Bodies are Weird and Stress is Dumb

Okay. I’m just going to say it.

In the past four months, I’ve gained 10 pounds.

Those 10 pounds that I worked to lose a year ago.

I’ve gained 10 pounds and my body doesn’t feel like my own anymore.

Do I think that I am worth less as a human because my body has changed? No. Do I feel that others are better than me because their bodies look different? Not really. Am I frustrated that stress has taken over my life and my cortisol levels have spiked and inflammation is normal? Yes. Very much so.

My last post (like, two months ago?) touched a little bit on my headspace in our new home. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but honestly, not much has improved in that capacity. In fact, things got really seriously REAL before they started to slowly improve. I’m gonna vaguebook hard here, because most of the details aren’t truly mine to share, but the redacted version is that we’ve been on a rollercoaster and dealing with some things we totally weren’t expecting or prepared for. Things are getting better, but as with most things, it’s a slow process with slow progress.

Consequently, my routine has been anything but routine. My workout schedule has been all over the place and lower in intensity, I’ve been traveling, and my diet has been… meh. Not bad, but not consistent. The slow march up the scale has been frustrating, disheartening, and really demotivating.

I spent most of last year dialing in my nutrition and training and my body felt amazing. I felt fit and strong and confident – but mostly I felt comfortable in my own skin. Since the cascade of stress started, it’s felt like my body is foreign, which is super uncomfortable and unsettling. My fitness has suffered, my confidence is low, and it’s harder than ever to find motivation to fix any of these problems.

Psychology Today explains the relationship between stress and weight gain pretty well, primarily discussing hormonal changes the body experiences when in a stressful situation:

When your brain detects the presence of a threat, it triggers the release of a cascade of chemicals, including adrenaline, CRH, and cortisol. Your brain and body prepare to handle the threat by making you feel alert, ready for action and able to withstand an injury. In the short-term, adrenaline helps you feel less hungry as your blood flows away from the internal organs and to your large muscles to prepare for “fight or flight.” However, once the effects of adrenaline wear off, cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” hangs around and starts signaling the body to replenish your food supply. Fighting off wild animals, like our ancestors did, used up a lot of energy, so their bodies needed more stores of fat and glucose. Today’s human, who sits on the couch worrying about how to pay the bill or works long hours at the computer to make the deadline, does not work off much energy at all dealing with the stressor! Unfortunately, we are stuck with a neuroendocrine system that didn’t get the update, so your brain is still going to tell you to reach for that plate of cookies anyway.

I’m not necessarily reaching for cookies all the time, but I do let the cortisol rule my rational instincts.

My relationship with my body is complicated (what woman’s isn’t?). Thankfully, my relationship with food is still okay. Even if I’m frustrated with my nutrition, I know that a big part of why my body doesn’t feel great is because I haven’t been consistent with the plan I was following for success. I don’t binge on junk food, but I do skip meals and traveling has definitely funked up my routine a whole lot. I just haven’t felt motivated enough to buckle down and plan for it appropriately. Apathy, man, it’s kind of a bitch.

When most of your energy and focus is spent on someone else, self-care is easy to talk about and hard to do. It’s complicated, too, because there’s an insane amount of latent guilt that goes along with it. I feel guilty about taking time and focus away from my partner when engage in anything related to self-care, and I know my partner feels guilty, too, as he doesn’t want to take me away from things that I love or want to do.

Guilt abounds – and while neither of us should be feeling it, it’s just one of those things for which we have to continue working on and giving each other (and ourselves) grace.

As my 30th birthday is right around the corner, and things on the homefront seem to be (finally) looking up, I’m ready to shake off this funk and get back to being myself. I’m sleeping better, I know what my nutrition should look like (balanced, not restrictive, fuel for my body and my fitness), and I have a gym community that I feel good about. No pity parties for me – I’m ready to address my stress in healthy ways and work on feeling comfortable in my body again.

My body is good and strong and capable. I am not my stress.

