Our day-to-day habits and actions affect who we are. We can’t control everything, but there are things we can. The kind of lifestyle we live is based on our habits and choices we make.
Situations may not go our way, or plans won’t unfold the way we wish. This doesn’t mean we lose control. Part of life is accepting that not everything is perfect. When we accept this, we don’t give up, but instead put energy into things we can control!
Today, I’ll be going into detail about my lifestyle and eating habits. An important subject when it comes to improving your wellbeing. I’ll be shedding some light on my struggles, which include situations I can’t control. When we feel that we have no control in our lives, a good starting point is to look inward. What poor habits can I change? What are positive actions I can take to improve my health? When we create a routine of healthy habits, we create more happiness within ourselves. We can be more productive and begin the next steps to accomplishing our goals.
I’ll start by sharing a bit of my story with chronic illness. This was the big spark that ignited my change in habits.
When I was 17 years old, I began experiencing chronic pain. It was very hard to deal with, especially so early in my life. Many days were spent in bed when I wish I was at school, learning and preparing for my adulthood. It took a couple years, and a few different doctors, to eventually get a diagnosis. The cause of my pain is Endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a chronic illness that causes endometrial tissue to grow outside the uterus, when it is only supposed to be inside the uterus. Every month, that tissue will shed; which is the usual routine for it since that it the process of a woman’s “period.” This shedding causes pain, since the tissue is adhered to muscles or organs that it shouldn’t be attached to.
Through surgery and experimenting with birth-control, my doctor was able to diagnose me with this condition. It gives me horrible, debilitating pain almost daily. I have days that I need a cane just to get around my house because of how much it affects my hips, abdomen, legs, and lower back. The pain is very difficult to control, and has made starting a career almost impossible. While I could just give up and stay stuck in my bed, I refuse to allow this disability to control me. It is possible to manage the pain, and eventually rid my body of these endometrial deposits. With time, patience, and research, I have managed to get my life somewhat in order.
This is the short version of my story with endometriosis. One day I’ll write a whole blog post with all the crazy, sad, and frustrating details. I’ve been battling this condition for over 4 years now. Finding what works has come with massive trial and error. However, this disability isn’t the only reason I’ve changed my lifestyle.
These habits we create are not for one single reason. It’s not all about losing weight or looking perfect. Truly, we are looking for purpose and happiness. This all comes with time and effort. It’s a lot easier to expend energy we have. When we feel defeated or out of control, it feels like we have zero energy at all.
That’s a big reason I hear when discussing lifestyle changes with my clients. They don’t have the time, or even the energy. Really, it’s the energy. I was worried I wouldn’t have energy either! Chronic pain fatigues the body. My body is swollen and constantly trying to combat pain. That takes a lot of energy! When we feel we have no energy to expend, we need to think back to our basic health lessons. Food equals energy. We use food to fuel our body!
Our bodies use that fuel to repair itself while simultaneously performing our daily actions and habits. Having this energy and accomplishing our daily goals helps create endorphins; which is the “happy” chemical in our brain! Do you see where I’m going with this?
It’s a lot easier to feel negative emotions than positive ones. It takes practice to focus on positive thoughts. Where do we start, though? What I found when I began to focus on my eating habits, is our food is the perfect starting point. What we put inside ourselves matters! When we load on carbs or greasy foods, we feel tired and heavy. Our bodies have to work harder just to digest the food, and by the time it’s digested, we don’t have much energy left over. No energy to do that extra cleaning, practice our hobbies, or any other extra activities we'd enjoy. We’d rather lie down and zone out to “rest.”
When I did research on what food I should focus on eating, it was for my chronic pain. More accurately, it was for my health. I was pleasantly surprised by other benefits I received besides less pain and bloating. I was feeling happier. I had more motivation and energy. I was able to do extra activities and add more productivity to my day. I was feeling healthy! It’s all connected, more than we’d realize.
Building Better Eating Habits
We all have our reasons to change what we’re eating on a daily basis. Every reason is a good one! Creating better eating habits is such a positive change.
Of course, a big one is weight loss. Some need to lose a lot; others need to lose a little. Some of our bodies create extra weight easier than others. There are even those of us that wish to gain a bit of weight! Whatever weight goals you have that drive you to seek a better diet, know that it can be accomplished.
It’s helpful to do some research. There is a lot of information out there. We live in a technical age where we can access everything we need at our fingertips! So take out that phone, grab a pen and paper, and get ready to make some lists!
When I began researching what I needed to eat, my biggest hurdle was finding alternatives to things I love to eat but weren't helping my body. This may all seem like a lot to plan out at once, but we can take it one step at a time. Here are some ideas of separate lists you can make, so you can focus and make this process easier:
- Healthier Carbs
- The Best Protein
- Vegetables I Would Eat More Often
- Fruits I Would Eat More Often
- Meals I LOVE
- Alternatives/Cleaner Versions of My Favorite Meals
- Food I Should AVOID
The point of these lists is to inspire cleaner, healthier meal plans for you. Remember, Google is your best friend! Just start searching every question or idea you have. Even scrolling around on social media may help you stumble upon some ideas or tips.
Don’t make your meals super restrictive. If there’s something in a meal you need to avoid, replace it with a better alternative. For example: I enjoy the versatility of a sandwich, but was worried I wouldn’t be able to eat much bread. I did an experiment by replacing White Bread with Whole Wheat. I noticed that my stomach didn’t feel heavy afterwards when eating a sandwich with Whole Wheat bread. So there’s my alternative! I’m using better bread, putting more veggies in my sandwiches, and I rarely use cheese now. This way I get to enjoy tasty sandwiches, utilize more energy in my body, and avoid creating unnecessary pain in my abdomen.
Another list you can make is Food I Should Limit. The example I’m going to use for this is Eggs. I LOVE eggs! I would have one in every meal if I could. However, due to my condition, I need to be careful with how many eggs I eat and where I’m getting them from. Ingesting eggs can cause the body to create extra estrogen. This in turn can cause me extra pain, or even promote endometrial deposit growth. From my research, I’ve found that ONE egg a day is okay. It’s also better that the egg comes from a chicken that hasn’t been pumped with extra hormones. AKA: average eggs from a store. Luckily for me, my family has a flock of chickens that produce farm fresh, extra-hormone free eggs! The lesson here, is that we all have foods or meals that we really enjoy eating. Through research and understanding our own bodies, we can allow ourselves one of this a day, or one of that a week.
It’s okay to treat yourself! When we stick to clean, better eating habits, our bodies are more able to have treats. I can drink a fruit smoothie for breakfast, have a salad for lunch, and then not worry as much about the amount of carbs that end up in my dinner! That doesn’t happen every day, but it’s important to start the day clean so if anything spontaneous happens with our food, it’s not a big deal. As we continue good eating habits, we find new things we like and new ways to eat well.
Need More Guidance?
I wrote out my own meal plan, in detail, to help anyone who needs ideas! I list out what food I eat regularly, and what food I avoid. Again, I formulated these eating habits to manage my Endometriosis pain. Even if you don't have an autoimmune disease, everyone can benefit from this clean, inexpensive, and non-restrictive diet! An easy place to start if you need extra inspiration!
I hope this article helps inspire or guide you all into a healthier, happier life. You can achieve your goals and create a more positive life around you. I believe in you!
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