Monthly Archives: October 2015

Core Beliefs and Self Esteem.

Do you really know who you are? I bet you do! You’re you – you live your life and nobody else can do it for you, right?

I really thought I knew everything there was to know about myself until last week. Talking with someone who knows psychology and who can spot traits and behaviours a mile off is one of the most refreshing things I have experienced to date. I’ve told her pretty much everything there is to know about me and after a few sessions she tells me this – “your core beliefs are shattering your self-esteem.” Those few words just seemed to change everything.

In hindsight it all adds up. Life experiences, daily events, troubles I’ve had – they’ve all been greatly influenced by poor core beliefs; feeling like I’m not good enough and can never be good enough. Now that has been established and I am being shown how to repair those beliefs, I feel like I can ‘cut myself some slack’ and move forward. Of course old habits die hard and sometimes you have to remember the things you’ve learned, but overall there’s that sense of empowerment. Being more in control of your emotions and seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Do you think negatively about yourself on a regular basis? Do you set yourself high standards that you can’t reach and then brand yourself a failure for not reaching them? Taking care of your emotional and mental health will help you to see that you ARE good enough, and it will help you to set realistic and achievable goals that you will have no trouble reaching. It could be something as simple as making sure you do an hour of housework instead of 3 hours – unless you live in a mansion with an east and west wing, it’s highly unlikely you’ll take 3 hours doing the bulk of your work. By setting that higher target, and with low self esteem, you’ll stress yourself out to a point that you may not even get half an hour’s worth of work done. It’s also about remembering that NOBODY is perfect. We can strive for perfection all we want, but we’ll never get there! Strive for your best and accept that.

I have attached a link to a website all about identifying and changing core beliefs. If your self esteem is at an all time low and you think very poorly of yourself for whatever reason, I recommend you have a look. And if anything rings true, please ask for help. It’s time you took control and started believing in yourself again. You are just as good as everyone else; no better and no worse. I’ll be working on it too, right alongside you, so don’t be afraid to contact me for support 😉

Love,
N x

http://pathwaytohappiness.com/writings_falsebeliefs.htm

World Mental Health Day 2015

As the heading says, it’s World Mental Health Day!!!! In my opinion, EVERY day should be W.M.H.D.

If we want to break the stigma once and for all, there should be a LOT more campaigns to raise awareness on a much more regular basis. There are some amazing charities out there (Pieta House, Samaritans, Cycle Against Suicide etc.) who put so much time and effort into campaigning & regularly helping vulnerable people, but when they’re up to their eyes and low on funds, what more can we do?

There are so many charity events running throughout the year – cycles, walks, mini-marathons, full marathons, 10Ks etc. – all prime opportunities for you to contact one of the mental health charities for a sponsor pack. By wearing their t-shirt with pride and raising much needed funds for them, you’re not only a walking/running/hobbling advertisement for the charity but you’re aiding them financially too. It’s so easy for us to take their services for granted, but what we must remember is that without financial contributions they just couldn’t afford to exist.

On a more personal level, we should all try to reach out to those who we suspect might be going through a tough time. They might not be ‘obviously’ depressed, or want to admit it, but just having a chat with them and showing genuine concern might just lead to an admission. Just letting them air their ‘woes’ and confide in you could be all it takes for them to feel a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. Acknowledging their mood is low could be the first steps they need in order to gain the confidence to approach their GP for professional advice. Small, caring gestures have the potential to save lives, or at least improve the quality of lives.  Don’t you want to be involved?

I remember the first time I told someone other than immediate family & friends that I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression; I almost whispered it because I was too embarrassed to say it out loud, and even though the lady was lovely, I couldn’t help but think that she was going to judge me. Looking back to that day makes me cringe a little, because I wish I’d stood there and said “you know what, I’ve been diagnosed with Depression and finally it all makes sense. I’m glad I’m getting the proper treatment now.”

I understand entirely that every individual case of Depression is unique. No two people will cope the same, or suffer at the same level – that’s only natural as we all live separate lives. I also understand that some people have had extremely terrible experiences in their lives that have either ‘brought on’ depression, or have triggered it at various stages and some people have it ‘under control’ without medication but require some help every once in a while. There are so many variations that have one common denominator – they have the same illness.

Please, please, reach out today & every day if you can. If there’s someone acting ‘out of character’, ring them or arrange to meet up. A friendly smile & a listening ear (and of course a good strong cuppa) could be just what they need right now.

