3 Healthy Living Lessons Learned From Loss

I’m lucky that I’ve always been moderately healthy despite having a rocky start in life. I was three months premature and weighed 1 pound 12 ounces when I was born. (My sister and I are proof that, yes, smoking during pregnancy does cause lower birth weights in babies. To my mom’s credit, she did “cut back” as per her doctor’s orders.)

I grew up in Lexington, Ohio, with a mom who held a nutrition degree and a dad who encouraged me to be active and play tennis. My older sister played tennis and was a runner, so I was fortunate that well-balanced meals and exercise were healthy habits instilled in me from childhood.

Then came college at Ohio University.

While working toward my degree in magazine journalism, I was more than happy to help the college maintain its prestigious Princeton Review ranking among the top five party schools in the nation. (This year, we are No. 1, thank you very much.) It turns out that a diet based on D.P. Dough calzones and Natty Light is not offset by an occasional half hour on an elliptical machine.

Upon graduation in 2005, I moved to San Clemente and worked as an editor for Cat Fancy magazine and CatChannel.com. To supplement my low-income-housing-eligible salary, I worked a second job as a retail assistant at Banana Republic and later Express. My schedule left little time for exercise, and I ate whatever was fast and convenient.

I was finally able to start cooking more and exercising regularly again when I started working one job only as a content producer for WebMD in 2007. I discovered I had a passion for health while working at WebMD and continued in the health arena when I accepted my most recent position as a copywriter for Ignite Health late last year.

What Constitutes a Healthy Life?

But it wasn’t until two years ago that I started to think of “living healthy” or a “healthy lifestyle” as more than just diet and exercise.

In March, I lost one of my older brothers to a heart attack. He was only 49. Though he maintained a healthy weight, exercised regularly and ate well, cigarette smoking, stress and a family history of heart disease ultimately got the best of him. In June, I lost a close friend to a rare, aggressive cancer. He was only 29.

3 Life Lessons

I took away three lessons from these tragedies:

  1. We cannot control (with the exception of suicide) how long we get to keep our bodies, but we can control how well we take care of them. Our bodies do so much for us; we need to be respectful and loving with them in return.
  2. Happiness is a major player in our overall health. Life is too short to do things you despise or live other people’s dreams. If you’re not happy in a certain area of your life, take steps to reclaim control of your happiness.
  3. Stress and other mental ailments, such as depression and anxiety, erode your health just as much as a poor diet or inactivity. We need to care for our minds and emotional needs as vigilantly as we do for our bodies.

These losses forced me to stop and evaluate how I was living my life. Yes, l was reasonably happy and healthy, but I wanted to do better. I wanted to improve, not just for myself, but for my husband and our future together.

I realized I wanted to help show others how small changes, when implemented slowly, can create big, lasting results when it comes to your health and wellness.

I researched some programs and decided to enroll at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I am currently a student. When I graduate in May of this year, I will be a certified holistic health coach and part of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP).

Now, I’m working to help ambitious professional women achieve their personal optimum health so they can better balance work, family, friends and volunteering. I’m on a mission to help women achieve any goal – personal or professional, big or small – that enhances their health, happiness, and success.

I do this because I believe we all can and deserve to live healthy, happy, successful lives.

I hope you’ll join me in my mission. You can help by reading, implementing and sharing the knowledge you learn here only on SheBudgets.


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