Thankfulness for What I Have

A Guest post from my friend Maggie who recently finished treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma:

The real question is…. after being a bald woman for 6 months… once my hair grows back, will I ever complain about it again? Look at it and constantly wish it was different? “Better?”


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In all honesty, I used to think “it’s too thin/it’s not straight enough/it doesn’t grow long enough/etc etc etc”. Her (fill in random person) hair is better/nicer/prettier/etc etc. I wish mine was (fill in the blank…) oh yeah and my eyebrows are too thin. And my lashes aren’t long enough. And and and…
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Now I’m like “where should I draw my eyebrows on today… I think they *should* probably go right about…here??? 🤷‍♀️😆 some days it’s super annoying but some days I have fun with it. Maybe I draw on just one to be weird and crack up with my husband at how funny I look 😆. That’s me being me. You have to just make jokes when you can… you gotta be able to laugh  And the Lashes? What lashes? They all fell out.

I’ve never been a super girly girly but let me tell ya these changes have not been easy.
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So I’m reflecting. A lot. Perspective is a funny thing. Hindsight is 20/20. You can always see clearer when you’re looking back on things. And that’s okay sometimes, I think. The real important thing is you learn, you grow, you change.
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What am I learning? Here’s a few things: thankfulness for what I have; how comparison is the thief of joy; how you don’t realize how good you have something until it’s gone. Even the vary things you complain about. Or think aren’t good enough. They actually are treasures. Sometimes wanting more/better/different xyz… it’s a lie. It steals your happiness. I’m learning as the Bible says “to be content in all situations… in need and in want…”. Still learning.
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These are things we often hear, sometimes said as cliches. “You don’t know what you got til it’s gone”, for example. We’ve all heard it a million times. maybe we know this logically, but how often do we pause, reflect, and actually apply these and other truths to our hearts? Experience them?
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What does this look like for me? Well, now, I have some dark “thick” (in comparison to my previous bald potato head) buzz coming in. and I’m all like…. WAHOOO!!!

And even funnier… I’ve really missed my thin wavy floppy baby soft hair. Yeah, the stuff I complained about a lot, and thought wasn’t “good enough”, should be better, was insecure of at times, in this way or that.
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How many things do we do that with in our lives? I’ll be the first to admit it; the hair is just one example. There are other areas of myself at times I’ve wished were “different” or “better”. Don’t we all? we’re human. Imperfect beings. Psychologically we more naturally remember the negatives more easily than the positives. We can be at times critical of ourselves or others. We look to what’s next, what’s better, we compare. And the 10 good things that happened today can be clouded by the one “not so good” thing. But we don’t have to just accept worldly standards and labels for our hearts and minds.
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Let’s choose to fight to focus on the good. Challenge the thoughts that tell us something about us, something we have, isn’t good enough or would be better some other way. Often those are lies, and they steal contentment. Acknowledge the negative but don’t let it take over. Learn and grow and challenge the status quo. I believe we find freedom in doing this, and we don’t have to do it alone. God is with us and for us and wants us to be free, to experience the joys of each day! And even as a person who has SUFFERED… let me be clear… SUFFERED physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually through now 8 months of being REALLY sick… I have fought to find and focus on the joy. ❤️
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Has it been perfect? No. Has it been easy? definitely not. Have I needed lots of help and support from my husband, my family, my friends, my church? Oh yeah! But it is possible. I choose to fight for this. Even in the darkest storms of life and the scariest moments. Even in the face of trauma. There can be peace. There can be joy. We can be hopeful and expectant. I know because I have experienced it. And it’s available to everyone!
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So Im still learning a lot. And my perspective is stretching. So while I’m NOT happy I got cancer or for all the ways it has wrecked me or my loved ones, I AM thankful for what it is teaching me. Never thought I’d be able to say that, honestly.
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So… yes. I think Ill be happy if/when my hair comes back, just as it was before. Or… even if it’s different. Because honestly… it’s really not as important as I thought it was after all.

What My First Chemo Taught Me

We have a guest post from my friend Maggie today. She was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and speaks today about the lessons she learned with her first chemo. Thanks Maggie for your being brave enough to share your story along the way! 

