Bad Days Build Better Days

Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good. After 10 days of positivity and a great streak of feeling no symptoms, I fell into anxiety this morning.

Having a bad body image day, mixed with high anxiety is just a part of life with less than perfect mental health and mental illness.

Learning to deal with days like today has gotten better throughout the years, but that doesn’t make them any easier.

Looking into the mirror and absolutely dreading what I see is not a pleasant feeling. On days like today it takes everything in me to fight the eating disorder in the back of my head. But I’ve come so far to give in, I fight everyday for a happy life in recovery, so why would I throw it away now.

So, I made my coffee, fought my urge to restrict and had my breakfast.

On days like today I focus on mental health. I sat down this morning while Ainsley played and wrote out a list of things I’m grateful for, to name some;

  • My beautiful daughter
  • My supportive partner + family + in laws
  • A nice home to live in
  • My health
  • Living in a beautiful country

Writing out the positives in my life help me focus a little less on myself, and put things into perspective. I am so lucky to be here today, and to have everything I have in my life. It’s important to remember that on days you get caught up in yourself.

I don’t write this to get sympathy from anyone but to let everyone know that bad days happen. Recovering from an eating disorder is a lot more complicated than most think. It’s constantly with me and although most days are good days where I don’t struggle with it, I still have days like today where it feels like all progress I’ve made in recovery is gone.

It’s okay to have bad days, because like the title of this post says, “bad days build better days.” Not everyday can be great when dealing with these mental battles. So do what you have to during these episodes to help and love yourself, whatever that may be.

For me, I’m going to play with Ainsley, go for a walk, and I’ll go to the gym just like I had planned. On bad days I have a tendency to shut off and not get anything done. So it’s important for me to push myself to do my regular planned day and not let my body image or anxiety dictate my schedule.

There’s no shame in struggling or having a bad mental health day. Living with a mental illness is in no way easy but make sure you don’t make it any harder on yourself. Reach out, use your resources, seek help if needed and be kind to yourself.

Shaming People In The Gym

There is a viral post currently going around on twitter at the moment where a man has snapped a picture of a woman on a treadmill and captioned it something ignorant about how she’s “still gone be fat only walking 1mph on her phone.”

I’m not going to show the picture in respect of this poor lady and will not name this awful man either because he does not deserve the exposure. But I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about this. Because this happens more than you think to women and men all over.

First and foremost, everyone’s journey is different. No ones weight loss or fitness journey looks the same. Everyone starts somewhere and whether that be 100lbs overweight and trying to lose weight or 50lbs underweight and trying to put on some muscle, you can never judge someone in the gym, at the end of the day we’re all there to better ourselves in some way or another.

What someone chooses to do in the gym is there prerogative. Has absolutely zero to do with you or anyone else. They may only be able to do certain things due to doctor order, injury, or maybe just having a bad day and not being motivated (happens to everyone.)

Getting to the gym and walking is better than staying at home in the couch. Some people (like me) go to the gym more for the mental aspect. Some days if my anxiety is out of control all I do is walk at the gym, getting some steps in and clearing my head is far more beneficial to me than laying and wallowing in my anxiety at home.

People all over the world, overweight, underweight, young, and old, already find it hard to get started in the gym. It’s intimidating on the best of days and getting started is the hardest part. We’re all self conscious and nervous enough about being surrounded by meat heads, but having inconsiderate people like this man on twitter who’s exploiting someone who’s just trying to walk on the damn treadmill is not helping.

This kind of behaviour is disgusting, body shaming someone is never okay, let alone when they’re at the gym working on themselves.

Moral of this rant is to mind your own business, work on your own self and leave other people alone. What someone does in the gym shouldn’t phase you, and if it does then workout at home. The gym is no place for people like you anyways.

#BellLetsTalk (and Listen)

Today in Canada is Bell Let’s Talk day. For those who don’t know it’s a day where the internet blows up with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk.

