Archive for February, 2014

You Are Not Alone

I just want to say thank you to you who have commented, messaged or texted me in response to my latest blog post, Liz’s New Journey to Peace, Joy and Wellness. It was something that was very difficult for me to share. But since I did, I have received an overwhelming response and outpouring of texts, Facebook messages and comments from people who have experienced or are going through similar things or struggles with the same symptoms. (And I would have never known!) Almost immediately after I shared the post on my Facebook page, I started getting responses from my friends filled with love, support, encouragement, prayers, and similar stories about their struggles. Suddenly I felt like I wasn’t so alone anymore. I was truly touched and brought to tears by some of your messages. I can’t describe how therapeutic that experience was for me.

Often times when we’re struggling on the inside, our defensive reaction is to put on a happy face and to pretend that everything is all good. Growing up, I learned not to express or confront any negative emotions such as pain or sadness, and instead to hide and suppress them. This pattern obviously carried over into adulthood and is something I’m working through. I’m working on giving up those feelings to God instead of containing them and feeling I have to deal with them all on my own, in private. This will cause isolation from the world and those around you. I know I’m not the only one who does this. Also, letting go of “perfection”, which doesn’t exist and is all EGO. And being ok with being emotionally vulnerable in front of your friends and people you trust.

I just want to say that struggling with something and feeling alone in it, perhaps feeling like others wouldn’t understand what you’re feeling — is one of the worst feelings ever. The truth is that no one is perfect and we ALL have struggles. That’s what makes us human and what makes the good parts of life worthwhile. So if you feel alone in your struggles, I want you to know that you’re not alone. And I want to encourage you to find someone that you can share your feelings and what you’re going through with — even if it’s a stranger. There are online forums for EVERYTHING out there — every problem, disease, affliction, condition. I guarantee you can find someone somewhere who can relate or at least understand your troubles. I want to encourage you not to keep whatever is bothering you to yourself and suffer alone anymore.

I also believe that we are meant to use our pain and struggles to help others. Think of how you can encourage others who may be suffering with the same things, just by opening up about it and letting them know they are not alone in their struggles, and that you understand what they’re going through. I see that pain and struggle produce strength, character and perseverance, and if you let it, and are willing to share and be vulnerable, you can let it be used to transform others too.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

Liz’s New Journey to Peace, Joy and Wellness

Hi there!

I’ve been procrastinating on writing this for a few weeks now, but I feel it’s really important that I let you in on what’s been going on with me, what I have been struggling with, and this new journey that I’m embarking on. I wasn’t ready to share a lot of what I was struggling with for a long time, because I didn’t understand why I was feeling that way. But now that I’m finally taking action on it, I am ready to share.

Over the past 2 or more years, I’ve been feeling less and less like myself, and just having this general feeling of “unwellness”. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never felt this way before and become aware of it. In the beginning, the symptoms I was feeling were so subtle and non-threatening that it was easy to ignore them and just be used to living with them. I actually think a lot of people are used to living with this feeling of “unwellness”. A lot of my symptoms I thought were just in my head, due to a lack of discipline, will-power, etc. I blamed myself a lot for the symptoms, especially the mental and emotional ones, and I believed it was all a matter of mind over matter. The mind is very powerful, after all. But it wasn’t until recently when some of the symptoms were getting so strong and unbearable, that I finally broke down and knew that something had to change. It was also around this time I started making some of the connections between my physical symptoms and emotional/mental/neurological symptoms and I also started seeing some of my fellow coaches dramatically improving their health with the help of a certain functional medicine practitioner that I had been thinking about working with for a while.

Here are some of the symptoms that I’ve been experiencing over the past 2 or more years:

Emotional

-Anxiety

-Depression

-Irritability

 

Mental

-Brain fog

-Poor concentration

-Inability to focus

-Poor memory

-Fuzzy thinking – inability to think clearly

 

Physical

-Chronic fatigue – feeling tired all the time

-Muscle and joint pain, aches and stiffness

-Muscle weakness

-Poor balance and coordination

-Insomnia

-Low body temperature (between 95-96 degrees Fahrenheit)

-Chronic skin rash I’ve had for over 7 years (and I also actually had what was diagnosed as eczema skin rash as an infant)

-Bloating, gas and other digestive issues

-Intense, uncontrollable cravings for sweets and carbs

-Weight gain and difficulty losing weight

-Poor circulation

-Chills

 

In short, I’ve been feeling like an old person. Some days, I feel about 50 years older than I am — and that’s not an exaggeration! I can’t remember the last time I woke up feeling well-rested without soreness and stiffness in my body. Come to think of it, I was blaming my old mattress for almost a year, but now that I have a nice, new mattress, my sleep still hasn’t improved.

My memory, focus, concentration and mental clarity has gotten so bad that it affects my work and relationships. I could go into great detail about how these physical, mental and emotional symptoms have affected me as a person and how I show up in my relationships and my work as a coach, but I will spare you all the details for now. The main way it’s affected me is that it’s caused me to distance myself from everyone in my life – friends, family, teammates, clients, and the Beachbody community at large. When you are known as someone who is always upbeat and positive – someone who provides inspiration and motivation to others and someone who is a great example of health and fitness, it can put a lot of pressure on you — probably ALL self-imposed pressure, I must admit. I’ve always had a hard time sharing when I’m not feeling well or doing well, but I’m learning more and more that this stuff is also important to share. Why? Because people connect with you more through your weaknesses than through your strengths.

