Defeating your own mind. Lost with a goal.

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There’s nothing comparable to the horrible feelings you have when that inner voice in your head is constantly criticizing you every day and making you do things, or want to do things, that just aren’t YOU.

Yeah, okay, “self-control” and “will of power” blah blah… it’s not that easy for someone with a disordered mind.

Yes, we all have our “inner demons,” but for some of us, this inner demon can bring you to a deep, deep depression, that is ten times harder to get out of, than to just “shake it off.”

Welcome to my life… right now, at least.

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I’m a happy girl. I am thankful for my family and friends, and I am so thankful for the privileges I have, while many people in the world are struggling. I want to make people laugh and smile. I want to offer a sincere hello and hug to you. I want to give, and I want to see this world progress in ways we could’ve thought nearly impossible. Heck, I want PEACE and I’m not afraid to say it like it’s cliche!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I’m an optimistic person.

But there’s one problem.

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My mind.

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It seems like I have so many good things in my life and so many things to be grateful for that they would all outweigh the “negatives,” right? Well, they should… and they do in some cases, but in other cases, I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom.

I’ve been feeling like this for nearly a year now. Yes, I have dabbled with these feelings on and off in the past, but never this severe before. And I’m scared.

I’m scared that I won’t rediscover WHO I am. I’m scared that I won’t find peace with myself. I’m scared that I’ll never “recover,” and be able to control my inner mind…

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We all have days when we feel overworked, stressed, tired… We don’t want to get out of bed… It’s a “lazy day.” Or even, sometimes we are just so overworked that we catch a little cold or fever and need a day off.

Despite the bacteria and viruses that may affect our immune systems — sometimes our own minds and bodies can do the exact same thing that a bacteria or virus can do — make us sick.

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This past week I have been under the weather.

I’ve had a few days that I’ve felt achy and tired, I’ve had days with an on and off fever, and I’ve had a constant stuffy nose and ugly cough. (Luckily I’m beginning to feel much better.)

But I’ve done a lot of reflecting this past week… and tonight. So, yeah, I’m taking a “break” from homework to write this… but I need to – for ME. And I hope that maybe some of you may find this helpful for your mentally challenging days.

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I honestly wish I could explain better, the feeling of having an “inner demon” constantly making choices for you. This is not to say that I don’t make daily choices based on my own thoughts and opinions. And I AM happy going to dialects class and speaking as a Russian woman… and I AM happy swing dancing in ballroom at 2pm on a Monday, while laughing my head off with my partner… BUT, it’s once I leave “controlled environments” that I feel completely LOST.

I feel like my choices and habits are NOT being dictated by my wants and needs, but rather, by this horrible voice in my head.

I’m sorry if this is creepy, or freaky/scary, weird, for some of you to read… so if it bothers you, again, I’m sorry and you don’t need to continue! ha..

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But really… I wish I could get an actual response from you all…

How many of you recognize that moment when you tell your mind “NO!”?? (It can be in relation to aaaanything… For instance: *Inner voice* You should totally skip class because… blah blah blah. *You* NO, go to class! – And, do you go? Or do you not?)

– Do you actually follow through with your response?

– Or, do you give in to that voice?

Well, often – at least for a while now – I’ve been giving into that voice. Now, I hope you forgive me for not telling you all of the things that occur in my head – it’s a LOT – but do understand, that is because these are things I would never wish upon anyone. Ever.

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So, here I am… writing this, rough ‘sketch’ and not really knowing where I want to go with it all…

But, I guess I wanted to say that:

I do not know how to NOT listen to that voice in my head. I have come to a point that I literally do not feel like I have control over my mind and body anymore… and it’s awful. The ‘funny’ thing is though, that I am able to recognize this… that I am lost. Lost in my own mind…

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It’s weird sometimes how we can have out of body experiences.

That is basically what my life has been like EVERY day for a while. My “inner demon” causes me to do things that make me feel miserable, and I feel like I’m watching myself from the outside – just hurting myself more.

