Nutrition and Exercise: My Self-Care Journey



As a mom of four kids, I will admit that I often overlook myself. Up until recently, I was fueling my body with foods that didn’t serve me and my waistline suffered. I also made excuses for my poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Self-care felt like the last thing I had time for.

My troubles started during the pandemic. Prior to that, I exercised five to six days a week.  I didn’t exactly watch what I ate because I was maintaining a healthy weight. Then I got covid and a host of complications.

Health Issues

I developed a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS. This syndrome made it very difficult to exercise because my heart rate would skyrocket, and my blood pressure would tank. This would cause syncope, and I would nearly pass out.

With exercise off the table, I also didn’t correct my diet. I was covid eating because I was bored and fueled by anxiety due to the pandemic. I gained approximately 30 pounds in about six months. I wallowed in self pity.

Improvements and Set Backs

At about the two-year mark of getting sick, I began to notice that my POTS symptoms were alleviating. I started hiking with my family and noticed my heart rate would stay in the normal range. I began slowly adding in exercise when I was having “good days.” I lost about five pounds and then it plateaued.

Did I mention that I am 48 years old?

I discovered that my old tried and true methods for dieting and weight loss no longer worked. My doctor explained that perimenopause had slowed my metabolism. Great.

Nutrition and Exercise

In May of this year, I was so uncomfortable in my skin and determined to figure out how to get back to who I was.

I began logging all meals and giving myself a calorie budget to keep myself accountable. I discovered that if I eat healthy, whole foods for breakfast and lunch, I can bank more calories for a delicious dinner with my family.

I also committed myself to exercising a minimum of five days per week.


Cooking is a passion of mine and fresh seasonal ingredients inspire my menu. Farmer’s markets are my happy place. During a visit to the market in June, I met a dietician named Amy Lawson. I explained that I had cleaned up my diet but still struggled with portion control. I am a foodie and I love to eat, y’all!

She gave me some advice that I will take to the bank. She told me that there is no such thing as “bad food.” Some foods just need to be enjoyed sparingly and eaten mindfully. She also explained to me that taking the time to enjoy my food would help me to eat less.

Eat Mindfully

Amy provided five tips that can helped me connect more intimately with my food and to appreciate what it gives me:

  1. Before eating, take a cleansing breath and center yourself.
  2. Sit at the table.
  3. Turn off all screens, be present.
  4. Take the time to notice the colors, textures, and smells of your food.
  5. Eat slowly, enjoy each bite, and listen to your body’s cues. Stop eating when you are full.

Muscle Burns Fat

After getting my diet and portions under control, the scale started moving… slowly. After some online research, I learned that a woman my age does best with a metabolic workout.  I began focusing on building muscle. I got up every morning by 4:30 a.m. to work out uninterrupted.

After a month, my new muscle lit a fire in my metabolism. The scale was still moving slowly but it was because I replacing fat with muscle. My body is making visible changes and I can now fit into my pre-pandemic jeans!

Committing to Myself

Prioritizing myself brought me back to the happy person I once was. Good nutrition and exercise help me to feel fit, healthy, and confident. Self-care is now something I commit to every day because it also makes me a better mom and partner.