FROM THE OUTSIDE, IN / an intro to my wellness journey
For most of my life - or at least since 14 and becoming aware of my body - I thought I was living a pretty healthy life. I slept well, I ate well, I exercised and I had a pretty normal weight for my age through it all.
I didn’t drink Coke ( but I thought fizzy JustJuice was healthy - because hey, it’s made from fruit ) and chose the wrap at Mc Donalds and KFC, I thought Jungle Oats granola bars was the best school break snack. Or muffins - man, muffins they are so healthy. Especially bran muffins. Fruit bars ( coated in sugar ) - hey, fruit again. The deceived list continues. ( and it even includes two packets of Nik Naks a day )
Then I hit an eating disorder phase when I was 17 ( completely insecure and uncertain about who I am and what determines my worth ) - but I thought, at least I am not overweight, because that would mean I am unhealthy. This phase paved the path for a few rocky years ahead with a very unhealthy relationship with food - but one that I was a master at hiding and a relationship I never accounted to anyone in my isolation - because hey, I looked healthy from the outside.
During my studies my eating habits was something down the line of - I skipped breakfast, had a crunchy oats square for lunch, filling the hungry gaps with Ricoffy and brown suger. ( because brown sugar is SO much healthier than white sugar ) pulled all-nighters and made sure I had a salad every now and again for some healthy points. I thought Woolies rye bread with anything on it was gluten-free and anything that entered my body that I felt guilty about, was sweated off at the gym.
And so it continued.
Somewhere down the line I learnt to drink a flat white without sugar ( but with sweetener ) and that it helps to tame my hungry lion appetite pretty well - but I was still not overweight, still slept pretty well, still went to the gym and didn’t starve myself completely.
So I was pretty healthy - and I looked healthy from the outside.
The 17 year old eating disorder vibes made a serious comeback a few years later when I was interning and living in New York, yet I felt on top of the world to reunite with my old partner in crime ( or shall I say, my partner in having control )
I went to the gym first thing in the morning, went for a 8am coffee ( no sugar, no sweetener ) - didn’t eat anything until my stomach was making out of control noises at round about 2pm and I felt like fainting. Then had some sort of salad - maybe an afternoon coffee to punch my appetite in the face until later and then for ‘supper’ sat in my bay window, looking over the East River with a bowl of dry rolled oats, yogurt and a drizzle of honey. Pretty much - every - single - day.
And then 6 months after my return from NY - I married an ex-chef with a brain tumor and life happened.
Life happened - it didn’t change overnight ( although it kind of did ). I wasn’t suddenly liberated from my old food fiend. ( having an unhealthy affair with food isn’t cheating right? )
I still ate granola three times a day for the first few months of marriage ( and don’t ask me what my husband ate )
And so it continued.
I looked healthy from the outside.
I was active. I slept well. I wasn’t overweight.
But on the inside, something was slowly but surely starting to eat away on every bit of life inside of me and although I looked alive on the outside ( most days ) - I was busy dying a slow death on the inside.
And somewhere between counting the fears of losing my husband from his tumor, I realized I have my own string of‘tumors’ all over my inside and if I am not willing to take that ‘MRI’ called searching my own heart, soul and body - I might be the one leaving him behind.
An this is where my wellness story pretty much started.
In the midst of the mess, the tears, the victories, the fits, the deceit, the grace and all that life put on my plate - or wait, no, let me rephrase that - and all that I so carefully put on my own ( already overfull ) plate of life.
This journal is dedicated to my wellness journey.
To the path towards a healthier inside, that will essentially bring forth a healthy outside.
To my battle with perfectionism and a performance driven life versus knowing my worth in God and that I am enough even before I have achieved anything or put my feet out of bed in the morning.
It is a compilation of my daily thoughts on a variety of things that make up or physical, spiritual and mental health.
There is absolutely nothing perfect about this journal. Its bits and pieces woven together by God.
It contains snippets of my husband’s struggle with a brain tumor and epilepsy and how that effected / effects us, me and our journey together.
It contains snippets with my own struggle with PCOS / irregular menstruation and how my search for hormonal healing opened up a whole new perspective of health for me.
Most of all, this journal is a place where I hope to offer encouragement through being real and authentic, or a virtual hug that will lift that cloudiness from your day as you experience a feeling of ‘I am not alone’ or just gentle, tiny flickers of light in a possible season of darkness.
Follow along if you wish -
I believe there is more to life than just being healthy on the outside.