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Is Fat-Free is Failing You?

I moved out of my parents’ house when I was nineteen, and out of poverty I got into the habit of raiding my mother’s pantry every time I went over for a visit. My mom is far from those extreme couponers with storage units packed full of free cans of Spam, but she can appreciate a good sale. Back in the day, I would “shop” her over-stock, always leaving with a purse full of goodies. Out of habit, I still check that pantry every now and again, and it’s dramatically different than my own.

You see, my mom entered the diet stage of her life (late teens) in the 80’s. At that time the government had endorsed a fat free diet, calling for a reduction in fatty meats due to a nationwide rise in cholesterol. My mom followed suit, trading butter for margarine, eggs for toast, and seeking out fat free dairy products. To this day, my mother has a hard time giving up her low fat lifestyle. I personally believe this is because the diet was endorsed during her nutrition formative years, and has been burned into her brain. Her choices are made out of habit and not due to any particular success with a low fat diet. That being said, her pantry content is heavy on the low fat granola bars, crackers and cereal. (A stark difference to my pork rinds, nuts and coconut oil.)

After the government endorsement the years progressed and we did not see the health benefits that low fat had promised. Obesity and diabetes numbers skyrocketed. At first we didn’t want to accept the truth, holding on to the thought that eating fat would increase body fat. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It has been proven that dietary fat is not a primary determinant of body fat, and lack of healthy fats are detrimental to metabolism.

Almost every function in your body requires fat. Dietary fats function as the building blocks of the body. On a cellular level they feed mitochondria (the powerhouse of a cell), strengthen membranes and help healthy gene expression. They carry essential vitamins (A, D, E and K) and aid in growth, development, healing, production of nails and hair, and are required for brain health. They are needed to lubricate the digestive system, protect vital organs, and increase heart health. Fats create healthier hormones, which in turn can balance mood, fertility and food cravings. They have been shown to decrease chances of miscarraige, learning and vision problems, and impaired kidney function. There are a ton of current studies showing improvement of osteoporosis, age – related memory loss, cognitive decline, macular degeneration, and multiple sclerosis. No wonder so many people are going Keto!

When fat is removed from your diet, it’s usually replaced with processed carbohydrates. Sugar and starch is used to compensate for the lack of taste and texture in fat free food. This is why the country saw a rise in type two diabetes during the fat free craze. (And almost no change in bad cholesterol as had been promised.) In turn, insulin resistance can stimulate hunger and cause fat storage- specifically holding on to belly fat.

Over the years I tried just about every diet out there. I spent a lot of time on Weight Watchers, which showed temporary progress in 2009 when I lost 50 pounds (only to end up regaining 103 pounds,) The most appealing aspect for WW was the theory that nothing is “off limits” as long as it fit into my daily point allowance. I found myself filling up on 100 calorie packs of cookies because they were less points than a handful of nuts or a serving of meat. This is why my regain was NOT surprising to my nutritionist years later. She explained that my initial loss was my body responding to a calorie deficit, but as my metabolism adjusted to my new caloric quantity I started to regain due to caloric quality. At some point the carbs in my “lite” bread and low calorie baked goods started to stick. From then on weight loss was super frustrating again. I just couldn’t lose the weight, partially due to still eating processed low fat/fat free items instead of whole foods.

I shudder to remember the years I spent eating “zero calorie spray butter” and margarine to avoid fat. I required a TON of it to even get a similar taste to real butter, and often found myself adding cheese and salt when I was still disappointed in the taste. Both are basically just a spoonful of chemicals, whereas butter is  naturally occurring from milk that is over churned. There is zero nutritional value in those items. They do not taste like, cook like or nourish like natural oils or butter. This also makes them less satisfying, increasing the chances you’ll need to add empty carbs like sugar, flour, or thickeners and often results in further consumption/snacking while seeking out something to “hit the spot.”

Fat has a bad reputation. As I said before, dietary fat is not a major contributor to body fat (unlike carbohydrates.) The trick is to eat natural fat that comes from seeds, nuts and protein. Generally if it comes from nature it’s a good fat, and if it’s processed you should avoid the product. Food labels can be deceiving, so your best bet is always to compare the nutrition facts. Remember that nothing in nutrition is ever ‘law,’ and there are small exceptions to everything. Eat whole foods like produce, meat and legumes. Use common sense. When in doubt consult a reliable information source, like your primary care provider or a nutritionist. 