I think we ALL have these experiences. And I think it’s funny how certain things just “pop up” or start to become very relevant in your life, where you almost receive “signs” from the world…

Sorry if that sounds too spiritual or “out there” for anyone…

But really. I’ve been seeing so many articles and news interviews about emotional intelligence, and just this evening, I watched a Charlie Rose interview with Dan Harris about Mindful Meditation (that took place just a couple days ago).

Well, maybe THIS is my way out.. or at least, it can’t hurt to try, right??

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Emotional Intelligence basically means that you recognize the emotions you are feeling and relate them to their “trigger.” What made you feel this way? Why? Is this the right way to feel? Is this overreacting? Is this a mind game? What are the UNDERLYING stressors or problems, (if negative emotions) that are making you feel this way?

Mindful Mediation simply involves relaxing in a seated or lied down position, just focusing on your breath, and recognizing when every time a new thought occurs – “oh my gosh, I need to do this homework.. I need to get my car washed… what should I make for dinner?” Recognizing when you go away from your breath and RESTARTING again. Refocusing on your breath. It may take you 100 times before your 5/10/30min meditation is over… but the point is to WORK the brain muscles and to train them and hone in on your breath.

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Well… I know I didn’t exactly share much detail about what’s going on… I just wanted to share a new goal, and something I want to be held accountable for.

I want to take time each day, whether it be short or long, to just meditate mindfully.

Why? Because I’ll do ANYTHING that’ll help me find inner peace and happiness. It may work, it may not. Yes, I know it’s not for everyone, but you don’t know until you try. I’m no true yogi or spiritualist or earth mamma, or whatever you want to call “someone who meditates,” I am simply MY OWN SPIRIT.

Right now, I am recognizing the horrible feelings I’m having (Emotional Intelligence), and I am doing my best to separate the facts of NOW, and what is internally, deeply causing these feelings. I am trying to LET GO. And I want to do my best to take some time each day to focus on letting go.

I challenge each of you to do the same.

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Thank you all for reading this. Again, I’m sorry if it was hard to read, and I’m sorry if it didn’t make much sense. But if I could reach out to any of you and relate in any way, that means the world to me.

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Faux Spaghetti: A delicious low carb alternative

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Making faux spaghetti is EASY!

There are so many alternatives for spaghetti noodles nowadays, like kelp noodles, zucchini noodles, mung bean noodles, etc. But one of my favorite things to use for a healthy alternative to carb coma inducing pasta dish, is spaghetti squash!

There are a couple of very easy ways to make it:

1) Slice the squash in half, place in a big bowl or on a plate, and microwave on high for about 10-12 minutes. However, I usually use the baking method…

2) Slice the squash in half, and bake at 375F to 400F until the outer shell has softened.

Once your squash is cooked through, simply use a fork to “fork out” all of the “spaghetti noodles.”

Now, spaghetti squash is so versatile… I love to just put cinnamon on it, or sauté it with some olive oil, garlic, and spinach, or, I throw it into some pasta sauce with some prepared meatballs, ground turkey or beef, and veggies, and WHALAAA! (Is that how you spell it? ha!)

When you’re feeling like a low carb  or lighter option, or simply, just a good fiber and vitamin enriched vegetable plate, try this out!

Simple. Delicious.

*I love to make my own pasta sauce too… mmmm.

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What’s my story?

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So, I’m sure that some people are wondering WHY NOW? Why have you just NOW decided to speak up? Well, I have two reasons:

1) This week marks exactly one year since I have been in recovery. This time last year, I was literally near death. This time last year I “enjoyed” a mini spring break trip, and then laid around sick as a dog, inching closer and closer to death’s door. This time last year, I told myself, “NO MORE.” I told myself that I HAD to get better – not just for me, but for those who love me. As much help as I was getting from my family, from my doctor, and from a few friends, I, ultimately, had to be the one to make the decision to GET OUT of this hole. So, I did.

2) For some time now, I have been able to speak about my experience with ED. However, I have hardly been able to express my feelings and emotions behind it all, except for with a few number of people I trust. I think that I avoided NEDA (National Eating Disorder Awareness) before, and I’m choosing to confront it now. I think that the more I try to “put on a good face” for myself and other people – every.single.day. – the more miserable I keep making myself, because I am holding year’s worth of emotions inside of me. So, here it is… this is me…

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What’s MY story? (Part Three)

One year.

