"Health" in the last 365 days.

My definition of 'health' has changed substantially over the last year. It's changed exponentially over the last five years. If a photo is worth a thousand words, this gem from the Iowa Department of Transportation should tell you a lot about the health changes in my life. The top license is from this year, and the bottom is from 2013. 

Five years ago I was pre-diabetic. A routine trip to the doctor showed my fasting blood glucose was 101; just above the 'line' of normal blood sugar, but not technically high enough to be at a diabetic level. My doctor said if I didn't change my eating habits, I would be diabetic in five years. 

Fast forward five years, and I am over 30 pounds lighter, have found which foods trigger bloating and brain fog, and my blood sugar is back in the normal range. I've also increased the level of 'good cholesterol' in my body, as well as the amount of mood-boosting folate in my system. I feel so much better, most days. 
Other days I feel like a slug. I can't think straight and I am so incredibly bloated that putting on pants that button are painful. This is because I am so sensitive to certain foods, but I haven't been able to completely give them up. Social situations are the hardest. Last weekend we were on a family weekend at the lake and I had a salad for lunch. John had a sub sandwich. I'll be damned if my mouth wasn't watering at the sight of the bread on his plate. 

Waging a war with cravings and my mind were/are the hardest parts about staying healthy. Habits are hard to break. Take a look at the Meal Planning and Recipes tab on this blog. You'll see a ton of recipes here that I cannot eat anymore. I imagine I will always struggle with food.

In the last year I've taken a very radical approach to improving my mental and emotional wellness. I've practiced yoga for years, and it has a regular role in my life now. I don't have a "yoga body" (who the hell does?), but I can do binds and balancing poses with the best of them. Practicing yoga in our loft bedroom, where I feel like I am in the treetops, is my favorite. 

I am being very vulnerable sharing this photo with you. Thank you for being kind. 

At work we have a labyrinth in our prairie. I take advantage of a walking meditation as often as I am able. Sometimes I listen to a podcast if meditating is too challenging. 

I work in my garden, which is quite plentiful for it's first year on our new homestead. We still have a CSA membership, since our garden isn't as large as it was at our old home. Every year we have plans to expand, and soon we'll be back up to producing as much as we were previously. 

Growing our own food is incredibly important to us for physical and emotional health reasons.

Learning new things keeps my mind sharp and active. I pick up new hobbies often, and enjoy practicing something until I achieve a certain level of skill. This summer I learned to shoot a bow, and purchased one for myself. 

Lord willing, I will hunt this season. There is still a level of mental strength I need to master, as I am uncomfortable taking the life of a deer at this moment. Deer are one of my two favorite animals. It's not dressing the deer or eating the deer that intimidate me. It's the moment just before I squeeze the release that I fear the most. I will be sure to let you know on Instagram if I choose to hunt this year. 

My niece, Willow, is also one of the greatest joys in my life. 

I am incredibly blessed to have nearly 30 nieces and nephews through marriage. John's family is large and warm and I simply love being part of that tribe. My sister and her husband had a baby last year, and she is the first niece that I am biologically related to. Spending time with her lights a spirit inside me that I didn't know existed. When I ponder the reality that she will be in my life forever, I get the scratchies in my throat. Now try to tell me this deep love doesn't do wonders for a person's health. 

There are still some health goals I set out to slay, and I want to share them with you in hopes that you'll also share your health goals with me. 
  1. Continue to go to the gym 4-6 days a week. Realistically, I cannot make the gym 6 days a week every week. The nature of my job simply doesn't allow it. 
  2. Practice yoga at home 3 times a week. This also includes time for meditation, reading my Bible, and journaling. I am currently doing this once a week, usually on days I can't make it to the gym.
  3. Prioritize packing a healthy lunch and snacks each day. Recently I stopped packing good lunches; I'd simply throw things in my bag without much thought or care. Lunch time rolls around and I have green olives and a can of tuna to sustain me. It's time that I put more attention into my work lunches. 
  4. Drink 100 oz. of water each day. No excuses. Have you noticed what your skin looks like when you're dehydrated. Mine looks like leather. 
What are some of your health goals? Will you share them with me? 


  1. What a beautiful blog to start the day! I'm beyond thankful for your health and well-being, Kelly (I've only known you to be a huge success at whatever you've taken on!) Love your "fitness"schedule--all the best, but stay with it. I've had the "addiction" abt as long as you have been alive and realize now (age 63)...I've just begun! keeping you in my thoughts!


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  2. Wow! Amazing photos. Such a journey. I sat by you at the DrWahl’s presentation. I am committed to drinking more kambucha- I’m on year round antibiotics treatment as a result of cancer treatment.Ive noticed since changing this behavior my stomach feels so much better. I’m also committed to walking more steps on a daily basis. Great post.

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