The school of life gives us lessons in perspective, and for me, I’ve been learning so much lately. One thing my oncologist said to me is that this whole experience and journey with cancer will really change me. It will open my eyes in new ways to the world around me, and make me appreciate the little things even more than I did before. It won’t let me sleep walk through life as some people do, hardly realizing when the sun shines and the flowers bloom. It hasn’t been long, but already I’ve found this to be so true.

Like most brides, I was so concerned with getting in shape for our wedding, growing my hair long and taking good care of it (even buying nice products for once!) and making sure things were “just right”. Now it seems so silly; I honestly don’t care about those things. And I realize that so many other things of that sort have taken up valuable thoughts, energy, mental space for me. I hope to continue to grow in that— realize what actually matters and is worth my mindspace, energy, time.

Now I’m just so happy and thankful I’ll be able to even have my wedding, marry my best friend, and that I probably won’t feel that sick that day! Praise the Lord! I’m thankful that from my first cycle of chemo, I know my “sick/pain/bad days” will be about 7 of every 15, and I’m so thankful that I get to have a “good week” where I can be outside, eat good food, walk around, and smile without pain! Life is brighter. I’m already changing. I’m so much more thankful for those “normal”, regular days than I ever was before!

My hair started falling out, and I thought I’d be devastated when that happened. But I actually got excited. Weird, right? so I dyed it a fun color, and chopped it short. Something I never would have wanted to do but, I actually like it! And I’m thankful to have some fun with it on it’s way out.

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I am thankful I worked out a class schedule that works too! (With No class on chemo days!) and my school was so helpful in enabling me to keep working towards my goals in education.

I’m thankful for warm weather, for family and friends, for summer adventures to come, and for the countless ways God has provided for me during this stormy season — through all those around me. Your prayers are working. Know that they have sustained me, and God has been so faithful. There have been dark moments and very hard times, and your prayers have carried me though them.

Every little word, gift, message, encouragement— it has meant the world to me and Travis. Thank you for being with us and being Jesus hands and feet. I would not be in the place I am without you. I know the hard days will be hard, I will be sick and in pain, and it will not be easy. But the storm will pass and I hope to come out a stronger, wiser, more thankful woman. Thank you to everyone for being a part of our life!

Ps: Travis surprised me with a BIKE!!!!!!

 

Of This I’m Sure

You know when you find that one song that speaks to you for where you are at in life and it is on repeat so much you wonder when the people in your life are going to threaten you if you don’t turn it off? Well, I found that song recently in an unlikely place and it has been the soundtrack through my present season.

the past doesn't own us anymore

I was shopping one night a little over a month ago for family pictures (and I HATE shopping) when I walked into my favorite store Altar’d State in not the best mood. I recently discovered this store with my sister-in-law and it was love at first sight. There is something about the combination of amazingly cute clothes, ridiculously awesome house decorations (with a bunch of inspirational sayings which warm my heart), and the fact that I always find new music when I walk in there.

On this particular night blaring through their speakers were the artists Jenny and Tyler and they’ve been speaking truth and grace into my soul since that first moment I heard their lyrics. I love their whole album “Of this I’m sure”, but most of all I love that song in particular. In these lyrics -“Of this I’m sure, the past don’t own us anymore”, the whole present season of my life is summed up.

This season of my life has been one of working through past mistakes, ghosts, and hurts. Sounds fun doesn’t it? Kidding. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life, but also one of the most rewarding seasons. A season full of sitting in my pains and anxiety and allowing myself to truly feel it. It has been full of not only letting myself see myself for who I really am, but also letting people in my life both new and old see me for who I am.

The past doesn’t own me anymore.

All the mistakes, ghosts, and hurts of my past, I’m releasing them of their control.

I don’t know about you, but so often I’ve let things from my past hold me back. It has nothing to do with the questioning of the validity of whether or not the wounds hurt or the mistakes were, well, stupid, it has to do with the control they still have over me.  A few months ago I began going to see a counselor – something I should have done a long time ago. There is such a stigma behind counseling, and it needs to be gone.

In these times of seeing this counselor I’ve been walking through things I’ve blocked out. I’ve been sitting in the emotions I’ve been afraid to feel.  And when I’ve said “I haven’t dealt with this” instead of moving on, she’s looked me square in the face and with no where for me to go she’s said “so let’s deal with it now”.

