Have you ever had an ‘a ha’ moment?
You know, a moment when something in your life made complete sense for the first time?
You got it.
Something ‘hit home.’
It could be the first time you:
- Learned how to ride your bike, tie your shoes or blow a bubble with your bubble gum
- Got a pull-up after tons of practice trying to get your chin over the bar, or executed ‘perfect’ squat form after being told for months to ‘go below parallel’ during a workout
- Parallel parked (without hitting anything)
- Understood what your parents meant when they said, ‘You’ll understand when you have your own children one day.”
- Finally ‘got’ the reason you were using an addiction to cope with life’s stresses—and decided to make a change
- Understood how to multiply, divide or complete a tricky calculus equation (I never got that one)
- Realized what it is you truly wanted to do for your career during a college nutrition class
Life is FULL of ‘a ha’ moments—those moments when something clicks, seemingly at the drop of a hat, or snap of your fingers.
This past weekend, I attended and spoke at a big worldwide conference here in Austin called Paleo f(x)—a conglomeration of New York Times’ bestsellers, bloggers, kitchen chefs, doctors, nutrition therapists, hundreds of vendors (i.e. everything from Bulletproof Coffee to almond-flour bread companies, chicken broth suppliers, holistic skin care companies, cacao chocolate bars, etc.)—and I was reminded of a great ‘a ha’ moment I had for myself nearly four years ago.
My ‘a ha’ moment happened when I picked up a book called the ‘Paleo Solution’ and was introduced to a completely new way of doing things.
At the time, I was sick—very sick. Living off of nothing but Crystal Light, steamed vegetables and frozen turkey patties, my body was fighting with all its might to hang on.
I stumbled upon this book from recommendation of a friend who had recently had a complete life change—not only nutritionally, but in her vibrancy, energy and gusto for living life.
She told me she had started eating real food, and coincidentally feeling amazing, and suggested I do some research and digging myself.
So I did.
I picked up that book, and read it…read it while I was in a hospital, hooked up to IV fluids, a feeding tube and heart monitors. I read it, and pondered…
What would life be like to feel and be alive? Truly alive?
What would it be like to NOT go down this path ever again, like I had repeated times in my past—in and out of hospitals and treatment centers?
For the past 14 years, I had merely survived—fought to hold on to life, and make sense of it all through the ‘control’ I thought I had with my own food and exercise rules.
And I got caught in a downward spiral of obsession with:
- Meal planning,
- Calorie counting,
- Fitness magazines,
- The ‘high’ I got from deprivation, and,
- A feeling of ‘control’ and ‘edge’ with my own self-neglect (lack of sleep, lack of water, lack of food)
…All in the name of thinness, control, beauty and ‘accomplishment’.
At age 23, as I read that book, and read stories of peoples’ lives and health that had been completely changed by eating real food and self-care, I thought:
What would it be like to do things completely different?
To honor my body with wholesome real foods?
To not push myself like a slave driver to do 2-3 hours of StairMastering and cardio, coupled with another 3 hours of fitness routines I found in magazines?
To sleep more than 4-5 hours per night?
To stop striving…and just be at peace?
My mind was opened to a new way of doing things.
That book, coupled with TRUTHS that I read in the Word daily, including the words in Jeremiah 29:11 gave me HOPE that life did not have to be the same as it had been:
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.”
And, for the first time in my life, for whatever reason, I really began to believe that things could be different—in my life, my relationship with food, fitness and my body.
Many people hear the word ‘paleo’ and automatically think ‘diet.’
It’s really no diet at all though.
It’s all about eating real food and taking care of yourself—sleep, appropriate exercise, sunshine, quality relationships.
My ‘a ha’ moment involved opening my mind to thinking in a new way and doing things differently.
I decided post-treatment, NO MATTER WHAT, I was NOT going to run back to my eating disorder.
And, no matter how uncomfortable making a change felt…I made up my mind to DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
Once I took the first steps, it is then that my a haaaaaaa truly began to make sense:
- Choosing to eat fats with every meal
- Incorporating carbs into my diet
- Not doing chronic cardio
- Getting off the scale
- Stop holding onto sizes and numbers
- Giving up my diet products-diet sodas, frozen meals, Crystal Light, sugar-free gum to curb my appetite
- Speaking positive affirmations to myself, rather than negative affirmations
- Stop eating protein shakes and bars as meals-replacing them with real food
Now, four years later, my ‘a ha’ moment has completely changed my life (improved my digestion, enhanced my energy, healed my mind, brought me more peace with myself)—and I cannot imagine ever ‘going back’ to eating my diet foods, obsessing over what I look like on the outside, trying to chisel and contort my body in the gym, living enslaved to food rules.
Perhaps you, too, want to make a change:
- Lose weight
- Gain weight
- ‘Eat healthier’
- Gain more energy
- Lower your blood pressure
- Balance your hormones
- Improve your digestion
- Get over an addiction
- Find the job, purpose, and/or passions you were meant to do
- Feel less stress or overwhelmed in your life
- ‘Feel better’ all around
And perhaps you’ve been ‘told’ or read how-to books, articles, tips and tricks on how to do it….BUTTTTTTTTT…
Something in you, just can’t, won’t or doesn’t want to…
- Cut out the sugar
- Eat a little bit extra
- Give up the caffeine or nightly take-out
- Sleep a little more
- Quit the gluten to see if that makes a difference in digestion
- Give up the nightly alcohol or crazy exercise routine
- Leave the job you hate (out of fear of insecurity)
- Cut things out of your schedule or say ‘no’ to overcommitting yourself
Your ‘a ha’ moment truly won’t come until you not only hear and understand what may need to change…but you actually commit to maybe, just maybe, doing something differently.
You would and could amaze yourself.
Side note: I bought this awesome hydrogenated-oil-free mayo this weekend to make chicken and tuna salad with! It’s called Primal Mayo and it’s made with an avocado-oil and egg base. I love chicken and tuna salad, but I am not a huge fan of mayo…until now. This recipe makes an easy lunch or snack!
Curried Chicken Salad
- 1 pound organic, boneless skinless chicken breast OR pulled chicken from rotisserie chicken (my fave)
- 3-4 stalks of celery, sliced lengthwise then chopped
- 1 cup chopped apple
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 3-4 tablespoons Primal Mayo
- Curry powder (lots!)
- Sea salt & pepper to taste
Slice uncooked chicken breast into long, thin strips, then cut down into 1-inch cubes. Add to skillet with a little bit of water, and cook until just tender and white all the way through. When done, drain and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, curry powder, and salt and pepper, adding curry until it reaches your heat level of satisfaction.In a separate bowl, toss chicken with nuts, celery and apple. Finally, add chicken to wet ingredients and stir it all together. Spoon into lettuce leaves, wrap up, and enjoy.