Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Solution

Last week, I learned about Dr. Glenn Livingston from one of my favorite resources, Mark's Daily Apple. Dr. Livingston is an expert on binge eating disorder, but I was unfamiliar with him prior to reading Sunday's blog.

So I felt the need to devour everything I could find on this guy. I downloaded his free Kindle book, got all of the reader bonuses on his website, and started listening to interviews he has shared on his own blog. And what I learned from him that the big secret to never binging again is as follows:

Just... never binge again.

WTF, mate. Is it really that simple? What kind of Jedi Mind Trickery is this?

The underlying concept Livingston shares in his book isn't entirely new. The theme was originally put forward in Brain Over Binge* years ago, by Kathryn Hansen. The two authors share a common theory that the primitive "animal" brain is what drives binge behavior. Binge behavior is just a survival instinct running amok. Those who can successfully stop binging are those who can separate themselves from their animal brain, and ignore the impulse to binge. 

But... How does one separate themselves from their animal brain? I don't know how to do that. Nicole is Nicole is Nicole... So while Brain Over Binge made a lot of sense to me, I couldn't really act on what I learned from reading it.

Enter Never Binge Again.  Dr. Livingston gives such a simple way to be able to separate my own logical, ambitious, goal-oriented self with the dumb, ugly animal that happens to share a brain with me. Let me use my very advanced, awesome graphic design skills to illustrate this concept.

Binge Eating Solution

Never Binge Again works for people who have been beaten down repeatedly by their food struggles and are desperate for a solution. And by "food struggles," I mean any problem with food you may have. It doesn't have to be binge eating disorder. Let's say you have a mostly healthy relationship with food, but oh, I don't know, can't resist Mickey Mouse shaped soft pretzels (because, let's face it, everything tastes better when it's in the shape of a Mickey head). You would feel so much better about yourself if you could just say "no" to a Mickey pretzel next time you are at Disney World.

Read the book and see if you really want that pretzel next time you're hanging out with The Mouse.

Now, I can tell you all about how this really works, but Dr. Livingston asked me not to. No, we didn't have a one-on-one conversation (although he does offer that as part of the "reader bonuses"). But he does mention in the book (and I agree) that not everyone is going to readily accept this as the solution. So I don't want to hear any backlash that will knock me off a positive path. I also don't want to list out all steps here for fear of doing you a disservice, dissuading you in any way from accepting the concept... so if you happen to have real problems with food, just do yourself a favor and read the book. It's free, and it's a quick read. Nothing to lose.

And so much to gain. I'm finding the techniques I've learned from Dr. Livingston to be VERY effective.

*Amazon Affiliate Link. This means that if you click any of the links to Amazon through my site and buy something, I may earn a commission. Much obliged.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hanging on by a Blogroll

One week has passed since I imploded. I see a downward trend in the number of blog posts I've been doing per month since April. Even if I wrote everyday for the next week, I would not be reversing that trend in July. But hey, the sun is in Leo now, and lions are totally my power animal, so I'm thinking it's a good time to go out and get my mojo back.

In the meantime, here are some things I read this week.

Train Like an Athlete:
Eat Like an Athlete: 
Think Like an Athlete: 
  • Five ways running can help when you're feeling sad. Five again!
  • Twenty things you know when you are dating (or are married to) a runner.
  • Three words to say to yourself when you're feeling anxious.
Sleep Like an Athlete:

  • Once again, I am coming up short on anything relevant about sleep this week. So instead, how about 15 summer movie reviews presented in haiku? (See also: Running haiku presented by Nicole).
Today's running blog is brought to you by the number 5
Today's blog is brought to you by the number 5.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


I think I've lost my mojo.

I'm just not feeling any compulsion to do any of the classic "Nicole" stuff lately. I had a great time in Colorado since I last wrote, had some more adventures at Disney yesterday, but... meh.

I don't want to write.

I don't want to run.

And I don't feel guilty for not wanting to do either of these things. Weird.

Han Solo doesn't want to run.

I didn't early register for the runDisney Princess Half Marathon two weeks ago. That used to be a "bucket list" race. I love runDisney. And one of the perks of living in Florida now is that I can do these races without having to fly anywhere to do them (disregard my desire this year to earn a "Coast to Coast" challenge medal - attainable only by running a half marathon at Disney World and a half marathon at Disneyland in the same calendar year - and my subsequent registration for the Avengers Half Marathon in California in November).

Also, a perk of being a Disney annual passholder is the ability to register a week earlier than everybody else for runDisney races. I'm not known to pass up on perks.

But I let the early registration date pass.

