Ok so this last year has been a doozy. I have gone through a rollercoaster of life events and emotions that have taught me so much about what TRUE HEALTH and SANITY really are!! I used to just get my workout in, eat mostly whole food, plant based, and just hope for the best. I would go go go go go go go and go some more, and I would keep going until I was literally wiped out with sickness or extreme exhaustion.
I had had my 6th baby last January and thought I could keep up with sheer will alone. Turns out I was wrong. Very wrong. My stubbornness did me in. It did me in HARD. So did my lack of willpower with food…
Now, I just want to focus on helping others avoid the same pitfalls I encountered trying to navigate the complexities of trying to lose weight and regain my sanity whilst, breastfeeding, raising young children and having a colicky baby…. a super colicky baby. One that took every ounce of strength and energy I could muster, one that needed so much emotional connection that my mom literally lived with us for almost 9 full weeks, so someone with emotions could hold him and give him the connection he needed. And cuz we were all worried if this post partum period was going to do me in… Because I was so burnt out I could barely feel, let alone WANT to feel.
At the end of the day what I learned was patience, grace, self-love and tolerance. I learned that time doesn’t work the same way when you are a young mom with young children and a newborn, days are insignificant, they run together. MOMENTS are where time lives, that is where your life is at right now. You can’t follow a typical calendar and expect results on the scale, you have to make choices in each moment to help encourage a healthy lifestyle, and in other moments you may choose sanity and comfort in food just to keep your head above water. Unfortunately, 30 pounds later you may find self-loathing, depression, and lack of caring (or at least drowning out caring with chocolate). But that is ok. What’s done is done. Time will keep moving forward, you have plenty of time to navigate this moment. Just breathe.
Here are some of the things that helped me take it step by step. No rushing, no countdowns, no detoxes or quick fixes. Warning: You’ll need to bear with me while I break down real life stuff, read on or skim through at your own risk…
First, I learned what was going on chemically in by brain and hormonally in my body, I also had basic and advanced blood work done to make sure I had proper thyroid levels, vitamins, minerals, the works. Having a starting point allows you to give yourself grace. Every single imbalance was directly causing my anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, Adrenal Fatigue, weight gain, or lack of weight loss, lack of emotions toward my baby, lack of interest in my husband, and lack of zest for life. Add in a newborn who doesn’t sleep well and has high emotional needs, and you ask what came first…. the chicken or the egg?
Then, I took a look at my life and figured out what I could actually do about it… which with a baby that doesn’t sleep well, it wasn’t a lot… at least, not a lot at once. I had to decide that the only things I could control were the food and water I put in my mouth and exercising on days I slept well for a good endorphin rush.
Cue breaking my foot…. And I couldn’t even control that anymore. I had to settle for what others were able to prepare for me and once I could put weight on my foot, I had to go for what was easy to prepare so I wasn’t on my foot forever.
Back to square one.
What the heck?!
I definitely wasn’t going to give up without a fight, but I found myself real low at this point.
I decided to learn about stress and sleep, it is what my dietitian and Dr’s were telling me COULD have been the catalyst for my body being out of whack, along with birthing my 6th child, but I never wanted to give that the credit it deserved, I was ABOVE birthing children, I was a pro (oh, silly little Ashley – bless her heart). The broken foot didn’t help. Sleepless nights FOR SURE didn’t help. But most of all my EXPECTATIONS were ruining me! After every other kid I was at least within 15 pounds of my goal weight by now! I was so focused on the amount of TIME that had passed since my baby was born. I didn’t care that this was TOTALLY different… or that my body kind of snapped. I was angry that I had these 6 kids, that I was so excited about, yet I had this HUGE hurdle to jump… or at least, it looked huge.
Anyway, so I learned about how stress affects EVERYTHING! Especially SLEEP! And if you can’t find a way to chill out and get restful sleep, you’re pretty much hosed. You can’t last like that for too long. My adrenals were bottomed out and not producing enough cortisol to get me through my day, my brain was low on dopamine and serotonin and too high in other things that were WAKING ME UP at night (but before the baby was up, so I was a mess when he was awake). My testosterone was too low, estrogen too high, progesterone borderline too low, and what did I keep learning was the most natural way to fix it all??? Ding. Ding. Ding. You guessed it, lower stress and better sleep.