I. Am. Not. My. Stress.

Scoot’s Most Popular Posts

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe Scoot A Doot has been going strong for six years. It’s fun to take a look back over all our posts and remember the race destination or recipe that inspired us to share a post with you. It’s also fun to take a look at the stats and see which ones are the most popular over time. Today, I thought I’d share a look at our most popular posts. The top five posts on our blog cover everything from food to costumes to inspiring a positive body image in our kids.

The Color Run vs. The Color Vibe

Far and away our most popular ever post is retired Chick Victoria’s comparison of the Color Run and the Color Vibe races. When theme races were in their heyday, everyone wanted to know which of these two packed the biggest colorful punch.  Vic dishes on her experiences at both, and reading this brought back memories of my own Color Run. We all need a little nostalgia sometimes.

Costume Tutorial – Running Skirt with Pocket Waistband

When Meridith and I ran the BOLDERBoulder together in 2015, we knew we needed special costumes befitting the 3rd largest road race in America. Going with the whole rock theme, we settled on Wilma and Betty from the Flintstones. I decided it was the perfect chance to try making a running skirt with a pocket, and an even better opportunity to document the whole process so you can make one, too.

Ready for a nap. And beer. Maybe beer, then nap.

Product Review: Buff Butter

Retired Chick Bec was a nut butter nut, and got everyone excited to try Buff Butter. The company is  now called Buff Bake, and Bec gushed over three of the four flavors she tried. To quote her, “If you haven’t heard of Buff Bake’s butters, it is a line of high quality nut butters with added whey protein. Depending on the flavor, you’ll also see things like hemp, chia and flax seeds and organic coconut palm sugar. And, it comes in awesome flavors like Snickerdoodle Almond Butter and Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter, just to name a couple.”

 

Road Tested: Sweaty Bands

once upon a time, Meridith had a MAJOR problem with headbands. Her thick goregous hair (trust me, I’ve braided it) could not be contained by just any headband. She gave Sweaty Bands a run way back in 2013 and she was a big fan. I later bought one at a RunDisney expo and loved mine, too.  Skeptical? See for yourself in Mer’s review!

The Most Important Thing About Me

One of my favorite posts is from retired Chick Cam, and some insight she gained into the mind of her then eight year old daughter. If you’re a parent, especially of girls, this post will speak to you. Even if you aren’t a mom, you’ll remember being easily manipulated by society’s expectations of what’s healthy and beautiful. It’s a reminder to jump off that bandwagon.

We are the champions!

 

With nearly one thousand posts on the site, there’s quite the archive to browse through. I hope you find a few more things that speak to you. Be well, friends!

 

Food for Fuel and Pleasure

Six months of nutrition coaching ended recently and what I learned was not what I expected at all. I thought sharing it would be a good thing to do because my experience goes a long way to show how every body is different. Although I didn’t get the end result I expected, it was worth all the effort and expense. Here are the big takeaways.

I learned what my body needs to feel satisfied, and it wasn’t what I expected.

I learned to substitute some of my favorite things for healthier versions. I grew to love sweet potato fries instead of french fries. And gluten free pumpkin spice scones are in constant rotation now. After months of not eating gluten or white sugar, my sweet cravings can be satisfied with good quality dark chocolate. Once my taste buds adjusted to a different palate, it was whole new world of taste. Berries never tasted so sweet! I learned to listen to what my body was telling me to eat, too. When I was feeling a little anemic, I’d crave foods high in iron. I learned to listen to what my body was telling me it needed.

I learned that because of how my body is, it’s kind of a choice between ideal blood sugar levels and feeling hungry all the time

This was the biggest surprise. The learning of this was not pleasant. There was one week that I did a very strict paleo diet and in that week I lost seven pounds (I’d already lost nine by that point) and I was hungry the entire week. Of course, my blood sugar numbers were perfect during that time. The desire to not be hangry is preferable to having excellent blood sugars. At least, if I want to remain married and have friends.

I learned how to achieve and happy medium between food for fuel and food for pleasure.

Most days are far from perfect. I’ve rolled back the program because I understand now that a strict paleo diet is not sustainable for me for the long-term. It was the process of food journaling really that helped me understand my cravings and where they come from. My nutritionist taught me some coping strategies which are incredibly helpful. Learning to reward myself with other things instead of food treats, things like self care time and pampering, taught me a much healthier way to deal with my emotional eating.