Then I let the regular registration date pass.

So, no. I'm not going to be running the Princess Half Marathon.

And I'm feeling really apathetic about the runDisney race I am registered for right now.

I don't even feel the need to analyze why I'm feeling this way, as I've done so heavily in the past.

But let's do a little analysis anyway.  Maybe it will help my old self return.

  1. Pokémon Go. I've gotta catch 'em all. There's no time for running when I've got to strategize Team Instinct's rise to glory.
  2. Altitude sickness. I woke up every morning with a sore throat in Colorado and chalked it up to being well above sea level. But nah, I really was sick. Still fighting off the cold even now that I'm home.
Honestly, though, these two things aren't to blame. They certainly aren't helping, but I've been feeling pretty indifferent about what used to be a lifetime goal even before I left for my short vacation and before the game was even released in the App Store.

I know the real reason. And for the first time, I don't want to publicly share. Because maybe this is only a phase. Maybe it's not permanent. And maybe I'll be back to doing typical "Nicole" things tomorrow.

Don't misunderstand. I am very content with life right now. I'm ok with not caring.

It's just... while I know why I'm feeling a lack of interest about the race, I'm not sure I understand why I'm ok not caring about it.

Saturday, July 9, 2016


I love routine. Having a plan and knowing exactly what I'm going to be doing makes me less prone to decision fatigue. I plan my meals, plan my exercise (except when I need to be flexible), and go to sleep at roughly the same time every night.

So routine is great...

...Except I also hate routine.

There's something about spontaneity - doing something new, exciting, dangerous even. I crave it.

I think about my life up until my very recent working years. There was always something that broke up my routine. Summer vacation as a child brought two months worth of camp, bike rides with friends, and flights to Florida to hang out with my grandparents. In college, I'd look forward to summer jobs, free laundry at  home, and reconnecting with high school friends. My first career after college was at a university in California - so even though I worked through summers, it was far from the routine of the school year.

When I left higher education - and CA - I had a full month to make my way across the country to Connecticut. This was one of my most memorable adventures with my husband before we were married. We'd wake up with no real agenda, drive off to wherever felt right - Napa, Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore - and set up camp for the night whenever we got tired of driving. We ate a lot of hot dogs over the fire that month.

Just three years later, we were presented with the opportunity to take a four-month sabbatical of sorts to work aboard a cruise ship for a program called Semester at Sea - a floating university that circumnavigated the globe and took us to ten countries.

A healthy me in Vietnam
From Vietnam

These extended periods of spontaneity have been harder to come by since I did Semester at Sea in 2009, though. Maybe it's one of the reasons I job-hopped a bit since then, although I think that was more largely due to anxiety.

I moved to New Jersey from Connecticut, and then to Florida, and each move brought the promise of something new, fun, and exciting. I can't say I'm not having fun living in paradise. But even that has brought with it a certain routine... and the feeling of a need for extended escape.

I think this recent article from Mark's Daily Apple sums up the way I've been feeling over the last few years. He's got a decent list of ways to bring more adventure into daily life.

Me? I'm giving it a shot with a quick escape to Colorado this weekend. I've never been, so looking forward to shaking things up. I've only got 5 days - not the month long sabbatical I've been craving, but certainly every little bit of adventure helps.

There may not be blog posts over this time, but likely plenty of documentation through SnapChat since there may be photos I don't want to live on forever...

How do you bring adventure into your daily life?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Short Run for the Long Run

When I wake up in the morning and can't even contract my abs to sit upright because everything is so sore, the last thing I want to do is go for a run. Of course, I still couldn't get out of bed normally even after forgoing my morning run and sleeping in an extra two hours - it doesn't make a difference when you are dealing with the DOMS. I should remember that next time I don't want to get up early.

I might have just laid there all day, except there's this thing called 'work' that I'm obligated to attend, so I eventually rolled over and oozed myself out of bed.

Dog lazily rolling out of bed

Thanks, Crossfit, for crippling me. I know eventually you'll be nicer to me. So I'm looking forward to meeting you again tomorrow!

As the day progressed, my body felt a little more operable. DOMS always seems the worst in the morning. I started to think about what would make me feel good in the long run - would it be skipping a planned workout completely in the hopes that I'd get back on track in the morning tomorrow?

Or would it be to uphold my commitment to myself, get my easy run done in the evening since I missed it this morning, and re-evaluate what the rest of my week's training schedule looks like?

