Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Mindset Saved My Life

So, I quit my BeachBody journey. Well, not exactly. I am still loving on their work outs and following their nutrition. I just quit the coaching side of things. Truth be told, I think I just got overwhelmed and questioned myself. It didn't quite feel like the best fit for me. I won't lie, it was a pretty big bummer because it felt like such a good outlet to reach for something more and to help people and to feel like I was making a difference. Anyway, I am still working out every day and taking care of myself, i'm still participating in the groups and I'm still working on my personal development every day which is something that is highly encouraged in the groups I am in. I still love what BeachBody has done for my life.

It's amazing what lessons I have had to learn as a full grown adult. I don't know why I had the assumption that becoming an adult, becoming a mom of my own children would mean that I had it all figured out. It's been a crazy journey learning how to love myself again, how to give myself grace, how to keep myself motivated and how to keep focused on my priorities. I'm so grateful for it though.

Before I started working on myself, I was really struggling with my depression and anxiety. I was honestly suicidal and feared to be by myself. I don't think I would have acted on it, but it's not a good feeling when you want to erase your own existence off the earth. When feeling nothing is better than feeling terrible, isolated and not good enough on a daily basis. I know it may seem selfish and crazy that I could feel that way when I have my beautiful family but depression and anxiety isn't logical and it doesn't feel gratitude or notice all the things that are going right.

Depression tells me that my kids will grow up better off without a mother who is so messed up. Depression tells me that because I can't be perfect for my kids all the time that I don't deserve them. Depression tells me that nobody loves or cares about me and that I am all alone. Depression tells me that nobody wants to know what I am going through, that nobody is there to help or support me. Depression tells me that I don't deserve to connect with others, that something is wrong with me. Depression tells me that when people are joking with me or giving me a hard time that they mean it. Depression whispers all these lies so that only I hear them. I'm ashamed of some of the things that I have felt and thought due to my depression.

I believe that your mindset has such a significant impact on your life that it can literally transform your brain chemistry. I know that scientifically there are differences in the brain for people that suffer from depression, but I also believe we are capable of creating physical changes in our bodies with our mindset. Let me insert a political correctness line here because I know I am toeing on the line of offensive for some and I recognize that this won't be a popular opinion: I know that depression isn't as simple as "just be happy, chin up, be positive, etc." I believe that overcoming my suicidal thoughts and depression has taken months of consistency, of maintaining daily healthy habits, of fueling my body with the proper food. And I still struggle... but at such a smaller degree. If medication works for you, this isn't a judgment from me and I'm not here to advise you what to do with your own health. We all have to take care of ourselves and how we do so when struggling with mental health is a very personal decision.

Every day I wake up way earlier than I ever thought I would and I work out and listen to personal development. I listen to it in my car on the way to work, at work when I start to feel down or overwhelmed, and when I'm at home because I know how important it is for keeping my mind in the right place. It's way too easy to slip into old negative thoughts when I have thought them for years and I literally feel like I am having to reprogram my brain all over again.

I'm consistently feeling hope, gratitude, and love on a daily basis since I started this journey. I look forward to the future and I have confidence and love for myself that almost feels child like (because what adult could possibly love themselves haha). I'm so grateful for every day that I get to learn and grow. I'm so grateful for the moments that I get to have with my girls, even the difficult ones. I'm so grateful for all the opportunities that Kyle has had this year and what it's done for our family. I'm so grateful that my girls have so much family that love them. I feel so dang lucky that I was able to stumble upon these healthier habits so that I can actually enjoy my life again. I hope this helps at least one person in the future, even if it's a simple as knowing you aren't alone. I feel like every single person deserves to actually enjoy their life, not just survive it.

Friday, January 19, 2018

My BeachBody Journey 

Cat's out of the bag, I officially signed up as a BeachBody coach last night. Don't worry, I don't intend on pushing people to buy the products or to sign up as well. Something I've quickly learned and liked about BeachBody is that it is fairly low pressure and the products really sell themselves. I'm not someone who enjoys putting myself out there for people to judge but I realized that's probably going to happen no matter what I do so I would rather pursue something that is positive and that I believe in. 

My journey started in November when I joined a two week free trial group. I had been dieting for about a month before that but exercise was not part of the equation and I had pretty much stalled in my weight loss and still didn't have much muscle tone. I tried Country Heat, Shift Shop and 21 Day Fix and I immediately became hooked. I personally thrive using the at home workouts because I don't have to think or keep myself motivated. I just have to press play and do my best. I'm always sore and I constantly switch up which program I'm on so that my body doesn't get used to it. They also remove all my excuses because I don't have to find time to go to the gym when I have two young kids at home. I'm also part of an accountability group full of positive and encouraging people which is another key component to making sure I stay on track. I've always had the mentality of "if no one else is making excuses, I can't either." 

