Failure is Underrated

When I grow up and am in charge of the world, or at least when I can get others to listen to my strange ideas,  I want to teach people, especially my kids, how to fail. I think failing is underrated in this day and age, especially from those of us with big dreams, high goals, and almost unrealistic expectations for life.

“What do you mean? Don’t you want to succeed? Don’t you want your kids to be successful?” asked the skeptic.

My answer is simple, “Yes, I want to reach my dreams, I want success, and I want the ultimate happiness that Earth has to offer. I also want my kids to live a happy life, reaching for the sky. However, they will not get there if they don’t fail a few hundred times first. I firmly believe it, and little anyone can say will change my mind. The truly successful people in our world, learned how to make mistakes, and fail many times.

I don’t just want my kids to learn how to deal with failure, but I want them to know the heartbreak of it. I want them to feel those sad feelings of rejection, and cry the tears of disappointment. I will be there when they fall.  I will listen to their tears, anger and disappointment.  That is my job as their mom.  Then I want them to get over it, pick themselves up, and reassess what they could have done better. I want them to make a plan on how improve their past mistakes, and be even better than before.

It sounds cold, but when I look at how my life has improved because of my past failings, I can’t help but hope my kids know how to fail, just so they can succeed.

For years and years, I failed to lose weight no matter what I did. During my weight gaining/not losing process, I learned how to get up in the morning and work out. I learned how to get over the tired feeling, and which workouts I enjoy.  I learned the joy of completing a race, and that I can physically make my body do almost anything. I also learned the key for my body’s nutrition, and that is to get rid of gluten. I believe with my soul, that ten years of failing, is leading me to being healthy for the rest of my life, especially now that I am having weight loss success.  The mindset, “I can always lose this 5 pounds,” is dangerous, and I will never feel that way about weight loss.  I have failed too much, it’s time to succeed.

I failed to get a teaching job this spring/summer. This failure, opened me up to new opportunities. Because I wasn’t teaching, I able to have lunch with a friend. Over lunch, she told me about grad school. With a huge leap of faith, I enrolled in a wonderful program, that will lead me to the right job. Had I gotten a job, I would have ended up where I left off, which is not a good thing. Plus, I have wanted to get my masters for years, and now I am.  I love my schooling and the work that goes with it.  I finding this love of learning is feeding my soul and for the first time in years, I feel like I am moving forward to new and exciting territory.

I have failed at photography. I have always loved taking pictures since I got my first camera in first grade, but I never understood it. Once the digital age hit, I started taking even more pictures. I can’t even begin to count how many digital files I have wasted on a photography mistakes, nor do I can to even count the number of cameras I have gone through the past 7 years. However, now I know, what makes a good picture. I know how to capture the moment, and I know how to make it perfect, or at least represent the moment. Had photography been easy for me, I am sure I would not have learned the science of light. That has made all of the difference in my skills.

I have also made big mistakes out on photography jobs, those mistakes, which I have shed mountains of tears over, taught me how to fix my mistakes. Had I not messed up, my mind would not learn to check my settings, over and over again. I am confident in my skills, now that I have messed up, and learned how to fix it.  My lessons in photography have pushed me to learn more and more.  Now, I feel confident when schedule a photo session, and my heart sings even more when I process and can relive the love of a family again.  It is an amazing job, and I love it.

Yesterday morning, I awoke to an email explaining that I did not get a writing job. I had a moment of disappointment, but my second thought was, “How can I be better? How can I make my dreams come true, despite this unwanted feeling?” I know with my heart and soul that this rejection will lead me to something greater and bigger than I can imagine today. I just need to figure out how to learn, grow, and seek out the next opportunity.

I could go on and on about my failings. Few things in this world have felt easy for me, however, my struggles have led to lots of happiness. My life is better because I have failed time after time again.

So when my kids come home nd talking about how “easy” something was for them, I am slightly sad. I want them to work at a level that is hard, in a place where they might fail. I want them to learn rejection, so they can learn how to deal with it, instead of giving up. I want them to really understand that on the road to making their dreams come true, they might fail, but they will be better people for it.

