Be Active, Not Skinny

Alright guys, I know it has been a while since I have been on here. I apologize for that. I started school back up in January 2021 and have been really going non-stop ever since between class work, clinical hours, and implementing my DNP scholarly project (the big project I have to complete before I graduate). On top of all of that, I have been trying to maintain healthy and happy relationships with my family members and friends while trying to eat healthier and work out/be more active. When they say there is not enough hours in the day, it is so incredibly true most days. There are so many things I want to do and need to do, but with everything going on, I have to prioritize.

My biggest struggle over the past couple of years, especially the past 6 months, has been my weight and relationship with food. I weigh more than I have my entire life. I am not trying to have a pity party for myself or ask people to say nice things. I am simply saying I have been struggling with my weight and how I look and feel for quite some time. Back in high school, I never had to work to be “skinny”. I was a dancer and softball player, working out for hours on end a day, sometimes not eating much for meals/snacks because I was always on the go. I remember my best friend and I in high school call our sophomore year our “fat” or “chubby” year. Why? Why did we do this? Body shaming. Media. What we thought we needed to look like was completely opposite of what was true to who we were and are to the core. I currently have an unhealthy relationship with food and am working on it daily. I binge eat when I am stressed. I eat things that do not fuel my body 24/7.

When Austin and I first met, I weighed a lot less than I do now. We moved in together, got comfortable, and dieted/ate healthier to lose weight before our wedding. I remember obsessing and worrying about being “fat” at our wedding. Now, I look back at our video and pictures, and then I think…Why? Why did I ever worry about this on our wedding day? Mind you, Austin has NEVER made me feel less than beautiful and perfect. He has always complimented me and shown me so much love and affection no matter what I weigh or how I look. Why have I become so obsessed with my weight that I am allowing it to enter in my life more than it should in a NEGATIVE way?

I am currently doing a workout program that is 100 days of workouts. As of today, I am on day 34. Guess what? My weight is pretty much the same as when I started the program. How do I feel? Different. I feel stronger. I feel empowered. I feel like a bad ass. I feel beautiful. I feel hope. While I have a long way to go in my weight loss and healthy living journey, I am so proud to know how I feel right now in this moment and how I am beginning to look at this journey. My life is NOT all about how much I weigh or how I look. My life is about feeling GOOD, feeling HEALTHY, being ACTIVE, and LIVING. I have a family history of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and much more, so I am going to continue on my healthy living journey and remember it is more important to be active and continually work on a healthy diet and exercise than it is to “be skinny”.

Xoxo, Kaitlyn

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Audriana, Kaitlyn & Allyson’s Experience with the COVID Vaccination

We want to preface; we are in no way trying to convince anyone to receive the vaccination. Rather just sharing our experiences with it.

Kaitlyn is a nurse and Allyson & Audriana work in the field of Early Childhood Education. All three were able to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Kaitlyn in Phase 1a & Allyson and Audriana in Phase 1b. To be honest, it was a hard decision to come by for all three of them. Kaitlyn received a lot of advice from doctors at her practice and Audriana and Allyson warmed up to the idea because the world going back to “normal” is something they wish for daily. As humans, we aren’t meant to be segregated and spread apart. Interactions with others keeps our mental health in check. Not having to live in a state of constant fear definitely played apart of their decision.

Below is the way our bodies reacted to the vaccine. We’ve known the vaccination to have different side effects on many people. Some have had absolutely no problem and some have had it worse that any of us. Sharing our experiences felt important since the vaccine is currently only available to essential workers, teachers and individuals 65 and older. We want you to know that this doesn’t mean your experience will be similar and we want you to know our views of the vaccination don’t need to be your views. This country is free for a reason. We hope if you’re waiting for the vaccine that you can get it soon. And if you’re not, please be respectful of others to make their own decisions about what is best for their body!

Kaitlyn

Before Kaitlyn walked into her first vaccination appointment, she was super nervous. The unknown is always scary. Especially because this vaccine was so new and was developed in under a year. Kaitlyn received the Moderna COVID vaccination. She noticed that she became very fatigued after getting it. The next day she felt foggy and overall, just out of it. As the day went on, she became achy, sore and exhausted. She took Ibuprofen and Tylenol to help, but it wasn’t an immediate fix.  Her arm hurt, so it was hard for her to get comfortable to fall asleep that night. The next morning, she was still feeling off, but took Tylenol and Ibuprofen before going into work. The next thing she knew she was feeling better. Four weeks later was her second dose. It was not as easy as the first go around (if you would even call that easy). She became exhausted almost immediately after receiving the vaccination. She woke up in the middle of the night achy, sore, sweating, cold chills and feverish. Her fever was anywhere from 101.5 to 102.2. As a nurse, Kaitlyn knew how important it was to move her body and stretch her muscles, but that made the pain worse. It also made her so dizzy, which in turn made her nauseous. She took pain reliever, but still needed to call in from her clinical the next day. Everything hurt. Even her clothing touching her skin. She spent that day resting, took more pain meds at night, and was better the next day. The fatigue was still there, but it wasn’t as bad. Kaitlyn would describe her second dose as terrible.

