Around the age of 11, I remember a classmate telling me I was "big-boned" & I would never be the same size as everyone else. I felt condemned. At the time, I weighed 156 lbs, wore a size 21 in children, suffered from hay fever, & chronic constipation. My pediatrician had just informed my mother I was on pre-hypertensive. Because I was overweight, my mother had to have clothes made for me or ordered my clothes from JC Penny catalog because it was hard to get anything in my size. I hated the class weigh-in day because I was always in the Top 5 in terms of weight & my classmates would remind me every day.
Here is an example of my daily scenario at school:
Me: I turn around to go into my book bag.
Bullies: Yell "Biscuit" or "Chicken" then fall into laughter
Me: Mental thought, "Can I please disappear right now."
Bullies: "She turned around because she is always hungry. Look at her!"
My family did not help in these matters. I was always reminded of how big I was especially in comparison to my mother. What is interesting a few years prior to that my mother thought I was too tiny. So she asked my grandmother to send for a syrup from Haiti that would boost my appetite so I would gain weight. It was sent & I definitely gained weight.
After being told by my pediatrician that I was pre-hypertensive and I needed to address my weight I set out to make some personal changes-Yes, I was that kid. It seemed like a simple undertaking but, things got a bit more complicated. During that visit, I had my first period. What are the chances? It was celebrated by family and it involved me taking on more responsibility because I was now considered a young adult. After my first period, my cycle became irregular. My mother was concerned and pressured my pediatrician to pursue it more and I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor (prolactinoma)which lead to me being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). About a year later, I was also diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder called scleroderma. I was a research doctor's dream, & my worst nightmare.
A lot of medication.
A lot of doctors and doctor's visit.
A lot of tests.
A lot of I don't know and I'm sorry.
That was supposed to be for the rest of my life.
In some traditional cultures, they say healers are confronted with illness to propel their journey as a healer. Seventeen years ago, I was definitely on that journey; I was pre-med because I wanted to heal my mother and myself. However, something clicked & decided to take alternative practices more seriously. After some investigation, I realized I needed a lifestyle overhaul. I changed my LIFESTYLE: became planted-based, switched to non-toxic products, started therapy, committed to a yoga practice, and detoxed on a regular basis.
The rewards were many. I am here seventeen years later a lot healthier, a lot wiser, with so many tools, techniques, & lessons under my built.
Top 5 TAKEAWAYS:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare: There is a definite learning curve when it comes to being plant-based and living a holistic lifestyle. Take a little time to do some research find best practices. Plan out your meals for the week. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Ask advice from those who have been plant-based for some time. There is a big difference between someone who has been plant-based for 3 years versus 10 years.
- Don't beat yourself up: Just because you had one bad day or choices did not go the way your expected means you should give up. Dust yourself off and keep it moving. Don't let it be the excuse for you to go back to unhealthy choices. When I was trying to heal my body I thought if I changed my diet I would be healed. I stopped taking my medication and discovered that it was not that simple. I bled for a month. My doctor said I had to go back on my medication. I could have let that information discourage me but instead, I did more research and made more changes.
- One size DOES NOT FIT ALL: For those of you transitioning for health reasons find a diet and lifestyle combo that works for you. We are similar in a general sense but genetically there are subtle differences that have a big impact on our health. When you go down the rabbit’s hole called the internet you will find several variations of plant-based diet and protocols that will say, “We are the fountain of youth.” I have been there, done that. In my 17 years, I have tried almost everything under the sun. Healing is not one size fits all or one size fits most. Find the combination that works for YOU. You have to take lead in your healing. You must make observations, take notes, and make adjustments accordingly. Most importantly, become in tune with your body it will never lead you astray, you just need to learn its language.
- Detox: My biggest tool is to detox on regular basis. It is a critical part of my lifestyle when I go off this key component I see major differences in my health. We're bombarded with toxins physically, mentally, & spiritually many of which we cannot avoid. If we don't take time to remove them they will accumulate and create disease. My general rule is to cleanse during every Equinox or Solstice.
- Keep Good Company: The company you keep will make or break you. Everyone in your life will not share the same exact lifestyle but make sure you have cheerleaders. Your cheerleaders demand that you do better and fulfill your purpose. They will hold you accountable and tell you when you are off track. Make sure you have an accountability partner for those days that you are not self-motivated. My accountability partner has talked me off the french fries ledge quite a few times.
Starting your wellness journey or feel in a rut? Join me next week, October 5 & 6 at the Well Summit. The WELL Summit is all about empowering you to live your healthiest and most fulfilling life, both personally and professionally. It looks at wellness from a holistic standpoint. It's about nutrition and fitness, but it's also your relationships, your mental health and being mindful. It's taking care of the environment as a whole and your personal environment where you live and work. It's about taking into consideration your personal care products and what you clean your home with. 360° of Wellness is everything that helps you to live a healthier and more fulfilling life.
The WELL Summit allows for exploration and immersion in wellness. It gives the opportunity to meet like-minded people who can help you reach your personal and professional goals.
This year, they are introducing their new Wellness Tracks. Depending on your goals for attending, they have three tracks to help tailor your WELL Summit experience: Wellness Foundations, Living WELL, and Business of Wellness.
When you attend the WELL Summit, you won't be limited to just one track. You're able to choose the schedule that best suits your needs and your personal and professional goals.
I’m beyond excited to announce I am a wellness ambassador for WELL SUMMIT this year. To celebrate use my special code "WSNZINGAH" to receive $75 off your ticket. Can we say winning? It will be attended by wellness enthusiasts, bloggers, professionals, & entrepreneurs and will be an amazing opportunity to network with other like-minded women.
SEE YOU THERE!
Remember, “Your vibe attracts your tribe.”
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