I find reflection comes naturally to me on anniversaries of all kinds. And I think that my 6 month blogiversary is an important one to celebrate! (I’m also celebrating 8 months of eating paleo!) It is amazing to me to think not only of how much my blog has grown in such a short period of time, but also to appreciate the incredible positive feedback and comments I have been receiving. Thank you! This blog has been my outlet for my excitement, my frustration, and my geek-out moments as I continue to learn and delve into the intricate details of how our health is directly linked to diet. But in many ways, this blog has also become my job. I have put deep pressure on myself to continue to produce high quality recipes, informative posts about many aspects of a paleolithic lifestyle, suggestions for dealing with various challenges associated with this way of eating, and candid stories about what is working (or not!) for me and my family in our home. I find myself unable to take a day off, even though sometimes I should. I spend all of my free time researching for upcoming posts, perfecting recipes, writing, editing, sketching, and coding. But, even though my job currently nets me about $1.50 per hour in limited advertising revenue (because I only advertise products I use and don’t use any third-party advertising), I have found that I do truly love it! I have tried as best I can to reply to every question and every email that I have been sent (and I will continue to do so for as long as I can keep up with it) and to engage with my followers daily on facebook and twitter. I have had the deep privilege to communicate one-on-one by email with some of you, trying to help you figure out solutions to your individual challenges. And I find this aspect of my blog even more rewarding than watching my own health improve.
But, I am still amazed to reflect on how much my implementation of paleo has evolved and how much I have learned about food, stress, sunlight, sleep, hormones, autoimmunity, and myself. You can read about my various diet changes aimed at dealing with lichen planus, a form of psoriasis, by reading these posts:
- My Implementation of Paleo
- New Year’s Resolutions 2012
- On Making Tough Resolutions
- Six Months of Paleo and Still Tweaking
Nothing much has changed in my diet. I find 100% compliance with the autoimmune protocol very difficult and would probably see faster improvement if I could avoid those occasional bites of paleo baking, handfuls of nuts, and other paleo treats that my body rebels against. My psoriasis has improved to the point where it is an excellent litmus for foods I am sensitive to, but I do still battle with temptation.
I also still feel like I am battling those last 10-15 pounds. You can also read about changes I’ve made to my exercise routine aimed at tricking my body into shedding those pounds by reading these posts:
- Why I Want To Lower My Bodyweight Set-Point
- Attempting To Lower My Bodyweight Set-Point UsingSprints
I have not lost any more weight. I have decreased my sprinting workouts to twice per week because the strain on my joints was so great. But, I have continued to see improvements in my speed and strength and continue to feel great afterward. And even though I have not lost any more weight, I have gained some muscle mass and slightly decreased my body fat. I am sleeping better and my mood is good. And, I’m pretty happy with that!
My main short-term goal as far as my own health is concerned is renewed focus on sleep. My children are still up sporadically overnight (and much more often than I’d like), so I really don’t have control over my own sleep quality. But, I do have control over what time I go to bed. I have let my bedtime slide later and later as I find the child-free time after my kids go to bed to be so short to accomplish everything I want to do and find time to spend with my husband. A little prioritizing is all it will take, to get my bedtime back to the 9pm it needs to be. Beyond that, I will endeavor to be patient with my weight as it is not likely to change until my sleep is better and my hormones are better regulated (my hormones are still adjusting after weaning my youngest at Christmas). I will continue to challenge myself physically without going overboard. And just as importantly as sleep, I will try to be as close to 100% compliant with the autoimmune protocol as I can.
As I reflect back over the last 6 months,I also find myself thinking toward the future. I had always thought that, when my daughters were school aged, I would go back to a career in medical research. There is a research group here in Atlanta that interests me immensely. Their research is a perfect blend of what I did before having children (innate inflammation in the context of critical care medicine) and my new interests in the effect of diet and lifestyle on health. I would fit in well. But, I have always worried about the impact that going from being a full-time stay-at-home-mom to being a full-time working mom would have on my family. This is especially true in the context of academic research, where the pressure is high, the grant funds are extremely limited, and the job market is ridiculously competitive. It is still an idea on the backburner, because I am good at research and I do enjoy it. But, a new idea is starting to emerge. Perhaps, just perhaps, this blog will become my career. Perhaps, it will grow to the point that I just can’t give it up. Perhaps helping people to understand science will be more important than contributing to it. Perhaps my health and the health of all those who read my blog will be take precedent over being at the forefront of medical research. I find this idea enticing. I have three years before my youngest is school aged and I need to decide. So, right now, I don’t have any “career” goals. I intend to just keep learning, keep tweaking, and keep blogging and see where this adventure takes me.