Stay healthy. Stay kind.

Kate and the Kids

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a licensed nutritionist- but I have done a lot of research for this post. I speak only from my own experiences and success. My opinion is mine alone, not a representation of any specific medical community.

Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies

(these “cookies” are closer to the texture of a soft granola bar instead of the traditional oatmeal cookies.)

Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies

(these “cookies” are closer to the texture of a soft granola bar instead of the traditional oatmeal cookies.)

Yields: 15 cookies

1 cup instant oats

¾ cup flour1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

⅛ tsp salt

2 tbsp coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup agave or maple syrup

1 cup finely diced red apple (about 1 medium)

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.

 In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil or butter, egg, and vanilla.

 Stir in the agave or syrup. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. 

Fold in the apple. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops onto the prepared sheet, and flatten slightly. 

Bake at 325°F for 13-15 minutes. 

Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

enjoy!

Digging out of My Mental Clutter

I’ve been fighting a very deep, very intense battle with my mental health. I can easily admit that my depression is the absolute worst that it has been in my whole life. It has stolen so many things from me, including my blog. When I’m low I have no energy to jump on the computer, no creativity to come up with something to write, and no confidence to bare my soul to strangers.

I’m trying to help myself out of the darkness again, for the nine millionth time. I’m back on a schedule/routine to make sure I get the important tasks done, a healthy diet (to hopefully kick those 15 pounds that I just can’t seem to shake) and starting to see the light of spring at the end of the super dark, cold, winter tunnel.

My home gets overwhelmingly cluttered in the winter. With six people in the home and three dogs it seems like there is always something in my way.. Especially since we had to add an office area for the kids’ remote learning and a bowflex & stationary bike in lieu of my gym and Jacen’s Ehler’s-Danlos Synrome Physical Therapy.

The house clutter has my anxiety running on high. The ‘leaving the house’ clutter of layering up in the cold months sets off my sensory issues. The real issue is the clutter of my mind.

I’ve accumulated a few more mental health diagnoses since our last chat. They account for a good portion of the clutter, but not in the way you think. As strange as it is to say, especially for someone who is so supportive in the mentally ill community, I have a very difficult time accepting medical diagnoses. It always feels like they are a permanent label of who I am, and I worry the stigma they carry will affect the way people interact with me. I spend way too much time trying to hide what’s going on in my brain. As I’m fixated on fighting my labels or hiding my symptoms, the other things are ignored and problems start replicating like little brain bunnies. All of a sudden I realize I’ve forgotten appointments, tasks, or even just my own basic preferences. Last weekend I was zoned out as a passenger in a car. All of a sudden Mike is asking me how I want my coffee. I didn’t even realize we had pulled off the road and into the drive thru line. Even stranger, I couldn’t remember my own coffee order. (I drink several cups of coffee per day, so I felt REAL dumb.) I just spit out some jumble of words, then choked down one bitter AF coffee. I need a mental clean out.

I’m hoping coming back to my blog will help clear the clutter. I just need to get these things out of my brain, and if they’re written here I can let them go.

Today is my second good day in a row. (Prior to that, good days have been scarce since October.) I want to make the best of the positive time I have. Yesterday was a planning and organization day, today is a ‘purge the clutter’ day. I can’t do the whole house in one day, quit wearing layers in the dead of winter or permanently clear my mind of thoughts that don’t “spark joy,” but I’m dead set on heading in that direction.

Glad to have you along for the ride,

Kate.

Tasty Tuesday- BBQ Cauliflower (Vegan)

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

¾ cup BBQ sauce

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 450˚F

Cut the head of cauliflower into bite-sized florets

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Spread cauliflower florets on the baking sheet.

 Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove florets from the oven and toss with BBQ sauce.

Return florets to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes until browned.

Enjoy!

Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Stay Well.

Kate and the Kids

Tasty Tuesday – Roasted Chickpeas (vegan)

INGREDIENTS

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons of hidden valley ranch powder

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 400°F.

Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Open the cans of chickpeas and pour the chickpeas into a strainer in the sink. Rinse thoroughly under running water.

Dry the chickpeas. Pat the chickpeas very dry with a paper towel. Remove any chickpea skins that come off while drying, but otherwise don’t worry about them.

Toss the chickpeas with olive oil and salt. Spread the chickpeas out in an even layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Stir  to make sure the chickpeas are evenly coated.

Roast the chickpeas for 20 to 30 minutes. Roast, stirring the chickpeas or shaking the pan every 10 minutes.

Toss the chickpeas with the ranch powder and stir to coat evenly. 

Enjoy!

Stay safe. Stay Well. Stay healthy.

Kate and the Kids

Tasty Tuesday- Recipe for Tomato Gazpacho (vegan recipe)

Ingredients 

6 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1⁄2 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, cut into quarters

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped

1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar

1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

Instructions:

Place green and red bell pepper, cucumber, and onion pieces into a food processor.

Add all tomatoes and garlic..

Process until smooth.

Reserve half of the vegetable mixture in a large bowl. Pour the other half through a fine strainer in batches, pushing to extract the juice into a smaller bowl. Discard the pulp.

Add the juice to the vegetable mixture and mix together, adding olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Chill for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld together.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Well.

Kate and the Kids

5 Tips to your Best Power Nap

Sometimes I over-do my daily nap, especially when the depression is really bad. On normal or good days though, power naps renew my patience and mood. This is especially helpful for the “dinner rush” when everyone seems to be busy, needy, grumpy and ‘hangry.’ Napless evenings tend to be more stressful for everyone, and my family is famous for responding to the stress by saying “sorry, I’m just tired. I pulled an all-dayer today.” I’ve made it a routine to get my self-care nap almost every day so I can walk into the battle of dinner time as prepared as possible. Since I’m now a professional napper, here are my tips to make the most of your power nap!

5. Choose the right place.

It may be tempting to crawl back into bed- especially in the winter- but reserving the bed  specifically for  nighttime sleep has been shown to provide better quality overnight sleep. Instead, opt for the couch or easy chair.. Or if you’re lucky, on a beach towel in the summer.

4. Make your nap space distraction- free. 

Since you’re making the most out of a mere 20-30 minutes, make them quality minutes. Choose a quiet space that’s cool and comforting. Avoid spaces with blue screen lights such as TVs, computer monitors and cell phones.

3. Timing.

The best time of day to nap is between noon and 3pm. (for a typical bedtime of 10p-midnight.) Sleeping after 3pm can hinder your ability to fall asleep at night.

2. Length.

The ideal power nap is 20-30 minutes. Set an alarm, and resist the temptation to snooze. Naps longer than 30 minutes can put you into a deep sleep, making it harder to wake and rendering the nap counter productive.

1. Caffeine.

Most caffeine, like a cup of coffee, takes about 20 minutes to kick in. Having a cup of joe right before your power nap will give you an extra boost when you wake up.

Take some self care time to recharge today. If you aren’t able to nap, try a short meditation podcast or some mindful breathing- anything to rest and restore to get you through your afternoon.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay well.

Nap responsibly.

Kate and the Kids

Protection or Projection?

Growing up I had four girls who lived on my block and were in my grade. “Fair weather friends” is an extremely generous term to give them. 90% of the time they were absolutely awful to me, but I kept chasing their friendship because that 10% of goodness meant the world to me. 

Historically September was the worst. Every year when school started the girls left a summer friendship behind, and turned into little monsters. It could mean a great morning at the bus stop, laughing and being friends. Then just moments later we would be on the bus. They would put their feet up on the seat so I had nowhere to sit. The bus driver would yell at me to sit down, and I would just panic on the inside. There is no where to sit, and on top of that my friends are being mean. I’m so confused and upset. Stop yelling at me. 

I specifically remember this happening on one very rainy day. Everyone was fine sitting in the car, listening to music and staying out of the storm. When the bus pulled up, they pulled their normal shit. Every seat had a wet, muddy foot on it. 

