Sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom before reality sets in. It took a lot of loss and one jarring realization for Jessica to turn her life into the picture of health it is today. After struggling with body image issues (as so many girls do), this week’s Health Raiser found the strength to move past the superficial and create a sense of balance, from the inside out. Jessica’s journey is a very real and far too common one, but she’s been strong and kind enough to share it with us.
What does health mean to you?
Health, to me, is finding balance in life – mentally, physically and emotionally. Health is feeling strong and empowered by your body’s abilities, whatever they may be. It’s living a healthy lifestyle, while eating a clean and balanced diet with room for flexibility. Also, adding daily movement provides such joy, peace and clarity for me. Balance is health.
What inspired you to start living a healthy life?
I battled eating disorders for years. I was miserable and the struggle affected so many areas of my life. I was constantly aware of the way I looked and how unhappy I was with that perceived image. Because of this, I was constantly restricting and purging. Through the battle, you lose more than weight. You lose strength, you lose healthy and you lose the ability to do things your body should naturally be able to do. Relationships suffer and you lose friends, hope, confidence, energy, joy…I could go on and on.
Then came the moment I realized that I could be ruining my chances of having children one day, and that scared me. I knew things needed to change. So I started focusing on feeling good, rather than on a certain body image. Now, I channel my energy toward being happy, enjoying life and worrying less. Relationships and my health come first. The way my body looks matters less to me now that I have chosen health, happiness and the will to live freely. That has been such a huge step in the right direction.
What are three things you do to stay healthy?
I love to work out and have found such joy in it! I’m constantly changing my routine, so I don’t get bored. (My attention span is that of a two year old!) I love yoga and the peace that comes from stretching after a long day.
Also, I started strength training about a year ago and have never looked back – what an amazing stress reliever! There’s really no other feeling like hobbling out of the gym after a long sweaty weight-room session. It’s pure bliss.
Finally, to stay healthy, I continue to repeatedly tell myself that life is short and there is no point in stressing and constantly worrying. I’m striving to enjoy each and every day, regardless of what I eat or the workouts I miss. I strongly encourage everyone to do the same, because it’s a life-changer. My wish is that I can inspire other girls who are going through what I have, and that I can be a beacon of hope for them. I want everyone to know this peace that I have found after searching for so long.
What is one motivational quote that you live by?
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
– Romans 8:31
It’s such a short and simple sentence, but oh, how powerful and true!
If you were stranded on a desert island, what Vitacost product could you not live without?
Vega Sport Performance Protein Powders have so much protein with so few chemicals. I cannot get enough!
What advice do you have for someone who is trying to live healthier?
Eat better, not less. So many people make the assumption that to lose weight they should cut calories, when, realistically, changing what you eat makes the biggest impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Eating whole foods rich in nutrients, or foods with ingredients you can actually pronounce, makes a world of difference!