If you’re one of those people who’s feeling ‘blue’, and doesn’t know who to turn to, just call someone you trust. Tell them as much as you feel comfortable telling them and see how that makes you feel. Letting it all fester inside you isn’t good for your emotional wellbeing and there are people who want to help you. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to family or friends just yet then make an appointment with your GP and he or she will provide you with the care you need.

Remember too, I may be a stranger but I can try my best to help you too. I’m not qualified on paper, but I’ve been dealing with my own struggles for long enough & will try to offer the best advice I can.

Big hugs to anyone who could really do with one today….. xoxoxoxoxoxox

Do Your Best; Baby Steps Is All It Takes…

Ok, so it’s been a very long time since I was able to run for any more than a few minutes at a time. I think I was 11, in all honesty. I was really good at it too, until my hormones found my weak spot (junk food) and that was the end of that. In P.E. classes I’d make excuses not to get involved in anything too physical, which, considering the main gist of the class was to BE physical, meant I was ‘on my period’ or ‘not feeling great’ pretty much every other week. I did like dance & aerobics though, so I wasn’t a total lazy moo! 😀

Fast forward approximately 18 years. Today, I discovered that I’m not as fit as I was in May/June of this year. Back then, there’s no way you’d call me fit, but I was able to walk 10km for charity in just under 1 hour 45 minutes! I’ve been walking regularly all this time and don’t usually have a problem with distance walking, so I figured it was time to push myself to what I consider the next level – ‘Couch to 5K’. I got my feet, legs & knees assessed on this fancy gait measuring machine on Tuesday (I’m pretty sure it has an official technical name) then bought great running shoes that are the correct fit for my feet (Asics GT2000 if you’re curious to know) 😀 They feel AMAZING! Now, I have a little bit of healing to do as I have fallen arches and I’ve done some damage by wearing completely flat shoes all the time, but once the foot is properly healed there’ll be no stopping me!

Anyway, back on topic – earlier I got myself all ready for my first ‘Couch to 5K’. I was motivated and ready to get started. The app on my phone told me to begin with a 5 minute warm up walk. That was perfect. Beautiful weather & no other humans around so I felt a little bit more confident. Then the app told me to run for 1.5 minutes. Wellllllllll, I did about 10-15 seconds of that run and I realised I was fooling myself. I also realised I needed some added support in that area where women generally need extra support… I had set out with every intention of running for 1.5 minutes and walking for 1 minute, repeatedly for 15 minutes, but realised within those opening seconds that I had my priorities all wrong and I’d set my standards too high, too soon. Everything was burning – throat, calf muscles, knees, the foot that’s meant to be healing… So I hobbled home with my proverbial ‘tail between my legs’ and re-evaluated the situation.

I mentioned that I’m not as fit as I was earlier in the year – I’d say I’m approximately 8-10 pounds heavier than I was then. What I need to do (for myself – everyone tackles this issue differently) is focus solely on my nutrition and wellbeing for the next few weeks. Of course I’ll continue with my brisk walks with the dog, but all AT MY OWN PACE! Once I’ve got my diet sorted (healthy, low GI where possible – NOT FAD!), I’ll feel better in myself knowing that I’m being good to my body. Hopefully I will lose the weight I have gained and then when I’m lighter I’ll rethink my ‘Couch to 5K’ goals. There’s no point in me pushing myself beyond what my body & mind can cope with. I want to do this to help myself not only physically, but mentally & emotionally too. By setting standards beyond my reach, and seeking perfection, I won’t last long and will end up adopting all the unhealthy habits that got me here in the first place.

I’ve also been learning, since seeing my CBT therapist, that low moods affect my eating issues – so when I’m not feeling anxious or depressed, I’m more mindful of my food choices. This past few weeks have been difficult for me regarding anxiety, so needless to say,  I’m a textbook case of an emotional over-eater. It’s amazing the things you learn about yourself when you’re in a room with a qualified professional. It seems so obvious now, but when you’re stuck in your own little bubble and don’t know how to cope, it’s refreshing to get their slant on it and suddenly it all makes sense!

