I have not used a store bought facial cleaner or store bought hair care products. I have cared for my face and my skin using variations of my previously posted facial scrubs recipe and truly I love it… And it smells and feels amazing!

Now I also know that it seems a little more accepted to make homemade facial scrubs. Heck I remember when I was a kid and my cousins and I used to think we could do homemade spa days and try out crazy recipes like these on each other. Now we were just having fun but my point being that it was a normal thing to do and we thought we were cool as heck doing it. But transitioning from conventional shampoos and conditioners… That is a WHOLE other animal.

I will admit that I attempted this once before. It was probably about a year and a half ago.

I decided I had read about “no poo” and I wanted to give it a go. The problem for me is that I didn’t do my research. I was impulsive. I also didn’t have the same motivation back then. I thought it was intriguing and wanted to give it a go but didn’t have a reason to stick with it. So when things got rough – and greasy – I quickly gave up.

If you don’t know what “no poo” is, it is a movement where you cease using shampoo but believers in no poo typically go for shampoo of any kind. Most of them simply use some baking powder and an ACV rinse once a week or so. While many of them even stop any kind of hair rinse and simply wash with water. My hair on the other hand has always been thin and sensitive, so this plan was not the one for me and my attempt ended pretty abruptly.

 

That brings to why I am writing this post today. Well, as you could guess, I gave it another go. This time instead of just jumping full on into “no poo” again (I knew better this time), I decided to do some research and really figure out my best game plan. This time my motivation came from my health issues. I have been working hard to naturalize all areas of my life. Considering my exercise regime and eating habits are pretty under control, I looked to the other areas – my household and personal products. What do I use to clean my home every day? To clean myself? What could I change? I decided that the chemicals being absorbed into my body through some of my personal hygiene products were not worth it. I decided a change needed to happen and I wanted to figure out a way to keep myself committed to this.

I want to shout out one of the blogs I found that really gave me that final spark to go for it again. So thanks Kayleigh , you rock!

After reading multiple blogs I decided that I would go my own combination of routes, one I though might work for my fine, thin, flat, grease-prone hair…

For the detox period:

If you decide to go for this all natural style, you WILL have a detox period. It won’t be fun or pretty necessarily but it will be a finite amount of time.

You see, conventional shampoos strip your hair of its natural oils. Therefore, when you stop applying the chemicals to your hair to break the oils down, your hair will have its own oils again… All the oils… It won’t know how to regulate them or deal with them because it hasn’t had to. So it will initially overproduce oils. You need to allow your hair the time to learn what its own oils are like and how to process them properly.

BUT that also doesn’t mean that you have to just walk around look like a grease ball. There are natural ways to help your hair (and your sanity) through this period.

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For me this method was rahssoul clay.  Rahssoul clay is an all natural powder. It is absorbent and will help draw out and soften some of those natural oils. It can be excessively drying however, so it is most likely not a long term solution but I used it for the first month and it was great.

Typically for one wash I would use 1 tbsp of rahssoul clay. In a plastic bowl and with a plastic spoon (you CANNOT use metal … because science things they say) mix either water or apple cider vinegar into the 1 tbsp of clay until you have soupy mixture.

Now, some people would create a thicker mixture and let it sit in their hair. However, I found that for me it worked better if I was able to simply rinse it through my hair. I also personally used ACV due to needing the extra pH. ACV will help your hair from drying out too much from the clay but if you have super greasy roots, go with a water mixture. It may take a few tries to get it perfect for YOUR hair. Don’t get frustrated.

 

After detox:

As I said, I used the clay mixture for just over a month. Once I started to notice that I could go longer without a wash and without having to throw my hair up because of the grease, I decide to move to my next mixture. The clay is not meant to be forever but it could also be a good once in a while cleanse for your hair as needed.

However, there is a recipe that could become your go to. It may take some playing around to find a perfect mixture for you but after I tried this combo I was immediately in shock at how well my hair responded!

