3 Tips to Combat Difficult Body Image Moments

I made a YouTube video! 🎥✨ I want to share things that have helped me overcome anxiety, depression, and my eating disorder in a way that can be more direct, engaging, and effective. The power of video is undeniable so I decided to give it a shot.

In my first video I share three things I do to help me turn things around when I’m having a difficult body image day. I hope you find them helpful, and I would love to hear what helps you when you’re struggling with negative thoughts or difficult body image moments. I could use all the help I can get too so please share in the comments! 💖

You can find my brand new YouTube channel here! If you want to stay up to date on all the new videos I add make sure to subscribe. I am planning on releasing one new video a week that shares helpful mental health and feel good tips 🙂 Hope you’re having a lovely day! xoxo LG

LG Faves: April 2019

LG Faves - March 2019

Hi friends! I am sorry I have been so MIA this past month. Things have been busy and I haven’t been able to sit down, settle my thoughts and write something out. I have gotten out of the habit, but I really miss it. I will be writing more soon, I promise. In the meantime here are some of the things I have been loving in March/April!

Music: Gabrielle Aplin

One of Gabrielle’s songs came up on a Spotify playlist I was listening to and I loved her voice and the song lyrics. I looked her up and then fell into a rabbit hole of her pretty, girly music. My favorite songs have been: Waking Up Slowly, Miss You and Nothing Really Matter.

TV shows: Shrill & Broad City

Shrill has been an incredible, refreshing show i have watched. i talked about how it has made me feel and why I’ve loved it here.

Broad City is a hilarious quirky show I can watch at any time of the day. I love seeing Ilana and Abbi’s ridiculous antics and how they are there for each other no matter what happens. The show always makes me laugh out loud and leaves me feeling good.

Food: Sweet Potato Crust Quiche

I love making this quiche at the beginning of the week and having it for brunch or lunch throughout the week. It is a nice way to switch up what I usually eat but I am still getting some great protein and vegetables. It is satisfying, easy to make and delicious. I loosely follow this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen but I make it in my own way — I don’t use the vegetable suggestions in her recipe, but instead my favorite combination is: red onion, spinach, zucchini and red bell pepper. I also love mushrooms instead of the zucchini sometimes. And, I don’t use egg whites, like the recipe suggests, but instead use about seven eggs, and I use whatever cheese I have on hand which has been: goat cheese, feta cheese, Daiya cheddar or mozzarella cheese.

Nonfiction Book: Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

My best friend HIGHLY recommended this book and I absolutely see why. It is a book that discusses attachment theory and how by understanding your attachment style you can navigate relationships more wisely given your style and that of your partner. It is “an insightful look at the science behind love, [so readers can have] a road map for building stronger, more fulfilling connections.”

Fiction Book: The Bell Jar

I started reading this classic novel and am enjoying it so far. I want to make my way through reading classic feminist texts so I knew this was a must read. The themes of mental health and feeling stuck in a patriarchal society always hit home for me so I am excited to continue reading it and sharing my thoughts.

What Made Maddy Run – Thoughts on Depression & Suicide

What Made Maddy Run - Perfectionism, Suicide & Depression

I recently read the book – What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan. It was incredibly powerful and moved me deeply. I saw so much of myself in Maddy, and because of a few different choices, I am still here, whereas she is sadly not.

What Made Maddy Run is the story of Madison Holleran, an ambitious college athlete at UPenn who committed suicide her freshman year. The book discusses the story of Maddy’s life, and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressures young people face to be perfect and constantly achieve, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.

This is an incredible book for anyone to read, especially those who want to gain a better understanding of mental illness, perfectionism, and how to help people who are struggling.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways I had on depression and suicide from the book (I also had thoughts on perfectionism I wanted to share, but this post go too long, so I will share that in a separate post):

Depression

Throughout the book, it is repeatedly mentioned that people couldn’t understand what had gone wrong, or how Maddy was so unhappy when everything was great in her life — loving parents, happy family, talented, smart, athletic, beautiful, popular. Depression and mental health issues — they don’t have a face! It can happen to and affect anyone, and some of the most depressed people have a seemingly “perfect” life. It is genetic, so trying to make sense of it is futile.

