I’ve been a bit of a fitness freak for the last four or five years, but it wasn’t until I got injured and couldn’t work out for an extended period of time (going on 10 weeks now!) that I really started studying my health from more of a holistic standpoint. And throughout this journey, I’ve been getting more into wellness and healthy living by the day! It’s hard for me to put into words just how transformative the last ten weeks have been, but this has easily been one of the most eye-opening experiences of my adult years. I’m working on quite a few posts that both directly and indirectly stem from my injury, so be on the lookout for a lot more health and wellness-related content over the next month or two.
But I want to start with the topic of weight loss, just to show how impactful this can be! I didn’t mean for it to happen, but somehow I lost weight when I stopped working out. If you’re as mind fucked by that as I was (and still kind of am), let’s dig in a little bit.
When I found out I had a stress fracture, I was put in a walking boot and was essentially put on house arrest. If I had to walk more than a block, I was supposed to take a cab. No working out of any sort and I was supposed to limit my standing, too. My doctor wasn’t sure how long of a process this was going to be (he told me 2-12 weeks) because my fracture wasn’t showing up on x-rays yet. From my understanding, it takes a few weeks for new bone matter to show up on an x-ray because of it’s low density. I had gotten into a podiatrist within a few days of having escalated pain, so I was under the impression I’d caught it early. In my mind, I thought I’d be posted up on the couch for 2-4 weeks and could then resume my very active lifestyle.
The mental hurdle was by far the hardest to get over. Those first few weeks were ROUGH. Workouts have always been my way to deal with stress and anxiety. Workouts were my me-time and my time to unwind, and since I work from home, classes were my way of getting out of the house everyday, too. Needless to say, there were quite a few weeks where I was having a really hard time. I couldn’t sleep, I was having the worst anxiety I’ve had in years, and among all of the real-life shit I was going through simultaneously (when it rains, it pours!), I was pretty stressed about gaining weight during this little hiatus.
We all know that muscle weighs more than fat, so at first, I was attributing any signs of looking smaller in the mirror to muscle atrophy. But when I realized I might actually be losing weight… I started to pay attention. During the first two weeks, I was pretty strict with my eating and drinking. I wasn’t drinking alcohol at all, I completely cut it out for two full weeks. (more on that below!) I started my day with Bulletproof Coffee. For lunch, I was making sure to get my nutrients through smoothies jam-packed with fruits, veggies, and protein powder. I was chugging water all day long. And for dinner, I was making a healthy meal at home with roasted or steamed veggies and a lean protein like turkey meatballs, tuna, or salmon. (And I’ve learned to eat dinner earlier at home, I really think this makes a difference!) If I absolutely needed a snack during the day, a KIND bar (love the crunch!) or an RX bar (super filling!) would usually do the trick. Boring? You betcha! But it worked. I finally learned to control my eating habits! I stopped with the eating because I’m bored, I stopped with the emotional eating, and I stopped justifying unhealthy food because I had worked out that day. After a few weeks, I let myself go back to more of a balanced diet… Eating bread, pasta, or pizza in moderation… Having sweets here and there… etc. If I have a craving for something, I’m going to act on it. But I really let go of a lot of the unhealthy cravings! Sure, I have my cheat meals here and there, but then I’m happy to get back on track. Fueling my body with the right types of foods has been so essential! Don’t get me wrong, I cannot effing wait to start working out. But I feel the best I ever have health-wise, which is pretty mind-blowing considering I used to work out at least once a day! (And guys… I haven’t gotten sick since 2016.)
On to alcohol… When I realized this was going to be a longer journey than I thought, I finally had to give up my whole not-drinking-when-I-can’t-burn-off-the-empty-calories thing. I was going pretty stir crazy sitting at home… I’m not really one that can go out without drinking, but kuddos to you if you are! When I was at my breaking point with cabin fever, I know a needed a night out. I was self-concious about wearing the boot out of the house, especially out to bars, but I just kind of got used to it after a time or two. It was actually a pretty good conversation starter when someone noticed, haha! Granted, I had to *sit* the whole time I was out, so we had to be pretty calculated about the bars we went to, and I usually ended up heading home on the earlier end of the night. I wasn’t crazy strict, but I tried to be really mindful about my alcohol choices… My go-to drink is a vodka water with two lemons… Low-cal and hydrating at the same time! I love a good beer from time-to-time, but I’ve completely cut beer out for the time being. You’re probably thinking about wine… Same! I don’t drink white wine (I think I hit my lifetime quota on white wine in like 2014, haven’t been able to drink it since.) and I let myself order red wine when I’m out to dinner! Thank goodness this didn’t happen during rosé season, that’s all I have to say. And while I was letting myself drink when I was out, I was absolutely *not* drinking at home. I’m still not, actually! It’s a shitload of added extra calories per week that I don’t need, especially when I’m not able to exercise. Dinner is just as satisfying with a glass of water… or La Croix if I’m feelin’ crazy. 😉
Sleep. With all of the crazy changes that have happened in the last six months (the injury, family stuff, personal stuff), getting good sleep has been really challenging. But I commit to it! Sometimes I have early shoots or appointments or meetings, but I do my best to get around 7 hours of sleep a night. It doesn’t always happen, but I try to get back on track if I get a poor night of sleep, rather than let it turn into a bad habit of staying up late, etc. I listen to my body and let myself sleep in an extra hour if I need it. I love my job, but my health is more important than my emails. Like I mentioned above, I haven’t gotten sick in MONTHS. If you know me, I used to get sick like once a week. I was constantly battling something from October – May… every year! I think sleep has played a major role in this. I don’t fall right asleep, and I don’t sleep like a baby. Every night is different, but I try to do ALL OF THE THINGS to prep myself for a good slumber. I keep my phone on Do Not Disturb at night… I sleep with it in another room… I try to shut down the computer (and turn off any music) an hour or two before bed… I usually take a bath at night… I stretch before bed… I read and journal to try to relax my mind before I turn the lights out… Melatonin gummies are my best friend… and some nights, you’ve just gotta bring in the big guns. Looking at you, ZZZQuil.
