What My Mom’s Failed Marriages Taught Me About Success

Today I get to marry my mom. I’m sure that there aren’t that many people who get to do that in their lifetime, but I do. My mom met a wonderful man. He is kind and loving, hard-working and smart. He takes good care of her and makes her laugh. He’s everything she’s been looking for her whole life. 

My mom has married and divorced quite a few times. For a long time, I saw her divorces as a series of poor choices she made. It seemed like she could never get it right. I wanted her to stop making the same mistake, so whenever she got divorced I’d try to convince her to never remarry again. And yet here I am, getting ready to perform her wedding ceremony. Ironically, I couldn’t be happier for her.  

If she knew I was writing about this, she’d probably tell me to delete it!  Her divorces embarrass her. But my mom’s failed marriages have taught me more about success than anything else, and I want her to know how proud of her I am. 

Here are seven important life lessons I’ve learned from this amazing woman: 

Life Lesson:

Let it go

My mom has an incredible ability to forgive. No matter how many times she has been hurt or wronged, she refuses to be a resentful woman. Anger does not define her. Resentment does not consume her. She lets those emotions go. Not allowing your heart to harden makes you vulnerable to getting hurt again — but it also allows you to love again, to trust again, and to dream again. Holding on to the pain may keep you safe from being hurt, but it also means fear controls you. Letting go allows you to live fully instead of letting a part of you die.

Life Lesson:

Correct your mistakes

Mom taught me that you can correct your mistakes. People assume divorce is always a sign of failure. Sometimes divorce is the mistake. It can result from one or both parties’ unwillingness to do what it takes to make their marriage work. Those cases are unfortunate.

But there are also times when divorce is the correction of the mistake. It’s a way to stop the bleeding in a bad situation. It’s a way to cut your losses. I learned from my mom that no matter how painful it is to publicly acknowledge failure (i.e. go through a divorce) it is more painful to be imprisoned in a life that no longer serves you. My mom gave her marriages all she had. She fought for her relationships. But there were boundaries she was unwilling to cross. And when there was nothing more she could do — or there were wrongs she was not willing to accept — she dared to walk away. I will never view my mom as a woman who has failed. I see her as a woman who is courageous enough to start over when her circumstances no longer serve her.

Life Lesson:

Something good can always come from the bad

 I’ve often questioned my mom as to how different her life would look if she’d made better decisions. But she always tells me, “Even if I could change all my decisions, I wouldn’t because they gave me your sister, your brother and you.”  

Life isn’t always perfect, but that doesn’t mean you should want to change it. Your past is part of your journey, and something good will always come from it — even if the only good was the lessons it taught you. 

 Focus on the good and move on. You don’t have to live with regret. Embrace that this is all part of your journey. 

Life Lesson:

Ignore the naysayers

 So many people worry about their image. They govern their decisions by one premise: What will they say? 

But they don’t have to live your life. At the end of the day, they go home and you’re left with the choices you’ve made.

The problem with living life to maintain an image is that it prohibits you from living authentically. That is why so many people suffer from depression or live a secret, double life. 

But not my mom. 

She withstood so much criticism over the years from her family, her friends, to outsiders. People have judged and criticized her for not wanting to be alone. I was one of them. I was only trying to protect her. I didn’t want her to get hurt anymore. I just wanted her to be happy by herself. But that wasn’t my decision to make. Sometimes you think you’re protecting the people you love and what you’re doing is discouraging them from finding their happiness. That must have hurt my mom tremendously, but she ignored us, naysayers.  

My mom is fierce. She forged ahead anyway with a smile on her face and her heart on her sleeve. She wanted to find love and she would never stop looking for it, no matter who said what.  

Life Lesson:

Accept where you are, 

but be clear about where you want to go

 

There came a point in my mom’s life where she finally realized that being alone is better than being in bad company. Her desire for love overlooked that in the past and blurred her decision-making. The good thing about her is that she was strong enough to end bad relationships. The bad thing is that she was weak enough to get into them. Sometimes you have to beat your head against the wall a thousand times before you get it right. She’s one of those people. But at a certain point, albeit late in her life, it clicked that she should only be in a relationship with someone worthy of her. 

 She began doing things she hadn’t done in years: she went back to the gym, made friends, and began enjoying life as a single person. My mom finally accepted that she may be alone for the rest of her life. It made me proud to watch her embrace this new era. 

But she never closed the door to love! She still met people and went on dates, only this time as soon as she saw there was a red flag, she’d stop there. My mom became crystal clear on what it was she was looking for and she would never settle for less again. 