Really successful people fail before they succeed. You don’t have to take my word for it, you can ask da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Dr. Seuss, Thomas Edison, Oprah…. The list goes on and on. Failure leads to learning, and life lessons lead to success.

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Shame on you!

So, only days and days after the really funny moms started a mom shaming campaign, I finally was inspired to join. (Click here for the other shaming posters). Basically, a bunch of blogging moms from our atomic reach tribe, Blogging While Mom, are admitting our sins and shaming ourselves for the whole world to see.  I am sure it was inspired by this dad’s story and the public out cry because of it.  I see it as funny, and I understand that others don’t, but whatever.

Anyway, this week, after thinking really hard, I started feeling like, “Whoa, my mom sins aren’t that bad.”  Or “I don’t lie to my kids, yay me!”  I was just about to give myself a nonexistent You are an Awesome Mom award when this happened:

After school, I emptied the kids’ backpacks full of worksheets and projects from school this week. After oo-ing and ah-ing over each little star, (they were watching a movie, but I am sure they could feel my pride in them,) I did what I always do with their school papers: Buried them deep into the recycling bin.  I continued on with my day.

Later, Ana, seeing that her backpack was opened, said, “Mom, what did you do with all my papers from school.”

(Knowing that she wanted to keep each one, and they would then end up all over her room, creating another fire hazard, until they were ripped to shreds, and then I would have to ask her a million times to pick up her room, where she would cry and whine about hard it is, until all fun activities were threatened, and her room would finally get somewhat clean, and those precious papers of today would end up in the recycling bin in a few short days…) I said, “Hmmmmm, I laid them somewhere.  Where have you looked?”  We then looked around for a total of 2 minutes when something shiny caught her eye and said papers were forgotten.

See, I don’t lie to my kids, but that doesn’t mean I am completely honest either!

What are your sins as a mom?  Come on share them, we ALL have MANY!

Check out these funny moms on Facebook.  Click “Like” (on Facebook) if you like to laugh! You can also “Pin” the Top 35 Most Pinteresting Moms too! (And the shame continues…)

Hurry, Hurry, Come on, Let’s Go

“Come on, let’s go, we’re in a hurry, we have [this, this, and this] to do before that [unimportant event that for some reason we can’t miss]!”  It seems like I am saying this to my family everyday.  I hate it, I hate it with a passion.  I hate that my alarm goes off around 5, I do a workout or two, rush the kids out the door, to drop everyone off at their places, and then barely make it to school on time.  Then, after school, I rush to pick up the kids so we can run home, have a snack, do some homework before we fly out the door again.  Sometimes we make it home before 6, and others we get home around 8.

I look at our schedule and lives and wonder, “How did this happen?”  I hate to be busy. I love leisure, I love moderation, I love a slow-paced life.  How did I let our family get so busy?  I can answer that, by saying, “Yes,” to one small commitment at a time.  Just like a bunch of small changes can add up to a big change, well a bunch of small commitments add up to too many.

I look at our commitments, and wonder, “What can we put on hold?”:

Sporting events – Nope, we have two left for each kid, we just have to hold on to that.

MOPS – Nope, I need my Mommy interaction, especially now that I am working and Scott’s schedule is crazy.

Boy Scouts – Nope, Scott went to one parent meeting and came home a den leader.  (Stay tuned for a photo of him in his scouting uniform.  I can’t wait!)

Grad School – Uh, no.  Can’t quit that!

Blogging or Photography – Only if i want to sink into a deep depression again.  Sorry, can’t do that.  I have cut down on both, and my soul is aching for it.  I can’t give up my art, it’s too hard and makes me sad.

Working out – Can I give up eating and breathing too?

Community Service – What would Jesus do?  What kind of message does that send?

Housework and laundry – Well, something has to go.  I guess I will try to do that… 😉

I guess I will continue to give up sleep, and hold on tight for the next couple of weeks, praying that no one gets sick.

Anyway, there is no point to this writing.  I am facing a writer’s block at the moment.  This terrible schedule is getting in the way of my family stories.  It’s time to find the inspiration again, but first, I think I need to breathe.

How do you supermoms do it all?  I seem to fail every single time…At the end of the day, I am not Superwoman, so I may as well stop trying and just breathe. Breathe.  Breathe.

