How it all started…

I was thinking the other day about why I started this blog. I have been so busy with wedding stuff and house stuff that I have barely had time to breathe! My anxiety has been so high that even running isn’t helping as much. So I took some inventory of what I can do better to manage my anxiety. So I thought that I would share here some of my history and how I am managing this extra stressful time!

So I have never been diagnosed with anxiety, but if you were to ask my parents they would probably say as a child I was pretty anxious. I was very quiet whenever meeting people and have always been worried about what people think of me. I would slowly start to feel comfortable and be more outgoing. People laugh when I try to tell them that I really am a quiet, almost introverted, person.

But my anxiety really kicked in during high school. So many things change at this time it’s no wonder that my anxiety kicked in. Every year the night before school started I would have the dream that my front tooth would fall out and my mom would still make me go to school! I mean it was a horrendous dream! My mom has told me multiple times she wouldn’t do that of course! haha.

I remember my first day in high school and I was so intimidated and then I found out it was only the freshman class! I met my best friend (to this day!) and she helped me navigate through the school. We were both military brats so she knew what was going on. I started having sleep problems. I would sit in my bed and just think and think and think. And it was never about important stuff. It was always little things, like what was I going to wear, what was going to be for lunch, how do I want to wear my hair…I mean just racing and racing. My parents at times were probably exhausted. I would get up and just be unable to go to sleep. My mom told me to take a warm shower, to walk up and down the stairs, to drink warm milk, so many different things! At around this time my family got into Harry Potter. So my parents would listen to the audiobooks when they went to bed. So I thought no harm in trying this too! And it worked!!

I started listening to it my freshman year and really didn’t stop until I moved in with my fiance. It was a way for my brain to be attentive on something besides my racing thoughts. I would listen to the book and off to sleep I went! So that helped all through high school, but then came college. Talk about anxiety. :-/

My undergraduate program had a weekend were freshman would come tour the school, pick out classes, and learn their way around the campus. We had our parents (thank goodness for mom!) but for a lot of the stuff we were separated. But I just reverted back to my quietness. I just listened and would talk to people when they talked to me! Later I found that some people thought I was rude because I would be short with them. I think this is a characteristic of anxious people if asked what strangers or acquaintances thought of them. I don’t think I’m a rude person but I get worried about what I say to people. Imagine talking to someone and thinking…I wonder what they think about me? Am I talking to much? Am I weird? Is this person going to like me when this conversation is over? It’s like having a negative Nancy live in your head! It’s exhausting for me to just read!!

But when I finally started school I felt okay. I had a nice roommate. She would always try to take me places and go out and do campus activities….of course you know I said no. Most of my freshman year I went home on the weekends and came back for school. I finally went out of my comfort zone one night and went out with my roommate. It was fun, but I picked up a bad habit. My parents are not drinkers and my mother has always been “meh” to it because of family history. But when I was in school I was amazed at how much calmer and relaxed I would feel mentally and physically when I would be out having a drink. Over time I would drink more and I would end up doing things that made me more anxious. I would wake up in the morning and people would tell me all the silly things I did the night before and I would be mortified. I would go into hiding, I would not answer my phone, I would stay in my room and only go out for classes and an occasional meal. But I never thought that drinking was a problem, it was my “weirdness”. This pattern occurred over and over again through school. Friendships changed, I started and ended relationships, my drinking pattern would get better and then worse.

It’s interesting to look back and think how anxiety touches all areas of your life.I think that I didn’t do as well in classes/school because of it. I would be worried about asking questions in class for fear of being looked at as stupid. I would second guess myself on tests and I always thought that I wasn’t good enough to do important things (like be a dentist!). I also have a low frustration tolerance, which I think is connected to my anxiety. So my friend group changed frequently throughout, which means that I really have no close friendships. No one that I really could lean on and talk about “serious” problems. I don’t know if any of my friends recognized that I had anxiety. It’s hard at times to distinguish between anxiety and stress, especially if you’re not a professional. So maybe they just thought I stressed out over everything.

