Let it

Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it.”
Harvey MacKay

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Know Thyself

It was 2005. My second child, a snuggly cheery little chub of a thing, was just a babe. I did my best to work out regularly, and I thought I ate pretty healthily, but I was sitting at my highest weight of 207 lbs. In so many ways I was happy. I felt like I was learning to love more openly and fully. But there was that one thing. That nagging feeling that I was a strong, lean body wearing a fat suit. I refused to accept that I was destined to feel so awkward in my own body for the rest of my life, but my own body was a mystery to me. I couldn't lose weight. My uncle said he thought it might be a candida issue. I made an appointment with my doctor and ended up seeing his nurse practitioner who prescribed me phentermine- a weight loss drug. I'd always been dubious of drugs, but I tried it... for a day. I felt like my brain was on low-pulse electroshock therapy and I couldn't sit still. It was an awful feeling! I knew there had to be a better way, but as a busy mom of two, it just seemed beyond my mental capacity to put in the effort to figure it out. Fast forward a few months of putting my health on the back burner, and I found myself dealing with awful symptoms of severe hormonal imbalance. My doc had no clue what to do besides throw drugs at me, and my midwife recommended a few things, but was mostly at a loss. I decided that information had to be out there, and I shouldn't be dependent on the education of someone else to find it. That is when I turned to my friend Google, and began an educational road of exhaustive research and weeding out "facts", in taking my health into my own hands. It has been a slow process. I changed just one and sometimes a few things at a time. I lived them, made sure they worked for me, tweaked where needed and then moved to the next step. I went through phases- the chemical cleansing stage, the long vegetarian stage with a brief vegan stage thrown in, a couple of having-a-baby stages, a P90X stage, and an exhausted-from-trying stage, to name a few. Some things worked well for weight loss and not for health, and some for health but not weight loss. Some things stuck and I kept them, some things got tossed. Happily I've come to a lovely and I believe very sustainable balance. I won't stop growing, learning and changing. If I did, it would mean I'd stopped living!
My point is this: We should be our own experiment. Learning from experience what is best for you and your body is crucial if you hope to be the best you. They call it the n=1 experiment. You are your own case study. Most of us do this kind of thing subconsciously without labeling it as such. From my n=1 experiments I have learned that:
I am very sensitive to parabens.
I don't do well with chemicals.
I feel my best when I live barefoot.
I need mass amounts of veggies in my diet, but...
I also need animal protein to feel my best.
Grains are not my friends.
Food coloring makes me angry.
Artificial sweeteners make me sick.
Orange cheeses make me gassy.
Saturated fat is wonderful for my hormones and my happiness.
Sunshine and vitamin D supplementation kick my SAD to the curb.
Chocolate is a necessary part of my life- the darker the better.
I can find an essential oil to help with almost any issue.
My body doesn't like road running, but it adores trail running.
Yoga. Yoga. Yoga.
Lifting heavy things is awesome.

The list could continue, but I shan't bore you. Instead I'll encourage you to start your own list- past, present and future. Write it down, see how far you've come and imagine the possibilities of where you could go. How awesome could you be?!
My body isn't a mystery to me anymore. You can get to know your body pretty well if you just pay attention and really try. The more in touch you get with this body you live in, the better you can live to your full potential.
It is nothing short of empowering.

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