It's not just all about food
For the last decade, I’ve been experimenting with food and reading a lot of literature about how to improve your long term health. I’m a second year student of Nutritional Medicine and I love what I’m learning. I try to incorporate my findings into everyday life in the hope that my husband and kids will have acquired some habits that will have a positive bearing on their health down the track.
I’m also on this “expedition” to change the course of my own health journey.
The first time I really started thinking about how I lead my life was when I sat back and took in some pretty confronting news…both my parents had cancer pretty much at the same time. Although I was consumed in my own life and trying to come to grips with how to manage a twin pregnancy, I was somewhat distanced from the day to day impact of their illness and subsequent recovery.
However, something was quietly ticking away in my head telling me that I needed to get on top of my own genetic destiny so that I could avoid the dreaded “C” myself. Slowly I started making changes and absorbing as much information as I could. Throughout my 30s I was leading a pretty good life and seemed to have things under control – or so I thought. I watched what I ate, had a pretty good exercise regime and managed to still wear my favourite clothes from my 20s..it was all good!
The tipping point
As 40 crept by I never gave much thought to the dreaded ‘mid life crisis’ or whatever we’re calling that now. I didn’t see it as any change from the status quo, but slowly I realised I was getting tired of trying to chase something, force something, avoid something. I discovered I’d been so focussed on being as “healthy” as I could on the outside, I’d completely ignored making sure the inside was being nurtured also.
This was the pivotal moment that changed my whole focus. What I was previously trying to achieve was not sustainable for a happy, real life. I had to stop being so concerned with putting the “right” things in my body all the time and start paying attention to the health of my head and heart – how were they tracking? Had I confronted things that were holding me back? Did I like the person I had become? Was I living the life that fulfilled me, and if not what did I need to do to get there?
Big questions which I think we all ask ourselves in our 40s…or not. But if I was going to seek out the answers and be involved in the business of helping people on their own quest, I needed to front up to the hard stuff and put the health of my head and heart on a pedestal as I had done for my body.
So here I am today working on what I like to call the 3 Pillars of Health – head, heart and body. In my little model, these 3 pillars sit on top of a solid platform called Nutrition, which feeds the pillars to make them the best they can possibly be. It’s a lot kinder, gentler and forgiving place to exist and requires me to be less critical of myself physically as I learn to let go of expectation. I’m accepting the changes in body (albeit slowly!) and embracing a new way of being which I know is working because life in general is more fulfilling.
I work on all my pillars through the food I eat, the mindfulness I practice and the movement I participate in. It’s a process but one I’m so happy to be participating in because so many new opportunities have opened up for me and I’m just trying to say Yes to things I normally would have been closed to.
This is the journey of a budding nutritionist…are you ready for your own journey?