I finished school and was accepted into Tulane School of Social Work. To be completely honest when I switched from pre-dental to psychology, I wanted to be a psychologist. I have always been interested in the mind. All things psychology interest me. But I waited to long to do that I didn’t have the GPA to go to school. So I looked into counseling and social work. I don’t know if I was pushed or tripped…but I ended up in the right place! Again, we had an orientation and it was very similar to my undergrad experience! I remember my friend now coming up to me and being like “I feel weird, can I sit here”. I started coming into my own at this point. So I don’t think my anxiety bothered me as much. It was obviously still there but I was pretty busy with school and trying to stay on top of things. But I remember tests still caused anxiety. I even went to a psychologist to be tested for ADHD and she said that I definitely have anxiety and maybe ADHD. We talked about coping skills and I left. No medicine, no more tests.

I graduated with no issues and got my first job. It was stressful looking but I got really lucky with having a friend’s mom help me get a job. I did have some anxiety about starting a “big girl job”, but I felt good doing this kind of work so I felt natural. At this point though I had picked up another bad habit…smoking. I started in college socially, but it increased at work. Probably at the worst I would smoke a half pack a day. I also started eating worse. I would never take a lunch and ate fast food everyday sometime 3 times a day!! So I gained weight. 30 pounds to be exact. By no means was I obese but I was overweight for my height. This was the last straw for me. I couldn’t continue to buy new clothes. I have never been a gym person but I knew I needed to change. So I got a personal trainer and got to work.

It was hard at first. I liked veggies but they definitely we’re not my go to!  With my personal trainer we totally overhauled my diet. We also started to incorporate weights with cardio. I was totally weirded out by weights. I mean I didn’t want to be manly! But I started to do research and found out that weights actually help you lose weight because muscle needs more calories than fat. And in order to build muscle you have to lift weights. So I did that for about 3 years. I did a bikini competition and going to the gym led me to a friend that introduced me to my fiancé. But there were problems. I have always struggled with body issues. And the constant scrutiny on my body (by myself) turned food and working out into a task. I literally looked at everything that went into my mouth as an issue. I would splurge and instantly have guilt. 

So I yo-yo-ed for awhile. I would do good and then go backwards. It was easier to stay on track with Tony because he would help me not buy junk and then I wouldn’t eat it when he was around! But even this process caused me anxiety!

So about a year or so we got engage (yay!!) and I started to plan. I have looked forward to my wedding my entire life. And I never knew I would marry literally the man of my dreams! But the wedding has taken a toll on me. I have learned that I care about others feelings more than my own. I have learned that I will do for others and push the things that are important to me down the list. This is a good quality. Most of the time, but it has caused stress for sure. One night we were coming home from a movie and I had a panic attack in the car. Literally out of nowhere. But I’m sure it’s because I literally have been paying no attention to my own needs. So where does running come in?!?!?

Well when a friend of mine the text me to say congrats she also asked if I would want to do a half marathon. Now I could barely run a mile….but I thought a new challenge would be a good idea! 

So I started to run. At first I was running on the treadmill. Easier to keep track of how I was doing and could push myself! Then I took it outside….man! I still remember my first outside run! Hahaha. It was horrible! I got plantar fasciitis because didn’t have the proper running shoes and I was unfamiliar with running conditions outside! But surprisingly I stuck with running! I think it’s because at that moment I felt relief. Running is an activity where it’s just you and the road. It’s just me…and that was freeing. That was relaxing!

I remember one day where I literally had no period of time when I was it was silent. I’m a social worker – I listen to people for a living. But I went to the gym and had my workout partner to talk to, then I come home and talk to my fiancé, and literally sometimes fall asleep to him talking to me! I found that running was a time to be alone and sort through my day, relieve some stress, and get rid of unnecessary BS! 

And just like that….runcassierun was born!!!! 

Now today I am focusing on making my runs more meditative. I have started to work on my breathing. I also feel better because some of my stress has gone down over the last few weeks (full disclosure this blog took me three weeks to write because I have been so busy!) But I know it’s going to go up with all the stuff for the wedding coming up! But at least I know the road, headphones, and my shoes are right there whenever I need to pound away the stress!

I plan to post tips over the next few weeks on how to incorporate running, weights, and eating healthy into any ones life. What tips would help you all out? Leave me a comment and I will work on any tips I get! 

