Updated: Jan 27
I arrived home from the hospital with my newborn son. Having had a c-section I was trying to take it easy while adjusting to the new normal of breastfeeding, changing diapers, and soothing cries. Despite the joy of being a new mom, I was very unhappy with myself. I had always struggled with my weight, but now I was heavier than I had ever been. I was 218 pounds. "How did I let this happen?" I thought to myself.
Yes, I had been pregnant, but I was ashamed for letting myself go. Not only was I upset about the weight, but I had been suffering from frequent migraines, adult acne, gastritis, Irritable bowels, fatigue, poor sleep, and mood swings that nearly tore my marriage apart several times. Life felt hard enough without kids and now I had a child that needed me no matter how I felt. Possibly one of the hardest things for me, was trying to pull myself together enough to carry out the intimate task of breast feeding a baby, while in the midst of a horrible mood swing. Digestive trouble and migraines were increasingly difficult to contend with as well. Before having kids, I could go in the bedroom, close the door, and not be bothered until I felt better. That was no longer an option for me when I felt unwell. Babies still need to be changed, fed, and given attention no matter how you’re feeling. This had to stop. I had to do something.
I started going to the gym and trying to cook better meals. I had read about food sensitivities and was realizing I probably had at least a few. I struggled with the idea at first. It seemed impossible to remove staples like dairy and wheat from my diet. Weren’t these foods supposed to be healthy? Slowly, I started to remove them and get used to their alternatives. This didn’t happen overnight. I started slowly and at first, I wasn’t much better and couldn’t tell if removing these foods really made a difference. It wasn’t until I was able to go several weeks or months without these foods in my diet that I really noticed a reduction in almost all of my symptoms. I knew for sure they were a problem when I finally ate a bagel with cream cheese and had a horrible migraine 24hrs later, along with pinched nerves in my upper back, several zits, and felt like I had rocks in my stomach. I was still struggling with my weight and after a visit with my naturopath, learned I had adrenal fatigue. She put me on a supplement program and advised me on a few more dietary changes to correct leaky gut and gastritis. Finally, the weight started coming off and I continued to have fewer and fewer headaches. I also noticed I was getting sick a lot less, and when I did, my symptoms were a lot milder. My body was getting healthier, and weight loss was a happy and welcome side effect! I was so impressed by nutrition! I learned that first, the body needs to be healthy and have any imbalances corrected.
Weight loss for me was a happy side effect of correcting what was wrong within my body and removing supposedly healthy foods that didn’t agree with me. This is also where I learned that diet is not a one size fits all approach. During this time, I became increasingly passionate about nutrition and wanted to learn more so that I could continue to help myself in the future while also receiving the joy in helping others.