Once upon a time, I was a nerdy high school student. My life was all about acing classes and filling my schedule with extracurriculars that looked good on college applications. I slept little, ate a lot, and had little to no time to do anything else. It wasn’t the most health conscious thing for me to do, but I was young and naive, and my body was resilient and eager to do what was needed to keep my passion going. My passion at the time was to get into a good college.
The hard work paid off when I was accepted into college, where I spent the next four years as a nerdy college student. I aced my classes, but this time around, I spent all my extra time working on making movies, the new passion of my life. And after four years of working hard, late night partying and gaming, and eating what seemed like a healthy diet, I graduated with a few films under my belt and was thrown into the adult world to make my mark. It was during college where I first started having seasonal allergies, but I didn’t really think much of it at the time. Other than that, I seemed to have average good health.
As a college graduate, I moved out to Los Angeles, found a day job where I labored for 10 hours each day, sandwiched between 2 hours of commuting. Half of every week day was now devoted to working as a lowly office manager for an office that was overly stressful and taxing. Though what I did was not that strenuous, I was always stressed out, and dreaded going to work. I didn’t feel like I was creating any value for anyone, and my body was starting to fail in many ways. If I hadn’t caught the cold that was constantly going around the office, I was plagued by heavy seasonal allergies. At this point in my life, I always had a box of tissues and some allergy medicine in hand. Little did I know that my excessive stress load was causing my daily ailments and creating great harm to my overall health.
Fast forward two years. I quit my first day job, worked at a second one and finally determined that I was done with working as an employee. That’s when I left day jobs all together and began my own small business with my super talented boyfriend, Rene. I was extremely excited to get started on what would be my first real creative venture since graduating college, this would be my mark on the world! But by then, I had exhausted my body so much so that I was no longer physically or emotionally able to attack my new business like I had done for so many years with academia.
For several months, my new business venture had adequate success, mostly thanks to Rene. But I was neither motivated nor physically energized to truly work on the business properly. Everyday, I woke up around noon, immediately felt tired, ate as much “healthy” food as I could, sat around trying to motivate myself to take on the world (or even just to think positive about something would have sufficed) until I gave up for the day, watched a bunch of TV until I felt somewhat sleepy and then went to bed around 2 or 3am. I just felt more and more tired each day, and I kept wondering what happened to my former self. It seemed I wasn’t even able to play my favorite video games, it just felt like too much work. Now keep in mind that I was only 24-25 years old at this point. This should be the prime of my life, I should be overflowing with energy and motivation, but I felt the very opposite.
In an attempt to get my health back to optimal, I began going to the gym regularly. An hour of weight training, plus another hour of swimming, plus I biked to and from the gym. I think I may have been trying too hard, I did this at least three times a week, but it brought me little result. I only felt good for a few hours after working out, and I was never motivated to go to the gym in the first place. And for the days where I didn’t make it to the gym, I felt terrible.
I also tried to eat low fat and lots of veggies and fruits, but I always seemed extremely hungry. It was hard not to default to some ice cream or cookies after dinner each night. I had a severe sweet tooth, and it was hard to kick. The worst part of all this was that despite the fact that I was going to the gym fairly regularly and trying to eat according to what the experts say is healthy, I was becoming heavier than I ever had been before. I had to go up a few sizes in jeans, too. It was devastating to my already faltering motivation and self confidence.
Luckily, I was growing more interested in organic foods and alternative health ideas. I began to research as much as I could about organics, real food, the Weston A. Price Foundation, and common ailments not recognized by western medicine, mainly something called adrenal fatigue. Thanks to friends who introduced me to these ideas and to Youtube videos by Sean from Underground Wellness, I learned a great deal about the benefits of whole raw dairies, pastured meats, organic and local produce. I also discovered the dangers of excess stress and exercise for those who have exhausted their adrenals, an important organ in our bodies that help us manage all the stresses in our lives. It was a whole world of alternative health. Health through real food rather than popping pills.
These ideas are very contrary to the Standard American Diet or what most western doctors would advocate, so I had a lot of doubts about whether this new information would help me or not. But I was getting little result trying to become healthier on my own, so I was ready to recognize that I was not at optimal health, what I had been trying was not right for me and I needed to give this alternative/holistic health idea a try.
What happens next will have to be another post as this one is getting long, but I find it valuable to express the circumstances that finally led me to take on real food and real health. And I am so glad that I eventually found out about this alternative take on health.
Has anyone else had a similar story? Have you tried to follow a low fat diet and rigorous exercise routine only to gain lesser health and larger dress sizes? Does the Standard American Diet work for you? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
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