3 Major Health Changes This Past Year
I recently read an article about how we all evangelize something. It’s true, we naturally love to talk about what we love. Whether it’s the latest Netflix show, the Enneagram, or essential oils. Well, this month marks 1 year of three considerable health changes in my life and I’m thankful to report that I’m still keeping on with keeping on. If you’ve been around me at all this past year you’ve heard me talk about these things A LOT.
They weren’t New Years resolutions - but decisions I made at crossroads. Was I going to ignore the opportunity I had to grow, develop, and mature? Was I going to continue to make poor choices and not steward my body and health well? It seemed drastic, but the impact of these changes has been drastic I’m happy to report.
These are the three biggest health changes that I begun 1 year ago and why I love them.
1. Goodlife Gym
Growing up I was always the last picked in gym class for team sports. I was never sporty - that was reserved for my younger sister. I’ve always struggled with fitting in healthy activity in my lifestyle and also struggled with a negative view of my body. Several years ago I began taking ballet classes and loved it. An amazing work out and learning to do something I loved. But when I moved back to Guelph a year ago, I couldn't find a good studio that seemed worth the price of classes. So I switched gears and enrolled to the Goodlife Gym that was down the street from my house.
What I love about it: It’s a 15 min walk down the street from my house, so no excuses. Their classes are streamlined across all locations and are amazing. The Guelph Eramosa gym location is the nicest and newest in the city and feels welcoming. No high stress, competitive gym atmosphere. I essentially only go for the classes. The teachers are really nice and inviting. There’s always a mix of skill levels in the classes so it’s easy to fit in. It’s never crowded and I feel happy and excited when I’m there - sooo weird, but good too. We get a small discount with my work, and many of my female coworkers go to the same location as me so it’s fun to build relationships with them too.
My favourite classes: Body Pump (strength), Body Attack (cardio), Body Combat (kickboxing), and Body Flow (yoga/pilates).
The change: I used to struggle with my appearance and how I viewed myself. I still do. 2014 was a significant year in my health as I struggled with grief, had major transition and stress, and gained almost 20 pounds. It’s been stressful trying to make changes to get myself back on a healthy track. But in the past year my body has changed a lot and gotten much stronger. Even if the number on the scale is the same, my leg muscles especially are much larger. I notice the difference in each class. In a busy week I go once to the gym, in a good balanced season I’m there 3 times per week.
2. YNAB - no actually, you really DO need a budget
I thought I was good at budgeting but I wasn't. It ended up being really bad math that just never added up in my head. I didn’t live in massive credit card debt but I never seemed to be able to escape from the cycle and I couldn’t ever build momentum with savings. After moving I felt like I had a fresh start and asked a friend for help. She told me about using YNAB (You Need A Budget), software and she held my hand and helped me get started. I’ve even starting helping close friends get started with it, helping them make the transition and get the hang of it. It’s so fun - the best “computer game”!
What I love about it: For some reason this actually works. I budget out every.single.dollar - it all has a job. I know where everything is going and track expenses and see which categories I’m spending the most. YNAB is simply a tool to help you get to where you need to go. There’s no shame or expectations about which categories you should spend less or more, it all depends on your values and lifestyle. I enjoy the weekly emails with tips, tricks, and encouraging stories.
The change: In the last 12 months I’m no longer living in credit card debt and my line of credit is back to zero! I’m saving regularly and my net worth has increased by $3500+. Which is a total transformation from even a year ago.
3. Dairy and Sugar Free Eating
I felt sick for a long time: bloated, gassy, uncomfortable, and occasional stomach pain. While I was in university it seemed trendy to be gluten free, so I tried that but it didn’t really work or last (hello bread!). It seemed as if there was a change I was lactose intolerant but I wasn’t sure. I had several friends visit a naturopath and get food intolerance testing done. The results were strict but once followed I witnessed major results.
I waited until last year when I lived and cooked for myself to get the testing done and was impressed with the results. For those wondering the test was the Carroll Food Intolerance Testing and I saw Dr. Bastos in Guelph (who is amazing go check her out)! My issues were with all dairy, and fruit when mixed with processed (or cane) sugar. I can either eat fruit or sugar but not both at once as it doesn’t digest well. I essentially choose fruit over sugar so there you go.
What I love about it: It’s actually pretty easy. Looking at labels and getting used to substitutes for cooking and baking took a bit of time to wrap my head around but it was worth it. I felt really overwhelmed at the idea of it, but thankfully have an amazing community who have already adopted similar changes and helped me through it. I couldn't have done it without them!
The change: Going off dairy - immediate. I wasn’t bloated anymore, nor gassy all the time. My stomach was a normal size and I felt so much better. I also started to see more results at the gym and lost some weight. Going off processed sugar helped a lot too, although I cheat more on sugar (and never on dairy). When I do a serious cheat on sugar or do consume dairy I feel sick almost right away and at times even feel as if I’ve drank tons of alcohol. My body goes, WOAH. Please stop.
I’m learning that progress is slow and is more about the faithful day-to-day living that dramatic changes or transformations. It’s more about mind over matter and commitment that I thought. But it also involved trusting God with the process and entrusting to him my whole self: physically, financially, mentally, and spiritually and seeing where he leads as I seek his help to steward myself well.