So, I basically had two options. Continue to obsess over my health and ignore my entire family’s needs in the process, or learn how to shelf it for a second and just live in the moment I was in. I chose the latter… But not without considerable effort… Cuz, lessbe honest, ain’t nobody like plumping around with an extra 50 pounds.
I spent the next several months with the knowledge of how to fix myself, but with the acceptance that the timing was just off. IF I wanted to live in the moments I had with my kids RIGHT THEN, I couldn’t focus on aligning the stars, so I could lose 50 pounds and stay sane.
So what could I do again?? Now we are back on topic (remember, I am still healing from my concussion so focusing is even harder).
This series of choices led me to a profound knowledge of how life should be lived. You see, I spent all of me time trying to figure out how to ‘do it all.’ If you know me, you know I HATE being slowed down, I HATE limitations, and I want to achieve HUGE things with my life. I go big or go home. So, naturally, I wanted to have 6 little kids and a rockin’ hot body, all the energy to take my kids all over the country, and back, and still have a rockin’ marriage…. But EACH of these things takes TIME AND ENERGY!!! And I was like short on time 5 years ago, and my energy was hanging on be a thread.
OK, OK, now, we are back on topic… So let’s keep it simple, and in no particular order (because no one’s will be the same):
- I started to track the things I accomplished each day (so my dopamine could see what I accomplished and get a little boost)
- I started to laugh more
- I started to share more quality time with my husband
- I started spending more one on one time with each child
- I started to be patient with myself
- I let myself have the chocolate
- I knew and accepted that until my sleep was adequate, I couldn’t expect my body to change quickly, if at all
- I sought emotional support often
- Therapy, Therapy, Therapy
- I let myself enjoy nursing with all of the extra fluff around the midsection
- I started drinking MORE WATER (more than half my weight in ounces since I was nursing)
- I would only workout out on days I felt rested, and only after I spent time with my kids (after Dr’s clearance and my adrenals started functioning – light workouts, yoga, or short HIIT workouts )
- I focused on a healthy breakfast.
- I let myself ignore the scale (although I did gain 20 pounds when I did this because I ignored my food too)
- I started meditating everyday
- I read the Miracle Morning for Parents and practiced the Life SAVERS (sometimes I only had a 6 minute MM)
- I started eating more and more veggies.
- Mindful eating in general
- I started praising myself!
I am sure I will think of more….
Did I do all of these things at once?! NO!!
I picked ONE thing at a time, I would figure out which habit or activity that would make me feel the most accomplished if I mastered it or did it, and I wouldn’t add anything in until that habit or activity became second nature. I would set my sail on one thing and let life flow a little more freely. I was homeschooling after all… and living in an RV, selling our house, searching for and buying a new one, and not sleeping well…. cue life.
Water, for instance, I got in the habit of having a filled water bottle next to my bed, I would drink some right before falling asleep and when I woke up. I would make a point to have 50-75 ounces of water before 1 pm, and the rest before 8 pm. Until it was habit… like brushing your teeth habit.
With the veggies I would make a green smoothie daily. Then after that was a habit, I added veggies at lunch, then try to replace all the carbs at dinner with veggies, and ENOUGH to fill me up (that took me exactly 30 days of trying twice a week to just eat cauliflower rice or zoodles in place of their carbolicious counterparts).
You get the idea!
So join me as I share MORE ideas and inspiration that helped me SLOW down last year, and has helped me drop 20 pounds since January 1st. But I haven’t had to count calories or stress about this weight (all the stress happened BEFORE it would even budge). I have let it come off slow as molasses because life. I was learning how to live it and embrace the chaos that it is.
Ugh! This sounds like SOO much! And all at once, it is overwhelming, which is WHY, I would only tackle ONE healthy habit at a time!
So even though this group is going to address FOUR different healthy habits, you’ll really only fully commit to ONE thing, and within that category, you’ll only pick on ONE thing to master.
I have found this to be the best and most fluid way to become healthy. This is how to truly change yourself from the inside out without bulldozing the rest of life down because you want to change it ALL RIGHT NOW, only to give up, because it is too mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically exhausting and demanding to keep up with! This is how you BECOME a healthy person. I am not there yet, but I am closer every day. So join me! Let’s do this together!
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