Sunday, 29 December 2013

2014!!!

It is almost the end of this year and the beginning of next year - 2014! This year went by so fast, likely because it was so busy and full of events! If you remember, last year, I discussed New Year's resolutions: http://anorexiarecovery1.blogspot.ca/2013/01/new-year.html. Well, it is that time of year again! Everyone starts thinking of what they want to do differently this year - what goals they want to accomplish, or what they want to achieve in 2014.

Before we jump into this, I want to challenge you with a little activity. I want you to think back tothis year of 2013. But don't think of ANY event. I want you to think of the following:

1) An event that made you really happy or excited (ex. a good mark on a test, the birth of a baby, a ;promotion, a funny moment you shared with others, a vacation, etc). What happened? How did you feel at this time? Why did it make you happy? What was special about this event that made you remember it now?

Thinking back to something about the last year that made us happy is a great way to feel pleased with our lives. We remember an event that really made a difference to us - that made us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, or that made us realize how blessed we are. The moment that I can think of is when I got invited to do multiple interviews for radio stations. This moment made me feel thankful for how far I have come, and it made me realize how many blessings God gave me. He gave me the chance to live life again, and this time, to use my experiences and pain to help others.

2) Now, I want you to think of an event that was difficult to deal with. Think back to something that frustrated you or made you feel angry or sad. This could be a fight with a spouse, a hard time at work with a boss or co-worker, lack of money to pay bills, etc.

No, I am not trying to make you depressed again! I want you to look at this event without any emotion - without the pain or hurt. Look back at what happened. What have you learned from this situation? How did this make you stronger or more mature? The moment in my life that I thought of was when I was being bullied online. I was angry and frustrated and hurt that this was happening to me, and I didn't understand why anyone would enjoy hurting me. At the time, I was angry and tried my best not to let it bother me. But I felt that I would always be bothered by it. However, I became stronger as a result of this situation. I learned not to let anyone bother me, regardless of what others say to me or think about me. I realized that people are always going to dislike you if you are better than them, or if they don't like something about you. You cannot please all humans at one time, and this situation made me realize that I don't really care what others say or feel about me. I love myself, and I have family and friends (and readers!) who love me, too. I also have a God who is bigger and greater than anything else, and He alone gives me strength and peace. The situation with the bullying taught me that I am a strong, beautiful ,smart, and determined woman. It also taught me not to let anything or anyone bring me down. So, I am thankful for this experience - not for the pain that it brought, but for the lessons it taught me and for the strength that came out of it.

Do you see how looking at the last year in this way can be therapeutic and helpful? Congratulations - you survived 2013! And while it may have been full of problems and frustrations, I am sure that it was also full of joys and surprises. I am also confident that you have grown and become stronger, wiser, happier, or smarter as a result of difficult experiences from 2013. As the new year comes in, I am inviting you to look back on 2013 with appreciation. Know that you survived 2013 and have also become a different person as a result of it. Now, look forward to 2014. Bring in the new year with those who love you and those that mean a lot to you. Have fun and make goals that will help you become a better person (but that will be a different post!). For now, please enjoy the beginning of 2014 and look back on 2013 with gratefulness and satisfaction, knowing that while it may have been hard, it was also fun, exciting, and a great learning experience.

God bless all of you. With all my heart, I pray and hope that you bring in 2014 with happiness and joy, and that you may all be safe. Thank you for the support that has allowed me to stay strong in my recover, to keep writing and working, and to be where I am today. I am so blessed (thank God!) to be celebrating the new year of 2014 with the support and love of all my family, friends, readers, and God. Take a deep breath and bring in 2014 with excitement, strength, love, and joy!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Christmas is coming up very soon (almost less than a week!)! This is my absolute favourite holiday. It is such a cheerful time. Snow falls from the sky and makes everything look bright and white. Christmas songs lighten up the mood. People smile and laugh more often. We give gifts to others and enjoy seeing them smile and become surprised. Families and friends gather together and enjoy quality time with one another. (Here's a fun challenge: try to learn, using the picture here, a way of saying Merry Christmas in a different language!)