One year since I have gone from being extremely sick, to being who I am now.

During this year, I have fallen down more times than I have risen up. I have had to put on over 50, yes fifty, pounds, JUST to regain hormonal balance. I have had to force myself to “eat like a kid” again – meaning, to remind myself that YES, in fact, I do love chocolate. I do love baking with my sister. I do love my mom’s homemade pizza… I have had to tell myself that extreme hunger and cravings are NORMAL…

Well Lalitha, you never explained what extreme hunger is?

Extreme hunger is what kicks in when your mind and body FINALLY get a hold of food, so you, almost robotically, eat and eat and EAT, feeling like a bottomless pit, until nearly sick…

Extreme hunger means that I was, for days on end, eating 8k to 10k to 12k calories A DAY. Now, some people are like “DAMN, I wish I could do that!”

No, no you don’t.

Extreme hunger is something that occurs when your body has been in such a deficit for SO LONG, and is trying to make up for the YEARS of lost calories and fuel sources you deprived your body of. Feeling like a bottomless pit and seeing pounds pack on is one of the most detrimental things to a person’s mind – this is where most ED recoverers fail overcome.

Often, in recovery, especially in the “fitness industry,” in fact, in THIS SOCIETY, putting on weight means that you have to make “lean gains,” or “minimal fat gains,” which is BS.

Your body cannot find hormonal balance this way, and you’re actually continuing to stem your eating disorder.

Now, I’m only speaking for anorexics now, because binge eating is another spectrum; but, people with anorexia nervosa have TOO MUCH CONTROL over their diet, and while making “lean gains” sounds optimal, there is no mental progress being made while you continue to monitor every single thing you eat and do during the day… remember that limbo phase? Yeah, this is the hardest wall to break.

Anyway, so I experienced extreme hunger, which pulled me out of this limbo phase. Now, as much as I utterly hate that I “packed on the pounds,” I can only see NOW that I had to do it. My body needed it.

Now, by the summer of 2014, I was finally weight restored.

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“Lalitha you look so healthy!”

“Oh, you must feel so much better.”

“Lalitha, I was so worried, I’m glad you’re all BETTER now…”

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Better? Am I better?? Am I “okay?”

I’ll be honest.

Some days feel exactly as hard as they were a year ago… if not worse.

Getting out of bed can be a daily struggle. Looking in the mirror IS a daily struggle. Putting on clothes and being in public IS a daily struggle. Why?

Because it takes waaaay more TIME for your mental state to heal, than for your body to heal. Depression kicks in. Thoughts of relapse kick in. Feeling alone, feeling huge, feeling unworthy and not beautiful…

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We are each unique human beings and we each have a beautiful inner soul and outer beauty that should radiate, and not be quieted by our own feelings, or by what society approves of.

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Now, I don’t want you all to sit there an think that I’m miserable.

Because, I’m not.

I’m just still recovering.

I have my GOOD days, and I’m beginning to count them. Soon enough, I know they’ll add up to be greater good days, than bad days. I know that I may have a good week, and then crash and burn by the end of the week… but the most important thing is, that I keep getting back up again.

This doesn’t pertain to just someone in recovery, but I think that anyone can take this to heart – that the more you keep trying and simply adding up the good moments and memories in life, the more you will be able to pick yourself back up again, when you have one bad day.

We are all human.

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Now, I don’t want to preach to you, or bore you, or make you think that I’m not being honest and real with you. So please, I hope you read this with kindness and are even able to not necessarily relate to my feelings and emotions, but are able to relay similar ones to your own experiences.

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I just wanted to finish off this post with something that has been a battle for me within the past few months. That is…

People may criticize me for “always being in the gym” and for working out as often as I do. Or they may criticize me for not wanting a brownie here and there, and opting for a good ‘ol hearty salad with some damn good grilled chicken…Well, you know what? This is just who I am.

Like I said, I LOVE to eat whole foods 80 to 90 percent of the time, but trust me, I have days when I’d rather eat pancakes and chocolate for every meal! I think that’s normal, right? Well, for me it is. And as for “being in the gym all the time,” I simply just do what I love to do – which is to be ACTIVE. I’m only training for one thing… and as cheesy as it sounds, the only thing I’m training for, is for LIFE.

