Over the course of the last 3 months ever since being diagnosed with Tarlov Cyst Disease, I feel like I have been forced to take a step back from everything that I once considered “normal”. Life for the past 4 years (outside of the regular family stuff of course) revolved around working out, macros/nutrition, recipe developing, blogging my recipes, and social media ‘building’. However, once the chronic pain and symptoms from the spinal cysts set in, there were days, even entire weeks that would go by where I simply couldn’t do anything… and by anything I mean I could barely open my eyes on some days and spent the majority of the day laying down in bed or on my couch. Now, with the New Year officially upon us I can’t help but reflect on where I have been, where I am, and where I hope to go.
Although I have a passion for fitness and weight lifting, I do realize and accept that I was somewhat obsessed with it all these past few years. I worked out because I loved it and I stayed on top of nutrition because I had specific goals (fat loss, muscle gain, reverse dieting, etc)… however, there is a big difference between doing something because you enjoy it and doing things because you feel forced to. More importantly, instead of my Instagram account and blog being somewhat of a diary for my fitness journey and life, both had become a chore for me. I constantly felt pressure to post what I thought followers wanted to see. I enjoyed seeing the number of followers increase, I followed mainly all fitness accounts, and it was fitness each and every single day, every day. Sure I enjoyed everything I shared in terms of food and fitness, but over the past couples of months or so I have realized that all of that was no longer really bringing m any real joy because my situation changed, my life changed, I changed. I’m sharing such a small glimpse of my life. A mere snapshot of my overall picture and journey.
This past month specifically I’ve realized a few great lessens about myself and how I want the rest of my lifelong journey to unfold. Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions and my blog and social media are about to take a sharp left turn! Let’s tackle a few of those changes and some additional ones I plan on implementing this year!!!
#1 True Displays of Moderation & Flexibility
I’ve preached countless times about living a “flexible” lifestyle yet the majority of what I post has been healthy & fitness conscious food. 99% of my recipes are nutrient dense and macro friendly, but that’s certainly not the way I personally eat ALL day, EVERY day. Sure I post snacks and fun food every now and then on my Instagram, but all of that really only makes up about 75% of what I do in fact eat EVERY day. God forbid I post a recipe or something with real sugar or butter or a dish that requires something processed from a package on IG or my blog! I was always aware that someone would make some negative comment about how “unhealthy” certain ingredients are. Rather than just post it anyways, I usually refrained. Not only is this not being true to my followers, but it’s also not being true to myself and the lifestyle I preach so much about.
I’ve decided that from this point forward, I’m going to expand my recipe developing and food to include a WIDE array of eating styles. That’s exactly what I promote and how I enjoy eating so it’s about time I shared it all. Having a ‘flexible diet’ means just that… eating ALL foods and food groups in moderation. Sometimes this means low carb, sometimes it happens to be Paleo, perhaps vegetarian or vegan, and other times it means eating rich sugary indulgent desserts. I don’t hold myself to one particular eating style so it’s high time I enjoyed sharing ALL of the food I love to create, make, and eat!
I’ve actually been fairly active on Pinterest recently pinning all sorts of yummy things! Regular pasta dishes, veggies, decadent desserts, crockpot meals, low carb, high carb, and everything in between. My plan for 2016 is to build my Pinterest boards with a huge variety of YUM!!! Better yet, my blog will have a much wider array of recipes and food! Mainly healthy and nutrient dense because I like it, but I will no longer be afraid to share the other types of food I eat as well. My guess is the recipes I make will have a nice, healthy twist as well!
#2 The Instagram ‘Diet’
This one I am actually very very excited about. I’ve actually been on this ‘diet’ for 4 months now and it’s done wonders for me! Have you heard of it? You basically STOP reaching for your phone and clicking on the little app with the brown camera. It’s called “Instagram“.
Initially, this wasn’t intentional but during the first couple of months of not being able to train or do anything for that matter, I often found myself scrolling through my Instagram feed while laying on the couch. Picture after picture, I began seeing a pattern… yummy food I couldn’t get up to make or half naked girls in underwear/bathing suits with their asses hanging out. In most cases, they were either promoting a stupid product (like squeems, detox teas, and/or 30 day challenges), inserting a quote that was not at all relevant to being half naked, in awkward poses to highlight only there best features, and/or people I follow simply talking about training/lifiting/hitting PR’s. While I don’t enjoy seeing young girl after young girl promoting herself in such a fashion, there was a time when I LOVED seeing people talk their training and progress. HOWEVER… when you are laid up and not able to lift even a 5lb dumbbell, let alone walk on some days… it makes you miss working out and lifting even more (10 times more actually). It was TORTURE!
