Over the past month or so, I've had a lot of stomach issues, trouble sleeping, and itching in small places on my body. I didn't think much of it, until my boyfriend said something about it...something along the lines of my stomach hurting every day and I should see someone about it.
I thought maybe it was caused by my increase in coffee intake, so I decided to go on a coffee detox (I'm on day 11 and I still have intense cravings for coffee...I'll give myself a few more weeks and then allow it back in...I was only *slightly* addicted so I know I need to reset my system and only allow it in small doses).
Anyways - about 5 days into it, I was still super itchy...to the point where I was scratching so hard I was bleeding...it was bad. It almost felt like there were little bugs crawling under my skin and I couldn't stop it. It wasn't all over my body...just on my shins and calves, on my back where my bra sits, and it was just starting on my forearms.
As I was standing at the kitchen counter eating cheese and crackers, I looked at the ingredients of the crackers and it hit me like a ton of bricks....the first ingredient was wheat. Holy crap.
I realized that I had unintentionally been eating that way since just after Thanksgiving. It wasn't bad...or so I thought. It started small...some cheese and crackers here, apple or pumpkin pie there, can't forget the brownies too! Oh...and mac and cheese...love me some mac and cheese!
But I don't eat that way...I have a gluten intolerance and avoid eating anything that is going to cause me to feel sick or harm my body. And here I thought I was just doing it in small doses, until my body showed me otherwise.
This ^^ is how I felt...constantly. I couldn't stop itching. I also had stomach issues...it went back and forth between constipation and diarrhea. I had heartburn (so severe it hurt up into my right ear), and talk about irritable. I wasn't sleeping well, which makes me super grumpy (sorry, Scott). My neck and back and knees have been super sore and full of inflammation.
And I'd been living this way for a couple months!! It just became normal for me to feel that way. What?! How does that make any sense?! I. Was. Miserable.
So as of last Thursday, January 21, I cut out the gluten completely. Again.
I'm so sick of itching, of always hurting in my stomach and my joints, of being severely tired and grumpy...my legs have such a distinct rash on them, I'm happy it's winter and they don't have to be seen.
So today is day 6 of avoiding gluten, wheat, grains, etc. I can't say that I am 100% better, but I can say that I am starting to feel "normal" again. I'm not having severe stomach pains anymore...I don't have heartburn anymore...when I feel like I have to go to the bathroom, I actually go to the bathroom!! Feeling that way and having constipation is one of the worst feelings...so frustrating.
I am still having issues sleeping, but it's getting better...I wake up several times at night to pee so now I have to figure out a cut off point at night to stop the water. And the rashes aren't spreading. It's hard to not scratch them, but I've been using coconut oil with essential oils, as well as Aquaphor lotion. I'm just trying to let them heal.
I wanted to share this story because I know how frustrating it can be to have all these problems and not know what is causing them. I am a Health Coach and know that gluten affects me this way...yet I was eating it.
I am certainly not perfect and enjoy food just as anyone else does. But I also know that my body doesn't tolerate it and it was telling me...well, I'm finally listening and I can hear it loud and clear.
I'm going to keep track of my progress because I want to see how long it takes for my body to heal after being glutened. I can tell you that I don't want to feel this way again.
I'm certainly not an expert on this, but listening to your body is key. It will tell you everything you need to know.
Have a fabulous day!!
With love and wellness,
Certified Health Coach, doTERRA Wellness Advocate, and LTL Weight Management Coach
Over the last month or so, I've had *several* things going on that require a
lot of my time and effort and energy and that will also result in huge
changes for me. All good things, mind you, but holy goodness, I have been
beyond overwhelmed. And I kind of feel like that ^^
Think a couple of breakdowns here and a couple of breakdowns there...add in
one nasty sickness to it all and it hasn't really been fun. It didn't
really occur to me that I wasn't doing anything to handle said stress until
I was speaking with my mentor (seriously, God blessed me by bringing her
into my life).
It also didn't really occur to me that I was leaning back on my
perfectionist ways...I was trying to do it all, be it all, give it all...to
everyone and anyone! I had to stop saying yes!! I was digging myself into a
hole I couldn't get out of.
