It may come as a shock to you to find out I have completely changed my life in the last couple of years. And I mean I went from a person always wishing I could be better, that I could be healthier, that I could feel better and look better and do better… Well, you get my point.
I have struggled with many challenges in life including paralyzing issues such as depression, binge eating, being overweight, isolation, anxiety, PMDD (extreme PMS), you name it. I had days every month when I couldn’t even get out of my bed. Like I said: paralyzing.
Growing up I was the energetic girl who was always on the go and looking to learn, experience and help others. I was the life of every party, or at least that is how I felt. Then the war happened in my hometown and everything changed. My energy wasn’t gone, and my love and lust for life were still very much there, but our lives as we knew them were absolutely, irreversibly changed. From having to move to different countries, then eventually a different continent, it slowly began to feel like I was constantly almost drowning. I slowly developed an eating disorder, then depression (or was it the other way around?), anxiety…
It was early on I also realized I was an empath and that being around people without breaks was starting to take its toll. So I created a habit of taking Sundays to myself only. I would have family lunches each Sunday but the rest of the day I would take for myself only, as a sanity/relaxation/self-care day. It was then I realized the power of change and importance of healthy habits.
We all know what our bad habits are, and most of us even know what we need to do in order to change them and become who and how we want to be, but we just don’t. It’s just too hard. Our brains certainly never make us think that we can do it all. Our brains are designed to go directly to negatives. I heard somewhere that we have 5 seconds to do something we want to do before our brains tell us we can’t do it and convince us to just leave it alone. I agree with this completely! This is why:
As the years went by, my depression and binge eating seemed to have intertwined into this never ending vicious circle: I would be depressed so I would go eat, and I would eat so much in hopes it would make me feel better but it would only work for 5 minutes before it made me feel more depressed, so, naturally, I would go for the fridge again. This spiraled me from an energetic girl to an insecure, overweight one who started hiding from the world, avoiding my friends, because “who could ever love and be friends with THIS?!”. This went on for years, never getting better, only getting worse. But I knew that having pasta and carbs was making it all much worse for me and that changing that alone would bring me some relief, yet this went on for years. I thought it would be too hard. My life would change too much. Who would I be without this “comfort”. I was simply scared and alone.
My mom was always there for me. Both my mom and grandma raised me and supported me through all the months of unemployment, bad days and bad years. So when my mom got sick in 2013 with cancer, all I wanted was to be someone she could be proud of. I still couldn’t change. I helped my mom through cancer and we even thought she was cured for a while there until the dreaded hospital visit and talk with the doctors. Cancer was metastasized; she barely had months left to live.
Devastation that followed that conversation for years simply cannot be described. If you never lost a loved one, you won’t understand it. If you have, then you already know it all too well.
My eating habits and depression escalated and mixed with grief so I was not in a good place. It wasn’t until I ended up in a hospital being told I was predibetic that my mind was finally clear. I had a choice. I could chose to just start taking pills right now, or change my life completely and be a different person. Let’s face it, this person wasn’t doing much for me. And so my change begun.
First thing was first, I had to change the way I was eating and viewing food. I did my research and soon enough I viewed bread and bad carbs as simply poisonous to me. I became fully aware that eating them would not only give me diabetes but that I always felt so much more depressed when I had them too. So they had to go. I changed the way I was thinking about food. It became fuel for my energy rather than the killer. Sugar was the very first thing to go. Sugar was the biggest poison to my body of all. I started googling and using Pinterest for low carb recipes, and soon enough I was experimenting on my own and creating more wonderful foods that made me happy and healthy. My energy was back, excess pounds started melting off on their own even though I kept eating constantly, and even my mind was clearer. The great thing about low carb foods is that you can never overeat on protein, so my binge eating days were easily over. My depression almost completely lifted and it felt like the fog that seemingly permanently made home in my brain has left the building. I felt free. I felt like a sunny day after years of fog, rain, snow and tornados. I finally felt free to become who I was meant to be.
I won’t lie to you though, I said my depression was almost all gone. Out of 100% of depression I felt I had for years, I felt that maybe 5% was left to occasionally peak its head through my door when Mother Nature brings my monthly reminder that it can be super painful to be a woman sometimes (but hey, this is why we are oh so tough!). But the difference is staggering. I went from not being able to leave my bed for days to being mildly sad and moody. If you’ve ever had or have depression, you know what I mean.
But I do still have to deal with it and this brings me back to creating happy and healthy habits. For example, I went from hating getting up early in the mornings to having beautiful mornings even when I have to wake up at 4:00am for work on a Sunday morning (like today!). No, I’m not bullshitting you. This took time. Habits take time. But I did this and am a better, and more importantly happier, person than I was before. The trick is simple: instead of doing a bad habit you usually do in the morning, find one or two new ones that would take the same amount of time and stick to them for 3 weeks. They say it takes about 3 weeks for a habit to stick and I agree. It took me 3 weeks to quit smoking after 20 years of doing that so I do know a little bit about what I’m talking about. Plus in all that time as I was changing, I also became a life coach. I wasn’t just changing my eating habits; I was changing the way I think, feel, and am. And I love my life now! I wake up looking forward to the day instead of crippled by the anxieties and depressions I had to hug each morning for more than 10 years of my life. I am free.
My mornings are currently as follows: wake up at 4:00am, cuddle my kitties for the first 30 or so minutes – and they say you shouldn’t snooze – I say snooze away (they make my heart happy and make me think of everything I am grateful for as they keep purring and cuddling with me – it is a ritual we created!), go shower (I like to listen to motivational music and videos as I do), do my makeup (this is part of my self-care and self-love habit, and once I have makeup on, it is a damn shame to not leave the house!), do my hair (well, I did do my makeup so might as well…) and by the time I’m done getting ready, I am hungry and ready for some nourishment. I feed my kitties as I put my coffee on and prepare my breakfast. I grew up with my grandma always making me eggs for breakfast so they’re still my favorites. I love to make devilled eggs and have them ready in the fridge so I just plate them while I make my Bosnian coffee. I love eggs and Bosnian coffee brings me happiness no other coffee ever could. By the time I finish my breakfast and coffee, I am ready to conquer the world. But don’t let my simple habits fool you, they took long time to develop as I was doing trial and error to find what will work for me and what didn’t. And this is what I recommend you do if you truly want to change. I’m not claiming this can cure anything, I am saying healthy habits will make you feel better about yourself and your life. Who doesn’t want that?!
I know it seems scary and hard and maybe you’ll “start tomorrow”. I say start now. You know what you have to do, don’t you? If you don’t, go and research – google was made for exactly that! Once you have a plan, start small. Starting too big will backfire; trust me, I’ve done that way too many times to admit. Start by creating a smaller, healthy habit and focusing solely on doing it every day. Accept that it is now a part of you and once you know it is, get another one going. You got this. I believe in you.
Don’t forget to be fierce in your self-discovery and brave in all the steps you will need to take. For now, just take the first one and you will be way ahead. You deserve to live the life that makes you happy! And if you ever need any help, find me here: http://www.confidentyou.ca.