As I mentioned last time, in my wellness plan, July is the first month of the 18-month journey I’m undertaking to restore my physical health. I’ll be working on monthly challenges to create healthy habits that will lead to a healthy lifestyle.
The challenge for July was to drink more water. But before I get into that, I thought it best to share a bit about my health goals and little bit about my health history so that it’s clear why I’m taking this approach.
So, my goals..
My initial goals are to 1) normalize my blood sugar levels which are currently pre-diabetic, 2) lower my cholesterol and to 3) lose approximately 60 pounds. These goals stemmed from the results of my last set of blood tests and doctor visit in April.
My overall goal, however, is to be vibrant. To be full of life, healthy, strong, clear-minded, etc. so that I can live well and do well the things to which I’m called. To remind myself of this, I created a word cloud in the shape of a butterfly (pictured above) which represents transformation. I’m providing it as a freebie (for personal use only) which can be downloaded here.
As for my health history..
I would say I’ve been relatively healthy most of my life. The only issue I’ve had is chronic anemia which I became aware of in my twenties. I’ve never had a problem with my weight as well. It would fluctuate up and down by a few pounds but I never had to manage it with diet and exercise. While this journey is not about weight loss per se, or becoming “fit”, my current weight is higher than what is considered normal for my height. Also, according to my doctor, the increases in blood sugar and cholesterol are related to my weight gain. So, it is an indicator of poor health to me.
I think the health issues I have currently started when I was pregnant with my third child, six years ago. I had severe morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum) with all my pregnancies but it was worst with my third. It started earlier, was more intense, and lasted longer. I was unable to eat or drink much for a period of two and a half months. I had to visit the emergency room a few times. And I needed to have a nurse come to my home periodically to administer saline and Gravol by IV to treat the nausea and accompanying dehydration. This took a toll on my body as you can probably imagine.
By God’s grace, I was fine and my baby was healthy. He was 7 pounds at birth and is growing well to this day. After his birth, I was considered underweight for my height. Then, six to eight months later, my weight started to increase rapidly. My blood sugar also started to trend upwards at that time.
I think this was caused by stress for the most part. If you’re a parent, then you know what life is like with a newborn. Well, in addition to that, I decided to keep my other two children at home as well and I also started homeschooling during this time. So, it was a lot and there was a lot of stress and exhaustion because of poor sleep at night and busy days with little ones.
My son had trouble sleeping during the day for the first two years. The only way we found he would sleep was lying on our chests. For me, this meant camping out on the sofa each day for about two hours just so he could sleep. I wasn’t eating well or regularly, and definitely not drinking enough water. I would just eat whatever I could find that would give me the energy to keep going. He also didn’t sleep through the night until he was three and a half years old. His sister before him was the same, so I had disrupted sleep for about seven years. I still have sleep issues to this day, but that’s another story for another time.
On top of all of this, we moved three times in those first two years. The first was an emergency move because the place we were living in had mold, and we had to stay in a couple places temporarily until we found a more long-term solution. With each move, I became increasingly stressed. After the final move, I started to be more intentional about my wellbeing. Through journaling, I realized I was depressed and burnt out. So my focus for the first stage of my wellness journey was on the emotional and spiritual aspects.
I refer to this period in my life as my wilderness season. It was certainly difficult but it is through that season that God took me to the end of myself and revealed Himself to me. He showed me who He is and who He created me to be. He taught me that He alone is the source of love, rest, and peace I so desperately sought.
As I start the physical component now, I’m focused on repairing the damage to my body from all the physical and emotional stress, poor nutrition and poor sleep from the last few years. I cannot go immediately to diet and exercise, as suggested by my doctor, because I believe that will stress my body further. So, I’ve started off with nutrition focused on digestion and healing. I hope that brings some clarity to my approach.
I have to say that choosing to share this journey has really been challenging in an unexpected way. I am a very private person, apart from sharing my faith, and so it’s difficult to share this part of my life here on the internet. Yet, I’m doing this in the hope that it will help someone because I was helped by the experiences shared by others. I hope at the very least that it encourages you in your wellness journey.
I’ll share more about July’s wellness challenge, and how that went, in the next post.
Joy & Peace, Sister!
For more on this Physical Wellness journey and the challenges, click here.