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Soapnut powder and Shikakai powder.

Again, there were so many variations out there but what I decided is to do 1 tbsp of each (soapnut and shikakai) mixed with water until it gets a thicker consistency; something a little more than soup this time. Section of your hair and rub mixture into your scalp.

I will warn that when I first put it in my hair it felt ROUGH and thick. I truthfully did not think it was gonna go well. My hair felt tough when I rinsed it out. But then I went to brush it..

My brush ran through my hair like nothing! I let my hair air dry and when it was almost dry I accidentally caught my reflection and had to do a double take! I touched my hair to feel a soft, light texture. My hair looked full but not heavy. It was beautiful. I can truly say that I almost never leave my hair down at night because it also looks horrid. I also never take pictures at night (because of my hair) and I just had the strongest urge to take ALL THE PICTURES.

I will say, I am still in the beginning stages of all natural shampoo. However, the results I have seen thus far only motivate to keep this as a lifestyle change rather than just a challenge to myself.

If you want some proof I did take some non-snapchat filter pictures to show how well my hair came out… Keep in mind, this is just about a month and a half without any conventional shampoo or conditioner. My hair air dry-ed and was not treated with anything following….

 

 

Holy Suction!: My 1st Experience with Cupping

Cupping. Oh my word. I had my first experience with cupping this past week and I have ALL THE FEELS.
First, let me just say that the way I felt post-cupping has made me an instant believer in this practice. HOWEVER, the thoughts of how I felt during the cupping sesh leave me paralyzed. But before we dive too into my particular situation, let me just detour for a quick second to touch base on the actual explanation of cupping.

For those of you who have never heard of this wonderfully painful phenomenon, or for those of you that maybe have heard the term in passing but don’t know all the ins and outs, cupping is the practice where cups, typically made of glass, are placed in specific areas and essentially suctioned to your body. The suction could happen in different ways; either by putting heat inside the cup to allow a vacuum effect to take place as the air cools or by use of a rubber pump which sucks the air out of the cup to create the same vacuum seal. There are also two kinds of cupping, wet and dry. Dry cupping is, to my knowledge, more common and just uses the practice I mentioned above. The cup is left in place for about a minute, up to 3 minutes. Wet cupping has an extra step. With wet cupping, mild suction is used for the same 3 minute max and then small incisions are made in the skin and the suction is repeated, drawing out a small amount of blood.
For the purpose of our discussion, we are only going to focus on dry cupping by use of a rubber pump. That was the procedure I went through Monday afternoon.
Cupping is used for many reasons and to treat many conditions. It is an ancient alternative medical practice and it has a lot of research to back it. Most commonly it is used to help with pain and inflammation and to increase blood flow to certain areas of the body. Which brings me to my story…
After the most miserable Sunday I have ever experienced and a trip to the ER, I ended up sitting in my doctor’s office on Monday afternoon. I was waiting to talk to him about the pain I had experienced and see the next steps he suggested. I ended up getting a whole lot more than I bargained for.

After discussing my symptoms and determining that it was a gallbladder attack, my doctor looked at me with a smirk on his face and asked, far too excitedly, if I had ever been “cupped”. I said no and he giddily left to get his cups. He explained to me that he uses cupping when a specific organ or area of the body is having some trouble in its functioning. He told me that usually an increase in blood flow can help to get the organs working better and that it should help to decrease any possible inflammation – which I loved since my stomach was considerably swollen (I mean I don’t want to feel or look pregnant until I actually am HA … but really). I got a warning that it may be a little comfortable and then as the first cup of air was suctioned out I was immediately paralyzed with feeling.
Truly I was shocked at how uncomfortable this was, possibly because the cups were placed on and surrounding my ribcage, but I was unable to take a deep breath and felt like the skin was being ripped from my body. I was lucky enough to get “two layers” as my doctor called it. 5 cups, put on twice in two different locations, totaling 10 really attractive red spots on my abdomen. For someone who willing puts my body through really grinding events on a regular basis in the gym, I was surprised how weak minded I felt during this entirely too long 3 minutes.
However, I cannot say enough how much I loved this procedure. All my issues and pain and medical nonsense are not magically clear but I felt infinitely better leaving my doctor’s office. Especially considering I spent the night before in the hospital and was told there was nothing going on and nothing they could do for me and after 5 hours was given a prescription for Tylenol 3 and sent on my way. I could not have been more hopeless and frustrated when I arrived at my doctor’s office Monday afternoon and the fact that I left smiling is a testament in itself.