And thankfully, my mentor was able to throw me a ladder and help me get
myself out of that hole!! She also helped remind me of how I normally deal
with this kind of stress and that it's okay to give myself a break every now
and again!! I don't have to be on the go-go-go all the time!!
It was like such a huge weight lifted off my shoulders (it's funny how we
often need someone else to point these things out, huh?).
I started making more time for MYSELF and recognized that burning myself out
and running myself into the ground wasn't helping anyone...especially me!!
More importantly, I started **GASP** asking for help!!! What?! Me? Asking
for help?! Crazy, right?
I will be the first to tell you that I don't like asking for help...I don't
like looking like I can't do it all. And you know what that results in?
Unhappiness, stress, misery, anger, spite...you name it, I was there. And you
know what happened when I started asking for help? I got HELP!! Shocking how that
works! I also got more peace and clarity with the things I needed to do.
It's funny how we put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything, yet we
don't expect that from anyone else (at least, I don't). I really had to take
the time to step back and remind myself that it's okay to NOT DO EVERYTHING.
And that everything will still get done (even without me!!).
So I went back to the basics...things that I have previously done and had fallen
to the wayside (you know...when all my time was being eaten up by other
things). I started journaling and meditating again. I started stretching,
every night. I started reading at least 10 pages (but usually one chapter)
in a book every night...one that has helped me changed my perspective and grow
into a better Whitney!!
It's amazing how the smallest changes can often bring us the most clarity.
Journaling is something I don't really know how to explain, but I know it
helps me tremendously. I sit down with a pen and a notebook and just start
writing. To anyone else, it is complete rambling and often all over the
place. But to me, it is a space where I can let all those thoughts in my
head go! They are now written down and not floating around in my head,
causing me anxiety and stress. A lot of times, those ramblings help me come
up with my greatest ideas!!
And don't even get me started on meditating. Even just 10 minutes a day
helps calm and settle me more than anything else I've ever tried. I used to
use apps (which are still great because they tell you exactly what to do and
how to breathe), but I've recently started doing it in complete silence. I
set my alarm on my phone and turn every distraction off. I usually lay back
with my feet up a wall for more relaxation and benefits and pray. I let
thoughts wander in and out of my head as I breathe deeply and I ask God for
guidance. It honestly is one of my favorite times of the day.
Stretching has helped me slow down and take time to be in the moment (much
like yoga). It's also helped me tremendously with recovery from the gym and
overall just feeling better. My boyfriend and I like to stretch together in
the evenings before bed. He says I'm trying to kill him...hmmmm :)
And the whole reading thing...I have so many books I bought for
self-advancement and learning and they were just sitting there, gathering
dust. It wasn't until I took the time to start reading every day, even just a
chapter a day, that I realized what I was missing. It's helped open my eyes
and learn so much about myself and the world around me. They weren't kidding
when they said to never stop learning (whoever *they* are, LOL).
Getting back to the basics has really helped calm me down and alleviate a
lot of my stress. I won't say that I am 100% zen, but I am definitely way
better than I was before I added back in these things. Being in limbo always
stresses me out...but I know that I have the support of an amazing man and an
even more amazing God. I am really learning to let go and let God, because I
know with Him, I can achieve anything!
What are your favorite relaxation techniques? I'd love to hear about them in
the comments! Any additional ideas would be awesome!
With love and wellness,
It's hard to be yourself in a world that tells you what you should be doing or what you should look like or what you should have or what job you should have.
In your 20s? Okay - you should be partying it up, having a good time, healthy and happy, no real plans on settling down just yet.
In your 30s? Okay - you should start settling down...find that significant other and get married...start having a family...have a good job/career and still be healthy and happy.
In your 40s? Okay - you should be well established in your career and with your family. Maybe start thinking about retirement and what you're going to do after you retire. Better still be healthy and happy too!
In your 50s? Okay - Woo hoo! It's retirement time! Right?! You should have an awesome stockpile in savings and you should be heading for retirement and a happy life after a long career! Kids should be starting to head off to college and you have an empty nest to celebrate life with your spouse! Don't forget to be happy and healthy too!! Keep up the good work!
