© 2013 jen

Fit-tastic Update: Raw

The Raw Deal

I seem to have hit a new point in my weight loss, health and healing journey. It’s a raw period. It’s as if I have a lifetime of stored emotions that are only now coming out. A lifetime of hurt, sadness, and pain breaking loose inside of me, like a landslide – now that I’m so healthy in mind and body.

I’m not actually feeling sad in general. The sadness that’s oozing out is from another lifetime. Feelings that I used to feed with food from a life that I lived a long time ago, with my mom, when I was a kid. A life that I had so little control over. My life was pretty hard and scary at times and I just put those feelings away – I ate those feelings away – as much as I could. Now at 42 they are finally all coming out.

In case you’ve missed other posts about my mom, she has had MASSIVE mental health issues for most of my life. She’s extremely bipolar and she started having nervous breakdowns when I was 12, but long before she started having nervous breakdowns there were “cracks” in her exterior and interior that I could see and that worried me.

It’s really frightening when your only parent is falling apart.


There was a time when my mom was just a mom. Not crazy. She was the kind of mom who read to us and told us the best stories that she made up herself. She encouraged us and treated us with kindness. She made bread from bread starter and stews in her crock pot. But even then she had some problems. She couldn’t set boundaries with people. She over did everything. She was a super achiever, a people pleaser. She never made herself a priority. She did too much for too many years and couldn’t recover from it.

Something I’ve been thinking about recently is how I intuitively knew there was something wrong with my mom on a conscious level when I was as little as 7 years old. I wonder if I knew subconsciously before then. Even being around my mom made me nervous. She was very unpredictable. She still is.

As I grew older she could be both extremely overreactive and underreactive. I never knew who to expect when I was around her. She might totally explode, screaming her head off, or she might grab me and tell me that she loved me. Other times she might ignore me altogether in favor of her books or writings. I still never know what to expect from her.

She went from being a loving mother to a mess in front of my eyes over a matter of years.

I’ve been in therapy over the years to work through all of this old family stuff. I’ve worked through my victimization of poverty, the deep fears that were created in my youth by having an unstable parent, my anger issues and more. I have done lots of work in my life to overcome old icky paradigms and patterns that I don’t want to recreate in my life now. I have a degree in psychology and sociology. I really can understand everything and thought it was mostly over and I had moved out of that pain. I’d already worked through everything.

What was left to fix?

I think I’m only now fully feeling just how traumatic my childhood truly was. I couldn’t feel it all then. I was too little and I didn’t understand what was really happening, not the way I do now. When I was in therapy as an adult I wasn’t healthy enough to feel the truth of the feelings – the full pain of the situation.

I’m only healthy enough NOW to feel it all.

I spent my time forcing food in to cover those feelings that were there all along. My body was too stuffed, damaged and sick from the undiagnosed Celiac disease and chronic overeating. But now I’m endlessly stronger and healthier. I’m present, with room to feel, which is bringing on the deepest vulnerability and strength – simultaneously – that I’ve ever felt.

It has me hypothesizing that you can only heal to the degree of your health. Meaning, I could only heal to a certain point, because my health wasn’t that strong or nimble. Like you can only be as healthy and overcome as much as the body you’re living in. How sick or healthy the body is will dictate the degree to which you can heal.

It feels like I’ve been carrying all of these subconscious feelings around stored in my individual cells, and as these molecules are shrinking there’s no place for these emotions to fit anymore. It’s like my body fat held the feelings away from my heart, but there’s no where for it to go anymore, except outside of me.

The Flood Gate Is Open

I’m crying all the time, but I’m not sad or hurting in a current or present way. I’m releasing and feeling a sense of lightness after every cry. I’ll be cooking breakfast, crying. I’m driving and crying. I’m exercising and crying. It’s pretty weird. There is a sea of tears that have lived in me for my whole life and I only now am realizing how deep this body of water runs.

I’ve been crying off and on for about a week and at this point there seems to be no end in sight. When will I reach the end? This is the most extreme detox I’ve ever experienced. It is an emotional, spiritual cleansing on a cellular level.

