Travel Diary : Canyon Ranch

A few weeks ago, as we were laying in bed at night, Trent said to me, “What are your plans Thursday through Sunday? I want to take you somewhere for a few days…” To say I was surprised would be a fairly large understatement. As a couple, we had been doing the thing that all middle-aged couples with busy lives/families/jobs do…we’d been taking each other for granted. The situation had left us both feeling emotionally bruised and battered, and honestly, really lonely.

So Trent decided to take action, and he booked us a three night stay at Canyon Ranch in Tuscon, Arizona. Canyon Ranch is basically a wellness camp for adults, and it was EXACTLY what we needed. The best part was that Trent planned the whole thing himself, and wouldn’t give me a hint to where we were going. Eventually, I figured out we were headed to Tuscon (hard to keep a secret when you’re holding a boarding pass!), but even after our flight landed, I still wasn’t sure where in the city we were headed. It wasn’t until our car reached the front gates that I saw where we were.

I actually hadn’t heard of Canyon Ranch before this trip, but it’s pretty popular among wellness and health conscious people as a prime destination. It’s an all-inclusive resort that boasts amazing whole foods, a plethora of exercise and workout opportunities, medical care, spiritual guidance and even metaphysical services. Our activities were all across the spectrum, from yoga to mountain biking through the desert to tarot readings and massages. I meditated in a pool of warm water, received my first craniosacral treatment and hiked a mountain. Trent even got his very first pedicure! We swam and ate delicious food, and in those three days, we worked on rediscovering who we are as a couple. It was wonderful.

I highly recommend Canyon Ranch to anyone looking to get away in an environment where health and wellness are the number one priority. The resort had no alcohol or soda, which was a huge bonus for me. I don’t know if I’ve ever been on a vacation where alcohol wasn’t available and it was really lovely to not have it in front of me all the time. I’m so grateful to Trent for making this trip happen and for finding such an amazing place for us to spend time together!

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unruffled podcast

Creativity + Recovery on the Unruffled Podcast

I was so excited to be asked to be a guest on the Unruffled Podcast a few weeks ago! Tammi and Sondra are both artists who have found their creativity and joy expand significantly in sobriety. I loved getting to chat with them about recovery, creativity, being a small business owner, how to keep creating when you’re being paid for your art, and how to stay serene and sober when you have alcohol in your home/personal space. It was an awesome conversation and I’m so grateful Tammi and Sondra asked me to be a part of it! You can listen via this link or search for the Unruffled Podcast (Episode 26) on iTunes!

unruffled podcast

Sober Looks Good

How to Age Backwards : Get Sober

Today I turn 35 years old.

Is that old? I’m not sure. In some ways it feels old, because when I was young, I never imagined what it would be like to be 35. But in other ways, it feels so young, because I’m constantly around people who are older, wiser and have much more life experience.

35 feels significant to me because during my last BIG DEAL BIRTHDAY, when I turned 30, I was at one of the lowest points in my life, both physically and mentally. I was two months away from my first stint of sobriety (when I told myself I wouldn’t drink for 30 days…I lasted 28 before I caved, and then figured I was totally fine because I could stop for 28 days), four months away from really trying to not drink anymore, and six months away from finally kicking the booze for good. It was a WONDERFUL birthday (my very first trip to Vegas with friends), but as a whole, I wasn’t in a great place.

This time around, it’s a little different. I don’t have any huge trips planned, but I may go to lunch with some friends and a movie in the evening. I won’t be dancing the night away in Vegas, instead I’ll hopefully be in bed by 10 p.m. And there is one hugely significant change.

I’m sober. And it feels awesome.

I’ve talked quite a bit about how my drinking affected my mind, but today, on my birthday, I’m gonna get a little vain. Because while all the mental and spiritual changes have been amazing, there is a one huge change that is pretty evident, and it’s one we, as women, don’t like to talk about too much. We don’t want to sound vain or snobby, and we don’t want to call attention to ourselves. At least, I don’t. It’s also sort of scary to put this before and after out on the world wide web, where anyone can see it. But here we go.

Sober Looks Good

You guys, I look SO MUCH BETTER. The photo on the left is me two days before I finally got sober and the one on the right is this past summer after four and a half years.

I think the differences are obvious, but just in case your computer resolution isn’t on point or something, let me list it out for you…

Before
– Bloated face and stomach
– 30 lbs heavier
– Skin is sallow and unhealthy looking
– Hair looks fried and dull
– Posture is sloped and self-concious
– Eyes are dead and sad
*Kid who is with me is THE CUTEST and I’m so happy I was able to give her the gift of a sober mom.

After
– 30 lbs lighter, added muscle, zero bloat
– Hair is shiny and healthy
– Skin looks best it’s ever looked
– Eyes are bright and alert
– I am standing up straight and proud
– Smile is genuine and happy

You guys, it’s a miracle. I am asked all the time what my health regimen is and how I have managed to look younger at 35 than I did at 30. My secret? Being sober. When I’m sober I eat better, I sleep, I drink a ton of water, I read, I meditate, I work out and I take care of myself. I spent so many years dumping poison into my body to escape who I was, but when I stopped, I realized I LIKE who I am, and I’m worth being around. So instead, these days, I treat my body like it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Because I’m so, so lucky to have a body that can run and play with my kids. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a mind that can read and learn new things. It’s my obligation to treat it the best I possibly can.

