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Our Health Journey

Our Health Journey

Sometime ago, I shared a little of the issue I was having with my heart. Since that time, I have undergone a series of tests, with mixed results. While the cardiologist was unable to find anything serious wrong with me, there is an issue with one of the chambers in my heart that requires further investigation in December. There is however, no answer to my breathlessness. I have been living a quieter life, with restrictions on my ability to exercise.

Made with Square InstaPic
Made with Square InstaPic

Quieter has only been in the exercise front as work with our construction company has reached an all time high. We have currently 4 large jobs on the go and we are just about to begin our 5th. I have taken on an advice column that I am writing for on a weekly basis, I have been contracted to write several pieces for our local council and have just booked in my second speaking gig in November. That is only what I am up to.

There is also the Builder to think about who is not only running our business along side me, he also has undertaken a role with a local training provider to write their Builder’s course, which takes many hours each week. Don’t forget the 5 kids who all have their own set of demands including school responsibilities, sports and part time work. Our lives are truly a whirlwind.

The Builder and I have been coping by losing focus on ourselves, and what is important to us. I have put on a significant amount of weight since being unable to exercise, as we find we are also eating foods we would never normally dream of. This coupled with a few glasses of wine every night, has created 2 very unhealthy, stressed people.

Time For Change

Several years ago, just before we moved into our Pen Y Llechwedd, we were faced with a similar point in our lives. Prior to then we had spent the previous two years before eating a carb-less diet, well except for a wine on the weekend. The move into the rental house before moving into our now home, created so much stress, we were eating well outside the plan, and while the weight gain was not as significant, our bodies were really feeling the consequences.

It was at this time, we committed to the Whole 30 program. Essentially this program is designed to reboot the body, and most importantly the mind. To stop the cravings, and remind us how to eat good healthy, whole foods again, while avoid the things we know make our bodies feel terrible. For us it is carbs, white foods, processed foods, coffee and alcohol. It is a tough few weeks, but well worth the rewards we found after completing the program.

whole 30

On our recent holiday, we found our love for exercising again, and really slowed down enough to hear what our bodies had been trying to tell us. Bad food = uncomfortable, poorly performing bodies. We had reached the cross road. Together we made the commitment, to try the Whole 3 program again.

Last Tuesday was our first day, and here we are 8 days later, and already feeling so much better. We have each lost a few kilos, our eyes are brighter and we are finding our energy levels are gently increasing. While I still cannot do heavy exercise like I was used to, I am walking most days, which I love.

I am sharing this with you, as much to keep us accountable as to show you the truth of who we are. We don’t always put ourselves first, often we are at the very bottom of the list, but we are taking control to ensure that we are at the bottom no more.

I will share a few health updates as we travel this journey, but they won’t be very often. This is an insight into the real life of this Builder’s Wife.

Have you faced your own health challenges? Have you heard of the Whole 30 program? Ever tried it? What make you feel good?

Nicole xxx

Linking up with Kylie Purtell for #IBOT


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  1. You live such a full life Nicole, (and most days I don’t know how you do it all), but our health is so important and we don’t realise how important it is until we notice a change and realise we aren’t invincible. I notice when I’m stressed and busy, I grab the unhealthy food options like chocolate rather than fruit. I love that I can exercise most days by walking Esther to school. But I know I can do better with the food choices I make. I’ve been feeling so tired lately so I think a change will help me feel a little better. I hope your new food plan helps you and the Builder to feel more energized. It sounds like you need to be with all this work on. And congratulations on your weekly column. That is brilliant!!

    1. Thank you for your kind words. xx
      You are so right, I do the same thing, that is choose the easiest often worst option when I am busy and stressed. I think it is actually really normal, and it feels like such a big decision and change to make a healthy change. My biggest battle is in my head! xx

  2. Your health is your wealth, that’s what my mum always says and mum is always right! I’ve heard of the Whole 30 and heard really good things about it too. I’m so weird that once I know I can’t have something I want it even more, so I’d probably last about 2 minutes. Coming back from an epic 4 week trip overseas, we’re not exactly at our peak and we too have tried to make some healthy changes. We’re trying to eat gluten free and cut out the carbs as much as we can. We’re also running together at weekends and we can already feel the difference. It’s good when you have a partner in health, isn’t it?! Here’s to wellness – I’m looking forward to more healthy updates from you two!

    1. I love your Mum already! So is so right, especially true as we age (YUCK!!) Even on our short break, I managed to pack on 3 kilos!!!! So an extra few to loose, but happy to be headed in the right direction again. The Whole 30 rocks, you are right, all I think about some days are a big glass of wine and a packet of chips, but I feel so, so much better, I can ignore it. By the end of the process, I don’t have the cravings anymore, bonus!! xx

  3. Good on you for prioritising your health, especially given your uncertainty with your heart and ability to exercise. The Whole 30 sounds great – my big problem is the glasses of wine or couple of cold beers, but the other bad things sneak in too. I hope you can find some time for a little meditation (walking helps for sure) and just to be on your own. Good luck for December.

