The Whole Story: How I overcame a pretty darn unhealthy relationship with food.

As I was well into writing this post, I quickly realized that typing all of this out was becoming a form of therapy for me. This is quite an in-depth read so if you plan on delving in, I suggest grabbing a snack and a nice cup of tea. It all began to flow out as I typed; a story-telling session about how I fell in love with starch at a very early age, peeking into some of my emotional teenage ups and downs, and how I developed a confused and frustrated outlook on food over time. Some of it may seem unnecessarilyi told and unrelated to "food" but the things we go through in life can directly affect the priority health and self-care, and mine took a big hit through my teenage years, so those memories and emotions all play into the larger picture. 

We are all different in our relationship to food. For some of us, we eat when we are sad. For others, it's when we're stressed. Or maybe we just like to eat all the time. Maybe it's not about trying to lose weight for you, maybe it's about finding your healthy weight and gaining a little. Or maybe, like me, you've been struggling with trying to lose weight for longer than you'd like to admit. For the majority of my life, I've been uneducated about the immense importance of nutrition and maintaining balance in the things we consume, as well as the repercussions that come with neglecting our emotional and physical well-being. Holistic wellness and total balance really does start from our food. It just does. I've learned so much throughout the past 15 years, and in looking back on them, am proud to say that I now believe I understand what it means to have a happy and healthy relationship with what's on my plate, and I'm here to share that with you. Please feel free to comment or email me directly if you read this and find that you can relate. And if you can't, I'd still love to carry on a conversation with you about how we're different, or the things you've experienced in regards to food over time. I hope you find some sort of inspiration through my honesty and experience.

This is my story. 

A huge part of my personality is sensory. I've always been that way with color, texture, smell, and flavor... I've always loved to do things that involve my senses like draw, play music, experience nature, and of course - eat

My parents cooked typical family-style meals when I was growing up. My mom never bought processed lunch meats, sugary cereals, or kept candy in the house, but those starchy carbs were always available and I'd take full advantage. We'd have meals like Mexican Lasagna, Tuna Noodle Casserole, Twice-baked Potatoes, Spaghetti, and of course - Pizza nights paired with a family movie. There'd always be a meat and veggie, and often a salad, but I'd always go heavy on the comforting starchy carbs like rice, potatoes, and pasta. 

I was quickly given the nickname "Carbo-Queen" which seemed to be given to me not just by my parents but my extended family too. As a child, I didn't realize that an over-sized portion of sweet potatoes, pasta, or rice would be setting me on a path I'd later wish I'd never traveled down. I just thought they wanted me to save some for everybody else. I assumed because my mom was making it for us, that it wasn't going to be bad for me either now or in the long run. And because I liked it, I kept eating it until someone told me to stop. 

I was never "the fat kid" by any means, but I was always curvier than my other girlfriends. I knew I was the slightly-larger one but my mom always told me that I was just "solid" and "big-boned". So that's the reasoning I always gave myself in my head from a very early age thinking, this is just the way I am.

But I could never wear my friends clothes when I'd sleep over or feel as comfortable as they did in a two-piece growing up. I was aware of the difference, but didn't realize that changing how I looked was a possibility. I shouldn't have had to worry about that anyway - I was just a kid. 

I'll never forget the first time I learned about the concept of "dieting". I was probably about 8 or 9, and remember noticing a list on the fridge of random food combinations for each day of the week. Something like: Monday - Lunch: one hot dog, a spoon-full of peanut butter, 1/2 an apple, and a glass of water. Why was mom eating differently that the rest of us? I remember her being on the phone with one of her friends while they talked about it. She'd meet with them to go walking together, and they'd talk about what they'd eaten for breakfast that morning. We'd come along and ride our bikes and play with our friends while the moms power walked around our church parking lot loop or around the local elementary school track.

