Life is a journey, not a race banner

If you’ve already checked out Part One of this series, Nurturing Lives left off in April 2013.

That year was certainly a busy one! In May, not only did Trino and I tie the knot, but I also landed my very first job as a school psychologist. In July, Trino and I bought our first home in Gretna, NE. Trino was in his 3rd year of dental school, and I was finishing up my final year of my own graduate program.

our wedding photo

During this time, I was in the very beginning stages of learning about real, nutrient-dense food. My first few books that really kicked off my quest to health were Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso, Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf, and Practical Paleo by Diane SanFilippo. I devoured every page of these books and couldn’t seem to get enough knowledge on how different foods affected my body.

Let’s be perfectly clear, though. This isn’t to say that I was eating strict paleo from that moment on (Spoiler Alert: I’m still not.) I often would “eat paleo” for a week or two at a time, give into my cravings, and fall off the wagon for months thereafter. It was all or nothing for me. I felt like a failure every time that I ate a sandwich, or didn’t have time to cook an elaborate paleo meal.

My mindset wasn’t in the right place, and ultimately that held me back more than any sandwich ever could. But the knowledge that I was acquiring and my trials and errors were still progress. They were still leading me in the right direction.

In May 2014, Nurturing Lives found out that Nurturing Lives were pregnant with our daughter, Eliana. I remember those first few days of utter disbelief, promising myself that I would eat “perfect paleo” the entire pregnancy. Then… the morning sickness hit.

Let me take a second to explain how morning sickness affected my body. Basically, when I would feel nauseous (which was all day, every day) I turned into a ravenous junk food monster. At times it felt like I had no control over what I was putting into my mouth. I even had to unfollow all of my favorite paleo recipe bloggers because even just scrolling past photos of meat and veggies made me want to run to the toilet. I craved sugar and carbs, and that was what I ate.

My goals of being the healthiest pregnant mama around fell by the wayside, and were replaced with just hoping to be able to get out of bed each morning. After 3 months of eating whatever I could stomach, my diet throughout the rest of my pregnancy certainly wouldn’t win any awards. Oh, and I gained 50 pounds.

Christmas couple

This was taken at 36 weeks pregnant with Eliana.

Now, if I gained those 50 pounds while eating whole, nutritious foods, I would have been completely accepting of that. Instead, it was due to one too many nights of drive-through’s and ice cream.

After giving birth in January 2015, I was able to drop the 50 pounds of baby weight in about 9 months. I was happy with that, considering I didn’t give it my best effort (because back in those days, I didn’t give anything my best effort.)

I was still in the rut where I would eat well for a few weeks and then ultimately fall off track. Repeat.

Eliana at 6 months old

Exercise was here and there, as well. I had a gym membership, and I really wanted to learn how to incorporate exercises other than running into my life. The problem was that I didn’t know where to start. My time that I spent at the gym often consisted of more walking around and hoping that I looked busy, rather than actually working out. I didn’t have the courage to go to group classes because, what would people think of me?

Overall I lacked consistency, confidence, and motivation in many areas of my life. I decided I would rather continue what I was currently doing than put myself out of my comfort zone. I talked myself out of wanting bigger and better things for myself. I told myself that my body was doing just fine with little exercise and less than ideal foods.

I tricked myself into thinking that I didn’t need to do anything different. My fear was in control.

Life continued, and Nurturing Lives were thrilled to find out that I was pregnant with Leo in March 2016. I swore up and down that this pregnancy would be different. This was my chance to make better choices and redeem myself. I bet you can guess what happened next…

Yup! Morning sickness struck again. This time it was even worse than with Eliana, and lasted until I was 19 weeks pregnant. All in all, I did better throughout this pregnancy when it came to food, and I give myself credit for that improvement. In the end Nurturing Lives can’t always expect perfection, but Nurturing Lives can always expect growth.

Halloween family photo

Halloween 2016, about 34 weeks pregnant.

I gave birth to Leo in December 2016. I figured that this time things would bounce back quickly like the first time around. Easy and effortless. Boy, was I wrong!

The scale stopped moving and my body settled into its shape by about 2 weeks postpartum. Of course, I’m all about giving your body the time that it needs to recover from pregnancy and birth. Listening to your body is the most important thing you can do during that period.

What I’m not all about is continuing to eat junk, change nothing, and wonder why you feel awful. That was exactly what I was doing.

Family Christmas photo 2016

Christmas Day 2016, right at the peak of feeling like my life was out of my control.

I’m going to end Part Two here, because what happened next was a turning point in my journey. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that the person that I am describing was me, not even 8 months ago.

If any of my story up until this point resonates with you, it’s okay. Know that you aren’t alone. Accept your past for what it was, find appreciation for your own journey, and then be free from all of your own fear and disappointment. With the right tools, you can change.

Head on over to Part Three, when I finally was able to start freeing myself from my own limitations.

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