Can health be conveniently packaged into a product we buy off the shelf? No. Health is multifactorial and essentially, we often need to make changes to improve health. The old “doing the same thing produces the same results” is kind of true. Health requires change.
Change can be hard and we tend to make changes when the current reality becomes too uncomfortable. Change can be initiated from a health diagnosis, mental health decline, job change, meeting new people, being inspired by others, so many factors that can initiate change.
And change is constant, we grow, we learn and we change
I turn 47 this week. I used to be well known for celebrating “birthday month”, however, this has toned down a little over the years. Perhaps age and I guess simply because of change.
When I talk change with my clients, they often say, “yes, but you’ve always been healthy” or “I’m too old to make the changes”, “It’s hard to make lifestyle changes”. And it made me think of how I have changed and that many people aren’t aware I was the picture of unhealthy for many years.
So, this story I am sharing is to highlight that health is a journey and at whatever time you choose to start it’s never too late.
The first time I remember being aware of ill-health was as a young girl when I experienced chronic tonsillitis, those suckers were HUGE! I lived on amoxicillin for many years until I was admitted into the hospital at 14 to have them removed.
My poor gut microbiome, if only I knew what I know now.
My teen years were a fairly typical 80s diet of high rotation – sausages, lamb chops, mashed potato, peas, carrots, white bread vegemite sandwiches for lunch, Weetbix, and toast. I also started to spend time with an “interesting” crowd, moved less, ate a lot of takeaway food, smoked cigarettes, and drank alcohol. I started working in hospitality and nightshifts were my life, alcohol consumption increased and I gained weight, a lot of weight. My self-esteem plummeted and alcohol was a social crutch for me and this is where I lived for many years.
Mid 90’s, when I was 20, my best friend and I hired a car and drove to the Gold Coast looking for a new fun-packed life. We found it and wow did I love to party!! Along with my partying skill set I picked up a newfound feeling, which I now know as anxiety and alcohol was what made it better, in the short term. Until one day I joined the local gym.
I was excited to be moving and I was introduced to the in-house “nutritionist” who spoke to me about losing weight. I thought sure, sounds like a great idea. I went on a “nutrition plan” aka protein shakes and caloric restriction. I dropped 30 kilos in 6 months and everyone was telling me how amazing I looked, life was great, right?!. But of course, as with any excessive restriction, the weight came back on.
I had learned nothing about health at this time.
So, the pattern repeats. In walks self-doubt, anxiety, alcohol, cigarettes and now drugs. Through this time, I was still exercising as I actually loved exercise but was doing so much harm to my physical and mental health in other ways.
I decided I felt great last time I did a diet, so I thought let’s do weight watchers. I can’t believe I used to go to Weight Watchers meetings and get on a scale with other women and get a tick of approval and congratulations if the scale went down. Again, 25 kilos in 5 months. I went through many diets after this Whole 30, Clean & Lean, 1200calorie consumption, let’s say I’ve done my fair share of rollercoaster diets.
I ended up at a point in my 30s experiencing dizzy spells, debilitating anxiety which came to a near incident on the M1, chronic sore throats, stress fractures, injuries and gut issues.
I thought maybe it’s time to look at this differently.
It’s been a journey, it started with working through iron deficiency, when my GP was unable to help, making conscious dietary changes, finding movement that I loved and entering events, making a tonne of mistakes at events and then using nutrition to make the events more fun, and taking the leap from a secure sales & marketing role at 38yrs of age to start a bachelor of health science in nutritional & dietetic medicine.
My changes started small and late in life, it’s never too late. Do I wish I’d made changes earlier? Yes and No. I wish I had known how much better I could’ve felt and I wouldn’t have had so much work to undo the damage I did. But everything I have done, I did by choice and amongst it all I had a heap of fun too and everything I have learned are life lessons that have led me to where I am today.
So here I am 47, ever-growing & changing yet happy with where I currently sit. I’m not perfect and I have no expectation of my clients to be perfect, we are human. I choose food that fuels my training, I choose food that fuels my soul, I choose food that makes me feel physically well. I understand how my body works and how to support it. I do not choose food to change the shape of my body or become smaller because that is what society or marketing has told me over the years. And I 100% know that health doesn’t come in a two-week treatment plan, a pharmaceutical prescription, or a fad diet.
Small changes, over time equal big wins.
And, this is why I love working with my clients because I would have loved to have had someone guiding me through many of my nutrition, sports nutrition, and health choices along the way. Change can be hard, but it’s worth it.
Here’s to 47!! xx