Through this one of the hardest things I’ve been challenged with is to not be afraid to let people see who I really am. It was time I let go of my need for perfection and looking like I always have it together on the outside go. And you want to know the most amazing thing? People are loving me for who I am, faults and all.

So just in case no one has ever told you, who you are  at the core of you is beautiful, wonderful, and perfectly okay – great in fact.

One night in a conversation I was having with one of the people I’ve been making a point to 100% be myself with I said “That’s just who I have always been”. In response they said to me “that’s okay there is nothing the matter with being who you are”. And in that moment a healing took place. A healing of wounds so deep that I didn’t even know were there until truth was spoken into them. So just in case no one has ever told you, who you are  at the core of you is beautiful, wonderful, and perfectly okay – great in fact.

And who you are at this very moment is lovable.

So I guess in all my ramblings I want to get this point across. The past does NOT define you. Allow it to shape you, to guide you, to lead you to better decisions, and develop your character, but not define who you are and where you are headed. Don’t be afraid to feel the emotions, because in feeling the bad emotions, it allows healing, and in the healing it allows for the good emotions to be that much more present and real.

And the most important lesson I’ve learned? Who I am, at this very moment even with all my junk and imperfections is lovable. And who you are at this very moment is lovable. One of the best things we can do is to allow the people who truly love us to see who we really are and love us where we are at. So my friends, with this in mind, I challenge you to be you – all of you. And remember, the past doesn’t own you anymore. 

#Chase2015: A Season of Change

Over the past few weeks, I’ve made many decisions to change the way I live, or had been living. It’s not that I was extremely unhealthy, but I was making unhealthy decisions that were wreaking havoc on the state of my brain, body, and heart. I have a stressful career (as many careers are), but in many fields of nursing, from the time you walk in to the time you leave you are moving.  You’re moving both body and mind and have to be on your A-game at all times. Human lives aren’t something to mess around with. As a result, I have to be very conscious and careful of the decisions I make both inside and outside of work to stay healthy.

One of the biggest changes I’ve made in the last month is going gluten-free. I’ve had many physicians suggest at least trying it, but I was insistent corn was enough and that I was fine with gluten. I even thought that there was no way I would have all the symptoms they say happen when you take gluten out. Well, about 24 hours in to being gluten-free, it was clear I was wrong – others were right. I was severely fatigued, extremely pale, itching everywhere, and just felt miserable. This lasted for about a week, and then all the sudden I felt the better. A month into it I feel the best I’ve felt in years. I feel like myself again. Even if I am one of the people who can’t tolerate gluten, I still don’t think that gluten-free is for everyone, but it is for me, at least for now.

Beyond going gluten-free, here is my list of things I’m focusing on to round out the end of 2015 the healthiest me I can be:

1. Taking a day of rest

As a Christian, the Sabbath is taught, but many years into my faith I am just beginning to understand how truly a day of rest is important. This doesn’t mean sitting on the couch all day, but it means doing things that give life to me and making sure I do rest properly on this day.

2. Stretching

I’m great about walking and good about exercising, I’m awful at stretching. In the last few weeks since making a point to stretch. I can’t explain the difference it has made, but it is wonderful.

3.  Saying “No”

It took me a long time to learn there is such a thing as saying no to good things. Letting go of people pleasing and truly asking the questions… Is this going to stress me out to an unhealthy level? Will this fill me up? Is this an absolute must? Choosing to make my yeses full good yeses and saying no even when it’s hard. It is okay to say no because you need a night at home. It is okay to say no because you have errands to do. It is okay to not do everything.

4. Going technology-free

It isn’t an always thing, but I want at least an hour out of my day to be technology free. Whether this is reading, walking without my phone, cooking… whatever it is, take time away from technology and social media. I’m hoping to continue to increase this time, especially on weekends. We don’t know the long term effects of technology, but we are starting to see some short term effects and some aren’t pretty.

5. 10,000 steps

I got my fitbit in April and it has been  a great tool. I notice such a change in my energy when I keep up my fitness level. A minimum of 10,000 steps 6/7 days a week is my goal. An attainable, challenging goal that helps to keep me healthy.

6. Daring to Dream

This is the most important to me. Somewhere along the way after bad relationships and failed dreams, I left dreaming behind. But the truth is, the heart needs to dream. The heart needs to acknowledge what it is it desires to do most. So I’m taking the chance to dream again, and not just dream, but dream big.

Some of these steps are harder than others, but they are all beneficial. As I sit here after truly putting these into practice for the last few weeks I feel great. I feel rested, I feel healthy, and I feel like myself. You can’t always control you health issues or diseases, but you can make the decisions to live the healthiest you can at that moment. It isn’t fun at every restaurant having to list of allergies and intolerance, but being up all night itching from hives and being extremely fatigued the next day is far worse. Choose to be healthy. Choose to chase out the end of 2015 as the healthiest you there can be right now.

#Chase2015: Finding Balance

The older I get, the more I realize that life truly is a balancing act. We are always balancing work life with home life, healthy eating with “cheat days,” or hours at the gym with “couch potato status.” Now that I’m a mom, I’m also juggling kid time with chore time, mommy/daddy time with sleep, and my list goes on. However, despite this circus act, I have resolved to make a change in my life. And even if it doesn’t end up being a physical change, I have resolved to make an attitude change, but more on that later.

#Chase2015: Finding Balance

First off, if you have been reading our blog for the last couple months, you will have seen my posts about completing the Whole30 challenge and the diet changes we made in the months following it. Here we are in September, and for the most part we still eat a diet that avoids grains, legumes, dairy, and sugar. We love the way we look, and feel, but when it comes down to it, eating this way is just plain pricey. If you’re like us, and most other young adults these days, student loans are in repayment and money is tight. Throw a couple kids in there and a mommy who stays home, and pennies get squeezed a little tighter. So we have found a balance for our diet; if we have dairy or grains, we try to stick to one serving in a day. That not only helps stretch our budget, but it also keeps those grains in moderation for us. Sugar is limited to when we go out or the weekends when we get a craving for something sweet. Peanut butter is one thing we have made a firm decision on though: it is definitely a staple in our house. And we love it.

Secondly, I have been trying harder to really be present with my kids lately. By that I mean, putting down the phone and staying off the phone/iPad/computer unless absolutely necessary or its nap time, being selective with what chores really need to be done while kids are awake, scaling back my DIY hobbies, and making simpler dinners that don’t take one-two hours to prepare. One day I realized that I wasn’t truly giving my kids the attention they need and deserve, instead I was saying “hang on a minute” way too often as I searched Pinterest for another recipe or toddler activity, or checked another status on Facebook.

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Writing all this makes me feel like such a horrid mommy, but if you are a mommy then you know exactly how it goes. When you spend all day and every day with little ones who can’t communicate at your level, it’s all too easy to get enveloped in worlds (aka internet or texts) that actually do. I thought about what my kids would remember me as when they were older and realized that if I was honest, it would be a mommy who was always distracted with other things.

I don’t want to be that mommy. I want to be involved and interested in my kids’ lives! I want to be remembered as a mommy who took time to look at the bug that was on the windowsill instead of saying “uh-huh, that’s cool honey” with my nose buried in my phone. So my first step to being the “new” mommy I desire, was to take Facebook off as one of the tabs in my browser. This way, when I open my browser, I’m not immediately sucked into reading about a friend’s adventure that leads me to a distant cousin’s wife’s brother’s fiance’s bridal shower pictures (know what I mean?).

The third area is balancing my personal time; what do I do when it’s just me? I don’t get a lot of time to myself but there are moments for sure. I’m aiming to include a small work out into my days a couple times a week, and my husband usually wants to join so that doubles as “hubby” time too. I also have joined a MOPS group which so far has been wonderful for my overall well-being. It’s quite amazing what some adult time can do for a mommy’s brain. I have been more focused on getting chores done in a timely manner so that I do have bigger chunks of time that I can choose to do what I want with. I am a big crafter/sewer and so that is usually what I spend my time doing. However, lately I have been striving to reduce stress in my life. And sadly, a lot of my unfinished craft projects cause me stress because I’m trying to “schedule” them into my personal time to get them done. I have been learning to say “no” a lot more and have been reaping the benefits of not feeling rushed or stressed all the time.

