Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Afraid to be Fit

Blog Post #1
September 12, 2016

This is a before and after 1 year on Thrive and when I can say
I truly started healing my relationship with food and my body.

My nick name was “bloated porpoise”. In fact, I even had a scientific name along with that “bloatious porpious”. Pronounced bloat-ee-ous porp-ee-ous. It was all fun and games back then, you see. No one knew how badly that cut me to my soul. Not my brother or his friends. Not my mother. I just smiled and laughed right along with them.
That is, until I was alone in my room in front of the huge mirror and ballet bar my parents had put in my room. It was there I would pick myself apart. Silently critiquing my every curve, pimple, pore, cellulite spot—all less than “perfection” and all proof that I was never going to be good enough.
“Suck your stomach in, Ashley.”
“Stand up straight.”
“Maybe you should walk a few more times up this hill.”
“Are you really going to eat all of that?”
…all statements that I can still hear and more importantly can feel how I felt back then. Statements from loved ones that had no idea the profound affect they would have on me even now, 20 years later.
My body wasn’t the only thing that was targeted in this “constructive criticism”...
This is Aug. 2008--4 months
after giving birth to my
youngest kiddo.
My grades.
My “grandiose dreams”.
The “wrongness” of my love to be on stage and entertaining others.
My outbursts of anger.
My lack of self love.
“Ashley—the world is your oyster. You can be anything you want” was one breath, and in the next “Ashley, suck your stomach in! Stand up straight! Take better care of your things! Stop drawing attention to yourself! Stop being the center of attention! Stop being so bossy!”
And in conversations with others I was introduced like this: “And this--this is my very strong willed child.”
I grew up in a very sarcastic and highly critical family that placed a great deal of importance on image and what “other people” would see or think. Perfection was the standard and there was a “right way” and a “wrong way” to do everything right down to vacuuming the floor and folding the towels.
Not being “good enough” was a thing and failures just weren’t talked about. Feelings weren’t really talked about either, and when you did something “right” or accomplished something, you got a “good job” and life moved on….
But, when you “fell short”…
When you “failed”…
Or when, God forbid, you “disappointed” or “embarrassed” the family—
Yeah that was something you could and never would live down.
Can you see the mixed messages?
“You’re so beautiful—tone it down!”
“You’re so talented and well spoken—you really need to pay attention to how you intimidate people!”
Maybe you experienced something similar?
Maybe you longed deep in your soul like I have for you family to just love and accept you as you are?
Maybe, just maybe, you’ve cried and asked yourself over and over why you could never be enough yet too much at the same time?
Maybe you were the black sheep of your family, like me, that rebelled against all the bullshit yet found yourself on a crazy roller coaster because of self-criticism?
Maybe, like me, you’ve beaten yourself up for all the ways you “failed”?
All of that laid the foundation for how I’ve treated myself for years. Chain smoking and not eating then binge eating then feeling guilty then forcing my body to lose weight with diet pills, crazy diets—I’d even use super hard workouts as a way to abuse myself. Up and down on the scale I went over and over and over again. Hating myself when I was “fat” or “chunky” or “heavy”. Feeling scared out of my mind when I was getting toned and sexy because of all the attention—sexually charged from men and hate-filled stares from women--that brought up all the criticisms from my family growing up.
It brought up something else, too. When men would look at me with this predator look, suddenly I was
Dec. 2008--starting to drop
the baby-weight.
back at a fraternity house—surrounded by 7 men—scared out of my mind, wanting to scream but unable to get any words but a quiet “please stop” out of my mouth.
And this has been my roller coaster: getting so much extra weight that I was sick of it and did something drastic to lose weight. Started feeling great and then I’d get “in shape” or “fit enough” that men would start looking at me or coming on to me (insert the subconscious belief that skinny=rape) and so I would start gaining weight again.
Up and down and up and down and up and down again.
That was the physical cycle that manifested from this internal battle of “not enough-ness and too much-ness” along with “skinny=rape” that was compounded by the further effect of me beating myself up for something being “wrong with me” that I couldn’t just stay the same weight—wanting to ask for help. Wanting to break the cycle, but all the while hiding because of fear of what other people would think.
Know what is really interesting about this though? I’m far from the only one with this struggle, but I know I have reached the point where I’ve decided enough is enough and I worthy of happiness and health and breaking this old destructive cycle. It’s taken a long time to get here and I know there will be bumps along the road, but thanks to inspirational women, friends and mentors that have come into
May-ish 2013. Starting to
get skinny enough that I was
scaring myself because of all
the male attention.
myself, I know I will succeed, and my sharing the naked truth with you along with journey is meant to inspire you to succeed and heal even faster than I have been able to. It is meant to let you know that even people on “stage” or that have “a platform” or “a following” have things they struggle with and are working to heal—it’s part of this incredible journey we call life and it doesn’t make you flawed or wrong or a failure, it makes you human. The sooner we are all brave and courageous enough to step into our own magnificence and vulnerability to share our truth, the faster we will all heal together.
Join me on this awesome journey to heal our pain—giving it a new and powerful meaning/purpose that will ignite our passion and transform our lives. It’s what I call “Pain Metamorphosis”—it’s what has allowed me to release the old blockages and no longer be afraid to be a fit, fabulous, flamboyant and slightly famous me.
YOU can do the same!

