“Health is not about the weight you lose, but about the life, you gain” – Dr. Josh Axe
These words couldn’t be truer and I have realized a lot about my mindset when it comes to nutrition and fitness. For my older followers, you may recall me publishing a post about my fitness journey two years ago and how happy I was with my progress. There was definitely progress, I really challenged myself to complete difficult workout sessions. I felt empowered that I can do something so challenging, my stamina improved, and I had those happy endorphins. However, things started to change around 2015.
In 2013 I began working out and eventually I made it part of my daily routine because it made me happy. I would look forward coming home from work, turning on my favorite Youtube fitness channel and do a 45-minute workout. I became fitter, but my belly wasn’t what I wanted it to look like and I became disappointed. I thought to myself, “All of that hard work for nothing, why am I not getting the results I want?” So my workout energy decreased, I became unmotivated because I didn’t see the results I wanted. I worked out for the vanity reasons, not for my health.
So during that time, I worked out here and there, and eventually, I stopped in 2016. It was also around that time that I started to get sick, my immune system became weak and I got sick every month. I took so many antibiotics during that time and I knew taking so much medication was not good for me. After I healed from my last flu in Spring of 2016, I didn’t get sick until Fall of that year. One more thing that changed about me was the way I ate, I went back to eating junk food and not caring about what I put in my body. I was addicted to instant ramen cups, pizza, and deep-fried foods. After getting sick in December 2016, and taking more antibiotics I thought, “ok that’s it, no more getting sick!”
Little did I know 2017 was planning to throw so many challenges in my way. It was in February 2017, when I started to feel sick, my stomach didn’t feel right. I’ll keep this short because it does have a happy ending. Basically, from the month of March to July, I went to the doctor’s office frequently to figure out what’s going on. At first, I was told it’s acid reflux but there was something more. So in July, I got a procedure done to find out what’s wrong. I got the results back in August and I was diagnosed with a chronic stomach condition. I had to take antibiotics and do a follow-up test in November to ensure I was healed. I did heal, those were the happiest news I received. However, it was like a rude awakening to change my eating habits and go back to doing exercise.
My doctor told me I need a lifestyle change, I need to eat clean and reduce my stress levels. So this is what I learned about nutrition and fitness and what to do to have a healthier lifestyle.
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST OR A FITNESS SPECIALIST, I SIMPLY SHARE WHAT HAS WORKED FOR ME AND WHAT I LEARNED.
- Drink water as soon as you wake up to increase your metabolism, hydrate you, help your body flush out toxins, and give your brain fuel. My doctor told me to drink water half an hour before a meal, and the half an hour later after a meal. The reason for this is because it allows the stomach fluid to break down the food in your belly. If you drink water while eating, it dilutes the stomach acid and the food will not get digested easily. I was surprised when he told me this because typically I drink water with my meals. However, I do what my doctor tells so I can feel better.
- Eat three hours before your bedtime to allow your food to digest well. Going to bed right after eating is not a good idea because the food won’t be fully digested. I speak from experience when I talk about this because it was absolutely draining to deal with my stomach problems.
- Do not eat fast, take your time eating and chewing your food. If you rush your meals, your digestion suffers. According to Precious Nutrition.com, if we eat fast we force our GI tract to deal with stuff before it’s fully prepared. Therefore, if we eat fast the food does not digest well.
- Avoid spicy foods, deep fried foods, and junk food. I avoid anything with too much oil and salt, when I say I eat clean, I eat super clean. The thing is, my stomach is still very sensitive and I have to be careful not to consume something that will irritate my stomach.
- I love beer but I can’t have it until my stomach settles down and I was told to avoid alcohol completely. To be honest, I’m not much of drinker, so this isn’t a challenge.
- I have reduced my sugar intake and I do not eat sweets as much as I used to. First of all, excessive intake of sugar can cause diabetes but now I don’t need sugar as much as I used to before.
- Incorporate fiber into your diet. It helps slow down the rate of sugar absorbed into the bloodstream and helps with your glucose level from rising too fast. I don’t eat fiber excessively, everything I eat is in moderation.
- Get up to 7-8 hours of sleep and try to go to bed before midnight so you can fully rest and not wake up feeling tired. I don’t like waking up super early but 8:00am or 9:00am seems like a reasonable time. I am a night owl, but when I go to bed before midnight and wake up a bit earlier I feel better.
- Do yoga to stretch out your muscles and feel more relaxed.
- Find an exercise that makes you feel good and happy, right now I am enrolled in dance classes and I love it. Eventually, I want to go back to doing Pilates but for now, I am starting out slow. I am getting back into the habit of liking exercise again.
- We know that we have to eat three meal per day, but now I eat a few small meals during the day to digest my food better. When I eat a large meal I don’t feel well and I have bad heartburn and digestion problems. So instead a have a small breakfast, then another meal, then lunch, then another small meal, a snack and then dinner. Yes, I am very disciplined about my stomach health because what I went through was very unpleasant.
These are some of the things I learned about fitness and health, health is so precious so make sure you take care of yourself.