Health and Wealth: This is 32- Part 1.

So… ya know how on “Girlfriends” Toni and Joan were arguing about who was and wasn’t 30, or who made 30 first?! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love being in my 30’s… but babyyyy…I get it. **see Tamar’s “whew chile” gif**

One of my best friends always says that when she turned 30, as soon as she got out of bed, she heard her knees pop and it’s been a battle ever since lol!

I didn’t believe her until I turned 30 and I swear something in my back got a little creak in it and LAWD it’s been creaking ever since! My 30’s have without a doubt held some of the best moments of my life, but when I tell you my alcohol and food tolerance has disappointed me— I’m just tryna figure out who put this timer in my body and why they set it to go off so immediately and effectively! ** No lie, as I’m writing this I’m on facetime with a friend and he just basically said the same thing! Y’all! What is life?!**

So yea, the 30s are a lot. They’re great, but they are indeed a lot. And I’ve high-key realized that in order to get through them as close to unscathed as possible, we have to focus on prioritizing our health in all areas. Physical and Mental health are two I think we hear/talk about most often, but in all honesty, Spiritual and Financial health are just as critically important to have a balanced life. Per the usual, I’ve been thinking about this for a few months and writing, and exploring, and listening to Shonda Rhimes “Year of Yes” on audible in the meantime, and I finally have decided on some pretty normal but largely impactful shifts that I look forward to making the pinnacles of my journey to a healthy ass, wealthy ass life.

Naturally, I figured who better to share this (and build a little intercessory accountability) with, than you?! So, here goes: 5 lessons I learned about building health, and therefore wealth in your 30s!

Part 1: Physical Health

Lesson One: Move bi**h, and get out of your OWN way. 

Yea. This is one is kinda self-explanatory. As much as we hate to admit it, we are indeed our best adversaries and worst enemies. You know those age-old tips: a body in motion stays in motion and you can’t outwork bad eating habits? Well, they’re basically scientific facts (i think), and high key, speak to the overall understanding that even when there are other factors to consider, your accountability to your health is the only thing that can help you attain it. 

Now, before we get too far into it, understand this friend… I get it! I too have vowed to never again be one of those “wake up at 5 am, drive to an unnecessarily expensive gym with folks who stink and irritate me for existing at 5 am, just to spend the rest of the day tired and pretending to like protein shakes that taste like chalk and strawberry” type people. Nah and no thanks! However, just throwing it all in the air and hoping that this here double chin just somehow disappears on its own is NOT the answer either. Plus honestly, personal preferences on aesthetics aside (cause I’m cute AF with both of my chins), I know that things like high blood pressure and diabetes run rampant in my family and I just don’t have the energy to fight that battle. 

What this meant for me

With that in mind, here are a few things I have chosen to commit to that I feel fit well with my present lifestyle and will support my mission to increase my physical health:

1. Committing to my meds- both pharm and farm.

If I’m being honest, for me, this one is kinda hard some days.

In 2017 I went to the hospital because a very random and very painful bruise on my wrist somehow moved up to near my forearm overnight.  After googling and learning that I was on my way to half deadness thanks to the infamous WebMD, I went to the ER, and well… low and behold WebMD was right this time.  The bruise on my arm was actually a blood clot, better known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and while that was stressful enough for me, it was only half of the diagnosis. I also had blood clots all over my lungs, Pulmonary Embolism (PE), and neither my medical history nor the doctors could explain why.

So, at 29… (well really 30 because even after we thought it was over, the clots came back, twice) I had to accept that I would be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. And it sucked!! For the entire next year plus all I did was complain about the twice-daily dose of Lovenox shots to the stomach for 3 months straight, then the intense daily sensitivity and pain caused by the less invasive pill, Elliquis.

Now, to be clear- I wasn’t being extra. I’m talking about a daily minimum pain level of 6. Every day. Some days a straight 10. I hated it so much. I got so angry at this random betrayal from my body that I was even willing to risk my life to stop taking the medication altogether.

In fact, I did just that.

