Life lately has been chaotic. I'm so glad that I can function on minimal sleep because Baby Fox has certainly been keeping me awake at night. It seems he may have inherited his mother's problems with sleep. He keeps falling asleep, but can't quite stay there. In addition to this, I'm working on cutting out dairy to see if it helps any. (I was sensitive to dairy as a baby and he has a few of the signs, which is why I'm starting there.) I'm ready to get back to blogging regularly - I'm simply battling with finding time. It's a battle I intend to win though. In the meantime, I still have wonderful women to spotlight and a couple of guest posts coming up. I hope you enjoy today's story from Shelly. Don't you just love her post title? Let's find out why kale didn't solve all her problems...
I gagged as I choked down another green juice chock full of kale, dandelion greens, and an aftertaste I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.
I was on the third and final day of yet another juice cleanse, desperately hoping that this time it would reset my hormones and balance my body so I could boost my chances of becoming pregnant again.
My firstborn was about two years old at the time and we’d been trying for about six months to conceive a second baby. We got pregnant roughly five minutes after we got married, so I never anticipated conceiving again being a problem.
I’d always been healthy-ish, and infertility was something that I only heard other women talk about. Besides, I got pregnant so easily the first time...why it would be so hard the second time around?
Well, since those are questions only God can answer, I won’t even try to. But here’s what I do know.
Kale to the Rescue...or Not?
After about four months of unsuccessfully trying to conceive, I knew something was up with my hormones. My periods were erratic, my moods were unpredictable (sorry, babe), and I was a giant ball of stress.
A friend introduced me to the idea of trying to balance my hormones naturally by changing my diet and paying more attention to foods that would nourish my reproductive system.
In the grand scheme of things, we were still relatively “early” in the TTC process, so I thought, “sure, why not?” I could probably use a few more salads in my life.
Being the “all or nothing” person that I am (or used to be), I went all in. I devoured nutrition books, read the most popular diet blogs, and became the resident expert on all things kale and collard greens in my house.
What I decided (consciously or subconsciously, I’m not sure) was that if I followed all the rules that all these books and experts told me to follow, THEN I would get pregnant.
So, I followed them to a T. After all, a lot was at stake. Not a vacation went by without me cramming my Vitamix into my suitcase as a failsafe way to make sure I didn’t miss a dose of those antioxidants that were supposed to be solving all my problems.
On this journey - rooted in fear and desperation - I tried everything. I went vegan for about 18 months (God bless my husband for participating in that with me), then Paleo, then I tried the sugar diet because I was so stressed out from trying all the other things that didn’t fix me (turns out, I wasn’t broken - a huge life lesson for me).
Stop the Madness
During this time of feasting on either salads, brownies, or lots of meat, I had quit my 12-year corporate marketing career to return to school to become a certified health and performance coach.
During my training, my instructors consistently emphasized a very holistic view of health. They were always saying that health is more than food - that our relationships, our spiritual health, our careers, our home life - those all counted toward our overall wellness, too.
But I just wasn’t buying it. No, no, no, I thought. Food fixes all. That’s what all those books on my Kindle said. The Kindle wouldn’t lie to me, would it? ;)
Meanwhile, I found myself crying in the corner every month as I looked down at another negative pregnancy test.
And then one day, it hit me like a ton of bricks. You know when you are trying to reach a certain goal, or get something to go your way, and you keep trying and failing and trying and failing and finally you say...perhaps my way isn’t working. Perhaps (checks ego at the door)...there is a better way.
It was as if this divine download came pouring over me and I looked back in the rearview mirror and saw the insane amount of stress, pressure, and weight I’d put on myself to eat perfectly, follow every rule, and leave zero room for flexibility or pleasure.
This thought - clear as day - rolled into the front seat of my thoughts. Perhaps...I pondered...those instructors were right. Maybe health really *is* more than just food. Maybe stress plays a role. Maybe joy is a piece of the pie. Maybe the love I have for my body is a key ingredient (or in my case back then, a missing ingredient).
And, maybe (okay, most definitely) there are multiple paths to health. Perhaps the one-size-fits-all model that experts writing books to make money are prescribing is...well, a bunch of hogwash (that's very technical wellness term).
You Do You
This epiphany changed the course of not my only personal life, but how would go on to coach clients and serve my community as a speaker and wellness advocate.
There are so many playbooks out there on what to eat, yet there is a huge lack of resources on how that fits into the broader picture of overall wellness. And, there is very little acknowledgement that it is OKAY to eat a little differently than you neighbor. You know, because we’re not robots. Our bodies are as beautiful and unique as each star in the sky, and should be treated as such.
In my own journey, I discovered that my body (or mind) didn’t really do well with all the rules. That she had a wiser plan, and if I would just listen to her requests, she would guide me on how to nourish myself from the inside out. Today, I teach other women how to do the same.
Yes, I absolutely believe that gaining knowledge about nutrition is an important pillar of overall health. But, I just ask that your consumption of it doesn’t disconnect you from the inner wisdom your body has to offer. Because that’s something no book or expert is ever going to outsmart.
So, you do you. Because “you” is perfect. It’s a lesson I love to instill into the lives of my two, beautiful children.
About the Author
Shelly Robinson is a coach, wellness advocate, speaker, and course creator who empowers high-achieving, heart-centered moms to reclaim their health so they can chase theirs dream and kiddos with energy to spare.
She believes that moms CAN thrive in all areas of their life that they care deeply about while keeping their health and sanity intact.
When she’s not coaching, she’s snuggling her two kiddos, playing volleyball with her husband, watching Shark Tank, or sipping iced matcha lattes.
Come join Shelly over at her Facebook group, Rock Your Health, Raise Your Family for tips, inspiration, and the support you need to reclaim your energy, joy, and zest for life.
You can also get social with her over at: