My Journey To Health
While sifting through my posts the other day, it occurred to me that I’ve never actually shared how I came to be so passionate about fitness and health! I’ve written before about my journey towards making my own household products but what you may not know is that I wasn’t exactly the poster child for healthy habits a few years ago!
GASP! Mind blowing right? But it’s true.
Actually, I’d have to say I was quite the opposite. Almost ten years ago I a restaurant manager, a heavy smoker and my physical activity was laughable.
During this time in my life, my meals came from three sources: the chain restaurant I worked for (mainly I ate a lot of chicken alfredo), pizza pockets, frozen dinners and McDonalds. Yes, you read that right. McDonalds and I were best friends! I truly looked forward to “monopoly season”.
You may be shaking your head laughing but the thought of cooking was laughable. When I met my, now, husband the most I could cook was a package of sidekicks and nine times out of ten I burned that too.
Did I mention I was a smoker? That’s right. Gym memberships, lunges, workouts all of those things were nonexistent to me. I was on my feet a lot as a manager but nothing really challenging.
And while I may have had a great metabolism (thanks to my body type) I was far from healthy. I couldn’t even walk up two flights of stairs without getting a bit winded!
So what changed you ask? How did I become such a health freak?
The truth is, I’m not sure. I wish I had a big “aha” moment but I didn’t really. All of a sudden, I just got a desire to “be healthier”. You’d think with this elevation my first instinct would be to drop smoking but of course that was my last thought.
Instead, I started to eat yogurt. Yup that was it. Yogurt seemed healthy and so I went with that. It’s not important that the yogurt was full of sugar. What’s important was that I did something. I took a step.
After a few weeks of yogurt eating I moved to oatmeal, then snacking on raw veggies. I still ate my normal microwavable meals but I felt better knowing I did something.
These steps may sound small, but they were huge for me.
As I started to read more and more (the eat clean diet was really popular back then) I realized I should probably drink some water. I lived off iced tea at work and coke (with a healthy shot of rum of course) at home.
But I hated water.
I remember literally gagging water down in the beginning. Slowly it got easier. After about four weeks I even wanted it. Now a days I would literally die without it.
Little by little I went on making changes. Eating fruit, making my own pasta, not drinking as much. Nothing drastic. I still all my regular meals like nachos and McDonalds but just not as much.
After a few months of what my husband used to refer to as my `health kick” I started thinking about exercise. It was petrifying. I joined a gym and proceeded to walk on the treadmill aimlessly. It sucked.
Then I began following random programs in magazines. Being active actually felt kind of good. Hard and burning but good. I felt good about myself and that was huge.
I was still a smoker, still a drinker and still ate McDonalds. But I was doing something and that mattered.
Little by little I changed. I learned to cook more foods. I started getting into really training and proceeded to get certified as a personal trainer.
I was still a smoker.
In fact, five years into my journey I was eating pretty well but most definitely was not anywhere near eliminating my nightly rum and cokes. I was however getting certified as a cycling instructor (the studio I worked for at the time wanted me to). But I was still a smoker.
At that point I realized that smoking probably wasn’t the way to go in my new found quest for health and I did quit smoking.. daily. It was another three years before I quit smoking while I drank.
Out of any change, giving up cigarettes was the hardest one. It was horrible. But I did it.
With each passing year I read more and more and my habits and choices adjust bit by bit. But the truth is, at this point in my life these changes are more for me personally. I’ve passed the “get healthy stage”.
With all my changes came a host of awesome benefits I never would have noticed had I stayed where I was. I never realized my energy was low but after feeling the surplus once my eating habits changed it definitely was.
My skin is less dry and looks more even. I can do things, like climb stairs haha, without being winded. My digestive system is a million times better. In short, everything has changed because I took one step.
So that’s it! My big journey. I’m in a much different place now than I was ten years ago. And truthfully I love it so much more. It wasn’t a horrible journey (well maybe the quitting smoking part!). it was slow and simple and all on me. But I’m so glad I chose that path.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can start smaller than small. Just start.
Need help? Start here.