If I don’t have a mountain outside my door to go and hike every day, the gym sounds pretty darn good to me. I like to lift and workout.

No. I LOVE it. It gives me the endorphins and mental focus I need to plow through every day. It reminds me day to day that I am strong, that I have come such a long way, and that health and fitness are a passion of mine. For me, there’s nothing like zoning in during my workouts and forgetting whatever else may be going on in the world. It is my meditation, my drive. (JUST as Acting is for me!!)

And I think that everyone should just do what they love and not let others determine whether it is right for them or not.

I am a huge advocate for the current slogan: “Strong is the new skinny.”

No, I personally do not want to look like to be as strong as a bodybuilder. I just mean, I want to be strong, physically fit, able to push MY limits. I simply want to encourage the athlete in me, and to challenge myself daily.

I’m trying.

I’m trying to become the best ME, by doing things the right way this time (hence the name). I will admit that I am not happy with how I look or feel right now. I am entitled to that opinion. I just need to separate myself from the ED driven “me,” and the “me” that just wants to feel good for herself.

I work my ass off and hardly see results, and when I do, they are slow and minimal. My body has seen so much damage, that ANY changes throw my hormones, body, and mental state out of whack. I work just as hard, if not harder, than most people who are trying to achieve the same thing I want for MYSELF.

I want to be healthy, happy, fit, and confident for once.

Right now, my journey, my changes, and my results are so small. And I’ve started to realize that a lot of it has to do with my mental recovery. That if I don’t learn to accept myself as who I am NOW, that I’ll never be happy with myself, and I’ll only fall back into the same hole I was in before. I’m trying my best to learn how to follow my intuitive instincts and to enjoy life to its fullest.

I should only strive each day to make improvements based on the day before. I need to realize that one day won’t change years and years of trauma and damage. And that one day heal years and years of depression, anger, and sadness… I need to realize that one day may be GREAT, while the next, I may have failed.

Right now, I am doing the best I can…

I’ve got chubby cheeks, but a renewed sparkle in my eyes. I hope that one day, I’ll be able to look at myself as lovingly as I look at the world.

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Again, thank you all for reading this. The love and support I have received is overwhelming. I just want to share my story with others, because sometimes speaking out is a good way to unveil inner emotions, but also a good way to realize that you’re not alone.

In this “musings” section, I’ll be posting some more “life updates,” and of course, “musings,” that will definitely have the more positive and silly Lalitha thoughts underlying it all…

What’s my story?

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What’s MY story? (Part Two)

So, in the first post I made (see Part One), I did my best to lay out where it all ‘began,’ and pretty much up to the point that I am at NOW with myself; that is, “weight restored.”

I left off by explaining that during my “recovery phase,” I was unwillingly having to eat between 2600-3000kcal a day, so that my weight would (hopefully) start increasing.

Now, I had lost my cycle for a while – two years – because of all of the trauma and stress I put my body under. WOMEN, THIS IS NOT GOOD…

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For someone like me who DREAMS of having a family one day, this actually was one of my biggest motivations to recover… THAT, and the fact that I was tired of sitting on bones, constantly being watched, freezing when it was 70 degrees outside, and I was finally beginning to see (at times) the “bobble head” and hallow person I had become… Crazy as it may sound though, I constantly had battling voices in my head – one voice telling me all of this, and the other voice telling me that I was still not small enough, not good enough.

So, really, for the second year that I was “recovering,” I will honestly admit that I was in a limbo state. I think that many women AND men who are recovering from any type of eating disorder get stuck here… in LIMBO. I fortunately, began to experience Extreme Hunger, but I also had the support I needed to get my mind out of this Orthorexic, limbo, gutter.

But first, you may be wondering, how was I in limbo when I was eating so much? Well, like I said, I was eating a LOT more, but I was out exercising anything that I put in my body. My orthorexic behaviors grew and grew the more I had to eat. But, I also developed “exercise bulimia.” Yes, that is a thing. Now, for those who are unsure of what “orthorexia” is – it basically means that you ONLY eat “clean foods.” Therefore, you are depriving yourself of the daily indulgences that most every human being enjoys.