Overall, I have been striving to change my attitude towards all aspects in my life. If a day doesn’t go as planned, it’s okay; life will go on, and I can try again the next day. My house is a mess? It’s alright; we LIVE here. Baby didn’t sleep well last night so now mommy is tired and toddler is asking for milk….again….and again…and again….? I choose joy. I am choosing to smile and to live a life full of joy and involvement and free from “mommy guilt.” “Mommy guilt,” if you didn’t know, is this ugly thing that makes you feel bad that you didn’t give your child the perfect lunch, or have the house sparkling clean when daddy comes home and you’re been chasing 2 -year-olds all day. It is also a nasty weed that will grow and grow if you don’t catch it before long and deal with it. Avoid it like the plague.

I want to live a life of purpose, one that is filled with things I chose to do, instead of things I ended up doing because I wasn’t paying attention. What about you? What things have you found a balance for/need to balance in your life? Let’s make the rest of 2015 a great one, and learn to balance our lives. No one is perfect, so lets stop expecting perfection from ourselves and live with joy.

#Chase2015: 7 Enhancements for Better Living

We’re already well into September, where exactly has 2015 gone? I am still asking that question. This year already my family has experienced a few additions. My brother got married and my sister gave birth to a second beautiful baby girl. To celebrate the new additions to my family, I decided to make a few positive additions and changes to my lifestyle:

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Here is my top 7 enhancements I have made to #Chase2015:

Using a Fitbit

My pedometer died on me and I was left with the decision of get another or invest in something a little more. I went to Target and using my Cartwheel app (which by the way it is my favorite app that saves me lots of money!) I got the more expensive one for a decent price.

Protein shakes

I have once again started drinking a protein shake on my way to work. It is sustaining and helps fuel me through the morning. I find that when I choose protein over carbs, I don’t like I used to and that is wonderful.

Panera

This quick on-the-go choice has the most healthy options I have found yet. The only downfall at this point is simply that it costs a little more. I can almost always find something to eat that doesn’t kill me in calories for the day. Favorite food choice so far? Turkey and Avocado BLT (minus the tomato of course!). Healthy and fills me up? Count me in!

Increase quiet time

I don’t always succeed at this one, but I at least try to set some quiet time aside to pray, meditate, or just practice being. That is a really hard one to strip yourself down so that you can really enjoy peace and quiet. I still am not all the way there yet, but it gets easier the more I keep trying.

Wunderlist

This is an organizational app that you can get through the Apple store (it is free). I can sync it to my computer, set up reminders that are sent to by email, and I can stay on top of my game. I seem to end up going in a million different directions and this helps keep me on task. So far in the week I have been using it, I feel more organized, more productive, and not so scatterbrained. They have pre-made lists like work, family, groceries, movies to see…as well as the ability for you to change and create new lists. I like also that you can create a network of others with this app. Add others to your network and help delegate tasks. I like using this as a shared network.

Writing skills

So, I am taking two writing classes. Yes, 5 weeks of pen and paper bliss. This is something that I have needed to do for my work and mostly to build confidence in my writing skills. I have moved into a creative marketing position so the need for brushed up writing skills is now needed more than ever. I am hoping this investment in my personal skills will help me achieve success.

Massage and adjustment

I have been getting wellness massages and adjustments from my chiropractor about once every 6 weeks. This is how I deal with my stress. I carry so much of it in my shoulders and when everything is off–it makes my demeanor, my mood, and my fuse short. While I can afford it, I have really tried to work on balance and these two steps have made a major impact on my emotional and physical wellbeing.

Over all, I feel better. I know that I need to work on balancing better and these 7 steps have helped me achieve more balance than I have had in a long while.

Despite stress still being there, I am managing it much better than I used to because of these small enhancements.

How are YOU enhancing your life?

Anchor Drop Chooses to Live Healthy

I don’t know about you, but summer seems to have come and gone and with the busyness there were plenty of bad habits acquired. We as a team at Anchor Drop have decided to shake some bad habits and pick up some healthier habits this fall and we are excited to share this journey with you. Some of us are making diet changes, while others are making changes in schedule, others are choosing to be more active, and others are choosing to make more time for themselves. Any combination can help each of us to be healthier and happier individuals.

