As many Brunette Decorum readers may know, I developed an autoimmune disease a few years ago, which wreaked havoc on my body. My immunity was shot, my intestinal lining was nearly non-existent and despite the fact that I could barely eat food, let alone digest it, I gained nearly 20 lbs due to a stressful work environment. Since then my health has been my #1 priority and unfortunately, all other ambitions were put on hold, but it seemed no matter what measures I took to ensure I was sustaining a healthy lifestyle, my conditions improved at a snail’s pace. This was the year I decided I’ve had enough of this BS… Welcome to “My Journey to Health in 2018.”
Finding my diet
There are numerous nutritionists out there with their own theory for embracing a particular diet. I’ve tried it all, vegetarianism, veganism, gluten-free, keto, and let me tell you what I’ve learned… every damn body is different and has their own unique needs. As for me, I discovered that I have a particularly difficult time digesting grains… So, vegan and vegetarian diets are out for me due to the fact there is a high probability that I could develop a malnutrition issue from cutting so many foods out of my diet. If I had my choice I’d choose rice and noodles over animals, but I have to provide my body with the nutrition it craves and deserves.
A mindful side note, if someone tells you they eat vegan, paleo, vegetarian, etc. don’t be quick to judge. They may be fighting their own internal health issues rather than supporting a political agenda. If you’re experiencing health issues due to diet, I suggest trying the process of elimination diet. Eliminating one food at a time helped me identify which ingredients were hurting my body. You can also consult doctors and nutritionists for professional advice or even pick up a 23andMe kit or Care/of’s partner EverlyWell to test for genetic health issues or food allergies. There are countless resources out there, so take advantage and figure out what works best for your body.
Embracing the right exercises
I’ve always been an athletic junkie. As a kid, I particularly excelled in swimming. I joined my local swim team to make connections with others in my community when my coach noticed I had one of the strongest strokes he’d ever seen in someone my age and asked my parents to consider training me for the Junior Olympics. After discussing it with my parents, I decided to opt out of this amazing opportunity due to health issues involving my sinuses and inner ear canal. Yes, even as a child I experienced health issues, but they only progressed as I grew into adulthood.
I still enjoy swimming, but not as a year-round sport. So, I started trying new forms of exercise over the past few years including pilates, pole dancing, hot yoga, and spin. I can 100% say I fell in love with each of these exercises, but I thrived at indoor cycling. In fact, I worked the bike so regularly that I was encouraged to become a spin instructor, which is exactly what I did and that came in handy when layoffs occurred at my technology company. Unlike most people I still had a source of steady income, but when my passion became my paycheck a piece of that spark died out. The hours became strenuous on my body physically and I knew I had to invest in myself differently, which is why I’m now re-embracing yoga. It’s been difficult for me to find a studio that I love as much as Sweat Yoga in Los Angeles, but CorePower Yoga Bay Area studios have been a lifesaver. At one point, my high-functioning anxiety controlled my life, which may have also led to the trigger of my autoimmune disease, but thanks to my yogi practice (which is not all that impressive from a flexibility standpoint), I’m trying to live in the present and take things day by day. I may not always be successful, but I’ve learned to strive for progress rather than perfectionism and that’s made all the difference thus far.
Removing unnecessary stress
No matter how idealistic one’s life appears on the outside, the fact is everyone has stress and handles stress in different ways. I’m no exception to this rule. One year ago, I had a job in company culture that required long hours for involving events for 1,000+ employees along with leading daily responsibilities for human resources, corporate communications, and external marketing. It began to wear on me physically, mentally, and emotionally as my energy continued to drain from one acquisition to the next, which is why I truly believe the universe was telling me it was time for a big change when layoffs occurred. After hanging up my career in the technology industry, I began to assess different aspects of my life, including my relationships.
People who I had considered to be close friends and confidants just didn’t seem to have my best interest at heart sometimes and as I began to pay attention to these patterns, I soon realized I was involved in toxic friendships. It was saddening to realize that I had outgrown the people I once cared for dearly, but ultimately we had to cut ties. It was time for me to embrace the now and surround myself with a tribe that understood where I was coming from, respected my decisions, and that I could support in return.
Finding my tribe
After purging myself of toxic relationships, I noticed a sort of law of attraction at play with the universe. Suddenly, I was surrounded by genuine souls. I found them in my childhood friendships, my college connections, in the love of my life, but I continued to meet these amazing individuals outside of my inner circle. I sincerely believe what you put out into the universe is what you’ll get back. Once I rid myself of friendships that caused unnecessary stress, I’ve begun to attract genuinely good people who just got me and that’s been one of the biggest factors in my road to healing.
It’s taken years of digging to find the root of my health issues and months of strategizing with the support of my doctors and loved ones, but now I’m finally starting to feel healthy again. Not only that, but I’m beginning to feel confident in my own skin for the first time in years. As 2018 comes to an end, I can finally close the chapter on my health issues. While I’ll continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle and make adjustments as needed, I’m looking forward to putting my passion projects back into action, including building out Brunette Decorum. Tell me, what was your biggest accomplishment in 2018 thus far and what are you looking forward to next? Xo.