I could seriously go on and on about the parts of BeachBody that I love but I will just leave you with a few ways that it's changed my life for now.

1) I went from being ashamed of my body and feeling invisible to having absolute confidence in myself and feeling strong. Worthless to worth it. This has impacted how I approach a lot of my relationships and has made my interactions a lot more positive. 

2) I have energy to play with my kids. I have a very active 3 year old and 1 year old and I finally feel like I can somewhat keep up with them. I also know that I am setting a great example for my girls as my 3 year old is very aware of what I am doing and tells me "good job!" after every workout.

3) As someone who suffers with depression and anxiety, working out has led to a huge decrease in my symptoms as well as given me an outlet when I am feeling overwhelmed.

I'm excited to see where this journey will take me and to keep working the programs myself and pushing past all of my excuses. Life is way too dang short to not make the most of it!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Your Mind Creates Your Reality

I'll be vulnerable and honest here. Lately, I haven't been in a great place mentally. I've been struggling a lot with depression and anxiety. Some of it is hormonal and some of it is due to some pretty significant life changes that have been overwhelming and difficult.

I am a firm believer in the fact that your mind set and your thought habits can really set the stage for the reality that you create. Not to discount chemical imbalances, hormones, etc but I honestly believe there is so much about ourselves and the world that we don't fully understand. 

Does this mean that if I think I am rich that it will just happen? Probably not. Without action, I don't think that we can just create.. at least not for the most part. I believe it takes a certain mindset as well as behaviors to really create what we want.

Unfortunately, the world is generally unhealthy when it comes to mindset. The majority of people are caught up in drama, their ego, or on social media. This is human nature and it's not that anyone is bad.. it's just how the world works and it takes a lot of work to break this existing cycle especially when people aren't even aware they are in it.

Personally, I have a long way to go. I feel like I have been good at creating self awareness but I am still heavily working on following through on my actions and creating healthy habits. So even though I know I may be setting myself up for failure, I am just letting it happen. I watch negative thoughts flow through my mind like an observer but I have yet to be successful at breaking these bad habits. I have been at healthier places in my life in the past but I think this is something that really requires us to be present and aware long term.

So I guess an action I have taken as of last night is to delete facebook off of my phone and to only check it once a week. I am hoping to free up a lot of time to work on things that fulfill me.. one of which is writing. I fully admit that I was addicted to mindlessly scrolling through facebook and getting caught up in everyone's drama, debates and sad stories. It was taking time away from everything in my life and it was a constant distraction. I am hoping to blog a lot more frequently even if I am really just talking to myself. 

Here is to being more present and in the moment. Here is to getting just a little bit better everyday and making progress. Here is to the fact that we really get one shot at life and that tomorrow is not promised to us. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Importance of Self-Care

One of the biggest lessons I am learning especially after becoming a mother is the importance of self-care. Self care can mean something different for each individual person but basically it essentially means to do whatever is necessary to keep yourself centered and happy. After my daughter was born, I was so overwhelmed with taking care of her that I really let this go out the window.  I was so exhausted from raising a new born that I was either taking care of her or sleeping. It was always the mentality of "one day, I will take care of myself." I didn't realize how counterproductive this was and that I could actually become a much better mother and wife if I took the time to get myself healthy.

So, what are my current methods of self-care?

1) Writing this blog is one of them. I have realized more and more that I need a creative outlet. I also feel like if I want to have another child in the near future that I need to set myself up in a mindset of creation and this is the best creative outlet I could think of.

2) Taking the time to actually work out and strength train. The last time I was serious about strength training was in 2013 right before my wedding. It was for shallow reasons just to look better and of course it didn't last long. I want to feel and to be strong. I want to be able to keep up with my kids and to not have so many dang aches and pains when the next child come. So, I dedicate 4 hours a week to strength training and my husband is my biggest supporter with this goal. He comes up with workout routines, spots me, coaches me on my form and keeps our daughter entertained so I can do this.

3) Yoga is something that also brings me great joy and relaxation so I try to do that at least once a week. Usually on my rest days from working out.

4) Bubble baths. I love to relax and just shut my brain off for awhile.

5) Pushing myself into new social situations. This may sound like the opposite of self care but for me, the best way to beat my anxiety is to face it over and over. I am not very social due to all the health issues i have had for years, but I am finding myself saying yes to opportunities more and more lately and although they may start out awkward I never regret them.

