How I Learned to Listen to My Body

Tamera Mowry

The past year I have been dealing with a pretty frustrating injury. No matter what I did, my back never seemed to get better. After countless doctors’ visits, and trying different courses of treatment, I found myself half way down a very long road, with what felt like no end in sight. I know I’m not alone, and I’m sure many of you can relate to the total frustration of going from being very healthy and physically fit, to suddenly unable to live your life the way you are used to (I couldn’t even pick up my daughter).

I’m happy to report that today, I am finally starting to feel like I am on the mend, and have found the right treatment plan for me. As frustrating as this journey has been, there are a few blessings that have come out of it (as there always are). First off, I overhauled my diet quite a bit to eliminate any inflammation causing foods (I wrote about that last week), and that made a big difference for my overall health and energy. Second, and what I want to talk about today with you guys, is that I also learned how to really listen to my body.

It sounds simple enough, and we get told to do it all the time — Every time I take a workout class, or read something about meditation or mindfulness, I hear statements like ‘listen to your body, it knows what it needs’. I’ll be honest with you guys, I thought I understood what that meant … Things like knowing when you’re tired, or hungry or need to exercise — And while those needs are real too, I have learned that listening to your body goes much deeper than that.

Despite working with different doctors and physical therapists, my back wasn’t improving, and my pain was increasing. I began to get really discouraged and frustrated. Anyone who has experienced prolonged pain will attest to the fact that after a while, you get to the end of your rope! Living with pain day in and day out, all while trying to keep up with your responsibilities, becomes very tiring both physically and mentally.

It was at this point of exhaustion and frustration that I decided I had enough. Something wasn’t right, and I didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting better. I made the conscious decision that I was going to get to the bottom of this injury, and figure out what the heck was going on — The only problem was that I had no idea what the heck was going on.

I decided to start by getting really clear on how the injury was affecting me, and noticing everything about my body, and specifically, my pain …. I mean, like take notes on how do I feel at all times of the day, kind of noticing. As someone who doesn’t like to complain, I have to say this was a lot harder than it sounds. What really jumped out at me though during this process was that I had a gut instinct all along about what was and wasn’t working for my body.

Always trust your gut. Sometimes, therapists may tell you things you should be doing, that you instinctively know you just shouldn’t. I worked with a couple different therapists, and knew something still wasn’t right. So, I went and saw a back specialist, Dr. Watkins.  He seriously is the best!  My husband referred me to him through a really good friend of his who had suffered back pain for years as well. Dr. Watkins pointed me in the right direction.  I knew when he looked at me and said, ‘we are going to figure this out’, that he would, and he did!! I did all the tests I needed to get in order to get all the information we needed. Make sure you always keep trying to figure things out if something doesn’t seem right! You have to listen to your own body, and trust your own instincts.

In actuality, it turned out to be my SI joint all along, not my back. The back pain was just referred pain. I can honestly say I was so happy when we found out the culprit. A lot of women who have babies can develop this injury. My two c sections, and lack of core and SI strength, enabled this pain. So, turns out that all I needed was trunk stabilization. So simple right?!

Now that I know what I have to do, the rest of the journey begins. My exercises are what gets me through the day, and what are helping me to heal in the process — But they are no walk in the park. It takes a while to build strength when your abs had been cut open twice. Doctors don’t really tell you that after you have a c section. However, there is a direct correlation between c sections and back-pain. I now have the most amazing physical therapist … It took me awhile to find her! Her name is Grace. But what I love most about her is that she is very optimistic, genuinely cares for patients, and simply knows what she is doing with post-partum mommies.

I’m grateful for my journey, and even for this setback, now that I look back at it. It taught me to always trust my gut, listen to my body, and eat healthier. I’m finally starting to look and feel like myself again. I had to get two cortisone shots in my SI joint, and I gained 10 pounds from the steroids — Not fun. However, I’ve already lost 9 of those. I’m hoping that by sharing my journey, I am able to help someone else on theirs.

Know that in your trials you aren’t in it alone, and that one day, it will become your testimony.

Have you guys ever had to take an injury or health matter into your own hands? I would love to know your tips for taking control of your health!  

Xx
Tamera

 

Healthy On The Go Snack Ideas

Today’s post is by Agatha, the founder of Yummy Spoonfuls. This month, she’s sharing her favorite on-the-go snack ideas that your little ones will go crazy for. 