If anyone would like some advice about where to start with seeking help, please don’t be afraid to contact me. Remember – “Excellence is not being the best; it is doing your best”

Lotsa Love

It’s OK Not to Feel OK <3

Have you ever tried so hard to be good at something, or to feel positive about life in general, but no matter how hard you try you just feel broken inside like nothing you do or say will ever be good enough? Like you could have all the money/looks/material possessions etc. in the world but it doesn’t change a thing?
I wonder how many people are actually aware of their feelings and what they mean? Can you recognise the signs in others? Awareness & self-awareness is so important if we are to look after ourselves and others properly.
With the huge stigma surrounding depression and other mental health problems, so many of us are too embarrassed or ashamed to admit we’re not feeling the best. We’re so concerned about what others will think of us that we tend to do our utmost to paint on a brave face, smile like we haven’t got a care in the world, then fall apart once we’re back in the ‘safety’ and privacy of our own homes.
We aren’t being true to ourselves. We’re creating a façade and giving a false impression to others that all is ‘fine & dandy’ in our world. But you know that old saying “misery loves company”? I think we’re of a generation who are afraid to look glum or even complain about something as small as a headache in case people whisper behind our backs about how miserable and unhappy we are. We just can’t win! As difficult as it might feel, maybe it would be better for you to be open. Tell people that you’re feeling low. They’re generally more sympathetic than you realise when they know what the problem is, and you’re not just a “moody so ‘n so”. More often than not, you’ll actually open up to someone and discover that they are actually going through something similar, or have overcome something similar to what you’re going through. Automatically you have a connection and someone who you know won’t judge you or treat you like a second class citizen just because you’re battling a mental illness.

Please try it. If you’re a ‘closet’ depression/anxiety/other mental illness sufferer, PLEASE talk to someone. You are so worth it, and remember – “It’s OK Not to Feel OK”.

❤ ❤ ❤

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall…

Many of us dread walking past mirrors in shops, at certain times of the month or even week. We might feel bloated or may even have gained a few pounds after a very undisciplined weekend (let’s face it – we do tend to relax a little at the weekends; it takes a certain steely determination to stick rigidly to a healthy eating plan!).

The mirror is rather unforgiving, as is the camera. It determines how we view ourselves and can often determine our mood for the day. I have often thought I was doing well with a weight loss plan and expected to look a bit trimmer, only to see a photo someone had taken of me and be transported straight back to reality!!! Or when you know what you look like in your own mirror and then pass one in a shop and feel you look half a stone heavier – It can be soooo disheartening!!

When that happens, you can react 2 ways;

  1. Feel sorry for yourself & adopt the attitude of “I’ve been trying so hard and it’s just not showing!” so resume bad habits and eat all around you – leading to inevitable weight gain, or;
  2. Think to yourself “OK, so it’s still not visible that I’ve lost any weight, but that’s ok. I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing because I HAVE been feeling healthier and guilt-free with my healthier food choices. It’s already starting to pay off, whether I can see it or not.”

I’ll be entirely honest with you – my general reaction is normally number 1. I’m the kind of person who goes for a long walk, drinks 2 litres of water and expects to have lost 2lbs the following day. So unrealistic and part of the reason why I ditched my weighing scales! Obsessing over numbers is so unhealthy if you have any form of disordered eating. The jury is out at the moment as to whether weekly weighing is recommended for ED sufferers due to that obsession. My therapist tells me once a week is sufficient, yet some people on a Facebook support group are very much ‘anti-weighing’. They say that using the scales trigger negative behaviours, period. I would say it’s a matter of personal preference and wouldn’t push either opinion on anyone; you have to do what works for you without any form of setback.

Totally off-topic, where has the sun gone??? I bet it’s havin’ a blast over in Dublin while us westies put up with maximum cloud cover! Pffft! At least the sky ain’t leaking 😉

Well the dog’s gonna take me for a walk now. That’s the joy (one of many) of having her; she needs it just as much as I do! Afterwards I’ll make my own version of a BLT sandwich. I’ve no tomatoes…

Peace, love & positive vibes for the day

xxx

Thursday Blues?

I never have Monday blues ‘cos I’m a saddo who loves going into Donegal town for my childcare course! Ha! So when the school week (Mon-Wed) is over I kinda feel stuck. I have a new steamer that my fantastic in-laws bought us for our anniversary, so I’m tempted to steam the whole house 😀

My food today has been fairly basic – I had aldi malted Wheaties for breakfast with some pukka cinnamon tea, some blueberries & fat free yoghurt for my morning snack & ham, mixed leaves & coleslaw sandwiches for lunch. I feel like I’m missing something though. This is a bad time for me because if I don’t stop and think about what I’m doing then I could quite easily mess up my day by eating too much of the wrong things…

What do you do when you feel like that? How do you stop yourself from messing up a perfectly good day? I think the best thing for me to do is pop the harness on the pooch and take her for a good 4K walk. The weather here is gorge, so why waste it?? I’ll have a pint of water when I get back and that’ll give my body the feeling that I’m full {I Hope}

Time to cheer up & move my butt!