 

The Real Education at a Husker Football Game

Saturday night I was given the chance of a lifetime, I got to take my son to his first Nebraska Husker game. In case you didn’t know, my son is literally obsessed with sports. He loves all sports, especially Red Sox baseball and Husker football. Needless to say, taking him to the game was A BIG DEAL. Like all big deals, I had high hopes and dreams for the night, and I am certain I was expecting some magic.

I am not saying, watching the fourth quarter of the Wisconsin game live, wasn’t full of magical moments. The whole fourth quarter, McCartney and I both were hugging, clinging to each other, hoping for a win. The last turnover of the night, with a minute on the clock, was really awesome. There is nothing like the magical moment when you know your team is going to win. I am super grateful I got share those times with my son.

However, the things that left the biggest impression on my seven-year old, had very little to do with football, in fact, they had nothing to do with the game. Today, as I heard my son tell grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles about the game, I learned the lessons that my son is carrying with him from the game. Trust me, this list does not make me proud to be a Husker fan, in fact, I am a bit appalled. Some of these lessons are out of my son’s mouth and some are parental observations.

1. “Mommy, there are a lot of bad words here,” was something my son said over and over during the first half of the game. Night games, for some, means that they have a few six packs under their belts before they even go to the game. {Keep this in mind, for future points.} Yes, the naughty words were soaring through the air as the Huskers gave up play after play in the first half of the game. I tried to cover his ears, but that was so silly to even try. Once you take a kid out of the house, you can no longer shelter him. The swear words pretty much stopped once we started coming back in the third. (I have to say, there were words or combinations that I have never heard before, and now they are ingrained into my son’s head. Great….(she says sarcastically).)

2. “Why don’t these people ever sit?” A tired and frustrated seven-year old said five minutes into the game. Yes, Husker football games have more up and down movement than any church service I have ever attended. I forgot to prepare him for that. Oops!

3. “Daddy, I got to see a police officer take down a man with a taser!” Um, yeah, of all moments to take my son to the restroom, we got to see an assault of an officer and watch him take him down. I have no more words for that one….

4. “85,900 people is very crowded.” Husker games, where the stadium is the third largest town in our state on game day, is completely overwhelming, especially a kid who is sensitive to noise, and space. I thought his love of the game would trump that feeling.

5. “I would rather watch football at home than at the stadium. I learned that lesson tonight,” my son informed me of this in the second quarter. He then commenced in begging me to leave. I held him off until the fourth quarter, which was so exciting, he then wanted to stay. Whew!

6. “I didn’t know we could bring our own drinks in,” my son said as he watched a man pour liquid into his soda. I could have taken that moment to explain what a flask is, instead, I changed the subject. I figured he was already learning enough for one night.

7. “People mostly sit when the Huskers play offense, we have to stand during defense.” My son is always looking for patterns. I have never noticed that before. 😉

8. “It’s more fun when your team is winning.” At Saturday night’s game, we got experience plenty of both emotions. It’s so true, when the Huskers are winning the feeling in the stadium is indescribable, however when they are losing, it is quite the opposite. I have never seen the Huskers lose live, and I am glad my son hasn’t either. I can’t imagine.

9. McCartney is so fair when making calls, he could teach some umpires a thing or two. A few times I thought a person turned around to yell at him, when he was judging the calls on the screen. Luckily, no one was drunk enough to try to tell off my seven-year old. If baseball doesn’t work out, I hope he becomes a referee or umpire. He is very honest at making calls, even when it’s against his favorite team.

10. Even when he hates the loud noises, my son follows sporting events directions like a pro. He screamed his heart out when the screen said, “Make some noise.” And boy, he can out yell any drunk man any time, any place, any day.

Keeping in mind all of these life lessons, do I regret taking my son to the Huskers vs Badgers game Saturday night? No way! Despite the loud, crazy drunk people, the taser lesson, and flasks, it was so magical to sit/stand next to my son as we cheered on our favorite football team. It was a beautiful night, with lots of fun memories. I hope he eventually forgets about the swearing, yelling, and arrest, and remembers how much fun his mom can be!

