Taking a Step

img_20170215_085814-1Pictured Above: December 2016 (left) and February 2017 (right) post-Whole30

Hey All,

I mentioned the other day in my Mom of 2 post that I was doing a round of Whole30. Basically, the premise of a whole30 is to eliminate foods that are triggers for inflammation, digestive issues, pain issues,unhealthy eating habits, and so on. You can read more about it here. I first heard about Whole30 two years ago when my mom mentioned that she would like to try a round. So I agreed.

At that time I was 9 months postpartum from the birth of my daughter. Completing a round was tough, but rewarding. I did another round 3 months later  because I felt so good. Many of you know or have read on here that I suffered from severe postpartum anxiety after my first pregnancy. The Whole30 really helped calm my anxiety, get my gut health back on track, and lose some extra weight (20 lbs total). Over the last two plus years I have done a few rounds of whole30 or shorter “mini rounds” whenever I felt the need to kick start my healthy habits.

Fast forward to pregnancy with my son I didn’t suffer from anxiety as much, but I really didn’t practice my healthy eating habits either. (I consumed a milkshake a day which for me was triggering digestive issues and pain). Over the past 9 months since Max was born I have been learning how to be a mom to 2 beautiful kids, getting back into my freelance writing and editing, bought a new house and moved in! With all of those wonderful events, I let my eating habits slide out of control. I went from never drinking soda to choosing that first. I usually avoid bread and cakes, but I would find myself overeating or snacking ALL day instead of just making a decent meal.

I am not blaming myself or saying “woe is me” because I was busy keeping my babies happy and healthy. The truth is that is not enough. My husband always encourages me to get out of the house, write, and just do things that make me happy. I am happy taking care of my little ones, but I want to show them that Mommy is strong. That I treat my body well by eating right and exercising (okayyy, I’m still working on that part) and treating my mind right by reading, studying, and pursuing my passion to write. I want my children to be happy in mind, body, and spirit. To me, this starts with FEELING good. So, I came back around to another round whole30.

My mom did the January 2017 whole30 with me and it helped to have a team mate. Together, we learned to cook some wonderful new recipes (Looking at you Chicken Chowder, pg 336 from The Whole30 book by Melissa Hartwig). This is an amazing non-scale victory (NSV) because before Whole30 I would have never, ever tried something like chowder and I LOVED it.

I struggled with this round emotionally. I didn’t realize how much of a hold that my eating habits had over me. There were times over the 30 day period that I cried and wanted to quit because I felt sad. I did realize though that it wasn’t healthy to be ruled my cravings and sugar like that. I wanted to use food to comfort myself and that is exactly what the Whole30 program wants to help you move away from. So I stuck it out. The sense of accomplishment, the NSV’s including less headaches, shinier hair, more confidence, and losing 10 lbs* was worth it.

The  successful completion of whole30 led me to signing our family up for the Y (shout out to my husband who has been going to the gym almost every day for 7 weeks), starting a planner, meal planning, continuing with a family budget, and making a promise to myself to write more often. I would use the excuse that the kids “need” me, but right now as I type Max is playing with toys at my feet and Sophia is watching an episode of Daniel Tiger. I have to make the time where I can spare it.

So here it is, last night I was scrolling Facebook and I saw a picture (Me in the white shirt) from a Christmas party. I laughed because I was wearing the same PJ pants. I had to do a side by side because I knew just looking at that first picture there was a huge change from December. The second picture says so much more to me than weight lost. I am standing up taller, I feel prouder, and I know I am healthier than I was before.

It is not that every day is easy now. There are some days where I will decide that pretzels are an essential food group and I am not going to get out of my pajama, but I’m going to keep trying to better myself. I’m not saying that the Whole30 is for everybody or that everyone needs to change their lifestyle, but as a self-proclaimed “lazy” girl  I want to show my family that you can still enjoy Gilmore Girl marathons and dessert without giving up a strong, healthy lifestyle.

xo AT

*The Whole30 program is NOT  a weight loss program, but for someone with  diplegic cerebral palsy  (read: mostly affects my legs) maintaining a healthy weight is essential. This helps me avoid joint pain, problems with walking, and even breathing. I’ve written more about my life with CP here.


Cerebral Palsy: Game Changer?

Yesterday, I wrote about going to the hospital for our appointment. Thank goodness Richie could go with me, sometimes he just can’t get away from work due to all the world saving that he does :). We went over to the “new” hospital (It’s only been open since March and I swear it reminds me of a hotel-very posh) and met with the maternal fetal specialist who specializes in you guessed it… mamas and babies. We had an interview to discuss my  own journey with cerebral palsy and the circumstances of my own birth.

I was born very prematurely at 29 weeks. For those of you not familiar with pregnancy, babies usually come between 36 and 40 weeks. I must have been eager to start my life because my mom hadn’t even had her baby shower yet  when I decided to come into the world. The doctors tried to stop labor, but I was determined to be born. I spent two to three months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) growing and incubating. Maybe one day I’ll share the article I wrote when I interviewed my mom…if I can find it. Anyway, around two years of age after a horrific surgery on my tiny baby legs I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a disorder, often being considered a birth defect, that affects your muscles, motor function and more. I was born with the condition, even though doctors did not diagnose it until my later years. So what does this have to do with Sophie bug?

