This passed Summer forced me to take a break from all physical activity. I didn't have the energy to do much more than walk and my stomach wasn't really allowing me to eat much other than white rice and sweet potatoes. The last thing on my mind was diet and exercise. As the months went by and my stomach could handle more food and my doctors said I could go back to exercising I decided it was time to see a nutritionist. In all the 13 years of exercising, being a personal trainer and giving healthy food advice, I personally had never been to a nutritionist. Granted I figured if I knew what to tell other people to eat I obviously knew how and what I should be eating.
I went to a Holistic Nutritionist one of my clients suggested. Before you knock it, hear me out. I still needed to get all my blood work for her to evaluate and she explained everything that she was doing and considering in ways I would understand and appreciate. She did however tell me that I was not allowed to exercise until further notice, instead I was allowed to do Pilates. I wasn't surprised but I had been itching to finally get back to moving on a daily basis.
For the first month she had me on 8 foods. Some were new and some I had been eating all along since they were the only things that would agree with me. That first month went by really slowly and there were times where I didn't see the end in sight but I learned to make a lot of interesting and delicious meals from the limited ingredients. When the month came to an end, I went back hoping that she would have more foods to give me and allow me to go back to exercising. I got my first request, the exercise is still off the table. So with more ingredients available, leading to some more successful experimentation, I went back to my life.
I woke up the other day and realized that it has been almost 6 months since I last picked up a heavy weight or went for a run. Instead of panicking I was surprisingly calm and had no guilt from not exercising. In the past if I didn't get a workout in at least 6x a week I would feel horrible and lazy and disgusted with myself. Now, my body only hurts if I don't get to that second Pilates class at the end of the week but my mind is clear and free.
I lost a lot of weight over the 6 months and I have been able to keep it off with the right nutrition and rest that has been prescribed to me. If I had gone to the nutritionist years ago I am positive my guilt and disgust when I didn't get in a workout would not have existed.
So, I am telling you from experience, nutrition plays a huge role in our mental and physical health. It's not just about counting calories or not eating sugar or making sure to buy all low fat/fat free products. It's not about spending hours on the elliptical or deadlifting 100 pounds. It is knowing which foods are right for you at all times throughout your life. Sometimes you need to let someone else be in charge and tell you how. I am certainly glad that I did. I know that one day soon I will be going back to exercising but I will make sure that I am eating the right nutrients so that my body can handle the load.