I mentioned in my last post that health is something I want to talk about more here. It’s been a huge part of my life and over the last couple of years I feel like I have learned so much about healthy eating, non-toxic lifestyle, and exercise that it would be a disservice to not share some of that with you.
So, let’s start with what sparked this journey for me. Forewarning, this may be a long one.
In my last year of high school, I started working at a gym called Big Vanilla. The gym was bought out by the Y, and is now called the Y in Pasadena. While I was working there, I got very interested in fitness. I loved the classes they offered and at first, I spent a lot of time on the cardio machines. As I become more comfortable and learned my way around the gym, I started lifting weights. It was cool to see how you can manipulate your body to obtain a certain physique and admittedly, there was a time when it was all consuming.
I eventually left working at the gym to work as a full time nanny, but kept up with my fitness routine, sometimes even going twice a day 1-2 hours at a time. Because I had low self esteem, I felt like I needed to do this in order to be desirable toward men.
A few years back I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. At the time I didn’t really know what that meant other than the fact that my thyroid wasn’t working properly. I was put on medication and for a while, that was the end of it. I was consistently finding myself with an upset stomach and just not knowing what, if anything, was causing it. I just knew that I would regularly need to be aware of where the bathroom was and that alone was an embarrassing fact.
My metabolism was slowing down quicker and quicker and the pounds just kept creeping on. I wasn’t really sure why this was because I hadn’t really changed my diet or exercise habits, so why was I gaining weight so rapidly? Oh. My thyroid doesn’t work. So this led me to researching and trying to understand more about hypothyroidism. Somewhere along the way I read that you can cut gluten out to try to help with this. So slowly-and I mean slowly, your girl loves bread- I started cutting out gluten from my diet.
What I noticed was, though I wasn’t really seeing progress with my weight, I definitely wasn’t having an upset stomach nearly as often. Being a naive twenty-something, I didn’t stick with this diet however, even after discovering how much better I felt.
I got married in July 2017 and due to stress leading up to the wedding, I’d gained about 10 more pounds due to stress eating and lack of exercise. I remember being absolutely terrified I wouldn’t fit into my dress on my wedding day and just being honest, I almost didn’t! But you’d never know that if I didn’t just tell you. (Well, at least I hope).
So, ya know, wedded bliss and everything and, oh my goodness, just 2 months of marriage and I gained another 15 more pounds! I felt awful. Obviously no one wants to gain weight, but especially not in your first couple months of marriage. I felt unattractive and fat and, just getting real for a sec, unworthy of my husband. I kept saying to myself how is he ever going to love me if I just keep getting bigger and bigger? (DISCLAIMER: He loved me still).
So it was October 2017 when I did my first Whole30. I lost 11 pounds and I was so excited! I felt better in my skin and I had a better understanding of what foods do and don’t affect me digestively. I learned that I was highly addicted to sugar and caffeine, and that my body doesn’t really tolerate gluten or dairy.
My Whole30 experience coupled with my new title of “Best Wife Ever” given by my husband inspired me to look more into healthy living. I had been out of the fitness game for a while and truth be told it took almost a year after this to finally get into a good gym routine. But we’ll get there. I started to learn more about processed food, and gluten, and dairy, and how to start weeding them out of my normal every day diet and routine. I wanted to take care of my health not only for myself but also for my husband.
I’m not gonna lie to you, this wasn’t easy, and my stubborn self resisted this for months. I mean, I did not want to “give up” pizza and ice-cream.
I also discovered many interesting things I’d never really thought about before, like switching to glass Tupperware instead of plastic, never wanting to microwave your food in plastic, drinking more water, cutting out soda, and switching to more natural products for home cleaning and skin care. Like most people, I very easily was tricked by “green labeling” where companies will brand by saying things like “100% pure”, “organic”, or “all natural”.
I was gifted a set of essential oils for Christmas 2017, when I was really just starting to get interested in all these healthy switches and changes. To be honest I really knew nothing about them. I started pinteresting ideas on what to diffuse and when, and what I really noticed was that the oils helped a lot during cold/flu season, and with my anxiety. Some of my original go to essential oils were (and truthfully still are) lavender (promotes calmness and sleep), frankincense (helps you to focus and reduces anxiety), peppermint (headache and pain relief), and eucalyptus (great for clearing up your sinuses).