A Big Change: Gluten-Free Living

Technically, this is part 3 of my current weight loss story, but I felt the need for a new title.  First of all, I want to say, I am sharing MY story.  I am not recommending anything to anyone, nor I am claiming to be a gluten-free resource.  You can Google it, there is way too much information out there, and I am not qualified to decipher who is credible and who isn’t.

I also see a lot of people who are angry that gluten-free eating has become a diet fad, because for many it is a an allergy and they don’t have a choice.  I want to stress to anyone who is considering going gluten-free, that it takes a long time to rid your body of gluten and once you have it again, you start all over.  So you can’t just do the gluten-free thing off and on, it’s a long-term commitment and life style change.  And, it’s not a diet because it might not work for everyone.  I am certain I have an intolerance.  I didn’t just put on weight because of candy bars and laziness.  I have been struggling to find something that worked for my body for YEARS and YEARS.

“Why write about it then?” you might wonder.  Well, good question!  If you read part 1 or part 2, you understand that I have been struggling with my weight and thyroid for 11 years.  You also know that I was at an all time energy low, and I needed to find out what was going on for me.  I also THOUGHT I was eating a good diet. I tried to eat whole foods, whole grains, and avoid processed junk, but I still gained weight, despite my heavy working out.  I WAS AT THE END OF MY ROPE.  I had tried everything I knew how to do.  Maybe, someone out there is collecting information about weight loss.  Maybe someone is desperate and doing what I was doing and not seeing results.  Maybe, just maybe, my story will be another’s “Aha Moment!”  Or maybe I am WRITING THIS FOR ME.  So on days when I want Old Chicago’s deep dish pizza or Italian Nachos, I will go back and read what I went through and that will be enough to find a better alternative.

Instead of giving you my theories as to why I think gluten is bad for MY body, I want to tell you how I made gluten-free living work for me, my family, and our budget.  Once again, this is my story, but take from it what you want.  I am not giving advice or telling you to do anything.  I am just sharing.

First of all, people have asked me over and over, “How do you afford the expensive food?”  Well, I will be the first to admit I hate to spend money on the junk of life.  I hate to buy groceries, gas, and household items.  They annoy me, but they are necessary.  Instead, I do my best with sales.  I make sure our family dinners have lots of meat and veggies in them.  I use salsa, GF soy sauce, cilantro, and ginger to add different flavors.  I also use BBQ sauce that is free of gluten and high fructose corn syrup.  The only GF specialty food I buy is my Udi’s bread and pizza crust.  I only eat one or two pieces of bread a day, and nothing more.  I have also learned what stores have the cheapest products.  For example, Trader Joe’s has very inexpensive brown rice pasta and gluten-free chicken broth.  Whole Foods has the best prices on almonds and cashews, which I lightly bake in my oven with traces of olive oil and sea salt.  Whenever I am near one of those stores, I try to stop by and pick up a small amount of their cheapest items, I rarely make a special trip to Omaha for just those items.  The rest of our groceries, I shop according to the sales, and we eat accordingly.  We have shopped like this for years and years.  I also am not a baker, so I am not supplementing my love of muffins or cakes with gluten-free options.  I am choosing not to eat them because they are not good for me.  However, if I had a huge craving for either I could easily go to our grocery stores freezer section and by frozen muffins, cookies, waffles, or really anything I could want.  I haven’t yet, but knowing the option is there, makes me NOT eating it MY choice.

“What do you eat?” is another popular question.  Well, I make stir fries with veggies and meat.  What I put in them varies.  I did learn from my Biggest Loser Cookbook about combining a cup of gf chicken broth, fresh cilantro, ginger, fresh garlic, and 1 tablespoon of gf soy sauce in a small food processor and them simmering my stir fry in it.  That adds a ton of good flavor to my stir fries.  (If I want a different flavor, I add different amounts of ginger, garlic, and cilantro.  Changing the amounts of those things makes a new flavor.)  I also make sure to eat MANY servings of protein and veggies each day.  I also try to eat my fruits in the morning, or at least before 3.  This time of year, an apple and peanut butter make my favorite snack.  I eat eggs for breakfast.  I also eat rice pasta, brown rice, and bread very sparingly.  When I do eat them, I eat just a little bit and try to have the gf bread as close to my workout as possible.  I will be the first to admit I am ready for a new cookbook with new ideas.

