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Posted: July 1, 2014 10:00 p.m.

My journey to a healthier me

I did not win the lottery, but I did find the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

I found my pot of gold by learning how to truly reflect on the words ‘healthy living,’ and the new meaning in those words is changing my life. For me, healthy living is much more than exercising and eating foods that I never tried before — like calabacitas, tarragon soup and jicama.

As I embrace this new season in my life, I am amazed and grateful to my higher power for allowing me to experience life’s fulfillment like never before.

There are so many pieces coming together that are essential to fulfilling this lifetime mission, such as finding my sense of purpose, loving my family, managing my stress and continuing my successful career. Simply put, I am now happy with my life. I can define being healthy as a commitment to positive and healthy actions and choices for my body, my mind and my spirit. I am also actively minimizing everything that brings negative thoughts or feelings to my body or well-being. I am saying ‘no’ to being out of balance and unhappy. You can do the same.

Do you know how frustrating it is to sit on a stool with uneven legs? No matter how you sit, the stool wants to rock back and forth, back and forth, never finding a steady balance. All your energy and attention is spent trying to just stay balanced.

A stable and balanced stool is kind of like a holistic approach to being healthy. My journey is about my whole person. I cannot separate the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of my life. Those have to be equal and balanced, like the legs of a comfortable stool.

My healthy transformation did not happen overnight. Your healthy change may not happen overnight either. I know people who have had an ‘Aha’ moment all at once — that is great! For me, the best way to go is to be practical and make intentional decisions slowly and steadily in small steps to reach the changes I want. I take it one day at a time.
I based my healthy change on information I learned from a health care professional, educating myself about my health, and talking with others who are experts. Like you, I must ask myself daily, “What am I going to do with this information?” Every day, I must choose to make better choices to get better outcomes, or to not. Every day, now, I ask myself why would I not choose to live healthier — and I find I have no answer to that question. So I am choosing to live healthier. You can, too.

As my journey to healthy living continues, I am constantly asking myself “Is this practical and something I can do for the rest of my life?” When I think about healthy eating, my answer is, “Yes!” When I think about severe dieting and trying to deny myself the foods that I love, I say, “No!” That is a healthy response to a challenge we all face every day.

For me, simple and practical things enhance my ability to live healthy. Healthier eating choices and portion control, exercise and walking, getting a good night’s sleep, learning to identify and manage sources of stress in my life and learning how to successfully cope with my sources of stress — those small steps make the difference for me. Just learning how deep breathing can clear my mind and refresh my soul was a powerful moment for me. You can, too.
As I go through my day, like you, I find different environments — work, community, family, financial — that want to cause me stress. What I have learned is that I need to manage my stress, not let my stress manage me. That is not easy, but if I remember to breathe, to pause and think before reacting, and to be mindful of my actions, then I can manage my stress and be healthier and happier. You can, too.

Georgette Brown is my 104-year-old grandmother. Her most famous quote and strongest philosophy for longevity is, “Yesterday is gone. Can’t do nothing ’bout yesterday. I ain’t going to worry about yesterday ‘cause it’s gone. Today will take care of itself. Tomorrow ain’t even here, so why worry ’bout tomorrow?” You too can apply my grandmother’s philosophy to your life. Try it!

We are successful if we can manage today. So let’s live in that moment. Every day, I pray to God to please grant me the ability to find the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. I have come to the realization that in this life there are some things I have no control over. So, for me, my daily goal is to live healthier by making better and more informed decisions. That is absolutely something I have control of. You can, too!

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