As quoted from Bell’s website;

“For every applicable text, mobile and long distance call, tweet using #BellLetsTalk, Bell Let’s Talk Day video view on social media, use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter, Bell will donate 5¢ to Canadian mental health initiatives. Let’s work together to create a stigma-free Canada!”

I love the meaning of this day and regardless of how much money gets donated I think today is a great day to initiate conversation and to normalise the conversation about mental health and illness.

Something I do want to talk about though, is the importance of not just talking, but listening.

I think as a society sometimes we are so quick to talk, but we also need to put the same effort into listening.

Listening to someone who’s struggling can be one of the most beneficial things for them. So many people just need an ear, they need someone to reach out to, when they feel alone.

I want to be that person!

I’ve chosen not to talk about my own struggles today, because I feel like I can share my own thoughts, and emotions any day, not everyone feels the same. Some live in secrecy with their demons.

So instead of talking about myself today, I chose to make today about those who don’t feel comfortable coming forward on any other day and are using today as their first step.

Reaching out today is a huge first step, and it’s important to not only talk but to be heard.

Today opposed to sharing my story with mental health and illness I will be going through the hashtag #BellLetsTalk on twitter and offering my support to those opening up for the first time about their mental health. Because talking is one thing but feeling like someone’s heard you is another.

I want people to know that their voice DOES matter. Not just today but EVERYDAY.

It’s never a bad day to reach out, start seeking help, or to finally open up about your struggles.

Many use today as a day to do it because it’s being talked about, but keep in mind that mental health and illness should be an ON GOING conversation.

The other 364 days a year, it’s just as important as it is today.

Take today to teach someone who may not understand mental health more about it, or talk to someone who just came forward with their struggles or illness’.

Treat today as a stepping stone moving forward, today is the START of the conversation, it shouldn’t end come tomorrow.

Make mental health a conversation everyday, not just today!

That being said, if you are using today to finally come forward, congratulations! Talking about it is the first step, and I am so proud.

My DM’s on Instagram (madsmoreau) or my email (m_moreau49@hotmail.com) is ALWAYS open, if anyone out there feels alone or like their voice doesn’t matter.

24/7, 365, I’m here to have the conversation about mental health ALL the time. Don’t be ashamed to reach out, people will listen. You’d be surprised!

Crisis Support and Suicide Prevention Australia: 131114

Suicide Prevention Canada: https://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/

Grocery Haul: Feeding My Tiny Family

Before Ben and I moved into our place I was constantly researching “Healthy Recipes for two” and “How to Grocery Shop for two.” I found the information, tips and peoples grocery lists very helpful! It gave me inspiration and some ideas of where to start.

So today I’m going to give you a rough idea of our grocery list. I do shopping every 2 weeks but of course sometimes we do need to pick up something on the odd day to stretch us until our big shop.

Disclaimer; I like to eat pretty healthy, Ainsley eats very healthy and Ben eats whatever I pack him for lunch or make him for dinner… So keep that in mind! Feel free to tweak, add, or take out as you chose! This is just to give an idea and something to base your list off of!

Hopefully this can give you an idea of how to shop for your tiny family!

If you’d like to see a week of meal ideas let me know, I’d be more than happy to show you guys how I use these groceries if you need some recipe ideas!

Grocery List:

  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Mangos
  • Strawberries
  • Frozen Berries
  • Acai
  • Apples
  • Whole Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mixed Salad Leaves
  • Baby Spinach
  • Red/Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Snap Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Red Potatoes
  • Green Beans
  • Light Greek Yogurt
  • Almond Milk
  • Pure Orange Juice
  • Light Milk
  • All Natural Peanut Butter
  • Hummus
  • Rice Crackers
  • Granola Bars
  • Granola crumbles
  • Rolled Oats
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Chicken Breast
  • Whole Chicken
  • Chicken Sausage
  • Ground Meat
  • Steak
  • Tuna
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Eggs + Egg Whites
  • Baby Food Pouches
  • Baby Puffs
  • Baby Cereal (oat or rice)

I didn’t include cooking sauces, spices, or treats for Ben’s lunch, things like that. I tried to just keep the essentials and things we frequently re order week after week! I eat pretty veggie heavy, that may not be your thing! But this is just a rough idea of what our grocery haul looks like!