 

Going on this six month journey was an invaluable thing for me to learn more about my blood sugar levels.The interacction between food and all other aspects of our lives is incredible. I feel more armed than ever to make the best food choices for me!

Recipe Box – Thanksgiving Bone Broth

Did you save the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving promising yourself you’d be all Food Network-y and do something with it? Maybe you thought you’d make stock, or even try jumping on the bone broth bandwagon if you haven’t already. Guess what?! ME TOO!  But why bone broth, specifically? Bone broth is special because the process of making it extracts the collagen in the carcass and collagen helps to heal all kinds of your parts. Parts like your intestines and joints, and it makes a great, easy breakfast, especially on cold winter mornings.

I’ve been on this wagon for a few months and I’ve gotten a bit bored with my standard recipe. I was super excited to have a turkey carcass to use and to mix it up with some fresh herbs. The carcass was so big (we had a 17.75 pound bird) that it made two batches of bone broth. Don’t forget the apple cider vinegar. The vinegar is the magic ingredient that pulls all the good stuff from the bones.

Reuse glass bottles for the perfect fast breakfast or recovery drink. Reheat for 2 minutes and BOOM!

I do use a six quart Instant Pot when I make bone broth because the stove top or Crock Pot method takes twelve hours for poultry based bone broth. The long cooking time is needed to extract all the collagen, and having a gas stove burner on for twelve hours makes me nervous. Instant Pot to the rescue! This method only takes two hours.  If you’re using the stove top or a Crock Pot, follow all assembly instructions and cook for twelve hours minimum.

Thanksgiving Bone Broth

  • Turkey carcass, cut into pieces so it will fit in your pot
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Smashed
  • Sage, Fresh
  • Thyme, Fresh
  • 1/2 Onion including skin
  • 3 Large Carrots cut to fit in pot
  • 2 Stalks of Celery cut to fit in pot
  • Mushrooms, handful
  • 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water

Add carcass to pot first, then add all other ingredients, adding the apple cider vinegar last. If using an Instant Pot, fill it with water to the max fill line. Lock the lid in place, select “Pressure Cook” and , and set the timer for 2 hours.

If using a pot or Crock Pot, leave two inches of water below top of pot and watch pot throughout cooking, you may need to add water as it evaporates. Cook for twelve hours minimum.

After your broth is done, you’ll need to strain it. All you want is the liquid. Once my Instant Pot is cool enough to handle, I nest a colander in a metal mixing bowl, and use a slotted spatula to remove the large bits of bones, veg, and meat from the pot. Once I’ve gotten most of that removed, I nest a fine sieve inside another large bowl, then pour the broth through the sieve to strain the broth of smaller bits. The next step is to pour the strained broth into a fat separator. If you don’t have one of those, you can spoon off the fat sitting on top of the broth once it separates. With my separator, I can pour off the fat.  I toss the bones and veg in the trash and add whatever is at the bottom of that bowl to the strained broth. Then, I pour my broth into 12 oz mason jars. (There is a lot of pouring going on).

This turkey version is tasty, and I’ll be sure to put the carcasses from my husband’s meat smoking experiments into future recipes. Bone broth has become a routine part of my mornings. I appreciate its unassuming gentleness and subtle healing properties.

On Wednesdays We Do Wellness

Every Wednesday, I tag up with my nutritionist, Dr. Kyle. I’m at the midway point in her six-month wellness program and now is a great time to check in and share what’s working, and what’s been challenging.

The hardest thing so far is a lack of variety in my diet. I’ve always been on the picky side of eating, and veggies were not my favorite things. That’s all still true. If I eat hummus and carrots again for lunch I. Will. Scream. The solution here is to experiment more with new recipes. I admit I’m not a great cook so this one scares me a bit, but onward I must go.