My primary care OB was concerned because she didn’t know the effect my CP would have on labor and delivery and if I was an at risk patient for any pregnancy complications. When she mentioned this to me, I was shocked. CP is a part of my daily life that I don’t think about. It almost never crosses my mind. It surprised me that it after all these years it could still have an effect on my life. After meeting with the specialist, it was decided that my mom’s care was pre-term labor and that currently I’m not at any risk for pre-term labor or complications (Yes!). As for labor and delivery, I may have to work a little harder than other people because I may not have as much physical stamina, but I am doing prenatal yoga every day and doing my best to keep fit. So long story short, we decided I would have a normal pregnancy and be seen by the regular doctor since my blood pressure, weight and all my other levels are in average range. As for my anxiety, maybe it’s all in my head (ha ha ha, pun intended).

Truthfully, I was relieved. I never wanted to be treated any differently because of my CP. Physically, it is noticeable….I walk with a limp most days, but in all other ways you wouldn’t know. I don’t have a speech issue or a motor skills problem, I attended all regular schools, enjoyed schoolwork, good grades, extracurricular activities…the works. So I never wanted to any special treatment or pity or anything, I just wanted to be “normal”. It’s been a lot of years since I’ve noticed anyone responding differently to me because of my CP, maybe that’s because I choose to surround myself with intelligent people instead of ignorant or judgmental people. Do others notice my slightly awkward gait? or the fact that it may seem that I’m limping? Probably, but I don’t. And for once,  I’m glad to just be considered ordinary. I don’t want to be back in physical therapy and I don’t want to have to go through anything extra to have my baby.

The appointment ended on a high note, we got to see our little girl on the ultrasound again :)….I swear I have had more ultrasounds than I can count! Not only is she beautiful, she has perfect little feet and she is a mover and a shaker. As much as I complain that pregnancy is making me anxious/crazy feeling, I know for once I’m not just doing this for myself. All the other tough things, the CP, the surgeries, the casts and crutches….were all for my benefit to make me “better.” Getting through my pregnancy healthy and happy….has the greatest reward I could ever imagine.

Things I take for granted

Yesterday, after a long day of work…I was trudging up the stairs, feeling tired and grumpy and I stopped and thought “It’s amazing that I can walk up these stairs without holding the railing.” This is not as random a thought as it may seem. The other day I got a call from my doctor who said she wants me to consult with the maternal fetal specialist here regarding my cerebral palsy. She was just unsure if it would cause me issues in delivery or labor since it affects my muscles/nerves in some ways. Well, of course that sent me into a tail spin of anxiety. So I do what I do best…I began to research. Most of the articles regarding pregnancy and CP talked about a baby born with this condition, but one article was written by a mother of two who had mild spastic diplegia (fancy way of saying it affected only two of her limbs-her legs-and not really her whole body). That’s what I have, my condition affects mostly my hips/legs and in a very mild way. Anyway, as I was reading her article I noticed that she said she was unable to walk up and down stairs without holding a hand rail. And I was humbled.

My whole life I have known that things were more difficult for me physically due to CP, but here is a woman in almost the exact same position as I am, but she has trouble walking up stairs. I take that for granted, I take for granted the fact that I can run, that I can exercise without pain, that I can function on a daily  basis without aid and help from medical professionals. All of these things I take for granted, even more so than the average person because I remember what it is like to need help walking, surgeries, pain but most of that was while I was a young child and teen….these days you may not even realize there is anything different about me except for a small limp. When I complain about being pregnant and hot and tired, I forget to stop and thank God that I could even become pregnant and that I can get out of bed in the morning, walk to my shower, drive to my job, work a full day, type on the computer, hold a pen and then at the end of the day walk to my car and get in to drive home again. I can walk my dog, hug and kiss my husband effortlessly, cook dinner….so many things….that I truly can’t imagine a life in which I couldn’t do any of these things.

I’m not saying I’ll ever be perfect or that I will never complain again, but I’m going to try to be more thankful, more grateful that I am alive and breathing, that I can walk, run, dance and that I am able to carry and give life to this little bug who one day soon will actually be here with me and I can hold her in my arms without difficulty and pain. After speaking with the specialist, it was determined I won’t need to be seen by her at this time and that I shouldn’t have any difficulty with my pregnancy regarding my CP.

It’s just one of those things I take for granted that I haven’t seen a surgeon in 7 years and that I haven’t been to physical therapy in just as long. I’m grateful that when my daughter arrives I will be able to carry her and play with her and run around with her.  

I can’t wait until she gets here <3.

Seeing the Sun

It is an absolutely beautiful day today.  I spent the morning outside doing some gardening and sweeping off the patio now that most of the snow has finally melted. I was shocked at how good the sun felt pouring down on my face.   It was as if I suddenly had a new burst of energy.  I came inside, opened up my shades and my windows and let the light pour in.   I’ve written a few emails and I’m getting ready to go on a run.  So far, in my training for Iron Girl I have only been running inside on the treadmill. This will be my first experience venturing out on the road.
Today’s goal is to run a mile without stopping, even if I have to slow down to a jog I just want to complete my mile.  I know that eventually I will have to work up my endurance to running three-point one miles before I can build up my speed for the race.  It is extremely difficult for me to do.  I was born with cerebral palsy, a very mild form.  To put it simply my muscles do not grow at the same rate as my bones. They are extremely tight making physical activity very difficult for me.  The form of CP that I have is Diplegia, that means that it affects my legs mostly.  This is a static disease meaning that the disease itself will not get any worse but if I do not keep myself at a lower weight and exercise frequently I will have many problems with walking as I get older.   While my bones were still growing I had to have numerous surgeries to lengthen my muscles in order to keep them from causing bone damage.  I also had a physical therapist come out to my house a week to help keep me limber and in shape.  Now that I have stopped growing it is up to me to myself flexible.

This is why Iron Girl will be such a great accomplishment for me.  I will have finished something I never thought I’d be able to do and I’m not going to stop until I cross that finish line.