Today is the anniversary of my journey to wellness through clean eating and intentional living. Today Marks 1 Year of Clean Living!
There's plenty to reflect upon on this one year anniversary: where I started, where I am now, and what I've learned. I started this new adventure on January 11 last year. At that time, I was always tired no matter how much I slept. I had a perpetually runny nose and lost my voice often. The sugar cravings were outrageous! I also had GI issues that were worsening with no avail. I started the Eat Your Way Clean journey as a way to cure these ailments. What I learned from the 1 year of clean living is that this isn't a cure or a quick fix... it's a way of life.
What changed after 1 year of Clean Living?
Nowadays I don't get sick and my throat is a lot better than when I started. (Did you hear that? I don't get sick anymore! I got sick once last year and it was after I decided to test going completely off-wagon. Victory Dance!!). I can't remember the last time I lost my voice. I feel more rested these days, like my sleep is actually restorative. I'm less stressed and my cortisol levels are evening out.
I've also gone on this amazing journey of self-reflection and introspection that I didn't really anticipate. It was meant to be a physical journey for physical improvements, but it has become a spiritual journey as well. 1 year of clean eating became 1 year of clean living. Being less anxious and stressed lead to having more fun and being present in the moment. Daily journaling helps channel frustration and set intention and the daily gratitude exercises reframes my view of the world. and small obstacles I might face.
It was hard at times, but it was worth it
It wasn't all peaches and rainbows. At the beginning I wasn't getting enough to eat. At times I lost hope of feeling better. There have been days this year when I craved a steak and gluten free bread. There have been days when I craved chocolate ice cream. But, there have been many more days when I craved spinach, green juice, banana smoothies, coconut milk, and cucumber noodles with cauliflower alfredo. On the regular I feel better; I sleep better; it's easier for me to prioritize my time and evaluate what's really important. In that way, I've already eaten my way clean. 🙂
Moving toward a lifetime of clean living
To celebrate the year anniversary of this journey I fully intended to refresh the commitment by bringing back a very strict and restrictive clean diet. But, I found myself dragging my feet and finding excuses for why I couldn't do it... or why I had to start later. Long and short, I just didn't want to. And I've decided that's ok.
This journey is all about the end-game: a long-term solution to feeling better and eating what makes me feel good --in moderation-- forever. This isn't about extreme restrictions one month of the year followed by slowly getting sick, tired and unhealthy throughout the next 11 months. I'm not saying the elimination diet and cleanse from last year was a bad idea or unproductive. It was an amazing experiment that changed the way I see my life and my health. I learned what my body likes and what it doesn't; what gives me energy and what taketh away. I HAD to do that to learn what makes sense for my wellness journey. What I need now is not to repeat that journey. Instead I need time to practice maintained moderation and balance. Basically, I need to turn those lessons learned into every day habits.
So this year, I'm honoring moderation and balance. Yes, I'll clean things up after the holiday indulgences, but I don't feel the need to go past a reasonable healthy and balanced diet. 2017 is the year that 1 year of clean living transitions into a lifetime of healthy habits.
So, if you want, join me this January in honoring a healthy balance and striving for what you've found makes you feel goood!! For me that's continuing a gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free diet; getting cardio, weights and yoga into my routine; taking time to relax; reflecting on my days; and practicing no screens for at least 30 minutes before bed and 10 minutes after I wake up (baby steps here ok! I work in software for goodness sake)!
The Wellness Pyramid
To help remind me of my focus, I made this wellness pyramid. It's visual depiction of what I will prioritize in my quest for balanced wellness. I think of it like a food pyramid or like Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, but refocused on finding overall wellbeing. In both systems, the base is the foundation and the top priority. It's easier to achieve the higher levels of the pyramid if you satisfy the base layers. It's a great visual reminder of what to prioritize if your short on time or resources. Here's mine:
- Sleep: Because if I don't have sleep, nothing else falls into place
- Relationships: Because this is what brings meaning to my life and a smile to my face
- Food and Drink: It fuels me - nutritionally, creatively and spiritually. It also makes level 2 more fun 🙂
- Dance Parties: Because you need to move, get silly and let loose
- Books and Bubble Baths: Treat yo-self and learn in the process. So cozy
- Learn and Create: I crave mental stimulation. I need to learn new things and create - whether that's art, recipes or a creative solution at work.
- Stretch: Everything feels better if my body is strong and limber
- Play Outdoors: Whether it's mountain hikes, walks in the parks, running around the lake, backpacking, paddle boarding, biking or snowboarding - - - moving outside brings joy to my life and a smile to my face. Always! It must be that vitamin D! 🙂
Take balance into your own hands!
What does clean living mean for you?? What are you balancing this year? What makes the foundation of your wellness pyramid? If this resonates with you, then make your own wellness pyramid, with what you value most at the bottom.