I struggled A LOT with the fact that I’ve gained back a lot of the weight I had lost over the years. I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I could have let the weight creep back on, but it never occurred to me that it could be related to an internal health issue. I still hate the fact that I’ve gained weight back, and I’m not particularly happy with the way my body looks right now, but what’s more important to me at this moment is just getting healthy, and FEELING better. When you don’t feel well, all you want is to feel well. And when you don’t have health, all you want is to be healthy. Another thing that I felt extremely ashamed about and had a hard time admitting and dealing with was the depression. How could I feel this way when I have so many great people and things in my life to be grateful for? First of all, I didn’t understand it myself. And I couldn’t expect anyone else to understand why I was feeling that way either. I felt ashamed to even say that I might be depressed. So, I often felt alone.

With that being said, I’m really looking forward to opening up about all of this and sharing the journey with you. I don’t want to hide anymore. I’m tired of hiding and pretending everything is as awesome as it always was. The truth is that yes, I have seen better days, but I know that it’s all temporary and I’m taking action steps to improve my health and quality of life. And I’m looking forward to things getting better and better.

As I mentioned, I’m finally taking action on all of this. I started seeing Clinical Nutritionist and Functional Medicine Practitioner, Sagi Kalev. He had some tests sent to me to test my adrenal function and also a Mediator Release Test (to determine which foods I’m sensitive to). I should be able to complete these tests this week, send them back to the labs, and have the results soon. He mentioned that I could have adrenal fatigue. I’ve done some research on adrenal fatigue, candida overgrowth, and thyroid issues, and I have a lot of the symptoms of all of these conditions. So it could be anything, really. I just really strongly feel that all of these symptoms are stemming from something being off balance in my body, whether it’s hormonal, gut-related, or maybe just a vitamin deficiency. Who knows.

All I know is that I’m just really looking forward to getting answers about my health and feeling better from the inside, out. I’m looking forward to feeling better than maybe I ever have in my entire life. You know, I think I may have gotten so used to feeling a certain way that I don’t know what it truly feels like to have my body functioning at it’s true, optimal health. This is all speculation of course, because I have nothing to compare how I feel now other than to how I have felt in the past. I’ve had some of these symptoms for at least 7-10 years, from what I can remember (the chronic skin rash, the depression, fatigue, poor circulation, cravings, and the poor concentration). But most of these symptoms subsided for about a year to a year and a half when I first got started with Beachbody as a customer (eating 6 clean meals a day, drinking Shakeology daily, and working out at least once a day, 6 days a week).

I equate this to going through your life not being able to see clearly and then finally getting glasses for the first time. I have pretty bad eyesight and can’t drive or even walk around the house without glasses or contact lenses. When I was a child, I had no idea how bad my eyesight was compared to what it was supposed to be, because I had nothing to compare it to. It’s just how I always saw everything in the world, and it was my “normal” — what I had gotten used to living with. Up until I was in 3rd grade, I always had a hard time reading the chalkboard. I started to notice that I couldn’t see as well as others when I would always have to copy off of other student’s papers instead of directly from the chalkboard. One day, my teacher noticed I was doing this and told my parents I probably needed glasses. So my mom took me to get my eyes checked and I got fitted with my first pair of glasses and contacts. I remember walking out of that optometrist office, seeing the world clearly with 20/20 vision for the first time in my life, and I was so amazed that I could actually see leaves on the trees, and people’s facial features from far away. It sounds crazy, but I had gotten used to going through life this way, where people’s faces were blurry til I got a few feet away from them, and trees were just big green blobs, not a collection of leaves. I was simply AMAZED at the crispness and details I could see with my eyes. I have a feeling that that’s how it’s going to feel when I get healed from the inside out, and am at 100% optimal health. I think I will be amazed at how great I FEEL, how great my body performs, and how well my brain functions.

While I am excited at the prospect of feeling better than I ever have before, I am also slightly nervous to find out what exactly is going on and how bad it is. I feel that I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and discomfort, and have tolerated and lived with these symptoms for much longer than I should have. This is coming from a girl who shattered her tibial plateau (part of the head of the tibia, which makes up part of the knee joint) by falling off a bicycle, and I so strongly refused to believe that it was broken that I refused to go to the emergency room right away (I thought it was just a sprain — Hah!).  So, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I go through all of the testing and wait to hear back about the results. I’m not sure how long it will all take, but I will be keeping you posted with any updates I have.

Here is a video I made a few weeks ago to go along with this blog post. In it, I go into more detail about my history with these symptoms and how I’ve been feeling and how all of that has affected my quality of life. If you can relate and have been through anything like this before, or if you are struggling with any of the same things, please feel free to reach out to me or comment below. I would love to hear from you.

 

Part 1

 

Part 2

Yours in Health,

Liz

Chocolate Almond Ginger Shake

 

I just came up with the most delectable Shakeology recipe, and I have to share it with you! I’ll try to take a better picture of it next time :)

 

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1 scoop or packet of Chocolate Shakeology (vegan or whey. I used vegan)

A handful of raw almonds

A 1-2 inch piece of raw ginger

8oz of water

1-2 handfuls of ice

 

1. Add water, ginger and almonds to a high-speed blender such as a VitaMix or BlendTec.

2. Blend on high until completely liquified. Taste your ginger-almond milk and adjust to desired “spicyness” by adding more water/almonds or ginger.

3. Add Shakeology and ice and blend again on high. Serve in a pretty glass.

Tip: if you want a smoother shake and don’t want the grainy texture from the almonds, put the ginger-almond milk through a sieve after step 2, before adding the Shakeology and ice.

 

ENJOY!