02 September, 2016
When Life Turns Around
[Update: At the time, I was pretty excited about this high fat, low carb stuff, and the benefits of exercise. It was all pretty new to me. I’m still excited about it, but I would probably credit a lot of the change to basic self-care as well. That was new to me, too. It didn’t take away my chronic fatigue like I thought it was doing at the time, but it helped a lot. I’m still eating this way and finding it very helpful. – Carlin, May 2017]
Right now, big changes are happening in my life.
After a long season of poor health, things are really going great guns. I’ve made some small but significant changes to my diet and my lifestyle, and the result to my physical and mental health is kind of hard to overstate. I try to explain it to my friends, and all I can think of is “It’s kind of like going through puberty again.”
That sounds weird because I’m nearly 24, but that’s all I can really compare the results to! If you’ve ever gone through a long season of poor health or chronic illness and come out the other side, you might understand what I mean.
For the health nuts out there who are interested, I’ll explain it quickly, then I’ll tell you why it matters:
After listening to some podcasts and reading some blogs like the Bulletproof Exec (thanks Tom Batty), I’ve been trying out some new things.
In a nutshell, I’ve been eating a lot more healthy fats (eggs, avocado, grass fed butter, coconut oil, etc.) and trying to cut out bread, grains and refined sugar as much as I can. I’m also having more vegetables, the occasional natural, plant based protein supplement, and omega 3 fish oil.
I’ve also started to exercise regularly as a way of life – running or swimming a few times a week, and a teeny tiny bit of strength training (10 minutes of weights, squats, planks every couple of days).
The result of this is just crazy. Physically, I am GAINING muscle very quickly (healthily and normally) and LOSING fat, AT THE SAME TIME! What is this? What? I thought it was just calories in, calories out??
I also have a CRAZY appetite – this is a blessing and a curse. I’m eating a lot more food, and trying to make it the right stuff most of the time.
I have never, ever considered myself an athletic or fit person. I’m not particularly savvy with anything health related, as I shared last time.
But now, I feel stronger and fitter than I ever have.
But the best effects, the main reasons I started doing this, were for the mental health benefits.
My daily generalised anxiety has dropped by about 30-50%. It’s still there but significantly lower. My general feeling of being lethargic and weak, flat, or down has also dropped pretty significantly. I am more resilient towards the small things that used to tick me off massively.
My concentration has improved, as well as my productivity, and even social behaviour. I’ve always thought of myself as quite introverted, and yet now I’m eager to talk to others. I’m relaxed, positive and happy as myself in almost all social situations.
My energy has just skyrocketed. While I still get quite flat, my daily experience of general living is a much more positive one and much richer. I wake up and say to myself (‘scuse the French), “I’m ready to kick some ass today”. I am excited and passionate and energetic on a regular basis, rather than for a few hours at a time.
This regular energy is so uncommon, it almost feels like I’ve been born again. Life is such a different experience.
In a nutshell, I would say I’m waking up to understand the impact of my decisions on my life and my health.
This is just an example of something that I am able to change and have a little bit of control over, and I am able to reap the benefits. And this is just barely scratching the surface – I can’t wait, I am thrilled to see what the effects will be in 6 months, 1 year, 2 year’s time. If this continues, Lord willing, think of the possibilities!! Think of what I’m going to be able to accomplish when I set my mind to it!
As I write this though, I am not staying in my family home. I don’t want to go into detail, but my family is experiencing a tremendous amount of stress and crappy stuff, so I have removed myself until it calms down. Life is not perfect or easy.
These amazing discoveries I’m having are coupled with daily experiencing the brokenness of our world. This world is not the way it should be. That’s why having a fit body or even a healthy mind will never be enough.
I need hope. I need the strength and courage that comes from hope in order to face the realities of life.
God is not just a crutch, or a coping mechanism, but he is the centre of all of life. To miss out on Jesus and the life he brings is to miss the absolute pinnacle of what it means to really live.
Through Jesus, I have more than is humanly possible to acquire. My sins are forgiven, my debt is paid, I am given a new identity as a child of God, and I am promised hope and life forever.
Living with true purpose
I am grateful for this change that has happened in my life. But it is not enough, and it can never be everything.
Instead, now I’m refreshed with greater joy to live for the purpose that I already had – to know God, and reflect him to others.
I hated being sick. Looking back, I am angry that I had to go through it, when so much of it could have been avoided. But I would rather be sick and know Jesus than lose him for “my best life now”. Nothing can replace him.
Grace for Failures is my blog to encourage and inspire people who have gotten life wrong for a long time, and want to try and do things a little differently. Click here for more info, and here for more posts.