My health journey has been just that...a journey. I have always been a very active outdoorsy person. Even after having my first child I was able to maintain a healthy weight but only through calorie restriction and extreme exercise. By the time I was in my late 20s I was so burnt out on all the dieting and exercise and worrying about every calorie that I consumed. I needed a break from all of it.
Fortunately, I soon found out I was pregnant with my second child so that news offered me a chance to take a break from the madness. I went from a strict calorie counting, high protein low carb diet, to eating whatever but still trying to make “healthier choices”. My exercise routine went from running 5 miles a day and lifting weights to gentle walking. My body really needed that break. Throughout the course of my pregnancy I gained about 45 lbs which was terrifying and disheartening. Somehow I held onto the hope that it would all come off with breastfeeding. Well, wouldn't you know...not only did I not lose weight while breastfeeding, I gained weight.
I gained about another 10 lbs taking me from 133lbs pre pregnancy to 189lbs post pregnancy. There I stayed for the better part of a decade despite my efforts to eat less carbs and more protein. I exercised so much and still only saw small 5 lb losses, only to be regained a few weeks later. I became prediabetic with the weight gain and developed high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high cholesterol, and started developing a host of female hormonal issues. For the first time in my life I was also struggling with painful acne and crippling low self esteem. I felt powerless to change my condition and debilitated by low self worth.
I decided that the place to start was with my view of myself. I started my journey to self love and acceptance.In the end, that self love is what empowered me to make the changes I needed to make. That led me to tell a friend about my frustration with my health issues. All my numbers seemed to be getting worse, and she casually mentioned the work of a Dr. John Mcdougal. She shared with me how he was helping people heal themselves with high carb foods like potatoes. I was curious but skeptical.
I read his book, “The Starch Solution” and realized that he was advocating a high carb low fat plant based diet as a means to healing and achieving great health.I had to put the book down and take a deep breath. Was I really considering a plant based diet? Could carbs actually make me thin? What about all the information out there about high fat, high protein, low carb diets being the healthiest way to live? It came down to the fact that all the arguments Dr. Mcdougal presented in his book not only made sense but were also backed by an abundance of scientific research.
I decided to take the plunge and follow Dr. Mcdougal’s recommendations and I've never looked back. Over the following 14 months I was able to lose almost 70 lbs with no calorie restriction and walking as my exercise. Not only had I lost weight, but all my health issues were quickly resolved. It was as if I had never lived in that previous body. Going plant based has been one of the best decisions of my life, not only for my health, but for the health of my family and the environment. So come along and see what it is all about...
Self Care/ Self Love
I can attribute all my success on a plant based diet to self love. I am continually asked how I am able to stay so “disciplined” when it comes to my diet. My response is always the same…..it has nothing to do with discipline and everything to do with self love. When I made the conscious decision to start changing the negative thoughts and emotions I had about myself, my life began to change. Did I love my overweight body all at once? No….it was a process.
I started by keeping a journal and writing a few things down that I could at least appreciate about my body because there was nothing I could love right off the bat. I wrote that I appreciated my long hair, that my body was able to produce 2 healthy little humans and that my body was still there for me through all the dieting and shame I put it through. That list of appreciations slowly grew and every morning and evening as I reviewed my list. That appreciation grew into respect. That respect then grew into a deep love and value for myself that completely transformed not only the way I see myself, but the way I see others. I was now seeing people for all their potential and their value as human beings.
It is this love of self that will empower you to change because what you love, you take care of. The decisions to consume or not consume certain foods will become based on your desire to only take care of yourself and honor your body. They are not decisions made from a place of hatred or embarrassment of your physical appearance.
Love of self is not selfish, it in fact produces the opposite. We learn that our own value and worth comes from within and it allows us to become more generous with our hearts for ourselves and for others. My greatest hope is for you to know and see all that you are worth. Everything you need is already within you.