I thought I'd post something today to remind myself how far I've come on my journey, as I think it's important for us to celebrate our accomplishments, even when we are yet to achieve our goals. Obviously, as you will see, the pictures below aren't of me looking particularly ripped (I still intend to do more toning around my belly, arms, hips and thighs as these areas bother me when I exercise.), this is less about aesthetics and more about my own journey to optimal health and fitness. It's important to note that everyone's journeys to regain their health and fitness will be different to mine.
Personaly, I spent so many years unhealthy, overweight, in chronic pain and clinically depressed, prior to being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Multiple Sclerosis.
Since my diagnosis in 2004 and slowly changing my diet and lifestyle to one of abundance - eating fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and starches, combined with regular exercise and lots of water, even my pregnancy weight (and a little eating too much nut butter with dates whilst studying weight...) has come off at a steady but consistent rate.
It might not seem like much but at my heaviest I weighed over 100kg and I have now lost close to 40kg!
The weight is a pleasant aside, but for me the most important thing is that I now feel fitter and healthier than I did in my late teens and all of my twenties. I have more energy, clearer skin, and I no longer experience the pain and fatigue associated with Fibromyalgia. I rarely have any symptoms at all from my Multiple Sclerosis and when I do, I quickly notice where I might have become out of balance and work to address those issues to come back into a place of health.
The two pictures below of me fully clothed, are from a trip I took in my early twenties to the U.S.A to visit my brother. Sadly, and thankfully, there aren't a million more photos of me in my early twenties when I was depressed, tired and overweight and at certain times, sporting a mullet.
In these pictures I'd already lost around ten kilograms following a break up, so I was still far from at my heaviest. I remember the jeans I was wearing were a U.S size 10 and I thought I was the pretty much the hottest thing going around Downtown Houston. I didn't really consider myself overweight at the time, I realise now that my body feels so much lighter and easier to use since changing my diet and lifestyle.
Listening more to the foods that work well for my body and eating less of the foods that left me feeling heavy, sluggish or bloated, along with reconnecting to the areas in my life that had become out of balance, all played a vital role in my journey to reclaiming my lost health.
My Top 3 TIPS for Reclaiming Your Health:
1. Processed sugars, saturated fats and foods containing wheat(gluten) are addictive. They act very similar in the brain and body as drugs like cocaine and morphine, so of course we find them so very hard to give up.
One way I've found to help quieten my addictions is to 'crowd out' the foods I'm addicted to, rather than trying to cut them out. 'Crowding out' simply means to add in a lot of yummy replacement foods that you know you will enjoy until slowly, there is no room left for the foods you are trying to eat less of. So if you are hooked on sugars, eat more fruit, dates, sweet smoothies, eat them in large enough quantities that you have no more space left for lollies, chocolates and sweets. If you are hooked on high fate foods, try nuts, seeds, avocado, guacamole, hommus, etc...
2. Also, when it comes to late night eating, or eating past 7pm, a great thing to do is fill up those hours, maybe start a creative project like colouring, drawing, writing poetry, to distract you from eating out of boredom when you're not feeling hungry. Or maybe take up a spiritual practice such as meditation or yoga or self healing with Reiki.
During Summer, you could go for a walk after dinner and follow that up with a bath and a book before bed.
You might want to fill it up by connecting with your partner or a friend. Lots of people snack in the evenings when they might simply be hungry for some love and affection. Maybe tell your partner that you need a cuddle or some time to talk through your worries or simply discuss your day without the distraction of the television.
Sometimes when we think we are hungry for 'food', we are actually starved of connection. Connection to our creative source, or a spiritual connection. Perhaps we are socially isolated and need to start finding ways to build our social circle. Perhaps we are struggling in careers we hate and need to reassess how we spend and earn our money. Maybe we haven't been making time to exercise, which releases the love hormone Oxytocin into our bodies and makes us feel good.
When any one area of our life is out of balance, it is so easy for us to fill up these areas with foods that are 'quick fixes'. If sugars and gluten act like Opiates in the brain, no wonder we reach for refined carbohydrates when we haven't connected to something that brings us enough joy throughout the day.
3. Adding in a spiritual practice can work wonders, did you know that people who actively practice their religion or meditate, heal more rapidly than people who don't have a spiritual practice? Amazing!
Making adjustments to become more balanced with regards to exercise, a more enjoyable career, adding more love and general fulfillment are all great ways to 'crowd out' unhealthy addictions to fats and sugars.
So along with 'crowding out' your cravings for processed sugars and fats with healthier alternatives, try to fill up the spaces in your life that leave you feeling hungry for addictive foods, with things that give your soul Joy!
I feel amazing and you can to!
I offer coaching via Skype and 1:1 so feel free to Contact Me and we can work together to achieve your personal health goals!