So that’s my gift to myself today, on my 35th birthday. The gift of sobriety. Maybe I’ll have some cake and ice cream on the side.

Megan and Jean at She Recovers

Talking Politics and Sobriety on the Bubble Hour

I’ve been fortunate to have a plethora of tools in my recovery toolbox since I first got sober over four and a half years ago. I’ve gone to 12-step meetings, yoga classes, downloaded meditation apps, started a gratitude practice, participated in therapy…the list goes on and on. But one of the greatest tools I’ve had since the very beginning is access to podcasts.
Megan and Jean at She Recovers

These days there are tons of amazing podcasts about sobriety (Home podcast, Recover Girl), but when I was getting sober, there was only one that I could find, the Bubble Hour. I’ll never forget my first summer of recovery, when I had three major roadtrips with my 6 and 2-year-old, and I downloaded every Bubble Hour episode I could fit on my phone to get me through it. I was so humbled when I was asked to be on the show a few years ago, and even more so when Jean asked me to be on again a few weeks ago. I met Jean McCarthy (the host of the Bubble Hour and author of the Unpickled blog) at the She Recovers Conference back in May. Getting to hug her in person was one of the greatest moments of the trip, as she’s been such a huge part of my journey.

Jean and I sat down for a conversation about recovery and what’s happening in the world today. We did our best to keep personal political beliefs out of it, but if you follow me anywhere online, you know I believe that all politics are personal and that as people in recovery, we are uniquely tuned in to the plight of those that are suffering. My activism is directly tied to my sobriety, and so we discussed that, along with a few tips to help newly sober people navigate difficult conversations with loved ones about politics. You can listen via iTunes or by using the media player below!

Bar Method Kansas City

Becoming a Bar Babe

Bar Method Kansas City

So, you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about becoming a “Bar babe” on a website that focuses on sobriety, huh? Well, let’s just get this straight…it’s not THAT kind of bar! But honestly, people who know me might be even more surprised, because the old me would definitely be more likely to be found at a pub than at a workout club that emphasizes ballet. And stretching. And flexibility. And grace. I could go on…

I started attending Bar Method around a year and a half ago at the behest of a good friend who had just become a certified teacher there. In truth, I was just planning on going once or twice to support her. And after the first class, I KNEW it wasn’t for me. I felt like such a doofus around all those graceful ladies in their Lululemon gear! I am not flexible and never took a dance class in my life, so as I hurled my leg up on the ballet barre while trying not to fall over, I cursed my friend for putting me in such a position. Not to mention…this class was HARD. By the end my legs were shaking and my arms felt like jello. The next day I could barely walk, with sore muscles I didn’t even realize I had!

Bar Method Kansas City

But lucky for me, I had signed up for a 30 day package at that first class, and if there is anything that motivates me, it’s money. I was gonna use that package if it killed me, because I had already paid for it! So I started attending classes two or three times a week. A few weeks in, I caught myself in the class mirrors and noticed my arms. I could see definition and lines! I hadn’t been able to do a full push up since I had shoulder surgery in high school, and here I was doing 20 or 30 in a row. It was crazy! And by then, I didn’t always feel like I was going to die after class. My body was getting stronger and I felt so much better. I was craving healthier foods and after YEARS of struggle, my sleep patterns were finally beginning to even out.

Bar Method Kansas City

So when that 30-day period was over, I signed up for a three-month package. And then another. And another. A year and a half later, I am a little in love with Bar Method. There are times when I can’t go (because: life) and I feel it in my body. I crave the endorphins I get when I go to class. While I’ve always been athletic, I’ve felt super-intimidated by gyms. Exercise is a huge part of my recovery journey, but before Bar Method, I had a hard time being consistent with my workouts and avoiding boredom. I love the energy of the Bar family. The teachers make me laugh and always make me feel good, even if I’m in the midst of a hectic day. They also know their stuff…there have been times when I’ve injured myself outside of class (being a clumsy person is a hazardous life) and they always find modifications so I can still exercise safely. Not to mention, they are awesome people. A few of my Bar Method teachers have become some of my dearest friends!

Bar Method Kansas City

You guys, I never thought I would be one of those moms in yoga pants, headed off to barre class. I really didn’t. But here I am. And I couldn’t recommend it more. This program has increased my strength, provided stability and flexibility, improved my mental health and enhanced my recovery. I keep going back because I love how my body feels and looks, and I really love being a part of the Bar Method family.

If you’re interested in trying Bar Method, check out either one of their studios (one in Leawood and one in the West Plaza area…with another studio coming later this fall!) and tell them that girl from Crazy Bananas sent you! Right now they are getting ready to launch an awesome 28-day fitness challenge, which I did back in February and it really helped kick start my eating and nutrition habits! The challenge includes a meal plan, nutritional coaching and more. You can sign up in either studio through September 11th.

Photos by Kymberly Janelle Photography

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