5 Things I Wish Everyone Knew about Mental Health, Fitness & Nutrition

The ongoing battle; the beauty beyond the scratches and burns, the fact that it’s going to be okay, but okay might look different than you every imagined.

This post simplifies so much of some of my previous posts and hopefully opens up the conversation for people to dialogue about how all of this correlates together. And one thing in general you will notice is the power of WORDS. I believe we always underestimate just how powerful words can be and impact us on a deep level, especially when it comes from people that we love and trust! We are so thankful you are on this journey with us and encouraging us to keep fighting –

  1. Don’t just assume because we are thin we are at peace with where our body is. *Going to go out on a limb here and say that a good bit of the time this is NOT the case.
  2. Using the words “you are so thin” can be really dangerous – maybe we are, but that doesn’t mean that’s a good thing. Words are powerful!
  3. We want you to talk to us and ask questions! It might get a little frustrating, but it’s ALWAYS better to keep dialogue open with close friends and family.
  4. Sometimes talking about food and buffet lines cause anxiety, it’s a place of complete isolation and where we usually need the most company – change the topic and/or engage us in something completely different.
  5. Please don’t make comments like: just eat lots of cupcakes and donuts or you can basically eat whatever you want. It might sound like a joke, but it can be a manipulative mind-game.

Bonus content: Healthy eating does NOT always mean vegetarian/vegan as some people seem to think – it just means keep well-rounded nutrition at the forefront: plenty of fruits and veggies, an emphasis on whole foods, etc.

So let this be a conversation starter. Ask questions, get vulnerable, and take note on some of these ideas that haven’t even crossed your mind.

If you have any questions email me or find me on instagram jordan@fuelingherforward.com or fuelingherforward

Mouth-Breathing is So Unattractive: Listening To Your Body & Fighting the Mental Battle

Mouth breathing is so unattractive, seriously the combination of Darth Vader and exasperated sighs about does a girl in.

Mike could tell right off the bat that I wasn’t myself as we grouped up before the start of Big Peach’s half marathon training run Saturday morning. Mike is my newest running friend, having recognized him from previous events he decided to join the pace group I was leading during this training season. He’s from Philly, having only been in Atlanta for 3 years, and grandfather of two; his drive and encouragement make the miles go faster, however this morning would be particularly tough. My body wasn’t 100% and my normal chipper self felt stuck inside my own head.

Fast-forward to Monday and the mental game started waging – my body still craving rest, but in that state of weakness and vulnerability the enemies lies against wellness were all too loud. Jon joined me for a walk that morning around the park that is now our front porch view and the food game began to start. “You aren’t well enough to run, but that means you can’t eat either” STOP. But my attempt at drowning it out doesn’t last long “you can’t run, you can’t eat, you won’t be able to race well in October so forget racing elite again, you ate unforgiving things yesterday you are just letting sit in your body” FAILURE.

No. The narrative HAS to change. No. I am not going to run when my body says no. Yes. I will trust that my body is going to work the way it was created and tell me what and when it needs to be nourished. No. This doesn’t ruin everything or anything. And it’s all so much easier said than done, but it’s something that is constantly being reinforced in this season.

Getting sick isn’t a norm for me (thankfully), but when it hits it’s just hard, plain and simple. Rest and I don’t have a super close relationship, and forcing myself to go down is like trying to tie up a calf at a rodeo, kicks a-firing, add in the mental health aspect and it’s a full on show.

So what did a series of days with no exercise look like? It looked like continuing to learn to listen to my body and not my head. It looked like choosing Jesus instead of giving way to the lies of the enemy. It meant enjoying a GF Mexican Sandwich w/ bowl of black beans and rice with a kick to help nourish my body last night (and completely and grossly drain my sinuses). I always come back to Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. (check it out here) because these recipes are life giving and consider well-rounded health. It’s writing down all the feelings and voices you are hearing to help work through it instead of letting it compound inside.

BUT it also means utilizing the technology we have available to check in with yourself when you might not quite understand it. My Garmin Forerunner 35 (learn more here) has helped me track my heart rate and understand how my body is adapting to certain things since I’m under the weather.

It’s everything about continuing this journey.

If anything envelopes these thoughts above it’s that we are created so beautifully and intricately that even though our bodies can sometimes fail us, they are also INCREDIBLE machines that give us signals and cues to what and when our bodies need certain things, food, rest, exercise, and HELP. Don’t get wrapped up inside your own head and forget to listen to everything else that’s going on.

You are stronger than you think, more capable than you think, and completely enabled by your Creator!

