It is very hard for me to be vulnerable, but I think it’s important to share how much this challenge helped me out of a dark place. After having my 3rd baby last June, I was struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety to the point where I didn’t think I’d ever feel like myself again. I thought that bringing this beautiful boy into the world resulted in losing myself both physically and mentally. I wasn’t a stranger to anxiety but the depression was new and raising 3 kids during a pandemic didn’t help. I struggled with the contradicting feelings of being so in love with my new son, but also feeling so sad and helpless at the same time.
Around October I decided to try and start running again (a big passion of mine) and was shocked by how bad every part of my body hurt when I tried to move it. I was in the best shape of my life before becoming pregnant with him (I had actually done a challenge in 2019 which helped me build muscle) and to be SO far away from where I had been was really discouraging. I let this send me into a spiral of bad eating habits and no exercise which only dug me deeper into the pit of depression and anxiety. This continued until January when I decided I needed to have a change in my mindset. I realized that I was giving 100% of myself to my family and that it was okay to spend some time on myself. I realized that if I was ever going to feel better I had to decide that I was worth the effort and the time needed to pull myself out of the pit.
I decided to do the winter challenge for myself to prove to myself that I matter and that I can do hard things. I didn’t do it for my kids or for my husband, I did it for me and it was the first thing I had done for myself in a really long time. I didn’t feel guilty spending more time exercising, meal planning or cooking because it made me happy. Truth be told, my family benefited; they ate great, healthy food and they had a happier mom but that was a by-product of me taking care of myself. I’ve always had a negative self image and I decided that I was over it.
By making healthy decisions for myself, I slowly started to see the light. I slowly started feeling happier, stronger and more excited about my awesome life. So to say that this program is life changing is not an exaggeration. Having a plan laid out for me with delicious food options gave me a sense of control and eased my anxiety. Figuring out what to cook and eat was no longer stressful but it was exciting and fun. All the food was seriously SO good that I didn’t miss any of the junk that I was eating. In fact, I made it through the entire 7 weeks without needing or even wanting a cheat day. And now that the challenge is over, I know that I will not stop this lifestyle. The thought of trying to figure out how to feed myself and my family without this plan is terrifying 😂! It not only brings structure to my life but it also has given me the fuel my body needs to start getting back to where I was physically.
Changing my diet was what I needed to be able to start running again which brings me so much happiness and peace of mind. The anxiety and depression aren’t gone completely , but they no longer control me. I know that being a happy, healthy person will be a lifelong endeavor and I am so grateful to the Clean Simple Eats program for giving me the best tools to use on the journey. I’m so excited to continue this lifestyle and thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything!