How Health Culture Changed My Life

Left: Me in September 2017                                 Right: Me in November 2018

Health is such an important part of life, yet many of us tend to put it on the backburner for various reasons. I would like to preface this and say that this is not a quick weight loss blog. My blog will be centered around overall health. However, you may lose weight and gain new perspective while embarking on your own journey. Another thing I would like to mention is that the size of one’s body DOES NOT determine whether you are healthy or not. For example, on the left picture you see above, I was healthier in the aspect that I did not have a chronic autoimmune disease when I was overweight, but I did have a chaotic life and bad habits for dealing with stress. The picture on the right is the way I currently look, but I have a much more balanced life and healthy habits. However, I have a chronic autoimmune disease which will stick with me for the rest of my life. This is why I needed to change my lifestyle in order to heal and lessen my chances of getting a flare.

Fun fact: Without being diagnosed with my chronic autoimmune condition, I may have never started my journey to better health and a more proactive lifestyle.  

There are people with some extra pounds who are much healthier than thinner people and vice-versa. It is an unfortunate and frankly ignorant mindset to think that because a person is fat (or very thin for that matter) means that that particular individual is unhealthy. Think about it, many people rely on medication to stay healthy, but medicines often come with unwanted side effects. Weight gain or loss could possibly be one of these side effects, but essentially the person taking the medicine is doing it to be healthy. This means that their good or stable health is worth more than the mere side effects of the medicine. They deserve respect and do not need people telling them that they are not healthy merely because of their size, especially that they’re doing whatever they can to feel healthy again. Don’t get me wrong, there are also people who are overweight/underweight and unhealthy due to their diet and lifestyle, but there are different weight ranges of people who are equally as unhealthy for those reasons as well. The important thing to keep in mind is that YOU are worth the time and effort for investing in a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. Whatever your situation or ability, don’t ever let anyone tell you or make you feel otherwise!

“…the size of one’s body DOES NOT determine whether you are healthy or not.”

The Problematic Cycle

For as long as I can remember, I had always been self-conscious about my appearance. By appearance I mean the parts of me that could not be changed in a day, or even ever. I remember my mom taking me to the hair salon to get a new do and to the mall to buy some new clothes to make me feel like the beautiful girl I definitely was. Instead, I would look in the mirror and see that I was still a chubby, brown, short girl that western society marked as ugly because of those physical attributes. The western standard of beauty when I was growing up was toxic and continues to be toxic to many people. This is why for YEARS I was stuck in the violent cycle of fad diets, guilt for not sticking to diets, weight instability, low self-esteem, and affected mental health. 

 Eventually I was able to break out of that problematic cycle and heal myself slowly from the inside out.  The first thing I did was accept myself for who I was INCLUDING those things I saw as  flaws. I am not just talking about physical flaws, but inner flaws as well. I told myself that no one has the right to decide if I am pretty enough, intelligent enough, strong enough, friendly enough, successful enough, or healthy enough. I am the only one who could truly assess the quality of myself, but I needed to be honest with myself and take accountability (okay, my immediate family and best friends will give me their two cents). I was going to be confident in my own skin.

Once I accepted myself for who I was, I was able to truly make progress in my new journey. For me, there are three components to success that require balance. The connection between mind, body, and soul allowed me to better know and love myself as well as gain control of my lifestyle.

Health Culture: Body

My sister Beth (www.bethswholesomekitchen.com) was the first person to introduce me to the world of Paleo and Whole 30 eating which has become my foundation. What I loved about the approach of these two particular programs is that they are geared towards health and modifying your diet for optimal health. Their approach is not solely revolved around quick weight loss like some other programs out there. When you read testimonials for each of these programs, you will see that people stress how it has helped them with various ailments, energy, and even reaching optimal health. This is health culture. It is wanting to be healthy for the sake of being healthy. Consistency is key. Below you will see some pictures of foods I’ve prepared based on the Paleo and/or Whole 30 foundations. I will be sharing recipes on my blog, so be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram for the latest content.

A collage of some Paleo foods I have made. Moroccan chicken, cassava flour tortillas with mexican chicken, date balls, tuna patties, chocolate cupcake with pecans, biscuits with strawberry jam, smoothie bowl with fruit toppings
At a glance: Some Paleo foods I have made and enjoyed.

Health Culture: Mind

Your mind plays a crucial part in maintaining good health. Have you ever noticed on days when you are overwhelmed and stressed, you have less mental clarity because your problem/situation ends up encompassing a large part of your thoughts and focus? Although understandable, there needs to be a balance maintained in order to be productive. When people let these problems or issues to overwhelm them, they may find unhealthy ways to deal with the stress it brings. Some people will drink alcohol, over/under sleep, or partake in unhealthy eating habits.

So how do you even begin to have mental balance? Well, it really just depends on you. It can range from taking a nature walk or engaging in your hobby to seeing a therapist or mental health professional. Whatever it may be, self-awareness is key. You need to take into account whether your issue or situation is taking too much of your focus and energy and if it is, you need to bring it back into balance. Don’t be afraid of self-care.

Fun Fact: Whenever I feel overwhelmed and unbalanced, I like to take nature walks and have picnics with my husband.

A picture of green trees, grass and a pond o a clear sunny day.
My favorite pond to visit when I need to de-stress.

Health Culture: Soul

From meditation to prayer, people have different ways to connect to themselves and/or a higher power. Stress is such a prevalent part of our lives and we need grounding. Whether things seem to be going consistently wrong or increasingly well, you need to be thankful to our creator, the universe, or whatever you believe in because no matter your situation there are always people who have it much worse than you do.

A picture with two tall narrow dark orange buildings. They are across the street from each other and cars are parked by the curb. One building is a church as indicated by the cross at the top and the other building is a mosque. The picture was taken in Marrakech, Morocco.
A beautiful picture I took in 2013 of a mosque and a church across the street from each other in Marrakech, Morocco.

When I get overwhelmed with life I often pray. For me there is something so uplifting about prayer. It could be the deeper concentration I have when connecting my soul to God. There is a feeling of relief when I let all my burdens, problems, and negativity go during my prayers. There is also gratification after thanking God for everything I have been blessed with. Praying personally helps me deal with life and gives me balance.

An illustration of a navy blue prayer rug with light pink floral patterns. In the center of the rug it reads,
For me, prayer = success. “Come to prayer; Come to success.” @quote.lovin.1

Regardless of your beliefs, feeding and nourishing your soul is a positive practice that will have you feeling more grounded and fulfilled with life.  With a good balance of body, mind, and soul, you will be able to benefit your lifestyle which can help you on your journey to a healthier you.

Stick Around!

Now that you have read about the foundations of what I used to gain control of my life and have a healthier lifestyle, try applying them to your life. You can also mentally prepare yourself for your journey to come. Stick around for more tips and content! I also have some posts in Spanish so let your Spanish speaking family and friends know. Remember that I also post interactive content on Instagram so follow me @purevidalinzita.

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