 

The Process of Healing and the Beauty of The 61 Exchange

Making a beeline off the stage towards a quiet room to take a few breaths, then back into the auditorium pressing my face into Jon’s chest and letting myself weep… They never said vulnerability was comfortable and they never said you wouldn’t have every feeling under the sun once you brought darkness into light, but He said you would find freedom and that’s worth it all.

The past few weeks I stood between two lives, the hurt of the past that I’ve walked through and largely healed from and the hurt of the present in which there is a current reality of healing. It’s easy to pull towards the thing that’s already happened because we know how it ends, it fits in a box “nicely” and we get to wrap it up with a pretty bow, but something that still has loose ends: that is much harder. It loosens our grip on control, but it’s exactly in those moments that God gets to rush in like a force. 

So I stood up on a stage Saturday, knees trembling and tears welling in my eyes because I knew God was calling me to be the most vulnerable I had ever been.

Most of you have gotten glimpses into this, but here are the cliff notes from Saturday:

Eating Disorders and mental health have been an important and significant part of my family’s history. And after watching several close friends struggle and walk through this I always played support until the beginning of 2017 when my own physical and mental health started to decline significantly, although oblivious at first. 

Anxiety and fear over food, fitness, and even my own head plagued me. Every morning being scared of what the day would bring. 

So over a year later it’s still hard, my head still gets in the way, the enemy still has places he can get small grips, but every day is a step and every day is making His grasp weaker and the light in darkness gets a little bit more radiant. 

How to wrap up process in three little notes:

  1. Find community and don’t feel guilty about allowing people to walk beside you
  2. Don’t use distractions as a bandaid, the only real healing comes from the deep dive
  3. Learn yourself. What is well-rounded wellness & self care, and what does it look like for you?

But my story isn’t unique people have their own ashes, process, and healing and that’s the beauty of The 61 Exchange based on Isaiah 61, everyone is invited into these truths and promises.

My desire now is to create spaces for people to dig deep into fears, anxieties or the like that they are facing and bring into the light in a safe space. I want women to have a healthy view of themselves, food, and nutrition and what whole wellness looks like because our bodies our vessels to fulfill a purpose, and if you woke up breathing today that means YOU have His purpose to walk out. 

So where are YOU? What does this stir inside your head and heart? Really, I want to know! 

So start speaking truth over your life from the word’s our Savior wrote. You are beloved, beautiful, and called!

To learn more about The 61 Exchange click here.

And if you want to connect email me at jordan@fuelingherforward.com

Happy

The World Needs More Parks

Isolation.

The enemy lives there. He yearns for you to meet him there, to be anxious with your own thoughts, to fear the outside and the attacks it may bring. On the brink of training for my first pro race and a few speaking engagements he whispers those lies into my head that I’m better off alone… when the majority of our culture centers around food and meals it can seem easier to just stay home. When the “stability” of isolation can seemingly combat the anxiety that can come with meals or large arrangements of food, everyone suffers.

And I love coffee shop dates just as much as the next person, but I believe the world needs more parks…

Jon and I were driving home yesterday and the old Boys & Girls Club off North Druid Hills was completely flattened. While completely aware of the real estate demand in Atlanta, our undertone thought was “How great would it be if we had another park?”.

In a culture that battles not only excessive screen time but also the epidemic of Mental Health related illnesses, how great would it be to have more spaces to engage with people away from distraction or anxiety?

While there are moments that facing a fear head on are important and necessary, there are as many times where handling it means creating a new space where the light can shine. Gathering in community, basking in creation, and letting truth shine into the darkness, into the lies that isolation can bring.

And yes, parks are “everywhere”, but within walking distance, a place that you can truly be a neighbor? In Atlanta, usually not, and I argue even in NYC where everyone walks everywhere and there is a giant green space to explore people are still longing for close by intimate spaces. A place where activity and community meet on an intimate scale.

So maybe the resources aren’t there for me personally to create a new park, but that doesn’t mean opportunity isn’t there to help gather people. So that’s the hope: to create a park, but like a Church isn’t just the building, so the park is more than land, it’s a people coming together, sharing life, being active, and experiencing freedom together.

In September the desire is to create these parks for women to come together engage and keep taking steps forward, hence Fueling Her Forward began.

But before that happens I challenge you to get outside, get you some vitamin D, and ask the Lord to shine in the darkness. Break the chains of isolation and be free! The lies and anxiety DO NOT get the last word.

Any thoughts? Questions? Ideas? Email me jordan@creativekitchenrunner.blog

For now friends, Happy Monday!

Jordan

 

 

 

A Thought in the Life.. A Peek Into a Day of Thoughts for Those with an Unhealthy Relationship with Food & Fitness

*trigger warning

It’s a daily battle with the very thing that keeps us alive: FOOD. The way we take care of our bodies isn’t rational any longer and a paralyzing fear and anxiety takes grip.

