Jo's Healthy Lifestyle Journey » Additive Free Lifestyle

Last year was full of highs… highs anyone in their right mind would be so insanely grateful for, but the truth is I didn’t enjoy much of it because I was so darn stressed.  We packed way more into a year than what should be humanly possible and because we jumped from one thing to another, there wasn’t time to enjoy it.  There was no time to truly soak our souls into it.  We didn’t celebrate any of it!  Nothing, nada… and we both ended the year exhausted and I was personally ready to quit.  I was done!

Looking back now, here’s what I’m so damn proud that we achieved last year but didn’t celebrate:

➡️  We didn’t celebrate coming second in the doTERRA incentive trip and winning a trip to Vietnam.
➡️  We didn’t celebrate cooking on stage at doTERRA convention and sharing our additive-free message with nearly 5,000 people.
➡️  We didn’t celebrate the release of our cookbook, something we have dreamed of doing for so many years now!
➡️  We didn’t celebrate hosting our first ever Wellness event in Hobart which people travelled to attend from as far as Perth.
➡️  We didn’t celebrate coming first place in the ‘Making A Difference’ category and making the top 8 in the nation at the AusMumpreneur of the year awards.
➡️  We didn’t celebrate the shit out of mum going into remission from Leukaemia.

We were too busy jumping from one task to another.  We weren’t great leaders or mentors and because we got so caught up in thinking we had to do it all that in the end we stretched ourselves so thin that we were spectators in one of the best and hardest years of our lives.  We weren’t active participants present in each moment.  What a shame.  We were so wrong because it’s gone now and we can’t get it back. There are no do-overs.

I was determined 2020 wasn’t going to go the same way.  So, I wrote a blog in January and committed that this year I would slow down.  Tracey and I both agreed we needed to do this.  Not only for our own lives but also our families and our business.

We still have huge goals and aspirations with this business, so this for me was hard.  So hard.  How are we meant to change the world if we slow down??? argh!

6 months into 2020 and have I lived up to my own self-commitment?

You may know that as of January 1st, I made a commitment to myself to go sugar-free.  I realised I was totally addicted to sugar, I had it every single day and in fact multiple times a day.  So, being a type A personality I went cold turkey… no processed sugar (white or raw), no honey, maple or rice malt syrup.  Yep, I don’t do things in halves.  I did allow myself fruit though, I knew I couldn’t do this unless I would allow myself fruit.

I also committed to a minimum of 30 minutes of movement every day which was something I also wasn’t doing.  I’d always managed to somehow justify my lack of movement because “I didn’t have time for that!” or some other excuse.  Because I continue to drink my 2L minimum of water a day (I’m good at this anyway) and I don’t drink soft drink, coffee or anything but water, I figured this was counterbalancing my lack of movement.  Again, just more excuses.

But guess what?  I’m pleased to say I succeeded, but man it took pure grit and determination!  I started to feel so much better.  My belly wasn’t as bloated, my skin was clear and my nightmares had stopped.  I was sleeping so much better and I was very much getting into a routine of daily movement and good food.  Look at the difference a month made! ⬇️

In February we had booked in a South/East Coast AU tour.  I went to Adelaide, Burnie, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Grafton and Coffs Harbour.  I did the best I could with my food and movement but the truth is I started to slide back into old habits of working more and looking after myself less.

March I was pretty much back into my old habits.  I wasn’t eating as much sugar (I was still mindful of it) but it had come back into my life.  My movement was down to 3-4 days a week and I had put the weight back on that I’d lost in January.  I was back to being cranky, tired and stressed.  Then COVID-19 hit and just like everyone else, I was worried!  Would we earn enough to support our family?  Would our business crumble? Do we need to lay off staff?  SHIT!

Just like everyone else in lockdown we had to homeschool.  I could feel my stress levels coming up and up and then I realised I had a choice.  I could:

  1. Come out of COVID worse than I went into it, or
  2. I could come out as a new and improved person.  I had a goal to be as healthy as I could by my 40th in November and the clock was ticking!