I hadn’t researched the company that produced the oils I was using, and I hadn’t researched how to make DIY products around the house yet. I was just kinda using them as needed, didn’t really feel the need to dig any deeper.
In February of 2018, a friend of mine created a healthy living Instagram account, @churchinatreehouse, shortly after another sweet friend of mine made hers, @freefolkhome. It was these two that inspired me to dig deeper into this whole healthy living thing and to research the heck out of essential oils. If you’re not already following their instagram accounts and you care about your health, go follow them right now.
Cierra and Becca have shared their heart and knowledge about living a nontoxic lifestyle and I’m telling you, they were the ones to inspire me to rid my home of all the toxins. They introduced me to this super cool app called Think Dirty which actually allows you to scan your products to see whether or not they have toxic chemicals that are harmful to your body. Basically you want to try to stick with 3 or less which will give the product a “green” rating and you want to stray away from the super harsh stuff that rates around an 8.
Right then and there, with the help of my Think Dirty app, I threw away ALL of my toxic makeup, which had pretty much been all of it, switched my soaps, and started transitioning all of my cleaning products. Young Living’s Thieves Cleaner has changed my life. I use it for everything!
Pretty much all of the oils I use now are Young Living and Plant Therapy. Both companies I highly recommend because they’re amazing, reliable, and you know you’re getting a good product. After hours of research they’re pretty comparable quality and work so much better than the oils I had to start out with. But hey, one foot in the door right? That’s all it took to get me hooked.
It was right about this time that I also was reading the book, The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution because my anxiety had reached a crippling high. I was afraid to leave my home, drive to work, enter any sort of social setting, you name it. It felt entirely unnatural and I was desperate to fix it.
Starting in about June 2018, I started reevaluating and weeding out my medications as well as making the serious change to my diet. I have been 100% Gluten and Dairy free since about that time. I started to notice a slight change in my anxiety when I buckled down on the gluten and dairy, but when I really started to notice was when I stopped taking hormonal birth control. You can read more about that here.
I have since stopped taking all medications except for synthroid for my hypothyroidism. And even with that medication, by changing my diet, I have been able to give my thyroid a bit of a boost to start working a little better on its own. I have been able to at least lower the dosage with that one, and I’m working toward healing this issue naturally as soon as I can. It’s definitely a process.
By July I was ready to get back into a solid exercise routine. I’d been in and out of the gym only managing to go a couple days here or there when I was frustrated with my weight or how tight my pants fit. But enough was enough. I knew that regular exercise would overall improve my health, and when I realized that it would help relieve my anxiety, I was ready to give it a try. My husband and I commited to 15 minutes a day, every day for one month.
That was all it took for me to build the habit. Once that month was over, we decided to go for 30 minutes a day 3-5 days/week. Most weeks I make it to the gym and stay 30-45 minutes. Over the last 6 months I have alternated between solely lifting weights, solely cardio, HIIT cardio, cardio + weights, you name it. I was able to get my one mile time down from a whopping 17 minutes to just 9 minutes 17 seconds. It’s always exciting when you reach a personal best.
So even with all that exercise I just wasn’t losing any weight. It’s annoying to be working so hard, eating right, and still not see any physical progress. But the nonscale victories have been great in number. I can easily say that my anxiety has taken a turn for the better. It’s much easier to manage now and though I still have my moments, I like to think anxiety has become my annoying friend that you just gotta deal with at times haha! But I think the best part is that despite the fact that I haven’t really lost any weight, I have a much higher self confidence than I have ever had in my entire life. I think that just sort of happens when you take care of yourself. You start to appreciate the body that God has given you.
So again, I ask, why healthy living? Well, because in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, the apostle Paul writes, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Because of this we are reminded that our bodies do not belong to us. They are borrowed vessels that we are entrusted with to take care of. If you’re not taking care of your health, whatever that may look like, then in a sense, you’re telling God you don’t appreciate His creation, your body, that he crafted uniquely and beautifully to be yours.
I’ll wrap this up for now, but be on the lookout for more on this topic in the future. I’ll try make living to glorify God in our bodies a very practical thing to start. ALL things we do should be for the glory of God, including health (1 Corinthians 10:31).
DISCLAIMER: All links provided in this post are for your convenience and are not affiliated with any companies mentioned. I just love them and wanted to point you in the right direction.