Cutting out sweets has also been hard, but has gotten easier over time. Instead of craving the triple chocolate layer cake, I’m going for pumpkin spice scones. I’ve swapped out ice cream for vanilla honey Greek yogurt. Things like cheesecake and Starbucks drinks are WAY too sweet and I can’t eat them anymore. Sadly, my sweet tooth is still not satisfied and temptation is hard to fight. My solution here is to try my hand at paleo baking and treat-making. Wish me luck!

Part of the Wellness journey with Dr. Kyle is to learn how to do self-care right. Making time for myself has become a priority instead of a luxury. When I make time for self-care, I find I don’t need or crave the bad foods, like baked goods and candy, as much. I’m being fulfilled in other ways, whether that’s reading a book for fun, painting my nails, or taking a bubble bath, my soul is getting time to rejuvenate as opposed to my seeking refuge in sweets only to still feel depleted of energy. I’m loving this new perspective.

This might be my favorite place in my new house.

The best thing by far about this whole journey is the fact that I’ve lost 7 pounds. Once I cut refined sugar and gluten almost completely from my diet, the pounds fell away. My clothes are fitting better, and I’m able to squeeze into pants I wasn’t able to before. It feels great!

The goal with starting this journey was to learn how to eat properly to avoid diabetes. My blood sugar levels were high and I really don’t want diabetes. Since I’ve changed my diet, my sugars have dropped from consistently between 130 – 150 to 95 – 115. While I’m not at my target of 60-90, I’m getting closer and that is a huge win.

I’ve learned tht it’s not an all or ohiotng game, either. I’m shooitng for 80/20 where 20% of my calorie intake a week is sugar and complex carbs. While it seems like a big number on the healthy side, I’m learning it’s totally doable!

What’s your favorite self-care activity? DO you have any paleo recipes for me? Extra credit if they are Instant Pot friendly!

You Really Should (read) “Eat Dirt”

I’m back today sharing more stuff from my nutritionist, Dr. Kyle, who is amazing. A few weeks back, she recommended I read a book called “Eat Dirt” by Dr. Josh Axe. I don’t have a lot of time for reading actual paper books, but I was able to download an audio version on Hoopla for free. I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s shifting my whole perspective on food!

 

I know, leaky gut is super gross sounding. It wasn’t a term I’d heard before either. I remembered my chiropractor recently told me he suspected I had this condition and prescribed me supplements or it. After learning more about the the symptoms, I quickly realized that he was likely correct. If you don’t know what it is, let me *try* to summarize in a sentence: leaky gut is a condition of the small intestine where nasty food molecules (sugar, fat, gluten, additives, chemicals) escape the intestine because the  lining is weak, or “leaking”. I know. Gross. But Dr. Axe explains how this can contribute all kinds of diseases including diabetes, MS, heart disease and cancer. It was a wake up call for sure!

Things I’m giving up. ;’-(.

Now, I understand WHY sugar and gluten are bad. I mean, we know at some level these things aren’t great for us, but unless you’re a doctor or nutritionist, most of us don’t understand the negative impacts of these foods at a cellular level. Dr. Axe’s explanations made sense, but I didn’t feel judged or preached at as I listened. Plus, his voice is kinda dreamy, so that helps a lot.

What surprised me the most is how this book is making me gross out on things I used to love. Just knowing what this stuff does to my body is making me not want to eat it. When I do indulge, the knowledge of what I’m doing to myself seeps in, and makes me want that donut even less next time.

I learned that sugar and gluten actually play mind tricks with you and control your emotions around food as well as cravings. I don’t like being controlled by things outside of my…control. This was the key to when I quit smoking, too. I knew that all the extra chemicals tobacco companies add to their product are intended to make me more  addicted. Frankly, that pissed me off! No one controls me! Understanding this is how sugar and gluten control me has made me want to pass on things like pizza, bread, and ice cream. Although I do miss ice cream.

Things I’m trying to eat more of.

Some of it was a little woo-woo for me, but it still made some sense, and seriously can’t hurt me. With Dr. Kyle’s guidance and a new focus on a paleo diet, I’m already feeling so many benefits, most of which are mental. I found my scale while I was unpacking this weekend, and was happy to see I’d lost four pounds by just altering my diet to reduce sugar, carbs, and gluten. I can’t wait to share more recipes over the next few months. Let me see your favorites, too!

