One of my Twitter friends reached out to me with some ideas of topics and questions to cover on my blog. I’m excited to share some details about my personal healthy living journey and why I’m so passionate about it.
It never really occurred to me that people cared about the how or why I love wellness. I assumed if they’re reading my blog, then they must already share a similar mentality to me.
What motivated you to improve the quality of food you were allowing into your body and how did you initiate the change in your eating habits?
My transition into healthy living was a gradual but steady process that is still evolving. In my early twenties I started feeling exhausted. All the time. Mentally and physically. I was getting sick with colds multiple times a year, had frequent migraines and I felt anxious. On more than one occasion, my family Doctor noted my blood pressure was unusually high. At a follow up appointment to review some routine test results, I was told my abnormal blood pressure was likely due to the anxiety I felt. She handed me a prescription for anti-depressants and told me to come back in six weeks to check in.
I remember leaving the Doctors office with a sinking feeling. I couldn’t stop thinking, “But what if my anxiety is due to something else?” I didn’t “feel” emotionally stressed… but my body did. It’s hard to explain, but it was like my adrenaline was constantly on overdrive. I drove to Chapters and headed straight to the Self Help section. The first book I picked up was, “Anxiety for Dummies”. Hahahaha… After skimming through the book, the first thought that came to mind was, “Go home. Seriously. Just go home.” I threw the prescription in the Starbucks garbage can on the way out.
I started looking at my SAD (Standard American Diet) and wondered if it was playing a part in my physical symptoms. I had already started trying to eat healthier, but this seemed like an incentive to dig a little deeper into the health world. I began watching Dr Oz segments on Oprah, reading nutrition books and magazines (You, The Owners Manual was the first health book I ever read) and began teaching myself how to properly nourish my body. I became a sponge for anything health related. Back then, I used to view exercise as ‘punishment’ for my body, and did it solely for physical reasons. I made the choice to change my attitude. Exercise became a hobby, and a reward.
One of the first dietary changes I made was switching from white flour to whole wheat (bread and pasta). I replaced diet soda and juice with water, and pre-packaged snacks with whole foods. I began building my meals based around vegetables instead of meat or pasta. When I ate a nourishing meal, it made me feel good about what I was putting in my body. That in itself was a huge motivator to keep pursuing wellness. For instance, when you buy a luxury car, you have to use premium fuel or it won’t perform to the best of its ability. And it can (and probably will) damage the motor. I look at healthy eating the same way – if you give your body the nutrients it needs, it will perform like the beautiful machine it was intended to be!
I wish I could say a change in diet along with exercise cured my physical ailments immediately, but it didn’t. Although I felt much better after changing my diet, I didn’t feel 100% and eventually started taking blood pressure medications. (I’ve been taking meds for about 1.5 yrs)
My personal wellness goal is to optimize my health and eventually stop taking meds. These days, I feel exceptional, and I’m working with a Naturopathic Doctor who is helping me discover and treat the underlying cause of high blood pressure/adrenal fatigue, rather than treating the symptom. Exercise is still very important to me. I’m addicted to the adrenaline rush, the sense of accomplishment and well being. I love watching my body evolve, but more importantly, feeling that internal evolution occur.
Exercise makes me a better person: spiritually, emotionally and physically.
Wow. I didn’t intend on turning into Deepak Chopra and writing an essay about how and why I transitioned into clean eating and fitness. But, there you have it.
What inspiration(s) have played a role in your choice to live health-conciously?