If you are religious, Christmas is also the birth of Christ. So, you can think of Christmas as being someone's birthday - Jesus'! It is wonderful to think that we are welcoming baby Jesus into the world on this day. The birth of Christ not only reminds us of how humble Jesus was to come to earth and be born as human, but also challenges us to change our hearts so that we too can welcome Jesus into our hearts.

Something I love about Christmas is being around my family and friends. Spending time with people I love and whom love me makes me feel warm and special. It reminds me of what is really important. It also gives me an opportunity to be thankful for everything that I have in this world. I am alive and healthy, and I have a great support system. God has blessed me with a love for learning and teaching, and this helps me do well in school and help others. My blog has become an international site that many read for inspiration, advice, entertainment, and guidance. Christmas is also a great time to start thinking of goals that we would like to achieve.

My Christmas wish this year is that we all continue to grow in love for one another. I hope that your days are full of blessings and smiles. Remember to stay strong and not to let anyone or anything make you feel inferior or unworthy of happiness or love. No one is worth your tears or frustrations. The world is full of people who will always dislike you or be jealous of you. Love them anyways, and pray for them (I know this is hard, but at least you will be doing the right thing and showing some maturity!). Do not let anyone treat you as though you are not as good as they are. Do not let someone crush your goals or dreams or make you feel bad about yourself. Make a  healthy goal or have a dream - and then follow it. Challenges will undoubtedly arise, but know that you are stronger than anything that comes your way. Never give up, and never (even for a second) think or feel that you are not destined to be happy or successful. I am telling you - and giving you the permission to feel and understand - that you are WORTH IT. You are BEAUTIFUL and SPECIAL and you deserve to BE HAPPY. Surround yourself with people who you love and SMILE and LAUGH. Make this Christmas and holiday season a time of PEACE and make up with anyone you may have hurt or fought with. Get rid of all the hate and sadness, and replace it with LOVE and JOY.

I pray that anyone who is ill, hurt, struggling, tired, frustrated, sad, alone, etc may be healed or have some pain taken away from them. I pray for those with hard hearts who are harsh or angry - I pray that God may instill peace within their hearts. I pray that this blog continue to be a place where we can share our thoughts together, learn, teach, pray, support, and help one another. I pray that God may bless each and every reader of this blog - whether you comment or not. Thank you for taking the time to read these words and for passing it along to anyone who may need it.

Thank you, everyone, for giving me the love, support, guidance, and care that has allowed me to  grow emotionally, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and spiritually Thank you for supporting me in my recovery and for the prayers that are lifted for me. You are all so wonderful and hold an important place in my heart. Please enjoy this lovely time with your family and friends, eat well, laugh hard, smile wide, and spread some love. From my heart to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays!!!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Should YOU 'go vegan' as well?

It seems to be the latest craze: go vegan! Avoid meats, eggs, dairy products, etc! Everyone is doing it - the news if full of stories about celebrities and popular figures who have reportedly dedicated their minds and lives to the vegan diet. Here's a simple example: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20762485,00.html.

What IS the 'vegan' diet? As stated before, it is simply abstaining from all animal products or anything associated with animals. This is the definition in its strictest terms, although today, many people call themselves vegan even if they don't follow these particular restrictions. Anyhow, why the hype about this way of eating? What makes it so special and amazing?

Let's talk about the nutritional evidence. Studies have shown that vegans have lower risks of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney stones, obesity, cancer, and more. NOTE however that this is an association, which means that the vegan diet did NOT cause the lower risk of adverse health events. Why does this association occur? Is it because vegans avoid meat and dairy products? The answer is complex, but simply put, the vegan diet is mainly made of fruits and vegetables, which are known to be healthy and have many benefits. However, I want to challenge you with some questions regarding the vegan diet and its supposedly 'miraculous' health effects:

1) What is I follow the vegan diet and eat fried veggies? Also, fruit with chocolate sauce? Is this still the so called 'extremely healthy' diet, as purposed?
2) What if I avoid meats as stated? And, I replace this with jelly beans, chocolate, and beer? Will this diet decrease my risk of cancer and all other health illnesses?
3) What are the reasons for going vegan? Is it religious? Is it because I think that it is the 'cool' thing to do, and everyone else is doing it?