 

Recipe Box – Paleo Chicken & Mushroom Skillet

Since seeing a nutritionist, I’ve been told to start eating a Paleo diet. While giving up carbs and sugar is the hardest thing I’ve ever quit aside from smoking,  it has forced me to expand my palette which is a great thing.  I’m eating things I never did before! Things like English cucumbers, raw red peppers, and mushrooms. .  Also, the only real method of cooking I have available to me at the moment is my electric skillet. Therefore, meals must be two things: paleo, and able to cook in one pan. So when I stumbled across this recipe for Paleo Chicken and Mushroom Skillet, I was stoked to try it.  We paired it with a Seeds of Change Brown Rice & Quinoa packet, and a fresh, sliced cucumber. We yum-yummed the shiz out of this dish! My husband and I loved it.

 

Photo credit goes to I Breathe, I’m Hungry as I completely forgot to snap photos while I was cooking. Totally typical of me.

 

This recipe comes from the food blog I Breathe, I’m Hungry which offers low carb, keto, paleo, and gluten-free recipes.  I just discovered this blog, but if this recipe is any indication of the yumminess of her cuisine, I’ll be back for sure!

3 Things I Learned From Food Journaling

What is food journaling? Of course, it’s logging what you eat each day, but I learned recently that it’s so much more than that. Since starting a food journal under the direction of a nutritionist, I’ve learned so much about myself and my psychology around food. Today, I want to share with you why food journaling is so helpful. You might have wondered if you should do it and what makes it a useful tool on the path to a healthy lifestyle.  Here’s what I’ve learned.

Checking in with my Nutritionist, Dr. Kyle, at Alpine Fit

It’s not about the food as much as it is your feelings about food. Not only do I track what I eat, I track my cravings, too. Tracking when I crave sweet things, salty things, crunchy things–basically any craving–gave me insights into what was really triggering the craving. Was it PMS? Sometimes. Was it more about external factors that influence poor food choices? Absolutely! For example the other day, it was as cold as the South Pole in my office because it’s August and office air conditioning.  You know of what I speak. Around the time I noticed the chill, I wanted a cup of tea. Then I asked myself what is it my body needs right now? It actually wasn’t the tea itself, I just wanted to be warm. Previously, I would have just made a cup of tea with 2 tsp of sugar and not given it a thought. Being aware and asking myself to take a deeper look at the craving helped me identify the ingrained food response that doesn’t serve my health goals. Instead of a cup of tea, I put on a sweater. Craving gone!

One pot meals are my secret lover.

Journaling helped me identify destructive food behaviors so I could change them. My Nutritionist is urging me to be more mindful when I eat, to take time to savor and enjoy, to be grateful for and to take pleasure in eating. While food journaling one day, I had a major epiphany about why it’s so hard for me to be mindful when I eat. It goes back to a traumatic experience with my abusive dad when I was about four years old. He thought I was eating too slow, and forced me to get my next bite of food ready on my fork before I’d swallowed what I was chewing. There was yelling and screaming involved, and it was so strongly ingrained in me to shovel food in my mouth as fast as possible that the idea of “mindful eating” was completely foreign to me. Having this realization has allowed me to be aware of the behavior and understand where it originated. That space for recognition helps me allow myself the time to correct myself and slow down  without feeling guilty.

Journaling Helped me recognize when I actually need chocolate versus when I really just need time for selfcare. I’m an introvert, which is becoming a more accepted thing these days. (BIG YAY!!) I’ve always known I needed time alone to refill my cup so I can pour out for others. If I don’t get that time, I get grumpy. Irritable. Easily annoyed. Basically…plain bitchy. But since I’ve been living in a 10 x 12 foot shack with my husband since January, alone time is nearly non-existent. So last week when I was really craving a slice of cheesecake or a brownie, I had another epiphany! I asked myself the golden question; what is it my body actually needs right now? The ah-ha moment was the realization that when I don’t get my alone time for selfcare, I substitute with sweets and carbs. The sugar gives me the endorphin rush to feel good and relax a little, something I would normally get from a nice bath. Instead of eating something I shouldn’t, my nutritionist redirected me to take a five-minute meditation break, do some breathing exercises, or go for a quick walk. I recognize now when I feel that craving coming on that what I really need is 5-10 minutes of selfcare to give my mind what it needs, not what my body *thinks* will help.