Some people have told me, “You are so lucky to have so much time for healthy cooking.”  Well, I don’t have as much as time as you think.  I am subbing, working out, and doing my grad school work, my husband works MANY hours, and I still have the mothering, wife, and family thing going on.  Plus, don’t forget about my photography addiction, and now blogging addiction.  However, I use my time wisely.  I let my crock pot cook for me A LOT. Okay, I admit, it cooks for me EVERY night.  I often cook all of my like meat at once, then I can quickly add it to my meal.  I cut all of my veggies as needed and cut up the whole bunch.  I wash all of my grapes at once, etc.  You all know these tricks, they have been around for ages, and I didn’t invent them.  I do little things each day to make our nights when we are running here, there, and everywhere easier.  McDonald’s is not an option, so I make sure we have things that are options for the whole family, and easy to make or reheat.

I could never give up pizza.” Yeah, me either, so I don’t.  I heard that Godfather’s has a take and bake GF pizza, but I haven’t tried it.  Instead, I quickly throw together my own pizza, as soon as I order for the family.  I eat two slices and put the rest in the fridge for another time.  The best thing about that is that I ALWAYS get my way on what kind of pizza I make and I don’t have to think about anyone else. I am really loving that option, honestly.

I really try to just eat the food that God put on the planet for our bodies.  If He made it, then I can have a taste.  If people made it, then I should avoid it.  

OK, I am sure that my eating habits are not that interesting, but I am writing all of this for two reasons.  One, when others ask what I am doing to lose weight, I have a few links to refer to, so I am not constantly rewriting the same tips and story over and over.  Two, these are LIFE changes, and I know for the long haul there will be tough times.  I HAVE to come back to these to remember why I gave it up in the first place.  I don’t ever want to go back to where I was earlier this year, EVER again.

I have a list of goals and some new things I want to try to keep moving in the healthy direction, but man, I am done writing about this stuff for now.  I will save it for another day.  If you have any questions about what or why I do, please ask!  I am not offended by people wanting to know.  I am not claiming to know anything other than what has worked for me.

Also, remember, I made all of these changes slowly and not all at once.  I am constantly growing, changing, and learning.  So, if you want to change your life, make a list of things you know you don’t like.  Pick one, and start today or tomorrow  but do it sooner than later. There is never the right time, and always an excuse.  We get this one life, shouldn’t we do everything we can to make it happy?

Thank you for reading!  I will return to my regular posts this weekend!

Faith, Patience, and Determination

I held on tight, praying that disaster would not strike. “You might have this one chance to get it right,” I told myself. I said a prayer, and hoped he would not fall. One injury could end this now. Who knows when he would get enough courage to try again? It had been more than eighteen months since the last attempt. There was no choice but to succeed.

I held my breath, looked at my seven-year old’s expectant face, “Try not to think about it, feel it inside and trust that,” I said.

He hesitated, thought, and said, “Ok. I can do this.”

“You can do this.”

I held onto his seat, and one handlebar, he slowly started to peddle. He peddled faster and faster, I let go of the handlebar. Soon, I let go of his seat, and for 5 seconds he rode his bike on two wheels alone! My son, who had little confidence in his balance, fear of crashing, let go of his fears, and for an afternoon trusted God and trusted me. We rode up and down the street for another half an hour and then took a break.

Before the second lesson of the day, I remembered the day he begged Scott to take off his training wheels. Scott did and proceeded to give McCartney his first bike riding lesson. Less than ten minutes later, Scott stomped up the driveway, with a tearful 6-year-old trailing behind him. “He won’t go fast enough. He’s too scared,” Scott reported. McCartney put his bike in the garage where it sat for over a year.

My son grew, and the bike stayed the same. He is too old for Cars and the helmet, but we refused to buy another that would just sit in the garage. Another summer went by, and it stayed parked in the same spot, never to be moved. Scott and I were disappointed, but we let it be. Our kids are not ready, so we took the easy way out. We didn’t press it, we just let the time pass. His friends, younger cousins, and so many around him learned, but he had no interest.

“Maybe he won’t ever want to learn.”