I have the luxury of ordering my groceries online and having them delivered to my door, since I find that way it’s easier to plan out and get what I need rather than roaming the grocery store with an 8 month old trying to find everything!

Shopping and cooking for 2 can be tricky but I think Ben and I have it down pretty well. Come the time for grocery order we never really have much if any food waste. I make an effort to use all the food in a strategic order so that it all gets eaten when it’s best!

Happy shopping friends!

Go To Sweet Potato Fries

These sweet potatoes are my go to. There’s nothing better than crispy yummy fries in my opinion, so I’ve found a way to make some really good and at the same time healthy chips in my own kitchen.

And you bet I’m here to share my recipe with you guys, which is by the way boyfriend approved! (He even prefers these to regular potatoes)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius
  • Line a baking tray with paper
  • Wash sweet potatoes and cut in half crossways, then cut into roughly 1cm slices
  • Once you have your slices, cut into chunky looking chips
  • Dry potatoes off with a paper towel
  • Toss in oil, ensure all potatoes are covered evenly
  • Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and paprika getting every last potato!
  • Chuck those puppies in the oven and cook until tender when poked with a fork!

They should have nice crispy edges and be very tender! But its all your preference, I like mine crispier than most.

These make a perfect side to burgers, roast chicken, a nice salad, pretty much any excuse I can make these I do!

Hope you like them just as much as me!

“New Year New Me”

We’ve all heard it a million times, how much the coming year will be a time to completely change your lifestyle, lose weight, eat better, blah blah.

“New year, new me!”

But what if the you that you are right now is enough?

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals and wanting to better yourself. But that doesn’t make who you are now any less amazing.

There’s no need for a new you, the you that you are is good enough.

With the new year creeping in I think people start to hyper focus on all the things they didn’t accomplish this year, they focus on all the bad things that the year brought and promise to themselves “the next year will be so much better!”

To me, this mindset is so unhealthy! I believe in focusing in all the good the year brought, even if it’s minor. Bad things happen all over, to everyone. But focussing on the negatives isn’t going to help you succeed.

Accepting the year as it was and thinking of all the things you did do will make you feel so much better about heading into a new year. Use the future that can be as motivation not the past that has been.

Head in to the new year feeling great, not with negative emotions all pent up because you didn’t lose those “last 10lbs.”

Like I said previously though, there’s nothing wrong with setting goals. In fact I myself have set some goals for 2018.

It’s no secret pretty much everyone’s goal is always to lose weight. There isint anything wrong with wanting to better your physical appearance or health.

But it makes a difference the type of goals you set. Instead of goals like “lose 20lbs” “get abs” “get a bigger butt…”

Make goals that will help you grow as a person, and improve your physical and mental health. Goals such as joining a gym, starting yoga, eating a more whole natural food diet, make an effort to reach out to more people, do things that step outside your comfort zone, spend more time outdoors.

Making goals that have more objectives than just to lose “X” amount of pounds. Because once you lose that weight then what?

Making bigger goals with a larger impact on your life than losing weight will not only still help you lose weight but will better your mental state and instead of giving up after you lose your desired weight can set you up for continuous success.

An example of this would be making a goal to incorporate more whole foods into your diet. Not only will this help you lose the weight you want by cutting out processed and fast food, but eating a whole food diet has plenty other (more important) effects aside from weight loss. Like clearer skin, increased energy, better mood, less bloating.

Moral of the story is with this upcoming year keep in mind that there’s no need to create a “new you.” Who you are is more than enough.

Head into the new year focusing on the positives, let go of the negatives.

It’s okay to want to lose weight or “get in shape” but set goals that will do more for your mental and physical health than just shed pounds.

Write down your goals and make it a point to look at them weekly. Do your best and keep a positive mindset! Changes physical or mental don’t happen over night and require constant effort. Don’t give up, keep at it, and by this time next year you’ll have so much to look back on and be proud of.

