I write this post today to share with you my imperfections, challenges, and personal struggles that I've been going through. I understand being open puts me at risk for people to judge me. Some will love me, some may hate me. That's what makes the world interesting, right? Life would be too dull if everyone shared the same opinions and personalities. We simply can't relate to everyone. I often have to remind myself that pleasing everyone is a battle that can't be won.
This year has been packed full of changes for me. Some very good, exciting, and many challenging. My first change was an experiment with my foods. I decided to take 100% animals out of my diet and see how I could survive on a healthy mostly gluten free vegan lifestyle. During my experiment I researched the hell out of plant based living and thriving without animal proteins. After all I was eating close to a Primal/Paleo type lifestyle before embarking on this journey. It was quite a shift for me to base my foods around mostly plants, nuts, seeds, and fruits. During my 6 months of vegan living I went through many shifts. I felt extremely energetic at times and other times I'd feel lethargic. My body began to start craving eggs, then fish, then free range poultry and finally grass fed meats. Very slowly I introduced eggs back in my diet, then fish. I was unable to add anything else. I ended up seeing too much of what happens with animals before we eat them. I already knew what happened behind closed doors at animal factories, but I didn't quite know to the extent of what I know now. My compassion for animals became so overwhelming to the point I was ignoring my body signaling me to eat some meat. I let this craving go and continued to tell myself that it's just a craving and I am at the point where I'm too grossed out to eat flesh of a dead animal. It was even difficult for me to eat eggs and fish without feeling weird about it. After all, I was surviving very well without it. My skin got smoother and more radiant during my vegan days. I also had such great role models thriving off of Vegan living. Some even raw vegan! Rock star strong figures like Mike Mahler, Jon Hinds, Ellen Stein, Melody Schoenfield, Robert Cheeke, Rich Rolls, Brendan Brazier, Mimi Kirk and many other inspirations who are walking the walk. I had to remind myself that we are all different. What works well for some will not work well for everyone. I came to terms and allowed myself to be flexible. After 8 months of no animal flesh I nibbled on some organic free range chicken. I sat by myself feeling a little guilty and chewed the flesh very well. It only took 1 ounce until I felt I had enough. My brain and belly felt very content after. My heart felt guilty. I felt bad for the chicken and I also felt as if I was letting my vegan/vegetarian friends down. After all, many people surrounding me transformed their own eating to animal free living because of my influence. They told me how much they love plant based eating. They described more energy and just enjoyed the lifestyle overall. They also expressed compassion about animals along the way. Currently I find myself eating vegan throughout the day without even thinking about it. It's just what my body is naturally driven to. Evenings I mostly eat vegetarian but will mix in an occasional egg, fish or piece of chicken once or twice a month. For over a year I haven't consumed any red meat. If I can get over the fact that it is flesh from a cute cow, I will make sure my first bite is from a humanely treated and grass fed cow. Red meat cravings have been happening on a weekly basis so I may have to act upon it at some point in the near future.
What I learned with this experiment is that I do best on a mostly plant based diet. If I have a craving for some animal protein it's okay to have it, but I don't need much. I can no longer call myself a pure vegan, pure vegetarian or even a pescetarian. If I had to classify myself at the moment I would fall in the category of a flexitarian. I know I'm letting some people down. I had some emails written by excited vegans telling me how happy they were that I was eating that way. I made sure to call it an experiment to not classify myself in any category. I have made some amazing discoveries and friends with stepping over in to vegan land. Discovered amazing ways to eat, cook and survive without a drop of animal protein. I don't regret this experience I had. I have also learned that there are wars and extreme judgements in the various eating cultures. Horrible things said to one another between meat eaters and vegan/vegetarian eaters. I was surprised to find arguments and insults thrown back between the raw vegan, high fat vegan, low fat vegan, and fruitarian communities! I understand people are extremely passionate about their beliefs. I have learned to keep my beliefs to myself in social situations unless someone asks me and wants my honest opinion. All in all, any eating lifestyle that has this much judgement on someone else's lifestyle is exhausting and I choose to live in my own category. Eat what my body feels like, the end!
