The past 9 months or so have been very difficult for me physically and emotionally. Life has been hard, and I feel like it is all I can do to stay afloat.
I have had a pretty bad flare of my autoimmune disease (not sure what it is, but quite sure it is something) so I have been in almost constant physical pain, especially in my joints. Despite continuing to eat very strict AI Paleo, I have gained over 40 pounds(!) in that time, which is disheartening and depressing, to say the very least. (In the picture above I had to wear a different dress to church on Easter because the one I wanted to wear wouldn’t zip- and the last time I wore it it was loose on me!) Because of what was thought to be a metatarsal fracture in my left foot, and turned out to be severe bursitis, I wore a boot for 2 solid months. This weakened my left side and threw me off balance, which led to me hurting my back (two herniated disks, pinched nerves) and a lot of pain in my SI Joint, which resulted in being almost completely disabled for a while, taking a lot of drugs I wouldn’t normally consider, a cortisone shot, and 2 months of physical therapy. My back and hips are starting to feel like normal, but I know that if I don’t continue to work to strengthen and stabilize my back and SI that I will continue to have massive problems and injuries in the future. My sleep quality is poor and I am always fatigued and lacking energy. My adrenals and sex hormones are out of whack, and I continue to struggle with a cycle of constipation and diarrhea. I saw a rheumatologist yesterday, and wrote out a list of all the symptoms I have been experiencing recently and it took up 1 1/2 pages!
Add in that we are still trying to figure out what on earth is going on with the kids in terms of their food allergies, GI problems, and chronic diarrhea. Aurora has entered the terrible two’s (and so far they are REALLY TERRIBLE!) Plus, just life. It’s crazy busy with a 2 and 4 year old, running our household and spending way too much time in the kitchen, supporting my husband as he runs his own business, being involved at church, starting to home school, and every once in a while fitting in time for myself and the things I enjoy.
So I have come to the realization that things have to change- I need to heal so that I can be active and vital, so that I can be fully present for my family. And that means that I need to make my health and wellness a priority, something that doesn’t come easily to this busy mama. My husband likened it to being starved for oxygen. The airplane safety videos always tell adults to put on their own masks first before helping others. I need to make sure I can breathe, that I can take care of myself, before I can help my husband, children and others. I need to make good nutritional choices for myself, to exercise and be strong, to prioritize sleep. For once, I need to put myself and well-being first.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to do that. How can I motivate myself to practice a level of self-care I have probably never managed to do in my adult life? I listened to an episode of The Paleo View podcast a while ago and Stacy Toth (who just won a Strongman competition!) talked about how she was doing a Whole Life Challenge with her gym. That it was a points-based competition with yourself, but done in community. And this appealed to me very much. With my husband’s previous employer, I did Virgin Health Miles, and for some reason it was very motivating for me to get in all my steps for the day. (I used to walk laps in my house before going to bed if I was close to the next level.) But the WLC goes a few steps harder- you get points for making good nutrition choices, exercising, mobilization, taking supplements (which I am so bad at), and healthy lifestyle changes (like getting good sleep.) The WLC has everything I need to motivate me to succeed- a clear cut competition (points system) with myself, online community, accountability and encouragement.
So after talking things over with Benjamin last night, I went ahead and signed up for the next challenge, which starts May 3. I would love to have some friends and family join me, so if that is something that interests you, check out their website and Facebook page. Registration is only $39 for 1 more day, and then it goes up to $49. Let me know if you decide to participate, so we can be on a team together.
I will try to blog regularly about my experience, and we will see if I am brave enough to post my Before picture and stats!