Habits are hard to break and especially when those you surround yourself with are sabotaging your efforts. It wasn’t until I ended some unhealthy relationships that I was finally able to start to take care of myself and move towards making lasting changes in my diet. Now not every one can remove such people from their lives. Perhaps you have a spouse or a child who is quite comfortable with being a carnivore and not all concerned about their expanded waistline and growing list of health issues and are discouraging you in your efforts. Obviously these relationships require more delicate means of handling the temptations but sometimes there are relationships in our lives that are really sucking us dry and however unkind it may sound you have to cut the cord. Good health is more than just what you are eating, it’s also about what’s eating you – as Dr Howe puts it. If someone is making you feel like you want to eat a gallon of ice cream it’s time to say goodbye and have them take the tub of ice cream with them when they leave!
After I cleaned house, so to speak, God began to put things in motion for success. I was working from home, I had no car (long story here), and everywhere I turned online I was running into these vegan raw foodist – You Tube, my favorite blogs, and even the library. It seemed everyone was talking about the benefits of not cooking your fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. At first glance my thoughts were well that seems a little extreme but as time went on and I researched it further and listened to personal testimony after personal testimony of how this way of eating benefitted others, reversing diabetes and a number of other ailments, a little seed was planted that over time grew to me thinking I wonder if I could do this? So in October 2010 I started experimenting with “raw meals”. A green smoothie here and a gianormous salad there but then I’d binge. A few goods days would be followed by a week of chips, pizza, and cookies. I had no will-power. I felt helpless. I’d beat myself up for every failure. Then the following June I took a little trip out west to be in the midst of 500 perfect strangers who were all excited about their lives and the great things they were doing with them. This may sound odd but this trip was huge for me.
You see I was painfully shy and even more painful for me was admitting to it. I’d hid it my whole life with an attitude of indifference, pretending I could care less about the world and what people think. The truth was that I was terrified of saying something wrong, of looking or sounding stupid. You see I was a victim of childhood bullying. Victim sounds a little dramatic but from grade 3 up until high school I was harassed on the bus, in the classroom, and even for a while at home (step-parents). Boys were the cruelest – there words cut deep. I grew up feeling worthless, fearful, and ugly. So I tried to avoid boys as best I could. It’s little wonder I ever began dating them! Popular girls were the ones who tried to pick fights so you can imagine that as I grew up I avoided the pretty, well dressed, well-educated girls as well. All of this transferred into adulthood. In a crowd I wanted to disappear. If no one saw me then no one would say mean things to me or give me a disgusted look. If you and I met at work chances are I wouldn’t have spoken to you. If you said hello to me I wouldn’t even look you in the eye. All you’d get was a quick hey and I’d be on my way. Now if you were the super friendly type that sought me out and didn’t care if I said little in return we’d become friends – especially if you were the miserable, complaining type then we’d have lots in common. *Disclaimer if you are an old friend reading this I’m not saying all my friends were that way! There were a few gems that managed to endure my bouts of unpleasantness. I am forever grateful you stuck around!!!
So damaged and tired of being held hostaged by fear I went out to the World Domination Summit in Portland, OR because I was inspired by all the people doing something with their lives. I had just spent the last 3 years of mine gorging myself and playing video games. So I decided to step out into life and be motivated – and that’s exactly what happened. The first motivation came from meeting person after person and them asking me what my story was. People who I didn’t know were genuinely interested in why I was there. I found myself telling them the dreams of my heart (which can be found here) and they gave me such encouragement that I thought for a moment I could actually believe those dreams could come true. Left to myself I would have just sat on the fringes and watched the people talk around me but a few beautiful, well-educated men and women sought me out and I pushed through the fear that said run away. And what happened – I made a few friends.
The second motivation came after the conference was over. I had foolishly signed up for a hike the following Monday – Saddle Mountain elev 3283. Yes I use to hike back in 2007-2008 when I was getting fit and was about 20lbs lighter. Why I thought I could still do it after spending the last 2 years on my butt eating dessert is beyond me but I know God had something to do with it. When the other hikers arrived at the meeting point my heart sank, deep. Fit and fabulous were the lot of them. I felt like an elephant in their midst. Fight or flight kicked in and completely out of character I jumped into whatever conversation was going on around me to distract myself from the thought of running away. I began the hike with the group but as you can imagine as the trail went upward I soon fell to the rear. Two amazing people stayed behind with me. Our trail guide Tyler and Lisa from FL. That last stretch took everything in me to make it to the top. The pain in my legs made me want to cry. My face was beet red when I reached it and I’m thankful the pictures were kind.
On the way down I found out that two of the other hikers were vegan and one was a raw foodist. What! Really? I peppered them with questions the whole way down. They each told me how their health and performance had improved with the change and the raw girl was even a crossfit instructor. For those who don’t know what crossfit is give it a google. It’s a pretty intense workout. I was so stoked and on the plane trip home I made an agreement with myself that I was going to try the raw food lifestyle for 30 days and if I didn’t feel better in 30 days I could go back to my pizzas and cupcakes. With my new friends cheering me on from the mountain top I came back and did just that.
Did it cure my shyness? LOL, no that work was God alone and came further down the road. What that trip did for me was to introduce me to life. The life I could have if I stopped listening to that voice in my head that said I was pathetic and incapable of doing anything right. The new voice was God speaking saying just take the first little step. Next week I’ll share more about the why’s and how’s of raw foodism. Am I still on the diet today? No but I do still value a high level of raw in my diet. I’m wondering if anyone else is noticing an increasing number of vegans in the world today? Bill Clinton’s conversion was a shocker to me. Celebrity or not many are battling health problems and when something works people start talking about it.