Ready To Make a Change

(this post contains affiliate links of products I have personally used and love)

I’ve always been petite; I’m 5’3″ and currently weigh 114lbs. Until my first pregnancy, I had always weighed between 100-110lbs soaking wet. I’ve always been mildly active and moderately interested in sports, yet never kept up with a regimen. I was also fairly ignorant going into my first pregnancy in early 2010, so naturally “eating for two” meant overconsumption to my ADHD brain.

I gained 45lbs during my first pregnancy and I continued to “eat for two” long after I gave birth, citing breastfeeding as my excuse. It was quite a surprise to me when my pregnancy weight refused to “fall off” the way I had read it would during breastfeeding, and I silently screamed when I went clothes shopping about 8 months postpartum and had to buy a size 11-13 pair of jeans. “How could this happen to me?!” I had thought. I was always a size 0-3 in my young adulthood, and I had gone up to a SIZE ELEVEN?! It put me into an immediate funk, in which I stayed until my son was over a year old. I remember looking at the photos from his first birthday party and being absolutely disgusted with myself; I could barely look in the mirror anymore.

My son and I weaned when he was about 16 months old, and as soon as he was off the breast I knew I wanted to lose weight but I had no idea how to go about it (this was Summer 2012, and my journey starting weight was 174lbs). I had never cut calories before nor kept an exercise regimen so I was overwhelmed and anxious even thinking about it. I ended up finding a very helpful weight-loss app to get me started, called noom. The best thing about this app is that it color-coded healthy, neutral, and unhealthy foods as I logged, and encouraged any type of movement. It definitely encouraged me to get active and taught me the basics of making healthy food choices. I started slow; I didn’t cut calories at first but logged how much I was actually eating, and began walking daily while pushing my son in the basic stroller we had.

I began to notice how good I felt after getting outside for activity, and quickly started increasing the pace of my walking, still using the silly travel system stroller we had (hey, work with what you have, right?!). The stroller was a great weight, and I began getting some cardio bursts going up hills, and jogging downhills (stroller resistance!). As I got more into my walking, I naturally became more curious about cutting calories to really start shedding and that’s when I decided to upgrade my weight-loss app of choice and invest in a used jogging stroller (BabyTrend Jogger all the way!).

To this day I still love myfitnesspal. It was great; all I had to do was input my current weight, goal weight, and daily activity level and I was ready to go! The app itself has so many amazing features, including recipe creation and so. many. exercises. I was curious about the algorithm for calorie deficits, so I began researching BMI, BMR, and all things weight-loss related to gain a better understanding of my personal physique to better tailor my lifestyle change.

Thanks to myfitnesspal I was able to continue my weight loss journey and really kick it into high gear; the app helped me lose a total of 40lbs and I even got to see my progress on a graph. It helped me turn into a health and fitness nut and make a lifestyle change that I could actually stick to. I was no longer walking, but jogging an average of 5k (still pushing my son) and started exploring different group exercise classes such as Zumba and yoga, and eventually worked up the confidence to begin a bodyweight workout regimen. The classes were fairly difficult to attend, as my son’s dad had an inconsistent work schedule and always said things that made me feel shame for wanting to get out and do something for the betterment of myself, so I bought a Xbox Kinect fitness game: UFC Trainer, and that’s when my body started transforming. Not only was I burning calories and losing weight, but I was building muscle and feeling and looking AMAZING. The best part was that I could do it in the privacy of my own home during my son’s naps, without the perceived judgment from others, and my son’s dad couldn’t complain anymore about me leaving.

Working out at home became my sanctuary; I was comfortable in my solitude. After all, I was making this change for ME so doing it alone really kept the focus on myself. I was enrolled in college online during this time, so I signed up for a food and nutrition class and fitness class that helped me gain more self responsibility in terms of accountability in my lifestyle change. I was learning things that I could carry forward to keep my future self healthy AND my family healthy. I was so excited to teach my family the things I was learning! Well, it turns out you can’t make someone change when they don’t want to, and my son’s dad surely didn’t want to change. Along with consistent refusal to attend family walks with our son and me to get us all out and active, many times he threatened withholding grocery money unless I would purchase his unhealthy food preferences, and that was the beginning of the end of our relationship (and a story for another day).

Fast forward to 2018 and I’ve all but given up jogging and lengthy cardio classes and have replaced them with HIIT (high-intensity interval training), using free weights and Kettlebells, and I’ve never felt better! I do yoga for flexibility and relaxation and walk for fresh air (it’s always good for the soul to get outside). I still do all my exercise in the comfort and privacy of my own home, and have added a couple medicine balls, a new app NTC, an amazing fiancé who supports my lifestyle and engages with it, and my two boys love getting involved in our activities. Their favorites are nature walks, dance parties, wrestling matches, and of course they enjoy trying their strength with my less-heavy equipment (under my supervision, always).

There are days where I don’t feel like working out, and I always listen to my body. Sometimes I’ll take a full rest day, complete with a nap, other times I’ll use my active rest days for yoga, a walk, or both. The most important thing I always keep in mind is doing what I enjoy and what feels best for my mind, body and soul, within whatever time frame I have, whether it be 10, 20 or 40 minutes.