Now, I AM an advocate of eating clean and whole foods, but I do believe in moderation, and a more flexible dieting approach. This is something I had to force myself to realize – moderation, NOT deprivation. No, I don’t sit around and eat processed foods all the time. If anything, about 80 to 90 percent of my daily diet consists of whole foods, and the remaining percent I fill with those “junk foods” we have put a name on… Yes, I do try to avoid processed foods, or foods with  HFC, and definitely, I avoid anything with GMOs or MSGs… but that is a simple caution that is advised for everyone.

Again, moderation, not deprivation. I like chocolate, okay??

So, getting out of this orthorexic phase was probably ONE of the hardest parts about my weight and MENTAL recovery. I was scared to eat chocolate. Yes, scared… terrified! I was scared to eat anything processed. I was scared to have a slice of pizza or to even eat out with my family and friends… And to be honest, I STILL have to face these “fears” every single day. In the mind of someone who has an eating disorder, you automatically calculate and think about every little thing that goes in your mouth and how it will affect you. That means, I thought that eating ONE cookie that my little brother baked for my winter break homecoming, was going to make me FAT.

I cried over that cookie.

How stupid, right? A loving gesture from my little brother, and I cried about having to eat it…

I cannot tell you how much pain and hurt I not only put myself through, but more so, what I put my family and my friends through… and I will forever be so sorry for that. I am lucky that they do (and continue to try their best to) understand what hole I was in, and I’m forever grateful that they still support me and love me more than ever to this day, while the mental battle continues.

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Yes, I am still fighting.

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Like I said. A mental disorder is not something you can just “get over,” it is merely something you can learn to control and ignore. I am one of the lucky ones who was only deep into my disorder for just two years. The thought of living that way for 5, 10, 20 years of my life? That scares me and I never want to go back to that.

I was trying so hard to make “lean gains,” or to only add on minimal fat, but I wasn’t helping my hormonal balance at all. I also wasn’t helping my mental state. So often do people who struggle with eating disorders NOT learn how to enjoy FOOD again. Food continues to be feared in different ways. I had to let go of ALL of my conceptions about what I believed was the “healthy” way to put on weight, and just DO it, to save myself.

So, I’m jumping over a few things here and there, which I will blog more about at some point and time… but basically, once I got sick and experienced extreme hunger, my body took revenge on me… It was the worst feeling and experience, and the most pain I’ve ever been in, in my entire life. I was, finally, fully committed to my recovery, but I was seeing ALL of the horrible effects of what I had done to my body.

I was bed ridden for two weeks straight.

I could hardly walk after that, without having major edema or pain.

It hurt to move.

It hurt to walk.

It hurt to put on clothes and brush my teeth.

Not only that… but my depression and self hatred got even worse.

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I would NEVER wish this upon anyone — and I’m not looking for any kind of pity or loving compliments. I just want people to either find hope for themselves, or to find the courage to help others who may be struggling.

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Now, why was I in so much pain? Well, my muscles and the tissues inside of my body were SO overworked and torn up, and in need of fuel and energy, that once I really began to feed myself enough, my body started aaaall of its internal repairing. Within just weeks, I was quickly adding on weight, my muscles doubled and tripled in size, my tissues and internal organs were holding on to the fat I needed to survive… which all lead to a whole lot of pain.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Right?

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Well, I’m going to finish up this post, and in Part Three, I want to talk about where I am at NOW with myself – physically and mentally.

But, I will leave you with this… a positive thought:

I am a believer that things do happen for a reason.

I believe that we are faced with all different kinds of obstacles in our lives that challenge us, and make us stronger.

I believe that every path each of us is on, leads us, ultimately, to where we need to be – to find peace, happiness, and to truly find the joy in life.

So, no matter how many times I said and continue to say, “Why me!?” I believe that THIS is a part of me, and that it has lead me to find an additional passion I have in life. That is, the passion to lead a healthy, fit, and BALANCED lifestyle. To educate. To inspire. To be a role model. To be a strong person, a strong daughter and sister, a strong actress, a strong friend, a strong wife and mother (one day!)… THIS has shown me that health and fitness are both my escape and my passion… and that it’s okay if someone else doesn’t approve of my lifestyle, so long as I am happy.