When someone tells you they aren’t doing well or if someone is having a rough day, be kind to them — you really don’t know what anyone is going through.

No one would ever have suspected I was severely depressed. I became an expert at going from crying to slapping on my happy, cheerful face and being vivacious Lili. I would tell my mom how I hated seeing people because I was so tired of faking it and would get annoyed when people would describe me as — Oh Lili is always so sweet and happy — I felt like such a fraud and so alone.

Suicide

This is something I haven’t opened up about before, but if this can help anyone, even just a single person, it is worth it to me.

I had a really tough time when I was about 25 years old. I would wake up with nothing that made me want to get out of bed. I hated my work and what my life had turned into. The climax of all of this was when I would show up at the office and couldn’t stop crying. Just crying and crying and no matter how much I tried to stop I couldn’t pull myself out of it. I would run outside and pretend like I was going to get a coffee and just stand in an alleyway and cry.

That was when the thought struck me – if this is what my life is going to be, I don’t want it.

I didn’t want this life. I was miserable and tired of being so deeply unhappy. I didn’t see a way out and thought I could no longer continue. It was a scary thought, but in an effort to be honest, I just wanted the suffering to end.

I called my mom and she connected me with a suicide hotline and I spoke to them. It was terrifying but it was the first step I took in getting help. They instructed me to go talk to HR and figure out a solution whether that be medical leave or intensive therapy. That is when I started seeing a therapist twice a week. I considered inpatient treatment – which I wish I would have done – but at the moment I was terrified of people finding out about it and thought it sounded too extreme.

I want to emphasize the point here that I didn’t look at it as killing myself, I saw it as ending the suffering because I didn’t see another way out. At this point I had been struggling with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder for over ten years and didn’t know how or if I ever would get better. I also hated my job but didn’t know what I wanted to do instead, I felt completely trapped.

I think  this is a helpful thing to note because people just look at suicide as killing yourself and that wasn’t at all how I saw it when I was in the midst of my darkest thoughts. I felt like I was already trapped in the hell of my daily life, and it seemed like it would provide a release.

In reading Maddy’s story I can see how she was miserable and unhappy and couldn’t see a way out. I relate to how she felt so utterly trapped and was suffering deeply that she just wanted it to end. When you are in such a dark place it is very difficult to think clearly or see other options, you feel extremely stuck and exhausted. You also don’t see time clearly, a week can feel like eternity, and you need help IMMEDIATELY. When my mom would tell me to just finish out the week at work, it felt like a mountain I couldn’t climb and it would infuriate me because I felt like she didn’t understand the gravity of my pain, you need help and for things to change right away because you are already at your wits end.

If you’re struggling with any of this get help now. Call the suicide hotline or talk to HR right away. Things truly can change today and there is a way out that doesn’t involve suicide or hurting yourself. That is what I wish I could tell Maddy if she was here today — that things can get better and she can get better. To take a break from school and get the help she needs right away so she can find her way out of that hell and start creating a life that makes her happy.

LG Faves: January 2019

The Original LG January Favorites

It’s time for some January favorites! The first of the year :) I have discovered some amazing things that I am loving, so I am excited to share!

WORKOUT: Kait Hurley Move + Meditate

I am obsessed with Kait Hurley’s workouts because they leave you feeling SO GOOD. They provide a great mix of: mindfulness, toning, getting your heart rate up and being challenging, great stretches throughout that relieve tension and feel amazing, and then ending with a lovely meditation that helps you tune inward and cultivate presence. By the end you feel like you had an amazing workout and are also calmer and more present. I can’t say enough on how much I love this program. She has many different workout classes: fun toning high intensity workouts, mindful running workouts, yummy yoga flows, and guided meditations. I cancelled all of my workout class passes here in LA because I enjoy doing these workouts more.