To see more from me, follow me on Facebook HERE

Me September 12, 2016. I'm 205 pounds,
size 12 and loving who I am NOW as I
continue on my healing journey!

Meet Mike--the love of my life. He helps
me to see me through his eyes every day.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

#JimmyFallon and the #TonightShow Saved My Marriage

Dear Jimmy,

I know this is probably a long shot. I’m writing anyway, and sending it off on a wing and prayer. I want you to know how much your light of laughter has meant in my life—more than that, how it was the basis of saving my marriage.

See—my husband served 20 years in the military with multiple combat tours and he suffers not only from PTSD but also from TBI (traumatic brain injury). He just recently retired—June 1, 2014 was his first day as a civilian in 20 years, and this transition has been the most difficult of our lives. I dare say even more difficult than when my first husband was murdered on Christmas Day in 2004.

The transition wasn’t something I was prepared for—and in many ways, I put a lot of pressure on myself, my husband and my children to “keep it together” because we are looked to in the military community as “examples” because of a global movement I started in 2012 to raise awareness about the invisible wounds of war (#PTSD) with one picture (see below) and a pledge. That movement is now known as Battling BARE.

When I posted that picture, I was just angry that my husband was hurting and instead of getting help he was most likely going to get punished for what the Army called “assault” that was truly just a “flashback”.

I didn’t know how to help my husband, but I knew—after sharing my story with other wives—that ours wasn’t the only hurting family…and then suddenly I was in the spotlight and many thought I “had it all together” or “had the answers”, when truly at that point, I was just scraping by day by day—sometimes minute by minute—just trying like heck to hold it together for my family and “be everything to everyone else”…in the process I forgot what it meant to take care of myself and remember to laugh.

Laughter is the basis for healing—laughter is what makes life worth living, and you helped me to remember that.

I remember watching your very first “Tonight Show”—listening to you tell the world your sincere, pure and real intention of just helping everyone to laugh a little before they go to bed because it was a great way to end the day with tears in my eyes--because it was then I realized I'd forgotten to have fun in my life.

I believe you even said something like “because that (laughter and having fun) is what it’s all about”.

My husband and I were sitting silently together in the living room—which was an accomplishment at that point in time. He was on one side of the room and I on the other. We were barely speaking to each other—and something magical started to happen as we tuned in nightly to watch your show…

Our laughing together started opening up conversation… our laughing together progressed to sitting together…and then holding hands…and then getting back in the habit of telling each other "I love you" and kissing each other good night before we fell asleep.


And you created that bright spot for us.

I can never thank you enough, Mr. Fallon, for being such a bright spot in our lives. Your talent for finding humor created a bridge for my husband and I to find each other again, and I am forever grateful for you.

With Humble Awe, Gratitude and Love,

-Ashley E. Wise

Monday, January 26, 2015

Teal Star: The #PTSD Magazine

#TealStar: The #PTSD Magazine was launched as a digital magazine in October 2014. It's already been a huge success with 5,000+ readers from around the world!

The Mission: help hurting people heal by providing stories of hope and effective resources & educational information on both tradition and non-traditional healing methods.

The Vision: Be the "go to place" for all things related to healing and recovering from PTSD/Secondary PTSD while providing financial stability to individuals dealing with or caring for someone with PTSD through flexible and "portable" jobs.

The digital magazine is FREE to subscribe--so please check it out here: 

If you would like to advertise in Teal Star, please email:
tealstarmagazine@gmail.comIf you would like to write an article for Teal Star, please email: tealstarmagazine@gmail.com

Carrie Cox: Battling Babe launches PTSD magazine, still angry that soldiers don’t get help they need

Awesome article!

A Widow's Take on #AmericanSniper: For #TayaKyle, #milspouses, #Vetspouses and #GoldStarWives Everywhere

American Sniper--a painfully beautiful "slice of life" look into the lives of a truly noble American Warrior Family.
My "flashback" wasn't inspired by bullets flying, but watching as the heartbroken family left behind sits grave side and jumps at the shots fired to the 21 gun salute... 

