Transformation Tuesday often consists of a before and after picture where someone got fit or skinny.
I'm sure you've seen them swirling around the interwebs.
I know I did it. I put up my amazing transformation and was proud of myself. I thought maybe I could
people to eat healthier food and exercise more.
You may see transformations and wonder, "why can't that be me? How come my body won't change?"
Well life smacked me upside the head, and gave me a reality check about just what you are wondering.
Knocked me right off my high horse.
Showed me that I didn't know it all. That sometimes it's not about eating well and exercising.
Don't get it twisted, I'm not saying those things don't matter. They do, a lot.
What you put in your body and how you treat it are enormously important, and it's step #1 to getting your health in order!
(don't skip it!)
The thing is often it's not the entire story.
You read right.
Sometimes when you eat perfectly and exercise it doesn't work!
Super frustrating right?
I've spent the last year hiding. Hiding from people in real life, hiding from photos, just hiding.
Because as someone who teaches the importance of food and exercise I was ashamed of what happened to me.
What I knew to be 'right' wasn't working for me, and that made me feel a whole lot of shame.
So, then is it hopeless?...Are you waiting for me to tell you what the secret is?
I don't think there is a secret. Each of us will have a different journey. Mine is one that is proof that there is more to weight loss than food and exercise. It has to do with deeper mental and emotional well being, hormones, and even your life path.
Welcome to my transformation.
I finally realized that the ailments I'd been dealing with were not normal.
I should not have been:
- shaking, having mood swings and not think clearly if I went 3 hours without eating. My energy should not have been ruled by food
- burping constantly, and loudly (it got pretty ridiculous)
- feeling over full or uncomfortably bloated after every meal
- dealing with chronic yeast infections for months on end
- a complete stress case, anxious mess one day and a depressed anti social wreck the next
- completely a-sexual, no libido
Here's the thing. My lifestyle wasn't really the healthiest. So the fact that I had these things wasn't totally weird. To give you a little snap shot, my life at that time looked a bit like this:
- I ate a lot of grains, legumes... and pizza, but not much protein or fat
- I got intoxicated on the reg. If I'm going to be honest I probably drank at least 1 beverage (but let's be realistic it was probably 3) 6 times a week
- I didn't sleep much (life of a bar tender), and if I did it was a weird schedule. Bed by 4am and slept into the day.
- My life felt like it had no purpose or passion
- My parents just got divorced and I didn't really know how to deal with all of that
- I was at a complete loss for what I was doing in life because I felt like I had to make something of myself and being a vagabond wasn't enough
- I wasn't very physically active and I was a bit overweight. (I'm about 5'3" and I weighed 150lbs.) Then when I did start to exercise it was every single day...no rest days. Which led to some extreme fatigue when paired with my work/sleep schedule.
I decided to make a change. This wasn't how I wanted my life to be so I started to take action. Here's what changed:
- I started cooking and eating pretty much paleo (if we have to label it, but I hate having to label the way I eat)
- I cut way down on carbs, eventually trying to go keto. Which honestly I felt fine with....until my body said 'no.' (but that's another story)
- Drank alcohol very moderately, like on special occasions once maybe twice a month
- Shifted my work schedule so I could get better sleep. Went to bed around 10 and got up at 6 (energetically)
- I started to exercise very regularly...with a rest day or two. Mostly did lifting and yoga.
- Bicycled or walked whenever I could
- I changed my life course which means I started Nutritional Therapy school and started yoga teacher training
Well low and behold things changed! The biggest things were:
- No more digestive issues
- No blood sugar imbalances, I had steady even energy
- I was excited about life and found my passion. I felt drive and enthusiasm for the first time in awhile
- I competed in a body building comp
- I got into peak physical condition. I mean I felt strong, energetic, powerful and healthy. I weighed 118lbs and was about 12% body fat. (all the typical transformation tuesday stuff)
Some things didn't change though:
- I still had hormone imbalances. After getting off the pill I hadn't got my period back and my libido was still zilch.
- I still had some severe family hardship (that I wasn't dealing with)
Then things really caught up with me. It was a perfect storm.
I started to:
- Live a life I didn't want
- Put everyone else before myself
- Not deal with the mental/emotional stress in my life
- Become overly obsessive about my food choices and felt guilty about taking days off of work outs
- Always lived in the future and the past
- Continued to eat extremely low carb
All these things started to go wrong, my body started to fall apart and things didn't function well anymore. It felt like I had gone back in time...not to mention I gained all the weight back. Every last pound. You would think I went back to eating 4 slices a pizza, drinking every night and sitting on my butt. In fact none of that happened. I still ate whole nutritious foods, I wasn't drinking often, I got 8 hours of sleep, and until I physically could not because of the deep fatigue, I was still working out.
Once again I had digestive distress, yeast, blood sugar struggles and even more hormonal stuff going on including thyroid issues.
What I'm trying to show you with my transformation is health is about A LOT more than what we want to believe. We want it to be as simple as eat healthy and exercise. I wish it was, I really do because life would be much more simple. For some people it is.
Obviously our first step to health would be getting our nutrition in order, but what about when nothing changes or you get worse?! What then?
Most of the time we are suffering with weight or other health issues it's really our body trying to tell us something, it's trying to communicate.
When diet or exercise don't seem to be making a difference, maybe it's time to re-evaluate our life and the stresses in it. Maybe something that seems healthy really isn't working for our body.
In this last year of my personal hell (I know I'm being a drama queen but it really hasn't been pleasant) I have realized that health and wellness are not always what they seem. As a nutritional therapist I'm always looking for root cause. Instead of giving someone a pill to get rid of symptoms I ask the body why is that symptom occurring? Usually it's a lifestyle habit that has caused chronic stress on the body and now an organ or system isn't working properly. So then we can give them nutrients and a change some dietary habits.
Sometimes we change our diet with success at first, but then life piles on stress and we keep pushing through instead of really facing it head on and shifting what we are doing. Fighting instead of really taking care of ourself and our body.
None of the other stuff matters anymore. Even if we eat perfect our body doesn't digest as well, exercise only makes us more tired, we are more susceptible to bugs and illness.....
Now it's time to take a step back and take a hard and honest look at ourselves. Oh, but that's too hard or that's impossible you say?
Tough love time: It is hard, sometimes it is risky but it is NOT impossible. You want something bad enough you know you make it happen.
Do you want lasting health and happiness or do you always want to be chasing the next diet, supplement, or cure all? To keep comparing yourself to someone else's transformation tuesday and asking 'why not me?'
The choice is in our own hands.
We just have to decide. To decide to make a change. Not just a change in the obvious food or exercise, but a change in
. In how we talk to ourselves, in our work, schedules or relationships for instance.
Lots of Love!!
P.S. Leave a comment below and tell me if you have ever experienced something similar? Felt like nothing you were doing was working? Getting sick or gaining weight even when you were eating healthy? Don't be shy! There's only love and support coming from me <3