One question I get asked over and over these days is “How did you even start such a drastic lifestyle change?” People feel like it is impossible, and I completely get it – if anyone would have told me a year ago that I would be a paleo eating, oil using woman set out to inspire the world I would have been sure they were talking to the wrong chick!
I’ve been thinking of how to really put our journey into words that would encourage others and let them know that although it may seem impossible, it really is possible.
1) Set a date to start and announce it. On January 1st, 2014 My husband and I began our health journey – it has evolved since the beginning, but taking that first step was HUGE!. At this point in our journey we decided to stick to real food – no processed food.
2) Find a way to keep yourself accountable. I knew this would be a very difficult journey for me and I was not sure where to find the supports I knew I would need so I decided to keep myself accountable by posting pictures of what I ate everyday on Instagram.
3) Find resources that align with your goals. A few months into our journey I found out that many of my health issues were actually coming from an autoimmune disease with no cure. Instead of giving up I decided to get the resources I needed to help me overcome this hurdle. I bought an autoimmune cookbook, started following hashtags like #Paleo #AutoimmunePaleo #JustEatRealFood etc and began to follow others online who were going through (or had gone through) similar life changes. It was hard to become dairy free, nightshade free, gluten free, refined sugar free – I needed resources!
4) Meal Plan. Although by this stage in the game I had gotten rid of the “junk” in my cupboards – I realized that when I had to cook all new kinds of foods that I had never even heard of before – I needed to be prepared. I wrote out meal plans for breakfast, lunch and supper because I never wanted to be stuck and have an excuse to give up. (planning to have healthy snack options with me, even when I went out of the house was also very important).
5) Find natural solutions that align with your new healthy lifestyle. One way my autoimmune disease showed itself was by huge painful sores in my armpits. Since there was no cure and the alternative would be to go on antibiotics for the rest of my life, I knew there had to be a better solution that I felt more comfortable with. I began using doTERRA essential oils on my sores and also began using them for other daily struggles like headaches, pain, sadness etc. The results were unbelievable – my sores went away and I felt good using natural remedies instead of the other over-the-counter and prescription medications that had become a normal part of my life until this point. (NOTE: I believe in medication and doctors – I just prefer to try natural solutions now as a first option. If you are on prescription medication, never go off unless under a doctors supervision).
6) Believe in yourself. Changing my lifestyle really was a MIND thing. I needed to get it in my head that I was doing this and I needed to believe in myself. As much as we hope our friends and family will be there for us, we can not rely on them to be our strength. It is a bonus if they do – but this is something that really has to come from yourself. Give yourself daily affirmations, tell yourself you are beautiful everyday…you need to love yourself along the journey, it should not just be about an end result.
7) Keep Going. I know this one may be hard to believe, but it really does get easier – it really does become a way of life. I went through the stages of grief. Denial that I had to make a major life change, anger over being diagnosed with a disease, bargaining and thinking that maybe I could do this half way, sadness over giving up social get togethers the way I had always known them (Mennonite food!!) and finally acceptance that this change of lifestyle was truly worth it. Feeling great and losing 70 pounds is way better than icing on a cake 😉
I’m here to support you!!
You can find my recipes here (Note, old recipes are from the way I ate before changing my lifestyle and some newer recipes are not paleo, but they are recipes that my daughters or husband enjoy).