Welcome to Raw, Crude and Juicy and thank you for joining me on this journey. I'm bringing healthy back! Yesterday, I hit my 25 lbs lost milestone, and while it should have been a great day, it was coupled with my apartment being completely flooded and the destruction of a lot of my personal belongings. This seems to be the reoccurring theme to my weight loss journey.
About three years ago I had lost 78 lbs! I was 2 lbs away from my goal weight, and all of a sudden I got hit with obstacle after obstacle. I had originally lost the weight by adopting a high raw lifestyle coupled with yoga, meditation and low-impact workouts. I felt the best I ever had, and then all of a sudden out of nowhere my appendix ruptured, and I had to go into surgery. The surgery, which was supposed to be a routine procedure lasting 30-60 minutes laster over four hours. I have no idea what they did to me, but when I woke, I was all butchered up! Not exactly what I meant when I said I wanted to be "ripped"!
- 78 lbs
... and then...
By this point I had been completely raw for about a year if not longer. I had decided to go from raw to plant-based (clean vegan diet), and I had a huge veggie burrito, and the next day I was in surgery. I still don't know if this was a coincidence or something more. Because of the complications, it took a long time to recover. I couldn't really workout and so the scale started to go up. When I was cleared to workout, I was back at the gym, but I developed a hernia. The internal incision from my appendectomy had ruptured and my intestine was protruding under my skin. At first it was a lump in my side. Then it felt like a golf ball. Then it grew to the size of a mango. As a result, I had to have yet another surgery, and again I was limited in my mobility and the scale went up even more.
It went on like this for over a year. I would recover, try to be healthy, and bam! something else would happen. I sliced my finger on my birthday making a green juice with my new Japanese knives. I was trying to slice through a thumb of ginger, and I sliced my own finger right down to the bone!
I had to have stitches, and I was very limited in working out. Then a few months later I was leaving my apartment, and I tripped on a crack on the street. Again I was back at the ER, which resulted in a sprained ankle, and I was on crutches for weeks.
I was so angry! This wasn't supposed to be happening to me! I had worked so hard! I was the healthiest I had ever been in my life! I had cut out alcohol for over a year and was eating super clean! Also, I had completed my certification with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) to be a Holistic Health Coach. None of it made any sense. Even though these freak accidents had nothing to do with my health, I began to question everything! I think part of me was also scared that the healthier I got, the more accidents I was going to have (I know this makes no sense).
I started to change my diet from high raw plant-based to "everything in moderation" vegan, which totally didn't work for me! After being clean for so long, my body went nuts!!! I developed mad cravings and food addictions. Also, when you eat a raw food diet (80/10/10) you eat huge portions because of the low calories in fruits and veggies, so my stomach was used to eating these insanely large portions. I would binge eat when I was stressed out, and then I would feel totally ashamed. This led to really bad body dysmorphia, and I started hating my body. Not only was I fat, but now I felt like my body was working against me. No matter how hard I tried, something would always happen and the weight would creep back higher and higher and higher.
It was the craziest thing, and the only way I can explain what I was going through was an internal war with my own body. I knew what I needed to eat. I mean I was a certified health coach, and I had lost almost 80 lbs. But, I would make absurd rationalizations with myself. I would be healthy for a while, and then something would happen, and I would start stress (binging) eating again. I would feel totally miserable, and then try to diet again. It was a horrible cycle that only led to a messed up metabolism.
Then the scale went up, I don't remember to what, but it was that breaking point. You know when you stare down at that number dumbfounded how you got there, and you just KNOW you have to make a change! I think I might have been up to 180 at this point. So I pushed myself- I tried to eat clean and worked out consistently, and I think I dropped 20 lbs when suddenly I was back in the hospital.
I had gone to work that day feeling perfectly fine, and I came back to my desk after a meeting, and I started to feel "off". I didn't know what was happening to me, but I was scared. I knew it was serious. All I remember is going down to the emergency room, and then I woke up in a bed with several doctors around me. The one doctor asked me what day it was, and I thought I had just come into the ER. The doctor then proceeded to tell me that it was three days later, and I had been in a coma from bacterial meningitis, and I almost lost my life.
Date with Destiny
I was so pumped up with drugs that I really didn't understand what the doctor was trying to tell me. For months I had been looking forward to the date with destiny workshop that I had signed up for with Tony Robbins. When I woke up, and the doctor told me what day it was, I remember telling him, "I have to go! I have a date with destiny!" He had no idea what I was talking about, and he said "Uhm, I think you just had your date with destiny..." and he proceeded to tell me how I almost lost my life.