May 2018 bring the best for you!

Holiday Thoughts As A Previous Anorexic

The Holidays for everyone are stressful. Family gatherings, shopping for everyone on your list, hosting get togethers, the amount of money we end up spending, and for some people, the copious amounts of food.

Now some people breeze through the holidays without a worry in the world about what they’re eating or drinking and lucky them!

But for people who are battling a full blown eating disorder, in recovery, or just dealing with occasional symptoms, it is tough.

Whether it’s bulimia, anorexia, binge eating disorder, or a combination of EDNOS, the holidays can be daunting.

For me someone who has struggled myself with anorexia and social anxiety I can attest to the fact the holidays for me can be a recipe for disaster.

As much as I love Christmas and my family, sometimes my mental blocks do get the best of me! This will be my second Christmas out of treatment and hopefully another successful one, symptom free!

For me, it’s not so much restricting or skipping meals around the holidays. I’m far enough in recovery where I’ve learned to combat those symptoms for the most part (although sometimes they still crosses my mind.) For me it’s more my social anxiety around eating.

What I mean by that is the constant worrying about what people are thinking about what I’m eating, how much of something, how little of something, and what they think about it. Sometimes my thoughts can get me to a point where I try to get out of social situations where I know we’ll be eating a meal.

Given, it used to be 1000x worse than it is now, and for that I am lucky. But learning to deal with eating in social situations WITHOUT my medication has been a process.

It may sound silly but it’s something I still struggle with! Especially around holidays I always feel pressured to eat a certain way, or certain things people offer, even if it’s something I don’t want, or even if I’m not hungry.

Something that took me ages to get back was the ability to eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. Because I deprived myself for two years it was hard to learn what hunger felt like. I now take pride in eating until I’m satisfied and then stopping. Which sometimes means I skip seconds or even dessert, but not because my eating disorder, because I’m genuinely full (I touched on this in a previous post.) But turning down food during the holidays does not come without without fear of what people are thinking.

It’s hard when people know you have struggled with eating. It feels like during family dinners there’s a microscope on your plate.

My biggest advice and what helped me get through last year is, EAT WHAT YOUR COMFORTABLE WITH!

The holidays are hard enough mentally. Don’t feel pressured to eat more or less than you’re comfortable with. Eat a normal sized portion if that’s all you can handle. There’s no need to overstuff your plate or under eat in fear of looking disordered to your family or friends.

If over eating could set off a trigger for you- don’t, same with under eating. Take it like a normal meal and eat what YOU can handle so you don’t stress yourself out and can actually enjoy the holidays.

That being said everyone’s recovery and journey is different, and I’m not an expert or medical profession.

If you’re in a place of recovery where you can safely indulge in a Christmas meal with multiple helpings then by all means do so, and good for you for being at that stage!

But some people just aren’t ready for that and need to take holidays a little slower, and that’s okay. It doesn’t make your recovery any less valuable, it’s just different.

Don’t eat to please others, eat to satisfy yourself! Do what’s best for your mental health, you know yourself and your recovery best.

I know it’s easy to say “try not to stress” but seriously try. The holidays are meant to enjoy, so enjoy them the best you can, you deserve it!

Healthy Eating vs. Disordered Eating

This topic was sprung on by a conversation I had with my Mom last night (Thanks for the inspiration Mamma.) Its the difference between healthy eating vs. disordered eating. Now this may seem obvious to some people like, “well duh of course it’s different?” But for family, friends, and peers of people recovered/recovering from an eating disorder the lines can sometimes get a little fuzzy.

What I mean by this is that for someone who’s suffered from an eating disorder, your eating is constantly under a microscope. People are constantly watching and monitoring what your eating whether you like it or not people will always be hyper aware of what you eat since you were that person with an eating disorder once upon a time.

It gets super annoying at times. Although yes, I did suffer from an eating disorder, that does not mean I need to eat every single thing offered to me. The looks I get when I pass on dessert are the worst. It’s like people think “oh there she goes restricting again” when in reality I’m just full from dinner! I’m at a point in my recovery where I can comfortably decline food when I’m genuinely not hungry or just don’t feel like eating what’s offered.