Today the swelling of my abdomen has decreased significantly and my pain is not as intense or constant. I may have a VERY tender abdomen for a bit considering I was left with some nice size purple circles around my ribcage but really if that is what it takes to help the underlying issues then I will take it!


I was told that many times it takes more than one session of cupping to treat what we are hoping to treat so if I have another session I will report back on how my mental handled the second time around. But ultimately, I felt compelled to write about my experience in order to tell everyone to go get cupped!
Of course, please find a good professional to perform this. But all in all, if you are an athlete or if you are facing any medical issues, look for someone who practices alternative medicine and asked them about cupping! It was a life changing experience.

Better yet if you are in the Austin or surrounding area, give me a shout and I can pass along the information for the best doctor I have ever been to (with the exception of my daddy-o doctor of chiropractic :D). With the increase in issues surrounding Western medicine, I urge everyone to seek out a functional medicine doctor and discuss alternative procedures and homeopathic treatment. From someone who has suffered for almost a year with persistent medical issues, I can confidently say that the treatment plan established by my functional medicine doctor is the first one that has made any sense and the only thing that has made any difference in my symptoms. Here is to continuing down this path and hoping to be health issue free by my wedding! HASHTAG GOALS

Homemade Face Scrubs

I have always loved homemade scrubs; body, face, hands, feet, you name it! Though I will admit that I have not been as on top of making my own scrubs as I’d like to be. Well it’s time for that to change!

As I prepare for my wedding (10 month countdown! 😬😁😳), I have done a lot of research and made lists and goals to help me get more serious about my beauty regime. You see beauty it’s not just about the eye liner or coverup you use. It’s about health. It’s about having healthy skin, healthy hair, healthy nails, healthy body, healthy mind. It’s about feeling so good that you are not even concerned about that coverup! Beauty is confidence and to me confidence comes with health. 

So I have made a decision to use only the best and most pure products on my skin from here on out. If you don’t know this already, the things we put ON our bodies is just as important and the things we put IN our bodies… I have touched on this before when I did a review on an amazing Au Naturale makeup company (you should check it out 😉)… So I know that leading up to my big day, and just for my life in general, the benefits of making homemade scrubs outweighs the ease of purchasing chemical ridden cleansers in store. 

With that sad I wanted to share with you the facial scrub I made today and smells and feels like the best thing I’ve ever put on my face! 

With a nice blend of coconut sugar, honey, and oils this scrub is well balanced and exfoliates and soothes without leaving your skin with that greasy oil feeling afterwards. So without further ado…


1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup honey

2 tbsp coconut oil

50 drops essential oil blend of lavender and rose hip 

😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

This scrub is good for both body and face. If you are looking to make a large quantity and use it for your body, try out adding some citrus essential oils in place of the lavender! I don’t recommend citrus for facial scrubs due to the intensity and risk of burning if it gets in your eyes. But the health benefits of orange and lemon on skin is wonderful if using for a body scrub! 

Always keep your scrubs in a sealed glass container. And remember that a small amount goes a long way! 