Between my brother and I, I was the more "emotional" kid. (Maybe it was diet/blood sugar related? Who knows.) I also started to develop at the very young age of 11. (Diet-related too perhaps?) Boys would think I was older than I was which my parents incredibly nervous because I was of course all about the flirtation and fun (another "sensor personality type" trait), so as a result of that the rules were laid on thick and very early on. Between the tight structure and my roller coaster emotional state, things were not always pleasant. The girlfriends I had were 3 and 4 years older than me which was fine when I was 5 but once I turned 10, that became an issue too because they were experiencing "more mature situations" than I was to be at my age. 

We attended a Christian private school K-8th grade. I was OK at sports and enjoyed being on our basketball team. I'd always score in the average group in those National Fitness Tests our school would do every year, but got so excited when I finally scored in the "Presidential" (above average) group in my 8th grade year because I was always the "art" kid and never one for much physical activity. But I really did like it and wish I would have been involved in sports more, looking back. It would have been a great counter-balance to all of those potatoes I'd eat. My brother was always the more athletically-inclined one of the two of us and never had to be told that he served himself too much of this or that, and was always slim and toned. I was just "different that him" with "other gifts and strengths". 

Graduating from a school that I called home since I was 5 was very hard for me. I'd grown up with this family of kids and teachers and the thought of going to a brand new school without knowing anyway was incredibly daunting. I'd been around the same group of people at church and school my entire life so when I started high school, I only knew a handful of kids who were of course all seniors when I was a freshmen. Against my natural personality, I kept to myself a lot in high school, hung out in the library at lunch, and refrained from joining any sports teams or even the art club. I made a few friends but they already had their friend groups established since they'd all gone to school together for years. I was the new girl. I floated between the hippie artsy kids with a few of the punk rockers in between. I was never in that crowd or dressed like them but I'd go to the basement shows on Friday nights because a few of my friends I grew up with were in a band and I loved going to see them play. But I still remained sort of a loner all throughout high school, didn't really know who I was or where I belonged. I feel like most kids secretly feel that way in high school, but it always felt like the rest of them had each other to go through it all with. So I quickly met with my advisor to strategize a way to graduate early, and did so after my second semester of my senior year. 

I was obviously old enough to pack my own lunches during high school but I rarely ever did. My mom would almost always have to wake me up for school because I'd sleep through my alarm. I was so tired all the time, fell asleep almost every day on the bus, and couldn't wait to get home to get to bed. And I definitely wasn't eating right. I'd buy a crappy chicken sandwich from the lunchroom when I was hungry, or at the school's soda or snack machines. Sometimes my only lunch would be a stupid ice cream bar from the lunchroom line's dessert freezer. Looking back, why would I do this to myself? I'd come home and make a peanut butter sandwich or eat some leftovers from the night before, and then of course sit down to dinner with the family. I didn't start my mornings with a healthy breakfast or really take care of myself physically at all. I had terrible cramps each month to the point where my mom would almost always have to come pick me up from school and take me home so I could lay in bed with my heating pad or take a hot bath. My PMS symptoms were always so incredibly awful for me, and were undoubtedly a direct result of my poor dietary lifestyle.

I took our required gym class and elected to take aerobics, and women's weight training which I really liked and learned a lot from. I was still far from "the fat kid" but was still a self-conscious in the locker room when all of the other girls were talking about birth control and going tanning after school while they paraded around the locker room in their sexy bras and panties, skinny stomachs, belly button rings, and bleached blonde highlights. I, on the other hand, was the hippie girl with long skirts, long natural hair, paint under my fingernails, and flip flops even during winter. I changed in front of everyone like all the other girls did, but had nothing to show off and kept quietly to myself. I didn't give a crap about tanning or the Friday night football games, and never had a high school boyfriend, so I never had much to contribute to their conversations. 

I don't think I really went to food as my emotional comfort when I was feeling down at that age, but I did however eat very poorly and at random times of the day. My blood sugar was all over the place too. I remember getting to work one evening and shaking so badly and feeling like I was going to pass out, so my coworker gave me his personal microwavable pizza to eat so I was able to function. I wouldn't eat during the day, and would eat in the evenings when the day was winding down. I didn't drink enough water (still have trouble with that) and though I wasn't incredibly overweight or anything, my body was definitely out of balance.