I panicked, and tried to make myself feel small. I picked a seat that was least covered, and tried to take up the least amount of room possible. When I sat down, this boy made a “booom” sound as if my fat butt had crashed right through the seat. All the girls laughed with him. He then spent the rest of the ride digging his muddy shoes into my thigh, staining my jeans and sweater. I moved as close to the edge as I could to give him space. He kept the pressure against my leg constantly, and when the bus driver wasn’t looking he used all of his lower body strength to kick me off the seat. I fell into the aisle. Mud now covered the entire length of my backside, and everyone was snickering. The bus driver just yelled at me to get out of the aisle. 

The school year for my son is supposed to start at the end of the month, but our town has not released their covid plan yet. I’ve asked my son every single day if he will just agree to the full time distance learning and stay home with me. Every single time he tells me he wants to see his friends. 

I’ve been blaming covid for wanting to keep him home. He is immunocompromised from his Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and I don’t trust the other kids at school to be responsible with their hygiene and masks. Every day that school gets closer, the more time I spend worrying about it. 

I realized this morning that covid is only part of my hesitation. Jacen is already getting help for his anxiety disorder, and we’ve had so much trouble with bullies in the past. He even had a child from school taunting him over Xbox live, telling him to kill himself. Like me, Jacen insists these people are his friends and they just made a little mistake. He continues to forgive them time and time again. 

It’s abuse. I was in an abusive relationship with my best friends, and I see Jacen doing the same. We let people make us the victim because we don’t have the strength to just walk away and stand on our own. We let the cycle continue because we just want to be a normal kid- to pretend we have people who care about us, to pretend we fit in. I want more than anything to stop Jacen from feeling this way, feeling like he isn’t worth the little sliver of an edge of a bus seat.  He is worthy of space. Worthy of existing. So was I – but that didn’t stop little bullies from making me feel otherwise. 

For months I’ve been telling myself that keeping Jacen home would be PROTECTING, but I realized today it’s more so PROJECTING. I’m so afraid that Jacen will be tortured like I was, and I would love to just avoid the situation all together. 

Ultimately the choice is Jacen’s. That is, within whatever the school district offers. I’ll be so relieved if he stays home – for so many reasons – but I can’t keep him isolated forever. 

I’m asking the parents out there- do you protect or project? What reasons are you considering when choosing remote or in person schooling? And finally, is there anything from YOUR past that makes you fearful for your own children?

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Write them in the comment section or send your voice memos to katefasci@gmail.com

Wash your hands. Wear a face covering. Socially distance. 

Stay healthy. Stay mindful. 

Kate and the Kids

Move that booty!

Exercise is a huge part of overall heath. Moving your body has physical, emotional, and sometimes even social benefits!

Grab a friend and a bottle of water, and move for at least 30 minutes. Don’t know where to start? Take the dog for a walk, try an exercise video off YouTube, or bring the kids outside for a game of basketball.

If you need something more specific, try my HIIT workout! (High intensity interval training) This is my actual workout for today! I’d love to hear some feedback if you try it!

Do thirty seconds of each exercise, with a one minute rest between sets. You can also count 10-15 reps per exercise with a quick water break between sets!

Warm up:

Vigorous side step or power walking (5 minutes)

Set 1:

Cross body standing high knees

Pull downs

Bent rows

Rear shoulder squeeze 

Set 2:

Vigorous steps 

Side lunges (back and forth/both sides)

Squats

Kick backs 

Set 3: (laying down)

Seated row

Bridge

Leg lift left

Leg lift right

Set 4:

Mountain climbers

Leg curl (alternating legs)

Leg extension left

Leg extension right

Cool down with an easy walk or mild yoga

Whatever you choose, just make sure to move your body!

Track your food. Drink your water. Move your body.

Wash your hands. Socially distance. Wear a face covering.

Stay safe and healthy!

Kate and the Kids

Keep a distance of six feet. Wear a face covering. Wash your hands. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.

Just a reminder to use good hygiene practices during this pandemic. My immunocompromised child thanks you for your cooperation!

My Office is Clean Today- Quick, Blog While We Can!

Today I ran into someone I used to go to school with. I pulled my hat down a little and covered as much of my face as I could with my mask. I had every intention of darting down the next aisle, and getting lost among the other Target shoppers. Nope, it never works the way you want it to. Leave it to my beautiful Anna and her easily recognizable face.

