“Be open-minded. Don’t assume that there is only one path for getting where you want to go.”
For those who know me, many would find it hard to believe that at one time in my life I hated vegetables. It would be especially surprising to know that I had an equally strong aversion to exercise of any kind. It is true that into my early adulthood, I seldom ate my greens, I cursed the thought of physical activity and my passion was sugar. This would be hard to imagine now, since my passion in life is to not only educate others about how to be proactively healthy and prevent illness, but to also live this way.
It wasn’t always like this, and I had a moment in my early adulthood when I realized that my self care had to change. Back then, I felt like an old lady trapped in a young person’s body. Though I struggled with constant fatigue, I couldn’t fall asleep at night. I was plagued with frequent infections, regular headaches, felt rusty in the mornings and my hair was falling out. I felt unwell, but I just accepted this was normal for me. But deep down inside, I knew my body was breaking down, and I needed to make a change.
There is a tremendous amount of health research linking poor nutrition and lifestyle habits to the rampant chronic illness rates in North America. In addition, over recent years we are seeing more studies, such as the one published in the journal Circulation in 2013, that links sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition in teens to an increased risk of developing heart disease in their forties.
Some people may think I just jumped right into a healthy lifestyle and kept on going. I wish that was the way it happened but for me, like most people, I found that the journey of health was not linear. I see so many people stuck in a state of mediocre health who start out with great energy to revolutionize their lives. But as they face challenges or are put outside their comfort zone, their enthusiasm can fizzle out.
The path towards our best expression of health is a zig-zaggy, up and down, steps forward and steps back kind of path. When we are not aware of the fact that the gift of health is earned over time, it is easy to become discouraged and discontinue our efforts. It is important to remember that there is substantial growth, self-awareness, realizations and time required to transform our health.
Wading through the healthy options, trying them on, failing sometimes, making mistakes and experiencing the big wins are all rolled into this journey. Some things we may enjoy, and other things we may not. This is completely normal. It’s part of the process. In today’s age of perfectionism and instant gratification, this can be incredibly challenging to accept at times. Sadly, that these two factors often hold people back from making progress and reaching their goals. However, letting go of expectations while walking this uneven road frees the way to higher ground.
Starting out by making small changes counts just as much as the big jumps into a health kick. When we take these steps to do good things for our mind, body and soul, the net result is always positive. It may, at times, be a climb, but the view from the top is worth it.