One thing I also remember was joining that women's workout circle place called Curves. Remember those? You'd go in and step up on these blocks for a minute, then go to a workout machine for a minute, then another step-up block, then another workout machine. It was an exercise circuit and I'd go with my mom. I remember looking around the room and seeing all of these middle aged overweight women and thinking, why am I here? I don't want to be like them. Am I like them? The mental weight game had officially started.

In my junior year, I developed Mononucleosis. I was out of school for several weeks and had to do my work at home to stay caught up. Then, in my senior year, I got it again only much worse this time. They say you can't get it again but I now know that I have suppressed Epstein Barr Virus which can flare up in the form of mono, though some people can have EBV and never show any symptoms. But I did, probably a due to a combination of stress and poor diet and lifestyle obviously. This time, I had to go on steroids because my tonsils swelled up so badly I could hardly swallow. The medication I was on caused me to blow up and I was covered in red hives like a strawberry. I was almost unrecognizable. People that would see me were like, "whoa". I was out of school for almost an entire semester and had to have a home teacher come over during the week. It was rough.

Later on, a year or so after I graduated, I came down with Shingles too, also a form of EBV. Now I know that my diet directly affects this virus and whether or not it allows other auto-immune inflammatory diseases to develop in my body, as well as whether or not my symptoms come to surface. This is a huge reason as to why I choose to eat the way I do now: a diet mostly free of gluten, dairy, and processed sugars. 

One symptom I would get ever since I was a little kid (as a result of what I now now to be the EBV) was cold sores. I would get them so often and it was one of the most embarrassing things ever. I would get them on top of each other on my mouth, down to my chin sometimes, and even on my nose. They would be so bad that I wouldn't even want to go to school but I had to. I would just always say it was poison ivy or something but it was so embarrassing. Now I know that they were a result of low l-lysine and the EBV rearing it's ugly head. I remember getting them from the time I was in elementary school all the way through to just a few years ago. It's been probably 2-3 years since I've gotten one, thank goodness. But they've gone away because making so many improvements in my lifestyle and diet. Note: Some foods high in l-lysine include: pumpkin seeds, quinoa, lentils, fish, and lean meats.

Ugh, unfortunately my weight started to fluctuate and get out of hand once I graduated high school. I was working full time as a secretary and ate terribly. I then began waiting tables at a golf country club and ate terribly. Then I moved out on my own with a few girlfriends and ate (and drank) terribly. Then I started dating Tyler and ate terribly. Basically I ate like complete shit and didn't work out or take care of myself for 5 straight years.

I remember signing up for a few courses at the local community college and going through this random time where I'd just throw up randomly for no reason. I'd have to run out of class because my nausea was so bad. I also remember not getting my period for 2-3 months at a time and wondering what was up with me. I tried birth control which made me depressed and gain weight so I stopped that after about 6 months or so I think. Luckily I was never on artificial hormones like that for longer than a year at most, and that was when I was around 18 or so. Doctors don't share much with you except about not getting pregnant or an STD, so I really didn't feel like I had much direction about what was going on with my body, and never really realized that food/diet was direct correlation to what was going on inside of me.

It wasn't until my mid to late 20's that I began realizing that what I put into my body has a mightily direct impact. You hear about it in health class at school but come on, what teenager really pays attention? We don't do our own grocery shopping or give a crap whatsoever. Once Tyler and I got married, my friend Anne brought up the idea of organic foods to me one day. I remember being so surprised that there were foods being sold to us that were covered in and saturated with chemicals. It was from that point on that I was hooked on buying only the cleanest and most natural products for myself and my husband. It was my job to do the grocery shopping and cooking, and I absolutely loved what I was learning. It was so addicting! There was such a vast vault of information and knowledge to be had and I just wanted to soak it all in.

