Thoughts on Self-Harm

You guys know that I work at Starbucks, right?¬† 80% of my costumers seem to be young women, ages 12-20.¬† Seriously.¬† If you are a young guy looking for cute girls, get a job at Starbucks.¬† You’ll be inundated.

In addition to seeing the latest in makeup and clothing trends (high-waisted bottoms-¬†wwhhyyy???!!) I’ve also noticed a disturbing trend…

I see so, so many young women bearing the scars of self-harm.  It brings tears to my eyes, even now, thinking about it.  All the scars on such young skin; outward evidence of a terrible inward pain. Image result for self-harm

I’ll be totally honest and admit that I experimented with self-harm as a teen too.¬† Thankfully that period didn’t last long and my mom took me to get most of the scars lasered off.¬† I¬†know¬†what it is like to be that depressed, that mired in self-hatred.¬† The worst thing about it is the hopelessness.¬† You don’t want to do anything to improve your situation because you just can’t see how anything could possibly help.¬† How it could ever possibly get better.

What I would say to those girls, is that it can and does get better.  You will not always be suffocated in the darkness in your own mind.

So much of that is dealing with hormones and the horrors of public school!¬† Trying to fit in when your are struggling with serious depression, low self-worth, problems at home, etc.- it’s a complete nightmare.

Things get so much better when you get out of school and realize that you are¬†not¬†the labels people may have put on you.¬† You¬†don’t¬†have to continue to invest in toxic relationships.¬† You can just be *you*.

I always felt very strongly that I could and should overcome my depression naturally.¬† And I have.¬† I’m not “knocking” medication.¬† I really do believe some people need it.¬† Maybe for a season, maybe for life.¬† But it is possible to overcome depression through lifestyle changes.

I used to have constant heart palpitations and anxiety.  It was so bad that a doctor put me on a blood thinner at only 17.  It took me years to realize that it was the artificial sweeteners I was ingesting that was throwing off my heart rhythm and keeping me in a constant state of uneasiness.  I stopped my 3-4 cans of diet coke daily habit and the heart issues disappeared.

I also eventually realized that sugar was keeping me on a horrible roller coaster ride of emotions.  With my blood sugar up, I felt happy and energetic.  But then would come the crash; irritability, anger, depression.  Going through that cycle every single day made me feel crazy and out of control.

You can not isolate brain/emotional health from your overall physical health.  Especially if you, like me, are naturally prone to depression or anxiety.  You really need to employ every trick in the natural health handbook.

You need to treat your body with love and respect.¬† You need to talk to yourself like you would talk to a close friend.¬† No berating or shaming.¬† When you start to feel a tidal wave of depression rising up, do your best to fight it and stave it off with positive thinking.¬† It’s sounds really simple, but it works.¬† When I start feeling those old feelings trying to pull me down, I will start listing off things that I am grateful for.¬† I will focus on the good things in my life.¬† I just don’t go there; that dead end of despair and discouragement.

The opposite of hurting yourself is investing in yourself.¬† Building yourself up.¬† You can do that literally or figuratively.¬† I was the girl that was terrified of gaining weight and wouldn’t lift heavier than 5#.¬† Now I strength train 2-3 times a week and¬†love it.¬†¬†You don’t have to lift weights, but find a form of movement that brings you joy.¬† There is just no feeling of being alive like pushing your body physically.¬† There is ever-growing¬†evidence¬†that exercise is just as, or even more; effective than drugs for depression.¬† Even getting out for a walk in nature can do absolute wonders.

If you are doing what you can to take care of your body, so many things will get better on their own.¬† I wouldn’t have the audacity to say that unless I had lived it out.¬† I came out of very severe depression to a life that isn’t perfect, but¬†is meaningful and joyful.¬†¬†The things I have been through have shaped who I am, in a positive way.¬† Would I be the person I am today had I not had to fight my way out of the darkness?¬† I don’t think so.¬† It may seem dark now, but I promise, you will get to the point where you can look back and see beauty and meaning in the journey. Image result for overcome

Please don’t give up.¬† Decide, right now, that you will never intentionally harm yourself again.¬† That you will be brave and get through this with your chin up.¬† You will, I promise.

So much love, Sierra

 

 

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Weighted Vest Vlog

Hey guys!  In this vlog I talk about my last day of freeeeedommm!! 

Also, the benefits of wearing a weighted vest and cross training!

Are You Tracking?

If you are just starting out on keto, it is a good idea to track your macros.¬† But do you need to track every single food for the rest of your life?¬† I don’t think so.¬† I have the fitness pal app on my phone (right on my homescreen!!) but I only use it once in awhile.¬† I weigh in every few days and if I see my weight creeping up, or my jeans start feeling too snug; I will crack the proverbial whip.

Yesterday I tracked because I just wanted to see where I’m at with my macros in a typical day.¬† I tend to eat the same things over and over again so it would be a “snapshot” of how I’m doing.¬† I tried to eat normally, but the funny thing is; that extra accountability really has a way of cleaning things up!!¬† I also wanted to make sure that I was eating enough calories.¬† I will confess that I am just not a big eater.¬† Some nights “dinner” is wine and some veggies.¬† Short term calorie restriction is “ok” but long-term and you are absolutely tanking your metabolism.¬† I love the keto diet because you¬†don’t¬†need to starve yourself to see results.¬† If you do it right, you should be well nourished and still see the extra pudge melt away.

I didn’t peak at my macros until the end of the day. screenshot_20190529-083040_myfitnesspal7915952603268336665.jpg Lo and behold it was right on track.¬† I do a higher protein version of keto, not the more traditional 80% fat.¬† Higher protein is great for muscle sparing and metabolism-revving.¬† I lift weights and need that extra protein.

My calories came in around 2,000, which was more than I thought I was eating.  We typically underestimate our caloric intake.  On active days I think 2,000 is reasonable.  On more sedentary days it might be only 1,500.

I guess the moral of the story (or blog) is that keto really can become a very natural way of life.¬† There definitely is a challenging adjustment period.¬† But I’m at the point where eating this way is easy and second nature.

Yesterday I enjoyed buttery, cheesey eggs on a keto mug-bread muffin, peanut butter, dark chocolate, a bunless cheeseburger and a generous amount of Malbec.¬† ūüėȬ† I ate foods that I really enjoy and was able to stay within my optimal range for macros.

How about you?  Do you track your food or just kind of wing it?

 

Engage in Life

We have literally had¬†five consecutive months¬†of colder than average weather.¬† It’s been raining for days.¬† So when the clouds broke and the sun came out last night;¬†we were going to enjoy it!!!

We leashed up our dog, grabbed a water bottle, and went for a long walk.  The grass was so green.  The birds chirping so happily.  It was just this beautiful moment.  Absolutely criminal to not enjoy it.

We picked some wildflowers and saw a lot of bunnies.

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Baby Girl Stops to Smell the Flowers

We walked down to a popular lake to enjoy the bright evening light.  I sat on the warm sand and watched my son look for cool rocks along the shore.  Behind me was a parking lot where it is popular for people to park and enjoy the view.  292113169560020139170710.jpeg

I couldn’t help but notice a few people sitting in their cars.¬† I¬†also¬†couldn’t help but notice that every single one of them weren’t looking at the view.¬† They had their heads down, staring at the little screens on their laps.¬† I wasn’t about to snap a pic of them, so you’ll have to just trust me! ūüėČ

Look, I’m not judging.¬† I use a smart phone too.¬† Too often, I’m sure.¬† It’s a great tool, no doubt.¬† But we need to make sure that we are still making a point to¬†actively engage in life.¬†¬†Warm sand, a beautiful view, a gentle breeze….¬† It’s not the same from the inside of a car. 20190525_1428283687979261396195039.jpg

Advice for the day- shut off the screens!¬† Lace up your tennis and go engage in life!!¬† You’ll be glad that you did.

 

 

 

Keto: Long Haul

I started my keto journey January of 2018, so I’ve been at it for almost a year and a half.¬†¬†Definitely¬†not perfectly.¬† I’ve had long periods away, but¬†it is something I keep coming back to.