I chose option 2.

I joined an 8-week challenge with 28 By Sam Wood and I committed to exercising twice a day and to eat really good food again.  I would also be sugar-free but this time I wouldn’t be as strict, I’d allow myself natural sugar like maple, honey or rice malt syrup on the odd occasion, like, if it was in a biscuit or something but this would only be a couple of times a week.  A sometimes food.

As our family adjusted I realised I LOVED being in lockdown.

I had nowhere to be, it was GREAT!  My goal was to not travel as much this year and COVID-19 took great care of that goal.

But homeschooling and working full time were hard. I was pulling, at a minimum, 15 hour days and after a few weeks, I was exhausted.

Shane got me a Garmin Vivomove HR watch for Mothers Day.  It tracks your stress and I remember saying to him “this thing could blow up” but in all seriousness, I had no idea how bad I was.  Although I was eating well and exercising daily I wasn’t losing any weight.

No wonder, look at how bad I was!!  My cortisol levels were through the roof!

This data blew my mind.

Our mum has been stressed her whole life and my siblings call me the ‘clone’ but I didn’t see it.  I really didn’t realise I was this bad.

Stress kills.  It’s as simple as that!  It’s bad for every cell in our body.  This was the wake-up call I needed to see.

I love my mother, we’re best friends and I talk with her daily but after spending my life nursing her through nervous breakdowns, a horrific hysterectomy, anxiety attacks and then leukaemia I’ve always promised myself I would not do this to my body.  Yet, hello, here I am doing EXACTLY that!

So, I decided that today I BECOME NUMBER 1.  No more fluffing around.  I get up, I exercise, I eat well, I work until 4 pm and then I go for walk.  That’s it.  No excuses!

❤️  I would breathe.
❤️  I would stop.
❤️  I would make Tracey and I celebrate all our achievements and smell the roses.
❤️  I would work less.
❤️  I would make more time for my family.
❤️  I would do more of the good stuff and way less of the things that bring me little or no joy.

Because of this, something major shifted in me.  I stopped feeling guilty about all the excuses I’d been telling myself, they were all just stories, totally not true and just a way of my mind sabotaging me more than it already had been.

Stories like:

  • Tracey is going to get mad if I finish work at 4 pm just so I can go for a walk.
  • The kids are going to miss out if I am out walking.
  • Shane won’t like looking after the kids if I’m out walking, it’s too much pressure on him (can we give this the biggest eye roll ever, please!).
  • I don’t have time, there aren’t enough hours in the day.
  • It’s too cold.
  • I’m too big, what will people think of me when they see me jogging.
  • I’m too tired.
  • I’m not fit enough.
  • Is this selfish?

No more of this self-sabotaging mindset!

So here’s how I’ve managed to fit it ‘all’ in:

  • I do my morning workout at home, in my spare room.  It’s actually the kid’s toy room which they never use because they drag it all out into our family living area.  I spent the money and got some hand weights, a yoga mat, a step and resistance bands from Kmart.
  • My alarm goes off at 6 am, I get up, put on my activewear.  I make my bed, then start getting things ready for the day.  Things like making the kids lunches if I haven’t done them the night before, open the curtains etc.  Kids get up at 7 am, I give them a cuddle, help them make their breakfast and at 7:30 am I’m in doing my workout.  I realised that they are old enough to get dressed on their own, pack their bags, brush their teeth & hair, make their beds and put their shoes on all by themselves. They’re 7 and 10 and more than capable.
  • At 8 am I’d have a quick shower and by 8.20 am we’re out the door heading to school.

I realise that this routine won’t suit everyone.  I don’t have time to do my hair and makeup, sometimes I don’t even have time to shower so I do this when I get back from school (or wait until the night if I don’t have any zoom meetings).  The point is you do what works for you.  Maybe workout from 6.30-7 and while the kids get ready that’s when you have a shower.  If your kids still need your help can you get up earlier?