An Intro For You… :)

Ah, here goes! I’m so excited to start this blog! I’ve been following the wonderful fitness blogger Momfitnessdiary for a couple of months now and I’ve been so inspired by her nutrition tips and motivation for fitness. She’s on her own journey, like so many of us, and has achieved so much to date! I feel that now I need to explain my slant on the whole nutrition/weight loss ‘thing’ because it’s not the ‘norm’. I’ve thought a lot about whether I should actually be open about it and I’ve come to the conclusion that, yes, I’m not on my own. It’s nothing to ashamed of, yet a lot of people don’t want to talk openly about it because there’s still a huge stigma attached to eating disorders/disordered eating (there is a difference, believe it or not!) I feel that by sharing my journey and the struggles I face around food on a daily basis, I might just be able to help a handful of people who feel lost, or at their wits’ end because no diet seems to work for them! Yo-yo dieting is never going to work, because a yo-yo will always come back up…just think about that for a second!

So, backwards as ever, I’ll introduce myself now! I’m Nicole (I respond to Nic and occasionally Nicola too) and I’ve just turned 30. I’ve struggled with my weight for about 12 years but I know that my bad eating habits have been there most of my life. Some of my earliest memories include staying with my grandparents and helping myself to ice-cream for breakfast. Yup, breakfast. I was up early & they were up late so it was always a kind of free-for-all when I was there. Thinking back, that’s when I learned how to be sneaky with food. Quickly and quietly getting what I wanted, eating it & hiding the evidence before anyone else saw.

I guess, looking back, I was just lucky that I wasn’t an overweight child – it was as if I woke up the day I turned 18 and discovered extra rolls of fat. I was always quite bored and lonely so food & the telly were my best friends. That habit and relationship has stuck with me, along with the excess weight and all the nasty stuff that comes along with it. My behaviour with food and sneakiness has gotten progressively worse over the past 5-6 years. My husband didn’t have any idea what was happening because I was so good at hiding the food and disposing of the evidence. I perfected the art of sneakery. That’s so not a word so I’m claiming it as my own! 😀

I read about EDs at Bodywhys.ie when my husband came home one day and told me he’d heard a radio interview where this woman was talking about her problems; he said she sounded just like me (I’d only just told him about my behaviours so it was pretty fresh in his mind). I sought help with my GP and was referred to an Eating Disorders Therapist. That was 2 years ago and she helped a bit, but not enough. I think she was more experienced with Anorexia & Bulimia Nervosa, so having a 28 year old who couldn’t stop eating cr@p was like a new thing for her! I saw her for 3 months and managed to gain 11lbs over that time. Go me!!

Now I’m seeing a CBT therapist and she is AMAZING! She keeps me grounded when I feel like giving up. She talks me through my negative thoughts and HELPS me see where they’re coming from and how I can look at things differently. She’s also helped me see that low moods & anxiety trigger emotional eating. It sounds simple when I say it like that, like Duh, but when you tackle the moods, and PLAN AHEAD, the eating kinda looks after itself.

Mental Health Issues NO LONGER HAVE A STIGMA ATTACHED. Of course there are small minded people out there but don’t mind them! ASK FOR HELP! You are NOT alone…xxx

This blog will cover my journey – the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I want to raise awareness for Binge Eating, Overeating & Other Eating Disorders.

I’m also hoping this will help me as an individual. I’ve got about 6-7 stone to lose and I need inspiration too. I don’t weigh myself at home as I’m obsessive about the numbers and I don’t follow weight loss groups/fad diets as they trigger emotional eating and relapses. I’m not a gym member as the feeling of being the ‘fat girl among skinnies’ is too overwhelming for me at the moment, so I pound the roads with my darling dog and do my own interval exercises at home. Maybe when I feel a bit better I’ll take on the gym, but for now I’m doing what feels right for me.

I’d love to hear from any of you who are currently struggling. Either with anxiety/depression or weight issues. I want to help as best I can. Xx