Mind, Body & Spirit – Week 2

Last week, I focused on getting the ball rolling by making small changes to my nutrition and fitness regimes. Once I began my journey, I realized that these changes were affecting me in other areas of my life as well. The more I read and learn about holistic living, I more I recognize the importance of maintaining balance in all areas of my life simultaneously. This week, I am changing up The Method a little bit. Each week from now on, I will focus on my mind, my body and my spirit at the same time.

Body (Nutrition & Fitness)

What I’ve Done So Far

  • Began thinking differently about what goes into my body – food nourishes & water hydrates to give me the energy I need to live an active life
  • Increased consumption of raw, “clean,” and “whole” natural foods
  • Decreased consumption of sugar, salt/sodium and caffeine
  • Substituted agave for the cane sugar and artificial sweeteners in my kitchen
  • Stopped drinking Coca-cola like it was running through my veins! I switched to organic milk, 100% juices and water instead.
  • Began avoiding processed foods; traded foods with the words “hydrogenated,” “enriched,” and “high fructose” on the label for ones that say “organic,” “naturally raised,” and “no hormones added”
  • Made my first natural foods shopping trip, armed with a weekly meal plan and my Fooducate app

    So many fruits and veggies!!!

  • Joined the park district and borrowed P90X for at-home workouts
  • Began incorporating workouts into my weekly routine

How I Feel

I can feel quite a difference physically after making just a few simple changes. For instance, I used to drink 2 cups of heavily sugar-laden coffee on an empty stomach as soon as I woke up. This would usually curb my appetite so I would skip breakfast. Soon I would be queasy, which of course meant I had no desire for lunch. By the time the afternoon would roll around, I was famished and would overindulge on sugary and salty processed foods. This would drain the last of my energy and dinner would typically wind up being something fast and turn into another unhealthy meal.

Most days, I replace my coffee habit with tea or orange juice. I eat something for breakfast, even if it is small. I also make time for healthy lunches and plan healthy dinners in advance so I don’t even have to think about it. When I do these things, I don’t get nauseas in the mornings. However, I gave in to temptation more than a few times this week. Each time, I woke up feeling sluggish and sick the next day. You would think this would encourage me to stick to doing the things that are better for me, but fool that I can be, it sometimes takes me a while to learn my lessons.

Since I started working out more, I feel energized and strong. I have greater flexibility and more stamina. I have reawakened the dancer in my soul and refreshed my excitement for dance and music. I feel hopeful.

My Next Challenge

  • To keep learning how to live healthy
  • To drink more water and take my vitamins regularly
  • To develop consistent daily routines for eating & working out
  • To develop a better self image by getting into healthy self care routines

Mind/Spirit (Relationships, Faith, R&R and Emotional Wounds)

What I’ve Done So Far

  • Acknowledged a connection between some childhood wounds and my life today
  • Learned:
    • that I need to spend some time, money and energy on myself
    • that in order for me to be truly happy, I must release my contempt and resentment to God and forgive those who have hurt me
    • that in order to become the woman I envision, I have to find a way to soften my heart, allow myself to be more vulnerable
    • that I must forgive myself and learn to accept my authentic self
    • that I must learn to love Me
    • that I am supported
  • Started working on relationships with those whom I am closest
  • Began reading the Bible and developing a clearer picture of my faith and personal values/beliefs/morals
  • Recognized that I need and deserve time for myself and that I need to stand firm in gently claiming that time
  • Started taking time to go to the gym

How I Feel

As weird as it may sound, I kind of feel myself maturing ­- literally growing – in all areas of my life. For the first time since childhood, I am forcing myself to open my mind, so I can erase my preconceptions and dispel my naïveté in order to become a wiser, healthier and happier woman. I am wrapping my head around the concept that there are going to be things along the way that I simply will not understand or will not be able to control. All that I am tasked to do is to go with the flow of the universe as I follow my own life path.

My Next Challenge

To keep it up. Consistency has never been my strong point.

