Friday, May 25, 2012

"If you only dream when you're asleep, then when you wake up, there's still nothing there."

When I was younger, I could fall asleep pretty much anywhere, anytime. If I was tired, I was out and I stayed out until it was time for me to wake up. I would sleep walk and sleep talk and do all kinds of funny things while I slept, but I never woke up. It was very rare that I would wake up at night. I slept through hurricanes, tornadoes, and all kinds of really loud stuff. I was pretty awesome at sleeping.

After I moved to Austin, I had a really hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. I had a roommate who got a puppy that wasn't being properly loved and taken care of, so she would bark all night while the roommate was sleeping elsewhere. That started a pattern of insomnia in me that lasted for about 4.5 years. When I started my business, sleeping was almost impossible due to excitement, and then it became almost impossible due to anxiety and lack of time management. Thankfully, I got those things pretty much under control, but I still couldn't sleep.

My oldest brother, Chris, delicately approached me one day about looking into sleep apnea. He was afraid that I had it, which struck a fear in me that I would be sleeping with an oxygen mask, so I never really looked into it. That's a sure way to take responsibility - by avoiding it. (I roll my eyes at my former self.) Regardless of whether or not I had this, I knew that my lack of sleep was a serious issue and it was most likely causing some serious health problems in my body.

"[I]nsulin sensitivity and levels of two appetite-related hormones -- leptin and ghrelin -- can be affected by sleep deprivation, which could impact weight. Leptin is associated with appetite control and ghrelin has been identified as an appetite stimulant. During sleep deprivation, leptin levels fall and ghrelin levels rise," says Miranda Hitti of WebMD Health News. So, when we sleep less, we are hungrier and less satiated. Good to know. Your brain is the powerhouse to your body, right? When it is unable to rest properly, it is still stimulated and wants to keep functioning as if it were awake. I know that when I wake up really early and go to sleep really late, I tend to eat more throughout that day because my brain is awake and keeping me going, so my body needs fuel. It makes sense that our bodies crave more when we have less sleep in order for us to function. Also, according to the Harvard Women's Health Watch, "Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite."

Damn carbs, right? Nah, just kidding! Carbs are good for you - the right carbs [Read: Veggies, mainly, but nonprocessed, complex carbs are best in place of refined white breads and the like.] - but if we don't sleep well, they can be quite a burden. Man, if only I knew all of this years ago... (Yeah. It wouldn't have changed anything. Let's just be real.)

So, one major thing I noticed with the help of my most recent ex-boyfriend (Yes, the one from the last post. We broke up. It sucked but it was for the best.) is that since the juice fast and the exercise and losing weight, I fall asleep almost immediately when I go to bed and I stay asleep. It's like my old sleeping habits from when I was younger have returned! Hallelujah! I get some pretty awesome sleep these days and I've cured my insomnia that I've had for the past 5 or so years. I wake up refreshed and excited to start the day, not all angry and tired and gross like before. My lifestyle is healthier, so my sleep is better. I never knew it could be changed so dramatically and so quickly. It feels like a miracle. I used to take Tylenol PM just to get a semi-good night's rest when all I really had to do was adopt a better diet, get some exercise, and presto! Magic. Amazing!

The biggest lesson I've learned from this is how the body can really heal itself. That's the voyage I set out to discover when I started the juice fast, and it is ringing truer and truer every day. All you have to do is treat it right. "Your body is a temple," is something we have all heard (Thanks to the ol' B-I-B-L-E!), but it is resoundingly correct. Your temple needs love so it can love you and allow you to live your days in peace, love, harmony, and health. So, take care of it - and get some sleep! :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

After the fast...

There is so much to say that it's almost overwhelming to write! Life has been so beautiful, rich, and busy lately, especially since completing the juice fast. I'll try to stay short-winded for all of this just to give an update. I'll delve into more specifics in a later post.

The day after my last post, I got my heart broken. I won't get into any details here, but I found myself to be surprisingly resilient and it brought on a reflection of how I would choose to deal with heartbreak in the past. [Read: Cupcakes.] This was one of the most empowering instances I've encountered while juicing because I chose myself and my life, my happiness, my future over destroying my body with toxicity. Of course, I cried and all of that, but the way I dealt with my emotions is very clear to me that I have committed myself to a positive change for my body. I went to the gym or went for a walk when I needed to release some frustration or sadness. I chose to move instead of consume, and I am 125% confident that I was able to work through the sadness rather quickly by making the healthy choices that I did. This was a huge victory for me, the reformed Break-up Cupcake Queen.

That Friday, I met one of the biggest inspirations of my life: Joe Cross, director and star of "Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead." Whole Foods was hosting a screening of the film as part of CleanseATX's rounding out of their 10-day challenge. As we waited to see the film, my roommate, Kadi, and I recorded our experiences for their website that you can view here, and we spoke to others who were involved with CleanseATX and/or doing their challenge. We met some incredible people who have some seriously amazing gifts that they shared with us, mainly their love and wisdom. One of them, Mark, really captivated both of us with the clarity and insight he has found through studying the body and through language mastery. He and several others were very kind to share their experiences and to listen to our stories as well.

Those were some really wonderful experiences that have shown me a great deal about how choosing this juice fast has made such an incredible impact on my life, but there's still one more situation that I cannot go without sharing.

At some point during the last couple of weeks, I decided to join just on a whim. Honestly, I was excited about getting back into eating solid foods, so I figured I would go on some dates where at least I wouldn't have to pay for it. I know! I'm horrible! But that was my logic, and you all know how honest I am. (Guilty. Haha!) I met some really cool people on there who were amazed and supportive, but I got to talking to one person who I found out was also a trainer. Now, my intentions for this site were to go on dates where I could at least get some free food out of it (which sounds so horrible and is very unlike me, I assure you), but for some reason, my immediate reaction to this guy was to set up our first date as a training session.

Now, stop for a second. WHAT?! I asked a guy to train me for our first date without hesitation?! Who am I?! And why was I breaking my take-me-out-to-dinner plan?! For whatever reason, it just felt right, so I went with it. Before the juice fast, I wouldn't have done anything remotely like that. I would have been too insecure, too out of shape, and too timid to ever suggest anything like that, but there I was, in my workout clothes at Barton Springs, getting my ass handed to me by an amazing personal trainer and falling completely in love with him all at the same time. It's been just over 2 weeks since we've met, and I know that I've found my perfect partner who loves me so much to support me in the next chapter of my life after the fast and will be there right beside me, working my ass out along the way! :)

I never dreamed that life would work out this way, but it makes sense that when you change up your routine, go do something completely different, that results will follow, no matter what they may be. My body feels amazing and alive. My heart feels full and happy. My world feels joyous and abundant. And all I did was drink fresh juice for 60 days and add some exercise. It's really that simple. I can't guarantee that everyone who does this will find the same results because everyone is different, but I would recommend trying it out if you're ready to see some miraculous changes in your life.

I thank the Lord for these experiences and the countless others I've yet to mention. This journey has been a blessing, and it will continue to be as I venture on to greater health and wisdom through loving myself by choosing my best self above all.

Thank you for being with me.