Sort of on the sleep front… Caffeine. I absolutely do not have coffee after 12pm during the week. I’ll sometimes make a matcha latte in the afternoon, but I don’t think it affects my sleep at night. Ever since I’ve been making my one cup of bulletproof coffee in the morning, I truly do have sustained energy throughout the day. And since I’m drinking way less caffeine that I used to, getting tired at night is a lot easier. I feel like I’m finally on a more “normal” schedule of laying down around midnight and getting up around 7:30.
Vitamins and Supplements… At the grand ol’ age of 27, I finally got my shit together when it comes to giving my body what it needs. To be totally honest, this started out as a quest to heal my fractured bone. I was researching bone supplements like it was my job and taking them ALL. But as I got to researching vitamins, I learned so much and starting implementing even more into my daily routine. I have SO MANY more things to share on this, but I’m going to save them for posts of their own! All of the vitamins I’ve been taking and why, all of the natural supplements I’ve been adding to my smoothies, etc. (PS: Have you read how Lo Bosworth curbed her anxiety with vitamins and supplements? I can’t wait to share more on this!)
Bottom line… It finally clicked that health and wellness truly starts from the inside out! I realized first hand that you simply cannot out-train a bad diet. I’d been working out like a crazy person for years, wondering why I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted to be seeing. Healthy living starts with what you put into your body. Even without exercise (not that I recommend that!), it’s possible to start looking and feeling better just by being mindful of these everyday choices!
Here are some of the posts I have slotted for this series over the next few months…
Mindfulness, Smoothie Recipes, Daily Vitamins & Supplements, Meditation, Adaptogens, Superfoods & Elixirs, Managing Stress, Books for Personal Growth, Why I Don’t Weigh Myself, Recovery is Just as Important as Working Out, Finding Joy, Relaxation & Unwinding, Exercises and Stretches to Prevent Injuries, Distractions… Both Bad & Good, My Go-To (healthy!) Sweet Treats, Healthy Relationships, and so much more.
I envision Wednesdays being our day where we can get a little weird and get off-subject from our usual topics of style, beauty, shopping, and travel. We can talk about health topics and concerns, discuss wellness trends (no matter how ‘out there’ they are!), and things that are just a little bit more real. When I launched Friday Finds the first week of 2017, it honestly became the post I looked forward to working on the most each week, which kind of surprised me. I liked that I could essentially share anything and everything that I found interesting, no matter the topic. Over the last six or seven years, my blog content has shifted a bit as I’ve grown up and my interests have evolved. So I hope you’re just as into wellness as I am!
As rudimentary as it sounds, I realized that I’m pretty passionate about finding new things and sharing them with others! Whether that’s as frivolous as finding the perfect striped sweater or the best eye-cream to fight your dark circles, I love the thrill of the hunt. I’m always trying to track down new and noteworthy bars, restaurants, fitness classes, etc. When I’m traveling, I love getting lost and simply exploring, without a plan in mind. (A guy I used to date so eloquently nicknamed me Dora… Yes, after “the Explorer.”) And on the more substantial side, I have a deep interest in personal growth and discovering new ways of thinking, living, etc.
Here’s where I turn it over to you… What do you want to see from this new series? Anything you aren’t interested in seeing? What questions do you have? I’m obviously not an expert in any of these fields, but just as I share my take on beauty, style, and travel, I want to share what I’ve been learning and practicing on the health & wellness front because it’s been so impactful in my day-to-day life! Blog content won’t be changing that much… I’ll still try to post a “regular” post on Wednesdays, too. I simply foresee this series being an added little bonus each week to encourage us all to keep living our best lives!
Can’t wait to hear what you think! xo
PS: Wellness Wednesday is literally the most basic name of all time, but we’ve already got Friday Finds and I think it help me stay on track with content, and hopefully helps with your expectations of content, too. Any other name suggestions are encouraged. 😉