We Nipped THAT Injury In The Bud + I Freaking Love Chiro.

Sometimes I consider making my titles more eloquent like “The Importance of Injury Vigilance + The Benefits of Chiropractors”, but that sounds revoltingly arrogant and preachy and in my humble opinion, the more honest a title, the better.

liesMy feelings on click bait. 

I’ve had a very interesting few weeks when it comes to these muscles of mine.

1. About a month ago, I (think I?) tore my glute. It sure felt like it, I couldn’t put weight on it and the pain was horrific. But it also went away after a couple of days rest and foam rolling, so I’m not 100% sure.

2. A week later, I developed intense upper hamstring pain. Every stride hurt, and being paranoid as I am these days, I took a week off running. The pain disappeared.

3. The pain returned the day of a tempo run, but it was more sore than actual pain, so I decided to go through with the tempo. Weirdly enough, they felt better immediately after running than before, and the soreness was gone the next day!

Thoughts from my chiropractor:

  • I did in fact, at least partially, tear my glute.
  • During the recovery process, it stopped firing, putting extra stress on my hamstrings and hips.
  • Hamstring pain and soreness.

$45 dollars, 30 minutes of intense(ly painful) active release treatment and 2 physio exercises later, all is well in the world again. I’m to do them before every run / workout to ensure that my glutes are firing. Honestly, I was expecting her to tell me that I have high hamstring tendinopathy or some other activity-ending disaster claimed by Google.

life-is-pain

Back to chiro. I’M A FAN. I know that there are a lot of differing opinions on it, and many physicians prefer physiotherapy & rehab, but why not combine both? Physiotherapy will ensure muscle strength, balance and function, while physiotherapy helps to rid you of those nagging pains, knots and imbalances.

^ Plus lots of other things. I don’t have a professional background in either of these fields, this is just my experience from 10+ years of being the patient! 

When Megan was working out the knot in my hamstring, it was NOT pleasant. AT ALL. But it was a thousand times more effective than trying to hammer it with my foam roller / spiky ball and felt better instantly.

Morale of the story: Take severe and/or recurring pains to the experts, and leave Mr. Google out of it. Be open to new ideas. Pay Emma $8000/hour when she is a licensed physiotherapist for your treatment. (Okay you don’t technically have to do that last one but I personally think it is an excellent idea.)

Oh yeah! And happy Bastille Day! European History and the French Revolution will forever be the only subject I enjoyed out of twelve years of social studies.  YOU STORM THE BASTILLE GUYS, YOU GO FOR IT.

^ In all seriousness, for any of you wonderful French peeps out there, here’s to 226 years of you fighting for your independence. I will forever admire your country’s bravery, class and strength.

Chriro or physio? 

Are you struggling with an injury / almost injury? 

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On Finding Passion + Burnout: Life + Running

Oh hi there! You might not recognize me, seeing as it’s been a solid 2 weeks since I blogged and about 2 months since I was properly involved in the blogworld. As I get closer to my nineteenth birthday (ZOMG I’M SO OLD CAN I HAVE A QUARTER LIFE CRISIS YET?!), I’m noticing more and more that I’m looking for learning opportunities in every experience. This little blogging hiatus is no different. And it also just so happened to coincide with a running hiatus.

*cue dramatic gasp*

I KNOW. I just ran a huge PR in the half marathon, was totally fired up about running and training, and then…I stop running altogether for a week. Long story short: I took zero recovery time post-half, focused on nothing but running, and entirely burned myself out. It got to the point where I wasn’t even running fast, it was just slow slogs to “put the miles in” because I felt like I had to reach that magic number every week.

Yesterday capped off eight days of zero running, and my hiatus most definitely went out with a bang – I barely moved from my backside all. day. long. Honestly, I cannot remember a day where I just allowed myself to rest, recover, and do what I wanted! So instead of forcing myself to get it in gear and do life things / go to the gym / be a functional human, I curled up with my BFF Harry and took breaks to eat peanut butter and bake.

Yeah. It was a good one. And it reminded me that burnout is real. It doesn’t matter how passionate you think you are about something, or how much you think you are enjoying yourself, there is always the potential to push too far. And once you jump off that cliff, climbing back up is a different story.

I’m lucky to have avoided it with running, but I fell hard off the blogging bandwagon. I turned it into a chore, something that I “had” to do, and once I had that mindset everything I wanted to post about seemed pointless.

You don’t have a degree or any sort of certification, Emma. Your stupid musings about your stupid running are stupid and a waste of time. 