How long does it take to shed 42 years of stored pain? Can it be measured in weeks, months or years? Or in volume of tears? I don’t know. I’ll be finding out in this human science experiment also known as my life.

The RAW and Mad Scientist

Speaking of science experiments and getting raw, I got my hands on some raw milk yesterday. This is unpasteurized milk from grass-fed cows at a local farm.

I’ve been mildly to extremely lactose intolerant for my whole life.

I’ve never had a taste for milk. It actually tastes like snot to me. I tasted the raw milk and it tastes like extra snotty grossness, but I know that it’s actually good for me, so I’m finding ways that I can stand to consume it.

I poured off the cream from the top of the bottle and am using that in my coffee. I’m in the middle of making Greek yogurt with the remaining milk.

OK, so why am I trying to consume something that tastes like snot to me that I could be allergic to? I’ve been reading about the healing properties of raw milk. The idea is that people who are lactose intolerant who drink raw milk are able to consume raw milk!! I’ve even read that asthma and seasonal allergies can be reduced by drinking raw milk. The reason for this is that there is good bacteria in raw milk that are killed in the pasteurization process. Drinking raw milk increases the good flora in the gut and can aid in healing in general.

From the reading I’ve been doing, making yogurt with raw milk is a way of making high quality probiotics. It’s also a lower allergen risk when you make yogurt. If you strain out the whey it’s practically lactose free, with all the good benefits of the dairy.

Drinking raw milk is not without controversy, but I’m not that easily intimidated.

Here’s the recipe I used to make my raw yogurt.

I put my yogurt in my oven and I set my oven to 110 degrees. When you make raw milk yogurt, you “cook” it at a much lower temp than you would regular yogurt so that you don’t kill the bacteria.

I haven’t tasted my yogurt yet. It’s setting up in the refrigerator right now. I’ll report next week on how the yogurt eating goes.

I have tried the cream in my coffee and so far, so good. No stomach aches.

I’m very interested in healing foods at the moment, for obvious reasons. I need healing foods right now.

As I write I have bone broth in my crock pot, raw milk yogurt in my fridge, I’m about to start another batch of kombucha and I’m in the middle of reading 3 books right now all related to food, health and healing.

Leaky Pipes

I’m in no hurry. I’m not even really in pain, which is the weirdest part of this. I feel these emotions, but they feel distant and old and almost like they don’t belong to me anymore. Maybe that’s why they’re going away, falling out of my body through my eyes, because they’re just not me anymore.

There’s no room for old pain in this healthy new body of mine.

When you cannot control the crying: my husband Trent calls this “leaking.”

I have a period tracker app on my phone and you can add moods to your daily calender to track how you’re feeling. Most of the moods are pre-made, but you can also make up your own and select faces to go with them. Trent got ahold of my phone one day and added some moods to my period tracker. Of course leaky was one of the moods he added for me. I’ll have to track the last week as leaky.

(BTW, my hubby is adorable in case you can’t tell. He’s filled with crazy kinds of cuteness, humor and thoughtfulness.)


The pipes might be leaking, but my foundation is getting stronger by the day. I’ve been feeling healthier mentally and physically for awhile, but now I’m seeing that I’m moving into a new place of health. A place where I can really shed the old stuff and truly heal in a new way.

Life long blockages are clearing.

Extra baggage that no longer fits me is falling off: in weight, old sickness, layers of outdated emotions and tears.

I’m the strongest and most exposed I’ve ever felt. Nothing to protect me from those old feelings: no food to mask ’em, much less body fat to hide ’em, and a clear and present mind. I ‘ve come to realize that I don’t need protection from these feelings, and, more importantly, I don’t need to hold on to them either.

Because healing is where I’m living these days. On the corner of healthy and raw.

Some days I wonder if I’m having a mid-life crisis, but crisis isn’t the right word. It’s more like an awakening. I want to coin the phrase – mid-life awakening. Why does it have to be a crisis? It feels much more like a clearing and waking up to the real truth of me and the world.

A lighter, stronger, freer and equally more vulnerable me.

The me I was always supposed to be and finally get to be.

Not a human reacting, but a human being.

True and whole fit-tastic-ness.

