About two years ago, I began a transformation that turned into something more profound than I could have ever imagined. When looking at this photo, the physical change is obvious but there is so much more than physical change between the photo on the left and the photo on the right. The physical change was only an extra reward to my transformation that came from proper nutrition and exercise. This transformation was mind, body, and soul. Throughout my blog posts, I am going to be writing about daily life for me. I will be sharing the practices that helped lead to this transformation.
Changing the mind...this is arguably the most important part of a transformation. I am a believer that our thoughts impact everything around us. Our perception of ourselves, others, and the world we live in controls everything. The way I thought about myself was the first thing that had to change. What did this mean? Starting off, this meant that I simply needed to gain an awareness of negative thought patterns that I had been practicing for so long. We become completely unaware of our thoughts because they are so engraved into who we are - or who we think we are. Any time you criticize yourself, or others, you are doing a huge disservice to yourself. Starting or ending the day with gratitude is a simple practice you can start now that will help changing your mind. Stop focusing on what you don't have and start focusing on what you do have and what you are thankful for. Also, start talking kindly to yourself. The way we treat others is a direct reflection of the way we feel about ourselves. The more you love yourself, the more you will love others. The more you believe in yourself, the more you will be presented with opportunities in life. The thing about mindfulness is that it just works. Once you realize the power of your thoughts, making any change that is large or small, will have instant and visible effects on your daily life.
There are two parts of changing the body: food and exercise. Notice I said food, not diet. That is because if you really want to experience change, anything you start doing to help yourself should not be temporary. Diets are temporary and eating properly should be something you do for the rest of your life. I want to make something very clear: eating healthy is NOT hard. Going on a diet IS hard. For the last two years, I have been exploring what works best for me and I think this is very important. I do not think that food choices should ever have control over experiencing pleasure. What does this mean? You should never be eating in a way that disables you from going out with your friends or family. You should never restrict yourself from something you really want. A healthy diet is all about balance. You eat healthy and make the right choices whenever you can and when you want to splurge, you splurge. And you do not feel guilty. If this were a diet, sure, you should feel guilty because you were supposed to be sticking to something short-term. But if this is a lifestyle, you do not feel guilty because this is a never ending relationship that you have with your body and you know your body needs to indulge.
Exercise is the second part of body transformation. Very similar to food choices, it is important that exercise is something you enjoy and something you want to incorporate every day. In the left photo, I was not active and I did not enjoy being active. In the photo on the right, I am at the peak of my fitness and I got there because I enjoy exercise. My workouts of choice? I started Orangetheory and became hooked almost immediately. Orangetheory is a high intensity workout that incorporates cardio and strength training with the goal of increasing the heart rate for maximum efficiency. Let me be clear: this is not for everyone. Personally, I thrive when I have to push myself both mentally and physically. I loved starting a class thinking there was no way I could do something and finishing the class beating personal records. This workout helped me grow physically and mentally but I don't think that is unique to high intensity exercise. I also love hiking. I spent a lot of time in Costa Rica over the past two years and there was nothing better than spending time outside surrounded by pristine beauty while I was hiking. Of course, I can't always have a waterfall close within access but I did learn that spending time outside is something I love to do. Find your favorite way to be active and do it. After about a month, it stops feeling like a chore and starts becoming a habit.
There are many ways the soul plays a role in transforming yourself both physically and mentally. I'm going to talk about the "Why?" Why do you want to change? What are you unhappy with in your life right now? What do you want to improve upon? Chances are, if your reasons are superficial, this is not going to go anywhere. If your reasoning for desiring change is genuine, change will happen. My change started after spending four months in Costa Rica and being immersed in a culture that valued their health and wellness. This was quite the contrast to the culture in the United States. Generally speaking, Americans don't care about what we put in our bodies. We don't care about the impacts our choices make. We don't care about looking within to fix our problems. We mainly solve our problems with medication and over consumption. We go on medication with endless side effects to solve a problem that could be fixed through proper nutrition, vitamins, and supplements. We consume - food, alcohol, spending money - to give ourselves a temporary fix to things like depression, anxiety, trauma. The thing is, everything in my journey has been connected. Every choice I make either takes me closer to where I want to be or brings me backwards to the person I want to leave behind. Your soul has to be in it for the right reasons.
I am very excited to share my daily routines, food choices, exercises, wellness practices, vitamins and supplements that I take, and more with you all! The reason you should care is because I believe that we are all capable of creating the lives that we want to live. All of us need passion in our lives. All of us need to dream, set goals, and achieve goals. I truly believe that success is a choice that we make every day with our thoughts and choices. When you start giving your body the foods it needs, it will start performing better than it ever has before. When you start exercising, you will notice your overall well-being and happiness starts to improve. You will notice you feel stronger, happier, healthier. And, when you feel this way, you will start transforming. The better you feel, the better you think. The better you think, the better you act. And the better you act, the more your life begins to become everything you want it to be.