6) Trying to make intuitive decisions about food and eat in a way that makes me feel good. This one has always been a struggle but I am starting to break the cycle of eating bad food just to turn around and detox again and again. And I feel amazing.

These are just a few thing that I am currently doing but I have a lot of goals for the new year that will hopefully enrich my life. It's important to seek out things that make you happy especially in a society that is just so busy and plugged in anymore.

Children don't have to ruin your lives and can do much to enrich them. Although it is a sacrifice to be a parent, it is one I do gladly. I am lucky to have a very supportive husband who allows me the time and space to take care of myself and I try to do my best to allow him the same in return.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Intro and Background

I have always enjoyed writing and have kept up writing fairly well about my daughter, Charli. I wanted to start a new blogging journey about my journey to optimal health. I have always found it's important to be my own health advocate and to be my own voice because as much as doctors want to help, they typically are only willing to treat the symptoms and not the root cause. So, here is what I am currently dealing with and what I am working on.

IBS: Starting having severe stomach pain all the time and was sick constantly. This went on for   about 3 years before I was diagnosed at 21 years old with IBS. As many will know, this is not really a diagnosis. It is assigning a syndrome to a list of symptoms without identifying a root cause. I did not have abnormal bloodwork or an abnormal colonscopy so this is what I was left with. I would spend thousands of dollars on homeopathic remedies which involved extreme exclusion diets, energy healing, healing through hypnosis and acupuncture after traditional prescription medicine failed.

On the lighter end of weight when I was pretty sick. 

I eventually had a breakthrough at 23 years old when a co-worker informed me of an anti anxiety medication called amitriptyline that would finally give me a solid break and allow me to eat. I quickly gained 25 lbs due to eating out for the first time in years(no anxiety meant I could finally socialize) and social drinking.
Heavier end of weight at my wedding.

Heavier end of weight on my honeymoon.

PCOS/INFERTILITY: At 23 years old I got married and a few months following that we decided to try for a baby. I would soon discover that coming off of birth control after 10 years would not be an easy feat. I had extremely long cycles (70+ days), ovulated late or not at all and would eventually have a miscarriage after 6 months of trying to conceive. In May 2014, I went to the emergency room due to gall bladder issues and discovered that my ovaries were covered in cysts. After gall bladder removal, I went to see a fertility specialist and was prescribed metformin and femara. Luckily, after one month I would fall pregnant and have a complication free pregnancy and birth. I would also discovered that I had low supply issues possibly related to PCOS. I immediately went back on birth control after 6 weeks since I was unable to breast feed due to low supply and the anxiety I had from my baby losing weight.
Shortly after gall bladder surgery.. lowest weight since my initial weight gain.

16 week pregnant.

35 weeks pregnant.. managed to only gain 25 lbs while pregnant.

My baby girl and I in the hospital.


Today, I am off of all medications including birth control. I have decided that birth control may actually be what is causing PCOS-like symptoms and I want to halt that cycle. This was a decision I made just a month ago. I have also recently gotten off of my anti anxiety medication as I feel that it is a good tool when needed but not a great long term solution.

My main focus lately has been to follow a fairly strict diet and exercise plan. My diet consists of mostly protein, healthy fats, and excludes as much sugar as possible while keeping my carbs fairly low. My exercise plans consists of strength training for an hour 4 times a week (with the help of my husband for spotting heavier weights), cardio twice a week for 20 minutes and yoga once a week.

My current goals are to try and decrease my PCOS symptoms with natural methods and to hopefully get pregnant without obsessing or without doctors help in the next year. I would like to prove I am not broken and that by simply treating my body, mind and spirit right that I will be able to feel healthy again.

I also have other goals I am working on (this blog being one of them) and will to continue to focus on those as well. I hope to post some of the ideas that I research on here as well since I spend much of my time online researching as well as listening to podcasts.

I guess this is the biggest message I want to get across for today:
Do not be afraid to learn, to research scientific based articles and to be your own advocate. I can't count how many times I have had to lead doctors along my path of research to actually get the help that I needed. I also strongly believe in gut instincts and that you know what is best for your own body. You have to listen to what your body needs, what makes it feel good, etc. Do not accept a doctor's only answer being that you should increase the dose of your medication which comes with it's own list of side effects of consequences.

Do not undermine the laws of attraction and how much your thoughts and your ideas about who and what you are effect your own reality. If you truly believe that you are broken and that everything is against you, your life will follow suit. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you can get on a happy and healthy path.

Every small step you take towards greater health is important. Your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health is a delicate balance and if you choose to ignore part of that balance you will not get the same results.

I hope to turn this blog into something useful for myself and hopefully for others.