Now that I had a brand new interest in healthier lifestyle, I was excited to try and loose the weight that I had gained (over 50 lbs, ugh) during the 5 or so years prior. We were at a family party and someone there started talking about this diet where you only eat a certain amount of carbs and sugars each day. It was called the Belly Fat Cure and I was intrigued because she had lost a significant amount of weight in her mid-section and looked great. (The "Carbo-Queen" inside of me had to die - finally maybe there was hope for me!) The concept was that you could eat a maximum of 120g of carbs and 15g of sugars each day. I tried it, and lost about 30 lbs. It was also during an extremely difficult time in my life. My marriage was strained, life was giving us challenge after challenge, I was working a full time job and building my business, and things were just incredibly difficult for many reasons. 

Looking back at that time, it's so easy for me to confirm that I'm only a "happy emotions" eater. I do not want to eat when things get tough, but when I'm happy, give me all the flavors and colors and delicious bites to eat. I lost so much weight during that time in our life, not just because of that diet. I also lost weight when we had to say goodbye to our dog last spring. I don't think I ate substantially for almost a week during that time. Sometimes things we go through make us so uneasy that we just can't stomach food and that too is unhealthy.  

So - long story short - my up and down relationship with food, carbs, fats, sugars, and nutrition in general started to go haywire after starting that Belly Fat Cure diet. The holidays came the year after I was looking and doing great, Tyler and I were on a good path, and things were all going very well. I gained my weight back so quickly. Time to start over - cut out carbs again. No sugars. It would work for a time, but sustaining it was hard because I would then go to eat healthy sugars like fruits and things and it was like my body wouldn't remember how to adequately process them anymore. I was officially a married adult woman on the weight loss roller coaster. Yay! I had joined the club that I'd never wanted to be on, and have been on it ever since! Can anyone else relate??? My view of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fats, sugars, and really all foods had become so warped and volatile that I didn't know what was good, bad, up, or down anymore. I never felt sexy, beautiful, happy, comfortable, satisfied with myself, or ever really level-minded. How unfair for myself and my husband too. Ugh. 

So for years, whenever I would want to try to lose weight, (which, let's be real, was all the time) I would initially go right back to the low to no-carb diet even know I knew that whenever I would eat that way, my emotions would be so out of control and I would get so depressed and anxious. I'd look at beautiful healthy fruits and think, "I can't eat those! There is way too much sugar!" completely dismissing a vast array of nutrients my body was lacking and craving. I knew it wanted it because I could hear it tell me when I'd listen. But I chose to ignore my body. Sometime's I'd give in on the weekends and eat an apple with some peanut butter and think about all of the sugars I'd just eaten and get so down on myself. "If only I'd just had a piece of chicken with some Ranch dressing or a Caesar salad instead..." How warped does that sound in regards to the nutrition my body actually needs to work properly? Ranch has no carbs or sugar so I'd think it was OK. Ugh. So embarrassing. I was so brainwashed into thinking that this mindset was the healthiest way to lose weight and ultimately be "happy". So I would basically look at fruits and certain vegetables, even whole grains too, that were perfectly healthy and necessary for my nutrition and turn against them. But when the diet would stop working or I would get so sick of eating nothing but zucchini, fats, and animal protein constantly, I'd switch and think, "OK I'll just count calories on My Fitness Pal and get back to the gym instead". So I'd do that for a few weeks but I didn't have enough of a structure because during the weekends, I'd slip up and "cheat". (I now completely loathe that phrase when it comes to food. It's sooo unbelievably detrimental to our psyche and negatively effects our relationship to food.) I didn't want to pay for anything like Weight Watchers, plus in my mind only old ladies did WW. No thanks, not for me, I'm not even 30. (Again thinking - how did I get here?) I was so confused by what and what not to eat, and not thinking about what was actually healthy for my body but what would make me lose weight the fastest. It consumed me and I put me on the biggest warped roller coaster of my life. Sometimes I just wouldn't eat. Breakfast would be coffee, lunch would be a chicken breast, and dinner would be something for Tyler and whatever that was minus the carbs for me. I'd resent him for not needing to be on a "diet" and being able to literally eat whatever he wanted without gaining a single pound unlike me who could look at a french baguette and gain six pounds. He didn't deserve any of that. It wasn't his fault. But he loved me for who I was through it all, and still continues to. (Could make me cry.) I've put him through a lot with all of this.

