Updated: Oct 6, 2020
My name is Mia and I'm a wife, an employee, a boss, an entrepreneur, a mother of four, a daughter, a friend, and a goal setter. I call this site Just Keep Swimming Goals because I believe that the best way to achieve any goal is by continuing to move forward. If you stall, don't worry about it. Get back up and keep swimming. If you take a few steps back, no big deal. Just start swimming again. We're aiming for consistency, not perfection.
My health journey is my just keep swimming goal. Here's my story.
Nobody would have ever pegged me as a Ms. Universe Contestant but I've always been active and my energy levels have allowed me to keep up with my busy schedule. I played sports growing up and through high school. I went to a military college and spent five years in the Army after graduation which included all the physical fitness tests and ruck marches. After I left the Army, I belonged to a gym and went pretty regularly.
Fast forward a few years and I have a partner and three amazing boys. When we decided that we wanted one more kid to complete our family it took us a little longer to get pregnant and before my daughter was conceived I lost a baby to miscarriage. Around this same time, my partner began her transition from male to female and then shortly after, my daughter, who has Down syndrome, was born. She had a lot of hospital stays the first few years and I was feeling the stress of parenting one child at the hospital, three others at home, and trying to stay connected with my partner. Within less than 18 months I lost a baby, my husband, and gave birth to a medically complex child with an intellectual disability who demanded a lot of my time.
Looking back on that period, I realize that I never took the time to process any of it. I subconsciously kept myself very busy so that I didn't have time to think about it. And I absolutely never talked about it in any depth. This is when I started to feel overwhelmed, ,anxious, and depressed.
Before I go on, I will say that now I have an amazing relationship with my partner who is fully transitioned. My daughter still has health concerns but she is doing very well and is such a light to me and many around her. I can't imagine my family without either of these two in it.
After my daughter was a little over three I realized that although I had initially lost all the pregnancy weight after she was born, I had gained it all back plus more. I was eating and drinking for comfort and convenience. Netflix and chill was my reward for making it through each day and it was a way to escape my, at times, overwhelming reality. I went through each day like a robot, get the kids up, feed them, try and keep them busy all day, try and get my work done, Netflix and chill, and go to bed just to wake up and start all over again. Nothing was motivating or exciting in my day and I had no energy despite many cups of coffee each day. This was my first slump.
I decided that losing weight would solve my slump so I purchased an on-demand exercise program. I have an amazing coach and jumped into the accountability groups that allowed me to interact with others who wanted to make exercise a habit or who were working on nutrition and meal planning. I love the community and the positive encouragement but I found myself telling my coach that I, "didn't have the time to meal plan" so I shouldn't bother with nutrition. I focused only on exercise and when I focused on it, I saw results. I started to have more energy.
Then, about eight months in, I hit a wall. My energy levels suddenly tanked. I tried to power through it and force myself to get out of bed and work out each morning. I went to the doctor and did some blood work but everything looked fine. So, I stopped working out. It was just too hard. I had too many other things to do with my day and since my limited energy only allowed for so much, I had to prioritize caring for my family over exercising/caring for myself. This was my second slump.
Over the next few months, I spent some time reflecting. I tried journaling and meditation. I saw a counselor and started anti-depressants. I tried everything I could think of to wake my soul back up but it wasn't working. Then, my coach introduced me to a 21 day eating program that is designed to help reset your relationship with food. I was motivated by watching her journey with nutrition so I decided to try it. What did I have to lose at this point?
I was completely blown away. I have tried to do nutrition programs like this before, Whole 30, intermittent fasting, juicing detoxes, etc, but I've never lasted more than a few days. But this time, I decided that I would prioritize myself over the next 21 days. I had to follow the meal plans no matter what. Just for 21 days. At the end of the program, I lost 20 pounds and 9 inches BUT, more importantly, I felt amazing and I do feel completely different about the importance of nutrition. It's not about losing weight anymore (although that is a nice bonus because I feel better when I am at a healthier weight). Now, I am sleeping better. My energy levels are strong and stable. My skin and hair looks 20 years younger. My mind is clearer. I've been able to be more present for my kids and I feel a stronger connection with them than before I started. I am excited to wake up each day. I spent so much time telling myself I didn't have time for nutrition but once I made that my priority, I had more time for everything else in my life.
I decided to become a coach so that I can bring this amazing feeling to others. I'm still working on my nutrition but in a way that's a lifestyle eating program and not a 21 day detox. I'm working out and want to get back into running. I am going to share this journey here as a way to keep myself accountable and to hopefully inspire others.
Everybody deserves to feel amazing. Life will not always be easy or even comfortable and none of us can control that. But we can control how we show up in our lives and so that's what I am focusing on now. I'd love for you to join me. Please drop a comment below or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org