This week I am happily celebrating being with my boyfriend for five years. Now Kenny and I met back when we were freshman in college, and the two of us have changed A LOT during these formative years. When we started dating I still ate meat, drank like I was a freshman in college, and barely ever ran. For a long time I only viewed health as diet and exercise. As long as I ate a balanced diet and went for a run a few times a week I figured I’d be healthy. But that isn’t necessarily the case. It wasn’t until I was studying to become a health coach that I fully comprehended just how holistic health really is. I realized that I could eat all of the kale in the world but if I was in a career I didn’t enjoy or had friends I couldn’t relate to, then I would NEVER be able to reach my peak health.
One’s life is comprised of their career, education, health, physical activity, home cooking, home environment, social life, joy, spirituality, creativity, finances and relationships. Now at first this concept seemed a bit silly to me. How could our overall health be comprised of so many things? But then I realized just how applicable this thought process was to my own life. When I struggled with over analyzing my food and fitness the problem was never food or fitness. Rather it was due to an imbalance in other areas of my life. I was struggling with my relationship with myself, lacking direction in my career (or what career I wanted to major in), and yearning to find a creative outlet.
When I was 18 years old the biggest imbalance in my overall health was the area of relationships. Now from the outside it seemed like I was thriving in this area of life. I had a new boyfriend who I had fallen madly in love with, a large group of friends, and great relationships with my parents and siblings. However, something was off. Deep down I knew that I wasn’t nurturing the most important relationship of all; the one with myself.
This lack of self-love wasn’t something that I could brush under the rug and forget about, because it was affecting ALL aspects of my life whether I knew it or not. The most obvious side effects of this were shown in the way I viewed food and fitness. I didn’t love myself enough to nurture my body with abundant plant foods and I didn’t love myself enough to know that my self-worth wasn’t reliant on whether or not I ate junk food with my friends. The relationship I had with myself resulted in me focusing on appearances rather than enjoyment when it came to fitness. When I was in that place, I could see how my relationship with myself was affecting these other aspects of my life. What I didn’t realize was how this one imbalance was affecting ALL aspects of my life.
I wanted to give, love, and show up more for those in my life but I simply couldn’t. It’s hard to pour into others when your glass is empty. My lack of self-love was affecting my ‘career’ at the time as well. I had gone into college as an Elementary Education major, ready to become a teacher. But as I soon began to realize this wasn’t the path I wanted to go down. I was lacking the confidence to voice what I truly wanted. It wasn’t until halfway through my sophomore year, after continual work on my relationship with myself, that I able to switch my major.
So how did I begin to mend my relationship with myself? For starters it wasn’t easy. I looked at all the areas of my life; diet, fitness, career, education, relationships…and quickly became overwhelmed. I knew what I wanted but I had absolutely no ideahow to get there. So, instead of trying to pick apart every single aspect of my life I focused on one. MYSELF. I remember reading books, watching videos, and diving deeper into the foreign world of self-care. I began journaling every night, saying positive affirmations, and looking in the mirror and telling myself “I love and accept myself unconditionally”. At first I had to focus on not rolling my eyes at myself. I was skeptical at how these simple actions could improve my personal relationship. Yet, I persisted; writing, reading, and speaking as if I ALREADY loved myself. It was not a smooth uphill climb, but more like two steps forward and one step back. Somedays I felt unapologetically confident in my own skin and other days I felt like I was right back where I had started.
Over time I began to believe the words on the paper, I began to feel more confident, and I began to watch the ripple effect emerge. I suddenly WANTED to fuel my body in a way that aligned with my beliefs, I WANTED to run marathons, I WANTED to change my major to something I was passionate about, I WANTED to pursue creative outlets, and I WANTED share my journey with others.
Healing the areas of my life that I saw as problems (diet and exercise) wasn’t about finding a perfect diet or fitness routine. It was about learning to heal the most important relationship I’ve ever had, the one with myself. For once I did this, I saw the rest of my life flourish. If it wasn’t for continual efforts to improve this relationship, I honestly wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be celebrating 5 years with the man I love, I wouldn’t be running my own business as a Holistic Health Coach, I wouldn’t be living a vegan lifestyle, and I wouldn’t be sitting on a plane writing this as I head to Hawaii.
Self-love is directly correlated to our feeling of self-worth. Once I began to love and accept myself JUST THE WAY I AM, I started becoming the woman I wanted to be. I realized that I, and I alone, was responsible for how my life unfolded.
For me, imbalance came in the area of relationships, not so much with others but with myself. Yet this may not be the case for you. Maybe you’re struggling in the area of creativity or career. Perhaps you’re in a job that you hate, that drains you each and every day. Because of this you turn to comfort food to console you after getting home from work. You thus have no energy to establish a fitness routine or go out to drinks with friends. Now you could try the latest fad diet or a 30 day fitness challenge but that most likely won’t help make lasting change. You feel like you’ve tried everything there is on the market; from weight loss shakes to lifting weights but you can’t shake the feeling that the life you’re living isn’t allowing you to reach your peak. In fact you realize that this one imbalance of working an unfulfilling job has affected all other aspects of your life. So, where do you go from there?
That is where I come in. For so many of us, the answer to our problems is simpler than we think. Yet we need someone, besides ourselves, to help us discover the imbalances in our overall health; the areas in our life that are in need of some serious TLC. Holistic health isn’t about doing a juice cleanse or never eating a piece of chocolate. It’s about individualized help to get to the root of whatever you are struggling with. It’s about working on healing the cause of your issues, rather than treating the symptoms. I know what it feels like to be searching for answers, and I know how powerful it is to get to the root of the issue. I am grateful for every single experience I have had thus far because it brought me where I am today. The struggles I went through made me stronger, happier, and healthier. They are what led me to health coaching and they are what make me so incredibly passionate about helping others. You are worthy of living a healthy and vibrant life and it is my job to help get you there.