    1. Kathy, you have just given me the key to the other thing I’ve been missing, meditation!! (Slaps forehead) It was something The Builder and I started doing together some time ago and as with everything at the time, we let it go. No time like the present to bring it back. Thank you.xx

  4. So timely Nicole. I’m preparing for surgery and realised I was a walking mess having let conscious eating and exercise slip. Nothing like a health issue to kick you up the backside, I’m also eating no carb, no processed food and very lean and green and it’s working. Our health is everything and the buck stops with us. Good on you for seeing that changes needed to be made and for implementing them.

    1. You are such an inspiration to me Jenni, I’m so glad to hear that you are so well as well. Best of luck for your surgery, I will be sending much love your way xxx

  5. Bravo Nicole for coming clean so to speak.. congratulations also on your column and job lineup. Says good things for the industry and your reputation ✌️️. It’s amazing how many women our age have run into life changing complications! I have mine too, began two years ago and stops me from doing any strenuous or ‘satisfying’ cardio too ?. My recent change in medication (like.. very recent) means that now I can’t have more than a few std glasses of vino a week which has both hubby and I scratching our heads (wait… what?).. sometimes despite the frustration I feel (why us?) I know that an improvement in lifestyle will probably make us live longer (glass half full)….now then.. I have to accept my own theory, do it right and make it happen. Bugger ?, easier said done right?? Bottoms up and here go! Take care

    1. It is hard to accept isn’t it! I really thought I had this whole life thing was going ok, until the heart started playing up, and then it was like a blinding moment of clarity, which I then lost. Glad to be making headway again. I do hope that your new medication is helpful for your own journey. My great friend Kirsten from the blog Kirsten and Co, shares her own very big life change due to a really rare health condition and is an inspiration for me to keep going. Take care of you too.xx

  6. Health is so important (and I type that as I sit here thinking about chocolate because I am ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT CHOCOLATE). I’ve been struggling with energy levels lately which has a little bit of basis in medication and health and a lot of basis in using those as excuses. Thanks for the swift kick to the butt that is sharing your own story. x #teamIBOT

    1. Glad it was of some use for you. xx

  7. I’ve just come from a holiday and over indulged in EVERYTHING. It wasnt until we were on the plane that my youngest started to get sick and stayed unwell for almost a week. It just reminded me that we eat healthy, exercise regularly and do everything in moderation for a reason – to stay as healthy as we possibly can.

    1. So true Natalie, I do hope you enjoyed your holiday. It looked great on Instagram xx

  8. Wow! So much going on for you guys. You’re right though. The slip into unhealthy living is such a gradual decline that you don’t even realise, which then makes it a harder hike back up towards the healthy summit. I haven’t heard of the Whole 30, but it sounds like something I’d be interested to look into. Generally, we are pretty healthy, but probably not as healthy as we think!

    1. Love the Whole 30 as a reboot, to remind us what healthy eating for us is all about. xx

  9. Dude, just reading about all that made me exhausted! My hubby is on that treadmill of tests and cardiologists too, so I reckon you could both compare notes. It sucks. I did catch your advice column today and can’t remember if I congratulated you on social media or not, so will do it now. Onwards and upwards – all the while taking care of yourself x

    1. Thank you so much! I feel for your hubby, it’s such a confronting time. One bonus for him, he has no naked boobs while running on that treadmill. Worst. Run. Of. My. Life!! xx

  10. Thank you for sharing your health journey with us. It’s a good reminder that change can be hard but it’s definitely worth it. Thanks for the inspiration x

    1. Oh Miss Kirsten, it is you that has inspired me!! xx

  11. I think I’ve vaguely heard of Whole 30, but we don’t follow any specific diet program in our house. Just a basic kind of food plan of half veggies, quarter appropriate carbs, quarter protein. I do need to revisit my dietitian though to talk about what foods I can have to boost my iron. I’m sure I have a good base but I want specific advice on quantities, frequency and type.

    1. That is great advice to seek, while I know what foods have great sources of iron, I do not know how often you should eat them. It’s not something I have actually thought about. Your normal food plan sounds great!

  12. You have a very full life and I’m so glad that you are taking time for you again. I’ve not heard of the Whole 30 before but I’m glad it works for you. I’m fairly healthy on the food front but have really let exercise, which I love, slip lately and I’m inspired by you to start it up again! Thanks for sharing this today.

