6 Healthy Living Philosophies - from the heart of someone in recovery -

Today marks a very important day in my life. Today, I have been sober for 6 years. I have officially been sober for the same amount of time I used. The full duration of my teenage years was spent drinking, drugging and starving away the pain that was my existence. For 6 years I tried to kill myself, daring my body to give up time and time again. Although I had given up on myself many times, my body never did. My soul never did. God never did. My family never did.

It was 6 years ago today that surrender became the most comforting word in my vocabulary. I had to start healing from the inside out. Once I cleared away some of my internal wreckage I was able to feel some solace.

Healthy living means more to me than looking good in a pair of jeans. I spent far too long hating myself. I used drugs and alcohol to numb my pain, and I used disordered eating to punish myself. I felt truly unworthy of love, all love. Living a lifestyle that pays tribute to my body, spirit and mind is the best way I can imagine living out the rest of my days.

In celebration of today I want to share 6 of my healthy living philosophies. 1 for each year that I have been sober, healthy and happy.

1. Above all else, nourish your soul
            Healthy living starts from the inside out. I had to clear out my internal wreckage and make room to allow God back into my heart. Maintaining a healthy spiritual practice is the most vital thing to my peace of mind.

2. Enjoy nourishing your body
            5 years ago I made a New Year resolution that changed my life. I didn’t resolve to lose weight, or run a marathon. I made the decision to start cooking. Before then everything I ate came from a can or a box. It wasn’t long before I fell in love with preparing and eating healthy foods. I am truly proud every time I sit down to a meal I've put thought and effort into.

2. Dedication does not mean deprivation
            The mentality of an addict is all or nothing. Early on in my journey to living healthier, I thought I had to deprive myself of those things that were considered bad for me. I tried all the “low carb” “sugar free” “low fat” ways of eating. Yes, they worked. I lost weight, I gained some lean muscle. I continued to look and feel better, until I didn’t. Depriving myself of anything is not maintainable for me. Today I eat what I want, when I want it. For years my parents tried to teach me “moderation” and it is safe to say these last couple years I have finally started to understand and live by that concept.

4. Find comfort outside of your comfort zone
            Anything worth having takes work, and work is not always comfortable. I adopted this concept early on in my recovery. I had to do things and feel things that were uncomfortable in an effort to grow. Getting out of my comfort zone has always proven to help me grow in any area of my life. I have grown spiritually, physically, in the gym, in the kitchen, at school, at work, in my marriage, in my recovery and the list goes on.

5. Building a strong body builds a stronger you
            Physical fitness has made me a stronger person on so many levels. Each goal I attain at the gym builds my confidence. Putting effort into exercise regularly helps me carry that concept into other areas of my life. I have learned not to take my successes or failures too seriously. I am going to succeed and fail on a daily basis, the real growth comes from taking tomorrow for what it is… a new day.

6. Self-care is a catalyst to self-love

            My idea of self-care has changed over time. In any stage of my life, when I care for myself I find it much easier to have respect and love for myself. When I exercise I feel accomplished. When I prepare and eat a good meal I feel grateful and proud. When I pray and meditate I feel humbled and worthy. When I simply take a shower after 2 days of cleaning up after a messy toddler, I feel renewed. Self-care reminds me I am worth something.