Nutrition-packed snacks fill in the gaps between meals, and ensure that kids of all ages gets all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fats, protein and fiber needed for developing brains and bodies. This makes snack time a big part of their lives, especially since some have as much as three snacks a day.

‘Snack food’ is not just about nutrition, it is a great opportunity to help train our kids palette when they are younger to enjoy a wide variety of healthy flavors. Those foods that they might not eat on the table they sometimes will eat on the go. There’s a whole world of deliciousness out there just waiting to be tried! When my boys were younger every weekend we would try a different fruit and vegetable from all over the world that we could find at our farmers market. Those of you following me on social media see videos of my kids eating raw veggies, including okra, like candy. Here is what has worked for us… and a few of our all time favorite snacks that are perfect on the go:

Healthy On The Go Snacks

My #1 rule when it comes to snacks: Avoid calorie-dense, low-nutrient foods such as desserts, sugary, overly-processed and salty package snacks. Instead, I turn to fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade bake goods like muffins, chips, breads, etc. that are sweetened with raw honey and fruits. I know this doesn’t sound very convenient but trust me, healthy snacks take just a little preparation and the payoff lasts a lifetime.

(If you are totally not into homemade snacks make sure you look for some that are high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but relatively lower in calories, total fat, saturated fat (no trans fat), sugar and sodium. And read labels and fine print.)

Our Favorite On The Go Snacks:

Raw-licious veggies. Raw vegetables provide variety, like romaine lettuce leaves, cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini ribbons, broccoli etc. If your kids are into dips you can make an easy plain yogurt dip with a pinch of sea salt. (Steam veggies for the younger kids like asparagus tips, sweet potato, squash chunks, whole green beans, broccoli florets, etc.)

Fruity snacks. Raw organic fruits, dried fruits, fruit leather, and frozen purees can all be pre-packed and ready for on the go snacks.

Homemade/baked goodies. Muffins sweetened with fruits and veggies and packed with nutrient dense seeds like flax, hemp and chia. Tortillas filled with nutritious goodies, whole grain cookies, toast, granola bars, protein bars, popcorn balls, roasted nuts, boiled eggs, avocado/nut butters/homemade jams on toast, etc.

Dairy or non-dairy yogurt. Watch out for flavored yogurt and milk, though—even organic brands often contain loads of sugar. Buy plain yogurt and sweeten you’re your own fresh fruits and/or raw honey.

Remember you can never go wrong with nature’s best snacks: fresh fruits and vegetables made at home or baked at home can be made into an on the go snack. The possibilities are endless. Explore with your kids and always remember that quality matters. Check back later when we’ll share our favorite wholesome snack here on TameraMowry.com!

Love and light,
Agatha
www.yummyspoonfuls.com

3 Ways To Get Kids To Eat

You don’t have to necessarily have a picky eater on your hands to struggle getting your little ones to eat their fruits and veggies and other healthy meals. I don’t know how or why, but children figure out early on that if it’s good for you, it must not taste good, and they stay away! Lol. Over the past couple years I’ve developed methods for when Aden’s feeling stubborn, and I totally plan to use these tips on Ariah when necessary!

3 Ways To Get Kids To Eat

Give them a choice. Most kids (okay, people!) will choose a cookie over a banana in a heartbeat. But if there’s two different healthy options in front of them, there’s a good chance they’ll forget about any alternative they can’t see and just focus on the task at hand: making a choice. Giving children a choice allows them to feel more in control of the situation, and even like they’re helping with the meal planning and prep.

Get sneaky with ingredients. Obviously the first method isn’t always going to work – who hasn’t dealt with kids who flat out refuse to eat certain things? Luckily sometimes it only has to look like a favorite dish to be kid-approved. This little trick is perfect for those meals that are healthier versions of family faves, like the sweet potato pancakes from my most coveted kids’ cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. Having a cookbook on hand really helps in those panicky, “He won’t eat anything” moments, but over time you’ll find which healthy ingredients you can get away with sneaking in, no questions asked.

Go in as a family. Kids are smart; it’s a blessing and a curse! If they don’t see the broccoli being eaten off your plate, they won’t be touching theirs. If they see you hitting the cupboards during every TV commercial, they’ll assume that’s just a good way to pass the time. You don’t have to wage an all-out war on sugar (it really depends on your personal diet), but in general setting a positive example not only helps kids form good habits, it keeps moms and dads in check with their health goals too. There are a lot of reasons parents want to set a good example, and this one is especially rewarding.

Got any sneaky tricks to share when it comes to kids’ diets? Let me know!

Xx,
Tamera