How to Get Back on the Path to Health … and Stay there
So almost 25 years ago I’m standing in the wings of a conference venue waiting to go on as the “opening act” for Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, the authors of Fit for Life, when the book was really hot and the faithful followers were many … there were almost a thousand in the audience. I was with my business partner in counseling and cooking, Sarah. We were “The Perfect Combination”; unfortunately … in the long run … we were not.
But that night she leaned affectionately on me as we were standing there and said something like … “I’m so glad we got healthy now (I was in my mid-forties then) because most people don’t make good changes until they’re sick”. Obviously, I never forgot that.
I was eating vegetarian … mostly raw … running several miles daily … and water-fasting yearly. But it didn’t stay that way. Through school, being broke, splitting with my wealthy fiancé, and stranded in a strange town, my healthy lifestyle began to erode. And, although I eat well and take supplements, I really didn’t get back on the path to optimum health until just recently.
And it’s ironic because I broke my ankle six years ago and my life radically changed again. Of course, it was my right one. $30,000 (my house down payment), non-weight-bearing for 13 weeks (I hopped a lot and wheelchaired it), grueling physical therapy, and not being independently mobile (I had a driver … more bucks) later, I still didn’t get the message that things needed to change for the better.
But I finally got it in cannonballs a few weeks ago when I ended up in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer. I had 12 hours of violent reactions from food poisoning, which subsequently resulted in days of gastric bleeding. My doctor counseled … get thee immediately to an Urgent Care … do NOT pass go or collect $200. At Urgent Care, the doctor warned, “you could have a heart attack … get thee to an emergency room … do not pass go … yadda yadda NOW!”. So, no extra contacts or glasses, no phone charger, and no way to take care of my cat, I swung around the corner to Huntington Hospital. Eight hours later, I was admitted.
After two days, a transfusion, an endoscopy, and final discovery of FOUR ulcers, one of which was bleeding and causing all the trouble (in the interim the nurses gifted me with glasses from the gift shop, got me a phone charger, and my pet sitter took care of Romeo), I left the hospital. I went to get some soup, some champagne, and quit drinking wine and coffee right then. My colleagues provided information about natural cures for ulcers and I promptly got them. And promised my doctor I would faithfully take my medication.
The guilt, however, began to rise. Why hadn’t I fulfilled the pledge that Sarah and I made with each other long ago? Why hadn’t I sought medical help when I had what I thought was poor digestion for over twenty years? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME?
I changed my life radically as a result of this incident. So I have to give myself credit for that. Because, over my years as a dietitian and nutritionist, I’ve met scads of people facing death who won’t. Here’s some of the things that I did … and I recommend if you’re into changing your health …
TAKE STOCK Ask yourself, “What’s going on right now … what do I want to change?”. When I do this myself, I turn on my essential oil diffuser, put some soothing music on, breathe deeply, and send out this question to the Universe. As answers trickle in, I grab a pad or journal and quickly list them out. Then I put the pad down, have some tea, pick it up again, and circle what rings truest to me. You can’t change anything unless you know what’s shakin’. Remember that we change when … we want to … we know how … and we believe we can.
SET AN INTENTION What do you want to change? How do you want to do it? For me, it was easy. I knew from taking stock that 1) I FINALLY knew what was causing my problem (which was actually a relief. That’s part of the joy of doing food sensitivity testing … you know what the issue is) and 2) I had to change this or else I’d get sicker. So MY intention was to heal up these ulcers and live a better, healthier life.
MAKE PLANS I immediately put visiting my local farmer’s market on my weekly schedule. And making one meal a day a salad meal (either fruits or vegetables). I also bought most of the supplements recommended by my colleagues. And promised my doctor that I’d take my pills, even though I hate to take medication. All my referrals for a new endoscopy, yadda yadda, also plunked into my mailbox yesterday and, come the first, I’m going to call them all and make appointments.
TAKE CONTINUED ACTION You know what they say about best-laid plans … they’re no good until you take action. So I went to the farmer’s market, took the supplements and medication religiously, am avoiding coffee and alcohol (still working on dairy), and come Thursday morning, after I do my invoicing, will make appointments for all my referrals. Still working on the salad meal and my exercise … but I believe in baby steps and I’ve taken a lot of them lately. The rest will happen in time.
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL Even the professional needs a professional. I have my Qigong teacher. And am contemplating a personal trainer for other types of exercise. Because … I admit … I can’t do that part of my life alone. Food and supplements are easier; I think I’ve got that handled. But other things in my life … ?
Let’s face it … change is hard. That’s why I have multi-session packages for my food sensitivity testing and weight loss plans. You need support to bring about change. You need someone who understands change process and can set you on the path without judgement … someone who can listen and cheer you on when you’re doing well and pick you up when you’re not. I often tell the story of my client who took eight years to lose weight. But … once he did … he lost eighty pounds and has kept it off for 12 years. Remember that we change when … we want to … we know how … and we believe we can.
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Please share a life-altering change that happened to you. How did you cope with it? Or what life changes did you make as a result of it?