Switching gears I wanted to open up and discuss some bumps in the road I have experienced. This year I have had a number of interesting things happen. The crazy thing is I can't even recall exactly how it happened. However, I believe much of it stems from stress and hormone imbalance, which I'm still working on. This year I've had my hand in a cast, then followed by a torn ligament in my wrist. My training has definitely lacked consistency due to these little injuries to start with.
I have been experiencing pain in my pelvic and lower abdominal area for over 6 months. In addition my stomach would puff out to the point that I'd look pregnant and it was really uncomfortable. Even with the strictest eating regimen including fasting, my stomach would stay the same. I knew it wasn't food. Finally I went to an OBGYN. If this is too much information, feel free to stop reading. After a thorough exam she found a mass in my uterus. I was sent to radiology where they found a fibroid tumor embedded in my uterus. The doctor gave me several "solutions". Her first solution was to give me a hysterectomy. She actually asked me if I was done having kids. I was floored by the question and I immediately told her, "I'm 32 years old and I don't think I'm ready to shut the door on that one yet." Next option was to have it taken out via surgery, which is similar to having another C-section. Her least invasive option was to scrape it out, yet leaving it to grow back. Really none of the options were something I was ready to face. This fibroid is pushing against my stomach causing a lovely domino effect of issues. The beauty of this news is it's not life threatening as we know. The disheartening part of this news is that my abs that I had are not my abs anymore. I am uncomfortable quite a bit. I share this information with you admitting that my body is far from where I'd like it to be. Thoughts that went through my mind were the fact that I was getting ready to do a complete photo shoot for my book in 2 weeks, then film Kettlebell Lightning DVD with Alex. There was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I couldn't hide it so here I am showing my imperfections to the world. It's no secret! The body I am carrying around is not one that I have strived for. Reminding myself that this is temporary is what keeps me sane. I plan on getting to the bottom of this and working towards naturally shrinking this fibroid, while dealing with my possible hormone imbalances.
It was very tempting to cancel important projects and hide. After all I didn't have the same "look" that I had. Mentally I was tired from this burden. Then I thought to myself, I'm only human. It's a bump in the road like anything. I will learn how to deal with it, get through it, and move on like I always do. The only difference is I will not let it stand in the way of projects that I already made commitments to. That would mean I would be quitting if I hid out and dropped everything. The world is just going to have to see that I am far from perfect and have issues as well. I am not here to teach people to be perfect and be someone I'm not. I will not put on a fake bubbly smile and entertain you with cheesiness. I am here to teach people to be better, give them strength, confidence, motivation, and show them if I can do it, they can do it. I will not sugar coat anything. This is me: a wife, mother, loyal friend, business owner, writer, creator, teacher, lover of kettlebells, snowboarding, and people. I'm a woman and most of all human.
I'm Only Human
I am a fitness, strength, conditioning & nutrition coach that was put here on earth to change peoples lives. I focus on quality of movement, which has helped many people become pain free and strong! My favorite workout tool of choice is your own body weight and adding a kettlebell. Moreover, any tool that helps with strength and quality of movement is incorporated. Fitness is only part of the puzzle to have the happy and healthy quality of life people strive for. With my educational background & experiences nutrition, lifestyle, exercise and a positive mental attitude are all a focus. I design online nutrition & exercise programs as well as create fitness DVD's and videos so people can use my style and methods all around the world. I'm the creator of the "Ultimate Body Sculpt and Conditioning with Kettlebells" series "Baby Bells" DVD, along with The Kettlebell Body, Lightning and Kettlebell Revelation. Being a mother of 4 I know how hard it can be to make health a priority. I truly enjoy helping everyone from all walks of life reach their dream fitness goals to enhance quality of life. It can be done!!!