Healthy Living: A Never Ending Journey

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Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

My journey to be the best wife, mom, teacher, student, human being I can. I hope to instill a love and desire for healthy balanced choices that will allow everyone to feel their best.

Warning #1: There may be a lot of warnings.

Warning #2: This is a LONG post. Journeys aren’t meant to be short. This isn’t a sprint.

Warning #3: I am not a doctor or licensed nutritionist. I am just here to tell you about my adventure and would love to help you with yours.

Warning #4: I don’t want anyone to ever feel ashamed of their body. Healthy living and healthy choices! That’s what it is about.

2011-2012

I began in January 2012 to kick start my healthy journey. See, I had just taken a job that would take me across continents and oceans from USA to Taiwan (Hint: NOT Thailand). I was at my largest weight ever around 86/87 kgs (~190 lbs). There were a multitude of reasons for this. Medicine, nutrition, lack of exercise, and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) were the main culprits.

June 2011
June 2011: Guess which one of us is actually pregos! Tip: It isn’t me and NEVER ask a woman if she is pregnant.

With this new journey ahead I wanted to become healthier. So I started exercising and attempting to eat better. Within a month I had torn a muscle in my leg attempting to jog around the gym. People, my lower leg and ankle were the size of a softball. Two days later I went to the doctor. Why two days? Because I’m stubborn! And hate going to the doctor. He immediately recommended me to a great physical therapist.  The physical therapist had never seen an injury of this caliber for a slight, slow jog. I needed a lifestyle change and for the first time, I hired a personal trainer at the gym.

I was SERIOUS! Sorta. I was doing all the right “things” on paper. But…but…but I had no idea what I was doing. I had been on super calorie restrictive diets. Worked for a while. I had been a terrible vegetarian. Worked for a while. I was making some progress along the way, but wasn’t really seeing any results.

2012-2014

Aug 2012
Aug 2012: Meet-up with some of the people who make life in Taiwan so much better!

Fast forward to Jul 20, 2012. I arrive in my first international teaching position. I immediately found a group of people who were active and loved the outdoors as much as I did.

Diving right in, I began to bike 45-90km a couple times a month.

Much to my dismay, I was pushing myself too hard too fast. While hiking Bei Da Wu Shan (Highest Moutain Peak in Southern Taiwan) in Nov 2012, I injured myself left and right. During that trip, my knees started giving out. The first of many times I would be injuring myself over the next several years.

May 2013 First & Last Tri 51.km
May 2013: About to cross the finish line for the first and last Olympic Tri. I am so not a runner. My knees and ankles and hips oh my!

Remember I said I was stubborn. Well, cue competing in my first and also my last 51.5 km Olympic Triathlon. My goal was 4 hours and I did it in 4 hours and 15 mins. I was super proud of myself! Still am. However, constantly pushing my body was taking a toll. I was swimming 2km twice a week and biking 45km once a week before school began. I was killing it and myself.

I love working out and being outdoors.

I also love my determination and willingness to persevere, and YET I needed to slow down and focus on healing too.

Apr 2013 Kenting Trip 120KM in one day 60 the next
Apr 2013: Kenting Trip 120KM in one day 60 the next. Checked that off my bucket list too!

I began to eat Paleo-ish. I was still oblivious to what a healthy lifestyle meant, but I was moving in the right direction.

While eating Paleo-ish, I discovered that gluten is SO not my friend. If I have it, pain and sickness galore. My downfalls are portions (cause I LOVE TO EAT) and sweets/snacks. I was eating healthier foods but was also making and eating too many paleo deserts each week. Portion control? More like shove all the food in my mouth!

2014-2015

I kept pushing myself for the next few years. I had to give up running and cycling because of old and new knee/ankle injuries. However, I  continued to push myself to swim a few times a week.

Sep 2013 One of many times over next several years I will be on crutches
Sep 2013:One of many times over next several years I will be on crutches.

Spoiler alert: Another injury. This time it was my shoulder during my morning routine of 2km swim before work. 50 meters in and I can’t lift my arm. Pain is shooting down from my shoulder to my elbow. I have to leave work early and go see a doctor.

Side note: Doctors and hospitals in Taiwan are on another level. That’s just not what this post is about.

Also, at this time, I began my research into essential oils and how beneficial they can be to the body. I began using a combination oils to regulate my hormones and help with my PCOS. I noticed a rather large difference when I began using them and I started to lose weight. At this time I didn’t use any particular brand of oils and just bought the best quality I could find.

Warning #5:  I cannot guarantee that this would work for anyone else. I love essential oils. Use your judgement and research for yourself, you intelligent beautiful human being!

Background Knowledge

July 2015 Greece and the slimmest I had been in years
July 2015: Greece with my one of my best friends! And the slimmest I had been in years. I could fit into her dress. That was a huge confidence booster!

Skipping around a bit to give a better understanding. In Nov 2014, I met my future husband in Taipei. He was moving to Taipei, Taiwan in Jan of 2015. We kept in touch while he was back  in the US prepping for his move here.

We pretty much hit the ground running and began dating the moment he landed. We hit a few bumps along the way, but working together with him to build a relationship is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I cannot believe how blessed I am to now call him my husband and the father of our beautiful, precious daughter. A daughter that I didn’t think was possible. While traveling in Greece, I lamented to one of my best girls about how felt like I was never going to have a family and maybe it just wasn’t going to work out for me. Then, God had a good laugh and said, “My time, child. Not yours.”

2015-2017

About 2 months after I returned home from Greece, I received the best news of my life.

I was pregnant!

I am so thankful that I was able to experience this. It wasn’t an easy pregnancy, but there were no major complications. I was sick and in pain the entire time. The only thing that made me feel better was eating. I grazed all day long to keep the sickness at bay. The first 4 months of pregnancy all I wanted was McDs and Subway. You know, the places I would never consider eating prior to cravings.

Nov 2015 Pregnancy hits
Nov 2015: Short Trip to Hong Kong. About 3ish months pregos. Still don’t ask a woman if she pregnant unless she offers.

I remember this HK trip well because it was so hard to walk around and see all the sites. All those old injuries and the extra weight I had managed lose was coming back full force. NOT TO MENTION I WAS GROWING A HUMAN! My body had been through so much.

Because of the pain and constant sickness, I was not able to keep up with the workout regimen I had worked so hard to develop. Growing a human, eating constantly all day, and little activity meant I was back at my old weight.

Apr 2016 1 week left to go
Apr 2016: About 1-2 weeks before baby girl makes her big debut.

Warning #6: I never step on a scale. Weighing myself goes against all goals to being healthy. As someone who has struggled with eating and can be a bit obsessive, looking at a scale and focusing on a number was something I gave up. That number doesn’t mean anything. I mention the weight because my body was hurting and in constant pain. Now I judge healthy by how my body feels instead. 

I was rightly miserable towards the end of my pregnancy like almost all other pregnant women. It is stuffy and crowded in there. It was beyond time to evict the tenant.

After baby girl’s birth, I had severe postpartum depression. My biggest fear was that something was going to happen to her and she would be taken away from me. Newborn time is beautiful and yet it was emotionally the most trying time for me. Getting healthy was the last thing on my mind. Keeping my daughter alive and well was the only thing I could think about. I couldn’t even think about myself.

Warning #7: Postpartum depression is awful! Everyone tells you to take care of yourself, but I finally had what I had always wanted. A family. I no longer had the capacity to think about myself until I was about to emotionally explode. Ask for help and seek advice from other mamas.

Oct 16 Baby Weight & BFing
Oct 2016: Baby snuggles/sleep time = the best!

It would be almost 1.5 years before I began to feel like my old self. Everyone kept saying, “Don’t worry about the weight. It will fall off.”

Spoiler alert: IT DIDN’T!

Again, the number doesn’t matter. What matters is now I have this beautiful human to take care of, I had no idea what I was doing and certainly didn’t know how to take time for me. I was consumed by taking care of her. I would love to write that I have got it all down now. NOPE, it is still a struggle.

All I wanted to do was be able to take care of my daughter and live life with my family without constant pain.

July 2017 Carrying baby
July 2017: Carrying baby all around Europe.

In June of 2017, we took a trip to Europe. I loved this trip. It was beautiful and breathtaking. I practiced attachment parenting and other choices that worked for us as a family, which led us to decide not investing in a stroller. I wanted my baby close to me all the time. AGAIN, perseverance, grit, and determination EVEN when my body begged to differ. I carried that very healthy baby all around Europe for about 4 weeks. Yes, I was in pain at the end of the day but we would take it easy and have rest days where we did nothing.

But the pain hadn’t ever really gone away. It hadn’t in years. I couldn’t remember the last time I was truly pain free.

2017-2018

Not even a week after the Europe trip I took the dog for a walk and my knees were killing me. I could hardly walk. All that time traveling around Europe and carrying a toddler had caught up with me. I was back on crutches again and started the school year on what seems like the 3rd or 4th year in a row using them. It was becoming the most gruesome tradition. One that I kept hoping and trying to break.

It was during this time that I began looking at intermittent fasting. I had briefly researched it when I began my paleo-ish lifestyle. But ever the grazer, I wasn’t about to give up snacking.

Things had to change! While the number was never an issue, I needed to feel good. I needed to chase my toddler around and not constantly tell her I was in pain. Therefore, I decide to give intermittent fasting a try.

Warning #8: Intermittent fasting can be tricky for women. Please do your due diligence and research for yourself.

Oct 2017 Intermittent Fasting
Oct 2017: Family walk time. Just began IF (intermittent fasting) about 6-8 weeks ago.

I gave myself an 8 hour window to eat. Taking care of a toddler meant it was super easy to give up breakfast. Who has time for that anyway?!?

It worked. The weight slowly started to come off. I had previously begun eating clean and healthy again, but intermittent fasting was just the nudge I needed.

I still wasn’t at the point that I could work out. I had barely been off crutches and really wanted to change my lifestyle. I needed to help my body carry less weight so that my joints could heal. REMINDER: NOT ABOUT THE NUMBER!

