I used to live a very unhealthy life. Massive smoker, loved getting drunk on a week night and thought having a salad once or twice a week would help me lose weight in between all the burgers eaten for lunch and kfc eaten at 3am after working a 12 hour shift. (Damn you Brixton and your all-night food shops!) Absolute mess. It was only when I had my daughter that I decided it was time to turn everything around and be a super fit mama who could teach her baby girl about self confidence and nutrition and send her out into the world so sure of who she is that nobody could make her feel insecure – well, that did end up happening but the original goal was just not to be fat and miserable! It sounded good though haha.
I started running, fell in love with it then realised eating garlic bread with every meal was probably not helping me out so I started to look into ‘real’ healthy eating (not quick fix diets or slimfast) and I came across ‘clean eating’ which is essentially un-processing all your food so that everything that goes into your body is a whole ingredient, no long list of chemicals and things you have never heard and have no idea what they are or the effects they have on your body, just one ingredient in the list like rice or broccoli. It started to make a lot of sense and I like things that make sense! Like what the heck is monocitricbenzofrickincarbonite anyway? (Totes made that up but you know where I’m going with this). Food started to make sense. It’s not just about not being hungry. Eating ‘real food’ can actually change everything and I was about to discover this on a whole other level.
I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). I found out I had it because my arms and legs stopped working in 2014. As runner and a mother you could really do with both these things. My body started to shut down and it was really scary. Over the year and a half before that I had started cutting out all the processed food from my diet, I cut out dairy, I cut out refined sugars and anything pre-packaged. I was vegetarian at this point and the healthiest I had ever been in my life. I was always careful to include all the food groups I needed and eat all the protein I could get my hands on so when everything started going wrong I was sure that this wasn’t the issue, even though every meat eater I knew couldn’t wait to tell me I had done it to myself and within a week I was being pretty much force fed red meat every day. Not only did this not magically cure my ‘veggie malnourishment’ but all the tests I had had done the week before came back saying I was more than sufficient in everything. Time to face the fact that this wasn’t going to be a quick fix and I told myself one thing that literally changed my life from that moment on: I am going to get stronger than I have ever been, NOT weaker. So that’s what I did.
My friend offered to train me and after a while I was doing things like chin ups and press ups.. and press up burpees! (All my favourite things.. um, yeh right) It was amazing to start seeing the difference in my overall health but I was fighting my body the entire time, my shakey, numb legs were becoming a real issue.
What really changed everything for me though was when I decided to go completely plant-based.
I read loads of stories about people who had chronic illnesses that led normal lives because of the diet they chose to eat and I can happily say that two years later, as I type this, I am now one of those people. It’s actually incredible and I often tell people that I feel so lucky to have, out of all the illnesses in this world, one that requires me to live an active life and eat a healthy diet to keep me functioning. It needs me to live as healthily as I can. I think that’s pretty awesome. And yeh, I have times when I don’t eat so great, when I work too much and sleep too little but here’s thing.. We have choices to make. We have full and magical lives to live. Don’t let not thinking about what’s going into your body be the restriction on you becoming the absolute best you can be and don’t for a second think that you can’t change things in your life for the better. Never underestimate the strength you have within and never negotiate on your nutrition. It could literally save your life.
And if medium-rare steak loving, fag ash lil over here can do it then anyone can. You are more incredible than you know.
Much love, Bex X