This year I turned 35. As you tend to do on milestone birthdays, or any birthday for that matter, is to reflect on your life gone by. The last 5 years have possibly been the most eventful of my life, with the birth of my son and everything that brings, a change of career, going back to study and the enormous changes I have made to my well-being through diet, exercise and spirit.
I also spent a bit of time thinking about the person I used to be. In my twenties, I was working for my family, involved in employing and managing staff, working a lot of hours, sometimes starting at 6am and finishing after 10pm. I was highly resentful of situations in my past and present, and I was very bitter, selfish, judgmental and overall a very angry little person. I was also 90 odd kilos and very unhealthy.
So I thought of a few things that I wish I had know back then, that I know now. Not saying that I live with regret, far from it. It’s just an interested exercise, isn’t it! And in saying this, I have the highest respect for the universe and the journey that I am on, and knowing that without these lessons in my twenties I would never have become the person that I am now!
12 things I would like to say to my 23 year old self….
Do yoga. This will change your life. The stretches and moves you are doing now are actually yoga poses! They have names! You are instinctively drawn to it, and with good reason. You need it in your life. It will do wonders for you!
Let go of the hate, bitterness and anger. There is no point. You can’t change people. You can’t control situations. You don’t need to try and understand why others behave the way they do. Just let it go. The only thing you can control is the way you react, and right now you are so wound up and poisoned with bitterness. It isn’t very nice is it! Believe me, it does not need to be this way, and you will feel light and free when you let it all go.
Get your illnesses under control – you don’t know it now, but you are anemic, (and this will be exacerbated after childbirth) you also have low blood sugar levels. You are also intolerant to gluten, dairy, soy and yeast.
Spend more time with your horses – they wont be around forever. Love them and hug them. Don’t be afraid to ride Kasper because you think you are too heavy for him. Its ok! And make sure you get a photo of Alex with Kasper.
Eat well – at the moment you are not eating with respect for your body. If you keep this up, over the coming years you will get very very fat and it will make getting pregnant hard. Above I mentioned the food intolerances. Right now, you are eating so much crap that you are not listening to the subtle messages your body is trying to send you about the foods that it doesn’t like.
Get into child care – this is what you were put on earth to do! Dad might not like it, but you are not meant to be an office worker or a herb packer.
Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks – for years you have had massive confidence issues, and the only way this is going to go away is to just not concern yourself with others opinions, or perceived opinions! It is actually none of your business anyway what anyone else thinks of you!
You can be vegan – it is not that hard! OK it takes a bit of planning and educating yourself, but you absolutely can do it! Just go for it!
Wear a hat and don’t put sunscreen on your face – your wrinkles are only going to get worse, and your skin will be damaged more by sunscreen than the sun in the future. So get your hat on missy! I don’t care what you think you look like or what it does to your hair!
Stop using chemicals – on your skin, in your home and in your food – eat organic, buy natural cleaning products. The shit you are putting on your skin is full of crap and cancer causing chemicals. It only takes 23 seconds for anything you put on your skin to be absorbed down into a cellular level, and get into your body. This will be your AHA moment in years to come. Do it now. There will be an amazing shop open up in Mount Gambier in about 15 years, until then, buy on line.
Educate yourself about animal testing and buy cruelty free – it does mean a lot to you, so don’t wait another 10 years before doing something about it.
Speak your mind – don’t be afraid of what people think of you. Remember how you feel when you sing ? – that people listen to you and you are good – you can feel the same way when you speak. Don’t be trodden on, have your voice heard. And stop saying yes just because you think you have to. You are not a pawn.
Only 2 years ago I was a self confessed gym junkie. At this time I was going to the gym 6 mornings a week, doing 1 or 2 classes at a time. I would take my young son to the creche, even if he was unwell. Hell, I would exercise if I was unwell, or had an injury, or if I was completely exhausted. I would sometimes do a class in the morning and go back that night and do another! I was also doing PT once a week and group PT too. I didn’t realize that I was trashing my body. The gym industry didn’t just support me in this, it completely encouraged it! But I was not supporting my body with the nutrients it needed, and generally treating my body with a complete lack of respect.
