Every once in a while, I enroll myself in little health-related “experiments.” Being a personal trainer and overall avid health-seeker, I find it beneficially necessary to try out different lifestyle changes, trends, or intriguing fitness claims (after doing extensive research of course,) from time to time. This hands-on approach enables me to be able to draw from personal accounts so that I can deliver quality support to other people I come in contact with, and to genuinely “practice what I preach.” Recently, I have intentionally been extending an extra effort to listen to my body, fuel it holistically, and rejuevenate my suspected burned-out athletically-driven system. I’ve realized that I feel most at peace when I make an attempt to really slow the pace down… relaxing around food, not feeling the pressure to workout or perform, and really becoming in tune with my body’s feelings, tendencies, and reactions to various environments and stressors.
This whole past year has been a little self-experiment, quite frankly. I used to be pretty content with my physical outward state and exercise routine, but my complacency was subconsciously eating me up inside. Of course I didn’t realize it at the time, as I continued to push my body past its limits. Funny how we don’t realize how deep we were actually sinking until we reach a certain viewpoint above the pit.
I used to feel sluggish thought out the day, legs heavy and brain foggy (unless I was drinking coffee.) I used to fast the majority of the day, and was used to consuming literally all of my calories between the window of 2-9pm. Currently, my dinners still remain my largest (and most nutritious) meal, and I still have an after-dinner snack that is usually just as calorically dense as the previous meal. But I also now feed my body throughout the day, consistently and willingly. Of course I have certain staples that I turn to, but also pay attention to what my body craves, and fulfill its requests. With this improvement came a proactive attempt in rebooting my entire digestive system, by introducing natural supplements like probiotics digestive enzymes, both of which have helped tremendously in my overall gut health. It really is fascinating just how all the internal systems are connected. I learned pretty quickly that the saying “If your gut ain’t happy, you ain’t happy”, is oh so accurate.
With any sort of long term change, though, comes patience and time. None of this was a quick fix. But the small steps all eventually add up, contributing to the goodness of the whole. The more you do something, the easier it gets. What were first small steps and seemingly minor change soon become habit. Eventually, you reach a new continuum; a new norm, which allows for yet another small improvement to be made. The process then eagerly continues.
Lately I have been intrigued by the concept of holistic health. I support the fascinating perspective of viewing the body as an integrated system, made up of separate networks all working together. Yet while the body is indeed a complex system, and a strong and capable machine which needs proper sustainable fuel in order to thrive, it is also an internal being with feelings, emotions, and spirit. No piece of the puzzle can be ignored here–all aspects are interwoven and influence one another. This also highlights the concept of bioindividuality, which states that each body is unique in reference to its makeup, needs, and way of reacting to certain internal and external stimuli. There is no such thing as just one answer to solve all life’s health problems, just like there is no such thing as one magic pill, or one cookie cutter program. What works for one person may be deadly to another person. The goal is to find that positive balance: that long-lasting sustainable way of life that works for you.
Over the years nutrition has become a dreaded set of parameters and rules. While some recommendations are beneficial to follow (such as suggestions to limit refined grains, sugars , and processed foods,) some are completely reliant on the specific individual seeking console. This concept of treating every one person individually is sadly quite frequently overlooked.
Nutrition is also constantly changing–new fads, new research, new tastes according to season–just like your own needs change over time. Age, hormones, external stressors, demanding/regressing phases of life all create new blueprints for what kind of holistic fueling your body requires during that specific time. The strive for balance is consistent, but the terms of the scale are constantly shifting. And that’s ok!
I now personally view the concept of nutrition as more of an art, and cooking as a craft. I love fabricating new recipes to help fill and nourish the uniquely individual guests awaiting at the table. I rejoice in discovery of new flavors, and wish to share a wide range of different wholesome and delicious foods. Eating wisely doesn’t have to be boring, which is why I constantly share new findings on this blog’s Facebook and Instagram page. Yet while the majority of these recipes hold variety, also keep in mind that these are quality ingredients and combinations that my particular body accepts and taste buds jump in excitement for. The goal will be to find the staple menu that works for you, and sound nutrition to feed all aspects of your life.
There is so much more to learn in this realm, ranging from the different properties of food, to their effects on the inner individual. I am hungry for more (pun intended), to connect all the dots which fabricate the outline for the soul. Keeping in mind of course, that our foundation and inner strength lies in Christ. His creation of man is utterly astounding, and intricately beautiful. Holistic nutrition, just like the human body hand-crafted by the Lord, is a masterpiece to be admired, cultivated, and valued.
Putting all of this into practical terms, it really is all about perspective, and allowing for gradual resounding transformation to take place. I have noticed an incredible increase in physical and mental strength, as well as energy levels while serving as my own “guinea pig” this past year.
Instead of constantly fretting over the question “What am I not allowed to eat today?” I’ve welcomed the mindset which instead asks “In what ways can I creatively fuel my body with whole foods, to provide what it needs to thrive?”
I will be honest with you in saying that this second approach is so much more fun 🙂
Today, I still attempt stick to regular feeding intervals to stay on track, but also eat when I’m hungry. Some may call it intuitive eating; I call it balance and freedom from restriction. But that’s what this blog page is all about: “Finding peace and balance to fit an active lifestyle.”
I am very active on a daily basis, and have learned through trial and error that I must work to continually fuel my body to a certain level in order to keep up with all of the physical activity that brings me so much joy.
I love how much better I feel, literally overall. Personal experiences and challenges along this route have helped me learn just how my body functions best, which is a continuous goal. I am so happy with the strength that I feel physically and the increasing peace that I feel internally. I have embraced the theory of functional fitness, and have placed this idea and the concept of feeding with wholesome foods above the obsession for perfected body composition. Because the truth of the matter is, when you take care of your body by incorporating components like functional movement patterns, strong aerobic activity, diligent flexibility, intentional strength and stability training, and clean quality nutrition, your body will begin to feel alive again. This glow will naturally radiate outward, and security in oneself and happiness will follow.
My arm muscles no longer cringe at the thought of lifting a weight. My thighs no longer fear gaining bulk from a squat. My knees no longer shake during a lunge. My calves no longer throb from heaviness. My joints no longer tighten prematurely. I no longer rely on caffeine for energy. I now eat breakfast–and lunch, and dinner, and snacks in between. I experiment with different wholesome ingredients. Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. And I can successfully perform one pull-up.
Small steps, but still noticeable positivity and vitality nonetheless. And I plan to keep going. This is a journey, not a sprint. I want to be able to grasp all that I can, so that I can relate all these principles to real circumstances and real people. Becoming one with yourself, recognizing your identity, capacity, rhythm and potential, is what I wish to both demonstrate and facilitate.
So here’s to a whole new chapter of “Guinea Pig Part 2.”