^ The things I said to myself every time I wanted to blog, hence why there was no blogging.

Welp, that’s all about to change, for two BIG reasons.

#1. RECOVERY. It’s not just for fitness, people. Our minds need it too.

#2. CERTIFICATION. IN. PROGRESS. On Monday, June 29, I was accepted into the Faculty of Kinesiology at UBC! I was rejected twice and wait listed once, so to say this was a huge surprise is the understatement of the century. But I am SO incredibly excited to announce that I am now pursuing my Bachelor of Kinesiology, CSEP training certification once I complete two years of study, and then a Master of Physiotherapy following graduation! Having a plan laid out is pretty sweet…especially when it leads right to where my heart lives. ❤

There’s the requisite obnoxious cheesiness in Emma’s blog posts. Moving on from that, I’M SO EXCITED TO BE BACK. YAY. HOORAY FOR PASSION.

What Happens When You Neglect Self-Care

And, we made it through the week!

fridayI’m just going to be straight-up honest here. This has been an absolute sufferfest of a week. My posts haven’t reflected it – the first three were written on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at a cafe, and yesterday’s was immediately upon waking before my computer science lab. Which basically ruined my day.

I have my computer science  midterm on Tuesday, and that alone has me nervous to the point of tears. Add to the fact that I have been quite literally been going going going nonstop from 6am-8pm every single day this week. I know that there are a ton of people that can handle even longer days in stride, but I am not one of them. I desperately need time for myself so that I can focus and be productive! What is the use in spending three hours at the library after class if you are too tired to even understand what you are studying?

no3

Some issues that can arise as a lack of self care; and a few things that I have been experiencing thanks to driving myself into the ground: 

  • Acne. And not a zit here or there – the random breakouts along my chin that are very clearly a result of skyrocketing / plummeting hormones. Can someone say CORTISOL?!
  • Intense sugar cravings. Again – this is not the typical “Man, I am so craving some ice cream right now!” It has literally been “Give me something/anything/everything NOW. Half a bag of granola? Cool! There’s only three cookies left so I might as well eat them all. I want oats in a jar tomorrow so that’s a good reason to eat all this peanut butter. ” I’m generally quite good about honouring my cravings so things like this don’t happen too often for me – so when they do I know something is up.

dark-chocolate-dreamsMissed ya darlin‘…sort of.

  • Stomach pain / lack of appetite. This indirectly causes the above. Yesterday, I felt physically nauseous and like my stomach was cramping all day – I wasn’t sick, I was stressed. So I definitely ate, but not as much as usual. And it was my rest day, so that should have meant I was hungrier than usual! (hooray for recovery) Instead I ate a snack-like dinner due to a still whacked-out appetite, and then the combination of voracious hunger / cravings began.
  • Lack of motivation. I’ve been burning myself out so much to the point where I just hand in assignments incomplete. I get so frustrated with myself that I just give up and say that I don’t care. In the moment I genuinely don’t – but getting 1/10 on a problem set is never a good feeling. And yes, that actually did happen. Did I mention yesterday was awesome?

sheldon-throwing-papers-gif

My intention is NOT to write a super duper depressing rant. But I also don’t want to sugarcoat what I am dealing with, for two reasons:

1. My blog is an honest place. I don’t post to gain readers / traffic / money. I post because I am passionate about writing, healthy living, and connecting with others in an honest way. Fake relationships do nothing for me!

2. I believe I can help someone. Even if it is just one person – I am of the mind that we go through hard things for a reason, and part of that reason is so that someone else won’t have to. So if that means that one person decides to go to sleep instead of studying more, or read a book instead of pounding out another assignment, it’s worth putting myself out there.

So, if writing a “woe is me” post is not my intention, then what is?

Learning how to care for yourself.

And myself, obviously. These are the things that I plan to do starting NOW to get out of this hole and back into enjoying my life.

ron

1. Writing. It’s therapeutic for me, and writing posts like this especially. They may not all get published, but some form of regular writing/journaling does wonders for my sanity.

2. Just sitting. Just this minute I stopped writing and listened to “Les derniers amoreux de la Terre” by Christian Marc. So few people take the time to just sit, even for a few minutes. We are always going, going, going! Even when were are not working, we are procrastinating or scrolling through Instagram/Pinterest/Twitter, maybe we are texting or talking or anything, but always something. Even just a couple of minutes can help to entirely change my mindset.

