It’s back! *monster emoji*

I have a wedding coming up. One that I bought a beautiful dress for and decided to use my dress as motivation for consistently go to the gym. It isn’t just vanity that led me to the gym, but also knowing how much it improves my mental and physical wellbeing.

Unfortunately, just as I began to find a rhythm my good ole friend colitis monster decides to rear it’s head. I’m trying to use this as an opportunity to find the workout/colitis balance that I’ve failed to get in past bouts with colitis.

So I’m trying to add to more walking in and maybe not have such unreasonable expectations about what I can accomplish while flaring. Tis unfortunate that this coincides with my upcoming dress fitting.

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It’s back! *monster emoji*

Wherefore Art Thou, Fitness?

It has been a difficult few months for me in regards to my fitness. I have become the master of the start and stop. I’ll have 3 amazing weeks of 3x a week and then something happens that alters my schedule and all over a sudden it’s been 5 weeks and I’ve lifted twice.

As a creature of habit and routine, working a variety of part time jobs really put a cramp in my fitness lifestyle. Also debilitating to my fitness is convenience or at least the perception of convenience. I currently am a member of a gym that is 20 minutes in the wrong direction from where I now live and work. Even though 20 minutes doesn’t seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things; because it feels so inconvenient I am 100% less likely to actually work out.

At this stage in my life, my colitis and fitness seem to work inversely. As my fitness level has decreased, my colitis has gotten better and better. I try not to read too much into this as in the past me being healthy UC wise and me working out has coincided. But I think there is credence to the  idea that while flaring our body requires more energy to function and operate on even a base level. Exerting myself further in the gym while flaring, while doing a lot for me mentally, always seemed to worsen my colitis or at least prevent me from recovering as quickly.

It is my hope for myself that I can find a more convenient and affordable gym and figure out my work schedule so that I am able to commit time to the things that keep me balanced such as kettlebells/fitness.

Wherefore Art Thou, Fitness?

Do you remember?

WordPress tells me that it has been a year since my last post. I’ve always meant to keep this blog updated, but it became difficult with my workload during my last year at college and the transition moving back home and adjusting to “the real world.”

In that time since I’ve last posted, I’ve become more proficient with kettlebells. After experiencing pain in my neck and trap, I decided that I had enough of teaching myself how and in January of 2015 I found a local gym, Rapid Results Fitness (RRF) that specialized in kettlebells. Once I got over the sticker shock of monthly membership (totally worth it tho) I attended kettlebell group classes there 3-4x a week for close to 6 months. I received one-on-one instruction from highly qualified and certified StrongFirst instructors. To say that my time there was transformational would be an understatement. I learned how to lift safely and learned create cues so that I use what I learned at the gym in my own workouts when I moved away and could no longer attend classes there. My time at RRF inspired me to pursue my StrongFirst Level I certification – a far away, but hopefully attainable goal.

Almost immediately after I moved back home in May and stopped going to RRF, my colitis returned. I was sick for about 5 months with this flare. I treated my colitis with a combination of homeopathy and acupuncture. I took mega doses of my remedy (prescribed to me by my homeopath) and went to acupuncture weekly. I have not taken traditional “western” medicine for my colitis since 2013 having successfully treated past flares using alternative and naturopathic medicine. I really believe that it was the combination of acupuncture treatments along with a use of a moxa stick that kicked my colitis to the curb. My acupuncturist believes that my colitis is caused by an abundance of fire in my heart as well as my spleen being out of alignment. I held a moxa stick (dried mungworm root – which sounds like it belongs in herbiology class at Hogwartz) to the acupoint for my spleen located on my big toes. The moxa stick stopped my bleeding and helped me get better, but it did have the unfortunate side effect of making me smell as though I had a very serious weed habit. Turns out there is not much of a difference in smell between marijuana and mungworm root. Regardless of the increase in my waterbill due to the additional showers and laundry the moxa stick necessitated, I am 100% believe that acupuncture therapy and techniques got rid of this flare.

That quick summary now brings me to my current state. I am currently gym-less as I gather the funds to bulk (hah) up my own kettlebell collection and try to find a fitness space that I can call my own.

It’s my 2016 goal to update more frequently on topics related to colitis, gym woes and my non-linear but continued kettlebell lifting progress.

Do you remember?

Welcome to My Life

Hi. My name is Zoë. I created this blog after much encouragement (and prodding) from a close friend. Truthfully, I think she was sick of hearing me complain about my gastrointestinal health and my newfound love for kettlebells and suggested this blog as a more appropriate outlet for my frustrations and enthusiasm.

The reason that I began to workout is not unique. After finishing my freshman year in college I went on a family vacation out west. As a typical millenial I documented the trip with fervor, only to grimace when I looked at pictures of myself in the glare-ridden screen of my iPhone.

Me in May of 2013. I feel comfortable describing my state of being as "zaftig" at this point.
Me in May of 2013. I feel comfortable describing my state of being as “zaftig” at this point.

I began to workout seriously in May of 2013 and never looked back (ok.. I look back sometimes… I am a freak about documenting after all). I’m not always consistent, but working out has become a staple for both my mental and physical health. A year into my fitness journey, I picked up a kettlebell program entitled “Lean and Lovely” created by Neghar Fonooni. Kettlebells are now a constant in my workout routines and I will gladly discuss how amazing they are with anyone and everyone.

Ignore the floating head. This is what happens when you screenshot the cover of your workout program.
Ignore the floating head. This is what happens when you screenshot the cover of your workout program.
My loves.
My loves.

I have two nemeses in my life: motion sickness and Ulcerative Colitis. Motion sickness has plagued me since I was 3 years old (although I’m sure my parents will argue that it began much earlier) but Ulcerative Colitis is a more recent development. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in September of 2012. Ulcerative Colitis (UC or colitis, for short) is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). You might be more familiar with it’s more popular sister, Crohn’s Disease. IBD basically means that your colon (and sometimes you’re stomach and esophagus if you have Crohn’s) is a little fucked up. Your colon has a lot of parts (many of which I cannot remember) but if you have colitis the gist is that your colon is covered in ulcers.Yes, ulcers. Don’t you grimace just thinking about it? I know I do. I have ulcers just at the lower section of my colon, but that isn’t always the case for everyone. You can have colitis from the tippity top of your colon all the way to the bottom (pun intended). In my case, however, it is just the last little stretch of colon that has become the bane of my existence. 

A colon. Don't ask me any follow up questions... I problem can't answer them.
A colon. Don’t ask me any follow up questions… I probably can’t answer them.

What’s so bad about having ulcers in your colon? That’s a great question. The answer is disgusting and I will spare you the details. I spend a lot of time in the bathroom. And I’m not putting on make up or perfecting my brow game while I’m in there. I’ll leave the details up to you. If you feel driven to learn more about what living with Ulcerative Colitis entails, I will point you in the direction of Mr. Google.

Working out with a chronic auto-immune illness (or more truthfully, an exaggerated immune response illness) presents its own set of unique challenges. I have created this blog to document (see.. I wasn’t kidding about the documenting thing) my experience of attempting to work out at a consistent and semi-hard core (and rewarding) level while also battling the colitis monster.

So whip out your sweatbands and Zofran, this is bound to be a rewarding yet nausea inducing journey.

Welcome to My Life