Enjoy 😊❤️

When Being Healthy Wasn’t Enough

My Fight With Endometriosis

endo

3 months. It has been 3 months since I last posted. I have had many a topic up my sleeve, started writing, never finished. There are many reasons for why my time has just been cut so short and left the blog lacking. It could be the fact that I started coaching at CrossFit Cedar Park and immediately took on a full load of classes. (woohoo! – There will be more on that later) Juggling that on top of another full time job, working almost 70 hours a week, moving into OUR FIRST HOME the end of March, and just trying to live life has left me kind of exhausted. I mean I will admit they were pretty awesome reasons to be exhausted, but exhausted none the less. Unfortunately, even more than these fun things happening there was the building issues that I was struggling with amidst all of this that left me down for the count. That made every minute I didn’t have a job or a workout or a household task to be doing a minute I just wanted to sit or lay or rest.

For some time now I experienced on and off abdominal pain. For a while it was simply just a day or a few hours and I would toss it up to a strain or something related to the intense and consistent exercise routine I had. However, over about the last year, these pains became more frequent. So the first thing I thought was digestion… I took the time and effort to change and restrict and test my diet; through my own experimentation, cleanses, and then completing a challenge back in November with my gym. I became so strict with my nutrition and saw amazing changes in my body, in my skin, in my strength, in my energy. I tried everything in the book to see if perhaps it was something I was eating that was causing an undesirable reaction. Through all of these trials and changes one thing remained consistent… my pain.

Finally I broke down and went to the doctor in January. It was time to find answers. Well a few tests and an ultrasound later and nothing. There was nothing wrong with me? So maybe the pain WAS in fact a strained muscle? And maybe I just never let it heal properly or wasn’t being as careful as I thought. So I let it be with the advice of coming back in if it got worse… Well, guess what happened within a few months?

Yup. You guessed it… It got worse.

By March it was awful. I had days, or if I was lucky a week, where I would be pain free. But most days were uncomfortable. I returned to the doctor for more tests and yet another ultrasounds. This time they found a cyst on my ovary but the doctor informed me that it appeared it had already burst, to which she attributed pain, and said it was clearing itself up. She seemed unconcerned. I was advise to take a specific prescription and told it shouldn’t give me too much of a problem anymore. That was calming… But when the pain went away for only a week or two and then proceeded to do nothing but increase, the calm was hard to keep.

By the time my parents came to visit me at the end of April, I was struggling to put on a brave face. I was in pain and uncomfortable more often than not. Finally, I got in for a 3rd appointment in the 2nd week of May. At this point, we were left with one option. My doctor had a strong feeling it could be endometriosis and her only recommendation was to go in for a diagnostic laparoscopy; to head right on inside and actually see what was going on. I scheduled it and had a few weeks to wait. But I was ready… right? I had to ready. Ready to be out of pain.

Well over the few weeks I waited for this procedure, my emotions got the best of me. I was appalled, frustrated, shamed. Years of CrossFit. Years of changing my entire lifestyle. Years of focusing in on my nutrition and striving to have the best health possible. How does this happen? Illness and disease is supposed to happen to those who don’t devote so much of their life to being healthy and living healthy. From chemical free makeup and homemade shampoo to homemade household cleaners to organic and all natural supplements to a paleo (and sometimes paleo-ish) diet… I did it all. Did that all count for nothing? My world was being crushed and I was having a really tough time wrapping my head around everything that came with this possible diagnosis.

To make it even worse, the nurse who did my pre-screening for the hospital acted shocked to everything I told her… I had no previous existing conditions. I take no medications. I have no history of health problems. I have never had any other kind of surgery or medical procedure… With every answer I gave her voice became more and more shocked.

Am I the only one that thinks that is unbelievable? That no one at the age of 26 can have a perfectly fine bill of health; up until this incident that is. That a nurse is shocked that a young person is living a healthy lifestyle? It blew my mind… And just made me feel even worse about the whole situation. Really, how did this happen? Even worse, I didn’t have a definite answer yet!

