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I was a pretty typical teenager. I was lazy, and I ate whatever I wanted, and I took everything I had for granted. However, my situation was not typical. I was the oldest girl of 11 kids and my life was pretty much ruled by my family and circumstances. My regular routine was school, helping with kid’s homework, more babysitting, making dinner and putting kids to bed. I loved my family, but it was almost a relief to get my first job and have some time away from home.
As far as health and fitness it was nonexistent. Our household ate a lot of prepackaged meals packed with fat and sodium. If we didn’t have multiple cartons of ice cream in our freezer something was wrong. It was a regular thing to have an overflowing bowl of ice cream at night. I scoffed at the idea of going to the gym. I thought that if I started gaining weight that a change in diet and exercise would immediately fix everything. And it would be easy because my body wouldn’t be used to it so it would react stronger to the changes. I wish it was that easy.
When I got married in 2010, I weighed 135 and was skinny and sexy. The women in my family were blessed with a nice hourglass figure (when at a healthy weight). After I got married, I stayed in the habit of making meals for a big family and it caused lots of overeating. When I discovered how amazing food could be when cooked from scratch, I was on a mission to find the perfect recipes for all my favorite things. Which usually consisted of sweets and fatty foods. I’m pretty sure I cooked 6 different cheesecakes in one month looking for one that was a real cheesecake without being way to dense.
Before having my first child in 2015 I had been working hard to get healthier and had lost some weight. This pregnancy I was able to work out up until 8 months pregnant then switched to yoga. The first time ever in my life that I had seriously tried yoga. I felt amazing and gained flexibility I’d never had in my life while I was 9 months pregnant. However, after having my first kid my body could not handle the crazy influx of hormones. Things went downhill really fast for me. I was miserable, I couldn’t handle anything, and I was an emotional wreck. After months of struggling with life and very seriously hating my own husband I was diagnosed with severe postpartum depression. I was put on a strong dose of Zoloft. Which took away the miserable side of things and made me realize the hate I was harboring for my husband was 90% in my own mind. It was ok not to be miserable, but the Zoloft took more than my misery away. It took all feeling. I didn’t feel bad, but I didn’t feel good. I felt like it had taken all feeling from me and I felt like a robot.
This is the point in my life when I started doing lots of real research on medicines and supplements and the effect of specific natural ingredients to the body and mind. I got off the Zoloft and started doing my own cocktail of supplements. This was such a natural change that I second guessed it so many times. I felt normal, so normal that I just thought I was getting over the depression, and it might not have anything to do with the supplements. I would start feeling so good I would forget or think I didn’t need to take the supplements. And every single time I would start having bad days and emotional days again. My husband would gently remind me to stay on top of my supplements.
When I finally trusted that these simple resources were making a real difference, I started noticing bigger changes. I was more lighthearted. One day my husband commented that it had been a long time since he had heard me singing to myself while cooking and cleaning. I hadn’t even realized I was doing it!
This was a huge turnaround for me, and I felt motivated to actually accomplish things. This is when I started running long distance instead of a mile at a time, I was doing 3-6 miles. I even did a 10 mile where I left my house ran down a walking path that cut across multiple cities and had my husband pick me up ten miles away. I ran 3 Ragnar races in 1 year! I cared about my health and my weight. However, I was still having issues. I was gaining weight at an incredible rate! I was having menstrual cycles from hell, and it didn’t matter what I did I continued to have physical issues. When I went over the 200-weight mark, I was desperate and went looking for help. This is when I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome aka PCOS. I had multiple cysts, one of which was a 10 centimeter (this is considered pretty large). It’s a condition where hormones are completely out of control and it causes the cysts to grow, weight gain and a lot of other problems I was having.