3. Physical self care. Pedicures, manicures, body lotion, they all matter! I know what you are thinking – Emma, you yourself just explained going a million miles a minute. Nobody has time for a manicure! And the fact that we should make time for something like that on occasion aside, it doesn’t need to be that complicated! Just trim your nails and push your cuticles back. Moisturize your body before going to bed. I don’t even remember the last time I put lotion on – and I have bloodstains around my nails to prove it. Attractive, I know.

4. Communicate. I have totally ignored my mom this week. I feel like an awful person. But I just haven’t had the energy to put up a facade acting like I was okay, and I definitely didn’t have the energy to rehash everything that was going on – it was enough to deal with it once! But that doesn’t help – bottling up emotions just leads to an explosion in the end. Reach out to people – they are there for you. ❤

5. Have fun! This post is turning into a novel so I will wrap it up – but never forget to just let loose and do something fun! Tomorrow after class I am going into the city with a few friends (to go to Whole Foods…I think I have found the right friends. 😉 ), and then we are coming back for a cozy movie night! Sans costumes.

if_i_stay_2014_movie-wideIf I Stay – #1 in the lineup! 

I truly hope that this was helpful, and that it prompted you to remember JUST HOW IMPORTANT YOU ARE. Always remember that.

Powering Through Fatigue / Stress Management Tips

It’s not exactly a surprise that university life is BUSY. Between classes, assignments, work, trekking around campus, running/fitness and friends, sometimes most of the time it feels like I don’t even have space to breathe. Take yesterday, for example:

  • Work from 8am-10:30am
  • Class from 11am-1pm
  • Study from 1pm-3pm
  • Class from 4pm-6pm

And that doesn’t include writing the paper I have due, completing my computer science problem set, grocery shopping, blogging, or having ANY social interaction whatsoever. And it was a rest day!

yikes-gif

I admit I started the day with a mini-breakdown. With my extremely long day (and a French quiz!) looming ahead, I felt hopelessly overwhelmed and like I wouldn’t be able to make it through the day. Obviously, though, I (somehow) did, and felt like I learned enough to tell you! So without further ado, these are my tips for making those unbearably long days bearable and keeping your sanity while at it.

1. Talk to someone you love. I have zero shame in admitting this – when I was suffering said mini-breakdown yesterday morning, the first thing I did was call my mom! Sometimes all you need is someone with an objective viewpoint to remind you that things are not actually as bad as they seem, and how capable you truly are! It always helps to take a step back and re-evaluate where you are in your day/week, and break things down into manageable chunks.

2. Focus on the present. Going off that last sentence – don’t think about the fact that it’s Monday and you have 14 hour days all. Week. Long. Instead, focus on whatever you are doing right NOW. So yesterday, I only thought about accomplishing work-related things from 8-10:30. I then only thought about taking notes, then French, etc. By working on making it through just one small block of time the day goes by MUCH faster and feels way easier to handle.

3. Prioritize. Just writing a MASSIVE to-do list isn’t going to increase anything but your stress levels. Instead, thing about the things that MUST happen on one particular day and write a list of those – it will most likely be far smaller and feel much more manageable! And after that, you can spread out the remaining items over a few days, feeling relaxed and confident about accomplishing them.

todo-listIf only…

4. Treat yourself well. This is a healthy living blog, so there was no way I was going to forget this! Admittedly, I’ve been slacking on it a ton and I know it’s why I’ve been feeling so awful. Drinking tonnes of water, avoiding chemicals, eating nourishing foods along with sleeping well and exercising will increase your ability to handle stress tenfold. Like I said, I haven’t been doing my best – running is the only thing I’ve kept up with well while at college and I 100% credit it with whatever of my sanity is remaining.

5. Remember me time! It’s easy to GOGOGOGOGOGO nonstop – but that only leads to burnout and resentment. For me, that means taking time to journal and blog regularly, as well as allow myself to read blogs guilt-free. Do what works for you to feel relaxed and like yourself.

Now it’s time for the hard part – actually putting those words into practice!

What is your #1 tip for dealing with overly stressful times? 

Never Apologize for YOU.

WOW. These past 2 days have definitely been a whirlwind. On Saturday, I moved into my dorm room, met a million new people and started figuring out what life would be like on my own. On Sunday, I said goodbye to my mom, realized that I was REALLY on my own, and only freaked out a tiny little bit. These are my achievements of yesterday:

  • First run on campus without getting lost
  • First shower in shared bathrooms without being grossed out/forced to wait
  • Found a textbook online for 1/2 the price that the bookstore wanted ($100 for a book I will never touch again…no thank you)
  • And a few more things because I’m awesome like that but we can leave it at that.