Allyson & Audriana

Audriana & Allyson received both of their vaccinations at the same time. This really eliminated some of the stress and nerves about getting it. Both received the Pfizer brand. They didn’t even feel the first shot enter their arms. No pain what so ever. The only side effect from that first dosage is both of their arms hurt. It was like the pain of getting a flu shot, if you’ve ever done that. It was hard to lift up your arm. It lasted about a day and got better with Ibuprofen. After that, you wait three weeks for your second dose. The second dose was nerve wracking because they knew how the shot affected Kaitlyn. This time both felt the needle enter the skin. No other side effects occurred except for mild headaches. Honestly, both of them thought they were out of the woods as far as other side effects go. Unfortunately, that night both tossed and turned for a couple of hours. A lot of this was due to the pain from their arm, but they also both had night sweats and cold chills. Oddly enough, both woke up in the middle of the night and took pain reliever. They were both able to go to work the next day and other than feeling extremely tired, they were okay. They both felt aches and pains, but they were mild enough to work through, and Ibuprofen and Tylenol were helpful. The next morning both were good. Allyson and Audriana would describe their second dose as annoying, but doable.

None of us are Doctors…yet (Kaitlyn will be in August), so again we don’t know what’s best for you and your situation. Talk with your healthcare professional and make the right decision for yourself and your family. If you’ve recieved the vaccine feel free to share your opinions and experiences!

Stay Healthy,

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Working Through Mental Health Setbacks During the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

This image is courtesy of Temple University Active Minds

Preface: Mental health is really hard to understand. That is, until it stumbles upon you or a loved one. Please don’t be afraid to read this post. You never know who may be struggling internally in your life.

As I sit here in my bedroom at 9:45pm on a Saturday night (which isn’t uncommon for me in case you were wondering) I’m thinking to myself “Why are you even writing this post? Snap out of it. It’s Christmas. Tis’ the season to be jolly.” The season of Christmas movies, baking, spending time with family, buying Christmas gifts that I can’t wait to watch my littles open. Yet, here I am. Writing this post. I know the Holiday season can be hard for a lot of people. But, honestly, they aren’t hard for me. I’m so grateful and thankful to have parents who are still here, a great husband, three awesome kids, 3 sisters and a brother and loads of nieces and nephews. I am blessed. So why do I feel empty inside? Why am I feeling lost? Why am I feeling like I’m just coasting through the days?

I’ve been on my journey with anxiety and depression since December of 2018, but honestly, I’ve had anxiety since I was at least 12 years old. I would stay awake until 4 or 5am worried about that the school day would bring me. This happened, and I am not exaggerating, every single Sunday (and sometimes other weeknights, as well) all three years I was in Junior High School and also often when I was in High School, though it did seem to subside a bit. When I started college, it got better or maybe I was just able to handle it better because if I didn’t go to sleep until 4am it wasn’t a big deal because I could always skip my morning class.

After I had two of my three kids, I dealt with some sort of anxiety/depression. One day I promise I will get into all of that. It was such a long and drawn out process that took so much trial and error. I got to a place where I was able to feel like myself again. But like I said in the beginning, that wasn’t until December 2018.

So here we go again. 2 years after starting to feel like myself again. I’m feeling very similar to what I felt like after bringing my last babe home from the hospital. This is a funk that I really try to pull myself out of quickly. I try to find things that bring me joy (baking, decorating, etc.), so that others around me don’t feel that I am weighing them down. However, that doesn’t always work. Sometimes I don’t even want to put the effort into anything, even if it will bring me joy.

Unfortunately, I’m starting to think this won’t subside for a while. COVID is playing a big part in the way I am feeling emotionally, physically and mentally. I’m not an extrovert by any means, but I need normalcy. The kids went back to school and we got a routine down and then that changed. There have been so many changes my brain feels like a never-ending ride on a broken ferris wheel (and guys, I hate heights).

This is a season I love and that I am so excited for. I’d love to just be able to brush this under the rug. And honestly…if it worked that way, I would. But I know how important it is to talk about this stuff. If you’re feeling stuck or are in a weird place in life like I am, I’m here for you. For a reason I can’t understand, mental health is such a taboo topic. No one wants to talk about it. But everyone wants to tell you about their carpal tunnel and their constipation. IT’S SO FRUSTRAING! This year is even worse. 2020 is bringing on more mental health issues. And mental health issues do not discriminate. Strong, confident people also struggle with anxiety and depression.

I can tell you now openly, that I was so naïve to mental health back in the day.  I wish I would have listened and understood my sister (Audriana) when she was going through it.  It’s so very, very real. And it hits everyone in very different ways.

If you’re feeling in a funk, talk to someone. Support is the foundation of good mental health. I know that feeling of first opening up. It’s terrifying, but do it. It’s the only thing that will make you feel like yourself again. It’s the only way the world begins to turn again, and life becomes enjoyable.  And this year, everyone deserves nothing more than to have a wonderful Holiday season and a great end to this insane year.

xoxo, Allyson

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