Reflection on 2022

I started out the New Year ready to take on the autoimmune and health issues that have slowly, but steadily accumulated over the past decade. My number 1 aim was to stop the hives I experienced every day, twice a day, morning and night for the past 12 years. (See @kw_hivefreein365 on Instagram)

At the beginning of 2022 this is how my health looked:
🔸️I was taking antihistamines twice daily to keep the welts at bay, I was anxious if I found myself without some on hand;
🔸️My blood pressure had peaked during 2020 and been managed with increasing amounts of medication;
🔸️I had wildly fluctuating hormones that led me to have an unnecessary contraceptive device put into my body (after decades on the pill, three rounds of IVF and compounded hormonal medications at times);
🔸️I was taking metformin for insulin resistance, I knew that my future likely included Type 2 Diabetes; and
🔸️I was restricting my eating regularly and for long periods, but with no real impact on my slowly increasing weight (like zero impact from weeks of counting calories, which felt insurmountable).

Things I already knew:
🔸️I had a good understanding of what is healthy, had begun to explore intuitive eating and knew that restriction was my kryptonite, but I had poor application of this knowledge and needed support;
🔸️I’d worked on body image and negative thoughts for some time and felt confident (most of the time) that my value as a person is not corelated to my weight, yet I also knew that my weight was not conducive to a long and healthy life;
🔸️I exercised regularly (the preceding year I’d completed the handstands365 challenge) and had strung together a couple of years of regular but unfocussed movement which was socially and emotionally rewarding, but physically had somewhat plateaued; and
🔸️I had already changed my working life and let go of some old ideas about career and the corporate ladder, knowing that I wanted more time with Remy while he is little and more focus on fun, play and balance.

I include the above to reinforce that I had already embarked on a journey that had begun to shift my mindset and open me to new ways of living, and the gains I’ve made this year have in reality been a number of years in the making.

With the support of a holistic GP, and a veritable cheer squad of friends and family these are the changes I’ve specifically made in 2022:

  • Stopped eating dairy, eggs and most wheat
  • Reduced toxins by drinking filtered water
  • Switched to natural deodorant
  • Started dry brushing to support lymphatic drainage
  • Reduced toxins from skincare, fragrances and cleaning products wherever possible
  • Switched to organic seasonal fruit and veg
  • Gathered my meats from reputable butchers with a preference for grass fed, organic and nitrate free
  • Eaten organic grassfed gelatin regularly for gut support (this seems to help me a lot)
  • Cooked with more animal fat
  • Seriously reduced my packaged food consumption
  • Cooked more and enjoyed it
  • I read widely and changed my social media consumption to consider ancient and holistic ways of eating and thought more about how human bodies have evolved to be their most efficient
  • I’ve taken mineral supplements for zinc, magnesium, vit D, molybdenum, selenium and treated elevated copper levels
  • Focussed my movement on understanding my body and how it feels to be me, rather than weightloss – this has included building my resilience and autonomy in movement, working on my breath, blockages in my mental maps and building some core strength and confidence (none of this possible without Aspen Coaching)
  • I grew some food – I love my little garden and will be sad to leave it, there is something special about tasting strawberries, watermelon, lemon, garlic and herbs from your own garden.

This year I’ve achieved a lot:

  • I’ve lost 9kgs
  • My waist circumference is down 9cms, my belly down 12cms
  • I have halved my blood pressure medication
  • I have stopped taking metformin for insulin resistance
  • I have had one stretch of 4 days without hives, I often have hive free days and when I do get hives it is generally only once and sometimes managed without medication
  • My hair and nails are super healthy, my skin has no suspicious dry patches
  • I wake up earlier and easier
  • My mind is clearer and a lot of the time I feel more clear in what I want

For the faint of heart, who are now starting to ask what I’ve been doing in hope of some magic bullet of wisdom I might be able to share (I can’t) all I can say is that I did this while still eating (without limitation) potatoes, bacon, dark chocolate and coffee. In fact, it’s possible I have eaten more potatoes this year than any year prior and that includes hot chips.

I drink juice now. I never used to for fear of calories. Now, when I get oranges in my delivery box I juice them for myself, or mix it into my gelatin gummies with some raw and simply stunning banksia honey. When that’s not in season I get some cold pressed organic concoction which usually includes apple, lemon and something pink and tastes delicious.

I eat breakfast most days and try to include meat and fats (the sardines were a bridge too far, maybe next year). I’m hungry when I wake up most days now, this is a recent development.

I sweat now! I used to think I was incapable of sweating (like Prince Andrew). I thought that I just went red, got a migraine and didn’t sweat. You can imagine my surprise to feel wet armpits for the actual first time at the grand old age of 38! It made me into a giggling sweaty mess the delight of it. I’m crediting lowering levels of metals build-up, a switch from traditional deodorant and lymphatic drainage work for that little nugget. And it feels good. It feels like my body is switching itself back on. All the parts of me starting to talk to one another, work together in harmony.

I spend more time barefoot (I think I’ve ditched even low heels forever). I spend more time outside. I don’t wear as much sunscreen. I pay more attention to how I stand, how I sit, how I walk. I think (feel?) more about how my feet connect to the ground. I think (feel?) more about how small we are on the earth and how we just are part of this big blobby terrarium in space for only a moment in time, and then we are gone.

I’ve always been a more in my head than in my body kind of person. I am intuitive, but more in rapidly assessing the mood, feelings and motivations of other people, not myself. My own feelings are somewhat mysterious to me and I am generally happy just to not be making waves. I’m not sure what lies beyond that door, or when it closed, maybe I don’t need to. I think (feel?) I’m reconnecting the me that is behind my eyes somewhere to the me that inhabits this whole being, that they are less of two entities.

My number 1 cheerleader and support in this journey has been my husband @thejohnkw We are making fairly big choices together about where and how we live that will benefit our whole family’s health. My vision is for a life where we walk together to get a morning coffee. Buy from a local butcher and grocer. Walk Remy to and from school and have the room for the kids to safely play outside. I know John has largely trusted me in this decision, even when it hasn’t been without stress or worry. He supports my crazy ideas, passions and weirdo antics with a real minimum of eye-rolling and I am very grateful to have a true partner in life and love.

It’s not all roses and I have many things to keep me busy working on. Over the year my lower back pain has somewhat increased. There is still inflammation. It ebbs and flows. Sometimes it stops me in my tracks, stops me lifting Remy or doing simple things I enjoy – like weeding the garden.

Now that structural or mechanical issues have been ruled out, I feel that I am asking my body to do more than what it has done in a long time. It’s getting older, and quite frankly is a bit cranky about being asked to move in areas it had so cleverly mapped out pathways to avoid. I guess that’s just another convenient story I’m telling myself, but if it sends me in the right direction, I’ll follow it for a while. For now, I’m treating pain as feedback, and while it’s a nuisance (and hella frustrating) it is trying to tell me something about how I use my body that it most probably has been shouting on deaf ears for decades.

I stand more now. I move more (I have to, or I turn into Tin Man). I sit on the floor more (getting up is not as easy). I see there is value in this pain, because without it I wouldn’t know that my body’s threat detection system is on alert and I would be charging ahead to a chair bound future at increasing speed. I am grateful that my pain is not life limiting and is mostly within my control to manage.

I’ve had some serious allergic reactions to an unknown food or additive that render me ‘gastro-like’ for a good day or two. At first I mistook them for food poisoning given the swiftness that it takes hold. I’m still unsure what from, but the four episodes have been related to fish and chip stores, low water intake, vegan substitute cheesecake with bright blue icing (yep that was a fun one) and interestingly all on day 1 of my period, when my hives are also likely to be at their worst. With each episode they have become more violent. Perhaps my body is getting better at identifying and evicting the culprits? I hope so. So, as a result I am careful of reused frying oils and anything with too many numbers.

Similarly, my favourite poison – champagne – regardless of the quality now leaves me feeling terrible after anything more than a couple of sips. So even though I’ve not been a heavy drinker, I’m now drinking seldom and tend to go for a gin and soda when the occasion calls for it.

I write this more for myself than anyone else. This is not the end of a journey or a before and after (although I am proud of the photos capturing how much healthier I feel), they are just a couple of check in points on the long journey of an ever changing life.

The support from Emma and Glenn Robson of Aspen Coaching, and Bob DeMaio at On the Mend Health has been invaluable and I can’t thank you three enough. Similarly, the cheer squad of people liking and commenting on these posts (at @kw_hivefreein365 on Instagram) has kept me honest – even though you can probably tell I was losing the momentum of posting at the end there.

Next year I’m continuing this path but won’t be posting daily – I’ll fine tune out more sugar and aim to eliminate the seed oils that remain on a quest to ‘just eat real food.’ What I will be posting however, is my next 365 personal journal – @kw_writes365 where I aim to write something… anything, every day for a year.

Many of you know I am writing a historical fiction novel, I have some long service leave coming up and aim to use it writing and project managing some renovations at our new house from late Feb. So, to get me off on the right track that’s what I’m going to journal in 2023. If it sounds interesting feel free to follow along @kw_writes365 – I totally understand if it’s not your jam!

If you made it this far – well done to you and thanks for following. Happy New Year.

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