Words by Rebecca Lavender
I scheduled an appointment with a therapist. To date, this is the best thing I have ever done for my health.
It’s been quite the week already for body positivity activists, shutting down that Avon add. But, is it any surprise? The ‘Health’ industry is booming and January is its favorite time of year. Its worth remembering though that it is an industry, and is more than willing to sell you misinformation if it means selling more products. It can take real effort to unlearn these marketing ploys disguised as fact; one such fallacy is anything that promises ‘quick’ results.
How then do we truly education ourselves? You do your research, you listen to your own body and its needs, and you disregard the fads, hypes and shame campaigns – then once in a while you’ll be blessed with a real gem!
QUITTING SUGAR 2016
That first diamond in the rough for me was I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson, and you can read about my experience with the program in my other journey blog post.Truly this was the first time that I felt like a meal plan worked for, not against me; there was no calorie counting, it was all about the nutrient density of a dish. And this was BIG news to me who, after a lifetime of miseducation, still didn’t fully understand what was happening when I put food into my body.
As a young one, I didn’t realize that food had anything to do with how I looked – it was just how I stayed alive and it was also something that brought me pleasure. I’ve carried this ethos with me my whole life but those ideas were attacked from the age of around 14 when I was told my outward appearance didn’t quite cut it. I’m all swerves and curves or, as I like to call it, full of Thick Thigh Energy. But as a teen I would obsessively exercise, and restrict my calorie intake, and deprive myself of certain food groups because my peers had told me my body was wrong, and the media had told these actions would fix it. All big falsehoods that took the best part of 10 years for me to disprove.
Flash forward to 2017. I’m 22 and I’m about to be taught nutrition for the first time. Sarah tells me that I can up the fat intake when I cut the sugar. WILD, I think. The I Quit Sugar Program focuses on education and was born out of Sarah’s own health problems, which she mitigated through diet. When I started the program, I was desperate because I was suffering with acid reflux, lethargy, and breakouts. I knew I liked chocolate but what I didn’t realise was that the food industry had been force feeding me sometimes 3x the recommended portion of refined sugar every day in its packaged products. That was another revolution, learning what to look for in a food label… think you’ve got that one covered? You might think again.
So I’d learned to fall in love with my food again, to eat in abundance without a lifetime of taught shame. Acid reflux, spots, and low moods had cleared up. I’d learned to cook anything I could think of from scratch and been introduced to new foods, spices and flavours that quite frankly rocked my world (like smoked paprika) Hallelu!
But life has its peaks and troughs, and in winter 2017 I was suffering from an episode of poor mental health due to work stress, which in turn affected my diet and appetite. And it happens. There are things that we can’t foresee.
Just one year ago I was iron deficient, anxious and depressed. And even though all I wanted to do was get up and cook my beautiful farm shop produce, it was also the last thing I wanted to do.
I took iron tablets from the GP for 3 months, 3 times a day, and this was the first time in my life I’d ever had to take long-term medication. There were times when I was angry at myself for letting that happen to my body, but I also accepted that there were at least some aspects of my situation which had been out of my control.
By March I’d decided to exact the control that I could and, again for the first time, scheduled an appointment with a therapist. To date, this is the best thing I have ever done for my health, because despite what people might tell you about the dimples on your booty, it’s the ones that are on your face that count; the ones when you laugh and smile.
This is why, 10 years after I learned what calories are, I don’t count them. At 24 I value a more holistic approach to my health, and by this I mean one that draws an multiple elements. My mental health is a key factor, but I accept that its influenced by the physical activities I partake in, the food I eat, AND – these are important ones – my environment and the company I keep.
So when I see the same old BS on the tele, slimfast this and quick results that, I laugh. When someone tells me my dress size is a problem, I laugh. Even at my peak fitness in 2017, guess what? Still a size 14. To me, that is simply a number that helps me buy clothes. End of. U like my cellulite? Gee thanks! 💁🏻♀️
28 BY SAM WOOD
So that brings us here. I’m 24 and I spent last year focusing on my mental health, cultivating healthy, non-toxic friendships, and generally having a gay old time. No really, you can read my post about how going to my first ever Pride event was a major boost to my overall wellbeing and confidence.
Enter Sam Wood, and his 28 program. He’s another Aussie, like Sarah ( I think they’re ahead of the wellness curve down in Oz to be honest). I liked Sam right away because his program provides balance. There are daily meditations and mindfulness exercises, along with education and tips on nutrition, and of course both the meal and movement plans.
Now, I have no qualms about paying for a meal plan because I’m not a nutritionist but I am busy. This alleviates the pressure of planning my own meals, and also adds in the surprise of introducing me to new produce and methods.
Sam’s online community, the 28ers (of which I am now a proud member) are the backbone of the program and lift one another up in the forums.
If you’re lucky enough to live down under then you can work out with Sam IRL, but the catalogue of exercise routines on the online program are equally the real deal. And they’re designed to be done in your living room.
I’m still me, so I won’t be:
I will be:
✔️Developing an everyday movement routine
✔️Always thinking of nutrition first
I’ll be taking my own personal ethos into the 28 program, which happens to align with the 28 mantra pretty well. I couldn’t be more excited to get moving because I’ve unfortunately inherited arthritis in my knees (thanks Dad) and I’d like to build some muscle around them to alleviate pressure on the joints. For the first 28 days I’ve opted for the low impact work outs, with absolutely no shame about it. That’s what’s right for my body and my joints in their current condition. My physiotherapist also told me I don’t have a very strong back 🤦🏻♀️, which has contributed to ongoing shoulder and neck tensions. So that’s a focus area too.
Above all, for 2019 I aim to:
⚖️maintain a sense of balance
Tell me your goals in the comments below
Be seeing you!
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I've nearly finished my first week on the @28bysamwood program and here are two of my favourite meals. I'm feeling nourished, energized and ready for the week ahead. I've written a blog post about my personal health journey, explaining why I: ❎don't count calories ❎don't weigh myself ✔️do focus on nutrition ✔️do seek balance A sense of wellness to me is ALL about the balance: physical health, mental health, social needs… read more at ➡️www.rebeccalavender.blog⬅️ Link in bio, enjoy! #wellness #happy2019 #28bysamwood