The tears flow freely as Taps is played with the melancholy sound of the bugle...

Our Nation's glorious flag being expertly folded over a casket... 

And reverently handed to the surviving widow who is trying like hell to keep what shred of emotional composure she has left within her being....

That experience still hits too close to home for comfort...

Still another "flashback" came when this scene was portrayed... being told by my Soldier that "if something happens to me, you'll be alright. You're strong. You'll find someone else."
Words meant to be a comfort by my cherished love who was soon to deploy.
Words that made me want to scream, "I don't want to be the strong one, but you leave me no choice!"
Words that made me wish I could have loved a man who wasn't an Earth Angel chosen to face evil courageously head on and possibly die to protect the rest of us...
And then realizing if he was anyone but who he was, my soul wouldn't have knit together so perfectly with his...and this love that runs so pure...so deep...so unconditionally wouldn't have blossomed within my heart.
Neither would any other Military or Veteran Spouse I know...or Police or Fire wife for that matter.

Ladies...Taya might have been the one portrayed on that screen, but each and every one of us...even those who chose to break our own hearts and divorce our love for our own and our children's safety because our husband was so lost in the darkness of PTSD... (because those women love their warrior still)

Do you realize you are the embodiment of unconditional love?
Do you realize how utterly special you are to have been chosen for the mission of loving a warrior...a protector?
Do you see how this mission is just as dangerous as dodging those bullets because part of that mission is carrying on when your heart and soul have been blown to bits in the wake of losing the love of your life?
...a burden much heavier than any ruck sack or weapon on the planet...and we are called to do so with grace, dignity and this silent strength that we so often curse within us.... 
A strength our warrior spouse felt--most likely right before he allowed his eyes to fall on your beautiful self...and this strength is why he loves us.
There is no tab or medal for this mission.

Only empty casings from a 21 gun salute, a neatly folded flag, pictures and beautiful memories will remain long after we've been thanked for our husbands service...long after his precious smell has faded from his clothes...
There is no school to teach us the skills we need...everything is hands on, real world experience with some very hard lessons to learn.
There is no monument dedicated to "our kind"...but ladies. ..
You inspire the world.
You embody beautiful, unconditional agape love.
You are the glue that holds this world together...that go on and hold on long after "normal" gals would just give up.
And more than salute Taya and the rest of my Spouse sisters...
I bow on bended knee in honor of your silent sacrifices and indescribable strength.


Ok so... I did it.

We went and watched American Sniper yesterday. 
I said over and over: 
                            "We weren't going!" 
                            "We didn't need to go!"  
                            "Do you think that this is a good idea???!!" 

However, I'm married to a very stubborn soldier and he felt he needed to go. 

I'm sure most of you can relate, trying to tell that man he wasn't going to do something is about as useless as a one legged man in an ass-kicking competition. 

So we went...just my husband and I. 

We made the girls stay home. I'm just not ready for them to see this sort of stuff. 

We filed into an extremely packed theater that was mostly military and vets. There were a few locals scattered here and there, but mostly military. In fact on either side of us were some guys who looked about 20, fresh haircuts.. all "hooah" about the movie and on the other was an older gentleman about 60 with one of those military hats that all older retired guys seem to wear. 

So it starts, I'm not gonna lie.. I cried in the first 15 minutes of this movie. I cried through almost the entire thing, but there were also times I laughed through the tears. I cried because I knew what was coming. I cried because I as a spouse could relate. 

This movie doesn't glorify her (Taya Kyle) or their relationship. It shows the horrible conversations you have after they get home and before they leave... again. It shows being on the phone and hearing horrible things and the phone going dead. 

It doesn't show the crying till you throw up, snot running out of your face, trying to hide so your kids don't see.. but most of it... it's there. 

I laughed and smiled at all the good times they showed. It's an amazing movie. 

I'm not going to say it was a wise decision for us to have gone to the theater to see it. I've cried intermittently since yesterday at 2 when it started. I spent last night with no sleep because there were nightmares in my house last night. 

But do I regret going... not at all. 

I've never been to another movie experience like it.. 

"Saving Private Ryan" was close, but not the same. 

When it was over.. there wasn't a sound.

People just sat there and watched the credits in silence. The young guys next to us were solemn, my husband was so tense I could feel it, put on his sunglasses inside the theater and attempted to comfort me......and the old guy next to me.. sat there and cried.. unashamedly as his wife held his hand. Some people continued to sit after the lights came up, but not one person made a sound leaving... not one. 