So I hit the treadmill at Globo Gym for a 3.5ish mile run after work today. When I arrived at the gym, the sauna-like conditions there made me realize I should have just gone running outside. Globo Gym's A/C issues continue, which made for a really sweaty gross run. But it didn't stop me - I just needed to check the box that I did my easy run this week. 

My original plan for tomorrow included an early morning CrossFit WOD, but I need to give myself a little more recovery time from tonight's run. No big deal, I'll just go tomorrow night. 

See? I can be flexible.

Monday, July 4, 2016


Today I declare my independence from sugar.

Ok, it's only been a week off of the white stuff, so my declaration is a bit premature. But the urges to eat sweet, carby things have been incredibly weak over the last 7 days. I just hope to keep the momentum going.

I've also been sticking to planned workouts. Yesterday, I hit up spin class with my mom and my husband. It would have been easy to bail because I had to pick Ben up at 12:30am Sunday morning at the airport, so we certainly had a good reason to sleep in. The fact that even he got up for spin shows some dedication - he's not usually a fan. I think he just wanted to spend more "quality" time with me since he had to go back to the airport this morning for another business trip.

At least we got a day together! Something tells me he might not be joining me for spin for a while. Something was wrong with the A/C at Globo Gym, so it was like hot spin class. Gross. The mirrors fogged up really fast. It was not the most pleasurable experience.

We took Joey out to the Dog Bar to celebrate the 4th a little bit early and imbibed some much-earned adult beverages. Joey stuck with water, though. He didn't want to be hungover for today's Project Pup nursing home visit.

After driving Ben back to the airport this morning, I went to CrossFit for today's Workout of the Day. This makes two WODs in a week for me, which is a big deal - not so much for the fact that I'm experiencing movement again after two months of being sidelined due to an injury - more because I'm not letting my anxiety get in the way of showing up to social workouts by myself with a bunch of people I don't know.

So today's WOD - "Schmalls" - looked like this:
800 m run, followed by 2 rounds of:
50 burpees... yes, I did 100 burpees today, everyone. Hold your applause.
40 pullups ... or the thing I do where I stack a bunch of 25lb plates to stand on so that I can actually *reach* the bar and work on jumping pullups.
30 squats
20 kettlebell swings
10 handstand pushups... please, like that's happening for me anytime soon. I'm stoked that I can do A pushup, I don't need to prove anything with doing them upside down...

and then rinse and repeat with another 800m run.

Chase with 2 hours of yardwork that I've been meaning to catch up on in the last two weeks. Not part of the WOD, though I would have certainly welcomed participation from my fellow CrossFitters. Maybe next time.

I. Am. Tired. But feeling highly productive, for sure.

C3PO before the gym, Optimus Prime after the gym.

As accomplished as I feel, I know I need to be a bit more selective about choosing which CF WODs I go to - perhaps need to do less of the cardio-intense WODs, and more of the Olympic weight lifting ones. I've got running down, thankyouverymuch. Don't need someone to beat me up there. But for now, I just need to get in the habit of going consistently before I become choosy.

Anyway, hope everyone is having a great 4th of July. Going to take a much-needed nap so I can be ready to go for some kick ass fireworks tonight.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Light em up up up

I'm on fire!

BB-8 lighter - on fire, like my legs after running.

No, seriously. My muscles are burning. So sore.

I did keep my promise to myself and went to CrossFit Wednesday night. Didn't realize I was getting myself into a particularly grueling Workout of the Day (WOD) that I'd still be feeling three days later. Actually, I felt great on Thursday. For 24 hours after Wednesday's WOD, I had that "Ima conquer the world now" feeling.

But when I woke up Friday morning, it felt more like the world had conquered me. I tried rolling out of bed and couldn't move. It was so frustrating because - for the first time in weeks - I had the energy and drive to actually go for a run bright and early in the morning, I just physically couldn't do it.

Later in the day, I read this blog post that suggests there's nothing wrong with running when you've got the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) as long as you take it easy. Fine by me, I need to do more slow runs anyway. I still gave myself a second day off from working out yesterday, and went out this morning for my overdue run.

It was already 90 degrees when I woke up at 7am, which confirms for me that most of my Avengers Half Marathon training is likely going to be done on a treadmill. I can't believe I'm actually missing those cold January days I complained so frequently about.

So I did about 4.5 miles on the treadmill at Globo Gym - wasn't a great run, but it was a run that was injury-free and that's all that matters. I'm well on my way to getting back into a consistent routine. If all goes as planned for the rest of the holiday weekend, I'll be joining my mom for spin class tomorrow and getting in another WOD at Crossfit on Monday.

DOMS, we've had a nice visit, but you've overstayed your welcome. Time to go.