I know some of you may be thinking wait, where is the new recipe, I thought this was a food blog?! Well a blog is always evolving and not only did I create this blog to share delicious, healthy, nourishing recipes with you all, but I also created it to share pieces of myself with my readers, connect with others and share different experiences. In my first non-food post I write today, I decided to be a little more vulnerable than usual and share some of my life experiences. As many of you know I just recently graduated from UW-Madison with my Nursing degree after a long, but in reality short, 5 years. I say short because wow did those 5 years fly by faster than any part of my life so far. A huge part of these past 5 years was learning, changing, growing, and becoming mentally stronger in all aspects in life. I realized my passion for fitness, health, nutrition and wellness, and helping others, which has helped me grow significantly. Mental strength can truly be a difficult thing to achieve in life, and it is something I still work on everyday of my life. I have met people that have helped make me mentally stronger and have gone through many situations that have made me mentally stronger. Mental strength is the topic I am focusing in on in this post because it is something that is very relevant in my life right now.
As I mentioned above, I decided that I was going to open up a bit more in this post, something I never usually do with strangers. The one person I open up to everything and anything about is my mom, and I was telling her how I thought it would be good for me to express myself a little on my blog, which I can’t wait to start spending more time on now that I am graduated and done with school. Anyway back to the topic of mental strength. To start off, I’ll touch on how I first started to truly grow in this way. When I first started transforming my lifestyle and the food I put in my body, I knew I would need to grow mentally. In the past several years I have had to make many sacrifices whether that was missing happy hours, dinners or certain outings with friends. It’s not that I didn’t want to go to happy hour or go to dinner with my friends, it’s just that I knew it would bring me stress because of the lifestyle I chose to lead and loved. I knew it would not be easy to explain to friends, “Hey guys, sorry tonight I was planning on eating a veggie bowl and sweet potato fries, so I can’t join.” I knew it wouldn’t be easy because most people would say back, “What’s the big deal, just come to dinner and have that another night!” Well, that is where my OCD self comes into play. Every Sunday I plan out every single one of my meals to the tee for Monday-Saturday. Not only does meal planning help me stay on track with my healthy lifestyle, but it is actually very therapeutic to me to stay in, cook a healthy meal, and take the time to enjoy it. Although it’s been hard to say no to friends and not always be along for every happy hour, sometimes if you want something, you have to make sacrifices. However make sure whatever you are doing that brings you to making those sacrifices, is making you happy. I still am working on finding that right balance of making certain sacrifices, but also not missing out on things I could regret. If I said no to everything, that wouldn’t make me happy either. If you have a goal or want something in life, you need to stop saying I wish I could do this or I want this. Make the necessary changes, even if it is a slow process, and do it. Only you can make those changes and decide that you are going to commit. Committing to something will build your mental strength, and make you an all around stronger person. No, it will not be easy, but it will become easier, and you will find it is worth it. My mental strength has grown a lot because of what I love and am committed to, but also because of what I’ve gone through.
It was my sophomore year in college when I first started experiencing some odd symptoms that were not normal for me. I got tested for numerous things, but the symptoms never went away. I kept going back to the doctor, but was not finding answers. A year ago the symptoms starting getting worse, so I went back. Finally after my doctor dug a little deeper and also by being my own advocate, I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition called hypothyroidism that was unique from others in the way that the primary dysfunction was in my pituitary gland. Thyroid conditions run in some of the females in my family, and I figured well, all I have to do is take a medication like them and I will feel normal again and be good to go. Unfortunately since mine is not just classic hypothyroidism it has not been that easy. This past year has been one of the hardest of my life between dealing with some unexpected happenings and also because of my health problems. I do not talk about it with that many people and most would never guess that I have been dealing with something like this. I know my attitude and mood can affect others, so I always try to stay positive about it. I tell myself everyday you will get through this and you will find an answer, but sometimes it’s just really hard. It has been extremely frustrating because your pituitary gland basically has an effect on every system of your body. My cortisol level (the stress hormone in your body) stays elevated because of my condition, and then of course in turn, high cortisol affects so much as well. Since metabolism is one of the main functions that is affected by this condition, it has taken even more hard work, hard work that I often don’t feel I benefit from. Because of my condition, I even more so love to treat my body right and feed my body right. I figure I may not have control of what my body is doing at times, but I can control how I treat it and what I put into it. It has been, and still is, an ongoing struggle trying to find the right medications and treatment, but being healthy and good to my body helps keep me sane. Not only do I share this to break out of my shell and open up to you all a bit, but I also want this to influence you all to ALWAYS be your own advocate for anything in life and seek out your own answers because no one cares about you more than you. My mental strength has helped me stay positive through all of this, showing me once again how important it is to have it. I wanted to write about this because we all have things in life we deal with, or may have to deal with in the future, where we will need mental strength. So there was my little open up moment, and I hope you all have learned something about yourself from it, or it has inspired you work on any goals you have and make those changes in life. Thanks for reading everyone! 🙂 xoxo KK