WELLNESS: Ayurvedic Oil Pulling

I have become addicted to this habit because it leaves my teeth and mouth feeling amazing. It feels like conditioner for your gums and mouth. Basically oil pulling consists of swishing about 1 tbsp of Ayurvedic oil around in your mouth for a few minutes (making sure not to swallow any of it), then spitting it out into a trash can, and then rinsing your mouth with some warm water. Some directions say to swish the oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes — but that’s too long for me! I usually do it for about 7-10 minutes first thing in the morning. It leaves your mouth and breath feeling clean and refreshed, and also has tons of other benefits that you can find here. I know it sounds weird, but I highly recommend it!

BOOK: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

This book has been extremely helpful in managing my anxiety and overthinking. It feels like it is a handbook on taming mental activity and relieving you of pointless suffering. The way that Eckhart Tolle explains and breaks down all of the concepts is very powerful. It is also a spiritual book and has introduced me to new ideas I had never thought of or even fathomed that are very freeing. I highly recommend reading this book if you’re someone who struggles with anxiety, depression, overthinking, unhappiness, or pretty much anyone who wants to be more at peace, because it helps you live a more present, mindful, content life.

MAKE: Homemade Nut Milk

I started making homemade nut milks and have loved how creamy and delicious they are.  They upgrade everything you put them in — lattes, matcha tonics, oatmeal, smoothies, etc. I don’t always have the time to make it but when I do it makes me so happy. It is honestly very simple to make, it just takes some planning. My recipe is on my Instagram here if you’re interested!

MUSIC: My Winter - Fresh Playlist!

I made a Winter playlist a few weeks ago that I have been playing on repeat. I pulled this playlist together with the theme of fresh, fun, dance-y, melodic beats and a mix of some new stuff that I am enjoying at the moment. You can listen to it here!  

TV Show: Schitt’s Creek

My best friend told me about this show a few weeks ago and I have been watching it most nights ever since. It is hilarious and I love all of the characters. It is about an extremely wealthy family that loses all of their fortune so they are forced to live in a rural town and adapt to a whole new way of living. Throughout all of these changes, they go through so many hilarious situations that they have to deal with. The show is easy to watch and light-hearted which is exactly what I have been needing lately.

BEAUTY: Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation

I don’t like wearing much makeup, but as an actress I need to have a solid makeup routine. The only time I wear actual makeup is when I have an audition or am filming something, on other days I simply wear some moisturizer with SPF, curl my eyelashes, and a little blush. Anyways, in the past I had been wearing a very light, tinted moisturizer and it just wasn’t enough for on camera work, so I went into Blue Mercury to try out a few different foundations and discovered this incredible one from Ilia! Right away I loved it, it is natural and feels like I am not wearing anything, but provides great coverage. It’s moisturizing but it didn’t leave my skin looking very glowy and shiny the way a few of the other foundations did. Ilia is an incredible clean beauty brand, only using organic and natural ingredients. I am so happy I found this foundation that checks all the boxes for me!

My Experience with Medication

Experience with Medication

The decision to take medication is deeply personal and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Each person’s situation is unique and you need to do what is best for you. All I can speak about is my experience with it and what it has done for me, so that is what I am going to share here.

If you are on the fence about talking to a medical professional, psychiatrist, or you have already been prescribed some medication and not sure what to do – I hope you find this information helpful.

I also wanted to mention here that I am not going to name the specific medication or dosage that I am taking as I don’t think that information is helpful. What works best for me might not be the appropriate thing for you. What is best is that you speak to a mental health professional and get the right diagnosis for you.

Pre-medication days:

Before I started taking medication I had some really rough years, and the months right before I started taking medication were no different.