I”ll save you all the suspense… Turns out, yep, it was endometriosis. My doctor found it in 5 spots. Luckily, it was mild and it was able to be laser-ed off. So now there I was, done with my very first operation. Happy to have results but a little scared to see what would come.

Today marks one week post-op.

For someone who works as a crossfit trainer, has an active full time job, and workouts typically 5-7 days a week herself … Let me tell you, laying around and resting is TOUGH. I have had some SERIOUS gym FOMO this week and I know it won’t get any better through the next week until I am cleared to getting movin’! Even then, it is a solid 5-6 weeks until I can lift or crossfit. That is a LONG time… Especially in the gym world. So where has this left me?

Well after I worried about my recovery and focused my energy on sleeping and healing, I was able to think a little more about everything…

Issues can happen to anyone. Endometriosis is more likely if it is in your maternal line (which it is for me). Having this come about does NOT mean I was not living healthy. It is not something to feel shame for. It IS something that happen. It IS something that was properly dealt with. It IS something that can be monitored and I DO have the control and ability to continue to live a healthy lifestyle and do everything I can to maintain my otherwise good health.

Moral of the story… Living a healthy lifestyle will always win over an unhealthy one. Eating clean and working out is always a better choice over eating crap and being sedentary. But things may come up. Things may happen. What’s your best defense? Learning the ways to battle these things. Learning what your body likes and doesn’t like. Learning what kind of reactions your body, your individual self, has to all kinds of food.

Every BODY is different. Every body reacts differently to all things, all environments. Learn what fuels your body, gives it what it needs, and lets it run on clean energy. Learn what your body rejects, what makes it feel like crap, what makes it susceptible to disease and illness, what unnecessarily challenges or disables your immune system.

Know your body. LOVE your body. 

Love it in every condition.

No matter what.

 

 

Starting: The Scariest and Most Important Step

Whether you’ve never done an air squat in your life, you “used to be in shape back in the day” and have fallen off, or you just took a short hiatus from working out… It is always the idea of that first workout, the daunting thought of starting (or starting again), that paralyzes us. 

Even though we may know how great we will feel when we get in the grove, we continuously put it off. We think of how we are going to struggle during that workout. We think about the soreness that is bound to come after. We make excuse after excuse. We allow these worries to fade the goals we have and the place we know we want to be.
Well what if you didn’t have to do it alone? What if you had an amazing crew of people all in the same position, all wanting to start but feelin paralyzed by fear. Would that change anything? Would that make you more willing to take the leap into a healthy lifestyle? 

I mean the darkness always feel a little less dark when we are stuck in it with someone else, right? 

Well you’re in luck! If you live in the Austin Texas area I have an amazing opportunity to tell you about…
WORLDS BEST BOOT CAMP!

6 weeks. Full transformation. Results guaranteed.
We ran our first bootcamp out of Crossfit Cedar Park, ending just 2 weeks ago, and had AMAZING RESULTS and a fantastic fun time. There were over 75″ lost total across the group of 15 inspiring individuals that finished the program.

Now we are back at it! This time we are running TWO bootcamps at TWO locations to accommodate everyone in the area looking to completely transform themselves! 

If you are looking for great workouts, an encouraging motivating environment, nutrition guidance, accountability for those goals, and results like this….

   

Then get in touch with us NOW and reserve your spot. Camp starts THIS WEEKEND! 

March 5th 😄☀️💪🏼👊🏼

Cedar Park and Four Points locations. 
Check out our Facebook page , email me at kaitlyn@crossfitcp.com (or via my contact page), or just call us at 512-750-1858.

Now time to waste. This is your chance for the transformation you’ve been dreaming of.

 

What I’m Learning From Not Being Able to do “The Open”

Disclaimer: This is NOT, IN ANY WAY, advocating for not doing the Open. In fact, I would like to take a second to say that if you do Crossfit and you answer yes to any of the following you should ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT ANY HESITATION SIGN UP FOR THE OPEN 

  1. Are you competitive?
  2. Do you have goals?
  3. Do you want to challenge yourself?
  4. Do you want to see yourself accomplish things you never thought you would?
  5. Is positivity and an energetic community something you enjoy?
  6. Do you crossfit?

