In 2015, I realized I need to find balance in my wellbeing. After stepping on the scale & analyzing everything in the mirror….
My wellness and mental health journey began when I was a sophomore in college at age 19. Philip and I had just started dating that summer (summer 2015) and spent the entire summer binge-watching shows & eating CPK pizzas and cookie dough. When sophomore year started, I realized I had gained a lot of weight within a couple months. I had just entered my sophomore year and realized that my body had to deal with the freshmen 15, which I was already self-conscious about, and now the 10 pounds I gained from the fun-filled summer. I don’t regret anything we did that summer, because it was one of the most fun summers I’ve ever had!
The food I was eating did not make me feel great, I was lethargic and unmotivated. I was gaining weight rapidly within the span of a year. My eating and sleeping habits were both taking a terrible toll on my body. I became more aware of the food I was eating, but somehow, I kept gaining weight.
The pizza would start to show up around my belly and the sugar would puff up my face. The lack of sleep gave me dark circles underneath my eyes. I was incredibly lethargic and had zero energy nor motivation to do much.
Something had to desperately change.
I wasn’t working out nor playing soccer after entering college, so my metabolic rate slowed down from that and continued to slow. There was one time I tried to start running again and my legs felt the 30 pounds I gained. I’d never felt so heavy and out of breath in my life, especially for only running for five minutes down the street. My confidence was pretty nonexistent and felt like I was not in my body.
From there, it became an uphill battle.
I began collecting health and wellness, fitness, diet, self-confidence, yoga, and psychology books to help me with my journey. I explored different diet plans, different modes of exercise, and mindset tricks.
It was evident that I was willing to change.
Since 2015, it has been a long, slow process of figuring out what works for my body and health. I began to do CrossFit and saw a noticeable difference, but my results could have been more drastic if I had changed my eating habits. Then, I would stop working out and the metabolism would slow again. For a year, I continued to see-saw between working out and eating properly and never finding a balance to do both.
My senior year started in Fall 2017 and I wanted to graduate college with the same weight I was when I started college. I wasn’t prepared for how overwhelming and stressful my senior year would be. My last semester began, and I only lost a couple pounds. There was no way I could see myself losing 30 pounds in the span of four months. My diet was better, and I was more aware of what worked for me…but it wasn’t good enough for my body.
At the beginning of my very last semester, I would eat and suddenly feel like my insides were being stabbed and that I was slowly dying. It would get so painful to the point where I couldn’t sit in my classes nor focus whenever someone was speaking. I would cry and wince until the pain would subside, only for the pain to come back after eating anything. I thought maybe I had developed a sensitivity to gluten and was about to seek medical help. However, it was at this time that my mom had just finished her month on the Whole 30 diet, which is designed to eliminate all allergy causing foods for thirty days and then reintroduce the foods after the thirty days are up.
With Philip’s amazing support, we began our Whole 30 journeys together and eliminated all the foods not allowed on the diet.
I FELT AMAZING.
I learned that my dairy sensitivity was out of hand. I’ve always been lactose intolerant, but I love cheese and would still consume cheese and milk products despite my intolerance. Now, I barely eat cheese and try to avoid most dairy products. I have cut down on my simple carbohydrates. Most of the foods I eat do not contain added sugars & my coffee no longer has sweeteners (natural or not) in them. I have the occasional ice cream (dairy and sugar), whole wheat bread with sandwiches, and sometimes I forget to say no to cheese at restaurants. It’s rough, but it is about finding balance. One of my next goals is to cut out all grains!
It has all been a huge process for me, but I no longer have agonizing pain after I eat food. My treats consist of wine, margaritas, ice cream, and chocolate (also the occasional bread because I’m a carb girl). All in moderation. I don’t count calories specifically, but I do like to see where I am at with the ratio of calories eaten and burned that day. I like to look at my macros just to get an idea. BUT, those types of measurements are not a huge deal to me.
I’m still on this journey of finding true balance and I have improved dramatically since 2015. I’m proud of my progress and still deal with emotional eating as well. I have been working out at home, playing on a soccer team, meditating, and trying out different modes of exercise since Summer 2017. I see exercise as a mood enhancer, an energizer, and calorie burner.
Exercising makes me feel better and I would much rather look at it as a hobby than a chore.
Meditating sets me up for the day and allows me to be more grateful and productive.
I find I eat better when I meditate & exercise, it’s as if it is all aligned and falling into place.
Through all of this, my depression cleared and my self-confidence came back.
My well-being has improved dramatically with all of these factors and I want other people to experience the joys from having balance within their well-being.
- I discovered the trinity of wellness through this continuous journey.
- I am happier than I have ever been.
- I have great support, a knowledge of what works with my body, a desire to pursue balance, and to keep progressing.
I have learned so much through this journey & I am here to help all of you find that balance to achieve better overall wellness!
This journey truly sparked me to create Coffee Dates with Maddie, a place to discuss all my setbacks & triumphs, what works for most people & what are only “fads”, how to improve, how to cope, etc.
To learn more about the trinity of wellness & to find more resources, click here.
The moral of this story is that you must take your time and discover what really works for you. It is all about finding balance and improving your wellness through healthy practices that make YOU feel better.
Take the time to find what makes you happy and what makes you feel better. Eat from a place of self-love and acceptance. Exercise with the desire to move your body and to be happy. It is a journey. It is YOUR journey.