They called me out. I was hoping a wave from a six foot social distance would suffice, but of course they came over to see the girls. LUCKY for me, I had just walked 7 miles at the canal in 88 degree heat, so I smelled FANTASTIC. I was living my literal worst nightmare. 

At one point she said, “Hey, do you still write on your blog? I see the stuff you share, but I haven’t seen you write in a long time.” She speaks the truth. It’s so easy to click and repost someone else’s content, but I just haven’t been able to write my own.

So, where have I been? Try to imagine the lowest, deepest, darkest hole you can think of. I mean absolute rock bottom. Well, I’ve been about three floors below that. The depression has been so heavy. I’m overwhelmed by everything, even the simplest of tasks. I spend most days in bed, hiding behind my light-blocking curtains, ignoring my phone notifications, and imagining I’m somewhere else. Someone else. I have so much hate for myself that I just don’t want to be me anymore.

Once again I have hid my desk under a pile of clutter, then I tell myself it’s too much work to clean it all up just to blog. I feel so dumb blogging. Who even reads this stuff? Is it just for me? Is it worth the effort? I get overwhelmed and go back to bed. Repeat for four months.

In reality, I DO need to blog. Who cares how many followers I have? It’s for me. I need to get this stuff off my chest and set it free. In the stay at home mom world, there aren’t many tasks make me feel accomplished. Blogging does that. Finishing a task start to finish, then sharing it for anyone else to read- it brings me pride. It makes me hate myself a little bit less, and it seems like I could use every single little ‘bit’ I can find.

I’m inconsistent with just about everything. I could blame it on my bipolar disorder, or how busy the kids keep me. Those things might contribute to it, but at the core it’s just me. It’s me choosing laziness and giving into my depression. 

My apathy caught up with me today, as it always does. You see, this past week has been my lowest, hardest week. I ignored my texts, calls, messages and e-mails – so I missed an important message from my Doctor. I also missed a Facebook message from a dear friend asking for a simple video wishing someone Happy Birthday. I never made the appointments I was supposed to schedule, never did the things I was supposed to do. Well, there’s a deadline for everything. I wasn’t part of the birthday video because I couldn’t get my shit together. I’m in danger of running out of my meds because my doctor can’t refill them until we set up an appointment. I’m suffering with my vitamin deficiencies because I can’t pick up the phone and schedule an infusion. I’m the conductor of my own train wreck. Choo choo.

I’d love to enthusiastically celebrate that I’m back to writing and I have a ton of great health tips to share- but I just can’t promise that. I haven’t even been able to use my own health advice, so should I really be giving it out to others? Regardless, oftentimes the first step is the hardest, so let’s hope this starts a chain reaction of awesome blog content!

Thanks to everyone who has loved and supported me through my dark days. If you’re in the depression pit just know you’re not alone. I’m cheering for you, even if it’s from the bottom of my own pit. Better days will come, especially if we stick together and encourage one another.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. 

Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Socially distance. 

Kate

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Getting Myself Right Through Forgiveness

I believe there are six blocks of wellness: physical, emotional, mental, social, vocational/educational, and spiritual. I spend a lot of time talking about emotional and mental wellness, but I realized this week that I was in serious need of some spiritual health. 

Most people associate spiritual health with religion, and of course that can be true. From a wellness perspective there is so much MORE to spirituality, and even someone who isn’t religious (like me!) can benefit from working on their spiritual block. 

My personal interpretation of spiritual wellness targets the parts of you that want to connect, and find meaning greater than yourself. It’s the desire to be part of a community where you can find hope and support. My spiritual wellness includes things like healing, compassion, relationships, love, connection, joy, peace, forgiveness, hope and trust. Some people find these things through organized religion, some find it through the flow of energy with chakras and holistic beliefs. I guess I’m completely in my own world about my beliefs, but I believe in the power of positivity and community- and those two things couldn’t exist without the hope, trust, love, etc. that I had mentioned before.