 

Travel with us

One of our favorite things about the AD team is that we are all at very different periods in life, but we can all relate and do life together. We encourage you as we share our changes and journeys towards healthier lives for you to share your journeys with us.

Living healthier is something that is a daily decision. No one will be perfect every single day, and we all need cheat days. Some of us don’t need to work on our diet, but do need to work on our schedules. Others are doing really well at making time for themselves, but they aren’t being as active as they should to reap the health benefits.

So wherever you are, and whatever health changes you are choosing to strive for, we encourage you to journey with us.  We can all take steps to being healthier one day at a time as we chase out the end of 2015!

Confessions of a Former Carbaholic: A Kitchen Transformation

If you had met me a year ago, you would have been greeted with a loaf of freshly baked bread drenched in butter, some homemade jelly and a smile. I loved to bake, and whatever I baked, I most definitely ate. Not only was I addicted to anything filled with carbs, I had an obsession with cheese and a love affair with sugar. Sure, I ate “healthy” but you better believe that I indulged in baking up any decadent recipes that crossed my path. But all that changed when we participated in a Whole30 this past May.

Confessions of A

After eating on such a restricted diet for a month, I was a little nervous about what would happen once we completed our Whole30, but I was in for a big surprise. I assumed that we would be so proud of sticking it out (which we are), a few pounds lighter (I lost 15 lbs and hubby lost 5lbs!), and probably go back to our prior diet, being mindful of keeping things in moderation. Three days after completing Whole30, we went on vacation for a week. When coming off of Whole30 you are supposed to gradually add food groups back in to see if there are any food allergies or sensitivities that you never knew you had. We tried to gradually add foods back in but it was tough to go slow. Continue reading “Confessions of a Former Carbaholic: A Kitchen Transformation”

Just Around the River Bend

If there’s one thing most people know about me, it’s that I’m not an “outdoorsy” person.  Now that doesn’t mean that I hate nature.  I just prefer to enjoy it while I’m sitting on a beach or from the backseat of the car as my family drives through the Smoky Mountains.  You see growing up in my family, our idea of fun didn’t consist of hiking or camping or canoeing.  We would go to places like Gatlinburg not for the mountains, but for the miniature golfing, shopping, and dining.  So this is why at the age of 29, I just went canoeing for the very first time in my life.

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I assumed that maneuvering a canoe down the river would be a fairly simple task.  I mean it’s not white water rafting.  You just have to paddle the canoe in the right direction.  After all Pocahontas makes it looks so easy while she’s singing “Just Around the Riverbend”.   How hard could this be?

It took about thirty seconds before I realized how hard canoeing was actually going to be.  My friend and I had barely pushed off from the bank of the river before I had us turned around and going backwards.  As if keeping the canoe in the right direction wasn’t hard enough, we also managed to unsuccessfully avoid several tree branches that were dangling over the river bank.  (It was about this time as I was being whacked in the face with tree branches that I remembered why I’m not an outdoorsy person.)

Surprise, surprise.  Canoeing turned out to be a lot harder than a cartoon character made it look in the movies.  One thing was for sure, you didn’t know what was waiting just around the riverbend.  Sometimes there was an easy stretch of water where we didn’t have to paddle as hard, and we could enjoy the scenery.  Then the next thing you knew, you were trying to keep the canoe from tipping over in the wake of a passing jet ski.

Looking back on that day, I realize how much life is like trying to maneuver a canoe down the river.  There are times when life is easy and you can just enjoy the ride.  However, there are also the days when something you weren’t expecting rocks your boat, and you find yourself just trying to stay afloat.  In those moments, I was thankful that I wasn’t the only one in the canoe.  Even though there were times when my friend may have wanted to push me out of the canoe (something about not paddling hard enough), I was thankful to have her experience to guide us out of those rougher waters.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life over the last few years, it’s the importance of having a community to support and guide you through those rougher waters.  When I graduated from college seven years ago, I expected my future would be smooth sailing down a straight path.  What I didn’t expect was seven summers of job searching, multiple temporary teaching positions, and being turned down too many times to count for various positions.  It was a rough ride with many twists and turns, but throughout it all I had the support of family, friends, and coworkers.  They listened when I needed to vent my frustrations, encouraged me to keep going when I wanted to quit, and prayed that God would lead me to the right job.  Just like my canoe trip down the river, my path to finding a teaching job wasn’t an easy journey, but I never felt like I was navigating through it alone and that made all the difference.