Through these ups and downs with trying to lose weight, my anxiety and depression hit really hard and over time I became incredibly emotionally imbalanced. I would sit in the bathtub some days and just cry and cry. My hair would fall out. I'd become aggressive towards my husband and show incredible anger. I would be sad for no reason. Bloated, depressed, incredibly fatigued, and just an all-around mess. I tried Zoloft, Wellbutrin, and Lexapro, which sometimes seemed to work to take that edge off, but I was still symptomatic. I had low libido, anxiety attacks, terrible periods, and my weight still fluctuated constantly. I was stuck and something had to be done. Nothing was working and I just felt like a complete piece of stanky-ass shit, like my life was crumbling around me (even though it wasn't), and literally had no mental, emotional, or most importantly - hormonal balance and clarity. Again - Tyler was there for me through every single moment of it.

So needless to say - my hormones have been a MESS since I was a kid. I'm not a exception - most of us have hormone imbalances, but I clearly needed help. But I wanted to fix things, so a few years ago, I had decided to see a holistic Endocrinologist (her link is under my Referrals tab above). She tested me for a few things and we discovered that I had the EBV, imbalanced hormones (which I already knew), and a double mutation of the MTHFR gene, meaning I can't process B vitamins or detoxify normally. B vitamins are crucial for so many workings of our bodies, basically giving them the resources to work like a well-oiled machine. Mine was working like an old rusted jalopy. So I started taking special B vitamins that my body would respond well to, along with a Vitamin D supplement as I was extremely low in that - both of which I'll continue taking for the rest of my lifetime. I was feeling better after taking the supplements for a while, but the fluctuation inn my weight was still an issue. 

There was only so much I could do while under the program with my Endocrinologist. It wasn't covered under my insurance and I couldn't afford to keep up with the nutritionist program and everything, so I had to continue my research on my own. But I was glad to have everything I had learned from her as a very substantial baseline.

I kept going back and forth between low carb diets (because it was all I knew that "worked") which made me tired (fatigue hits me hard since I have EBV) and emotionally imbalanced to then trying to count calories and increase my exercise. Both would work for a time but then something would go wrong and I'd hit a wall. I'd fall out of sync with my schedule, stop going to the gym when work got busy, or just put my self-care on the back burner. 

Then, just this last summer, it took being a depressed anxious MESS to realize that enough was ENOUGH. I was sitting upstairs in my empty attic just wishing it would all end. I didn't want to put my husband through this anymore, I wasn't happy, and nothing was making me feel of value. My hormones were all over the place, I felt like a fat blubbery WHALE COW, and I just didn't know what to do anymore. I didn't have the answers I wanted from from anywhere that I searched, and I felt like I had officially hit my rock bottom. What was wrong with me? I wanted to be a mom someday but was scared to bring a child into a world of a mommy with so many emotional issues. My anger would get so rash and my sadness was so indescribably low at times that it was just pathetic. I had anxiety at all times and my heart would start to race at the drop of a hat. 

Lord Jesus, please help me. Give me a sign. Show me something.

Then I started following this spunky down-to-earth holistic guru named Leigh Tilghman on Instagram (@leefromamerica), and she mentioned a book called Woman Code: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source by Alisa VittiUpon reading the title, I was immediately intrigued. What did I have to lose? Maybe this could be my answer. It was a holistic point of view, which was something I greatly valued, and the author seemed extremely creditable after doing a little research. I ordered Woman Code through Amazon and it was at my doorstep in two days.