Want to know something?

I have a dream… a dream that once I graduate, I’ll soon enough have a fulfilling and early career in acting, with a part time job as a personal trainer and zumba instructor… and then? That one day I will meet the perfect guy, I’ll be an awesome “soccer mom” and stay at home mother (hopefully living up to the AMAZING mother I have), with the same part time job, and that when I’m 70 years old… I’ll be hiking up a mountain with my grandkids, just because I’m happy, healthy, fit, and loving life.

I will fulfill this dream. Now, what’s your dream?

Go chase it.

*I was reminded this evening by an amazing person, Oscar Descalzi, that I have a fight and drive in me. That I have the ability to push through the wall I’m currently punching every day. That I just need to keep striving for the next level, and I WILL get there. Making and achieving small goals is just as good as long term and big goals.

Thank you all again for reading this. I’ll be sharing the last part, Part Three, soon enough. I hope that I can reach out to anyone who is struggling, and to let you know, you are not alone. But I also hope that I can reach out to those who just want to understand, and want to help make a difference, whether it’s by helping someone else with an ED, or by doing something GOOD each and every day for yourself and for others.

L-carnitine

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L-carnitine. What is it?

L-carnitine is an amino acid, which is naturally produced in the body.

Most people create normal levels of l-carnitine when the aminos lysine and methionine are synthesized in the body.

*Taking l-carnitine is not necessary for most people, but rather, a supplement that may be used to enhance the normal effects of natural production of l-carnitine.

There are many benefits of taking l-carnitine, especially for goal-oriented athletes or people who may be deficient in the production of l-carnitine.

Here is a GREAT link about some of the benefits of l-carnitine from Bodybuilding.com: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/11-super-side-effects-from-taking-l-carnitine.html

I personally do not always take l-carnitine, but I have found that when I do suppliment with this product, I notice that my body uses food and food (or fat) storages as better and more efficient fuel for my active days or intense workouts.

*Disclaimer: I am no dietician, I just do my research, learn from others in the industry, and SAFELY experiment with and observe myself.

To eat or not to eat?

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I mentioned in a previous post about eating the skin of sweet potatoes. (If you haven’t yet checked out the easiest way to bake, roast, and make delicious quick n’ easy sweet potato fries or chips, look under “sides”) Anyway, I said that unless I’m baking a sweet potato the traditional way, I always keep the skin on while roasting these starchy root vegetables. Why? Because FIBER.

Majority of ALL vegetables’ and fruits’ fiber is within the outmost layer. So yeah, the rough, sometimes prickly, sometimes hairy, sometimes tart, sometimes sour, colorful layer, is the most fiber rich source of the fruit or vegetable.

This is common sense for most people, I’d assume. We all learn at an early age to “eat the skin.”

However, there are some fruits and vegetables that we like to peel or cut – when we don’t know that we’re actually removing the healthiest, most vitamin and fiber enriched part!

Some of these common fruits and vegetables are sweet potatoes, kiwis, (and as children) apples and pears, broccoli stems… I’m sure there are more. But these are all produces I bet you eat on the daily.

So, although this post may be “less informative” to most of you, I encourage you to at least try eating, or to start incorporating, more of the “skin” of your fruits and vegetables.

People look at me like I’m crazy when I wash a kiwi and either bite into it like it’s an apple, or slice it while it still has the fuzzy, rough skin on it… BUT, I bet you, if you try a good, ripe, kiwi? You won’t even taste it or realize you’re eating the skin!

So, not only will eating a kiwi (for instance) with its skin on provide you with a great amount of Vitamin C and other vitamins, but you’ll be getting MORE of the soluble and insoluble fiber from this superfood!

*The recommended amount of fiber for the average woman is between 25-28g/day while for men, it is between 35-38g/day. (I’ll definitely make a future post about the differences between soluble and insoluble fiber!)

***Note: Kiwis and strawberries are a BOMB combo!

What’s my story?