I didn’t feel safe in myself and didn’t know when a big storm of emotion would come in and just take me down. Instead of feeling like a strong house built on a solid foundation I felt like a wobbly house built out of straw. I would have times where I knew wasn’t feeling stable and was extra sensitive and then one comment or one little thing would happen that would be the trigger to completely take me down. It was scary and I felt like I was always walking on egg-shells with myself.

I would get worried when I had been doing well for an extended period of time because I knew that was when the storms would come. I would be crying all day and as much as I wanted to snap out of it I couldn’t pull myself out of it. I would feel exhausted afterwards, like my body had gone through something huge and was spit out on the other side.

When I started having these episodes more frequently and when being sad and pessimistic started to become my constant, my therapist asked if I would be open to learning more about medication and seeing whether it could help me.

Deciding to take medication:

When my therapist first asked if I would be open to it, I didn’t know how I felt about it. I was a little apprehensive because I didn’t know much about it. No one in my family took medication or knew anything about it, and no one around me spoke openly about medication. But one thing I knew was that I trusted and felt safe around my therapist and I wanted to feel better.

The first step in my journey to start taking medication was that my therapist referred me to a psychiatrist that she trusted. She gave me her information and assured me that I wouldn’t have to take any medication if I didn’t feel comfortable with it but that it didn’t hurt anything to speak with someone and get their opinion.

I set up the appointment and was nervous because I had no idea what to expect but kept telling myself to remain open-minded.

I went to the appointment and had a very positive experience and felt so understood. When I described the emotions and episodes I’d had she would hear what I was saying and explain them to me in a more in depth way. She could describe all of them and tell me what they were, it was extremely reassuring.  For the first time I was understanding what was going on with me instead of feeling so in the dark about all of it. 

She also asked me a lot of questions about my health and all the various areas of my life. I really appreciated the comprehensive look she took as to what was going on in my life instead of simply just saying – “yeah, you’re anxious take this.” She was extremely thorough and wanted to do some blood tests on me because some of my vitals were low and my periods were very irregular.

At the end of the session she told me what her diagnosis was and said that she did recommend that I take medication. She went over the medication she was prescribing and suggested I speak with my therapist about it and then to let her know what I decided.

The next day I had my appointment with my therapist and we discussed everything and I decided to move forward with taking the medication. The main deciding factors for me were:

  • I had nothing to lose and so much to gain. There was no harm of testing this out. I would take it slowly and see how it made me feel, and if it didn’t work for me I could stop, but if it really helped me this would be huge.

  • I had a strong mental health support team around me that would be checking in on me regularly and that made me feel really safe in moving forward with this decision. I did not feel alone.

Mental Health Medication

The effect the medication had on me:

I started off with a very low dose and took it slowly from there. I had a check in with the psychiatrist every 3-4 weeks to see how I was doing and continued to see my therapist every week. At the very beginning I had a few small headaches with the medication but it wasn’t anything intolerable. Once my body adjusted to the medication the headaches went away.

At every check in the psychiatrist would see how I was doing and we would adjust the dosage if needed; I would ask her any questions I had; she would check in on how my anxiety levels were and what else was going on in my life.

The whole process of taking the medication was honestly very smooth for me. I did not have any strong reactions to it and the first medication that I started taking worked well for me. I did not have to try out a few different ones or mess around with various amounts of dosages, I luckily found my sweet spot pretty quickly.

The two things that I did notice started to really affect me once I was on the medication were:

Coffee and Alcohol

I had always been a coffee drinker and never felt much of an affect from it, but once I started taking the medication I would feel on edge and jittery when I drank coffee. And if I drank any coffee after 2pm in the afternoon I couldn’t sleep. It felt like the coffee was much stronger in my system once I started taking the medication.

Alcohol also hit me much harder. I remember one night that I went out to dinner with some friends and had only one glass of wine and was almost passed out on the table. I felt so dizzy and off I couldn’t drive home. It was scary and I felt completely wonky in a way that I had never felt from drinking such a small amount of wine.

