I think the biggest misperception is that I have my life together, but the truth is I’m constantly working on myself, evolving, and learning!
I have worked the last 10 years as an auditor / consultant for a small accounting firm outside of Philly. Like most people in the corporate world, work/life balance is a struggle as there is a pile of work to get done, not enough experienced staff, deadlines are fast approaching, and things are constantly changing. With the ability to work remotely these days, there are no true vacation days, sick days don’t really exist, and when you shut down your computer people can still reach you via email or cell all hours of the day. The expectation is that you are always available!
I’m a perfectionist. I like things to get done right and quickly. It is all about efficiency. There is no real down time because I multi-task or get started on the next item on the to do list. You could say this leads to a lot of stress in my life and that would be 100% accurate. My bosses told me to get my stress under control and had me attending every stress management training and conference we could find. But those courses did not provide me any realistic tools that could be used in the workplace and left me still drowning in stress, frustration, and anger.
Never did I think what I ate would have any impact on my life, let alone my outlook on life. I’ve always considered myself a healthy person, after all I was athletic (no superstar by any means but I enjoy being active) and thin. In fact the first year my gym offered a nutrition challenge, I volunteered to be the control because I thought paleo was a joke and unnecessary. A year later I was proved wrong. For 30 days I followed the zone diet and to my surprise it changed my life. I had all this energy, clarity, no 2pm food coma, and started to see gains athletically (like muscle tone, faster 5K times, and a PR for most of my barbell lifts). That was only the start. Over the next 4 years I’ve continued to follow a whole food approach. It isn’t so much about moderation as it is listening to our bodies, learning what works and doesn’t for each of us. There is no one perfect solution that works for everyone – sorry!
Personally, the biggest ah-ha experiences are:
I no longer rely on coffee for energy. I am pretty much coffee free these days, but I will enjoy one occasionally
My energy is stable throughout the day, I’m not hitting a wall at 2pm during the workday struggling to keep my eyes open while staring at a computer or listening during a meeting
I can go hours without eating – this is huge for me as I was known for my hangry-ness
My breakdowns at work are rare to non-existent for the past year
I honestly believe what we put in our mouths does effect our health and impacts the life we want to live. My life required a shift. I hit rock bottom at work – chronic stress was taking over my life, ruining relationships, and draining all my energy. Instead I wanted a life where I could manage my stress and emotions, be happy, and live a life full of adventure, explorations, and new things. By changing my lifestyle and diet, I’ve seen huge gains athletically, my emotional state, and the ability to handle stress on a day-to-day basis!