My Weekly Reflection

The first steps on this incredibly arduous journey have been 1) recognizing all of the challenges that lie before me and 2) beginning to change the way I think about life. I have learned that I am hiding from the truth about myself, which is that I hold onto a lot of guilt, shame and self-blame. If I am going to heal, I need to start on the inside. I know that this journey is not going to be easy. I have fallen off the wagon more than a few times. It is hard to stay motivated, especially when I mess up. It is easy to find excuses and rationalize until the appeal of poor choices outweighs that of good decisions. (Seriously, why does organic *natural* food cost so much??)  But despite the obstacles I will inevitably continue to face along the way, I am determined to discover what living a healthy life feels like and I am still convinced that I am on the right track. I’m just going to keep taking it one day at a time and letting myself find smiles and fun in all the corners of those days.

Silly Smiles

THE PROBLEM(S)

In 6 months, I will be 29 years old. When I was 28, I set a goal to open my own business by the time I am 30. I am dedicating the next 6 months to my health and the following year to opening my business and buying our first home. This is my American Dream. 

That’s it! I have had enough of this unhealthy lifestyle. I am done with the nausea, lack of energy, fatigue, low sex drive, migraines, bad, bad, BAD mood swings, lack of an appetite/binge eating cycle, back pain, anxiety, depression…it all stops here! I am realizing that I have access to all of the tools I could ever need – it’s the excuses that need to stop. This year is the first year of the rest of my life and I am going to make it count! I am taking control of the one area of my life I have ignored forever – my health. And I’m going to do so as naturally, as simply and as smart as possible. Getting healthy is the next big step in my personal American Dream Making journey.

When I sit back and take a look at my truth, I realize quite a few things about myself that are not so easy to swallow. But I know that without taking this personal inventory, I can’t really expect myself to learn and grow and ultimately, feel better.

Everybody has a story and mine has not always been a happy one. Because, or in spite, of this, I realize that I have looked the most frightening challenges of my life straight in the face without flinching – not even a bat of an eye. Yet, my true challenges in life are the simple, everyday things that healthy people do practically on auto-pilot (think: eating regular meals, getting dressed daily, keeping up with laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, etc.). I stand tall against my greatest fears, yet crumble when it comes to keeping anything on a consistent track. This includes managing my moods so that they are consistently stable.

Maintaining homeostasis is incredibly difficult for me. It’s as though I always prepare for the worst to happen – if “the worst” happens, it feels normal; if not, it feels like something is wrong or going to go wrong at any minute. When I encounter negative stimuli (regardless of how small the molehill), my negative emotions are easily triggered. My attitude, thoughts, words and actions swiftly turn negative. Okay, I will call it what it is… I get downright mean. Since I wear my heart on my sleeve, my emotions become prominently evident in my body language, vocabulary, connotation, tone, and behavior. I feel physical symptoms, as well.

It seems like my temperature rises and I can feel the heat flush in my face. I feel a tingling sensation – something like adrenaline – coursing through my entire body. My teeth and/or fists clench. I hiss venomous words at my most precious loved ones. I lose sense of all positivity and feel very ugly inside. Anger (expressed through screaming, stomping, slamming doors, becoming rough with movements) is not easily softened by my own attempts or anyone who tries to come near me. Anger usually gives way to sadness (expressed through crying until exhaustion) and if I don’t pull out of it soon enough, zoning out/shut down is inevitable (where everything stops—I feel too weak to physically move, I go numb mentally and literally zone out (stare into space or at the TV) until I fall asleep).

Living life like this is not only unhealthy, it is exhausting, for both my family and me.

I am tired.

I am worn out.

I am not happy. And until I heal from the inside out, nothing will be able to make me happy.

Because of this, my relationships are strained and my parenting is negatively impacted.

My heart aches. My self-image suffers. My authentic self suffers. My soul suffers.

It is time to finally break free of this terrible cycle and take control of my life by taking control of my health.

I invite you to follow my journey over the next 6 months in what I am dubbing “The Me Project” – my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual pursuit for health and happiness.

WILL succeed.