SIGN UP… liiiikkkeee… NOW


 

Okay, now that thats out of the way. Let’s move on.

I love the Open. In fact, I have done more than one post on the Open over the life of this blog. And there has been many a Facebook and Gram post on the Open. It is truly the most amazing time of the year. (Move over Christmas! :P) The Open embodies EVERYTHING that I love about Crossfit and is the epitome of the reason I fell in love with the sport. It promotes community, positivity, and pushing yourself to be the most amazing version of yourself – surprising yourself around every turn. I have had so many great memories my last 2 Opens and have seen people accomplish fantastic things. At the same time, it also feeds this animal that lives inside of me… The competitor… I am nice and quiet on the outside but inside I am probably one of the most competitive people you will ever meet. I silently push myself harder and harder to be the best me, not only for myself but to beat all the people I possibly can in my box along the way hahaha.

So clearly, moral of that rant was that the open is my everything… Until this year…

I was in a car accident just a week and a half ago. Now it was nothing that left me in as bad of shape as I could have been – big thanks to the man upstairs for that one. Nothing critical and no broken bones. However, it did rattle me (and my brain and spine) enough to leave me not healthy enough to fully compete this year. You see, brain injuries are something that leave you weirdly incapacitated. Like you physically can still lift as much and do all your movements BUT every single thing you do gives you headaches, makes you dizzy, or makes your neck feel like it cannot hold your head up… Its the weirdest (and most frustrating) thing I have EVER experienced. Hands down…  I held out until about 2 days ago, originally telling myself I would be okay by Feb 25th. But 2 days ago I broke down and got my $20 refunded 😦 … Because of course I signed up THE DAY registration was able. I said I get excited about it right?

I went through all the stages of grief following the accident.

Shock. Shock that I actually could not do ANYTHING. Shock at my absolute initial lack of physical ability to … move… at all.

Denial. I tried to completely deny the extent of my physical limitations for days.

Anger. I was SO MAD. Mad at the other driver who t-boned me. Mad at myself for not taking another way to my clients house. Mad that I couldn’t work out. Mad at no one and everyone. Mad at everything. THIS WAS MY YEAR TO PROVE MYSELF. The amount of progress I have made in the last 7 months has been overwhelming to myself. I was so pumped for this year. I was ready to push myself and show myself what I was made of. I was in a new region and at a new box. I was excited to see where I fell among new people… And that was ripped away from me.

Bargaining. This was mostly with myself. Rationalizing and bargaining the ways in which I would handle this. The ways maybe it was possible for me to do some physical activity and recover faster than is actually happening.

Depression. Then I cried… For 3 days straight. About everything. The actual accident itself; the car and financial devastation. And for “losing” the thing that made me feel the best.

Finally, acceptance. And this is where I am at as I write this post. Acceptance. Today, as the quickly approaching Open was discussed amongst my colleagues at the box today … and is evident in all social media… I finally really accepted that place I am at physically and I found the silver lining.

Listening to my colleagues get pumped up today, though I still sat with a little of that disappointment, got me realizing that this year is my year to be inspired. I am a part of such an amazing group of people at Crossfit Cedar Park. I am embarking on a thrilling and exciting new journey in coaching. And maybe, just maybe, this year is meant for me to help all those others feel all the magic and excitement I have felt the last two years in the Open. My boyfriend is competing for the very first time. I am excited for him. I am excited to push him and cheer him on and see what he can accomplish. I am excited to watch the members do great things and surprise themselves. I am excited to see the killer athletes that are at my box absolutely CRUSH IT and make waves. I am excited to be privileged to still be able to be surrounded by great people.