    1. Yay for exercise!! I have been missing it fierce and am so happy to be back in the swing of it. xx

  13. Thinking of you as you both embark on the health journey. If you do it together and think of it as a lifestyle you will both achieve everything you are wanting to xoxox

    1. Thank you gorgeous. I do hope you are well xx

  14. So much going on. Congrats on all the opportunities and success. Good on you and hubby for tackling your health together. Xx

    1. Thank you Deb. Everything is better when we face it together xx

  15. You both are so busy!! I’ve heard of Whole 30 before. I recall coming across a blog by a girl who blogged her journey on Whole 30 and she had enormous success. Wonderful that you’re doing it together. Good on you both and all the very best of luck. I’m sure you’ll be kicking goals in no time! xo

    1. Thank you Min, so very kind of you. We had great success on our last round of the Whole 30, and am looking forward to feeling strong again. xx

  16. Oh, it sounds as if you’ve got a lot on your plate at the moment so it’s great you’re taking some time for yourself and recognising you need to take care of yourself (put your own gas mask – or whatevs – on first so you’re strong for everything else you need to do!).

    1. Just realised the word I was looking for was oxygen mask. I obviously haven’t flown in a while!

      1. ?

    2. Such a true statement and one I had forgotten for quite some time, especially in the years of divorce and then re-marrige when your focus is all about the kids. It’s nice to be focusing on ourselves for a change. xx

  17. Health is so very important – I loved seeing your pics on Insta of your GC getaway. So glad some sunshine and beautiful times could kickstart you into motivation. I am so happy to read you are taking some time to nourish you. So very important, especially with all those kiddos to manage! ? Go you!! xx

    1. Thank you Ashlea, we are reaping the benefits already. Feeling so much better with much more energy each day. xxx

  18. Nicole, I hear you on making the changes and I wish you and your hubby well. I need to ask though…when do either of you stop…breathe and smell the roses (or whatever is out there. I know that it is hard because I was addicted to BUSY and I have had to learn in retirement that I can let go. I do meditate each day via the headspace app, I try to be in nature somewhere each day and I also am grappling with the emotional roller coaster of worry as we age (little things start going awry) and my dad who is 92 getting a few things wrong..and kids and grandkids blah blah. So, I am more inclined now as a former comfort eater where I was pushing down my feelings, to eat smaller and what I’d like with health and enjoyment at the keys. I don’t have any answers. But I do want you to feel well! Denyse xx

    1. IT has taken us a while to learn how to do this Denyse, but we do take time out. It used to be over a glass of wine each day, that was the purpose of the ritual, now we are doing so with a glass of soda and lemon or lime and it is working well. We are working at incorporating some meditation into our day as well. Thank you for your kind wishes xxx

  19. I know I need to do something like this but I feel like a toddler with a favourite toy when people threaten to take away my coffee.

    1. Between wine and coffee, it’s a lot of getting used to, but I feel so great only 10 days in, I am comfortable with the short term sacrifice. xx

  20. Look at you go lady!! Good luck with the changes. I have just started a bit of a health kick, well not a health kick, it’s a diet. I have tried shakes for the first time. I am STARVING!! I haven’t got the balance right and I keep blowing out on wasteful calories. I have never been great at diets. I can’t wait until magpie season is over and get back to walking and riding.

    1. Those maggies are fierce!! Good luck with your diet, I hope it settles well for you. xxx

  21. Your story is fascinating and echoes what I have discovered recently. Our family has been participating in a fast that our church is currently undertaking. We’re at various levels of a Daniel Fast – fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds is all we’re allowed to have. No animal products, no white, no processed, no sweetness and no caffeine. My husband and I are full tilt and our kids are doing some parts but not others.

    Every time I do this fast (this is my 3rd) something different reveals itself. This time it’s a strong reaction to anything processed. We have had a few events that we’ve had that weren’t fast-friendly so we’ve just gone left the fast for that meal and then returned to it. Every time I’ve had a very runny nose and really heavy, puffy eyes the next day. Last time it was a strong reaction to sugar – the similar heavy, puffy-feeling eyes.

    It’s only when you get very clean with your eating that you are able to notice these things, and it changes how we go forward after our fast, every single time.

  22. I’m so proud of you, what a great thing you are both doing. Hubby and I need to do a similar thing. I’m trying to be more active by walking kids to school and just taking the long way. Also eating less of the rich stuff that we don’t need. So glad they didn’t find anything sinister, I’ll have all things crossed for Dec tests. Something has to change in our household too, but I feel we’re nearly there xxx

  23. That’s awesome you’re both making the change, especially with such busy hectic lives ? I’ve not heard of this food plan, I’ll check it out. I was meant to start exercise class on Saturday but the next3 are booked up – not a great start, But someone did tell I look like a dropped a few kgs today, sadly not, just amazingly shaped pants ; ) xx

  24. […] little while ago I shared with you, where The Builder and I are at with our health. After too many years of not prioritising ourselves, our health was suffering. My heart had decided […]

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