Ill never forget the day I managed to pull myself out of bed and take charge of my health. After years of binging on double bacon cheeseburgers, cheese fries, root beer and cake my body was beginning to show signs of failure. My energy was low my depression was at an all time high and my stomach churned in perpetual anxiety. I knew I was headed down the wrong path but I had no clue how to course correct. In theory, I would just eat right and exercise more.
Really? What does that actually mean? I had no tools or guidance to put this into action. Every day I woke up with the resolve to change but inevitably I reached for more bread and for more sugar. I beat myself up constantly telling myself that I was weak and had no strength to look like all of the fit and attractive guys around me. I was destined to look puffy and lethargic for the rest of my life. Even when I did on occasion workout more I still could not reach my desired weight or look. I just would fall right back in that hopeless cycle of working late then gorging myself on whatever junk I desired. I was angry and I was in despair. I did not care but I really cared deeply. I just did not know what to do and how to live a better life. I felt hopeless and that I would never find a mate because it was always that way and it seemed that it would always be that way.
I was still young I still felt that stirring inside me. I longed for more and I longed for better. It felt just within my reach but I could not grasp. I know that there had to be a better way. Everywhere I went healthy and beautiful people pranced around me. Here I stood isolated left out of the big secret. My only comfort was more food. The mac and cheese piled on my plate with the chicken wings dangling off. I was sick I was so very tired and I wanted more. Just one more swig of cream soda. Just one more bite of pound cake saturated with butter.
This all I knew and this is what my life was ruled by. At work my stomach would churn angrily with all of the bad things I but in it that day. Towards the end of the shift it would quiet and I would then go home and repeat the vicious cycle again. Was this it? Was this my life in New York City? Did my food choices define me and my life? There had to be more. I felt it calling me again and again. Finally, one day I answered and took control. Turns out just that first step was all I needed.
As I sat in the small room on the wooden chair with the sun streaming in, my brain ran on overload. What am I doing? I cant afford to see a doctor just about diet and lifestyle. I am just a lowly server in NYC. Why on earth am I here? My limbs are not falling off. I was scared beyond belief. Whatever courage I had to get here was gone as fast as it appeared. My flight fight response kicked in. I resolved to do only this one visit, take the tips the doctor gave me and figure the rest out on my own. There was no way that I could afford to see someone twice a month about my seemingly minor health concerns.
Then the doctor finally appeared in the doorway. She gave me a gentle smile and asked me to tell her about my symptoms. A floodgate opened within me I told her of the bad feeling in my stomach constantly, the diarrhea, the lack of energy and the skin eruptions. She quietly listened taking notes. I began to calm and take in the scene around me. I heard the soft spa music, smelled the aroma of essential oils. I felt intoxicated. I felt strangely at peace. Maybe I did need to take on my health head on. Maybe I did need to take control of my life instead of letting my power be controlled by other forces not of my own.
As I took in her recommendations and course of treatment, the financial scarcity alarm bells went off again. This time I decided to ignore them a little and see where this path would take me. I was given two sheets of paper stating foods I could have freely, foods I could have in moderation, and foods I had to avoid. Fear kicked in again. Where would I buy this food? How do I prepare this food? My safety blanket was ripped from me. I felt naked and exposed. The foods that ruled my life were nowhere to be found on that sheet of paper. I was on a barren road and change was a fiery monster racing towards me.
I left the office confused but somewhat hopeful. I did end up making another appointment as well. As I walked towards my apartment, all of a sudden I began to feel angry. The doctor wrote on another sheet of paper a diet plan that I should start to follow. Resistance kicked in. I rationalized that there was no way that I could maintain the recommended diet for a extended period of time. I resolved to try the plan for a few days. Then go back to my old way of eating if I felt too sick or run down. One day turned into two and two turned into a week. For some reason which to this day I cannot tell you how I did it, I did not resort back to my old diet. I did go through a period of detox which was painful but my body began to respond in a positive manner. I began to lose weight and people around me began to notice as well. The fear that I experienced before turned into passion. I was passionate about my life. I was passionate to feed my body the best I knew how. My passion translated into better skin, better weight and more energy.
My transformation was beginning to take place. My hopeless cycle was replaced by trips to Whole Foods and dance classes. This was not an easy transition and I am still working towards even better health years later. Initially, I no clue what to eat or how to shop. I literally had to take action, study health and wellness, while maintaining appointments with my doctor.
Without support sustainable change is just not possible. From being mired in mud to clawing out of it takes sheer strength and support. Resistance fights you at every turn. It tries to tempt you in buying that slice of cheesy pizza or scarfing down pieces of cake. If you feed your body what it needs it will began to crave healthy foods and look at junk in disdain. Fear of failure and fear of resorting back to old habits still beat their revolting drum. Every day when you make the better choice the drums fade a little more into the distance. Yes, I still eat dessert on occasion. Does food now rule my life? No. Do I seek food for comfort even if it is healthy? Yes. It’s something that I work on every day. It gets easier with time. Your body knows what it needs. All you have to do is find that connection.
As I grow into my true and fulfilled destiny, I see myself evolving. I try different eating patterns knowing that I am an individual and no specific diet works for everyone. As you evolve your tastes change. What made you feel energized last year may make you feel tired now. I encourage experimentation and failure is the best teacher no matter what the ego says. Fear can be used as fuel instead of glue. You are not the same person today as you were yesterday.
Support is key and surrounding yourself with people that revel in your transformation positively. People around you may make nasty comments about your food choices. Know that they are projecting their own insecurities around eating on you. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Radical change begets radical transformation. Resistance is real fear is real. Acknowledge and then move forward to your highest and lightest way of living.
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