16 September 2014

30 Day Challenge Results

The results from my self-imposed 30 day challenge aren't really what I expected. What I was hoping to gain from this challenge is not really measurable. More like an idea that my overall quality of life would be enhanced. Don't get me wrong, I still believe that implementing these habits will accomplish this. But I found that there are a few pretty profound circumstances that are contributing to this particular "rut" I am in, so to speak. I mean, feeling down or sluggish can definitely be helped by making healthy choices, but when you're bleeding, sometimes you need more than a bandaid.

Week one, I was inspired. By the end of it I was completely sore and exhausted. I expected this, but it was like being tired on top of being tired. I hit a major wall...The first week!! Hubs said he was with me and convinced me to keep going. I totally thought I just needed to muscle through, because starting a new program is going to present an obstacle. It is going to be hard.
The second week, I continued to struggle with wanting to make some changes without the energy to do so. I was exhausted and hungry all the time. Hubs said the other day that I eat like a 15-year-old boy. Oh, the joys of nursing. I was still motivated to work out, but found out quickly that if Hubs can't make it to the gym, Eli is not about to let me out of his sight. Enter: made-up baby-weight work outs. Seriously, I just hold him while doing a modified workout. It gets the job done.
Stephanie and Gentry are our workout buddies. If we can't make Crossfit or our husbands work late, we can walk/run on the bike paths around base. I mean, we kinda think the view in Alaska doesn't get much better than this.
By the time week three rolled around, the load hadn't lightened and I was super discouraged. I knew most of how I felt was that I was adjusting to these changes. But I was also coming to realize that my body and mind were not responding normally. At this point, I should be seeing a positive response, but I felt myself slipping into more stress. The changes I had committed to making were not drastic or new. But I still needed to take a step back. I definitely wanted to continue, but I started thinking through how to make things as easy as possible. I spent a couple of days during the week researching and making 20 healthy crockpot freezer meals. We are loving the convenient dinners and new recipes! I'll put up a blog post soon about how I did it. 

So, for the last week, my goal was to not completely give up. I made it to CF both days (woo hoo!). I stuck to our dinner menus, but didn't feel a lick of guilt about not eating clean otherwise. I opened up about the funk I have been in with a couple of supportive friends, which is therapeutic in itself. And I ordered essential oils.

[ Let me just detour for a second to tell you about these essential oils. (1) Not too long ago, I had two cysts come up underneath both of my arms that resulted in a very unpleasant out-patient procedure at the hospital with a very unpleasant two-week recovery time. Another cyst was starting to develop. Hubs and I were considering the best time to set up another procedure. I called my friend who has replaced most of her medicine cabinet with essential oils, hoping to borrow an oil that could combat this specific type of cyst. I applied it twice a day for two days, and it was gone. (2) She also gave me a couple of samples: one for mood and one for hormones, both supposedly helpful for postpartum blues. Three days later, Hubs told me that he could see a significant difference in me. The only thing I had done differently was use the oils. ]

You know, I used to be an "all or nothing" kind of gal when it came to making certain decisions…like a 30-day revamp of all things health with a 3- to 4-month old. Some of you older wiser women are probably elbowing each other and chuckling at the new-mom learning how to cope with being a new-mom. Having an infant is hard. It just is. All by itself. But we also have several additional external stressors that are weighing heavy on us.

But now I see these things and know it's going to take more than cutting back on sugar and going to the gym twice a week to combat them. In some aspects, I feel worse off than when I started. I think sometimes, when you start digging, you start finding. I totally thought sprucing up the stuff on the surface would make dealing with other stresses easier, but it just shifted things around and showed what needs tending to first. It's just an opportunity to do things differently. I'm learning what works and what doesn't, and I'm still moving forward despite "failing" at the challenge. So, I don't feel like this project has been a total bust. I don't feel better per se, but I feel like I'm learning what I should, if that makes any sense. You know how it doesn't feel good to get a splinter out? But you know you need to go through the process of getting it out for it to feel better? That's kind of what I mean, but bigger. Maybe it's more like setting a broken bone before it can heal. What's the emotional equivalent of that?

Sometimes, the hard things reveal what's most important. It takes a deep bravery to make those things the biggest, the loudest, the greatest. It takes just as much courage to reject everything else. It requires a level of grace and support that is deeper than convenience. However, I've never lived with other things overshadowing the most important ones and not been lost. To me, it is worth the fight.

So, I didn't reach my goal of a 30-day challenge. But it did reveal what I needed to find for now I think. The boys that live this life with me? I just want to love them well. The dishes can wait. The gym can wait. Other people can wait. I'll get around to these things. First things first, you know?

What's your most important thing?

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