On Wednesday night I sat down to write a blog post. I re-read my post from Tuesday to remind myself where I left off. The post seemed dark to me. Depressing, hopeless, negative. It was a true representation of my feelings at the time, but certainly does not show my overall personality. I don’t have thoughts like that every day. I don’t want to continue having thoughts like that. It was time to work on some spiritual healing. 

When we are disconnected from ourselves, we have a hard time loving ourselves or giving and receiving genuine love from others. My disconnect this week made me hate my body. It made me feel useless and hopeless. It made me feel like my loved ones were emotionally too far from me to understand or help. Obviously these things were just tricks from the bully in my brain, but they are things that I can combat with self healing.

cleanse that soul.

Spirituality to me, means that I have the choice to feel, think, and act differently. Your heart can be a portal for healing. When my heart is healthy, I can give and receive love. I feel love for myself. I have hope that the bad things in life will pass. I have gratitude for everything I have in life, I enjoy being of service to others, and can slow down to appreciate quality time with the kids. When my heart isn’t healthy, the dark feelings take over. I hold grudges against both myself and others. I feel lonely, depressed, and believe I am unlovable.

There are a ton of ways to open your heart. Most will say visit a church. The hippies will tell you to do some chest-opening yoga. doTERRA representatives will try to sell you essential oils. I don’t know if all of that is necessary. I personally believe that spiritual healing comes from within, no external sources needed. 

I think the best way to be spiritually well is to practice forgiveness. Forgive yourself, forgive others, forgive society, forgive the things you can’t control. If you are holding on to hurt and anger, acknowledge that it is time to release it. When you release negativity, focus on the distance you create between yourself and it. Do you want to fill that space with hostility or healing? Understand that bad things happen. Some you can control, some you can not. But you can control the way these things affect your life by deciding to let go of hatred. 

Pray and worship if you would like. Meditate and do some yoga if that feels more like you. Use nature or creative expression. Personally, I’ll be taking some quiet time to reflect on myself, let go of my anger, and fill the space with forgiveness. 

Forgive. Have Compassion. Most importantly, give and receive love genuinely.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. STAY HOME.

-Kate

Pass that Quarantine Time and Play Bingo with Me!

I’m so, so tired. I’m falling asleep on my keyboard, so I won’t be able to finish my writing but I did want to post and say hi! Sorry there’s nothing to read tonight, play some Bingo with me instead!

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.

-Kate

Can I Just Put the Good Days on Auto-Repeat?

I want to have more healthy days. I want consistency. I want to see results in changing this awful body, and I want to feel good. I want every day to be like yesterday. I want to rewire my brain so I can be a problem-solver and not a train wreck. But what am I going to do? Write these things down? Journal? Make a list? Schedule them? Honey, I do that every day.

Yesterday was the first ‘completely healthy’ day I’ve had in a very long time. I got my exercise. I ate three healthy meals without purging. I saw my therapist via telehealth (at the beach, no less!) I took my meds. I took time to breathe. I felt great.

So why is it so hard for me to stay on track? Honestly, if you know the answer please tell me. I’m so tired of fighting this battle every day. I’m on the defense against a multi-front war. My head is spinning trying to address issues from all angles. I’m busy all day, but at the end of it I haven’t really done anything at all. 

I’ve got my bipolar disorder sending me up and down, manic high to ultra depressive low. I have anxiety about homeschooling Jacen, and the pandemic in general. I have friends and family that I miss so much that it hurts. I have this body that I hate. I mean really, really hate. I’ve got these kids and a husband that I love. I mean really, really love.

I make a lot of plans, schedules and lists. I’m always trying to trick my brain into making good choices by convincing myself that things have been predetermined with no wiggle room. It works when I can get into a routine. If I repeat the same list every day, I have the most consecutive healthy days. Right now that’s not an option. The pandemic has shaken everything up. I don’t even know what day of the week it is. We have a routine written out, it just seems impossible to follow. 

There is so much on my mind these days. When I imagine what’s inside my head, it looks less like a brain and more like alphabet soup. Sometimes I can’t even gather the floating letters to form simple words, let alone big thoughts. I guess that’s why this post is coming off so rambly and unorganized. 