I asked the psychiatrist about these things and she told me that alcohol and weed (even though I don’t smoke) were two things I should not have while taking this medication because they interfere with it and basically cancel it out. So all the work I am doing to take this medication to help me feel better just goes to waste.

And with the coffee she said some people are more sensitive and if coffee wasn’t working for me or making me feel well to switch to something gentler and to not have caffeine in the afternoon. That is why I now drink matcha and haven’t touched coffee or alcohol in about three months!  

How I am feeling now:

I am feeling so much better and have had a very positive and smooth experience with the medication.

Here are some of the biggest positive effects it has had on me:

  • It helped me quiet my inner voice of self-doubt, self-sabotage, criticism, over-thinking, indecisiveness, freak out, anxiety — so that I can now function in the world in an empowered way.

  • It has helped me turn down all of that negative noise and not let those things sabotage me. It feels like those things are starting to slide down my back or dissolve. They don’t get in the way or hold me back from doing anything I want to do anymore.

  • I feel stronger and more confident in myself. I am able to do the things I want to do and live my  life the way I want to live it and just say fuck it to anything else.

  • I am not afraid to stand up for myself and clearly say what I believe in and be unapologetic about myself and my needs.

  • I don’t let little things bother me as much and I can now shrug them off and let them go.

  • I don’t care what other people think about me anywhere near as much.

  • I know how to take care of myself better, I feel stronger, and am happier now because I am going after and doing the things that I want to be doing.

This isn’t to say that I don’t have some emotional or sad days now but I don’t get as low and hopeless as I used to before. I can pull myself out of it and be more moderate about it instead of catastrophizing things the way I used to before.

The biggest thing it has brought me is the safety I now feel within myself and the ability to fully and unapologetically be myself instead of overthinking and doubting everything.

I hope this was helpful for some people. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me and ask – I am happy to help and share in a safe way. Wishing everyone happier and brighter days!

Sober Curious

Sober Curious

Alcohol. Why is it such a prevalent part of our society? Once you’re an adult most social events revolve around drinking and a night out without it seems unusual. Why has it become such a non-negotiable?

I have a complicated relationship with alcohol. It has caused me so many issues and exacerbated struggles I was already dealing with ever since it came into my life.

When I think back to my college years, post-college years, and then to the present, I can’t think of many positive things it has brought into my life, but I can think of all the sickness, stress, self-hatred and pain it has caused. So why, given all of that, did I keep drinking?  

Because I didn’t have any people around me who didn’t drink. The only people that I knew who were sober used to be alcoholics and that seemed like an extreme situation that didn’t apply to me. I didn’t want to seem like a lame downer or something. Basically, I wasn’t secure enough to do what I knew was best for me. Or to do something different. I wanted to fit in and seem normal, even though I hated drinking and everything that came along with it.

This past year I have started reevaluating my relationship with alcohol. I started digging deep into why do I drink when it always makes me feel like shit? How do I use alcohol and what do I use it for? And even larger, how do we as a society use it?

My alcohol story:

In college alcohol caused me a lot of stress because I would get drunk quicker than others and would find myself throwing up or asleep while everyone was dancing and just starting off their night. I was extremely sensitive to it, which to be honest probably had to do with the fact that I was still pretty deep in my eating disorder so I wasn’t eating enough to handle much alcohol in my system. Regardless, many college nights revolved around me trying to find the right balance of enjoying a night out without getting sick.

My post college years were when I started getting sick from alcohol in other ways. I wasn’t drinking enough to be throwing up, but the next day I would feel terrible. After drinking 1-2 glasses of wine I would wake up congested and unable to breathe, with a scratchy throat and a headache. It wasn’t a hangover headache though it was more like a sinus headache. I was experiencing allergy symptoms from alcohol with the worst of it being when I broke out in hives all over my arms after a night of drinking with a friend.