Speaking of going in and out of ketosis; it is ok.¬† You will actually gain metabolic flexibility as you regularly change up your diet.¬† I know I don’t suffer from “keto flu” anymore, ever.¬† My body seems to go easily in and out of ketosis.¬† It’s adapted and can go “with the flow”.

Why?¬† It works.¬† Keeping insulin low and ketones high is a great way to stay healthy, happy and lean.¬† Never mind what Jillian Michael’s says.¬† It may not be the best diet for¬†everyone,¬†but it is the best diet for¬†many.¬†

I remember really struggling with a few things early on.  Things that have naturally resolved.  First thing; keto breathe.  Good lord, that horrid ketone breath!!  Mine was so bad that I avoided kissing my husband unless I had just brushed my teeth.  It took quite awhile but it eventually went away.  Now I only get the tell-tale breath if I am deep in ketosis.  Like dark purple on a ketones pee-stick deep.  So, to newbies everywhere; there is hope!  Just stick it out and buy lots of xylitol gum until your body adapts.  And it will adapt!Image result for bad breath

Speaking of funky smells and ketones; can we address so-called “keto-crotch”?¬† I call bull$hit.¬† If anything, you will smell¬†better¬†because you aren’t feeding yeast that is so often behind a “funky” feminine odor.¬† No yeast, no smell.¬† Well, it may be a bit more complicated than that, but not by much.

Another thing is my anxiety about wanting to¬†do it the right way.¬†¬†I think I really did myself a disservice in getting way too wrapped up in wanting to do it right.¬† I put the opinions of “internet experts” ahead of my own.¬† I think that is ok, for a time.¬† Though it get’s old, fast.¬† There are so many ways to do keto.¬† Seriously.¬† If you are consistently in ketosis, you are following a keto diet.¬† It may be paleo, dairy free, vegetarian, whatever…it’s ok to customize it to your lifestyle.¬† If you find a style of “keto” that works for you,¬†you will be so much more likely to stick with it.¬†

I’ve been pretty consistent this past month and I am really enjoying the benefits.¬† My skin looks better than ever.¬† I feel so much less achiness due to inflammation.¬† I can tell my body is just¬†happier.¬†¬†

What benefits have you noticed from following a keto lifestyle?  Thanks for reading!

 

Biohacking, Fitbit & Sauna

I promised I was going to play around with my fitbit in the sauna to verify or “poo-oo” the claim that you can burn up to 600 calories.¬† I just did, and the results were interesting, to say the least.¬† 20190507_1247185115327417851559147.jpg

Upon first entering the sauna, my heart rate was around 65 BPM.¬† Within just a few minutes it was up to 79. I sat awhile longer and my heart rate got up to 110 and seemed to max out.¬† I then realized I should try kneeling on my bench in front of the heating panels.¬† That way I would have more close contact with the heating panels, absorbing much more of the heat. Plus the heat naturally rises to the top- so I’d be exposed to higher air temps.¬† Wow, wow, wow.¬† That made a¬†huge¬†difference.¬†¬†

My heart rate quickly shot up into the 150’s.¬† I started burning calories and sweating like crazy.¬† It was a much more intense experience.

Sometime soon after snapping this photo I thought to google “can I bring a fitbit into the sauna”.

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21 minutes in, following my “epiphany” ūüėȬ†

No.  The answer is no.  Dope!!

I didn’t want to destroy my new-ish fitbit, even for science.¬† I quickly chucked it out.

I am really glad I did bring it in though.¬† I don’t know if I would have discovered that kneeling on the bench makes the burn rate so much higher!

I’m in pretty good shape so to get my heart rate up into the cardio zone takes a lot.¬† Apparently kneeling in front of infrared heating panels will do it.¬† I calculated that for a woman my size, kneeling in the sauna for 30 minutes will burn 304 calories.¬† It may not sound like a ton until you realize that if I spent that time jogging I would only burn 202 calories!!¬† I think I’d much rather relax in the sauna!¬† It is the equivalent of doing a very intense workout.

So, yes, according to my results; you can burn a ton of calories (up to 600 in 30 minutes for an average sized man!) in the sauna.