It’s been on my mind recently to share something personal with you. It’s not to boast about my health, but it’s to show how much power our thoughts and emotions can have on our physical body. I am speaking from personal experience but I know of many others who have had similar stories to mine.
All through childhood, my teenage years and early adult life, I had some health challenges that affected me in a lot of ways. Most obvious for me was suffering with bloating and constipation for as long as I can remember. I was embarrassed by this, so I would often use the words “I feel sick” rather than tell my friends why I was doubled over in pain. I remember once going home from school fighting tears until I made it through the front door where I collapsed in agony at my mother’s feet. She rushed me to the hospital thinking I was having an appendix attack, but to my embarrassment, I was severely constipated and put on a laxative. I saw many doctors and naturopaths over the years trying to figure out what my problem was with very little results. When I studied nutrition I learned a lot more about the issue and was able to improve my situation a lot, but it was far from perfect, especially anytime I was away from home and out of my normal routine.
At sixteen I went on the birth control pill for six months to clear my acne only to lose my period for the next four years afterwards. I was told by a gynecologist that I may never have kids and that there wasn’t anything they could do. Eventually, very hesitantly, since it was the pill that initially caused my period to stop, I ended up back on a different pill for 3 months. My period came back and stayed, but it was painful and irregular. I worked hard on balancing my hormones through nutrition, and luckily I did manage to balance them out quite well but again, not perfect.
While this was all going on, I had a very poor body image and was often dieting which of course only exacerbated my health challenges. I struggled with secret eating challenges and my weight went up and down during my teens and early adult life and with it came a lot of emotional upset and mood swings.
In the last few years I’ve worked hard on my physical health but even harder at my emotional and mental health. This meant for me learning to love and accept my body and learning that what I looked like had nothing to do with my self-worth. I had to let go of dieting and do a lot of work in self-awareness and self-discovery. It was only when I relaxed around food and increased my self-love and acceptance, that my physical health skyrocketed.
From being constipated and bloated on a daily basis for most of my life and losing my period for four years, being told I may never have children, to having near perfect digestion and regular monthly cycles in one year because of mental and emotional changes, I have a lot to appreciate and be thankful for. I worked hard nutritionally on these two areas for a number of years over my life and slowly saw improvements, but it wasn’t until I made some realisations about myself and worked through some mental and emotional blocks (which would take a separate blog to write about) did my physical health really take off. I no longer suffer with any digestive complaints, even when I am out of routine, and my balanced hormones allowed me to quickly fall pregnant this year.
Seeing this huge improvement in my health in the last year or so has left me in complete awe of how amazing our mind and body works, and works together. Going through these experiences and making these realisations has helped me grow so much, and now when I look in the mirror I cannot think of anything but gratitude. Until I fell pregnant earlier this year, my body didn’t change shape or size to suit my preferences, but I still felt a deep love and appreciation for it.
And now being pregnant, I am only in more awe of how my body and mind works together. I’ve had a magical pregnancy and I am grateful for it everyday. With only 4 and a half weeks until I meet my little one, I still feel on top of the world and I know I owe it to self-love, nurturing my body and positive thinking.
If you’re struggling with health challenges, unwanted eating habits or poor body image, I encourage you to explore how your physical symptoms correspond with your emotions and thoughts. Begin to fill yourself with love and compassion and speak kindly to yourself. Your life will change.