 It was when she took that stance she met the most wonderful man; the man she’s going to spend the last chapter of her life with. 

Life Lesson:

You’re never too old to find happiness

As long as your eyes open in the morning, your life isn’t over. Witnessing my mom find love at 70 years old has been remarkable. One would think she’s too old, but she’s proven to all of us that is only a limiting belief. Love has no age limit. Success has no age limit. The only limits we have are those we impose on ourselves. 

 Stop thinking you’re too old to live your life. You’re still here. Live!

 My mom hasn’t been afraid to put herself out there no matter how old she is. And after all these years, she found the man she dreamed of. We don’t know how long they’ll have together but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that they get to be together today. 

Life Lesson:

Own your journey

There have been many moments in mom’s life where things didn’t work out the way she thought they would. There have been many moments when she didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel; when she thought her life was hopeless. Even though she has lived courageously and authentically, there is still a part of her that is ashamed of her divorces. Society has a way of making divorce feel like you’re wearing a Scarlett letter. That’s why it’s so important for me to share this message: You don’t have to be ashamed of your past.  

I wear my mother’s divorces like a badge of honor.  

Because of her mistakes, I’ve learned the power of making good choices. Because of her example, I know I can fail and pick myself back up again. Because of her actions, I know that I can always choose love, happiness, and forgiveness. Because of her never giving up, I know failure often paves the path to success.  

Every journey is different, what matters is that you own yours.  

As I reflected on these life lessons I’ve learned from my mom, I realized if I were to replace the word “marriage” with “business” I’d be describing an entrepreneur’s journey. An entrepreneur’s journey is not easy or perfect. My mom is nothing more than a badass entrepreneur of love!

If there is one thing my mom will say at the end of her life, is that she lived it her way. And that, my friends, is a page we should all take out of her book. 

 

A Moment of Clarity 

No matter how many mistakes you’ve made or how many times you’ve fallen — never give up on fighting for the life you want. A life lived with passion, zest, resilience, and a happy heart is the most successful life you can live. My mom taught me that. 

Mimic Fasting Recap

Many of you have asked me to share my husband and my experience with fasting. It’s important for you to know that these are our personal experiences and are not meant to provide medical advice. Below you will find all the details of what fasting looked like for us and what results we obtained from it. If you have any other questions, comment below or email me and I’d be happy to share any other details you may be looking for. 

WHY I DID IT:

Before you do anything, it’s important to know why you’re doing it. This gives you clarity in terms of what you’re doing and what your expectations should be. It also helps keep you going when you want to quit, because you’re going to want to quit! 

There were two main reasons I wanted to try this fast:

1. To eliminate bad habits 

In my latest blog, I shared how I’ve gone through different cycles with my eating and exercise habits. For several years I was eating 90-100% clean with very few exceptions. But in the last couple of years, I’d say I’ve been operating at a 75%. This means I do less planning and prepping of meals, I cheat more often, and overall I am less mindful about food. I’ve been wanting to clean up my diet, but I hadn’t been motivated to do it. When I heard of the mimic fast, I thought it could give me the boost I needed to get excited about eating clean. 

2. To eliminate bad cells 

Before I agreed to do the fast, I watched a video about the effects of mimic fasting on our bodies. The video was long and full of words I can’t even pronounce, but it helped me understand how mimic fasting is good for anti-aging and avoiding cancerous cells. My takeaway was that we generate a lot of excess cells in our bodies that we don’t need and often those cells are the ones that become cancerous. Mimic fasting helps us get rid of those excess cells. Just like it’s important to declutter our homes and closets, I took this as an opportunity to declutter my insides! 

Although I can’t know for sure if those five days helped me regenerate my cells, reset my immune system, or avoid cancer, the idea that it could was enough for me to try it. I’m of the opinion that if we can help ourselves get even one percent healthier, it’s worth it. 

WHAT I DID:

I got this 5 day meal plan from a running buddy of mine. I can’t tell you why the nutritionist who developed this meal plan chose the foods she chose or if this is the best way to implement a mimic fast. I can only share with you that these are the foods I ate.  I liked the meal-plan’s simplicity and that allowed me to stay committed to it. I will note that the meal plan calls for one sweet potato every day. I ate the sweet potato on Days 1 and 2, but on Day 2 I measured my glucose levels an hour and a half after eating it and noticed that my sugar spiked higher than it should. Because the point of this fast is to keep your glucose levels from spiking at all, I cut out the sweet potato from my diet for the rest of the fast. Everyone reacts differently to different foods, which is why from time to time I test my blood glucose to see how a particular food affects me.  You can purchase a blood Glucose reader at your local pharmacy even if you’re not diabetic and see how your body reacts to the foods you eat.