After the hive incident I got freaked out and stopped drinking for about six months. I did some research into the hives and learned that I had all the classic symptoms of alcohol intolerance. But after a while I got confident again and thought – maybe just a little bit won’t be so bad and slowly started drinking again.

Looking back at all of this I wonder why I continued to put up with this? Why would I continue drinking if it usually made me sick?

I think it stemmed from insecurity and wanting to seem normal, wanting to fit in. Basically, social anxiety. It is such a huge part of socializing in the world.

The Present:

This past year I have focused on my health and recovery. Part of that has involved being really honest with myself, learning what works for me and what is important to me. It has also involved starting to take anxiety and depression medication. And to be very honest – all of this has been amazing. I am feeling good and secure in who I am and am feeling healthier and stronger than I ever have before.  

But one thing that I have noticed that continually brings me down and gets in the way from me feeling my best is whenever I drink alcohol.

Last weekend I had dinner with some friends and had ONE glass of red wine and felt awful the next day. I hadn’t slept well, had a terrible headache, couldn’t breathe and felt extremely low. Even after I finished the glass of wine at dinner I felt really out of it and couldn’t fully concentrate or be present with my friends.

I saw my psychiatrist the next week and asked her about the effects of alcohol with the medicine and told her how dizzy and off I felt after having one glass of wine. She looked at me seriously and said –  you definitely should not be drinking alcohol with this medication because it makes alcohol hit you much harder so I am not surprised at all that you were woozy AND it causes the medication to not work, so basically the alcohol cancelled out the medication you took. So if you want the medication to work and have a positive effect on you, you will need to stop drinking.

That was the green light that I needed to tell me: STOP ALREADY.

I wish I could have stopped on my own. That I wouldn’t have needed something serious to finally make me stop but we all have our paths and if having an expert tell me it isn’t good for me is the thing I need to stop so be it.

What matters most to me after ALL of these years of therapy and mental health work is staying positive and learning how to take care of myself so I can live an empowered life.

Why do we do it?

I can’t be the only person who has such strong reactions to alcohol. For there to be a list of intolerances on WebMD there has to be a lot more people who feel these symptoms. And hangovers suck. Alcohol is basically poison that we are ingesting in large amounts even though it makes us feel terrible and destroys our liver, so why do we keep drinking?

I wrote a list of all the negative and positive things alcohol brings into my life, and surprise – the negative list was huge and there was nothing in the positive list. So then I changed the question to – why do I drink? And the list was filled with reasons that were based on insecurity and wanting to please others. The only reason that was semi-positive was that it was a treat after a long week, and I figured I could easily find a treat that doesn’t make me sick like a massage or pedicure.

Some people really like how it tastes, but if you’re drinking large quantities that is no longer coming from a place of enjoyment. If it is mainly coming from a place of bringing down the self-consciousness walls – why are we so uncomfortable in our skin that we can’t just show up? What is going on with us that we aren’t comfortable being around certain people if we don’t have our inhibitions down? Why can’t we just be at ease being ourselves and being seen? Nothing wrong with any of this but it is interesting to think about.

My next steps: Sober Curious

I am definitely taking a break from drinking now that I am on this medication. My main priority right now is to continue to make progress on my growth and recovery, and since alcohol doesn’t fit into that picture then it will need to go for the time being.

I would like to say that I am going to give up alcohol forever but I am already an extreme person, so being intense about it and saying I am never going to touch this again isn’t healthy for me. Instead of being black and white, it is healthy for me to be in the gray areas sometimes. So that is why instead of saying I am never drinking alcohol again from here on out – I am saying that I will be Sober Curious. Which means that I am going to take a break from alcohol for now and continue to see what works best for me and be curious about the role alcohol plays in my life and in our society.

*Some resources that can help - I haven’t read them yet but plan on reading both:

Sober Curious

This Naked Mind