REAL, FRUGAL, HEALTHY, and FUN!!!
I was originally inspired to write this post this past Tuesday. Everyone was sharing their Transformation Tuesday photos on Facebook, as they do every week. I got to thinking about my own transformation. I made the collage up above rather quickly. I actually could have added another photo to the front. That photo would have been a very slim, starving girl. Fortunately, I don’t have a lot of photos from that part of my life. I do have one, but I’m not sure where it is at. I remember seeing it and thinking, “Wow! I look really thing!” At the time, I was quite proud to finally feel thin. Mind you, at the time, there were days when I only had rice cakes, or only had a granola bar. I also made sure I burned off what little bit I did eat with exercise, or I’d purge it with laxatives. Sometimes both. Man! Oh, man! I did not understand nutrition or healthy living one bit! I was completely focused on calories, and they were my nemesis.
Luckily, from there, I caught the fitness bug. I noticed the figures of fit girls, and I was amazed. I wanted to have a fit body, too. I started working out, lifting weights, and building muscles. I learned that to build muscle, I needed to eat. So, I did. I taught myself to eat a high protein diet. I ate a lot of chicken breasts, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, rice, Quest bars, and protein powder. Sugar was a no-no, but I cleverly learned to make all kinds of treats using protein powders, including cheesecake. I ate a lot of Quest bars and consumed a lot of protein powder. My diet was far from being a diet rich in whole foods. I was focused entirely on my macro-nutrients, paying little to no attention to my vitamins and minerals. On the bright side, at least I was eating more than a granola bar or rice cakes.
In time, I became more and more interested in nutrition. I started including more and more whole foods. I started working out and eating, not entirely for aesthetic reasons, but as a wife, and as a mom, I wanted to be around for my family. I wanted to not only see my kids grow up, but hopefully be able to see their kids, and to play with them. I started thinking about how nice it would be to travel with my husband once he’s retired. I wanted to be in good health to be able to enjoy doing things like that together.
Earlier this year, I learned I had celiac. It actually wasn’t a significant diagnosis because all of my life, I’ve grown up around family members, including my mom, who have the disease. I was already eating primarily paleo, which is gluten-free, so it wasn’t a huge transition. Still, it became more important than ever to check labels, as gluten is in a lot more than bread and crackers. It’s in some herbal teas, the glue on postage stamps, condiments, pre-seasoned meats, and even medications. I’ll be honest, learning those weird things is the hardest part.
Shortly after that, I learned my bladder does not contract on it’s own. It relies on my abdominal muscles to squeeze it. Of all the random things a woman in her 30’s could get, it’s just my luck that I would get the weird stuff. Still, as frustrating as this bladder issue had been, it did not affect my motivation. I was still working out hard and eating right.
I did, however, have a hard time when shortly after that, I learned my cerebellum was atrophying. It depressed me a little, initially. I was scared of winding up in a wheel chair, becoming bedridden, and losing all of my quality of life. I was scared of possibly not being around to see my kids grow up. As my neurologist is still in the process of diagnosing my condition, I really don’t know what to expect.
Talk about getting slapped with health issue after health issue all in one year! It’s ironic that this happened to be the year I began my “healthy living” blog. It is a journey for sure. In my kickboxing class, there are those who go to get in shape. Many of them were not working out at all beforehand. My reasons for working out used to be to get into better and better shape for aesthetic reasons and to see how fit I could get, but now I’m also motivated to get into the best shape possible to maintain my balance and mobility for as long as possible. I tell myself, “Move it, or lose it, Toots!”
I’ve just about finished Dr. Wahls Protocol. She talks about how eating enough of a variety of veggies can really help the brain. Oh, and she also recommends organ meat and seaweed, as well. Let me tell you, I am motivated! I start every day with either my carrot pudding or a pumpkin chia pudding. I make soup for lunch. Something I’ve started doing is saving all of the edible veggie scraps from the week. It can be leaves, peels, end pieces, and sometimes even cores. If it is in fact edible, I throw it into a bag in my freezer. I add them to the following weeks batch of soup. For example, if I have leaves from celery or bok choy, I’ll put those in there. I put the ends of my zucchinis in there. It’s a great way to not waste perfectly edible parts of veggies, some of which are very nutritious. Anyway, I also make smoothies. I made zoodles, topped with tomato sauce and chunks of liver. I’m still adjusting to the taste of liver, but like I said, I am motivated. I am doing this! In fact, the other day, I made a liver jerky. It tastes like liver, so it’s interesting to eat, but I’m able to.
I really don’t know if I’m trying harder than necessary, and overthinking it. Maybe I’m not doing enough. Because I don’t have an official diagnosis yet, it’s hard to say. The point is, healthy living is a journey. It has hurdles and hills. I’ve been hit with a few hurdles this year. My cerebellum could potentially be a steep hill. I could choose to stop climbing, but I wont. I choose to keep trudging along, enjoying the journey, and giving it my best.
It’s interesting how my motivation has changed. Even when it was all for aesthetic purposes, it was still important to me. Looking back, from where I am now, aesthetics seems like such a small thing. It’s amazing how our circumstances in life can change our perspectives, humble us, and remind us what matters most.