My Childhood Wasn’t Typical…

(me on left, sister on right)

It’s important to give a background story because I fully believe I wouldn’t be who I am without where I’ve been.

My blood father is a batterer. He beat the shit out of my mom, stepmom, and who knows who else. He’s clinically Bipolar I, suffers from alcoholism (and other substances in the past), and has been in and out of jail my entire life. He was a weekend dad, but my sister and I had fun over there when he wasn’t experiencing his ups and downs, and/or wasn’t drinking as much as usual. When he was manic he was more fun than when he was depressed, but he was intense nonetheless. He has a serious mental disorder and chemical imbalance(s), and although I no longer hold a grudge toward him, I have PTSD thanks to my traumatic childhood experiences (along with some other adult experiences that have added to its severity), and I sometimes fear I may be more like him than I wish to admit (especially if I over consume alcohol, which I’ve pretty much given up at this point in my life). I do not have a relationship with my blood father due to my life experiences with him.

My mom did the best she could to raise my sister and me with what she had. She has been with my stepdad (if I ever refer to my dad, it’s Gary, my stepdad) for almost 25 years, and again, they both did the best they could with what they had. Unfortunately, they never pushed us to strive for greatness, and it affects my sister more than me. I had a closer relationship with my dad than she, as I was younger and looking for that connection/hole to fill. My dad is not an emotional creature, but he sure did scare the shit out of me. It was that fear-of-God that motivated me to quit drugs and graduate high school.

Sometime along the way, I became self motivated. I believe it was after I left my most abusive (emotionally/verbally) relationship, when I was 21. It took me literally walking in on him in bed with someone else for me to leave, and that lit a fire under my ass. I’ve had a lot of mess ups between then and now, but I would NEVER take any of them away, as they’ve taught me many valuable life lessons and shaped who I am today (and I’m learning to like this new woman in her 30s).

Fast forward to 2018, and in the past three years I’ve gone to court and represented myself while fighting my kids’ dad for a parenting plan (and cried for endless hours all the while), lived with my fiancé’s parent for a couple months, gotten in a gnarly car accident (my first of 3 concussions in a year), held 3 jobs at once, had to take over a week off two jobs (and quit one) due to my most recent concussion this past May (I’ve been hitting my head my entire life, pretty hard, and this most recent one was the worst ever. My dr. literally told me I have to be very careful, as I could be on the road toward CTE), supported a 4-person home on one income for quite some time, all while battling severe anxiety and depression.

Looking back on the past year, I wonder how I did it all, because every day was a struggle to even get out of bed and face myself and my life. I’ve been anti-BigPharma for a long time, and after some long and hard consideration I swallowed my pride and decided to try sertraline/Zoloft. After all, I had literally exhausted as many natural options as you can think of right now to no avail. I couldn’t even slow my brain down long enough to remember to breathe through an anxious episode. I haven’t been able to leave my house to go grocery shopping in almost a year, if that gives you any clue. I’ve been avoiding anything that would make me anxious, which has been literally almost every regular daily life task.

It is just so refreshing to have a new perspective on life right now. I’ve only been on Zoloft for two months, but it has made a huge difference in my mindset and mentality. I don’t plan on being on it forever; I’ll try and wean off after my dr. and I have decided the time is right, and we’ll go from there. But for now I use my prescription drug, and essential oils, and baths, and yoga, and meditation, and breathing, and getting fresh air, and my bullet journal, and my regular journal, and (now) my blog, and my therapist.

My therapist is helping me work through my childhood tragedies, one at a time. We’ve only just begun to open Pandora’s box, but I’m optimistic.


The First Day of the Rest of My Life…

I’m so glad you dropped by! My name is Holly and I was born and raised and currently reside in Vancouver, WA. It’s an ever-growing suburban city across the river from Portland, OR, and it rains here. A lot. But I love it.

I called my site Soggy Granola Mama as a play on words. Crunchy/Granola moms are those extreme hippie mamas; well, I’m a Soggy Granola Mom. I research nutrition and make the best choices for my family; we eat organic, natural, sustainable, but NOT always. I’m a fitness nut, and exercise anywhere from 2-5 times per week (believe it or not I’ve lost a total of 60lbs, AND kept off for 6 years so far!), yet don’t feel guilty for wanting to take an extra couple days to rest or for eating/feeding my family sugar now and then.

I’m constantly reading about health and nutrition to educate myself, make smart choices to help my family and myself live our best lives, yet I don’t push my beliefs on those who don’t follow mine. I would, however, love to have a place to talk about and share what works for us at home, and hopefully it will help someone out there in this great big world!

My health and wellness journey includes physical, mental and spiritual health, for a well-rounded life, body and soul. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, PTSD and am currently working through a moderate episode of Major Depressive Disorder. I meditate, do yoga, see a therapist, use essential oils AND I’m on Zoloft. See? Soggy Granola Mama is at it again.

I look forward to sharing my story and experiences with you all, and hope you find the ability to relate to any or all of it. I’d love to get to know you all, as well, and look forward to building a strong, caring community of Soggy Granola Mamas along the way ❤

Yours Truly,

Holly, Soggy Granola Mama

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton


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