You get the picture. It's the shoulds...and darn it, you *have* to look a certain way, and act a certain way, and have a certain job, and move through life in a certain way. Right?!
It's scary to step outside of those labels...outside of those "shoulds." It's scary to step outside of the box and do something different. I'll be the first to admit that.
When I first started thinking about getting my health coach certification, I had a major freakout moment...like, major. I couldn't imagine leaving my government job and ran through every possible "What if" situation in my head. It was bad.
And as I started going through the schooling and leaning towards making my health coaching and doTERRA my "day job," you wouldn't believe the comments and remarks I've received from people. Holy crap...what was I thinking? Was I crazy? How could I leave my cushy government job for my own personal business ventures?
I was told I should wait...to be married. To make more money in my personal ventures. To have more clients. To be sure I would succeed.
You know what happens then? You end up waiting for your life to happen...and it just passes you by, hoping and wishing that things would happen for you. And before you know it, life has moved forward and your hopes and dreams have been left in the past.
I do NOT want to live that way! I want to live my life the way *I* want to live!! Happy and healthy and pursuing my passion! If that makes me crazy, so be it.
Does it absolutely terrify me to leave my "cushy" day job and not know what will happen? You better believe it. Do I have faith that God will provide and everything will work out? Yep!! Again, you better believe it!
Yes, being different is scary. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and outside of other people's comfort zones is scary. But don't let that stop you!!
Don't be afraid to be YOU!! To be the wonderful, beautiful person that you are! And don't be afraid to pursue your dreams and your passions!! It's okay to dream big!!
Another thing that is a stealer of joy is comparing your life, your journey to others' lives. We have a bad habit of seeing what's on Facebook or what others post and thinking "I wish I had X" or "I wish my life was like Y." Even worse, we do that with celebrities and the magazines and TV shows...and that's not reality!!!
Your life, exactly as it is and where you are, is enough. You are exactly where you should be.
Love your life. Live your life...for YOU. Feel the fear and do it anyway...whatever *it* is!!
With love and wellness,
PS - I need this message every now and again too. I find myself doubting my decisions and wondering if I am being crazy. But I'm finally giving myself permission to live the life I want to lead! Not the one that is expected or *should* be lived.
There's something to say about weighing and measuring every week when you're trying to lose weight. It's a great way to track your progress and see the results you're getting.
But what happens when this becomes a source of unhappiness and misery? What happens when this causes stress and upset in your body?
For me, it did just that. I've never been one to weigh and measure myself. Ever. I wasn't a slave to the scale...instead, I focused on how I felt, how my clothes fit, and my progress at the gym. It wasn't a matter of what I weighed or how little I was. It was a matter of how happy I was...how healthy I was...how I was sleeping...how clear my skin was.
I'll be the first to tell you that it doesn't matter how healthy you eat...if you stress over weighing and measuring yourself, it actually has the opposite effect!
This ^^ was actually how I felt. Like I wasn't enough. Like I wasn't good enough. Like no matter what I did, if the number went up, I was a failure.
And that was NOT the case...at all. I was eating healthy, working out and hitting huge milestones at the gym, yet I still felt like a failure!! I still felt like I wasn't doing enough!!
I hated that feeling. I dreaded the weekly measuring and weigh-ins. I would be so hard on myself if the numbers changed or it was higher on the scale.
And for what?
Now I'm not bashing it or the effectiveness of this, but for me, it caused a lot of stress and unhappiness. And this spilled over into my personal life. I couldn't do it anymore.
Did it change the way I ate? A little bit. Did I stress about that? Yup.
But here we are, in the beginning of 2016, and I'm back on track. I know what foods work best for my body and have taken out the excess sugar (yay holidays!!). I'm feeling great and am loving the way I feel. I also am less stressed without focusing on the number on the scale!
** Caveat: I weighed and measured until I hit my goal...then the stress it created was too high whenever those numbers fluctuated even the tiniest bit.
But this^^ This is the beautiful truth! You. Are. Beautiful. No matter what that number is.
Always remember that.
With love and wellness,