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Daily Dose of MOJO

So I have been looking for a book to do daily mediation. I never thought it would be so hard to find a book that I would find useful and yet appropriately pushing…but I think I did!

I bought Theresa Rose’s “Your Daily Dose of MOJO: 365 Days of Mindful Living and Working”. I love the way the book is set up and how she makes it positive and forces you to look at the positive. So I’m going to try and focus and share with you my journey through this as well!!

So today’s meditation was on living boldly and brazenly in the pursuit of joy and laughter. At times I find it hard to be joyful and laugh when my anxiety is high. My anxiety has been out of control over the last month. I think it has been this way due to increased wedding stress so my anxiety has increased. I am trying to remember that my joy does not come from other people. My joy doesn’t come from people doing or not doing what I think or want them to do. Sometimes we have to let go and feel the disappointment.

One thing that I learned recently is that humans have a tendency to “stuff” emotions. It’s common for people to say “such it up buttercup”. Problem is…that we need to feel our feelings. We need to feel not only good but negative emotions. Negative emotions let us appreciate the good ones. I also think that by feeling the disappointment and then letting go my anxiety has also decreased.

Just because I work with this everyday doesn’t mean that I am an expert…I still struggle almost daily with anxiety. I feel it so deeply that I just want to crawl up into a ball sometimes and shut everything down. I have to admit that sometimes I bring it on myself…I allow my anxiety to get the better of me. I allow it to grow instead of using my coping skills (running, meditation, breathing, etc) to help calm me down. I know that this is one of my major hurdles in feeling better, and I have gotten better about it over time.

So my wish for you today is to also learn to feel your feelings. BUT not to get stuck in the moment and not to worry about future moments…doing these things keeps you from enjoying your life. It prohibits you from experiencing joy. It hinders your ability to be present in the current moment.

What are the things you hope to find joy in today?

 

Setting Goals

Hello guys!!!

I totally got side tracked last week and I didn’t do any posts…I am going to set a reminder to make sure that I do them every couple of days. I was driving home thinking about all the things I had to do and my anxiety seriously got the better of me. And then I remembered that I started this blog to help with my anxiety and keep me honest about my journey through running and meditating.

With that being said, my lack of posts, kind of goes along with my thought of doing a setting goal post! I mean it was like my brain was telling me I need to set goals! So I want to give you some info on how to set goals that you can stick with!

1. The first step is to think about why this goal is important to you? Many people set goals kind of willy nilly. For example lots of people set goals at the beginning of the year to lose weight. But it’s kind of like they just set it just to set it. Think about…do you want to lose weight for health reasons? To feel better emotionally? To increase your self-esteem? To decrease or stop blood pressure medicine/diabetes medication?

2. The next question is to ask yourself what resources or tools do you need to succeed? Do you need a buddy to go walking with you? Do you need to buy tools to reach your goals? Pay for a head hunter service? Sit down and honestly think about what you need to reach your goal.

3. Time frame. Some times we are all a little naive when it comes to setting a time frame. Remember that saying the Roman empire wasn’t built in a day? You will also have to take time to reach your goals. It’s also ok if you set a time frame that has to be amended. You want to be equally flexible and rigid.


After think about those things you want to remember that goals can be in every facet of your life; professional, personal, health, financial, etc.  So here are my goals and I encourage you to set your own goals…comment them below and let’s keep each other accountable!!

  • Personal – learn to be more open with my feelings with my loved ones. Learn to express my anxiety and use my coping skills.
  • Professional – expand my repertoire in addiction, eating disorders, and personality disorders
  • Running – complete first 10k, try to get 5k time below 30:00, complete half marathon in January.

So I hope this is helpful and that you will use these 3 things to help set goals that you will keep and help you get where you want to go!!!

Not so bendy

So this week has been drastically better than last, thank goodness! Less anxiety all around! I have been doing the fast and feel ok. Yesterday was the worst, but today woke up and didn’t feel to bad.

