My transformation didn’t happen over night. Like most people I had to hit my own rock bottom before I decided to take control of my own health. For me it was Postpartum depression.
I was 32 years old and had just had my 4th baby. PPD was settling in again. I knew the symptoms far too well. Unfortunately I also knew that each time it got worse and much harder to get out of it..
5 pregnancies, 4 babies and 1 miscarriage. Each one took me to a darker place then the previous time. Most people didn’t notice since Im very good at saying “Everything’s Great!” with a big smile plastered across my face.
Then my ex’s job relocated us away from my family, my support system, and that’s when my dark hole grew out of control.
I’d moved around before, 49 times precisely…(my ex played professional baseball) But I’d never moved with four small children and being depressed. All my prior moves were temporary relocations, this was not. ~Hole got darker. We moved from sunny South Florida to gloomy New Jersey with winter fast approaching. ~Hole just got deeper. Moved away from my family, my Cuban culture, my language, my food, my soul. What runs through my veins and defined me at the time…being Cuban. Hole is now ginormous.
I gave it a full year but found myself completely hopeless and my desperate pleas for help fell on deaf ears. I ran to my GP and she diagnosed me with PPD. Gave me a prescription and told me to shut down my factory. “No more babies for you. You may pop’em out just fine but this is affecting your brain chemistry.”
I started taking Wellbutrin and then moved to Lexapro and others trying to find the right one but they just numbed my pain. Yet each month I did as I was told to do. Run to the GP. Answer some questions about my meds. Grab my script and run to the pharmacy. And each month I prayed…I want the old Josette back! The cheery and energetic Josette!!!! What’s it gonna take!?!!?!?
There was no support from my immediate family. My ex told me “meds are a crutch” and my mom’s response was “You don’t need medication, you just need to pray your rosary more often.”
I knew I didn’t want to live dependent on anti-depressants forever. This was not living. This was barely surviving but no one was throwing me a lifevest. New home. No family. Husband never home. No friends. No culture. No language. Tired of feeling tired and hopeless and to top it off, I was overweight, which depressed me even more!
I decided to do some research of my own and had found articles on how food affects your mood. I was willing to make changes but I also knew my history with dieting….I was a huge yo-yo dieter!! Always started out like a racehorse but would fizzle quickly with a bunch of excuses and just quit.
I knew I had to do this slowly in order for me to stick to these changes and eventually wean myself from my medications.Every diet I’d ever done always had a “You can’t eat ____ on this diet.” whether it was carbs or fat or fruit or protein or dairy… blah blah blah!! I don’t know about you but the moment someone tells me “you can’t eat bananas on this diet” I become obsessed with them!! I don’t care if I haven’t had a banana in years, if you tell me from now on you can’t eat them I will want a banana badly!! And I’ll see them everywhere!! Banana bread. Banana pudding, banana muffins, banana splits!!! JUST GIVE ME A FRIGGIN BANANA!!!!!!
It was Christmas of 2003 and I had just bought a a 2004 calendar. I sat down and decided to make 1 change a week. I wrote it down. Every Sunday night. Make 1 change.
My first change was switching my Peppermint Mocha creamer for skim milk. That was it. That’s all I changed that first week of 2004. My second Sunday I switched my before bed hot cocoa and marshmallows to diet hot cocoa and fat free whipped cream. Third Sunday was eat breakfast as soon as I got out of bed. I use to just drink coffee til lunch time.
At this point I had started going to the gym, taking aerobics classes daily gave me an instant mood booster. I knew exercise was important for me since I had been diagnosed with scoliosis at age 9. My doctors told me I needed to exercise everyday. Not exercising was NOT an option for me.
A few weeks later the group fitness coordinator approached me and told me I should become certified to teach aerobics. I was floored and thought, “NO WAY!! i don’t even look like a fitness instructor! Have you seen me?!?!?” But he convinced me to start studying and he would help me prepare for the test. I remembered having fitness instructors who weren’t very fit but they were still amazing motivators and then I thought, “Why not me?!?!?”
This was a huge log thrown into my healthier me fire!!!!
<When the student is ready, the teacher will appear>
i met a personal trainer who was getting his PHD in Physical therapy. This guy looked like a complete muscle head but man he knew his stuff inside and out. He could tell just by looking at you if you needed more protein, carbs or holding too much water. It was amazing!! He became my mentor for the next 3 years and I learned so much about food and all the science behind it.
Winter came and went and I grew stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. I felt better than I ever had in my entire life and was confident about getting off medications under my doctor’s supervision. The fog had finally lifted. I could see clearly and for the first time realized Id been going through my entire life feeling like crap but never knew it because I never felt this great before. I didnt know the difference!! What a life changing moment for me. And I knew from this moment on I would never go back to eating the way I use to eat. Just for my mental sanity alone I wouldn’t. I couldn’t!!!!!
You know the feeling of finding an amazing pair of shoes or an incredible bargain and you want to share it with the world?? That’s how I felt about my nutrition transformation and I wanted EVERYBODY to feel this awesome!!!
I want you to look and feel amazing no matter how old you are. I now know after living clean for seven years…Reading, studying, conferences, workshops, certifications, nutrition IS the key to health. And I confirm this every time I eat a cheat meal and the food doesn’t agree with me. Every fried food, sugary treat, processed garbage makes me ill from head to toe.
Because I’ve kept food journals, I know exactly how food affect my mood, energy, libido, focus, sleep, workouts, hormones, weight, skin, hair, EVERYTHING!!! Food is MEDICINE!!!!! Food can give you life or suck the life out of you!!!
But remember, it all started with a calendar and one change per week.