2018 changed my life (and body)! Could 2019 change yours?
I didn’t go into 2018 thinking it would be life-changing. It was just like any other year. Another year at my job in Zambia. BUT something inspired me to start TWO practices that have brought so much satisfaction, joy, and grounded-ness into my life.
The two things I started doing consistently that changed my life:
I have done yoga here and there for years. But I didn’t start practicing consistently until February of 2018! At first it was just because it was a convenient form of exercise. I lived pretty far outside of Ndola (in Zambia) without a car and going on a jog on the dusty, pot-hole riddden road wasn’t very pleasant. So I rolled out my mat.
Because I live in Zambia, I had to learn (and continue learning) almost everything from online. I first discovered Yoga with Adriene which is a great all-levels intro into the yogic world. And then I started to explore more. I discovered vinyasa yoga and the Ashtanga half-primary series which I began to practice a couple times every week. (For those of you not familiar with yoga terms, hatha is slower paced, vinyasa is faster with lots of up and down, and Ashtanga is a subset of vinyasa yoga with a set sequence of poses that you do every time.) I also discovered the creative, supportive, and positive yoga community on instagram!
The practice pulled me in and I can’t get enough anymore. I practice every day and I feel it when I don’t. When I am stressed, I go to my mat. When I am happy, I go to my mat. When I am somewhere in between, I go to my mat.
My yoga practice challenges me every day to bring what I have to the mat and be okay with that. It challenges me to push myself into places and postures I am afraid of. And to be honest, I cannot wait to see what my mat has in store for me in 2019.
2. Clean eating
It might not come as a surprise that an exercise junkie would be interested in healthy eating. Pretty standard really. But I have never really been a diet kind of girl. My theory was that if you can’t sustain it in real life, then it’s just not worth it. Maybe I could drink only lemon juice and cayenne pepper for 3 days (and maybe it would even work!) but so what if I can’t keep that up in real life? And I still think that!
I am not into diets, but I AM into healthy life-changes. After a couple people suggested it, someone roped me into trying The Whole30 at the end of last year. And I loved how it made me feel! So I decided to adapt it to normal life. While keeping the basic structure of high protein, low carb, I got rid of the “It’s Just For 30 Days” mindset by making it a little more lenient. So it basically turned out to look a lot like paleo. I would put a spoon of honey into my coconut milke coffee every morning and have a vodka soda every once in a while. And I would try my best to stick to it when I was out at a restaurant or traveling but if it didn’t work out, I let it slide. And while that might not be the typical diet of a yogi, it really worked for my body!
Without even trying to, I lost about 20 lbs and plateaued out at a size that I really enjoy! (A phrase I almost never imagined myself saying when I was a self-loathing teenager.)
So it might not be yoga or paleo for you. I definitely don’t think that there is a one-size-fits-all solution to health and happiness. But this is what I see:
Pick out something that gives you life and do it with consistency.
So that is your challenge, my friend! Go take on 2019 and make it a life-changing year through the small steps of every day self-care.