2017 Resolution – Love Myself Healthy!

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Image Source: The Balanced Blonde

Another year is just beginning and I absolutely LOVE the idea of giving up all desires to be skinny.  Honestly, it is completely overrated, even if you’re overweight.  American culture has trained us to think that any excess body weight means you are overweight, which if not true at all! From this day forward, I suggest telling yourself that you are making changes to become the healthiest you for you.  Forget what society expects!  You DESERVE the gift of health.

You all know that I am a firm believer in the ancient healing art of Ayurveda. Following this ancient medicinal system, we are taught to treat our body with reverence. Your body’s are a reflection of our current health. All of your past decisions have made you who you are today. Embrace the lessons you’ve learned from them and use them to move into a healthier lifestyle.

Remember that even if you aren’t in perfect health, you are just as worthy of self-love as a body builder!

My story

Before my enlightenment

Throughout my teens, I followed so many diets in an attempt to look like my best friend who was much skinnier than me. I never took into account that my bones were thicker than hers, which meant I SHOULD NOT look the same as her. Fast forward to my twenties. I became friends with many “overweight” people who were doing things I couldn’t; my best friend from college played on our school’s rugby team. She ate junk food on occasion, but more often than  not she would eat mostly healthy foods. This is where I picked up my theory on how to eat to mold your ideal body!

Life preparing me for my enlightenment

This idea stayed with me long after we left college, but it didn’t click completely until I was living on my own in Philadelphia, PA. One sunny April day in 2013, I decided to walk to my local library. On my way there, my sneaker got caught in a crack in the sidewalk and I fell hard on my knees. While my knee injury wasn’t too bad, there was another lesson in store for me. About two weeks after my knees got better, I started having uncontrollable back spasms. They were so intense that when I went to my mother’s orthopedic surgeon to try to figure out what was wrong, that he couldn’t even touch me without extreme pain!

He ordered a number of different tests to decipher what was wrong but every test came back with negative results. His only conclusion was that my body had locked up from the intensity of the fall to protect me from something, and he was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! He then told me to go home and get as much rest as possible.

Enlightenment realized

After seeing this doctor, I made it my mission to take as much time to rest as I possibly could. Not only that, I realized that I should use this down time to make healthier food choices. Before my accident, I ate fast food multiple times a day. Since I could barely move around my apartment, let alone go downstairs to pick up food from a local restaurant, I brought into my home yogurt, instant oatmeal, protein shakes, et cetera – anything that was easy to make so I didn’t aggravate my injury.

After a few weeks of following this meal plan, my family started asking me questions about my workout regimen. They were concerned that I had been ignoring my doctor and working out. When I told them that the only thing I was doing was making better food choices, they were shocked. My sister even came over one day to check up on me. When she saw that my refrigerator was full of everything I had told her, she went home and left me to recover.

By the end of my recovery, I had lost 30 pounds, with NO EXERCISE!! To date, I’ve lost about 85 in total and I NEVER diet.

What’s the lesson for you in all this?

I’m telling you my story to reinforce the idea that with this new year, you should make a resolution to become a healthier you in small steps. You have developed your current eating habits over the previous months and years of your life – you can’t expect lasting results to come from drastic changes. Food is our first and best medicine for creating a healthier body.

I began this blog as a reminder that you have to love your body, regardless of what shape it’s in. When you love your body exactly for how it is, the easier it will be to make small, positive changes. My story is a testament to that fact. Millions of people start popular diets every day, have success in the beginning and then gain it all back… Why? If a diet is so great, why can’t people stay on them for life, or at the very least maintain the weight they’ve lost?

The truth is: consistency is the biggest piece of the puzzle. I’ve been way off track with this – my mother’s death took me by surprise and I gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted because of the depression that set in after losing her. From this day forward, I vow to do better for myself…. Especially because my mom believed wholeheartedly in what I do!

In order to achieve this goal, I must remember that small, yet constant improvement and upgrades to my current preferences is my keystone to finishing the health journey I started back in 2013.

Neither you or I can do intermittent health care.  Healthy eating must happen daily.  Aside from occasional “free meals,” we have to eat to nourish and maintain our bodies.  It is an odd thing that has happened in our society where food intake is such a social and pleasure thing instead of a way to fuel our bodies.

So the conclusion is there is nothing wrong with always being aware of what we do to stay slim and strong and healthy.  We should love ourselves for who we are on the inside but also love the potential we have; both inner and outer and always strive to live up to it.

 

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What is YogaVeda? 

For this Wellness Wednesday, I wanted to take a little time to explain what my blog is all about. I mentioned earlier that I have used the ancient healing arts of Ayurveda and yoga in the past, and when I really followed them, I was the healthiest I’d ever been! To give you a better idea of what I mean, imagine getting multiple (3 to 5) headaches and issues with upset stomach/heartburn every week – Tylenol was ALWAYS in my medicine cabinet. 

Then when I had a back injury that put me on bed rest for 5 months, I had to reevaluate my relationship with food and went back to the basics. Here’s a great quote from Ayurveda:

During my recovery, I focused on eating simple, protein rich foods that would properly fuel my body. Since I couldn’t move very well, I stocked my refrigerator with Chobani yogurt that had fruit on the bottom. The yogurt had the protein I needed to maintain my muscles and fats to insure that the tissues in my joints wouldn’t deteriorate. 

Two months into my recovery, my doctor yelled at me because she thought I was ignoring her order to rest because I apparently had lost a significant amount of weight. By the end of my recovery, I had lost 30 pounds!! I owe that weight loss to Ayurveda, which is the ancient Indian tradition of seeing how the foods you eat react with YOUR body (no two people are alike so following a cookie cutter diet is stupid and potentially dangerous!). I’ll do other posts explaining the basics of Ayurveda, but let me give you a brief example. 

Ayurveda and me

My body type is called pitta and the main element in it is fire. This shows in my ruddy complexion, my occasional fiery temper and my tendency to experience heartburn. Because the main element in my body type is fire, it is important for me to avoid very spicy foods because I can overheat. The best foods for me, especially in the hotter months, are cooling foods like water, berries, melons, leafy green veggies, yogurt, etc. Basically, you should visualize water being dumped on forest fires – water keeps the fire from damaging too many things. My body is the same way!

Again, I’ll do more detailed posts soon regarding ayurveda, so don’t worry if you’re not a pitta like me.

How does yoga play into this? 

Most people know that yoga is a series of gentle stretches and poses that help our bodies maintain flexibility. What you don’t know, however, is that those stretches and poses can also tell your body to fix certain blockages. 

As I get deeper into my training as a yoga instructor, I’ll be able to explain this in more detail, but think about when you are hunched over a computer for a few hours and you have a sudden urge to get up, stretch and walk around. That is your body’s way of maintaining itself. And that’s exactly what yoga aims to accomplish, help your body realize what is out of sync and do gentle actions to correct it. 

Combining the two to create a new experience: YogaVeda

My new healthy lifestyle model is called YogaVeda because I teach you how to harness the power of food and movement to become the healthiest you possible. I will never tell you that you need to get up at 3am and do an intense military-style workout. I’ll also never tell you to completely eliminate a food or meal from your diet (unless you’re allergic!); I just help you find a better version of it. 

If you combine good, nutrient dense food (because we all need to eat!) and simple, regular movement, you will be surprised at what you’re actually capable of!