One thing that I have added to my routine over the last 6 months has been yoga. This was more out of necessity then desire. About 5 months ago I ran for the first time outside and got plantar fasciitis and I was out of the run game for about two weeks. I’d never run outside before and was completely unaware that your body needs to be warned of this new venture. So I did research and learned that I would probably need to start stretching the feet and use a compression sock for a while. So I look up yoga stretches for runners. I found a quick pre-run one that I have been doing almost before every run. I find it ritualistic now. If I don’t do it I worry about whether or not I am going to get some weird injury.

So I was doing my stretches and WHAM…one day after a run on a treadmill I started to have this horrible pain in my left hip. Later realized that I was going to fast on the treadmill and was overstriding. This was the worst thing I have ever been through. This happened over 2 months ago and I still at times get pains. I took it easy for a week or so. But I was determined to move past this by stretching, icing, and rest. So I got even more into yoga. As I started to do more and more I started to venture into new videos. And not just “stretching” videos. I started to work on breathing for runners, anxiety and stress yoga, flow yoga, etc. So I decided that I want to work on some of the flexibility poses, first up…forward bend.

I am crazy inflexible. I think I may be the most inflexible person on planet earth. I get so tight after exercise, stretching or no stretching. I have been doing yoga poses most days and have increased flexibility a tad. But I decided on working on my forward bend as my main focus. Here is where I am today:

Needless to say…I am at the start block. But we all have goals we want to work on. So I did some research and looked for ways to gain flexibility in forward bend. For the video check out my Instagram @runcassierun

  1. place hands on hips, thumb on your back side. Use your hands as a pivot point.
  2. lower slowly, feel the stretch in your hamstrings and hips
  3. release your shoulders and head so that they are relaxed.
  4. see how far you can go.
  5. bend your knees as much as you need to place palms on the ground
  6. slowly straighten your knees and slide hands along shins.
  7. Repeat by bending your knees. Slowly you will gain flexibility to be able to bend, place your palms on the ground with a straight flat back.

One video I watched she said your legs are like taffy. If you want to share you don’t just break it apart. You have to slowly go back and forth until the taffy starts to loosen and then you can separate. That’s how your hamstrings are…you have to give them the time to learn to be flexible! Maybe that will be my mantra for the next week or so…Give it time.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Some people can put there elbows on the floor…I mean I can’t even imagine!!

Tag me on instagram of your forward bends!!

Fasting Mimicking Diet: 411

So what the heck is a fasting mimicking diet?!?!

So a couple months ago my fiancé was talking about this diet called “Fasting Mimicking” and he wanted to know if I would want to do it with him. Now listen, anyone who knows me knows that I love food. So I was skeptical at first. I wanted to know why and how this works? What is the purpose? Is it a one time and done thing? How is it different from other diets/fast? Well those are some of the question I imagine you have and I am going to answer them!! So let’s get started 😉

  1. What is the Fasting Mimicking Diet? The name is a perfect portrayal this “diet” (I put it in quotes because I think that might be the only confusing part). Fasting has been a part of human history for a variety of religious, spiritual, and nutritional reasons. There is evidence that shows that fasting allows the body to rejuvenate and clear out “clutter”. So why would the body need to get rid of the clutter you ask?!?! The FOOD we eat. The food that we eat is actually making people sicker. Most of the food that we eat is loaded with chemicals and preservatives that does serious damage to our bodies. So fasting works to “reboot” the body back to a more homeostatic state. The problem with true fasting is that it can take a lot of will power and when you feel down in the dumps people often go back to food to make them feel better. So researchers tried to see if they could get the same effects of fasting but with allowing participants to eat certain foods and certain caloric intake daily. So with true fasting you have no food, only water for a period of time. With fasting mimicking you are allowed an allotment of calories daily that you can use on good proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables. The researchers found that there is no significant difference between total fasting and fasting mimicking. AND more people are likely to follow through if there are allow to have some food. So here is the break down:

Day 1:

1/2 Daily Calories

Eliminate most Carbohydrates (only complex carbs like whole wheat toast, oatmeal)

(Two meals from the fast, 1st picture is soup that I made for the week and the second is my first day evening meal salmon and vegetables)

Day 2-5:

1/3 Calories

Limit protein, take in most healthy fats (nuts, avocado, chia seeds)

Only carbohydrates come from vegetables


2. So what is the purpose of fasting mimicking? The purpose is very simple…to give your body the opportunity to revamp itself, to help it clean out the clutter to work more efficiently. When you do the fast your body cleans out toxins from your organs and your body stream. It gives you immune system time to catch up and not work so hard fighting off all the junk that we put in our bodies. AND by doing this throughout the rest of your life you give your body the necessary tools to live longer and BETTER!