Much of the following is probably hard to hear and grasp for those that face different battles, yet I think it’s important for people to get a glimpse of the reality that people with an unhealthy relationship with food & fitness face, especially for those in support roles. In italics I’ve added the way that God has redeemed my thinking and how mental health, food, and fitness play a role in my life now, not to disregard the fact that sometimes those lies of the past still creep in and God has to come in a rescue with His truths.

The following is just ONE example – we could flow chart this thing in a thousand ways based on the day and activity level of work and other commitments. The other thing to note is that with different people come different areas of Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders, but regardless the mind is powerful and there isn’t one size fits all of suffering, but God does have a one size fits all plan of GRACE.

*Disclaimer: Days are spent trying to not think about food – and yes you are ALWAYS hungry – and find distractions, keep away from food and try to will yourself not to binge. Healing is possible, but it takes TIME.

The alarm goes off, you roll over and check messages & emails, brush your teeth and then the day begins and you settle into the every day of the anxiety that encompasses food & fitness…

5:30a – please let me sleep more so I can avoid becoming my minds own worst nightmare today.. this was genuinely a regular thought for me, I was scared of waking up to my own mind.

5:40a – Do I grab a cracker or two before workout or wait until afterwards – don’t want to eat too much too early… today the thoughts shift to : how can I fuel myself best for the day ahead?

6:40a – How can I prolong this workout a little more to avoid the kitchen and give myself more room to eat in case I fall into a binge? … 30 minutes of moving is great (even if it’s just walking). If I feel like more a couple days a week that’s great also, and if I just want the extra sleep it means my body needs it and I can go for a walk later.

7:00a – How can I make the most food with as little calories as possible in case food surprises are available later… how can I get as many nutrients on my plate as possible without overdoing it – egg & veggie scramble with fruit salad and/or avocado & egg toast?

9:00a – Snack or ignore the growling in my stomach – just drink more coffee and/or tea… first ask am I really hungry, then, what nutrient is my body really telling me it needs?

11:00a – Just give me a distraction until 12p… just keep busy, just keep busy, ignore my stomach, sink further into anxiety… (it’s regular for food to consume 80%+ of your thoughts in a day) I’m hungry a little early today what’s for lunch, or if I have plans eat something small (like an apple)

12:00p – Lunch time. Do I want a carb with this meal, I know Mexican is for dinner and those chips will be tempting… same rules apply to breakfast – nutrients galore without overdoing it – but you want that burrito – keep it simple & clean and enjoy 

2:00p – Hey the growling is back – if I can just wait until 3p for a snack… usually Im not hungry here if i have fueled myself properly for the day..

3:00p – Snack time – do I really want a bar that has 200 calories or try to do more food simply… I’m still trying to get some extra protein and fat – how can I best get my body that today – quest bar! 

5:00p – Mexican bar for dinner – mild panic – no snacking and probably no dessert, just one serving of chips and you probably should forgo the meat in case you eat one to many… I’m a little hungry I’ll grab something small and it will be fine, I can make adjustments as needed based on how I feel. 

6:00/6:30p – It’s time, try to engage people and not think about the food, you can do this. Don’t binge, don’t binge, don’t binge… unfortunately this is still a reality for me that I am working through, however my process of the after affects depending has dramatically changed. One major area of improvement is having accountability if I feel like I am struggling.

7:00p – I binged and now feel completely terrible both physically and mentally… no food for me tomorrow and a run over an hour… If I want a few extra it’s okay, I can handle it and if it goes too far, I have someone to talk through it with instead of letting simmer in my mind. I’ll workout based on how I feel and what I rationally think my body needs. 

8:00p – Just get to sleep without putting anything else in my mouth – sleep aids sometimes are taken here to try to shut down early to escape the night… a small thing of trail mix or piece of peanut butter toast will satisfy any extra craving, then I can step away and read a book and/or do a pre-bedtime yoga/stretch routine before bed! 

Part of it is learning how to take hold of your thoughts and shift the perspective before you ever give it a second thought, but that takes prayer and practice.

If you sit in a place as a support system or caretaker, we don’t enjoy dealing with this and we often feel guilty for dragging you into it even though we KNOW you love and are there, but we hope you find this insightful into a day in the life.

If you’ve dealt with things like me or are still in the midst of the storm I would love to talk more @ jordan@creativekitchenrunner.blog as always, the team I have around me including my friends and family, fitness community (The November Project, Big Peach Running, and Oiselle), and my favorite fueling products (Nuun, Quest, Honey Stinger) make all the difference!

For now,
Jordan