That’s all for this week. I hope this is helpful to others. That’s why I share these personal stories and insights, because I believe that I’m not the only one feeling this way – struggling, resolving, celebrating, learning, growing, persevering and thriving. If you’re reading this and connecting with what I’m saying then I’m happy.

You’re not alone.

P.S. Oops, almost forgot! My weight is 197 lbs. I’ve lost 2 pounds of the 9 that I gained on vacation. I’m still working out.

I’m healing, learning and loving.




  1. d. Sharp
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm | #

    Very insightful post, thank you! Wishing you the best.

    • Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm | #

      Denise, Thank you for your support, my friend! xo

  2. Maile Baures
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 4:15 pm | #

    You seriously amaze me! Your posts are like a sunny day to me. Love. Love. Love them.

    • Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm | #

      Maile, I really appreciate your kind words! xo

  3. andrea
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm | #

    You just summed up my childhood, growing up in fear, guilt and shame. No wonder I keep accumulating fat to keep safe.

    How scary, yet liberating for you.

    Jon Gabriel writes about similar stuff regarding weightloss. He said once you can convince your mind, body/cells that you ARE safe, the weight and baggage starts to drop off..

    I’ve just got to convince myself I can do this. I can make my mind and body SAFE so I can drop these extra kilos of baggage I have carried around with me since birth. In turn, my mental strength will improve and my fears and phobias will also lift.

    Thank you for sharing your insights and incredibly personal journey xx

    • Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm | #

      Andrea, Thanks for sharing your story! It’s so funny, when you put yourself out there all of a sudden there are all of these people saying, “Me too!” There is this fear that you won’t be accepted if you admit the truth and instead you find the opposite. Thanks for speaking up and sharing here! xo

  4. Jo
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 9:28 pm | #

    Jen, sadness is often an acquired legacy. When I look at the pic of your mom, and reflect on the process you are working your way through, I am reminded of how difficult, extremely difficult is for women to raise children by themselves today. I cannot imagine how intensely difficult it would have been 30 to 40 years ago, when American society was in deep turmoil and so many cultural mandates were being blown apart. Today, you surround yourself with a large network of friends, both men and women, who provide you the varying levels of love and support she obviously did not have. You learned so much from her, even from those sad things….continue to write your heart out Jen~there are many who have much to gain from your experiences and willingness to share.

    • Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm | #

      Jo, you have NO IDEA how much you’re speaking my language. I’ve been thinking a lot about generational pain and how long it takes to undo trauma, especially in the past when I think the concept of long term trauma wasn’t well understood. I agree with you about my mom not having as much support as she needed. Although I will say my grandparents were there for her financially when things got hard. Even still, she needed a lot more support than she had.

      My mother is very isolating and introverted. I’m just not like that. My father was much more of a people person like I am. I don’t actually think I try to be different from my mom, I think I just am different. I have learned from many of her mistakes. By the time I started dating I can remember thinking, “Well, I know what not to do.” I think in some ways I was learning pretty advanced stuff when I was really, really young, so I have learned from her – no doubt.

      I will keep writing my heart out because the act of writing it feels good and then the support from people like you, feels even better. I’m hooked on a feeling! There’s no stopping me now. Thank you for your encouragement! xo

  5. Posted May 19, 2013 at 12:30 am | #

    So much I could say here, relative to my own life. But the only thing I will say is that this is timely for me. I’m going through a ‘stuffing’ phase. To one day be free of controlling emotion through food, now that ‘would’ be a miracle. :)

    • Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm | #

      Jo, it’s totally possible and doable. I think for me, a better diet and exercise are the catalysts for this change. What’s been amazing about this is that I’m not trying to do anything. It’s just happening, because it’s time. I think your time will come too. xo

  6. jenni
    Posted May 25, 2013 at 5:37 am | #

    I just read a piece about yoga and depression and it included this quote, which I think translates to your piece quite nicely:
    “There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.” ~Nietzsche

    Your body is wise, and when you getting it moving, things are bound to be shaken free. I really like the non-judging stance you have taken to observing these changes/phenomena. It is something I need to learn!

    • Posted May 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm | #

      Thank you, Jenni! xo

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