I think the points above do a modest job of illustrating that the vegan diet is not all its made to be in the media and news. Religiously, some people may adopt this lifestyle - and that is perfectly fine. Others may decide to be vegan because they want to show their support and love for animals. I am not saying that any reason for following the vegan lifestyle is incorrect. What I AM saying is that you must now fall pretty into what the media says simply because 'everyone is doing it'.

You need to realize that the vegan diet, if followed by its truest nature, can be very healthy. But this is assuming that you focus on fruits and veggies that are natural (ex. not fried, cooked in butter, etc), and include many whole grains and fibre. But, really, is meat and dairy bad? No. Meat provides iron, zinc, vitamin B 12, and more. Dairy products are excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D, and also provide many other nutrients. What is the lesson to learn? Mainly, that a well-balanced diet is the best way to go. You need not eliminate certain foods just to be 'healthy'. If you eat everything in moderation (yes, including desserts), you will be healthy. If you exercise, reduce stress, and make time to relax, you can reduce your risk for many illnesses. You need not go 'vegan' simply because the media says that this is the best thing to do for weight loss and health. In fact, there are many ways to lose weight, all of which can include eating all foods in moderation.

What I also want you to be aware of is the influence of the news and media on our views. See how the media made veganism seem so wonderful? Each time a celebrity announces that they will eat a vegan diet, they are featured on the front cover of a magazine. Why? Who really cares what the president is eating for lunch? Does it matter what BeyoncĂ© decides to drink for breakfast? No. But the media KNOWS that this will catch our attention, and that doing so will attract viewers. Studies may show that veganism is healthy, but you need to remember that these studies are associations - they cannot prove (nor do they) that veganism alone causes decreased health problems. Remember that we also have to think of genetics, exercise, stress, smoking, alcohol, medications, health history, and more. A healthy diet that includes all foods from all food groups can be balanced and healthy.  If you are vegan by choice, remember to include foods that will provide you with enough nutrients and vitamins. If you aren't vegan and were thinking about it, reflect on this post and think about how the media may be influencing your choice. I am not purposing that one way of living is better than the rest. What I AM saying is that we all need to eat healthy foods in moderation and to enjoy food...and we need to be aware of how the media and others may skew our perceptions and beliefs. As always, my message to you is this: be informed before you make a decision, and look for credible sources of information that give you the full picture, not just what the messenger WANTS you to hear.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Yet another interview! Food and the Holiday Season

I'm so blessed to have yet another opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge with the world. This time, I was asked by OCN (Orthodox Christian Network) to do an interview about food and the holiday season - a topic relevant to this time of the year!

This interview topic is near and dear to my heart or several reasons. As a survivor of anorexia nervosa, I know all too well how it feels to be overwhelmed by food - especially at Christmas time, when everyone is talking about food! Last Christmas, I was still in recovery - but before that, I was struggling with ED. When I was ill, I tried my hardest to avoid food at all costs, but this became very hard to do during the holiday season. Being recovered now (thank God!), I realize how difficult this time was for me and how it stressed me out. As a recovered victim of an eating disorder, I understand how stressful food can become for many people - even those without eating disorders.

We are bombarded during this time (all the time really, but MORE at Christmas!) with advertisements on food, weight loss, how to avoid weight gain during parties, etc. In fact, we sometimes forget what Christmas is all about because we get so caught up in the gifts, parties, and food. Some people struggle because they have ED, while others struggle because they do not want to gain excessive weight during this festive season. Even if you do not struggle with this at all, it is worth listening to the interview so that you can understand how to support others who may need help, but also to learn how to protect yourself from bring preoccupied with weight and food during this season.

So, I encourage you to listen to my latest interview with OCN abut food and the holidays, and how to avoid getting caught up with the 'small stuff' and instead focus on what this season really means to us: the birth of Christ, spending time with loved ones, being thankful for our blessings, and sharing with those who need any support or assistance. Once again, I would like to thank you all for your help, support, and love. I would never have the motivation to do all these interviews, publications, etc. without all the support I receive from my readers, friends, and family. God bless all of you!

Here is the link http://myocn.net/crtl-thanksgiving-week/. Let me know what you think of my interview!