Picking Up Your Life With Healthy Striving

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”

-Brene Brown

(Gifts of Imperfection  is an exceptional book of Brene’s to read).

Healthy Striving

Healthy Striving

Why I Decided To Eat Healthier

Healthy Eating

We Follow Harvard’s “Healthy Eating Plate”

 

Since 2014 I have had on and off bouts of some intense symptoms of fibromyalgia, POTS, and/or chronic fatigue syndrome, along with a few other health issues with my heart and skin that made me feel as if I was entering into a geriatric state. With three young kids at home and a husband whose career was growing quickly requiring overtime and occasional 1-2 week long business trips, it became difficult to manage even some of the basic household tasks. I was overwhelmed and desperate to find answers. Part of my personality is one to look for answers to everything! Obviously I researched and listened and asked a lot of people about these health conditions and tried to learn as much as I could. A main theme that came up was with food. Everyone had different ideas as to what would heal me. Doctors gave medicine, business men and women sold supplements, health nuts offered nutritional advice and diets, and anyone who had ever even heard of the disease knew exactly what would make me feel better. It seemed as time went on the overwhelm and confusion became more.  I prayed and read my scriptures desperately and diligently to find answers.

In one weeks period, several people had mentioned how going gluten free had healed them. For whatever reason I still felt confused, though I was beginning to question whether diet really had any part on how I was feeling. I talked to my husband incessantly about this and he said he wanted to support me, that he wanted to help me feel better and was willing to try a new diet, but his stipulation was that it had to be one that was conducive to our whole family. A few days later he came back with a “plan” from Harvard University that made so much sense to me. It seemed so simple. It seemed easier. It seemed like a light had went on in my head. I knew this was our answer, and I was grateful.

I asked Scott to describe me in one word. His response was proactive. So obviously when I found this answer, the next day I spent cleaning out  my pantry with anything that wasn’t on this list. I also made a plan, a theme, so to speak of how we would carry out and be consistent with this diet. I included alternative ways to some of our traditions. My husband was so scared. He takes things a lot more slowly, so just in case I kept a few extra “old foods” downstairs in my cold storage without telling anyone. Just in case we wanted to revert to our old ways. That night, on Thursday February 23 2017, to be exact we started our journey to regaining our health back.

Did it completely heal me? No. But in one weeks time, I went from NEEDING 1-2 naps a day, to having one nap the whole week on Sunday. I went from hardly being able to stand longer than 20 minutes without wanting to pass out or feeling extremely flu-like, to being able to cook every single meal. I would say I want from 30% of functioning to 60%. The improvement was huge. I definitely saw an improvement in my energy. I was able to do not all, but some of the things I had loved to do before I had my last flare. My plans for the future seemed brighter again. And the best part of it all for me, was seeing my families health problems mostly disappear, and teaching them by example what healthy eating habits are. My 4-year-old daughter who had been on laxatives for chronic constipation her whole life and was always bloated, for the first time without any added effort, pooped on her own, diarrhea even (which is a celebration for her for sure). Her stomach bloating was even noticeably reduced. My son, who almost daily was complaining of stomach and neck pain due to stomach migraines, hadn’t complained the whole week. the interesting thing was the Friday after we started we had pizza and game night at our friends home. Since our rule is we eat healthy at home, but we eat whatever people feed us at theirs, we had carry out pizza. That night, my son was complaining of stomach and neck pain. My daughter would be backed up, until a few days later after eating healthy food. This was consistent, as the next weekend we had cake and ice cream for a birthday. That night, they were complaining of not feeling well again. My husband had a lot of energy was waking up early to work out. He likes his sleep, so this was a huge step for him.

There has to be something to eating healthy. There has to be something to getting enough sleep and drinking enough water. And there has to be something to being active. I still can’t work out like I would like to. But I can do gentle yoga in the morning for 15 minutes. I can go on walks to my mailbox (which is down a big hill and a block away) without my lymph node swelling and feeling like I have the flu.  This has been the biggest blessing and I can’t wait to learn more so I can further help my family.