“He has to learn to trust first. He can’t be afraid of pain.”

Yesterday, I looked out the window, and I saw my son, with his bike and a new look of determination. I went outside, “Tomorrow, I will work with you on riding your bike.”

“Ok. I really want to learn!”

Our second lesson of the day, began hours after the first. It was time to make dinner, dishes in the sink, laundry in the drier, but my son, said, “Will you please give me another lesson?”

“I need 5 minutes,” I said.

He sat on the couch and waited patiently. At the stroke of 5 minutes, he said, “It’s been 5 minutes, will you teach me now?”

“Sure, let’s go.” We headed outside. He quickly put on his helmet, and we coasted down the driveway. “Remember, try not to think, listen to your body. You can do this,” I coached.

Within a few short minutes, I was running along side of the bike, with one finger on the seat. “At some point, I will let go. I won’t tell you, you have to have faith, you can do this,” I told my son.

“Ok,” he said with a look of uncertainty.

We went a few more rounds, and I barely held on more and more. I had a moment of fear. “If I let go and he falls, then will be trust me again?” Earning my son’s trust for this event, was a big deal, I did not want to lose it. I quickly said a prayer, and as he gained speed, I let go and he went alone, the length of two yards.

“You did it! You rode alone!” I exclaimed.

“I rode my bike by myself? I did?” He yelled.

“Yes, you did! I am so proud of you and your hard work!”

We went a few more rounds, and before I knew it, he said, “You can stay here, Mom. I don’t need you.”

“Remember, you can do this. There isn’t anything you haven’t done alone. I know you can do it.”

The next thing I knew, he was riding up and down the block, alone. I watched and photographed, because that is what I do when my kids don’t need me any more. I document and revel at what amazing people they are.

We loaded up the bike, and drove to the lake. My son quickly hopped on his bike, that is too small and too young for him, and circled the lake, independent and alone. Three point two miles later, he said, “I am really good at riding my bike.” And he is. He can start, stop, coast, and use his break like an old pro. Scott and I are happy and proud.

Right before bed, he said, “I think God helped me learn how to ride my bike tonight.”

“Yes, Buddy, He did. We never do anything alone. God gave me patience, and you determination. Between the three of us, you learned how to ride your bike. I am so proud of your hard work.”

If only we could always let kids learn when they are ready. When it’s time for a child to take the risk to learn, it happens naturally. Grandma was right, “When a pumpkin is ripe it will fall from the vine.”

A Few Small Changes Add up to Whole Bunch, Part 2

Hey!  Thanks for coming back to read about my weight loss.  Today’s post is about the power of blogging, and how that can lead to the biggest change yet.  If you are wondering why I am welcoming anyone back, then feel free to visit my first post about my weight loss.  Click here, please.

Anyway, the first changes I made in 2012 were:

1. I turned soda into green tea.  Well, I guess I didn’t turn it into green tea, but I did an exchange.  I traded two sodas a day for a gallon of green tea.

2. I severely cut down on carbs and bread.

3. I started only using recipes from The Biggest Loser’s 30 Day Jumpstart Guide.

4. I drank many glasses of green smoothies each day and timing my carbs.  I make sure I eat carbs in the mornings, and after 3, try really hard to just have veggies and protein.  I will have some carbs like brown rice, or  rice noodles with dinner, but not much and not often.

5. I made sure I was active by attending 2 spin classes a week, and two body pump classes.

6. I made sure to avoid processed foods and alcohol.

7. NO SECOND helpings, ever.  Even at restaurants.  The goal was to eat less. Period.

Those changes took a long time to implement because I did NOT do them all at once.  I did them one at a time, until it became easy, and then made another change.  I keep that philosophy up, and I plan on doing it for life.

Overall, for me, the biggest change took place in my head.  I let go of trying to be perfect and look perfect.  I am not perfect, end of story. Plus, I am working on not caring about what others think, and this is SUPER hard for this hardcore people pleaser.  I am trying to be happy with where I am in this moment.  I don’t care what others think is the ideal woman or that my new “thinner” is still fatter than many people’s fat.  I am almost at a healthy BMI, and that’s what’s important to ME.  TRUST me, the mental stuff, has been a long time coming and it is SUPER hard to remember everyday.  However, I find it essential in order to keep plugging away at my LIFE CHANGES.