Other adjustments: I didn’t have any coffee during the five days, and I couldn’t get through the 20 olives. I probably ate 5-6 olives. Also, I forgot to eat the almonds for snack on Day 1 but they were a blessing the other days. 

-Teaspoon of salt in water every day

-2-3 L water per day 

-Magnesium – about 300mg per day 

-Chamomile flower tea anytime 

-No coffee ideally but if you must – 1 cup black 

-Refeeding on 3/16 – first meal should be eggs and greens – eggs have a very high protein bioavailability, then eat as normal 

Day 1:

Meal 1 – 2 cups Blueberries 

Meal 2 – 1 cup spinach with 1 tablespoon olive oil, medium sweet potato, 

Snack – almonds 

Meal 3 – 2 cups spinach with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 avocado, 20 olives 

Day 2-5:

Meal 1 – 2 cups Blueberries 

Meal 2 – 1 cup spinach, 1 cup green beans with 1 sweet potato, 

Snack – 20 almonds 

Meal 3 – 2 cups spinach with 1 cup broccoli with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 avocado

HOW I FELT: 

The first day was the hardest for me, even though I’ve heard that typically the second day is the hardest for others.  All I could think about all day was food and how hungry I was. I couldn’t wait to go to sleep.  I also had a terrible headache the entire day, probably because I skipped my coffee. Days 2-3 were better overall in that I no longer suffered from headaches and didn’t feel quite as hungry. But I felt hazy and much less productive than I usually am. It helped to be out of the house as much as possible. The first three days I was scared to exercise —not because I thought I was going to faint or anything like that— I was afraid that exercise would make me hungrier. By Day 4 I mustered up the courage to go for my usual run. I felt fine during my run, although I didn’t push myself. I walked a few times when I felt tired. But my suspicions were accurate, I was very hungry after my run. 

On Day 5, I fasted all morning without any food. At around 2p.m. I reintroduced eggs and kale, and that evening I had cauliflower rice with a salmon burger. I could have fasted all day on the 5th day but once again I exercised in the morning and, after some discussions with my doctor, decided that the afternoon was a good time to re-feed. But I didn’t have my cafe-con-leche until Saturday morning which for me is a daily staple. I was proud of myself for going five full days without coffee!

MY RESULTS: 

On the morning after my fast ended, I felt revitalized. My skin glowed, I was full of energy, and I felt like the fog had been lifted. I was thinking clearly again! The fast really helped me with sugar cravings and portion control, and it inspired me to continue eating clean. I didn’t want to undo all the good I had done for my body. I also lost three or four pounds during the fast which always feel nice. But beware: as soon as I reintroduced food I gained two pounds back. I don’t recommend doing this fast if your only goal is weight loss. It would be extremely frustrating to spend all week sacrificing to shed those pounds and then gain them back within a few days. Overall my experience with mimic fasting was very positive. 

ORLANDO’S EXPERIENCE: 

Although my husband and I were supposed to start mimic fasting together, he never got around to eating. I think deep down he felt like mimic fasting is more like cheating while you’re fasting. So he did a pure water fast and added a teaspoon of salt to his water in the morning and drank magnesium in the evenings. Like me, all Orlando thought about was food on his first day and he couldn’t wait to go to sleep. Day 2 for him was easier during the day while he was working, but the evening was much more difficult. He managed to exercise on Day 1 and Day 2 which I thought was incredible.  By Day 3, however, things weren’t looking good. He had to be in court that morning (he’s a criminal defense attorney) and found himself unable to function properly. He felt dazed and even struggled to articulate his arguments. He realized that he could not continue fasting because it was interfering with his performance at work. He did not exercise on Day 3 and broke his fast that afternoon with some hard boiled eggs, spinach, and beef broth. That evening we checked in with our doctor and he advised Orlando not to exercise during a water fast. He also recommended to spread the salt throughout the day instead of consuming the one teaspoon in the morning.  Orlando lost about 5 pounds during his three day fast and then lost another pound the day after re-feeding. But after a couple of days of eating  (no carbs or sugars) he did gain three pounds back. Similar to my experience, the main benefit of fasting for him (besides what’s going on behind the scenes on his insides) was that it helped him with portion control and established his commitment to eating a clean diet. In fact, we just celebrated his birthday weekend and he proudly got through the weekend with no major cheats.

WHAT NOW?

