Hello there! My name is Emma Dolan from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.
I decided to begin blogging when I realized that the massive quantity of thoughts, ideas, plans, feelings, emotions and worries in my head were overwhelming and becoming very destructive. Those who have meet me would say I am a pretty laid back person, care-free even. There are a very few people in my life whom I have been able to completely open up myself to. They are able to look deeper and see the controlling and obsessive behaviors I possess that are self-destructing.
I was waiting to write about my success and my struggles through deprivation, obsessive exercise and disordered eating once I had completely overcome it. However, I still have many struggles and feel that now is the perfect time to start writing, as I go through this journey. I feel that I have so much to share as each day presents a new struggle and a new success.
From a young age, I felt the pressures to be thin. I was always "the tall girl". I stood feet above my fellow male classmate in grade 6, and could not help but feel very self-conscious about my height. I did not feel feminine and pretty like my other female peers. Everyone told me I was "big boned", tall, or athletic, but never pretty, slim or feminine.
I began competing in almost every sport I could, and met my best friends this way. My confidence went up as I realized these girls were more interested in strength and performance rather than fretting about every inch of their bodies. I found my body was useful for more important things than just how it looked to others, and to my worst critic, myself.
In my first year of high school I hit my first real low. I had just begun my first season of sports (field hockey) and was getting excited for basketball season to start. Two days before basketball try-outs I broke my fibula, tore my PCL, stretched my ACL and had to get major knee surgury. Recovery time - 7 months! There goes basketball, and life as I knew it. I barely moved, nor ate for an entire month. I did not want to see anyone, I lost touch with my friends, and lost a lot of weight.
My habits followed into my university years until I started to become happier and surround myself with healthy, happy people that didn't think about food in an obsessive way. I got better but also gained a lot of weight by the end of the year (the freshman 15, or 20).
The following years of my undergraduate degree were very stressful. School got very intense as I rushed to graduate early and finish my thesis. I dropped the weight again, but not in a healthy way.
My body took on way too much. I became intolerant to a lot of food (lactose, gluten and eggs) and even developed anemia.
I was not healthy by any means, but my degree in Kinesiology taught me a lot, and toward the latter part of my degree, my health slowly began to improve. I starting working in the health and wellness industry and took a new love for running and fitness. It became my stress reliever. A positive part of my life, not an obsession. I eliminated gluten, eggs, and dairy from my diet and it made me feel amazing. I finally felt good, energetic, in control, and healthy. Then came the fitness competition...
|I met some amazing people and took away a trophy.|
|Oh the tanning... haven't stepped into a bed since.|
|My "big bum".|
But, here I am, far away from rock-bottom. I still have much to overcome, but looking back I feel like I have learned and accomplished so much since then. I wish I never had put my body and mind through that, but I believe everything happens for a reason. Experiencing the competition, the workouts, the diet, and the after-math has brought me to this point in my life.
Every now and again there is a bad day, but who does not have those days? My success is knowing how to battle those bad days.
I began to look at food with love. And why shouldn't I? It is what fuels your body, what give you energy to experience the joys in life. It makes you feel great, and tastes wonderful! I have never tasted and enjoyed my food like I do now. Who knew this stuff was so awesome? :)
|Jumping for joy in Amsterdam :)|
I look at my intolerance as guidelines in how to eat instead of as misfortunes. My body hurts when I eat dairy, eggs, gluten, refined sugar or red meat, so a vegan diet is just what I need. I do not see eating vegan as a restrictive diet. I see it as what makes me feel good and gives me energy. There are millions of delicious vegan recipes out there. You cannot tell me gluten-free, vegan pumpkin pie banana chunk cookies, or creamy avocado pasta does not make your mouth water. Mine is right now just thinking about them.
|Enjoying a hike with my best friend.|
Yoga has saved me, and enlightened me more than I could ever give thanks for. When anxiety starts to creep in I send myself into a shoulder stand and calm my mind. Right now, meditation is not in the cards for my mile-a-minute mind just yet, but I am trying to get there, and it has been a beautiful process. The idea of separating my thoughts even for a moment is enough motivation to practice whenever I have a free second.
So, there is that side of my life in a nut shell. It has been quite the journey thus far, and will continue to be I am sure. My goal is to help anyone else going through a similar struggle by sharing my experiences or to just spread the world about delicious recipes, energizing workouts and mindful practices :)