My story might not be the best in terms of advice because I doubt (and I hope) that you don’t end up in the same situation, but hopefully, it still gives you some insight and potentially motivates you to live a healthier lifestyle too.
Rewind to last year.
For the first half (legitimately 6 entire months straight) of 2016, I was on and off sick. Two sinus infections, days bedridden with a fever, a week of barely being able to eat a thing (even plain toast made me nauseous beyond words), awful stomachaches, feeling tired even when I wasn’t seemingly sick, etc.
It goes without saying that this took a physical toll on me — my immune system was shot –, but it also took a mental toll as well. There is such a sense of defeat that you experience with being sick for a prolonged period of time. You feel like your body is failing you. The worst is not knowing how to fix it. It took many trips to multiple doctors and 7 months to finally land me at the gastroenterologist. After some lab tests, the result was clear: I had a stomach ulcer at the ripe age of 20.
As my stomach was recovering, I also started having some joint pain, weak feeling knees, tension headaches, etc. At this point, I decided I needed to make a lifestyle change. Yes, there were some things beyond my control that contributed to those six months of being ill, but I wanted to make sure that for the future, I’d do my best with the aspects I did have control of.
I have always been on the healthier side, especially in terms of food, but I felt the need to fully commit to being active. If you read my post on the optimum diet, you know that to me committing does not equal restricting. It means nourishing your body, and adjusting based on what your body reacts or doesn’t react well to. This part comes more naturally to me than working out does, hence my resistance to going to the gym for most of my life.
I’m very stubborn when it comes to certain things — I hate being told what to do or how to do something. Even if I know the other person is right, I fight doing whatever he/she says I should because of my stubborn side. I like to do things on my own terms, not because I’m told to (unless I already agree). Not one of my finer traits, I admit (but hey at least I’m self-aware right?). This 100% applied to situations of people telling me “Oh, you should work out more if you feel stressed” yadda-yadda-yadda. I always knew these people were right. Especially because I’m anxiety prone, exercise would do me a world of good. But, unfortunately, I stubbornly resisted the gym until everything seemed like it was spiraling downwards fast.
In the midst of it all, I committed; not because I was told to, but because I finally saw the importance of nourishing and taking care of the one body we’re given in life — and let me tell you, I have big dreams that I will not let go of because I wasn’t physically able to reach them.
Back to present day.
My stomach recovered and after a relapse of sorts that has turned out to be gluten sensitivity (during which I took a few weeks off from exercise), I’m feeling the healthiest I have since the start of 2016. I’m excited to share everything I’ve found to be helpful in getting to this point including my favorite ways to stay active, food obsessions, and general healthy living tips.
In the meantime, if you take away two things from this post, take these:
1. Don’t wait to be sick or injured to realize the importance of taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally in whatever way works best for you.
2. There is no optimum diet and there is no optimum exercise routine. Both are a matter of experimenting to see what makes you feel your absolute best.