For now life is back to normal. Orlando and I are focused on exercising and eating lean meats, fruits and vegetables. 

We learned that the best results from fasting happen after you’ve done two or three cycles so our plan is to do a second fast cycle in 25 days. The jury is still out on whether Orlando will do a pure water fast or  a mimic fast. I, however, am happy with the mimic fast and not at all interested in the water fast. I hope this recap was helpful in demystifying the process in case you want to try fasting for yourself. Now, I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever fasted? Was your experience similar to ours? Would you want to do it again? What’s your why? Please share your experience as it might help someone else from our wonderful community.

A Moment of Clarity

Although I can’t know for sure if those five days helped me regenerate my cells, reset my immune system, or avoid cancer, the idea that it could was enough for me to try it. I’m of the opinion that if we can help ourselves get even one percent healthier, it’s worth it. 

Cycles In Our Health Journey

Eight years ago, my father and I explored alternative medicines and treatments hoping to find a cure for his cancer. One day while visiting an integrative medicine doctor, I received advice that would change my life and my family’s life. 

“Stop eating sugar,” the doctor said when I asked him what I could do to avoid getting cancer. Up until that moment I had the worst eating habits you could imagine. I ate junk food regularly, loved Burger King and Taco Bell, and practically overdosed on chocolate chip cookies. 

But I took those three words seriously and immediately changed my diet drastically. Avoiding sugar became an obsession. Friends and family urged me to relax, worried I was becoming too skinny and strict with my children. But I was on a mission. Subconsciously, I was trying to exert control over the uncontrollable — my father’s terminal disease. No matter what we tried, his cancer progressed. Unable to change that, I focused only on the things that were within my control—what I ate and what my two-year-old and seven-month-old boys ate. It was like I was trying to fight the cancer for my dad.

I don’t regret being extreme during that time. My relentless commitment turned a phase into a lifestyle. It pushed me to educate myself and learn more about food and wellness; it inspired me to start my first blog, pileonthegreens, to share our journey with others; and it helped me pass on the importance of healthy eating to my kids. My example even influenced my husband who then lost 45 lbs.

Extreme focus and commitment leads to results. 

But after my dad’s death, the tigress in me quieted down. His fight was over. At the same time my children were growing up and my rigidness was no longer appropriate. I decided to be more lenient and flexible about the choices they made. I also made a lot more concessions with myself. 

As life got busier with after-school and weekend activities, our lifestyle became more on-the-go. We’re out more and I’ve been planning less, meaning we have less healthy options more often. I’ve lost my discipline. However, because I worked so hard for the last eight years to instill healthy habits into our lives, our diet is still better today than before we started. 

Why am I telling you this? Because we all have cycles and transitions in every aspect of our lives. We can focus on certain goals intently, and then taper down. As our lives change, it’s normal for us to adjust our priorities and our lifestyle. The key is to continue adopting healthy habits that stick with us, even when we’re not on our A game. For example, I’ve never returned to fast food, sodas, or microwaveable meals even though now I eat a lot more carbs and desserts. It makes getting back on track easier. 

GETTING BACK ON TRACK

My husband and I had been feeling like we needed a reset. For him, it was a jumpstart to motivate him back into the gym and lose some pounds he put on. For me, it was more about mindset and cleaning up my eating habits.  One of my running buddies told me about mimic fasting and it caught my attention. Last week we did it! I did a five-day mimic fast and my husband did a three-day water fast. Although the process is painful (Orlando’s was way worse than mine), I found it was a wonderful way to get us back into a healthy state of mind. We ended the fast feeling empowered, excited, and full of energy.

As for me, with this reset I realized I’ve entered a new stage of life. I’m no longer the person who is oblivious to food and how it affects my body and mind. I’m no longer the daughter who is coping with her dad’s illness or grieving his loss. And I’m no longer the mother of infants who is trying to get it right. 

I am now a woman who understands food and enjoys nutrition, exercise and feeling great. I’m a person who is aware of genetic diseases and will do what I can to avoid them. And I am a mom who wants to lead by example and guide my kids as they navigate their own health journey.  It’s a good place to be and I’m grateful for the journey. 

As for you, it’s important to know what stage of life you’re in. You might need an extreme lifestyle change to lose weight, reclaim your health, or adopt habits that stick. You might need a simple reset to kick you back in gear. Or you might need to leave things status quo because you need to focus on other priorities right now. 

Moment of Clarity

Wherever you are today, know this: It’s temporary.  Have patience with yourself and do the best you can. A new season will come. But remember, you always have the power to start a new cycle in your health journey.