A personal short story about how I embraced a healthy lifestyle - for good.
Michigan, September 2001 - with my father.
I was on my late 20's, going to grad school at MSU. Between the intense demands of the grad program, the harsh winters and my position as a Project Manager of a state-wide nutrition research project, I found little time for myself.
I started taking shortcuts to increase my time and productivity: fast foods so I didn't have to spend time cooking, no exercising and late nights so I had extra time to study... a total change in my life's priorities
As a result, I gained 40 pounds in 2 years. I was exhausted, unhappy, moody, with low self esteem and most importantly: I was not healthy.
I'd get every flu or cold that emerged around. I felt weak. I was fatigued. I felt miserable.
The worse thing was that I had all the knowledge about nutrition and healthy lifestyle - I was a dietitian for god's sake!
The problem was not lack of information - The problem was that I fooled myself into thinking that I DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME IN A DAY TO DO EVERYTHING.
What it took, in my case, was to stop and build some self-motivation to change: to make time in my planner for all that I needed to do and to commit to those slots I blocked-off. A time slot to exercise. a time slot to go once a week to do groceries and shop for wholesome foods and prepare my meals ahead, so I didn't need to spend time cooking. Organizing my calendar completely. Build myself a meal plan and stick to it.
BASICALLY, I NEED TO DO FOR MYSELF WHAT I GUIDE MY CLIENTS TO DO !!!
I'm not ashamed to admit that, for a moment in my life, I was not acting as I preached.
But I'm happy to say that I have learned from that moment. During that time, I promised not to be hard on myself and to give myself time to build a healthy lifestyle progressively and realistically. Something sustainable, something for a lifetime.
And here I am.
Liberty Station, San Diego, 2020.
I am 49 years old. I never felt better and stronger. I don't get sick. I feel energetic. I can do activities like climbing and kitesurfing. I can lift heavy weights. I can run, I can squat down to pick something from the floor without pain. I can go up a flight or stairs and not feel winded. I am grateful to be able to do those things.
What does it take?
Not a momentary trendy diet, but lifelong flexible healthy eating.
A good attitude in life, knowing when the stresses of life are too much and making room to breath and release.
Physical activities. Before, I used to go to the gym everyday. I realize that's not necessary. Being active, most of the time, is enough and it's realistic.
Here I am, at the verge of my midlife. I'm optimistic about the future. I'm grateful for the past. And I cherish the moment.
And just in case my kids are reading this: I can't wait to have grandkids so I can play with them like there's no tomorrow! :)