My name is Stephanie and I am a 46-year-old mother of three amazing kids and grandmother to three beautiful grandkids.
I keep myself busy homeschooling our youngest who is now in her senior year of high school. In between schooling, I love to bake. I also enjoy just spending time with my family and our two beautiful dogs, Marley our Boxer and Baxter our Gold Retriever.
When I signed up for the 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge and one of my greatest challenges were my physical limitations.
I had major back surgery in 2008 that caused my spine to worsen. Due to the surgery, my weight began to spiral and my pain level increased tremendously, some days so much that I just couldn’t function.
I lived with chronic pain for years and had just accepted that this was my life.
On top of it all was my addiction to food. I just wanted to eat all the time. I figured if I wasn’t able to do much, at least I could do what I enjoyed, and that was eating.
It didn’t really matter what it was, but I will say that because of my love of baking, a lot of it was sugar. Homemade treats filled our freezer and our countertops. I was out of control.
For about two years I followed CleanFoodCrush and questioned whether or not I should do the challenge.
At one point I even unfollowed Rachel because I just didn’t want to give up my food addiction. Plus I knew about food, why have someone else teach me about it? I mean I did go to Culinary School. Those were my thoughts. Pride was standing in the way.
After about a month, I started following her again on Facebook to see if I could find the motivation to make the change needed.
I realized then that I really needed to take my health seriously. I was tired of living in pain, and I felt like this was my last opportunity to do something. So I gathered my courage and signed up for the 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge. Best decision ever!! Since starting the challenge I have learned so much about food.
- I have learned how food really affects the body, both real and processed. I’ve learned about the importance of portion size, and how much food my body really needs.
- I was eating way too much food. Imagine that, I didn’t know as much as I thought I did! Definitely a humbling time.
- My inflammation levels have gone way down, I look and feel thinner.
- Most importantly I have learned how support and encouragement are such an important part of this entire process. So many times I have tried other programs, only to fail because I felt like I was doing it all alone.
- The entire team and CFC family have encouraged me throughout the entire challenge.
- I have seen results I truly never thought I would see. My energy has gone up, I no longer deal with foggy brain, I am sleeping better, hot flashes are gone and the pain in my spine has decreased significantly!
- I am able to function again in everyday life. I can get out of bed and be awake, it used to take me hours to wake up.
- I also don’t dread doing the daily things needed to keep life in the house running.
THE best part is a decrease in pain. I went from being on pain pills to Advil, to trying more natural treatments, to nothing except an occasional Advil.
While I will still occasionally have pain due to my spine, there is no reversing my condition, the inflammation is gone – it is amazing!
It also just isn’t the physical part. When my clothes began to fit better and I could wear things I had not been able to in years, I felt so excited and motivated me more!
It was interesting at times, some days I was doing well and other days I had a complete meltdown. I was struggling with letting go of a lifetime of bad behavior and I honestly thought I would not even make it the 30 days.
Thankfully my family was very supportive, especially my husband. Every time I was struggling, he would encourage me to keep going and reminded me that I made the commitment and I need to stick with it.
I would sometimes get mad at him because I just didn’t believe I could do it for 30 days, but I did it and I am so proud of myself.
Even my daughter told me the other day that she can see such a difference in my body, talk about encouraging! Now, this is just a way of life for us, and everyone is benefiting from it!
Here are my words of wisdom: trust, grace, vulnerability, failure, and success are the words that come to mind for anyone that is new to the challenge. TRUST, the process, trust what Rachel and her team are saying.
Follow the steps for the week you are in and don’t go beyond that week until it is time.
GRACE, learn to extend yourself grace, which is the hardest thing for us women to do. It took me a while to learn it, but now I understand grace so much more and it makes this process so much easier.
VULNERABILITY, it is okay to be vulnerable, with yourself and others. I know that is hard for so many people but what I discovered through the challenge, is that by doing so, I not only helped myself but others as well.
Sharing what you’re going through may be exactly what someone else needs to see, that they are not alone in their struggle as well.
FAILURES AND SUCCESS, life is full of them, not just in this challenge. This is also where grace comes into play. If you have a bad meal, or even a bad day, brush yourself off, extend yourself grace and keep going.
Brushing off the failures, learning from them and moving forward will set you up for more success than you realize! I know it did for me.
Here is a recent post I put out in the Facebook Group about my story:
I just wanted to share this with those that are starting, to encourage anyone that needs it. I started my first challenge on October 3rd, I did so because I knew I needed to do something about the chronic pain in my spine, plus we have an adult daughter that suffers from seizures and has UC, which has caused additional issues.
She has gone from being an active adult to unable to work and has little energy. All of that happening over the last couple of years (seizures have been there since the age of 3) As her health was declining, so was my spine. I had surgery in 2008, having four screws put into my lower back to hold the L5 vertebrae in place. From that surgery, I had numerous other complications with my spine, bulging discs, arthritis in my lower back and hips, nerve damage in my right leg, disintegrating discs, etc.
All of which caused me to live in a lot of pain. I spent years on pain killers, not addiction, but I got tired of living like that. I turned to more natural treatments like Hemp, CBD Oil, essential oils, all that seemed to make the pain more tolerable but didn’t get rid of it completely.
Once we knew we could possibly have to take care of our daughter for the rest of her life or ours, I just knew I could not handle it with the way I felt. So I joined the CFC challenge as my last effort to do something, knowing that if this didn’t work that I would likely need to consider another back surgery, which I didn’t want to do because the first one nearly killed me.
Not a joke, massive bleeding, surgery stopped and I woke up in ICU. I am sharing all of this because in addition to what I have done, I have also seen a chiropractor for the last 7 years to try and help slow down my spinal condition, so I can still try and function in life.
Well, the last time I saw my chiropractor was 6 weeks ago, right before I started the CFC challenge. My spine had gotten so bad, that I was getting 10-12 shots in my spine every week and I had actually asked my chiropractor not to adjust part of my spine because it just hurt too bad. Well, I went back today for my first appointment in 6 weeks, usually, I don’t go this long without an adjustment, but he had some family issues and has been out of town.
Anyways, this time around I only needed 7 shots, and I know that is because I moved some furniture yesterday that likely aggravated the muscles around my spine. BUT I told him that I would like to try again because I had been Eating Clean, and how my pain level had significantly decreased, and I wasn’t even using those natural treatments anymore. I HAD NO PAIN when getting adjusted!! Even when he was pressing on my spine, nothing hurt. My muscles were more relaxed and it felt great!!
Crushers this is HUGE!! I have lived in chronic pain since 2008, in the last two years, I had just accepted that this was my life and nothing could be done, turning to food for comfort. Doing so is what was causing 98% of my pain!!
All that crap, causing so much inflammation that I was actually doing more damage. Eating clean is truly life-changing for me, as it is for so many of us.
When the days get hard and you don’t feel like it, keep going. If you stumble, whether it is one meal, one day, or even one week, whatever that time frame is, brush yourself off, and keep going.
You and I are worth it!!