While I was in my coma, the doctors had been preparing my mother for the worst. Telling her that I might not pull through, or that even if I did I might have severe brain damage, paralysis and/or amnesia. I refused to accept that this would keep me down, and while it was a very difficult recovery, I completely healed myself. The doctors were expecting that it would take me 6 months to a year for me to start feeling back to "normal", but I took matters into my own hands and even the doctors said "this is a miracle. just keep doing whatever you're doing." Two weeks after being released from the hospital I was working remotely, and by the third week I was back at work. I was back to being completely raw at this point, and even went to the Hawaii Woodstock Fruit Festival, which further helped with my healing.
However, this experience really changed the course of my life. Once I started to feel better, and I had a chance to process what had happened, I really began to appreciate life in a completely different way. Dieting was the last thing from my mind because I wanted to "live life to the fullest". I decided to go back to school and do a masters in bioethics full-time, while working full-time as associate director at a stem cell laboratory. Then, I decided to apply to law school...you know... "for fun". I can't tell you what those days were like for me... the stress, the sleepless nights, the never ending deadlines and then my masters thesis!!! I didn't have time to cook, so I was rewarding myself with lots of takeout because after long days of working non-stop, I would tell myself that I deserved it because I had worked so hard. Really, I was only hurting myself and distracting myself from the fact that I lacked any kind of balance in my life.
I was succeeding at work and at school, BUT it all came at the cost of my body and my health. I graduated from my masters, took the LSATS and got into law school. Then more obstacles came my way, and so did the pounds. Before I knew it... I was staring down at the scale, and I was right back where I started at 235 lbs. Seeing that number again was a slap across my face. I needed to wake me up from the slumber I'd been in since my coma!
By this point, my life had been turned upside. I started having panic attacks, and I went through a very severe depression, which was extremely scary. My doctor advised me to take a medical leave from my job, and it was the hardest struggle I'd ever dealt with in my life. It made my coma seem like a headache in comparison to the internal pain I would feel every single day. This was all happening during my first semester of law school, and while I was trying to move apartments. I would cry all day, then wash my face and show up to class like nothing happened because when you've been through as much shit as I have, that's what you do!
When my doctor cleared me to go back to work, I was laid off that same day after being a loyal employee for close to six years. I had a new apartment with a much higher rent, medical expenses and no job and no health insurance! The universe tends to amuse in irony. All I can say is that that experience humbled me beyond a point I could ever put into words. I was broken, but I was grateful. No matter how bad things got, there was always someone somewhere looking out for me. I let go! I accepted the obstacles and looked for the lessons. It was the hardest time in my life and with everything that I went through, I still managed to get a 3.5 GPA my first semester of law school, and managed to do even better my second semester when I let go of trying so hard and started taking care of myself! I found the much needed balance I was so desperately needing in my life! That was my lesson!
I had gained so much weight that when I looked in the mirror, I couldn't even recognize myself anymore. The real me was hidden, in there, somewhere under 235 lbs of stress eating! None of my goals mattered anymore because I felt like I was losing myself in the process. Then a shift occurred. I started to let go of all the shame and the guilt about where I was and where I "should be", and I chose to love my body just as I was. I wasn't going to wait until I got to some weight or dress size. It wasn't about the weight.- it was about ME!!!! It was a journey back to myself. I set out to let go of all the emotional baggage I'd been carrying around in this sheath of 235 lbs of fat! This time it was different! I wasn't trying to lose weight. I was trying to find myself buried under all that weight. I wasn't looking "out there" but rather "in here" (hands to my heart).
On my way...
Who's with me?
And now the story brings me to today. I'm down 25 lbs doing exactly what I know works best for ME! Wouldn't you know it, just as I hit this milestone, I'm faced with another obstacle as my apartment becomes completely flooded, and I'm faced with the reality that I might have to move out. That's life! It's not always fair, and it's not always roses, but YOU determine what tomorrow brings by how YOU choose to handle today! Challenges will always be there, but it's who we become in the process that matters! Today, I will clean up the mess, light some sage, and move on because regardless of what material things I may have lost, I still have my health, I still have hope, and I'm pushing forward!
I'm on my mission to live raw, eat crude and be juicy!!!