So maybe canoeing wasn’t quite as easy as Pocahontas made it look in the movie, but she was knew what she was talking about when she said that the water’s always changing, always flowing.  Life is the same way; always changing, always flowing.  So when life has you turned around paddling up stream or smacks you in the face with another unexpected obstacle, lean in to those around you for the guidance and support you need to keep going.   It’s so much easier to navigate those rough waters when you know that you have someone who will see you through whatever is waiting just around the river bend.

Whole 30 Adventure

Hello! I’ve been gone a while, adjusting to life with two little ones. And can I just say, there is definitely a learning curve going from one child to two! Also, since I’ve been gone, my husband and I have decided to really kick things into gear health-wise. First challenge: Whole 30. What is this, you may ask? Check it all out at Whole 30. The basic idea is that you cut out all “bad” foods (things that could be causing health problems, bloating, etc) and feed your body with good, whole foods for 30 days in the hopes of “resetting” your body. Many people have overcome health issues that they thought would plague them for life, so we were really interested in trying it. On this “diet”, you can eat unprocessed meats, eggs, fish/seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts/seeds (no dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, beans etc.). Sound restrictive? It is, but I’ve found that there are a lot of good things we can eat, I just have to get creative!

Whole

The Trial Run

We tried starting the 30 days April 1st, and for a week did really well. Then we realized that since we were going to be gone for over a week (hubby on a work trip and myself and the kids going out of town), that we probably wouldn’t be able to stick to the plan while we were away. That being the case, we restarted our 30 days this past Tuesday. So far so good for me! If you poke around on the internet, you will find that you will go through stages during your 30 days due to food withdrawals. I’m not sure if I have felt these symptoms seeing as I already feel pretty gross due to lack of sleep (yay for having a newborn around again!), but I’m sure I will feel some symptoms eventually. This time around, my hubby’s parents are joining us in the challenge. Their lives are a little busier than mine, so its definitely more difficult to come up with food items that can be grabbed in a hurry. That being said, there IS hope! I want to share with you some great recipes I have found while preparing for this challenge; recipes that will make you forget you are eating super healthy.

Where to Start

First off, clear your panrty and fridge of all things NOT allowed on this diet. This is key; “out of sight, out of mind” really rings true here. Secondly, find some great recipes! There is some really great advice on the blogs What I Wore and The Clothes Make The Girl, so make sure to check both of them out. For breakfasts, its eggs, eggs, and more eggs. Many Whole30 veterans recommend just looking at your day with “meal 1, 2, and 3” in mind instead of “breakfast, lunch, dinner”. A good idea, but I find myself still wanting breakfast type foods in the morning (no 8 am pork chops for me-ha!).

Three Daily Meals

I get bored with eating the same thing every day so I bounce back and forth between scrambled and fried eggs. I usually pair it with some fruit and like to also add some homemade hashbrowns; I have to eat a big breakfast these days I feel faint; nursing a baby football player is no silly business (seriously, he is only 2 months old and already 16lbs!). Lunches are typically salads with plenty of protein mixed in. Dinners have been what’s changed the most around here, but I have found some super flavorful meals that fit the bill. The big thing is that you make sure to eat a ton of veggies on the side to make sure that your stomach feels full. I know I have a long way to go, but I’m excited to see what this month brings. I am finally on board to becoming a healthier person and it feels great! I will definitely keep you updated this month on both how I’m feeling and what recipes/resources I find.

Have you completed the Whole30 challenge? If so, what advice do you have for the newbies? If not, seriously give it some thought; it could change your life 🙂

 Some Recipe Ideas

Kale, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, sunflower seeds, brussel sprout salad

Olive Oil Mayo

Morrocan Dipping Sauce

Sunshine Sauce (haven’t tried this one yet but am dying to try it! Waiting on obtaining one ingredient then I can try this deliciousness)

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