I stopped taking the blood thinners and opted for a daily low dose aspirin, thinking that it would be enough… but it wasn’t. And gambling with my life wasn’t worth it. So after this summer’s final set of severe complications (another blog, for another day), I decided to stop playing with my life and chose to keep myself alive by taking my medication, on time, every day.

Now, I want to be super clear here: I know some folks may be inclined to go the holistic route, and honestly, I’m a fan of that too. However, with my specific condition, I chose to use the blood thinners provided by my doctors as a tool for accessing the future I want.  If your meds will definitely keep you alive, I sincerely encourage you to be absolutely certain you’re willing to risk death before you decide to stop taking them. It may work for some folks, but if you think you might not be one of those folks, it’s okay to commit to what works for you.

With that being said, I also wasn’t interested in being in pain all my life or having to be dependant on pain medication for relief. So I decided to put my pain management in my own hands and started exploring various holistic options within that realm, which led me to Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD’s anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties have helped me effectively manage my pain and anxiety (oh yea, I realized the pain is worse when I have high anxiety… yea, we’ll get to that part on a different day), and this Lemongrass Salve from Poplar Creek Farms has been a lifesaver for days when I’m super sensitive to touch or just cramping really bad. Oh yea… another fun fact- you can’t take ibprohen on blood thinners, so my uterus and I are really tryna figure out life these days. Pray for ya girl!

All in all, I’ve learned that by choosing to view the medication I take as a benefit rather than a burden, my anxiety and pain has lessened much more and I feel like I have the tools to help me control the pain I do have, without having to fear an unnecessary addiction to pain meds or other complications that may arise from compounding meds over time. 

I’ve figured out how to stay in line with what works best for me, and you gotta do what’s best for you, even if it feels like an inconvenience. If you have a medical condition… take. your. meds! Your choice, if they’re from a pharmacy or a farm. Just please make sure you are actively participating in keeping yourself alive. Be your body’s best friend on purpose!

2. Committing to moving my body 3 days a week.

Whew! Shout out to the shame and shade my apple watch loves to throw my way on the days I don’t tho! Sheesh!

So, just before the pandemic started, Drew Drew and I started going for walks in the neighborhood. Honestly, it started because we knew our lease was about to be up and were regretting not taking advantage of having a whole trail and park, basically right behind our apartment complex. I know you’re thinking it… yes, this actually started as a “let’s see how much of our money’s worth we can get from using this trail” kinda thing like we’d just paid for the Sunday buffet at Golden Corral and felt hella jipped cause they were about to close soon lol! Don’t judge us! 

Soon after this development came the inevitable “we should do this more often” and there began an unnecessary overcommitment to these long-ass walks, without any plans or ideas around to maintain this random new goal. I mean, we had weird work schedules, a whole global pandemic outside, and honestly not the best walking shoes at the time, so though our attempt was good and strong in the beginning, after a few weeks, it began to fizzle out.

We ended up moving to a new apartment, but still in the area near the trail because we knew it was a great tool for us, and… you know… it’s a pandemic **Elsa Majimbo voice**. We decided to shift our expectations to a very do-able goal: 3-mile walks, 3 days a week. Again great idea, in theory! I mean it was feasible, and fit easily within our schedules. There was just one problem; I hate working out/walking outside!

I know, I know! Terrible. But, I’m one of those folks who actually prefer the consistency of a treadmill and really loud headphones to the mediocre outdoors lol! I can zone out there in ways that I just can’t when I’m walking outside and it really diminishes the interest I have in keeping up with my goal.

So… soooo, I just realized I start a lot of my paragraphs off with so lol! It’s cause I write how I talk and I obviously say “so” as a transition  A LOT! LOL! It’s a thing.  

Anyway, as I was saying, so, as relationship growing would have it, Drew Drew and I had to have the seemingly unnecessary but very necessary conversation about how we could best support one another’s health goals, but also respect the times when they don’t line up, and still commit to pushing ourselves to keep our personal commitments anyway.

  • For Drew, that means going for 4-mile walks, 3 times a week, outside.
  • For me, that means taking my ass downstairs and getting it in on the treadmill and weights.

