Mar 4, 2019
When I started writing this blog, I was enjoying a shrimp scampi pizza. Yes, you read that right - a SHRIMP SCAMPI PIZZA! It's heavy on the stomach but an indulgence that I felt zero guilt over. It took me a long time to get to where I am today. Countless diet programs or fad diets that either didn't work or didn't provide the long term solution I was craving (no pun intended). Now, at the age of 34 and after becoming a mom - I think I figured it out. I feel compelled to share my story so you too can feel as amazing as I feel. And enjoy that shrimp scampi pizza guilt free.
Growing up, I was very active. I was involved in a lot of organized sports and rode my bike almost everywhere especially after the movie "Now and Then" came out. My friends and I strapped a small radio to our bikes and off we went. But, I was that girl. You know, the girl that could eat everything in sight and not gain a pound. It was great, or so I thought. Having this "ability" allowed me to have a slim figure but didn't help me to grasp the importance of a well-balanced diet and self-control. As I hit my 20's, I was no longer involved in sports or even very active and noticed the weight lingering. I was overeating and drinking a lot of alcohol. At the age of 24 I was overweight, unhealthy, and really depressed. Something needed to change. One night, a friend messaged me about joining her at a Weight Watchers meeting. I immediately accepted the offer and the next morning, we were off! I remember the first weigh in. I closed my eyes as to not see what the number could be - but the lady wrote it down on my booklet. I couldn’t run from this number. As my friend and I took our seats in the meeting room, I opened my booklet slowly to see the dreaded number. Ahhhh! Just as I suspected - HEAVY. Something happened during that meeting. As I sat through the meeting listening to everyone's story, a rush of determination came over me. I was motivated to see this through.
My goal weight was in sight and I could do this! It took 7 months to lose 40 pounds and it was worth it. I learned a lot with Weight Watchers like proper portions and the idea of indulging within point availability. I did fairly well with maintaining for a while but found myself getting into old habits more often than not and struggling to keep track of my daily points.
Fast forward to my 30's. At this point I was married and were talking about starting a family. My weight fluctuated throughout the years but I still remained within 10-15 pounds of my initial Weight Watchers goal weight. We thought we were pretty healthy when something happened that sent my husband to the ER late on a Sunday night. Earlier that day, we went out to eat and had a few drinks. When we got back to the house, he looked a little uncomfortable. He told me after a while that his one side was feeling numb. I couldn't remember which side meant a heart attack or stroke and panicked. No time to Google - time to go to the hospital. We got to the hospital where they began taking his vitals. They brought us back to a room where doctors and nurses came in to take test after test. My mind was racing. Oh God PLEASE let him be alright! After a few hours, he was cleared to go home. He didn't have a heart attack or stroke - thank God. After a few follow up appointments with his primary doctor, it was determined that he had high cholesterol and anxiety. I was grateful that the worse didn't happen and started to take a good hard look at what we were really doing. Were we really as healthy as we thought we were?
I tried Googeling recipes and articles on proper sodium intake but everything seemed to contradict each other and I just needed something. I somehow learned that I was able to get free nutrition counseling through my healthcare provider, so, I schedule my first appointment. That's when I met Amanda. What initially started as a way for me to ensure my husband's cholesterol stayed in check turned into the journey of optimal health for me and my family.
With the help of Amanda, I was able to change my focus on food and weight loss from diets to lifestyle and have an overall better relationship with food. First, she helped me find areas of lowering sodium intake by providing me with numerous alternatives to what I was already preparing for me and my husband. Then she taught me something that has truly changed EVERYTHING. "Always eat a carb with a protein" GENIUS! Of course, choose healthier carbs and protein options but the two together is what the body needs. I incorporated this suggestion into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks even through pregnancy. But it wasn't just food that Amanda helped me with. I needed help with stress and self-care. She challenged me to incorporate a self-care into my routine and guided me to have an overall healthy body and mind.
What I did
So what did I do, you ask. Well, a lot, actually. I no longer strive to be skinny, chasing the number on the scale. Rather, my goal is to be healthy. It was hard to retrain myself to stop focusing on being skinny and maintaining a weight because I wanted to look good as oppose to being all around healthy but it is a lifestyle I want for me and my family. I do this by focusing on three elements: mind, body, and soul.
Mind: Years ago, I was stressed OUT. I experienced something that brought back old wounds that I moved past but never healed (more of this in a future blog). My mental well being wasn't well at all and it altered my health for sure. It helped me see that mental health needed to be made a priority in order to achieve optimal health. Have you seen those Cigna commercials? Specifically the one with Queen Latifay? She says "emotional and physical health are more connected than you think." When I heard her say this, I was like YESSSS! It is so true. There are studies that show that a healthy diet helps with the mind. So in addition to maintaining a healthy diet, I incorporate daily podcasts, books, blogs, and Instagram’s focusing on self-development and positive affirmations. I have a great support system that gives me the outlet to discuss thoughts and feelings openly that can help get things out in the air and not stuck inside me.
Body: I have made all natural or organic foods a staple in my daily food intake. I eat fish high in omega 3 Monday through Thursday and stick to eating meat on weekends. I always have a healthy protein with a healthy carb, and drink A LOT of water. I have also switched to all natural deodorant because of the link to cancer. Even my face wash and moisturizer is all natural/organic products. Additionally, I try to exercise 5 days a week and get at least 10,000 steps per day. I have also started encorporating Monthly Challenges. (Check out my Workout page on this site if you need some ideas.) I do not exercise as a way to be strong, lean, or buff. I don't do countless weight reps in hopes to get chiselled arms, legs, butt, and abs. Rather, i exercise because it's good for you - all around.
Soul: One thing I have been making a priority is self-care days. This would be the first thing I would cut out before. Now, in order to maintain optimal health, I have to take time for some self-love. I have also been taking account of things I am most grateful for each day. Tony Robbins says that every morning he thinks of something he is grateful for. It's certainly a good idea. I can’t say I start every morning with this thought but I do take inventory of all that I have been blessed with.
Almost 2 years post-partum, I have lost 64 pounds and am doing phenomenally at maintaining. I do not live with restrictions. That is why I could eat that shrimp scampi pizza without guilt. I truly feel like my best self. My mind has never been so clear and my body never felt better. Thanks largely in part to my support system - my husband, friends and nutritionist, Amanda - I feel absolutely AMAZING. My journey is what inspired me to create this blog. I hope that in some way I inspire at least one person.
I wish everyone much success on their health journey. I hope that you reach optimal health - Mind, Body, and Soul. If you are interested in getting nutrition advice from my girl, check out http://happilynourished.net/
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