Yes, you saw LIFE CHANGES.  I mean it.  I am not going back.  That means when I reach my next goal, I am not reverting back to my old ways.  It means that clean eating, working out, and no soda are here to stay.  I am not giving myself permission to gain it back, EVER.

Okay, so enough of that, on with my journey.  I kept plugging away at my changes through May and June.  By July, I had lost around 25 pounds, when my doctor said she wanted to change my thyroid medicine.  I cried and refused.  I was FINALLY losing weight, this was not the time to play around with medicine.  Anyway, after a tearful conversation, that ended with me getting my way, I did what I do when I have emotions, I blogged about it.  However, I never linked that blog to Facebook or social media, because I wasn’t quite ready to share.  I figured my hard-core readers would see the post AND they did.

That afternoon, in July, I received a message on Facebook from a high school friend.  One simple message, changed my life.  She explained to me that she has had a similar journey with her thyroid.  She also talked about her severe fatigue (like me) and HOW she lost a lot of weight.  It was one simple solution, that is not as easy as it sounds.  She is GLUTEN FREE.

Well, those of you who know me, know that we tried the GF diet (we also gave up casein) when my son was diagnosed with autism years ago.  However, the market for gluten-free living has drastically changed in the past 5 years.  While I was a bit skeptical about whether or not I could do, I was TIRED of being EXHAUSTED ALL OF THE TIME.  When I say exhausted, I mean, I had a hard time getting to the basement to bring up laundry.  Some days, that felt like a HUGE ordeal.  I felt like that for years, even when teaching.  Some days, I wonder how I actually functioned.  It was time to take a risk, that only had a good end result.  It either would work and I would have more energy, or it wouldn’t work.  What did I have to lose?  At that point, I had only been eating two pieces of bread a day, so the daily impact wasn’t that huge.

We had a road trip coming up, so I decided to take some time to make a plan, slowly move my taste buds over to different foods, fit it in our budget, and figure out how to do it right.  It takes a few months to work gluten out of your system.  So any time you eat gluten, it’s like starting over.  I decided that August would be a great month to dive into gluten-free living and see how it worked.  In the meantime, I would have my favorite foods little by little, one last time, while trying to not eat gluten anyway.  Even on our road trip, the closer it got to August, the less gluten filled items I ate.  Once we came home, that day, I was completely done with gluten.

The first few changes I saw, was my skin rash that I had been fighting on my knees for years, slowly cleared up and it hasn’t returned.  Next, I noticed that my gums that had been bleeding, despite my CRAZY teeth habits (I am so obsessed with good mouth hygiene, I should probably see a psychiatrist about it), stopped.  Then I realized that my stomach no longer hurt after every meal.  I started feeling lighter, and not just because I was still losing weight.  My mind started clearing up, and the fog was slowly lifting.  It’s so hard to explain, except each day feels like I wake up even more.

Am I ready to run up and down the walls?  No. I have been sleep deprived lately, however, I only feel tired, not EXHAUSTED.  I am excited to see what happens once I get back into good sleep habits.  Everyday I am not eating gluten, I feel better than the day before.  I guess you could call it an awakening.

So when people find out that I am gluten-free, and say I have a strong will power, I respectfully disagree.  It’s not will power, but an understanding that this food is REALLY bad for my body.  It’s not just bad, but it is keeping me from the life I want.  I look at it as poison.  If it could kill a dog, it could kill me.  I know, this is drastic, but it is HOW I say NO to rolls, bread, fries, muffins, and other yummy treats EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I have come to accept that I have a thyroid disorder, so I need to treat it like a disorder.  I also have a gluten intolerance, and I HAVE to stay away from it.  It’s not a diet, but a lifestyle.  A lifestyle that is slowly giving me my true self back.  Knowing that I am living my best life, is worth every single struggle with being left out of the treats.

OK, this is LONG enough.  I have more to share, but I will sign off for today.

Do you have any questions about gluten-free living? I am going to write a post about how I try to keep it simple, so let me know if you are wondering anything.

Thank you for reading my personal story.