Over the last few months, health has become a huge priority to me. As opposed to dieting. As opposed to getting over an illness. Losing weight and having a boosted immune system are definitely added bonuses but neither of those reasons were my main motivation when I went to my naturopath/nutritionist, vowing to myself to follow her guidance to a “T”, no matter what. My true motivation? To stop feeling like crap all the time.
I was always a healthy child. At least I thought I was healthy. I was certainly thin, I was active, and my mom always made a point of serving us well-rounded meals. I didn’t have any major health issues and I was blissfully unaware of what calories were and the effect nutrition had on my body.
And then I moved out and had to feed myself on a college student’s salary.
And then I got married and got pregnant.
And then I became the mother of two babies who were looking to me to help them grow into the strongest, happiest young girls–and eventually, women–they could be.
And after ten years of yo-yoing weight, six years of constant hormonal shifts, a near lifetime of skin problems, exhaustion, and not liking what I saw in the mirror, I was flat out sick of being in a battle with my body and losing over and over again.
These days, we’re pretty lucky, as understanding health and what it actually looks like becomes more mainstream and available to us. I know my mom did the best she could with the information she had at the time but I don’t think our family’s diet was the best it could have been for my body, looking back. Now, though, at the tips of our fingers is endless information about food, supplements, exercise regimens, and alternative medicine. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, yes, but I don’t think any of us can argue that eating a fresh diet, minimizing the processing and chemicals in our lives, and getting our bodies moving on a regular basis is the key to feeling great.
I, like most people, fought getting healthy for a long time, or gave into “dieting” half-heartedly just so I could watch the scale go down–whether it was healthy or not. Yes, it’s frustrating to live on a restricted diet when other people gorge on chocolate, soda, and spaghetti and seemingly not suffer for it. It’s frustrating that the foods I’ve found comfort in my whole life can no longer be a part of my life. It’s frustrating that going out to eat or going to a friend’s house for dinner has become a production and sometimes even an embarrassment.
How My Life Has Changed Since Getting Healthy
Over the last few months, my skin has become consistently clear for the first since I turned 12. I have gone from my usual response of “tired” whenever someone asked me how I was feeling to having as much energy as my internal personality type will allow. The foggy brain I’ve battled since having kids is gone, making the world around me is so much clearer and sharper. And so many other seemingly smaller issues that pop up here and there are fading away, soon to no longer be a part of my life. I never knew I could feel this good and I just can’t see going ever going back.
I think the real question is, how doesn’t it affect my work and goals? I never realized how much my poor health held me back in life and now that I feel good, my days look completely different. I fall asleep easier and sleep deeper, waking up more rested. Getting up earlier allows me more time for myself in the morning and more patience when getting my kids out the door for school. When I sit down to work, I’m more focused and have more confidence and motivation than I ever have. My overall mood and outlook has become more positive now that I’m no longer fighting my way through life, minute by minute. I accomplish more each day toward my goals and I do it with more peace than I ever have.
What Taking Care of Your Body Looks Like
Diet has been a huge factor for me in getting my health back in order, and I think it’s the most important place to start for anyone, but there are a lot of pieces to the health puzzle.
Here are some things that have worked for me and might help you too:
- Visit your local naturopath and get muscle tested for food allergies and intolerances that are like constant poison to your body. Even some traditionally healthy foods, like bananas and oranges, have wreaked havoc on MY body. Every body is different, which is why traditional diets don’t work for everyone. Find out the right diet for YOU.
- Eat a diet heavy on fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, and minimal on processed foods and refined sugars and grains.
- Take a probiotic daily.
- Stay hydrated.
- Go to sleep earlier–each hour you sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight.
- Take an hour for yourself before bed to relax and let go of the day.
- Get up an hour early to start your day in peace and give yourself time to get inspired and focused on your big goals.
- Now that spring is here, get outside and soak up some Vitamin D!
- Take a walk around the block midday for some exercise and a few minutes to center yourself.
- Take up yoga–a double duty practice of exercise and meditation.
These are things I’ve spent over a year integrating into my life so don’t feel like you have to take on health all at once. Self-care is a habit that is created a little at a time. Focus on what’s most important to you first and add in more practices as you master previous ones. I think once you start to see the benefits of good health in your life and your productivity, you’ll be excited to include more health-promoting practices into your life.
What healthy practices do you currently make a priority? How do they affect your work? What practices would you like to bring into your life?