Keto lifestyle was the next journey for me. For someone who has struggled with PCOS and reading about low carb diets help to balance and lose weight, I decided to give it a try.

Warning #9: A repetitive one: DO YOUR RESEARCH and talk with a doctor or nutritionist before beginning any lifestyle changes.

May 2012
May 2012: Fitting in jeans I hadn’t been able to wear in almost 8-9 years.

I counted macro-nutrients of fat, carbs, and protein for about 4 months. Again, this worked great for me. I stopped counting macros and just paid attention to what I ate. Most importantly, I paid attention to how I felt. I was beginning to get more energy back.

I still hadn’t been able to work out.  Since Sep 2015, I walked occasionally but it wasn’t enough to be stop being in pain.

I know that Keto can sometimes have a bad reputation, but it can be done healthily. It’s not all bacon and butter! It focuses on whole food in as natural a state as possible while eliminating  foods that cannot be consumed raw. I also loved Keto because it meant keeping my favorite food group: Dairy!

Summer of 2018 meant time to head back to the US to spend time with friends and family. I ate healthy and clean, but I also enjoyed eating out! I miss good Western food. Also, going home meant shopping and new clothes. I was in need of some new clothes!

Hi-ho, hi-ho a shopping we did go!

Jul 2018 Working on my fitnes
Jul 2018: Family time

We arrived home stocked up for the next couple of years. We also arrived home to an apartment that was packed up as we moved just before we left. Spoiler Alert: Another injury. This time it is my back.

Traveling for 2 days and moving appliances on top of having weak muscles is a recipe for injury.

I’m eating clean, whole foods, but I can’t quite move past the constant pain. A friend of mine had been sharing her testimony after doing Arbonne’s 30 Days To Healthy Living. I decided to dive in and give it a try. I didn’t and still don’t care about the weight. Not being able to play and take care of my daughter was heartbreaking.

I was super skeptical at first and had spent several months researching Arbonne, the ingredients, and their policy. I read tons of negative reviews too. But balance and a view of the whole picture is needed. The good with the bad. I wanted to know as much as possible before I even tried it.

I’m all about the research!

Sep of 2018, I completed my first cycle of 30 Days To Healthy Living. The goal was to become healthier for myself so I could play with my daughter . OMG! By Week 3, I just missed chewing. I stuck it out til the end, and I am so glad I did.

The 30 Days To Healthy Living teaches habits to help create a healthy lifestyle. For the 30 days, it is required to eliminate some foods to help get your body feeling its best. A slow reintroduction into those foods will be able to tell you what foods might not make you feel the best.

I had to give up my favorite food group. Yep, you guessed it! Dairy had to go. In all honesty, I don’t miss it much. Only with my coffee. Heavy cream and coffee. YUMMZ, but can’t have it. Seems that dairy and too many carbs/sugar caused my body to react in the same way as gluten: excruciating pain and no one wants to be near me. I just don’t feel good when I eat it. It automatically goes on the DON’T EAT list because I want to listen to my body.

Was this entire journey Arbonne’s 30 DHL doing? NO!

But…

The 30DHL showed me which foods were to eliminate for my own journey and gave me so much energy.

Oct 2018
Oct 2018: Zoo trip after a day of walking around for hours. This would have normally caused me pain for days. But the next day, I had so much energy and no pain. I was able to do what I wanted. Enjoy life with my family.

Will I ever be pain free? I pray so! But after years of constant pain and not being able to fully enjoy my daughter, with the new lifestyle changes I made, I am no longer hindered by pain. I have been able to swim twice a week for 40 mins with little to no pain or injuries.

Warning #10: If you try this program, keep an open mind. My results are very specific to me.

Oct 2018 Just Finished 30 Days Challenge
Oct 2018: Just Finished 30 Days To Healthy Living & Signed up to be an Arbonne Independent Consultant.

Many people have varying results through this program. Determine what your needs are. Follow through with the commitment that you are making with yourself.

After my results, I decided to become an Arbonne Independent Consultant to help others. I believe in these products; they are pure, safe, and beneficial. Not just the 30 Days to Healthy Living but their skincare as well.

What I learned from my journey:

  • Whole foods that are not processed are best.
    • Eat your veggies! And healthy fats. Limit meats as much as possible for you and your family.
  • Listen to your body.
    • As sad as it is, I had to give up dairy. The gluten I didn’t mind too much, but I miss pizza!
    • I also can’t eat a lot of sugar.
      • I can’t really splurge or have cheat days, which is hard! But the pain and feeling terrible are just not worth it.
      • Now I get to be creative and experiment making “treats” using whole foods, fruits, and my Arbonne products. This is the part I love. Finding the time is a whole other story.
  • Healing takes time. Give it that time! Commit to yourself and make positive changes. You deserve it!

I am looking forward to helping as many people as I can reach their potential and goals.

Let’s journey together!

Link to my store where I do make a commission off of anything I sell.

https://www.arbonne.com/us/en/arb/tereamarcum/