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What’s MY story? (Part One)

I’ve been postponing this post for a while now… but given that it is NEDAwareness Week, I want to open up to you all about MY life with an eating disordered mind.

I’m going to divide my story up into parts (so look for future posts), just because it honestly is a load of feelings and information to get out all in one sitting…

So what’s my story?

Well, up until my sophomore year of college, I was an active, athletic, outgoing, artistic young woman, who experienced the usual “ups” and “downs” that we all face on a daily basis. I was loving most every part of my life – I had a family who constantly supported and loved me, I was going to the college I had dreamed of, I had great relationships with friends, I was landing leading roles in shows, I was on President’s List for academic excellence, I was staying active inside and outside of the gym… What could have been wrong?

Well, before I continue, let me back track a little bit…

I started feeling very depressed and not seeing myself as “worthy of even trying to look pretty” during middle school. I was your typical “Tomboy,” but underlying that was, in all honesty, the feeling that I’d never look or feel as pretty as another girl, so why try?

Now, I am STILL a Tomboy, but I do enjoy dressing up and doing girlie things! But back then, I only liked to shop in the boy’s section for basketball shorts and big t-shirts, and my hair was constantly in a pony tail. Now, I was “thick,” but I mean, I was simply the ONE type of teenage girls who puts on a little bit of weight during puberty. I was strong and somewhat muscular looking, from being an athlete and dancer, but I’m also just naturally built to have big bones and a thicker musculature – something that is still very hard to grasp.

Anyways, so rather than constantly feeling sorry for myself then (which I would only do in private), I just decided that if I hung out with the boys and acted like the boys, girls could not compare me to them, and I wouldn’t compare myself to other girls. Of course, I didn’t realize until now, that THAT was already my disordered mind working. If I could go back to the middle school Lalitha, I would tell her that being a tomboy is perfectly fine, but don’t be afraid to dress up or to look pretty for yourself – have some self-confidence.

Moving forward to high school, I finally started to see a few changes in myself. Little things like doing well in school, getting my braces off, making varsity sports teams — they all contributed to a small confidence booster. Nevertheless, a feeling I’ve constantly had since about middle school persisted – the feeling of waking up every day, looking in the mirror, and not seeing or liking the reflection.

Well, throughout high school, I “naturally” started to lean out a bit.. or what I thought was “natural.” For YEARS, I had been trying to “diet” just a little bit, or to lean out just a little bit because I had always been told that I could “drop a few pounds” and look great. (Funny how NOW people prefer me like my current state, than when I was “lean.” hmm…)

Back to what I was saying… So, I was “naturally” losing weight, right?

Wrong.

I remember at school strictly eating only a PBJ for lunch, or skipping out on things here and there just to be healthier. Well, nothing was wrong with that, except for the deep internal reasons behind it all. Nothing is wrong with wanting to eat healthier, eat less, lean out, etc. But there IS something wrong when you are restricting yourself from things you enjoy in life.

Moderation. (That’ll be another post!)

So, I was fine with those meals. But unknowingly, I would take it further at home, and only have a salad after a late night’s soccer practice, and then I’d go look in the mirror to see if I had made any changes in a day… A DAY. stupid me…

Funny thing is, I didn’t realize at ALL that I had already developed some of my “eating disordered habits” so early on. I will say though, that I was still very much INTUITIVE back then. I ate WHAT I wanted, WHEN I wanted – just in smaller amounts. And currently, that is my goal right now. So yes, the weight started to come off “naturally,” but I didn’t know that my ED obsession was kicking in.

So, I skipped a lot of high school, because I do want to delve into the heart of it all… college.

I graduated from high school feeling better than I had ever felt before. Was I happy with myself at that point? No, not completely. But, I had seen and felt positive changes – so going to college, I felt “ready.”

In the fall of 2011, I arrived at college, feeling good about myself in most every aspect. But this was the last year I ever saw myself being intuitive, happy, and living life’s ups and downs like a regular 20 year old girl.

By the end of my freshman year, I, of course, was practically the only one of my friends to put on the “Freshman 15…20?” Not even sure. I still worked out, but the late night college pizza bingeing and snacking was NOT a lifestyle I was used to back at home – so the pounds packed on. Summer of 2012, I wanted to make slow changes.

