When thinking back on my health turning point, I can relate a few different points in my life to that one final decision. It’s as if the universe was trying to signal something to me time and time again, and only years later I finally saw the sign.
Growing up, I was living what most people would call a balanced lifestyle. I was raised for the first 11 years in Israel, where the Mediterranean diet was staring at the time (and if you follow me at all, you already heard my talk about my grandmother). Fruit and vegetables were a big part of our day to day diet, mainly home cooked meals, and in abundance. Shortly after turning 11, my family and I moved to the US, where we were exposed to a whole other diet, full of fast food, prepackaged food-like products, microwaves and drive-thru’s. None of that seemed important at the time. I was a young kid dealing with puberty and trying to find myself in a new and totally alien environment. I would still like to think that my mother did her best at trying to keep the core of the Mediterranean diet in her own kitchen, but not knowing what we know today about processed foods and the likes, made her feel comfortable to rely on the convenience of it all too.
Fast forward roughly 16 tears later. I’m now pregnant with my first child (and now living in Switzerland), while my dear grandmother (back home in Israel), the one who practically raised me and was the poster-board for healthy eating, is battling cancer alongside other health issues. I naturally start looking up some natural remedies to her pain, or for her lack of appetite, and generally cancer-fighting foods. Four years into her illness, she loses the battle, which leaves me heartbroken and confused. Her illness and death left me curious and thirsty for information, not enough to notice my own lifestyle and diet, but to discover another world of doctors and specialists who are trying to shed some light on natural plant based foods which help strengthen the body naturally.
A couple more years go by. By now I’ve managed to birth two beautiful boys within a short 15 month period. I’m already battling postpartum depression popping antidepressants and sleeping pills to get by, I’m almost 20kg (44lbs) heavier than I’ve ever been, and the list of health problems I have is too long to start naming here. This is when I receive the crushing news that my mother now has not one, but two types of cancer herself. This was truly my wake-up moment. Having two little kids at home, I decided that I will do anything in my power to try and avoid cancer affecting our little family unit. I know it’s a big statement, but seeing my grandmother deteriorate and now having my own mother battle with the same illness was simply enough.
This is when I took a step back and started following tens of experts in the field of functional medicine and nutrition. I was quickly introduced to the idea that also my battle with weight, depression and many other health issues could slowly be solved and resolved by making small changes in my lifestyle and day to day diet. It was a slow progression and a huge learning curve, but it turned my life right-side-up. I managed to lose the weight and keep it off without counting calories or going on crazy diets, and slowly but surely, one by one, my health issues started to disappear. I can honestly say that today, almost a decade later, I’m feeling more energised, healthy, young and happy in my own skin!
My biggest takeaway from my health turning point is that with the right guidance and patience, anyone can turn their lives around, and that it needs to happen slowly in order for it to be sustainable. Our life, and our health doesn’t only depend on the food we eat. It depends on how we manage stress, on self love, on the people we choose to surround us and support us, and on our outlook on life.
The way I live my life today, and the way I guide my clients to live as well, is completely different than the way I lived 10 years ago. Today I make sure to put myself first, in order to be able to take care of others better. I enjoy a huge variety of food while focusing on eating plenty of vegetables with every meal, and yes, I do enjoy a burger or pizza once in a while, too! I make sure to manage my stress in a healthy and balanced way, and have “cleaned out” my network along the years, only to be left with those who give me the love and support I deserve.
There is always a way to find a healthier, happier you. Sometimes we simply need to step back and assess what we’ve been doing so far, and if it really worked until now. Most often the answer will be “no”. Finding guidance and support will help you achieve your health and lifestyle goals and reach new levels of deliciously sustainable lifestyle changes.