I’m feeling preeetty positive now, but I’m forcing myself to a little. You guys, starting university is SCARY! At first (last night) I felt SO lame because it seemed like my whole floor was going to this gross frat party and I would literally have rather scooped my eyeballs out with a fork. I was exhausted, not to mention I’m so not a party chick anyways. SO yeah. I was blaming myself for being weird and abnormal because I hadn’t made best friends in the 12 hours I had been there and would rather go to sleep than rub against sweaty people. It sounds ridiculous now, but in the moment it was tough!

After a couple of phone calls with my dearest mother and talking to myself a little, I realized two very important things.

1. I CAN DO WHATEVER THE HECK I WANT. Seriously. I am 18 years old, and made the (really freaking hard) choice to move away to university instead of choosing the safe option and living at home. Seeing as “whatever I want” is things like going to bed earlyish, not drinking, and sometimes chilling in my dorm room, yeah, I can do what I want. There is no one telling me that I HAVE to go to this party or spend all my energy from dusk till dawn trying to make friends. I can spend a lot of time doing that and go to a party if I feel like it, but I don’t HAVE to. It sounds obvious but has been so comforting.

2. I don’t need to apologize for being myself. I knew all throughout high school that I wasn’t a typical teenager. I love to work out, eat healthy, and do well in school. THOSE were my priorities then, and just because I am now a university student doesn’t mean that has to change. It can…but only if I want it to. I’m not going to apologize for not drinking / sleeping a normal amount / BEING MYSELF.

I am Emma, a health nut who runs and reads. And I ROCK. Thank you.

The Trouble With “Leaning Out”

So, it’s no secret that I’ve been working out a lot more lately.

Endless free time = going to the gym exactly when I feel like, no pressure to fit it in, and wonderfully lazy post-workout showers.

I spent a solid ~2.5-3 weeks very dedicated to building muscle. I followed a typical bodybuilding split like this:

Monday: biceps + triceps

Tuesday: legs

Wednesday: shoulders + triceps + abs

Thursday: back+ biceps

Friday: legs + abs

No cardio. My half marathon, while amazing, burned me out a little from running and I definitely needed a cardio break and a new focus. I ate a LOT, and got totally into the “bulking” mindset.

wafflesIt’s okay, I’m bulking.

And, then I started googling. Don’t get me wrong, I had already done a lot of research prior to/while starting lifting, but I didn’t learn a lot about actually gaining muscle until 3 weeks in. And found that I would need at LEAST 6 months to make any substantial gains.

Well, Emma, you can’t go to UBC looking all chubby now, can you?  Or so said the little voice inside my head. And such, I gave up on bulking and the “leaning out” process began.

I tried eating six small meals a day. I was starving and never satisfied.

dinner2I could eat this meal every 30 minutes and not be hungry…maybe. 

I tried eating 1800 calories a day. That lasted…0 days. No matter how hard I worked my body simply DEMANDED at least 2000.

And somewhere along the way, I started noticing changes. Although I wasn’t, am not, and have no desire to severely restrict my calories again, I’m feeling the way I did when I was trapped and lost in my disordered eating.

Thinking about food 24/7

Spending hours calculating macronutrients/”balanced” meals

Becoming anxious over eating out/homemade meals

Unbelievably exhausted all. day. long. –> as in, 9 hours of sleep at night + 1-2 naps per day. And still wiped.

I AM SICK OF IT! I am a seventeen year old girl who is supposed to be enjoying her summer. I am not a fitness model nor bodybuilder and nobody cares if I have a bit of extra fat on my body. The people at university are not all going to be bikini competitors (hello freshman fifteen) and they are not going to judge me because they can’t see my abs/obliques.

amanda-latona

I’m not saying that everyone trying to lose some body fat and show off their hard-earned muscles ends up wrecking their quality of life. But it seems like, for me, whenever I try to achieve any extreme (super skinny, super fit) I get trapped and start falling to a dark, depressed hole.

I know what the answer for me is.

1. Letting go of calories (again). Don’t even ask me how annoyed I am with myself for starting to count again after kicking the habit at least twice. It aaaalllways starts off as “I’m just doing this to ______, I can stop whenever”, and then all of a sudden MyFitnessPal is open 24/7 and if it’s not in the database, it’s not in my mouth.

