Thursday, May 25, 2017

Unconventional Wisdom

My Toastmasters Speech from Today

What we eat affects our state of well being

I'm not sure if you've heard the term "Hangry" it's a tongue in cheek term for the feeling of being hungry and how that makes people feel angry at the same time. This is a simple example of how food, or lack thereof affects how we feel emotionally and mentally.

For many years, I struggled to live my daily life, my world was a dark place. It was hard to concentrate, hard to wake up in the morning, hard to face the world. My stomach hurt all the time and I didn't know why.

I've learned that food can affect us at a deep level and it's only rarely that we realize it.

We all have prevailing ideas about what eating healthy is, conventional wisdom

In our culture, we are encouraged to stay trim, fit is the new skinny, avoid fat yet eat healthy fat, go low carb. Eat whole wheat, especially wheat bran it keeps you regular. Soy is good for your heart health. Eat a spectrum of food of differing color it's healthy.

Sometimes conventional wisdom is wrong

I learned a difficult lesson about 10 years ago, and that was that nature has a way of balancing us out when we try to control it.

I felt that I was overweight, I was about the same weight that I am now, maybe a 5 - 10 pounds more. I decided that I needed to take control, so I joined Weight Watchers.

At first it seemed like a miracle, I followed the program strictly and obsessively and I was losing weight.

If I felt lightheaded I drank more water, I was obsessed with food but I didn't realize how bad the obsession was. I found tricky ways to make the foods I craved cost me less points and started to eat bran muffins to fill me up and something called TVP or Textured Vegetable Protein which is a product made from soy to replace meat. Who needs meat anyway, it's cruel that we kill animals so that we can survive.

Well I got to a point where I could feel no emotion, the medical term is "Anhedonia." I felt no pleasure at achieving my goal weight of 120 lbs, I looked in the mirror and still felt fat. I didn't feel sadness either. I felt empty.

Eventually I went into a tailspin, at one point I was too weak to lift my baby daughter and my brain felt dry, I couldn't speak my mind. Yet I was still obsessed with following the WW program.

Then something odd happened. I added walnuts to my cereal. Somehow that little bit of fat triggered an intense feeling of well-being and happiness. That sparked a desire to figure out what I was doing wrong, I still felt confined by the WW program and tried to fit more fat into that model, eventually I had to let go.

That was the hardest thing

I let go of the conventional wisdom, I put ideas on trial and I tried out a lot of unconventional things.

It all came back to food

I found through trial and error that I do a lot better when I don't eat anything with gluten in it and through a very bizarre episode of an angry fit of rage I found out that milk triggers an emotional response for me (I feel anger, sadness and my ears ring when I drink a lot of milk). I cut these things out and felt quite a bit better but still had lingering issues, I finally paid a visit to an allergist who identified some other allergens

Sometimes people feel bad when I tell them I can't eat certain things. It's hard for them to understand that knowing that I shouldn't eat these foods has been a big blessing. I no longer suffer from debilitating depression, anxiety, chest pain and illness. For the most part.

Conventional wisdom led me astray, it was unconventional thinking that led me to the truth.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Happy Moments

Tonight was another moment of serendipity for me. I showed up at my parents house just as my brother's home teachers showed up. They asked my brother about his production company and he points at me, so I jump in and tell them all about the studio and how things came together then mentioned that we don't have morning hours because I have work and my brother has school. So one of them volunteered to man the studio on Tuesday's and Thursday's haha, so we now have an 'employee'. He'll only come record people if they book during those times, and we won't have to pay him unless he records someone so that works perfectly. :)

Let me tell you I am pretty chuffed that someone wants to man the booth during the day for us haha

He's coming by tomorrow to learn the ropes so to speak. :D


Friday, May 19, 2017

Good Moments

So I feel sometimes that my blog is dominated by the hardships I face and it can get a bit tedious to read through my old posts seeing page after page of frustrations. So I'm making a conscious effort to record moments that were good. This afternoon I had a few good moments I want to jot down before the happy feelings get away from me.

