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.