2. EAT REAL FREAKING FOOD WHEN I’M HUNGRY. In all capitals because it should so not be this complicated. A diet composed of oatmeal, smoothies, fruits/veggies, sandwiches, meat, yogurt and nut butter sounds perfect to me. Quest bars (all the time), whey protein and tuna salads…not so much.

oats

3. Just focus on health. This goes back to the “leaning out” thing. On one hand, I would love to be ripped and look like Amanda Latona or Erin Stern. But on the other hand, I would WAY rather simply exercise, live an active life, nourish my body and enjoy every moment. I have six weeks left at home that will NOT be spent in depression, and eight life-changing months in BC after that (plus 3 years). Overall health > temporary appearance.

This is what, in my opinion, gets lost in a lot of people’s quest to “lean out”. No, I’m not talking about those with a lot of fat to lose. I’m talking about people like me (and leaner) that want to lose those vanity pounds and be super fit. I’m sorry, but if you have to weigh all your food and eat every 3 hours, with one cheat meal at  2:23pm on Saturday, that’s not sustainable. And if your lifestyle isn’t sustainable, neither is your physique.

I really need to thank Christine at Apple of My Eye for being such an inspiration to me. I love the way you go for bubble tea and thai food, skip the gym, but then go for a run and eat a salad. Not to mention that you are beyond STUNNING, and absolutely glow with health and happiness. I so hope I can be like you one day! ❤

OVERALL HEALTH > TEMPORARY APPEARANCE

I had to write that again because I find it so powerful and so so true. This is my new mantra.

No specific question…just tell me your thoughts! 

Obesity A Disability?

In the summer of 2013, obesity was officially classified as a disease by the American Medical Association.

I may not agree with that decision 100%, but the possible positives of it are plain to see- better, more accessible treatment and hope to improve the health of the nation.

74% of the United States of America is overweight or obese. That leaves one quarter of a country classified as “healthy”.

Yes, this statistic is often considered controversial because it uses the BMI scale, which does not take muscle mass into account. Realistically speaking, however, there are a VERY small number of individuals that get to a 30 on the BMI scale thanks to sheer muscle mass alone (ahem, Shaquille O’Neal)

shaq2[source.]

When 74% of a country is deemed unhealthy, drastic measures need to be taken. I get that. And to some extent, I even agree with calling it a disease. Obesity is influenced by so many factors, not just overeating. People have dysfunctional thyroids, autoimmune disorders, digestive complications and a thousand other possibilities that all come into play to result in an overweight individual.

What I cannot agree with is considering it a disability independent of any other medical issues (source). This means that all those unavoidable medical complications affecting the ability to maintain a healthy weight are NOT CONSIDERED. This would basically be saying that overeating is a disability. 

This decision is (claimed to be) an attempt to eradicate/diminish weight-related discrimination. I would never support an individual not being hired to work solely because their employer thinks obesity is ugly. That is absolutely not okay with me. What people need to consider, however, are the traits associated with obesity. Independent of a medical issue, chronic overeating can be a sign of inability to handle emotions, commitment issues, low self-esteem, etc. Would you want to hire an individual like that?

Of course, those things cannot be proven in an interview, so even I would have a difficult time accepting them as a valid reasons to deny someone a career.

What about health-related careers? My mom works in a hospital, and while visiting her, I have seen many a morbidly obese individual giving speeches to heart attack patients about cardiac health.

Um, excuse me? This is total hypocrisy, not to mention wildly diminishing these patients’ chance of success –  the person that is telling them to eat more vegetables and move more clearly doesn’t think it important enough to do it themselves, so why should they?

Let’s not forget the person huffing and puffing as they walk with the necessary appliances to save a patient in CARDIAC ARREST. Or the police officer that fails to catch a criminal because he is out of shape.

These are situations where the worker’s obesity can 100% result in someone else’s DEATH. Do you truly want to fight for one person to have a career that could kill others?

On another note, companies are difficult to build, and reputations even more so. I know that personally, if I spent ten years creating a healthy living brand/magazine that I was proud of, I would want all those representing my company to be role models of a healthy lifestyle, whatever that may be for them. It wouldn’t be about looking “skinny”, though of course I wouldn’t want to hire a ton of overweight people – what credibility would I have if I did?

On the surface, the reasons for classifying obesity as a disease seem OK – who doesn’t want more fairness in the world? But digging deeper shows us that helping them can result in more harm to others.

Weigh in: Should obesity be classified as a disability? 

Sources

Obesity a disease: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262226.php

Overweight percentage in USA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity_in_the_United_States

Shaquille O’Neal BMI: http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/03/08/athlete-study-exposes-flaw-bmi-obesity-measure/