*As a side-note, an added bonus has been in a months period of using this diet, my husband got off his heartburn medication AND we both lost weight without feeling restricted or hungry or like we were on a diet. My husband lost almost 10 pounds in one month and I lost 6. Definitely a bonus that we hadn’t planned on.

What plan we follow: Harvard’s “Healthy Eating Plate and Healthy Eating Pyramid”. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate/

https://cdn1.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2012/09/Healthy-Eating-Pyramid-handout.pdf

Copyright © 2011, Harvard University. For more information about The Healthy Eating Plate, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, http://www.thenutritionsource.org, and Harvard Health Publications, http://www.health.harvard.edu.

* We have also tried to eliminate any additives, preservatives, or processed foods. This means I make our bread, tortillas, pancake mix, dressings, etc., but the extra work is more than worth it, and really hasn’t been too hard as long as I have planned.

Homemade

Friday Pizza Night

UPDATE: Now almost six months later we for the most part still follow this plan. We have found sauces at the store that are “homemade” without any additives and preservatives and we sometimes use these. We sometimes go out to eat and I feel like I have consequences after. Sometimes it has to happen. Sometimes, especially with the summer heat, which worsens my conditions, I have to survive, so we don’t always follow our rules. The key point though is that we are still following this plan and trying to be consistent and we have seen huge improvements. This HAS NOT healed me, but it has helped tame some of my symptoms. Following a well-rounded diet has been a huge blessing for our family.

Life Coaching Helped Me To Find Out Who I Am

During 2013-2014 I took a life coaching course from Master Coach Kimberly Giles at Clarity Point Coaching (http://www.claritypointcoaching.com/). This was a three month course with a weekly phone call. I was hesitant to pay the price, but knew I needed help changing my mindset. I had been struggling with postpartum depression and knew that some of my suffering (though I still needed medication), was due to my ignorance, so-to-speak, of life. It was a life changing experience that helped me through some of life’s most difficult circumstances. I am and always will be grateful for Kim’s training. At the end of the training, Kim had me write a Who Am I paper. I used several of her words throughout her readings to create a piece of who I am. Kim gave me the permission to publish this article. I look back at what I wrote now 3 1/2 years ago. The amazing thing is I haven’t changed. This is still who I am. My value has never changed. Am I perfect at believing and acting upon these words? NO! Kim told me it would be a daily process as this life is a classroom. We are learning every day. Hope you can enjoy and maybe pull out some truths that ring true for you, as we are all created differently. WHO ARE YOU really??

Who Am I

The truth is-I am Megan Hastings. I am compassionate. I am beautiful inside and out. I am poised. I have characteristics and gifts that are unique only to me. I accurately see people for who they are. I value the need for meaning and clearly see who I am in this moment. I know my worth is absolute and infinite. I put problems and obstacles in proper perspective and I know good things always happen to me. I am a confident and honest woman who uses my knowledge to bless others.

I get to choose love motivation in everything I do. I have nothing to prove as I cannot fail. I look for opportunities to edify people every day. I ask questions to listen and validate people, thus choosing love. I see negative thoughts and emotions as they are…distractions. In every situation I choose to focus on validating others. When receiving validation, I always make it about others.

I no longer allow comparing of other people. I know this truth that, “The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you..except for yourself.” For this reason, I question my motivation for doing things. I will do things out of love and trust and because I want to. I will also claim the right to be quiet if that is how I feel. I do not allow the moods of others to influence mine. I know that we are all good people, we just struggle on occasion. When I see others as myself, I will see them with wisdom and compassion. When I serve God and myself first, I am able to help others.

I am creating the life I want right now. My purpose in life is to learn, which is why I will not let mistakes and weaknesses define me. I will set a new standard as I reclaim my power to choose my mindset. Though my subconscious mind is faster, my ability to consciously choose is always stronger. Suffering is created when I resist the process and the growth. I do not doubt my abilities and I do not shrink from my challenges. I trust God, the Universe and the process of life. I am strong because I choose trust. I know that with every fiber of my being that I was born to win. I know that I have the ability to create what I desire. I have free agency so I can decide who I want to be and live my life to the fullest.

