My Life Was Changed by MDA, and Now I Want to Help Others Create Better Health!

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. In fact, I have a contest going right now. So if you have a story to share, no matter how big or how small, you’ll be in the running to win a big prize. Read more here.

realifestories in lineLet’s see. Yep. I’ve been following the Primal lifestyle for about, holy cow, FIVE years now. Well, it will be 5 years in January, so I’m calling that close enough. Here is my original Success Story. Maybe it’s the change of season or my recent focused quest to discover my dharma, but I’ve been reflecting quite a bit lately on how my life has changed over the years, especially since I discovered MDA. I am in a much different place than I was back then – most of the place is better, some of the place is – I wouldn’t say worse – but more challenging, and none of the place is bad. So let’s dive in.

The Betterness

The quality of food that I eat is immensely better. For example, for breakfast today I made roasted potatoes, tossed in Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil (it’s green!) and spiced with Real Salt, fresh ground pepper, organic onion, garlic, and chili powder. These accompanied a side of scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil with locally raised green pepper and onion. With breakfast I drank a glass of homemade kombucha. Contrast this with a typical Sunday breakfast back in 2011: It’s Sunday! Treat Day! That meant a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich. Don’t get me wrong, occasionally (like yesterday), we will have a flash-back breakfast. But now, instead of McD’s, we get a chorizo, egg, and cheese on delicious telera bread from the local coffee shop. I end up eating about 2 bites of bread, and then I just eat the guts of the sandwich. My point is, I make much better choices now at least 80% of the time.

My feet are in much better shape! Thanks to MDA and Katy Bowman (who I was introduced to via MDA), I no longer wear heels and have even spent most of the summer in Luna Sandals – running, walking, and hiking. I have space between my toes, a nice high arch, and NO LEG CRAMPS when I go to bed at night.

My previous before and after photos

I move almost constantly, but I no longer do chronic cardio. When I’m not trapped in an all-day meeting at work, I am up and out of my office chair at least every 30 minutes – getting water, going to the bathroom, or just taking a wide prasarita stance and typing at my keyboard. I don’t do a lot of focused “exercise.” But when I walk under our pull-up bar to get into the kitchen, I hang for a few seconds (working up to a pull-up one day). When I go the bathroom, I use the Squatty Potty. When I watch TV, I lay on the floor and constantly shift around. And when I’m in my office on a conference call, I do air squats or tree pose, or I massage my feet with Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls.

My anxiety levels are super low, my energy levels are super high (I rarely get the 2 P.M. crash anymore), and my weight and body composition are stable and healthy (courtesy of the better quality of food and constant movement).

I have developed a regular meditation practice. I still struggle to find time to do all the things I want to do in a day, but I try to carve out at least 10 minutes 5 days/week for a guided meditation. Thank you Insight Timer!!

Sleep – I almost always sleep well, and I sleep for 8 hours a night. Our bedroom is pitch black with no blue-light. Tim and I both read with our amber glasses on before bed.

The Challengeness

Seeing how much my heath has improved by changing the way I eat and move has seeded me with an intense desire to help others realize how much better they can feel if they take better care of themselves. For the past 4 years, I have been struggling with finding the best outlet for this desire. Last year I became a registered yoga teacher, and this year I trained with Jill Miller and became a Certified Yoga Tune Up® teacher (a modality I discovered through Mark and Katy’s collaboration on Don’t Just Sit There). I also completed a health coach certification program.

Hlo_Photo_1While teaching mindful movement gives me access to people who are looking for ways to become healthier and happier, I am constrained by my fear of not knowing enough to really help and also by my fear of letting go of my 8-5 job with benefits and structure, and security. My desire to help others as much as possible and share all the amazing things I have learned about the human body and psyche is currently at war with my desire for stableness, safety, and monetary security. So, yeah. That’s what I am figuring out now.

I set the intention in July to find my dharma (aka purpose – why was I put in this body, in this life, in this family, in this time), and now I have to live with the answers that have come up. TRUTH is inconvenient. For more on that, check out this Bliss & Grit podcast. Be careful what you wish for! Oddly enough, the Universe/Source/God does not really care about your coziness when it shows you your true path.

Once you get your diet, movement, and sleep in order, you are driven to get your spiritual house in order as well. That leads to a lot of soul searching and reading (books and books and books), and reflection. It is MUCH easier to just come home, eat supper, watch Seinfeld and go to bed. You don’t have to figure out: Does God exist? Is the Universe God? Am I a part of God? Am I put here for a reason? If so, do I have to uproot my safe life to fulfill that reason? How do I quiet my ego? How do I access my Witness self? Do I want to? Do I want to find out what issues are in my tissues, or should I let sleeping dogs lie? Do I want money or happiness? Or both? Can I be happy with just one? Ugh. The questions!! They never stop. And THAT is the challengeness. Thanks, Mark, for getting me to this point. And, yes, that is a *little* sarcastic. 🙂

I think that about covers the past 5ish years. Like I said, it’s mostly all good. Even the Challenges are good, just, well, challenging. They foster growth, which is really what I’ve come to believe life is all about. Nothing is good, nothing is bad – it’s all perception and what you learn from it.

I am happy I am on this path, hanging out in my back yard getting startled by squirrels creeping up on me with nuts in their cheeks, being harassed by end-of-summer slow bees, drinking my coffee with coconut milk, slathered in some hippie bug repellent that only kind of works. The breeze (wow, I accidentally typed “breath” instead of breeze, which kind of blew my mind. The universe is breathing me right now!) is blowing over me and through me. The moss of my patio is vibrantly green and furry. Life is beautiful and difficult and worth it.

Take care, Hlo


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