Think about it, as a human it’s normal to not constantly want EVERY food that is offered to you, so why should it be any different for people who have suffered previously?

Now I’m not saying this applies to people in active recovery because at that point your hunger signals can still be skewed so it’s hard to trust them.

But personally my hunger cues have come back, I eat when I’m hungry and I stop when I’m full, something that took me a long time to practice.

Something that goes along with this is wanting to eat healthy as someone who’s had a past with an eating disorder. Every time I opt for a salad instead of pasta people raise their red flags. But again, I’m at the point in recovery where I’m confident that choosing what I eat is based off what I want.

I went through a stage in recovery where I had to eat everything, all the sweets, all the foods I had been scared of for ages. And as good as this was to show me that a single food doesn’t make you fat. I no longer fear these foods but that doesn’t mean I want to eat them all the time.

I’m a firm believer in putting nutritious whole foods into your body. Fuelling your body with good foods that make you feel good. Since I started recovery my mentality has drastically changed from eating to look good to eating to feel good.

I find eating whole natural foods like this makes me feel my best.

I do enjoy the occasional treat that I no longer feel bad about eating. But I also do not want to eat them as often as I was in recovery and I don’t think I should feel bad about that. It took me a while to learn that concept, because I felt like if I wasn’t eating sweets and treats I was “restricting” when in reality I just truely did not want those foods anymore.

I make my food choices based from a good place, not a disordered place. I’m happy and healthy enough to now know that difference. And it’s important for friends and family to understand that. Just because I don’t want to eat processed sugary treats all the time doesn’t mean I’m sliding into the oblivion of anorexia it just means maybe I genuinely value my health.

I put my body through the ringer with my eating disorder, now it needs some love. And feeding it whole unprocessed foods is my personal preference to feel good.

Of course with the occasional donut… Because everyone knows how much I love my donuts.

Moral of my rant is that people who have suffered with eating disorders can eventually learn to make dietary decisions for themselves based on other values than their disorder. It’s okay to want to eat healthier than you did while in active recovery, just make sure you are doing it for the RIGHT reasons. If there is any hint that your choices may be coming from a disordered place than take a step back, because that’s not what healthy eating is.

Slips In Recovery

As someone who lives with mental illness’ not everyday is a great day. I do my best to cope day to day and use my strategies to battle my thoughts but it doesn’t always work out that way.

Some days admittedly my mental illness’ get the best of me, and that’s okay. Recovering from something like an eating disorder is not black and white, there are many grey areas. Recovery is not linear, there are so many ups and downs but that doesn’t mean you should give up when things get rough. Coming out on top after a bad day or bad moment just shows how strong and committed you are to working at getting better.

Slips in recovery will happen, so don’t feel like just because you had a bump in the road it’s all over and that you might as well throw in the towel. There’s no denying having a slip in recovery sucks, and is extremely disheartening but it’s knowing how to come back from a slip that will set you apart.

It’s important in recovery to ditch the “all or nothing” mentality, because that will only hurt your progress. Diving head first into recovery expecting all your symptoms and struggles to just disappear right then and there is just setting yourself up for failure. I’m not saying you should expect to have a slip up but just prepare yourself with the skills and the strategies to deal with one. So god forbid it does happen you don’t get into the mind set that all your recovery progress is now ruined.

Now to back pedal a bit for those not familiar with eating disorders a “slip” in recovery would be when you engage in a symptom of your eating disorder for example restricting, binging, purging, ect.

One of the saddest things I ever experienced in my journey with recovery from my eating disorder happened when I was in treatment. A person had newly joined the program (since intake happened weekly) and things were going okay for them. Until one day they had a slip and I never saw them again. This made my heart so sad, because slips happen to all of us. But it’s coming back after a moment of weakness that true progress is made. To this day I wish they would have come back the next day and let us support them and receive the help they needed and deserved. I don’t know where they are today but I hope they’re doing well.