I'll never forget any of it. For any of you who choose to see it, know it's damn hard. Know you certainly are not alone in the world, that at the very least on a little island in the middle of the Pacific is another military spouse that's crying over the same things. That she is so proud of you and your family what we all go through. That she knows how amazing we all think are vets are... even when it's almost too much to bear. 

It's an extraordinary person to do what they do and it's extraordinary people who love them. 
Love you guys

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Looking for Crew to Prove this WRONG

It's been said that nutrition is at the core of every health issue out there--to include PTSD, depression, anxiety.

With such a simple solution as nutrition--then why are so many still dealing with issues? Could this be false? Surely all the docs out there prescribing medications can't be overlooking something as simple as nutrition---

Then again, maybe people are like us and when they get stressed out, they just don't eat? Hmm--interesting things to think about, eh?

After reading a bunch of stories (like the one below by ER Doc Stephen O'Connor), we've decided to put together a crew to prove this WRONG--or right...depending on the results! What do you have to lose but the health issues you deal with every day? (PS the money back guarantee means that if you don't see an improvement, you get 50% of your cash back---sweet!)

Join us?


Here is the letter from Dr. Stephen O'Connell:

This is a note sent to someone who gets it! He asked critically important and insightful questions about why I Thrive. Here's my response...

Hi M*******,

I'm not one for the feel good sales pitch, as that has not and never will be my reasoning behind promoting this product.
Right to the quick...
The Le-Vel products are different because the formulators were charged with the task to do many different things, with limits to amounts (read as: avoid the potential for toxicity), in a rational and scientifically or empirically proven way, with the idea that 98% of the general public could use Thrive, in a cost effective manner, with the least possibility of side effects, but the most impressive supplemental product out there...no small order! I think they pretty much nailed it!
This is why I have used the product every day for over a year:
Probiotics: necessary to balance and populate the gut with the right symbiotic bacteria - allows the proper digestion, absorption, and breakdown of nutrients. This is THE critical step in the whole program. If you do not have the correct environment to absorb what is coming into the GI tract, you can't benefit from anything in the supplement. The foods we eat, organic or not, and the water we drink, are often contaminated with antibiotics and toxins (look closely at the reports sent by your municipal water supplier), thus killing the helpful but harmless bacteria that resides in the bowel. In the ED I see the results of poor bowel flora with the broad range of GI disorders.

Next, is the issue of immune function. The GI tract is responsible for 80% of the body's immunity to pathogens or toxins. If the bowel is not in balance, and the defensive proteins, cells, and immune modulators are not available, we suffer from chronic inflammation and immune suppression. Balanced nutrition and supplementation is key here! The foods we eat are void of the proper levels of trace minerals, and phytochemicals necessary to allow our incredible biochemical machinery to function at full capacity. I don't care if you eat "clean" or "organic"- you cannot insure, reliably, the proper trace elements, vitamins, and plant enzymes necessary for elite health.

As an athlete, you push yourself to levels of oxidative stress and cellular breakdown that is difficult to recover or repair from with a modern or even "tight" diet. See above... The antioxidants, amino acids, and minerals in this product are balanced to allow critical recovery to the oxygen free radicals we generate in sports, day to day stress, environmental pollution, etc.

Phytonutrients provide the enzymes that are essential to all of our biochemical processes. The body is amazing in that it is able to delay breakdown so well that we hardly notice the tenuous condition we are in - we are only as good as the least functioning system - despite being in a chronic state of inflammatory distress. The root of almost ALL chronic disease is nutritional and inflammatory (obesity/diabetes due to sugar stress/inflammation, arthritis due to cellular inflammation and imbalance in our joints, cancer due to immune breakdown from chronic inflammation and overmodulation of phagocytes, t-killer cells, WBCs, etc., you get the point.

I changed my paradigm of medicine when, through my research of Thrive, I became convinced that the current medical model is broken. We are not in "Health Care," but in "Disease Care!" Many, if not most, of our medications and treatments are toxic and pose significant harm to the beautiful and self-healing homeostasis of the body. Our pharmaceutical industry profits from the chronic and recurrent long term use of toxic and ineffectual synthetic chemicals that pose a significant stress on the natural processes of detoxification in the body. I could go on and on... Suffice it said that I look at a healthy lifestyle as being one where we first supply the body what it needs (and everything we need to function at peak performance should theoretically be present in our natural world) and provide the substrates that are lacking in our diet. Thrive is a smorgasbord from which the body incorporates what it needs, at the time it needs, with the proper co-factors it needs, in the form it needs, plus a little extra to act as a nutritional insurance policy. It is not for everybody. But I see so many that would do well with this type of product. Be well.