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Hey Fam! I hope you had a great week. I get asked about this area of my life so much so I decided to put it in a blog post and direct them here. So how did I get from there…
I did it by getting healthier. I didn’t realize that it was such drastic change until persons kept commenting on how small I have become-to me it’s not that drastic but then again dropping 23 pounds from 158 is not too shabby. They kept asking: how did you lose so much weight? Let’s be clear though that losing weight was just a side bonus for me as getting healthier was my main objective (still a continuous process by the way).
So what steps did I take to become healthy? I think I would prefer to say healthier than I was before; as I don’t think I have reached my ultimate goal. Honestly it was through realizing that there was a problem and deciding to make lifestyle changes, diet changes and unfortunately I cannot yet say exercise (but I plan to start this in the near future).
I want to live an abundant life and not spend my retirement paying for medication or hospital fees, which I’ve witnessed too often. While I have the time to be better I am going to do better. Every change made was made out of love; love for others, including my future children and for myself. I do not want to put my loved ones through unnecessary stress with having to deal with any illness or sickness because of poor lifestyle choices and I was becoming unfamiliar with the person looking back at me in the mirror.This is just a summary of what has happened so far and I will have detailed posts as to what I ate, what I eat now, recipes, tools and so on in subsequent posts. Hopefully this can inspire you to make the necessary steps to begin your health journey or encourage you to keep pressing on.
So let’s do some background. For as long as I can remember my family and I have always been health conscious; we didn’t eat fast food regularly, only on special occasions and we rarely consumed soda, mainly blended juices. So because I was relatively healthy in my earlier years, I thought eating the not so healthy choices would not be a big deal later on in life given the foundation laid. The plan seemed to be working as throughout my teenage years and early twenties there were no real health issues just a cold here and there, no major weight gain, and a couple missed periods. The change in my way of eating was also hidden by the fact that I started dancing at university and other physical activity.
It wasn’t until around late 2010 that my period stopped coming several months at a time, I was lethargic and felt highly demotivated, I was seeing a little too much facial hair, I had ‘plugged pipes’ no matter how much fibre I consumed, my seborrheic dermatitis was at a new level, my hair was getting thinner and I was putting on too much weight. I knew stress played a role. I had a hard time adjusting to working on a shift system for my new job, and adjusting to a long distance relationship. So in 2011 I went to the gyno and dermatologist. I had to go to several before I found a comfortable fit. The horrible experiences I had are stories for another time.
After finding my best match, I was confirmed as having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and I was awaiting the results of my pap smear. I was prescribed a birth control to regularize my period and she suggested that I lose a little weight because in her experience her overweight patients’ symptoms subside when they lose some weight. My pap smear result showed that I had abnormal cells. So I was told to come in and do a follow up pap smear to confirm what was seen in 3 months. I started making the healthiest decisions after the news to ensure that when I did that follow up pap smear it would be normal again. It was normal. Phew! I can remember the relief I felt. I had a few scares again after but yet still I reverted to my old eating habits not long after as it was easier and food became an escape from my sometimes stressful life. The mind was not strong people, the mind was not strong…there is nothing like chocolate that instantly lifts your mood.
I was also experiencing a weird sensitivity to the right of my navel and odd chest pains. These symptoms received no diagnosis. I was usually told it’s in my mind as blood tests revealed nothing. But one thing I have learnt over time from doing so many blood tests is that blood test results are graded against an average and that average might not be what is optimal for me.Things continued to get worse between 2012-2013, my ‘sometimes healthy’ eating habits coupled with the birth control pills led to accelerated weight gain. Also my sedentary lifestyle of driving to and from work, sitting behind a desk, and no physical activity didn’t help either. Although I do not want to really talk about this part-during all of this I had a family member whose health was deteriorating and to take care of them was stressful at times. I mention this because it is important to identify all the things in your life that has an impact on your unhealthy lifestyle.
Again, it is important to note that before starting any health journey get advice from medical professionals and get a thorough check up as you first need to know what is wrong so that it can be properly treated. It is also important to listen to your body and if that symptom is causing you discomfort you deserve to know the root cause of your ailment.
A little digression here but I promise it has a point and I do not encourage anyone to do this. I am always rushing to be on time, so to decrease the stress of that I would finish safely getting ready in the car at the various stoplights to my destination (ensure your doors are locked and your windows are tinted!). I would finish buttoning up a blouse, zipping up a skirt, unwrapping my hair etc. So on this one particular day I threw on a button up the front blouse, put on my pants, grabbed my shoes and drove out. On the way to my destination I did my hair first and then proceeded to do up the buttons on my blouse. The buttons just would not meet in the middle. I was freaking out as I couldn’t turn back because I would definitely be late. Thankfully I had a sweater that did button up and the colour of my pants was neutral and at least they buttoned up as well.