I trust my first impressions because I trust myself and I trust that Heavenly Father will guide me. I choose to do what is important to me which includes creating family memories, spontaneity, laughter, daily walks, dinner time, and focusing on each other through pure love. I am safe in the process of becoming and my real goal is to live without fear. I live from a place of trust and love.

I choose gratitude in every moment. I choose to live on purpose and with intention. I will toot my own horn and be proud of my accomplishments. I have several callings that I love and fulfill such as being a wife, mother and friend; these callings do not define me. I am Megan and always will be. I completely love and accept myself. I am strong, loving and incomparable. I am ME.

“Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.” -Doris Mortman

“Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

“Like the sky opens after a rainy day we must open to ourselves…Learn to love yourself for who you are and open so the world can see you shine.” -James Poland

Who I Am

Me and My Darling Niece.

EDITED: As a side note. Taking the Myers-Briggs Personality Test has been super helpful for me and other friends and family in discovering who you are. Answering the questions honestly (not what you think is a good answer), and reading up on your strengths and weakness (knowing that they are neither good or bad, just make up who you are), can help you find out what makes you tick, why you act the way you do and help you understand others with maybe whose relationships you struggle with. Just a thought in helping you become who you were meant to be, no matter the situation! And if you are wondering who I am, too bad! Just kidding. I have the ISFJ (assertive) personality. Now you know why I am so weird  😉

https://www.16personalities.com/

I believe in you. I believe you can make miracles happen. And I believe that peace (true inner peace) is the answer.

Why I Write About Chronic Illness and God

After experiencing chronic illness for a few years, I was confused as to what was going on with my body, my limitations, and with how I was living my life. After being diagnosed with ME/CFS I felt profound relief knowing my experiences were real, but I also was a little confused. What is the purpose of this disease? What am I supposed to learn from this? How am I supposed to cope and raise a family? Years prior to this time period, I began writing hoping to share some of my experiences after recovering from postpartum depression. At that time I was wondering why I was experiencing depression and I asked the Lord what he wanted me to learn. After recovery, and over the course of the next few years, several people opened up to me and shared their experiences of depression wishing they had known more about depression and how to deal with it. They asked for help. I began to understand I was experiencing this trial, so I could help others and lift and encourage them. And maybe even guide them to recovery through God. Feeling others pain helps us to understand them better. After all,  He uses us as instruments for His purposes. So, again, when I was diagnosed with ME/CFS a few years later, the feeling and need to write was strong. I began writing again for the second time and learned that God wanted me to share about chronic illness, to give a voice to those who are suffering in any way.

I am scared to share and open up about chronic illness. First of all, I’m not sure I really understand it all, so what could little old me possibly share with anyone else. Second, no one likes to hear about someone’s problems and I don’t like to complain. I’m definitely a “the glass is half-full” kind of a person and negativity is not a  good word to describe my personality. Third, though I am extremely open and will share information if I think someone needs help, I don’t like talking about me or my private life at all. When the spotlight shines on me, it is blinding and uncomfortable. But one day, as I was reading my scriptures, I could imagine the Lord saying, “If you could help one person, like articles you have read have helped you, would you help me?” Sometimes it is easier to say yes, than it is actually to do. So, I said yes. And now here I am left with the growing pains that come with learning to seek out God and help His people.

Journal and Scriptures

Learn of me

Living with chronic illness is not easy. It is confusing, overwhelming, painful, hard, and downright cruel to its victims. It can leave its victims misunderstood, depressed, anxious and scared. But as with any other life trial that WE WILL experience on this fallen earth, God will walk with us, IF WE ASK HIM. Deuteronomy 5:33 tells us, “Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.”

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 KJV). He is the way. He is the light and life. And He will bring us the TRUE happiness we seek through any of life’s darkest trials.

I believe in you. I believe you can make miracles happen. And I believe that peace (true inner peace) is the answer.