Yesterday was a healthy day, and I wanted more than ANYTHING to repeat it. We spent 30 minutes getting ready to go outside to be active, and opened the front door to rain. My heart sank. I unpacked the stroller I had just put SO much time, thought and energy into preparing. It knocked me off my rails for three hours. Yes, you read that right. THREE hours. Over the rain. I didn’t get my activity in. I didn’t get my fresh air. I let things get on top of me, and didn’t take time to breathe. I missed lunch. I slept when the kids napped, instead of being productive. I did, however, take my meds. So, one point to Catherine.

I want to have more healthy days. I want consistency. I want to see results in changing this awful body, and I want to feel good. I want every day to be like yesterday. I want to rewire my brain so I can be a problem-solver and not a train wreck. But what am I going to do? Write these things down? Journal? Make a list? Schedule them? Honey, I do that every day.

I usually like to wrap up my posts by taking this part to ask what small changes YOU can make to feel better. This time, I’m looking for help. What suggestions do you have for me? How do you stay consistent, especially through all of the changes the pandemic has caused?

Stay safe.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.

-kate 

Eating Disorder Relapse and Medication Withdrawal

I started a medication called Wellbutrin a few months ago. It’s supposed to lift you out of depression, and help get you out of bed when the depression monster steals your energy. Last monday (April 13th) I had a meeting with my prescriber. It was at that time she realized my script had been written for double what it was supposed to be. She told me the high dose was way too much, and I had to go to the half dose immediately.

The fall out has been intense.

The monday we spoke (the 13th) was the first day of being on the half dose, and my life has just spiraled out since. I have no energy. I can not bring myself to work out. I’m irritable. I’m binge eating daily. There were two nights I drank alcohol- which I hate the taste of, so I have no idea why I did this. I woke up with a hangover both times, more depressed than ever, and reaching for food to cope.

I am withdrawing, physically. I have the sweats, the shakes, and the awful, dark thoughts. I’ve watched the scale creep up a bit every day, and the three pounds I had worked so hard to lose this month have been regained. My confidence is level 0, and the weight gain has me feeling like a complete failure. 

I’ve blogged to get through this, but feel like I’m lying. I post uplifting script, and tips to have better mental health. Meanwhile I’m sitting here in a blanket burrito, unshowered, desk littered with empty candy wrappers.

What is wrong with me?

I think I’m over the hump, and it seems like my withdrawal symptoms are starting to get better. I’m still irritable. I’m still tired.. But less than yesterday. Even more less than Friday. I’m hopeful it will continue to even out.

I took about five steps back this week while I adjusted to the new dose. I have a lot of ground to reclaim, and a lot more ahead of me when I keep on forging forward. 

The first thing I had to do was ask for help. I had to be honest with my husband and my sister about what I was feeling so they could understand why I was acting this way.

Then I had to make a plan, including touching base with my prescriber when her office opens tomorrow (Monday) morning. I’ve also decided to start eating off the FODMAP diet for the next month, quit having any alcohol at all, and making exercise a priority- ESPECIALLY when I don’t feel like it. Most of all, I’ve opened up about my binge eating. A big part of BED (binge/purge eating disorder) is the secrecy and hiding of consuming food. By talking about it, and confessing I’m already taking steps to avoid binging today. I opened the door and wecomed my husband into my secret little world. Just by having him here, I feel less of a need to shame-binge When I can be open with him, it makes keeping any secrets feel wrong- especially food secrets.

There are a ton of factors that go into mental health- and chemicals play a huge role. Being medically treated can be a lifesaver for most people. The situation I’ve gone through this week is rare and unlikely. It has been unpleasant, for sure, but It does not make me regret seeking treatment in the least. Getting help, getting medication, was the absolute best decision I’ve made. It saved my life. Even with this little bump in the road, I still have 100% faith in my doctor and their plan. It just sucks to get through.

I’m planning on getting out for a short hike with Mike and the little girls today. I also had a cup of coffee to give me a bump of energy where the Wellbutrin has me lacking. Most of all, I’m opening up to my family and friends to get through this. They make me so happy, they distract me, they support me. Just knowing how much they care for me, and how lucky I am to have them is a major confidence bump. They love me. The greatest people in the whole world love me. That must mean I’m worth something!

photographer unknown

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face.

Stay home. Stay home. Stay home.

