Struggles and Finding Balance

So yeah. A lot of shit has happened since July. Like A LOT. Trying to stay on track and eat right and exercise has gone out the window more or less.

After I broke my tailbone in early July, we went on a wonderful 10 day vacation where I gained almost 10 lbs. I got right back to eating well after the trip and lost 8 of it pretty quickly.
I had a small surgery in early August and knew I wouldn’t be able to exercise for a couple of weeks, but I planned on getting back to the gym. I started taking 2 mile walks every morning at work (before it got deathly hot.)
A week after my surgery my life changed forever.
Louisiana had historic flooding that devastated thousands of homes and many families. We had 6 feet of water in our neighborhood and about 3 ft came inside. We lost all our furniture, our place to live, *luckily we were renters* and I lost a good bit of my priceless photos.

Photo trash:

photos

We were fortunate enough that we were able to salvage our clothes, some kitchen stuff, and a lot of our wedding things/gifts. We waded out in chest high water with only a backpack of clothes and our dogs. After about 2 miles, we were picked up at a grocery store by my mom. We are beyond blessed that her house was in the 10% of our town that didn’t flood and that the small mile long stretch of road from her house to that store was open. We lost our car. We lost… our sanity.

My city:

denham

The next week is a blur. After 48 hours the water receded and we were able to get back in and get out what we could. The waiting was the hardest part. My dad had to be airlifted out in a coast guard helicopter for emergency dialysis. No words will ever accurately describe the emotions I felt watching him being taken away in that helicopter. I’m forever grateful to my friends, family, and the coast guard for coordinating that.

cajun_navy_2
Our local community of Baton Rouge came together unlike anything I’ve ever seen. People from all over the state and even from out of state were driving in with their boats to rescue thousands of people who were stranded in their homes or on top of their homes. The “Cajun Navy” was born. These kind hearted people didn’t have to come. They didn’t have to work day and night to save these people, but they did. It was truly remarkable.

cajun-navy-2

I must also say a heart felt thank you to the LSU Fieldhouse Medical Shelter that was put in place and took care of my mom and dad while we coordinated his dialysis. It was such a blessing in a difficult time.

The shelter:

lsu

My friends were my salvation during that week. Money was raised to help us, donations were sent, care packages were created, and even more. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for these people and their enormous hearts. I seriously could have broken down and given up that week without their support.

We sorted through what could be saved and basically took over my mom’s garage with storing our salvaged stuff. We are fortunate that Justin’s job at the hotel allowed him to live in a room free of charge so that he could still work. I am beyond blessed that my job gave me a paid week off to get things in order over here. My mom and I had to go to Mississippi to get a rental car while we waited for insurance to settle on our flooded car. In the weeks that past, things started to normalize. A bit. I was more or less on “the katrina diet” which consists of eating when you remember to and never sitting down longer than a few minutes at a time.

This is my normal:

street

disaster

However, once I had healthy groceries and a little more time to cook, I still couldn’t get to the gym. I was in a lot of pain post op from surgery, my tailbone, and just stress. I couldn’t find a routine. And I don’t blame myself. I learned a lot about what I’m capable of in the face of a tragedy.
It’s funny; I don’t feel like I was one of the ones who lost everything. I feel grateful. Grateful that we got out what we could. Grateful that we have a place to live. Grateful that we can still work. Grateful that we got a great settlement on our car. Grateful that we were able to finance a brand new car that is incredibly affordable.

car

Grateful that my parents were spared; they are saving our lives right now.
My perspective is definitely a positive one only because I know how much worse it could be. I was a renter and was able to walk away and not have to think about rebuilding like the thousands of other families.
This tragedy is bringing a sense of freedom. There is something incredibly refreshing about a new start.
Now that the dust has settled 6 weeks later, there are many large changes happening. We are starting a new chapter in our lives. We aren’t staying in Louisiana. We are saving to relocate. In the meantime, I’m going to focus my energy on getting myself back on track physically because I know how bad I feel mentally when I don’t care for my body properly.

We decided to go get a good dose of New Orleans last week when we thought about how much we would miss the food and lifestyle down here. We ATE ALL THE THINGS. It was awesome. My amazing husband had just kicked so much ass in the last 2 months. He lost 25 lbs in 8 weeks! It was also his birthday, So we celebrated by eating pretty much whatever we wanted that day. About a year ago or even 6 months ago, I would have beat myself up relentlessly about making bad decisions. Even though we walked 5 miles that day, I was still up a bit on the scale afterwards. It’s totally ok. It is more than alright to live life and not feel guilt. There is no “good” or “bad” when eating. It is simply food. Some of it just isn’t as nourishing as other choices. You are not less than because of what you ate even when you are trying to lose weight. I’ve said it before, but your self worth is not defined by a number. You hear a lot about the 80/20 rule. That 20% is important. You don’t have to be perfect. We are human. We NEED to be able to enjoy the things that bring us small bits of joy in dark days. Even if it is beignets in New Orleans!

beignets

I got to the gym a few times last week. I went to my first two classes in almost 3 months. It felt good. I felt like I challenged myself and actually needed to prove to myself that I wasn’t completely lost on my track to better health.

crazy-eyes

I may or may not have eaten way too much yesterday, but again, I’m not less than because I gained a few pounds.

It sounds silly that I used to think I didn’t deserve a cookie or a dessert when I was so committed to losing weight. It’s not that I had a skewed version of myself or my goal, it’s just that I wanted to achieve something so badly I was losing sight of the BALANCE that is life. I’ve learned a lot about priorities over the last 2 months. I’ve learned what really matters and what doesn’t. My family is my priority. My health is a priority and I know that when I don’t treat my body well that I don’t feel as good.

So, moving forward and leading to the big changes in my life, I will honor myself enough to know that I need exercise to feel good and to have high energy. I will decide to keep up with my healthy meal planning and commit to cooking and prepping so that I set myself up for success every week. I will look at each day as a challenge while still looking at the big picture. I will take the struggles I’ve been dealt and turn them into positives.

This will not be an easy time emotionally, but I know I’m tough as nails and can pretty much do anything when I really put my heart into it. I deserve to give myself that much credit. I’m going back to no dairy, no sugar, no wheat and we will see how much my body will allow at the gym. I hope to start blogging more regularly so that I can use this as a platform to motivate myself and not just others.

Adversity can do two things: It can cripple you and diminish your spirit or it can motivate you to challenge yourself and tackle the unimaginable. I know which one I choose.

BRING IT ON, LIFE. You ain’t got nuthin on me.

bring-it-on

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