Forgiveness and acceptance are two crucial things to practice while in recovery, especially when dealing with slips. Learning to accept, forgive, and move on after you engage in a symptom is so important. Using it as an experience to learn from to help prevent future slips is a beneficial tool. But once you’ve analysed your slip and determined why it happened and how to prevent it next time, you need to forgive yourself and let it go.

Dwelling and letting yourself ruminate over the incident will only hinder your progress moving forward. You need to be able to accept your mistakes and learn from them, not let your illness use them as fuel for reasons you should give up or continue with bad patterns. If you are in/or have been in recovery then you know these voices all too well. The ones in your head that tell you things like, “well you’ve already restricted at breakfast and ruined a good day so you might as well keep going…” When in reality you need to combat these thoughts with things such as, “yes I restricted at breakfast, but it’s lunch now, it’s a new meal, and I can’t change the past but the day isn’t over, I can do my best right now to get all my food in.” Accepting the slip, and moving on from it positively.

This post was a little of me rambling but it’s a topic I felt like discussing because it’s something that’s true to my own situation. Im guilty of having a very negative mentality after slipping up and have had to work very hard at staying on track after a slip. At the end of the day I have been successful thus far at continuing to always chose recovery but it is not always easy. Especially when old habits start to surface, learning to get back on track before a slip becomes a slide is imperative.

In conclusion, I think working with a slip rather than against it will help you bounce back from it. It’s important to forgive yourself, accept your temporary lapse in recovery, and actively chose to get back up and keep fighting. Don’t hide your slips or feel ashamed, they happen to all of us at some point in time, and reaching out for support will only benefit you.

Something I heard once that I’ve always held dear to me in recovery that I like to tell my self is, “Bad days build better days.” And boy is that ever true.

Dealing With Change

The past five years of my life change has been non stop. My parents splitting up, moving away from home to university, entering treatment for an eating disorder, moving to Australia, and of course having a baby. I mean really, what else could life throw at me?

Prime example of how change can be positive, look at the beautiful pumpkin who’s now blessed my life

At some point in your life whether you like it or not, things will change. Regardless of big or small, change can be very hard to deal with.

I used to hate change and tend not to cope well at all with any little change and especially not big changes. But learning to better deal with change has been very beneficial to me. I no longer get super anxious when things don’t work out as planned and am more accepting of new ideas instead of being so negative.

In this post I will give you my top tips on how to deal with the inevitable; change.

1. Recognise the Change

This may sound silly but before accepting or dealing with changes head on, you need to acknowledge the change.

2. Accept your Feelings

Change is not always easy or positive. Don’t avoid your emotions, listen to how you feel. Accept your feelings and become self aware of them. By doing this you allow yourself to understand and manage your emotions.

3. Create a Positive Mantra

Having things change that you have no control over is hard. But something I find helpful is to create a positive mantra to constantly reassure myself with. An example of one would be;

“I can get through this. It’s not my fault things change, but I will keep an open mind.”

4. Reach out

Going through changes are hard and sometimes very overwhelming. Never feel like you need to go through it alone. Reach out to friends and family to talk, vent, or just to get your mind off things. You’d be amazed to find when you reach out for help how actually helpful it can be. Often times we get into the mindset that we’re the only ones who deal with or feel a certain way but in reality a lot of the feelings we have and situations we encounter are more common than we think and by talking about them with like minded people it can be very helpful to put our mind at ease!

5. Only YOU control YOU

Lastly but most importantly keep in mind that the only person who controls you is you. Although everything around you is changing and life may feel like it’s upside down, you are the only person who controls the way you deal with things and how you react to situations. As hard as it may be try your best not to let the change in your life control you.

Those are the tips I have for you, and hopefully you find one or all of them helpful!

But in all honestly as many tips as I can give, everyone deals with change differently. Try to keep a positive outlook and think about all the good things that come from change. I mean think about it, if things in life never changed imagine where society would be today (oh boy…)