I began incorporating just a little more exercise into my routine, and I was still eating intuitively, but healthier, in moderation, and in smaller portions. NO COUNTING.

But then… come sophomore year – Biology.

I had already lost a little bit of weight since the summer had passed by, and I was continuing on this slow and steady journey. But something clicked…

As we were learning about diet and nutrition in my biology class – all about calorie intake, exercise, etc. What is optimal to help you lose weight… blah blah… my mind just kicked in.

I started restricting.

I started over-exercising.

I started skipping social events.

I started being moody.

Now, I started feeling better about myself because of the results I was seeing…

But my mind was falling into a deep, dark place.

By winter break, I was actually very happy with my body. I was working hard – though restricting WAY too much – but I was weighing and beginning look, like I wanted to.

Apparently, that wasn’t good enough.. because upon returning to school, I just kept thinking, “Just a little more. You can get under this number. A little more weight to lose. WOOHOO, you’re under 120. Now you’re under 115…” and it got worse.

I was at the height of my disorder finishing my sophomore year of college, and leading into my junior year of college.

My family saw how fragile and disordered I had become. But I refused to see it.

When they forced food at me, or in my face, I was instantaneously making excuses not to eat it, or I was counting the calories (by heart) and then later restricting in other areas, so I would not be eating so much. The worst part is, that I didn’t see how sick I looked. I looked like death.

Yes, I looked like death.

I acted like a b****.

I wasn’t the daughter or the sister I used to be.

I had hallow cheeks.

I had dead eyes.

I had no desire to go “have fun!”

I just wanted to focus on getting smaller and smaller by exercising and not eating… WHY? WHY does someone think like this!??

I don’t know.

But I do know, that it’s not something we choose to deal with. An eating disorder is a mental disorder. It is chronic. It cannot be erased from your mind, it can only be “controlled.”

Few, and yet, many, people know what it’s like to have a constant voice inside of your head… (I’ll save this for another post as well.)

So, moving on, to finish off Part One of My Story, I’ll lead you up and to the point of my recovery.

By second semester of junior year, I was finally eating about 2600kcal to 3000kcal a day to put on weight. Now, in ANOTHER post, I will talk about how my anorexia nervosa turned into an orthorexic recovery… But basically, I was then, a “recovering orthorexic” who was still struggling to put on weight, because, SURPRISE, the more I ate, the more I decided to go workout… BAD, BAD IDEA.

Okay, sorry, it’s hard to format all of this… I just want to type it as honestly as I would tell it to you.

So, spring break of my junior year, I got very sick. I’m not sure what I had, but I could not keep any food down, and for the first time, I truly felt like death.

I was at my lowest weight.

One night during that week – shaking uncontrollably, stomach aching, not keeping any food down, alone in my apartment, feeling like death – I vowed to recover.

I began learning about Minnie Maud (MM) and I began to not only eat 3K+ a day, but my mind and body went into full on “recovery mode” because I never wanted to feel that way, or see my body that way again…

The story will continue in a future post.

But I’ll leave you with this:

No, I’m not fully recovered. I am weight restored, but my mind is nowhere near the point of being in a healthy state.

Am I happier? That’s honestly hard to say. I have my ups and downs, and I think that until I can get a full grasp on my mental state, I cannot answer this questions just yet. But I will say that…

I’m happier to be the daughter, the sister, and the friend, I used to be.

I’m happier to not be sitting on bones or to hear someone tell me “Oh, I hope I don’t break you,” while trying to hug me.

I’m happier that I can now SEE the hole I was in.

And I have many more reasons to be happy! But for now.. I’m sorry for the brief ending, but I can already tell that this is a load to read, and it’s a lot for me to open up about.

Thank you for letting me trust you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for letting me inspire. Thank you for supporting and loving me, whether you are a family member, a friend, a stranger… whoever you may be.

I will share more. Just give me some time. In the meantime, I will definitely be sharing more recipes, workouts, musings, supplement facts, and whatever interests YOU all, on my blog!

Keep up with me here, or on my instagram @livingtherightwhey