Warning: Whining Ahead

I apologize in advance for the whining, but I need to get this out. Today I am bitching about my stomach and the foods that seem to bother it. Unfortunately, the number of food that make me feel bad seems to be increasing. Or – maybe it is the same number, but I am just at a higher frustration level? Whatever it is, I’m becoming less willing to deal with my diet limitations. 




These days I truly feel like I am just eating to live. While I love food, I don’t like how a lot of it makes me feel.  I am left with minimal choices that get boring despite trying new combinations of foods that play nice with my body. It isn’t even a matter of finding foods that I like…there aren’t many foods I won’t eat (aside from papaya and oysters), but there are many that don’t agree with me:

  • Gluten – Celiac Disease
  • Dairy 
  • Eggs – ok in baked goods, upset stomach/GI with scrambled/fried/boiled
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Sesame seeds
  • Poppy seeds
  • Peppers
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes – recent…really flare up reflux
  • Carbonated beverages


There are times that I wonder what the hell is wrong with me? How I would love to not have to think about how to safely feed myself! I try to remind myself that at least none of my food issues result in anaphylaxis, but that doesn’t make me feel better or solve my problem. However, it does make me thankful that I haven’t been cursed with a life-threatening food allergy. 


So how do I pull myself out of this funk? In the past I would just focus on eating my meals and snacks and not allow myself to skip a meal. Having a history of an eating disorder makes me very aware of what my body needs to not only survive, but thrive. Perhaps eliminating dining out for the time being would be a good place to start. We don’t eat out very often, but enough to know that even while I may not be ingesting gluten or dairy, I am possibly getting some of other things I listed above in some way. Considering how restaurants prepare food, the seasonings and marinades they use, and how some of the foods come prepackaged, the odds are good that I am eating something that will bother me. Making all of my food in my own kitchen is the safest way I can think of to feed myself. I think I am going to go back and re-read my own post on Mix & Match Meal Bowls for some inspiration. 


Do you have to avoid any other foods in addition to gluten? If so, please share your experiences and how you cope. 


Mental Shift

When I first began exercising as an adult, I was doing so for all of the wrong reasons. Maybe I shouldn’t say, “wrong” reasons, but not for the right reason(s). We are told to exercise to lose weight, lower cholesterol, increase bone density, etc, but I feel that one of the most important reasons isn’t mentioned often enough – and that is our mental benefit. More on that later.

I have been pretty lucky most of my life in regard to weight, in that I haven’t ever really been overweight, but that didn’t mean I was healthy. I have suffered from an eating disorder (anorexia) on and off for decades and that was, at times, my motivation for exercise. My disordered thinking convinced me that the more I exercised, the more I could eat or the more weight I could lose. I didn’t see that as wrong, as I wasn’t technically starving myself. As I have journeyed through recovery, instead of using exercise as a means to lose weight, I have come to understand that it is much more about what my body is capable of doing…running marathons, lifting weights, etc. 

I would have expected that by this point in my life (personal trainer + running coach), I would recognize and understand the benefits of exercise. I do – don’t get me wrong – when it comes to the facts. But bring in the personal, emotional side of all of that and it adds a new level of complexity. During marathon training season, I follow a training plan, which basically schedules my workouts for the week. I add in a strength training session or two, plus core class, and there is really nothing for me to think about. I do the workouts, feel great, and go about life. Once marathon training season is over (usually May/June and November/December) with no training plan and no set workouts, things get complicated. My body is recovering from the training and race I just completed, and that recovery is sometimes more challenging than the training itself. I sleep in, maybe squeeze in a couple of runs and a strength training session and attend core class sporadically.This is all well and good. Until it’s not. 

The less I run and the less I work out, the worse I feel. My legs are stiff, my back aches, my brain is cloudy. I want to sleep more, but can’t figure out why I am so tired, as I am not working out nearly as much as I had been a month or two earlier. I know what will make me feel better, yet I can’t bring myself to do it. From past experience, I know that I have the best chance of getting my workout done when I exercise in the morning. When I try to sleep in and head out for my run late morning or early evening, I find every excuse in the book to not do it. I am busy. My head hurts. Homeland is on. Something has to give…I have to change something. 

I figured out that I was making a couple of critical mistakes that needed to be corrected in order for me to get myself out of this rut. First of all, I realized that I had been beating myself up for some decisions I made. If I woke up and decided not to run in the morning, I berated myself for the remainder of the day. I made a decision (with the help of my therapist) to live by and accept my choices. Move on and find something else to occupy my mind. I cannot begin to describe to you how much of a difference this has made for me! By giving myself permission to accept my choices, there was no further self-abasement or rationalization. No questions, no arguments, no berating. It is like I flipped a switch. 

Additionally, I had been of the mind that if I didn’t get in a certain number of miles or lift weights for so many minutes, it wasn’t worth the effort. I always tell my clients that something is better than nothing, so why couldn’t I follow that advice? It was high time for me to start! In an effort to keep myself accountable, I began scheduling workouts with my friend, Sue. One morning I didn’t have time to get in much of a run before we lifted weights, but I decided to take the time when I otherwise would have surfed Facebook on my phone and hopped on the treadmill. I managed to squeeze in “just” a mile, and the difference it made in my mental state was totally unexpected. It seemed as though I had run more like 4 or 5 miles, judging by the way I felt mentally. After that brief one mile run, I had a fabulous weight workout, and my whole day gained a much brighter perspective. 

IMG 4433

Sweaty and happy after a treadmill run and weight lifting session.

Since that day, I have applied these lessons to my workout plans. At the beginning of each week – usually on Sunday afternoons –  I schedule every workout for the entire upcoming week.  And while I used to enjoy running alone, that approach isn’t working for me right now. So I run with friends. I went back to core class on Sundays. I lift weights. I go to hot yoga. The difference in how I feel today from how I felt in December is like night and day. I wouldn’t have believed such an outcome was possible unless I had experienced it myself. With my new perspective, I took all of the pressure off and focused on just moving. If I found I didn’t have “enough” time or if I only felt like doing so much, fine. The mental benefit I have gained from even 10 minutes of exercise is priceless. I feel good. I feel strong. I am exercising to get that mental benefit more than anything else right now, and because I am focused on that, the rest of it all falls into place. 

I had to make the mental shift. Our bodies were made to move. Exercise is the best medicine. The key is finding what works for you. When in doubt, work it out.

Stayed tuned for my upcoming post on how I am fueling gluten-free for my workouts these days. I have a fun new toy that has allowed me to make some fun new post-run drinks. 

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