I’ve only been food journaling for a month, but I’m excited to keep it going and see what else I learn about myself. I’ts been a big eye-opener!

 

Have you ever journaled your food? What take-aways did you glean from the experience?

A Day in the Life: Kyle

Welcome to the Scootadoot Day in the Life Series!

I’m kicking things off this week – and while the day I chose to document (yesterday) wasn’t a typical day, it gives a pretty good idea of what I’m up to on a day-to-day basis. Read: I have a routine. And I’m boring. Lol.
This is something that happens every day – even weekends, I can’t sleep in… I’m a bad sleeper. I’m also habitually worried about wasting the day, so sleeping in is pretty difficult. I digress. Monday, work day, 5:45am alarm. Wakey wakey! Breakfast miiiiight be my favorite meal of the day, and since my breakfast has to meet certain macros, it’s easiest to give myself time to cook it every day. My go to? Egg white omelette with spinach and a slice of turkey bacon, alongside either a slice of toast or white cheddar rice cakes. Which are the best flavor. Don’t at me.

Also pictured, my required-to-function to-go mug of coffee. Every morning needs caffeine. Welcome to work! I usually roll in around 7am, which is the best because I have the coffee maker all to myself for at least an hour. I purposely sit with my back to my office door so that I can look out the window all day and see the sunshine. Also, the folks who live across the street from our office provide some very entertaining people watching. Like… bruh. Snacks! I’m still doing Renaissance Periodization (hence the breakfast macros), and my second meal of the day is my mid-morning snack. I love mixing blueberries and cinnamon into fat free greek yogurt. Not pictured? The whole green pepper I scarfed down before I took a picture. Oops. I have two cups of veggies with every meal. Typically, green peppers. I love them.Here’s the part of the day that goes off track a bit. Clay was in Florida this weekend visiting his family and his flight got in this morning, so I took a half day to go pick him up and spend some time together before the craziness of his next few weeks starts. These are our happy faces when we finally got home!We ran to the grocery store for what will probably be the first of at least three times this week and then when we got home, Clay wanted to play guitar, so I headed outside to the patio. Lately, whenever I’ve had time, I’ve made more of an effort to enjoy it. We’ve lived in our apartment for three years and I’ve not spent nearly enough time out here. Sitting out here has also helped me work through my reading list for the year. It’s sunny and quiet and there might be mosquitoes, but it’s a nice place to get away from my cat. I mean, relax.

I ended the day at my favorite place. Nearly every day, I head to Crossfit Kingstowne for a workout with my friends, and end up hanging around for a couple of hours, finishing my lifting and catching up with people.

This day’s workout was:

Rowing Intervals
5 sets:
0:20 ON (Choose a hard, but not ALL OUT pace, as you’ll have to hold it)
1:00 OFF
0:20 ON
0:40 OFF
0:20 ON
0:20 OFF
0:20 ON
*Rest 2:00 after each set
**Must hold that same pace for all 0:20 efforts
and then….
Strength
A) Deadlift. 4×10 (65%)
B) Bench Press. 4×10 (65%)
*Rest as needed between sets

A good little cardio day with some heavy lifting to start the week.

After the gym, I head home, make dinner (alll the carbs, praise), and hang out with the cat and the huz. Clay typically practices guitar, we watch some Netflix, and tryyyy to get to bed by 8:30 – 8:00 if we’re lucky. Sleep is still being made a priority and it helps so much with recovery from the gym. And my general ability to tolerate humans. Sleep is so necessary.

And that, my friends, is a day in my life. Nothing too crazy or exciting, but there is time for family, fitness, and food carved out every day. Because honestly, those are the most important things I’ve got going – and I’m definitely not made about it.