Both of us are sure to be flexible and inviting when we know the other needs or wants to spend the workout time together, so actually, sometimes it also means a slower and more conversational walk to the bridge or on White Rock Lake together. Either way, we commit to getting movement in at least 3 days a week. (If I’m really being honest, sometimes this also ends up looking more like only 2 active days and the rest of the week spent making excuses for why I don’t want to do the 3rd day, even though I know just doing the workout would feel much better than the self-loathing… I digress.)

My point here is, no matter if I remember to track it on my apple watch or not, my commitment to myself is that 3 times a week, any day between Monday and Sunday, I’m going to get my heart rate up for 30 minutes or more. Period. That’s it. That’s the goal, and I’m sticking to it. 

3. Committing to Keto… for real this time.

Yea… I’m one of those women who was born as the bigger girl. My sister and I joke that our 5’5 mom somehow birthed amazons and if you’ve seen us together, you know it’s true. Even when I was small, I was bigger than a lot of folks around me in height and weight, so naturally, I’ve had insecurities about my body since I can remember. I’ve done every diet that I’ve heard would be a good idea and I’ve either temporarily succeeded, or given up halfway through cause it felt unbearable, and this year, I just got tired of it all.

I quit my gym, stopped caring about calories or carbs, and just ate what I wanted when I wanted. And I enjoyed it! Homemade cookies and soul food classics galore, ya girl was on a roll. And that roll along with all the other one’s I’ve accumulated over the years is still very present up under my beloved crop-tops and inside of my favorite high waisted tights. I did notice one thing tho- I’ve spent so much of my life hating my body and denying myself positive eating experiences because of a toxic and ill-placed infatuation with self-loathing and internalized identity suppression. Ending that cycle has been and still is infuriating and exhausting some days, but I promise you it’s also been life-changing; which is why this time, me committing to keto has nothing to do with self-hate, but everything to do with giving myself a chance to show love and appreciation to this body that has gotten me so far in life.

I know the first thing folks think when they hear about keto is all the things you can’t have, and honestly, when I first tried it in 2019, that was my thought too. Now, however, I don’t think about what I can’t have, instead, I lean on my favorite keto-friendly foods and go-to recipes,  and have fun in my kitchen creating new meals and adapting old ones. And since so many people have chosen to participate in this lifestyle, (which shares some similarities to the eating requirements of folks with diabetes such as very limited sugar and carb intake), lot’s of stores and companies have created keto-friendly foods that make it a lot easier to grab something ready-made or create a quick weeknight dinner. One of our favorites is this 1net carb tortilla from Mr. Tortilla! We are hella Texan and missing out on Taco Tuesday is not an option over here so these things are becoming a weekly staple.

Okay now before you get to thinking otherwise, understand, I’m not tryna convert you to keto. Dieting isn’t for everybody, and I recognize that. I’m letting you in on my experience because I hope it’ll encourage you to take the time to really think about the way that your current relationship with food makes you feel. If it’s not a good feeling, do what’s necessary to change it. Maybe you feel obligated to finish every plate because of a rule when you were growing up. Address that trigger and make the decision to split the plate of food you make or order at a restaurant to build a new habit of being comfortable leaving food for later. Maybe you’ve grown accustomed to surrounding your celebratory moments with food. Try asking your friends to meet you at the park to celebrate a big win, or joining local active social groups like Let’s Do This Houston for a curated group bike ride around the city instead of a snack filled kick-back at the house.

Whatever you choose to do, do it for you! Find something that gives you a spark, and stay away from anything that makes you feel less than or confined. Believe in yourself and take charge of your habits and body as a whole. 

Whew! That was a lot! lol!

Well, friend, I guess this concludes Part 1/Lesson 1 of this Health and Wealth: This is 32 Series. I really do hope that my experience resonates with you and that you find it helpful in your journey to creating a healthy life and lifestyle that works. for. YOU. If you’re interested in trying either of the products mentioned above, please use the links in the text or use those provided below to help build my partnerships so I can get some discount codes poppin for yall soon! 

Always in gratitude and intentional bold balance, 

Brilliance

What does #BoldBalance mean to you? Shop ekwepoize.com for statement apparel and products curated and created by @balancingbrilliance.