I began to read the pages of this book and felt as though Alisa was speaking directly to me. I even ugly cried during a few chapters. So much of what she was saying was resonating with me, and I ended up finishing the book in three days flat. I started to feel like I had a path to venture down, but not one that was all about weight loss, defeating my anxiety, depression, or perfecting my life, but simply finding balance in all of those things and doing it in a way that I knew I believed in. God created all foods for us to enjoy so to cut any out of our diet is, to me - not what He intended. (That's something my mom has always said too - that all foods were created for us to enjoy.) But in this modern day, it's easy for Americans to get off track in a culture of so much imbalance, bullshit foods, prescription drugs, artificial ingredients, chemicals, and just UGH - so many things that affect our hormones every single day. Our hormones are what keep our bodies functioning in harmony. They are the chemicals that tell us how to feel, how to metabolize our foods, when to be happy, sad, anxious, mad, sexy, calm, how much energy to put out, when to wake up, when to go to sleep, and so much more. If our hormones are out of whack, our entire bodies are too. Between reading her book and doing more of my own research, I've learned that hormonal balance is the complete and ONLY key to the harmonious workings of our bodies. There is a reason why I couldn't lose the weight, why I felt anxious all the time, why I constantly felt like something was off and wrong with me, and why I could never seem to get a hold of my emotions oftentimes.

I have learned and absorbed such an incredible amount of information over the past six months or so and have been taking time to sort it all out. So many women and friends of mine would share things with me or on Facebook and I wanted to tell them about this book and all of the things I'd learned but didn't want to be annoying or obnoxious about it. But I was too excited to hold it all in so that's when Sunflower & Fig was born. I wanted a platform to share about my holistic journey to wellness..... so here indeed we are. 

So after all of this, I think I've finally started to deprogram myself from thinking that health is all about losing weight, and have done a lot to nurture and improve my outlook on food and nutrition. Even after being so impacted by Woman Code, my mind still attaches weight loss to low/no carb dieting and I still have a ton of work to do. But mentally and emotionally, I am in worlds of a better place than I was before reading her book. It blows my mind, actually.  I'm happier than I've ever been and most of the weight is still there. This is because I've been eating healthy foods and yes maintaining my weight, but actually now supporting the inner workings of my body. Sure, I'd like to lose weight and hope to in the near future, but since I've read the book, I've needed to take the time to really just sit back and let all of these things sink in. Tackling new things at once can be overwhelming, and I wanted to slowly dive into a new lifestyle where I was finally putting myself and my health first in a healthy and holistic way. 

Our bodies are incredible and magical and so intricate - no "quick fix/fad diet" is going to be the answer. It can't possibly be because our bodies are far too complex for something so simple. Sure we may lose fat but what's really going inside? Is it sustainable? Am I getting the micro-nutrients I need? These fad diets still leave us showing symptoms that we wouldn't otherwise feel if we were fully balanced and our bodies were working in tune with itself. 

Over the last several months since initially reading her book, I've been giving myself a bit of a detox period to just have fun with food and try different things, eat whatever I wanted, and cook delicious meals all under this one single umbrella - healthy for my body. I've done a ton of research on the things I should be eating to support my health (especially with EBV which could lead to certain cancers and auto-immune diseases if I don't eat clean and anti-inflammatory). It makes me excited to eat now knowing that my choices are wonderful ones and guess what - they include all foods! 

When we think with the mindset of "I can't have that?" or that we're depriving ourselves of something like ice cream, candy, pasta, potato chips, cookies, cheese, burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, etc. - it leaves us trapped inside of this box that allows ourselves to stay in that messed up mindset with our food relationship. Like we are children who can't get what we really want. It's such a misrepresentation of what we deserve. We deserve to be healthy. We owe it to ourselves. We don't deserve to eat Doritos and hot dogs and pizza. Why do we want to? Because that's what our brain has been trained to think is the norm. It's an American diet and it's complete CRAP. Macaroni and cheese is not a healthy thing. We KNOW THIS but we try and justify it. "In order to lose weight, I can't eat the things I really want." Well? Then stop wanting them. It's that simple.