During this time I was plucked from the group fitness floor and asked to be an instructor. It was something I had never considered, but saw it as a massive achievement for me to complete by Les Mills Bodystep training, and start instructing classes. (In hind site, it was the best thing for me that this didn’t lead to a permanent class, as it would have immersed me even more in the sometimes poisonous gym world) Although I was achieving a big personal goal of mine which was to be an instructor, at this time I was suffering with injury, sickness and I was not getting any fitter or stronger, in fact I was going backwards.
I was totally not listening to my body, which was crying out for help in the form of injuries and exhaustion. There is only so long you can trash your body before it finally says, enough is enough. For me, it was in the form of Glandular Fever. I finally had to stop.
When I tell it like that, it seems like a sudden thing, but in reality it was something that was changing and evolving over about 6 months. During this time I discovered yoga, and with the guidance and influence of my teacher, started to listen to my body and start to eat better.
It was a gradual process that lead me to my current life of a few yoga classes a week and one PT session. And maybe a Pump class now and then. Instead of exercising to the point of almost vomiting or passing out, I come to exercise to nourish my body and work on wellness. I am a completely different person than I was. Now, I eat with respect for my body.
A part of this change also has to be put down to my life outside of the gym. I surround myself with only positive people, which has meant that people have left my life in the past couple of years, and I am fine with that. I do a lot of yoga, meditate daily and stretch. I have had the courage to quit my job and go back to study and have changed my career path to do what truly makes me happy each day. At 35 years old, I am fitter, stronger and happier than I have ever been.
A big part of this has been my friend, mentor and PT, Ashlee Cummins. You can find her and her inspiring take on exercise at https://www.facebook.com/MindfulHealthFitnessashcummins It is a refreshing way of looking at your exercise, from someone who was, for many years, ‘brainwashed’ by the gym environment too. And I don’t say that as a derogatory comment to Ash, we all were!
Here is one of Ash’s workouts featured on Claire Baker’s website (Certified Health Coach) http://thisislifeblood.com/the-anywhere-anytime-body-delight-program/comment-page-1/#comment-1945
If you have a gut feeling that what you are doing is actually doing you harm, take a moment to have a think about it. Don’t blindly accept and follow the claims and ideas laid out by your local gym. Exercise should not be about punishing your body for ‘eating that cake’ or taking out your frustrations about your bad day at work. Take the focus out of the amount of calories you have burned, instead listen to how your body feels during and after your workout, and measure the results with your clothes, NOT the scales!
And if you are reading this and thinking, ‘she sounds like a wimp’ don’t be fooled. I still work very hard and suffer many uncomfortable moments in my workouts! I have just achieved a goal of mine to do a yoga pose called Salumba Sirsasana (supported headstand) off the wall, and that shows me that my core and upper body are stronger than ever. My mind is also in the right place 🙂
Just a quick little post to let you all know about a wonderful idea to try to change your eating habits, or re affirm existing habits during September.
A wise lady once told me “it’s not the fat in food that will kill you, it’s the sugar”
We have been told for years that fat is bad. Ok sure some forms of fat are, eg trans fat, BUT sugar is the big danger. In the worst case it causes cancer. Some forms of artificial sweetener cause Parkinsons Disease. On a day to day level, it stuffs with your hormones, making you prone to wildly swinging moods, inability to concentrate, memory loss, getting really angry and feeling depressed and just generally crabby. So why eat it when there are perfectly good alternatives out there for us! It is the refined sugar that is the killer.
I am an avid instagrammer, and I stumbled across this inspiring woman Cassandra Michelin aka @liveitdoit . She also has a website which is http://www.liveitdoit.com.au. She has founded this wonderful challenge for the month called ‘Sugar Free September”. Not just a photo a day challenge, but the idea of Sugarfree September is to educate yourself on the dangers of refined sugar products, have a look at ways you can remove them from your diet and replace them with heathier, but still just as sweet, alternatives.
You can just join in on instagram, or if you feel so inclined you can sign up for a FREE Renew food Journal in e book form. Follow the links on her website 🙂
In the ebook there is a great list of sweetners to avoid, and enjoy.
Some great sugar alternatives are raw honey, coconut sugar, fruits, barley malt syrup, maple syrup, dates, stevia and rapadura sugar.
I already eat very well, however it has made me take a closer look at the ingredients in the foods that I don’t prepare myself – eg my almond milk. Turns out it has agave syrup as the sweetener. Now, it is up to me to decide what i want to do about this.
Here’s to a Sugar free September!