In order to not feel shitty (or annoyed), I simply stopped turning to Instagram as I had been for the past few years when I was bored. I can’t really even express how much more at peace I became with my body, my journey, and my health condition. I was no longer feeling sorry for myself that I couldn’t train, no longer comparing myself/my body to someone half my age, and no longer trying to compete with anyone about anything. I simply felt at peace and OUT of the mind F&*K that is social media. It’s a bad trap that takes quite a hold on you, can change you, and make you question EVERYTHING you are doing.
Starting a couple of months ago, I started to tap my Instagram app to share updates about my medical stuff or new recipes I was sharing on my blog. I stopped sticking around to like photos, comment, and certainly didn’t want to risk seeing or reading something that would make me feel shitty about myself OR annoy the crap out of me. I no longer felt the need to make sure I was posting EVERY single day, certain times of the day, or only posting what I felt people would want to see. I’m getting back to where and WHY I started my social media accounts in the first place… to simply share my life.
#3 A Larger Glimpse of My Life
This is something I have been extremely excited about! When I first started all of my social media accounts, I was sharing all sorts of aspects of my life. Recipes, my kids, my husband, arts & crafts things I did with my daughter, home decor, new shoes or clothes I had just purchased, and other small tidbits about my life. When my Instagram account began to grow from sharing fitness related things, I felt pressured to continue ONLY posting about those sorts of things.
Fitness and creating healthy recipes are still a huge part of ‘me’, BUT they aren’t the only parts of ‘me’. More than ever, I feel like I have to get back to my roots so to speak. When you don’t have exercise to turn to for therapy, you need SOMETHING to help ground and make you happy. Now that I am no longer focusing on my ‘fitness’ for therapy, I can get back to other things that I enjoyed. Things outside of fitness that I stopped doing because I was so obsessed with working out.
I’m a huge DIY kind of person, my heart feels at home with crafting, I enjoy home decorating (OK, well I enjoy SHOPPING for home decor mainly), I love exploring new things & ideas, I used to enjoy reading, I’ve been known to share tutorials on occasions, and more than anything… I want people to see who I am and what my life is about and NOT solely through ‘fitness’ eyes, but through ‘mommy’ and everyday ‘woman’ eyes. I have a husband and kids and they are amazing.
Be prepared to see a whole new side of me, many sides of me!
#4 Numbers and the Scale Will No longer Define ‘Me’
This is something I have stood by for the entirely of my journey, but taking it even more to heart now. While I still believe that EVERYONE can benefit from countering macros/calories, I think my time is pretty much up with tracking. Considering my powerlifting and building days are now over, I really don’t have a need to have specific numbers (protein-carbs-fat) each day. My goal is to simply maintain where I am at with my body (current body weight is 105 pounds at 5′ tall), do what I can in terms of training/activity, and eat in a manner that I can sustain for the rest of my life. Up until 4 years ago, I had NEVER counted a single calorie in my life and was able to more or less maintain my weight simply through eating “intuitively”. Why wouldn’t I be able to do that again now, indefinitely?
In addition to the no specific macros, I also don’t plan on weighing myself this year. Aside from doctors appointments, I had not stepped on my home scale for at least 6-7 months. Unlike most women, I found that every time I stepped on the scale and saw a SMALLER number, I would end up upset because my goal since my last cut was to GAIN muscle. If the numbers on the scale were lower than the previous week, I would end up feeling bad. Like with social media, WHY would I keep putting myself in that position? Why would I want this stupid scale to dictate how I felt for even a second? I’m not going to give it that much power any longer. If I feel good on the inside, I’m going to strive to be perfectly happy with how I look on the outside. I will do what I can, eat to fuel and nourish my body, and strive to simply feel good each day.
And ALWAYS remember this when you think of hear the word “healthy”:
Just because you work out everyday, eat kale, and can run a marathon it does NOT mean you are healthy. To me, being healthy includes your body, mind, and spirit. You need to feel good, happy, and confident on the inside as well as the outside!
#5 Focusing On The Happy
With so much time feeling like crap, being in pain, scheduling, making it to doctors appointments, at the lab having tests done, and adjusting to new symptoms/issues arising nearly each week since September, I can honestly say that I have NO time in my life to waste doing things that do NOT bring me happiness. Nor do I have time to waste being around anyone that doesn’t offer me the support, love, laughter, and the encouragement that I need to get through each and every day. In the past month, I have had a couple of additional health concerns that honestly left me feeling nervous about what the future holds. At 37 years old, I’m certainly not old, but also not young. I feel like middle age is now approaching and the body begins to not function quite like it had 10 years ago. It’s high time that “HAPPY” is the emotion that I need to focus on and the more happy I feel, the better off my overall quality of life will be. Do more ‘happy’, doing more YOU… you won’t go wrong!
Here’s to an amazing 2016 filled with positivity, enjoyment, laughter, relationships, good food, optimal health, and another year to be even more awesome!!!