Stay healthy.

-Kate

Who not Have

Be a who. Be more than what you have.

I want to be defined by who I am and not by what I have. 

I have bipolar disorder. 

I have body fat. 

I have anxiety. 

I have feelings of depression. 

I am more than those things. They are just things I have, and not who I am. 

I am Kate. I am Mama. I am a best friend, a daughter, a wife. I am a writer. I am a shy, but kind person. I am loving. I am hopeful. I am working hard on becoming a healthier me. 

Judge me by who I am, not what I have. 

Tell me in the comments, who are you? 

Stay healthy.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home.

Be a who. Be more than what you have.

Kate. 

The Empty Cup Theory

I am a die hard believer that it takes a healthy person to raise healthy people. Take care of yourself first, keep your cup full, then share with others.

Get ready guys, because this post is dedicated to my all-time favorite phrase:

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

What the heck does that mean?:

Pouring from an empty cup is the same as getting blood from a stone. You can’t fill a second vessel if there’s nothing in the first one. It’s a lot like when the flight attendant tells you to “secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” You have to help yourself first. If there’s no oxygen for you, you’ll pass out (or die) without being able to help your kids. The same can be applied to self care. You have to be a functioning human being to care for your children.

What fills a cup?:

Your cup is full when your needs are met. This is physically taking care of yourself like eating, sleeping, getting rest and exercising. Mental fulfillment like getting love, attention, peace, and happiness. Socially it will look like connecting with friends, family and peers. It may also include affection, security, feelings of success and productivity, or doing things that you like to do. Overall, you want to fill your cup with things that make you feel well.

What empties a cup?:

Cups are drained by negativity. Stress, rejection, loneliness, isolation, fighting, being insulted, failing and fatigue will all empty your cup. 

What happens when your cup isn’t full?:

kids love stealing from other people’s cups.

Usually, if your cup isn’t full, it’s tempting to steal from other people’s cups. This could be putting down others, fighting, or purposely making others unhappy. 

Sometimes, we want to draw attention to our empty cup to remind others to fill it. This could show as children acting out or adults who are irritable or passive aggressive. 

Some people seem to have bottomless cups. They need constant contact and attention. (she might kill me for saying this but-) My sister has a bottomless cup. In an adult this is a daily need to “check in” with friends, and be reassured no one is mad at you. In person she is super affectionate, and gives us all the love, hugs and kisses. She is thoughtful down to knowing and understanding all of her friends’ schedules, and has some serious FOMO- fear of missing out. She is social and loving, and wants that in return.

Sometimes we can sit still for refills- especially moms. This results in burnout, and can be avoided by taking time to ourselves, even if it’s just a moment to ‘top off’ our cup here and there. 

Moms are also guilty of being too busy filling other peoples’ cups to realize theirs is empty. We tend to stretch ourselves thin by making sure everyone else’s needs are met, neglecting our own needs. 

What fills my personal cup?: 

Rest, taking a shower, venting when I’m full of emotion, blogging, my family, my dogs, my friends.

What do I do to make sure my cup does not run empty?:

I ask for help when I need it. This skill didn’t come easy, but it has changed my life. I take time to rest, I make myself feel better by being clean and taking a shower. I blog because I love to write, to vent, and to help others. I connect with my peeps- even if it’s just on Facebook. I love seeing pictures of my friends’ happy kids, their funny parenting stories, and who doesn’t appreciate a good meme?

What fills my kids’ cups?

Jacen tells me his cup is filled with “love, affection, friendship, family time, play, succeeding and kindness. 

What happens when their cups are empty?

When Jacen’s cup loses ‘friendship’ at school, like the days he is bullied and feels isolated, he tends to lose play. His kindness turns to irritability, and then affection starts to drain. He usually tells me he needs a refill by crying. He is looking for us to replenish his affection with a hug and love. When he can go back and squash his fight with his friends, he will find his friendship and play again. Empty cups aren’t forever. There’s always a way to fill ‘em back up!

I am a die hard believer that it takes a healthy person to raise healthy people. Take care of yourself first, keep your cup full, then share with others. 

Stay healthy. Stay full.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face.

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STAY HOME.

-Kate