I have so many goals of my own. But they aren’t going anywhere. At 26 years young, my health is the most important. Healing well and being able to get back at it 100% and get stronger, better, faster…. THAT is what I need to focus on.

The lesson I have learned from the Open this year already, is that competition is healthy and great and fun … but it always has its place. You can be inspired, you can get better, and you can still work towards your goals no matter what life throws at you. You just need to adjust the way you do it. This is my time to fine tune my knowledge and educate myself in healing injuries such as mine and work on my mobility – I am gonna come back mobile as heeeelllllllllll ;P  This is my year to be not a competitor but a role model, a judge, a motivator, a coach. This year I will embrace the Open from a whole new perspective.

I can’t guarantee there won’t be moments that disappoint flares back up or a little frustration sets in. But I am ultimately excited and ready to take on this new challenge and force myself to get better and stronger in a way I never thought I would have to. Let the mental battle begin!

 

And to everyone competing in the Open … GO KILL IT!

To everyone not…. What the heck are you waiting for?! 😉

New Year’s Goals: Why Goal Setting is More Important Than Resolution Setting

500_F_85151987_dPH79TgdkFr176eOkN27nZewSgfLdGP6As we begin the 2nd full week of January we are full swing into the new year. Which means that most likely everyone who set their same epic New Year’s resolutions of losing 10lbs or getting abs are either going hard or stepping back realizing that they actually have no idea how to really make those things happen for sure.

One thing I have seen with New Year’s resolutions is that they tend to be set without any sort of plan, knowledge, or even confidence. They are the things that we want that we make a grand gesture that achieve this year because the last 3 years were just too chaotic. But this year, well this year will be different. We are sure of it. It HAS to be different. We have been wanting to achieve these things for so long now and we ate all our black eyed peas on New Year’s Day. So this year. This year is the year… But lets venture to look at what REALLY makes this year THE YEAR?

Chances are a lot of resolutions were set. All with real gusto. All with actual desire and genuine motivation. But most laking one very key element… The actual ability to follow through. In fact, I will say that I actually haven’t heard a single New Year’s Resolution spoken in years that included someone telling me what they intended to do to accomplish this. And it is for exactly this reason that I do not like New Year’s Resolutions, I do not set New Year’s Resolutions, and I do not advise anyone set New Year’s Resolutions.

I know I know. Blasphemy. But let me explain…

New Year’s Resolutions in our society have such good intention but have begun to take on an almost accepted sense of failure. By January 3rd I saw multiple people make joking status’ and posts on social media about how they “already failed” whatever it was they were intending to do better this year. Things like “Well there goes my healthy eating resolution but that chocolate cake was just too delicious” or “Still haven’t been to the gym, maybe I will start that resolution next month”. These posts are accepted, laughed at, and liked my many because we all almost just assume that everyone who sets resolutions will give up after a little bit of time. I mean am I the only one that finds that to be terrible and horribly discouraging?

We shouldn’t laugh at those that want to better themselves (because we all should always be striving for that). We shouldn’t allow ourselves to fail or give up on the things we want to accomplish because eh everyone is going to anyways. We shouldn’t write off goals and allow our dreams to be thought of as less than what they are by labeling them with this unfortunately tainted term.

This year, I am encouraging everyone to set GOALS not resolutions. Take all the things you want to accomplish, the ways in which you want to better yourself and give them meaning. Allow your dreams and desires to take on some value and make it harder for you to fail at them.

Setting “resolutions” as we have come to know them is almost a way of just giving yourself an out when things get too hard. You are more than that. You deserve more than that. You deserve all your dreams. You deserve to achieve all your goals. Acknowledge that. Believe that. Change how you view your resolutions.