I also:

  • close the computer at 4 pm, get my activewear back on (ok, it’s normally always on anyway) and go for an afternoon walk.  I have the most gorgeous walking track at the end of my street so no matter how cold it is, I get down there.  Most of the time the kids come with me on their bikes, even though they try to make excuses.  I think it’s so good for them to get outside and move more, so most of the time I make them come too.

And as a result, here’s what my stress levels look like now.

I’m not going to say I’m perfect, I’m not ‘fixed’ or ‘healed’ by any means.  This takes a daily commitment, conscious decisions and effort.  One day I hope it’s second nature, that’s my goal.  There have been some days where I’ve done no movement, days that I’ve eaten pizza and too many cookies so please don’t think I’ve got my shiz all together just yet… I don’t.  But I’m trying and girlfriend, that’s all that matters.

As a result of my efforts, I have noticed that:

  • The nightmares I was suffering so badly from, have gone.
  • I don’t wake with anxiety anymore.
  • I’m no longer terribly bloated.
  • I don’t get headaches of any kind.  No premenstrual or tension headaches at all, they’ve all gone.
  • The tension in my neck and shoulders has gone.
  • I sleep so well and fall asleep instantly.
  • The more good food I eat, the more I want.
  • I look forward to my movement now, something I never thought I’d say!
  • I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore, it just doesn’t matter.

And my weight, well I was obsessed with the scales.  I worried about that number so very much that I decided they needed to go in the bin and threw them in the wheelie bin on the 3rd of June.  Very wasteful I know, I should have given them away but I just needed to get rid of them!

I’d get up, get on the scales.  Sometimes I’d weigh myself twice a day!  I’d go up and down just like a yo-yo and I realised that depending on what that number said was how it determined my day.  If it was up I’d think “what’s the point” and eat really bad.  It was such a terrible psychological way for me to live so I removed the negative behaviour and threw them out.

I believe it’s more important for me to go off how I FEEL so that’s what I’m doing.  I know when I’m bloated and my tummy is trying to tell me something.  I know when my clothes start to feel a bit snug or when I’m uncomfortable.  I can feel when my chest is beating fast from worry, and when I feel like I’m in a pressure cooker and about to blow my stack.

After just a couple of months I now fit back into all of my clothes (apart from that small pile of stuff at the back, the pile I’ve kept ‘just in case’ which is now about 8 years old).  I plan on trying some of it on this week and taking some photos.  I reckon it’d be great motivation.

There is a size M (approx. size 10 I reckon) Ben Sherman skirt I purchased in 2012.  I was 3 months pregnant with Jacob and I love it so much.  I’ve never worn it as it’s always been too small and my major goal is to wear this with a tucked-in white singlet top.  Watch this space.

So, there’s the update.

I truly feel it’s only the beginning, as I said I am a work in progress but man I do not want to go back to living the way I was.

I hope this has given you some motivation, some hope and encouragement that it’s ok to be number one.  In fact, it should be normal that we actually live this way.

It’s not selfish, it’s smart.  When you’re sick, when you’re tired, when you have anxiety and weight issues you’re no good to anyone.  But when you put your oxygen mask on first, when you pour into your own cup you have so much more to give to those you love the most.

And lastly, remember this is only my story.  I’m only doing what works for me and I know I’m extremely lucky to be able to set my own work hours and have that flexibility.  I’ve worked hard for this and am so grateful for it.  But please, I beg of you, don’t look at me and compare yourself.  I’ve spent too many years comparing myself to others and I know that feeling all too well.


Fit in whatever you can, but stop with the excuses as I had to.  Because we can all fit in 30 minutes a day no matter what.  And if you can’t, well something needs to change.

I have sought professional medical advice and before you start any dietary and movement changes, I suggest you do the same.

You’ve got this!

Jo x


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