In my last blog post I shared the health struggles that I’ve been having over the past two years: inexplicable weight gain, insomnia, and fatigue despite my best efforts to eat clean and exercise at least 5 times per week. It was really the completion of Beachbody’s 21-Day Cleanse, The Ultimate Reset, that allowed me to see that something in my body wasn’t quite right. While most who complete the Ultimate Reset boast of a renewed sense of well-being, including the best sleep they’ve had in years, my sleep worsened and my fatigue levels remained the same, if not worse. I want to stress that the Ultimate Reset did not cause my symptoms or exacerbate my health issues, it actually brought them to light. I would recommend the Ultimate Reset for anyone who feels like they need a tune up. Um, that would be most of us!
It was after completing the Beachbody cleanse that I began exploring and seeking answers in the medical field, from both both eastern and western traditions, from acupuncture to traditional hormone testing at the doctor’s office. Finally, a series of tests with Clinical and Functional nutritionist Sagi Kalev, the creator of BodyBeast, revealed the root cause of my symptoms, a host of issues from parasites, low functioning thyroid, jacked up cortisol levels, and some other hormonal imbalances. Ya, what a delight! The good news is that I am now on the mend. For the first time in a long while, I am sleeping well again and waking up feeling rested. And while my body has been experiencing unpleasant symptoms from the detoxification process (google “candida die-off symptoms”), I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel myself returning. My thoughts are getting clearer. I can’t wait for my physical body to catch up and feel vibrant again. Ahh, I cannot describe the feeling of hope and gratitude I feel.
In every hardship, however, there are gifts, even if at times we cannot see them. While the last two years have been difficult on a few different levels, these past two years have also been the best years of my life. They have been years of great emotional and spiritual growth. When my health felt optimal, when I was at my fitness peak, it was almost like I was an unbeatable, robotic machine. Because making the switch from overweight to being super fit had been really a matter of following protocol–work out hard and eat super clean–I could not really relate to others who said they were doing everything by the book and still not losing weight. In short, there was a part of me that lacked empathy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always deeply cared about people and my intention has always been to help. But as someone who is driven and so results-oriented, I had little patience with others. Life was really black and white for me. For better or for worse, this approach spilled over into all areas of my life. Thus, one of the greatest gifts has been a deepened sense of empathy. As a result, my relationships, both intimate and professional, have greatly improved.
As I began my search for answers, turning inward meant listening to what my body was trying to tell me. I began to explore meditation and to open up to the idea that there is more to me than a physical body that needs to be fed five times a day. And as I tuned into body I became aware of the fact that in many ways I had been emotionally shut down. While acting as if I were a machine had served its purpose in my life, it was no longer serving me. I began to read voraciously on really any topic that would help my heart open, on energy work, loving kindness meditation, you name it. More importantly, I began to put into practice what I read. Two years ago while completing Darren Hardy’s Design Your Best Year Ever Workbook, I came across the question that would direct the course of my life for the next two years: “What compliment would you have liked to been given last year?” For me, it was, “You are kind, loving, and generous.” At that moment, I saw the work that lay before me. Ironically, although I no longer believe in coincidences, it was around this time that my health issues began.
I’m not sure why my health issues presented themselves, and I would be lying if I told you that I have not felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and even desperate at times. But, being able to see and feel the gifts in the very midst of those rough periods, not only got me through them, but also made me a better person. I am not the same person I was two years ago. I’m still very driven and results-oriented. Yes. But, I now feel whole. Yes, I can now say that I am a kind, loving, and generous woman whose purpose in life is to help others realize their potential. For that, I am grateful, and I would never take back any of the moments and events that got me to where I am today.
Much love, Barbie