When I was in my 20s I was so unhealthy my favourite foods were hot dogs, my favourite pastime was smoking cigarettes and my favourite party favor was alcohol!
I playfully teased people who made healthy choices. I thought being healthy was “boooring”. Because the only way I knew how to stop eating junk food, stop drinking, smoking, or to do regular exercise was through the method of denying or forcing myself to do things i didn’t actually want to do. I thought being healthy was “Laaame!”
It was my attitude toward those things that was the problem and once I shifted my perspective everything changed.
When I stopped drinking and smoking I didn’t feel limited or restricted, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything and I still don’t. When I go out substance free these days I have more fun!
When I started exercising regularly, it didn’t feel like a chore, and exercise has become one of my greatest pleasures, I now do it because I love it!
When I stopped eating sugar I didn’t feel like I was denying myself a pleasure, I felt like I was releasing myself from the hold sugar had over me and allowingmyself to feel more relaxed, nourished and cared for (I’m still navigating this one because sugar is in everything so it’s a lil trickier).
When I made all these changes in my life I did them from a place of joy, it didn’t feel like I was placing restrictions on myself, it felt like I was letting go of things that were restricting me, limiting me and weighing me down.
Not exercising regularly was limiting my energy and enjoyment of physical activities. I got depressed often and had bad anxiety. I still get anxiety and depression at times, but much less often, and I move through it more easily and much faster!
Cigarettes were limiting my breathing capacity, my health – physical, social and emotional – I was always hanging for the next cigarette and couldn’t enjoy the present moment. It’s been 12 years since I quit and I still appreciate enjoying meals and aeroplane flights without the constant desperation for a cigarette.
Alcohol was limiting my relationships, my social life and my self confidence. I feel so much more confident on a night out now knowing that I don’t need a substance to make me feel good and I can rely on my body’s natural ability to let go. I’m more present with people in my life and can stay out later without worrying about doing anything embarrassing – now the silly things I do are conscious choices!
Processed sugar was restricting my ability to chew (I almost lost a tooth!) and it was causing anxiety, restricted breathing, brain fog and low motivation. Without processed sugar I have more sustainable energy, clarity and inspiration.
It’s not just about the things we do (our habits) or what we consume, it’s about our relationship with them, what our intention is.
If we’re exercising to punish ourselves from a place of unworthiness or wanting to lose weight, this is a very different relationship with exercise than when we do it as an act of love for our body and for the joy of it, when we do it for fun! And then the bonus is that our body is fit and healthy as a result. We can get similar results but with a very different approach.
There’s nothing “wrong” with any approach, but there are approaches that are more lasting, gentle, loving and enjoyable and come from a place of feeling more enlivened and expansive rather than feeling restricted.
So if you’re wanting to make changes but you’re finding it restricting and hard, work on your mindset and attitude, and from there the changes will more easily fall into place.
Living a healthier, holistic life has been the foundation for me to follow my heart more, fulfil my dreams and live a life that lights me up from the inside! This is possible for all of us. You deserve to feel nourished, peaceful, joyful and creatively alive! I’m rooting for you!