The day after my life took a turn for the better. I needed to get my life in order as I was complaining about too many ailments for the longest time but I realized I wasn’t doing anything about it. Given that I was born ‘normal’ and I didn’t receive any debilitating diagnoses as a child I knew there was more to life than suffering through symptoms with a brave face and I knew the answers were out there. I just needed to find them. Why were all these unwanted lifestyle symptoms happening and I was not eating more than anyone else and I tried to make good choices most of the time.
Around the same time that I decided to commit to the change one of my sisters was also on her health journey and had a lot reading material to share from Dr. Bob, Dr. Berg, and Natalia Rose. These books streamlined all the information I was getting from the internet and made my health goals more attainable. I also did the Dr. Berg’s free Body Type Quiz to give me a glimpse into my main issue. It revealed that I had combination of adrenal and thyroid issues. For me this made sense given my symptoms. Dr. Bob & Natalia Rose helped with the detoxification aspect and Dr. Berg & Natalia Rose helped with the type of foods I needed to be consuming. For specific ailments I used the Prescription for Nutritional Healing as a guide. I am also fortunate to be surrounded by health professionals in my family. For my mind and spirituality I drew on inspiration from Joel Osteen. These are things that effectively supported my decision to get healthy and the main reasons why I have been able to persevere. I vaguely remember who I was before this journey. It feels like I have honed in on who I am and having a healthy mind, body and soul is the answer for everything in my life. I drew on these resources at different points to know what to do and why I needed to do it.
So the logical choices that I made for myself after soaking in all the relevant information can be summed up to three major adjustments: a stronger spirituality, a changed mind-set and no refined carbohydrates, proteins or fats. I do not eat sugar, flour, rice, pasta, crackers, biscuits, ice-cream etc. These changes strengthened my relationship with God, strengthened my mind to overcome and eliminate some stressful situations and the ability to better manage the situations I couldn’t change. It also opened my palette to a lot of foods I was missing out on.
To kick-start everything I did a little detox for 2 weeks. This involved green juice (only vegetables and lemons, no added sugar) every morning, white meat (fish, chicken, egg) coupled with steam or raw veggies only once a day and a meal of low fructose fruits (cucumber, star fruit, grapefruit). Oh, and lots of filtered water. During that time I became a little more ‘regular’. A lot of persons do a liquid detox but I did it this way because I didn’t want to have too much waste gathered in my body at once and run the risk of my body not being able to excrete it at the same pace given my history with constipation. For the next two weeks I kept the same routine with the addition of boiled sweet potatoes, boiled bananas, mashed pumpkins and every night before bed I would drink aloe vera juice with lemons. I eliminated a lot more waste during these two weeks.
The weight just started melting off and this improved my mental state, I was less irritable, I got deeper with my spirituality and then my faith increased. I did my daily devotionals according to what I felt, what I needed strength for or was thinking of for that day instead of the devotional guides I would normally use. I increased my knowledge further of how important food is in your spiritual journey, especially during the detox week (did you get it? I did my devotionals according to what I thought about so obviously I was thinking about what foods to eat sooooo… anywhoos), and confirmed that the mental, physical and spiritual areas need to be balanced on one’s journey towards health. What cemented this lifestyle change was that I contracted the chikungunya virus but had little to no symptoms as my immune system became so strong over those few weeks that the virus only gave me a slight itching rash and slight pain in my pinky fingers.
Presently, I eat with the mind-set of enhancing my body’s ability to get rid of the waste from food quickly and I eat full wholesome meals that give me enough energy for my day-to-day activities. This is why I stay away from food that has gone through too much processing before it reaches my plate. My theory is that your body was made to digest food but if what you ingest is so drastically altered the body has to work super hard to get it to a point that is now digestible but because of how strenuous or how long this may take, when it actually gets to this point the body is too tired to handle it effectively. It’s like a car with bad fuel trying to get to the top of a hill, it may get there but at some point the car breaks down or is not able to complete the journey effectively.
So I mainly eat ground and tree provisions that have not gone through any processing than just to reap it, meat from grass fed and free range animals as best as possible and healthy fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed coconut oil and avocados (in Jamaica it is called pears). Although I have been consistent on this journey, I am not perfect. My main weaknesses are dark chocolates and peanut brittle, I don’t beat myself up over this I just stay focused and always aim for what my goal is… to be healthy. I feel every day I get closer to that goal as I have been having regular periods since 2014, no more irregular pap smears, my hair is fuller, the sensitivity on the right side of my navel is gone, more frequent bathroom stops(still not where I want it to be) and my mood, positivity and faith has improved.
So when someone asks me if I lost some weight, I say no I found health. And if someone asks me how to drop some pounds I advise them to pick-up a healthier lifestyle. Because your weight depends on what you eat, what you eat depends on the mind and your thought process needs to be guided by your beliefs (which should elevate you to higher purpose).6