I went out to lunch with Darrin, he has been a good friend to me for a long time. I don't have many long time good friends so I cherish the ones I have. We went out to lunch and had a good conversation, he gave me several good ideas for my little recording studio and he gave me an update about his sweet Dad. That made me pretty happy.

Then getting back from lunch I met 2 of my other long time friends on the stairs and got big hugs. That pushed me into endorphin overload and I'm now really, really happy. :) Plus it's Friday :)

I hope you are having a good day.


Saturday, May 6, 2017


I had a nice walk today, there's a pretty nice trail by a nearby park, with an incline hill at the beginning and a flat stretch for quite a long ways that winds through a cute little neighborhood with a regrettably busy street that runs through it.

Something that I was reflecting on during the walk and when I got home is that if the focus for exercise is on improving looks then it can become something that is a destructive, obsessive or harmful force in our lives. Acknowledgement that improving looks is a piece of the motivation for exercising with the inner motivation turned towards improving health and mobility is a more sustainable and fulfilling goal.

Motivation is something that can be misunderstood, for instance the motivation to go to school or to learn. When I was a little girl I thought that I needed to know everything in order to be acceptable to other people. There was a perfectionism in me that drove me on to keep doing things even when they became boring or difficult. A sort of self torture in a way. I disconnected from others because I was afraid to let go of the task that I was doing. Worried that I might not pick it up again if I stopped.

This might sound like discipline, in some ways it was and is, but I was irrational in my discipline doing things sometimes just for the sake of it rather than taking a balanced approach to them. This caused stress and disconnection with others.

I've grown out of some of those tendencies. Partially they came from the fact that my world was a dark place for a long time, that was a side effect of eating foods that were not good for me (gluten, dairy, soy, cashews, etc.) Not many people talk about the effects of food on the mind but I understand the correlation because I can see a difference between then and now.

Partially the stressful tendencies came from fear. I was fearful of not having my fathers approval. He would sometimes rail on my brother asking him if he had a brain, berating and belittling him for simple mistakes or carelessness. My brother even took the brunt of my mistakes and carelessness because even if he said he didn't do it my Dad didn't believe him. So I felt that if I was perfect, if everything was clean, if I knew everything, did everything right... then I would be acceptable and worthy of love.

It's a tendency that has been hard to break over the years even with my new found freedom from the utter darkness that surrounded me for a big part of my life.

Another thing that I was thinking about is that sometimes our present moment can seem to be all that there is. That the happiness we are feeling will continue on or the sadness will not leave. Those transitory feelings are an illusion.

Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" really speaks to me because it is a reminder that we need to be able to put things into perspective and that striving to be balanced will help us to be successful.

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 
    And treat those two impostors just the same

And that's all she wrote.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

The best of days!

Today started out pretty ordinary, morning routine, get the kids to school but then I got to work and stumbled across an inspirational speaker Kyle Cease and I really understood and appreciated his message. It opened my mind to the ways that I can let go of past regrets and open up to all of the possibilities that are around me.

Then I had the honor of attending Toast Masters and being the Timer. I was able to get up and speak during table topics and I didn't completely lose my train of thought nor sound like an idiot, always a bonus.

I felt so great that I was walking on rarefied air and everyone seemed to notice that.

Then one of the most exciting things happened, I got to go home and earn $200 bucks from a client who came over to record a demo in our booth. An actual, voice over booth client! :D

He came in and there was no hesitation about our location, our set-up or anything! A benefit to the condo that I moved into at the beginning of the year is that it is right off of State Street. Now that might not seem like a benefit because we have a noisy street to put up with, but for a business it is a prime location!

So now I am looking at the possibility of being able to work from home, it's a part time opportunity at the moment but it definitely has potential to turn into a full time career!

Exciting times!