There are times in our lives when we forget who we are. When we allow influences outside ourselves to take over and have full reign in our minds and with our bodies. It can happen in varying degrees, sometimes with minimal side effects and other times it can almost destroy us.
Some changes are subtle but in my case, they were life altering. This is to serve as a reminder that once we start allowing small compromises in the care of ourselves, larger ones are not far behind. The care of one’s self is paramount in leading a healthy life, in mind, spirit and body.
When I met him, I was in the best shape of my life. I was training for a 12 mile, 25 obstacle race. I was practicing yoga, kick boxing, weight training and working out with a friend in the great outdoors to prepare me for the terrain we would cover. I was eating clean and hydrating. I was a beast, a strong, healthy, vibrant beast and in love with my life.
I had everything I ever wanted. I had 2 healthy children, a roof over my head, a car that got me from point A to point B, pets, amazing friends and a stable loving family. My friend and I, the one I was training with decided we were going to go to a local watering hole we heard about to celebrate our hard work and to blow off some steam. That’s where I met him. He worked there part-time and after much negotiation and convincing on his part to me, we decided to date. I got wrapped into the lifestyle. It was so different than what I was used to and to be honest, perhaps at the time I needed the break from the intense scrutiny I placed on my body.
It was NICE to not be at the gym, or sweating in my garage, or getting up at 4:30 in the morning to go run before the blistering heat of the day. It was nice to drink a beer and sit and talk and do nothing. It was nice to indulge in late night unhealthy food. I consumed pizza and burgers with almost no guilt. My new friends and boyfriend didn’t care, we were all living the same lifestyle and the pounds crept on, 50lbs to be exact.
I dyed my naturally blonde hair black. I no longer resembled my healthy, sun-kissed self. I was pale and drawn, fluffy and much weaker. It didn’t seem to matter at all to the people I was now hanging out with. To be frank, I let myself go. I lost myself. I became more interested in hanging out with him and my new friends than I did in the health and well-being of my own body. And finally, when all of those unhealthy life choices culminated in a horrific motor vehicle accident, where my then boyfriend hit me (as a pedestrian) with his truck, shattering my skull, rupturing my implant, fracturing my back….it all ceased.
At that time, I couldn’t exercise if I wanted to. The pain was and still is at times severe. I had an extra 50lbs of weight to carry on my broken body. The relationship, the friendships vanished. I was no longer the good-time party girl they had become used to. I complained…a lot. I hurt….a lot.
Once those elements were out of my life, once I was left alone with my thoughts and my broken, unhealthy body I began to see what had happened to me. I had lost myself…slowly. The values I once held for myself were stripped away. Once I began giving in on small things, the bigger things were quick to follow. I was unrecognizable and not just in appearance… in everything.
So I slowly began to take control…literally one step at a time. The negative influences I cut out of my life. The almost daily drinking and eating late at night stopped. I began to use food to fuel my body instead of comfort it or hide behind it. I began to exercise slowly at first. It was like learning to walk again. I started walking my dog a mile every day. I took up yoga again and my body began to come alive. I felt like a flower starting to bloom or a caterpillar emerging from my cocoon.
I began eating clean and organic (mostly). I traded beer for water. I traded pizza for greens. I traded my dark lack-luster hair for my sun-kissed blonde. I have since shed 48lbs of the 50 I gained and am in love with life again. I am in love with how good my body feels and how strong I am becoming. I have learned a valuable lesson and emerged stronger, better and happier than ever. I will no longer compromise my core values to please anyone. I will no longer give up the things that make me…me. I accept whole-heartedly that this life is a gift and this body is a vessel to experience it with and I will treat it accordingly with each day I am here.
I have returned to my roots….all of them.