Here are the guidelines I've been proud and excited to follow. Tyler is excited about too (God love him, he just goes along with it...) because he also has some digestive issues and things that heal when eating this way, so we've been loving it for the past 6 months, and refuse to look back. We've been eating Organic and Non-GMO since my conversation with Anne eight years ago, but the rest has been within the last year, and solidified when I read Woman Code.

I'm not going to say we "cut out" anything, because that creates a deprivation correlation.

We are choosing to eat foods free of: gluten, dairy (especially cow), processed-sugar, caffeine, nitrates, preservatives, artificial colors, artificial dyes, artificial flavors, and anything did not come directly from a plant or animal. We're also following the guidelines my acupuncturist suggested which follow the centuries-old teachings of ancient Chinese Medicine: eat real food, mostly veggies, fruit too - a little meat, and some whole grains. Funny isn't it - that these "sugar-free" and "low-carb" diets could all fall under that exact guideline? It's just the way we should all eat because it's healthy. Not because it's restrictive. This is a mindset and a lifestyle, not a "diet". Of course we'll have something like cheese or a soda from time to time, but when we do, it's goat cheese and a soda with actual organic cane sugar and real ingredients, not fake colors, dyes, and chemicals. When I shop, I think to myself, "OK - I'll get this - my body will know what to do with it instead of that."

Modern-day processed gluten is not healthy, especially for women. It's just not. And cow's milk was meant to beef up a baby cow, not us. We are the only species that drinks other species' mother's milk. Isn't that weird? So we choose to drink nut milks like coconut, almond, and cashew. Even then, (as you may remember from my Instagram stories) artificial ingredients can be found in milks like "natural flavors" or carrageenan, a processed thickener derived from sea moss - healthy in it's natural state but in it's processed state causes IBS, colitis, and even cancer.  We just don't want to consume anything that nature didn't intend for us to. It's that simple.

So with all of this - I feel more alive than ever when it comes to eating and food choices. I'll have a chip from time to time and not feel bad about it sure, but if I eat dairy ice cream now, my stomach hurts for a couple days and it isn't pleasant. I've been working on healing my digestion, the inner workings of my body, my hormonal and endocrine systems (one in the same, really), and my poor hurt heart. I've allowed it to take a real beating over the years but now I'm looking up and moving forward! My self-care is at an all-time high and growing stronger each and every day. I'm really proud of myself for where I've come, yes - even though a lot of the weight (not all of it) is still there. I'm healthier inside and getting healthier each day. 

So now that the deprogramming is over, it's time for me to tackle the Woman Code protocol when it comes to balance and weight loss, and will explain to you what that looks like if you're interested in learning. Again, Alisa lost 60 lbs while putting her PCOS into remission, and again after having her daughter - all on her own hormone-supporting lifestyle protocol. I'm excited to try it but don't want to make it an "all about weight loss thing" because I'm fearful that I'll fall back into my unhealthy patterns again when it comes to carbs, sugars, and things. This is a health and wellness thing. I'm taking it slow, one day at a time, and caring for myself along the way. We are used to hearing that these diets happen FAST and NOW! Lose 10lb in ONE WEEK! Umm... that's not healthy. Plus it's not fat you're losing anyway in that first week. Anyway, this is truly a lifestyle and one I'm proud to say I embrace. So here we go!! Who's with me???

For an inside peek into my Woman Code wellness journey, follow along with me on Instagram, as I'll be tracking things each step of the way. I'll be going through the book on Stories and through a few of my posts, tracking things along the way. And when I fall off the wagon, because I'm sure bound to at some point, I'd love for you to be right there to catch me - and encourage me to get back on!

Love you, thank you... Thank you so much for reading this. It means more to me than you'll ever know. Time for a detox bath. This has been quite emotional for me, shew.