3. Is this a one time thing and done? For some I imagine this will be difficult but no…so is not a one and done thing. I have read different things about how often to do FMD (fasting mimicking diet). My fiance and I have been doing it every three months or so. This is our third time and I have to say that it gets better the more you do it. Like I said before your body is amazing and recognizes that it is going into fasting mode and starts to declutter like a champ!

4. How is this different from other fasts or diets? Well like I said before FMD is different from true fasting because you are allowed to eat. My fiance broached me with doing the fast saying it would be just eating vegetable soup everyday. So you don’t eat much but the food you do take it aids the body in getting rid of the yuck. This totally different from a diet. I don’t really like using the word diet, I tend to think of myself as lifestyle girl. Diets imply an end date…with healthy living there is no end date. FMD is a short 5 days where as healthy eating is life long. FMD is a good supplement to a healthy living.

5. What does my FMD week look like? So we always start on a Monday. I make sure to buy looks of vegetables over the week. The first couple days I like to have vegetables that I like to munch on…helps keep me focused. My go to’s are celery and carrots. I typically make 1 or two soups. I take soup for lunch. I make hard boiled eggs for breakfast. I also make sure that I have some almond or other nuts to munch on at work. I typically don’t eat big meals during the week, I graze throughout the day. I’ll have a couple almonds here and then an egg, maybe soup or salad for lunch. The first day is always the hardest because you are use to eating “normal” so when you cut out carbs (and coffee!) your body starts screaming! But after that you actually start to feel better. I also keep lots of herbal tea and water close. By day 4-5 you feel pretty good and don’t mind the fast.

6. What happens after the fast? So after the fast there is two ways you can go…continue eating your healthy foods that you were previously eating. Still enjoying your treats every now and then. The second way is if you are new to eating healthy and want to use this as a detox and a start to eating healthy. People start fasting for all different reasons so it’s important to look at why you want to do this and what the plan after the fast is. We always do a nice meals, but nothing crazy like pizza and brownies and Chick-fil-a. Its always something with carbs (and cheese!) but usually just a mini cheat of our regular life. You don’t want to bombard your newly clean system with lots and lots of junk. Take this time to refuel your muscles with good carbs, fats, and proteins.

Here is a website with more information on FMD if you want to do more research!

Diet that mimics fasting appears to slow aging

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wellbeing/diet/why-weve-all-been-doing-the-fast-diet-wrong/

Sunday Post

Good Evening Guys!

So this is my first post. I am trying to get together a schedule…so bare with me as I get myself settled the next few weeks. I am hoping that my schedule will include the following:

  • Yoga pose of the week
  • Running post
  • Mediation/Mindfulness post
  • Recipe post
  • Randomness that is all things Cassie 🙂

So what I am hoping will happen is that on Sunday I will be able to lay out the bones of my week and plan so that I don’t get scattered (it happens believe me!). So this is what my week is going to look like: work and Fasting-Mimicking Diet (I am going to write a post about this tomorrow). With fasting I am not going to be able to exercise like I normally would so I am going to modify my runs to 2 miles and do yoga everyday. I am going to also work on breathing practice before bed. It is so important when starting a running, yoga, mediation practice to work on breathing. It is easy to forget about it because we do it all the time. BUT it is way more important and we need to give it the credit it is due! So I am going to spend 5-10 minutes daily to work on breathing. I think these are good things to start out with for the week. I am also going to work on my “Big Introduction” post. I want to be able to give it the time and dedication that it is due. I have struggled with anxiety for most of my life and just recently I found a good way of managing it without ruining my life! So I want to make sure that I include everything that would be important to people reading this blog. Not only is this blog about feeding my soul but about helping others connect to theirs.

So that’s it for now.

-Cassie