 

Screen Shot 2013-02-16 at 11.12.34 PMSo what is the difference between setting resolutions and setting goals you ask? When we set our resolutions, as I stated, they tend to be vague and grandiose. They are things that either are not achievable in a way that will promote our continued work or they are things that we honestly have no direction or idea of how to accomplish. Goals on the other hand, or at least well set goals, are specific, manageable, achievable, measurable, and come with a plan. Goals are things that are in sight. They are things that we can actually see ourselves accomplishing in a specific period of time. They come with deadlines. They come with steps. They come with help, knowledge, advice. They come with motivation and optimism. They promote handwork and consistency. They are serious and concrete. They are infinitely more likely to be accomplished.

I, personally, have taken the leap and taken something that has always just remained a dream of mine and this year I have decided to turn it into a goal. It is concrete. I don’t have a deadline yet as that part is a little more complex haha. I have measurable steps. I have support and encouragement. I know exactly what I need to do to accomplish my goal. I am hopeful and motivated. I intend to work my butt off. And I know that for the first time this dream is manageable and this goal WILL be accomplished.

SetAndReachGoals

What is one thing that you have always said or thought you’d want to do that you can turn into a concrete goal this year? 

 

You can achieve anything if you believe in yourself and work hard enough.

For help with goal setting, direction, tools for your health goals, and a free assessment contact me! Its never to let to start! 🙂

 

Learning Zone: Bacon and Jalapeños Cauliflower Biscuits

Okay so, I am not setting “resolutions” for this year because I don’t believe in them… But there will be more to come on that in a post tomorrow… However, one thing I am doing is making an effort to really “zone” in on my nutrition (teehee … get it? … maybe not… I’ll explain) We started following the zone diet during my Holly Jolly challenge, as some of you may have read about, and if you saw my results post you know that it may a HUGE difference for me in a major way.

Losing 7% body fat and seeing insane results in the gym can really motivate someone to want to keep these eating habits haha.

So we decided that we are going to keep at this whole zone thing. And thanks to the amazing journal my sister got me for Christmas, tracking my blocks and my food will certainly  not be a problem! However, one of the hardest things that we have found is learning how to zone recipes that we find or meals that are made in bulk. Of course we don’t want to give up good recipes just because they are hard to figure out.

IMG_8358 2

So when I saw this recipe that I knew I HAD to try, I decided that altering recipes to fit our zoning makes a lot more sense then trying to fit make these recipes work as they are. The recipe I came across was for bacon and jalapeño cauliflower based biscuits. I took it and ran… making sure each thing was measured out to create even easy to zone biscuits.

First off, let me just say they were AMAZING. Secondly, the biscuits couldn’t have been more perfect zone wise. The recipe made 10 yummy great sized biscuits. Each biscuit came out to measure a nice 1/2 block of carbs, 1/2 block of protein, and 1 block of fat.

Meaning 2 biscuits fit nicely into my 3 block post-workout meal 😉

IMG_8357.JPG

Here is my zone appropriate version of the recipe:

Bacon and Jalapeño Cauliflower Biscuits

  • Servings: 5-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 24oz cauliflower florets (3 3/4 cup once shredded and cooked)
  • 1 jalapeño (finely chopped)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 4 slices center cut bacon (cooked)
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic (or Garlic Lover’s Flavor God seasoning)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp bacon grease

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a food processor, grind cauliflower until finely shredded.
  3. Heat olive oil in pan and add cauliflower.
  4. Add in seasonings, chopped jalapeño, and grease from cooked bacon. Cook until cauliflower is soft and begins to change color slightly.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer into large bowl.
  6. Add in eggs and coconut flour and mix well.
  7. Using a 1/4 cup scoop, scoop even balls of mixture until parchment paper lined baking sheet. This should produce 10 even balls
  8. Bake for 35-40 mins or until browned.
  9. Enjoy one biscuit for 1/2 block of carbs and protein and 1 block of fat.

IMG_8359

Original recipe that I based this off of can be found here: http://www.justjessieb.com/2013/10/cauliflower-biscuits-with-bacon-jalapeno.html