Friday, September 9, 2011

Finding My Own Path to Wellness

So far this year, I’ve become a registered yoga instructor, lost over 35 pounds, resolved a lifelong skin condition, and dramatically improved my mood, energy level, and outlook on life. For years, I have been searching for the magic bullet that would help me lose weight and get healthier. The answer, I finally found, was to become my own expert. There is no one in the world that cares more about my health and happiness than me. I was the only one uniquely motivated to really figure this thing out.

At the beginning of 2011, I found myself at a crossroads. I knew that I had to take action in order to improve my weight and fitness level. However, I just couldn’t fathom returning to the approaches that had failed me in the past. I was overwhelmed but determined to find a new path. I dove in head first, reading everything I could get my hands on, trying to learn more about health and nutrition. That’s about when I stumbled upon The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson and The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf). This Primal/Paleo approach basically turned everything I thought I knew about eating right and working out on its head. Even though the advice countered many of my long held beliefs, something about it resonated with me. What I’d been doing for the past 20 years obviously wasn’t working, so why not try something new?

The most important thing I had to change was my thinking. Instead of dwelling on the things that I was taking away (the foods that were no longer serving me), I chose to focus on what I was gaining in terms of increased energy, better mood, and in time, changes in my body composition. The positive feedback was everywhere I looked, I just had to take the time to notice.

I also learned that it’s OK to struggle. It’s not always going to be easy. Finding good coping strategies (like doing yoga or taking a bath for me) helps because there are always going to be “bad” days. They don’t have to spell a complete derailment anymore. Seeking out support both online and from my close-by friends and family has made an incredible difference as well.

This change has been about so much more than diet and exercise. It’s about putting my health on the top of the list, for real. For me, that means making a concerted effort to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, allowing time to cook meals from scratch, and spending the “extra” money on quality organic, grassfed, and whole foods.

I love the idea of helping others find their way to better health and wellness. Sometimes I just want to shout about it to the rooftops; but simply achieving my own success is the greatest billboard ever. The only advice I can give to someone looking to make a change is to take the situation in your own hands and do your own research. Find the approach that works for you and go for it with everything you’ve got!

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