Have you lost weight?
Have you lost more weight?
Wow you're looking great - what have you been doing?
These are some of the comments both Nathan and I have been getting over the last 6 or so months.
So what's our secret? It's just one simple word...
And the big thing is - it's not just about the weight.
Yes that's the obvious external change...me losing 13kgs and Nathan losing 17kgs is definitely noticeable...but this has been a much bigger transformation than that!
Going back almost 10 months now to July 9 - a day after my 28th birthday - I had my first appointment with a local Ayurvedia practitioner at Aspects of Healing.
People have asked why Ayurveda, and all I can say is that it jumped out so many times I finally had to do something about it!
So anyway, after a bunch of questions, my pulse being taken and sticking out my tongue, I was given the simple verdict...
I'm a Pitta-Kapha, with a Kapha imbalance.
And the explanations that followed from there absolutely hit the nail on the head!
When out of balance, a Kapha is essentially slow and lethargic, in every sense of the word.
It's the heaviest of the 3 constitutions, which translates into a heavy digestion in both mind and body.
From holding onto ideas and procrastinating, to being lazy and a couch potato in general when out of whack.
And boy did I have all of the symptoms in spades!
So just what is Ayurveda?
Well I can tell you what it's not.
It's not a fad diet, it's not about pigeon holing every person into the same category, it's not about shakes or meal replacements, and it's not about fanatical exercise.
Of course, if any or all of the above work for you, then good for you, but they've always meant nothing to me, and if anything, I think they all encourage eating disorders and self-esteem issues!
Anyway, off of the soapbox and back to Ayurveda.
It's an Indian approach to food and lifestyle and means the 'science of life'. It's all about living life to keep yourself in balance - body, mind and soul.
It's probably best to Google it for the precise explanation - but to put it in simple terms, when you're born, you're one or a mix of the 3 main types - Kapha, Pitta and Vata.
Then, depending on how you live your life, you'll either balance or imbalance your natural constitution.
Obviously the aim is to balance!
And as I said, it's more than just food - it's a true lifestyle.
I find that I'm really drawn to ancient and indigenous approaches, and so it's no surprise this really resonates with me, having been around for over 5,000 years.
It's amazing how much they knew without the wonders of modern science!
So back to what's changed...
I think the simplest way to sum it up is that I'm digesting life so much better!
From a body perspective - cutting out wheat made a massive difference. And yes, this ex-pasta addict is now clean and loving it!
No wheat, dairy or red meat, and avoiding any sweet, sour or salty foods, means my body is no longer doing a whole bunch of work just to digest what I've eaten.
So I've got so much more energy right throughout the day - gone is the 3 o'clock chocolate/sugar craving!
This also makes a huge difference from a mind perspective. I'm so much more alert and often brimming with new ideas.
And I've noticed how more and more, I'm happy to move through ideas and change my beliefs so much more readily if they're not working for me.
Not to say that works perfectly all the time! There's still a few I hold onto...but I'm working on them!
And from a spirit perspective, I've also adopted new practices that really complement my life.
I'm still working on integrating meditation into my life, but pretty much each morning now I get up between 5 and 530 and do yoga to kick off my day. (And yes I know, I was the person who said that I didn't even know the hour of 5 existed!)
All in all, I feel sooooooo much better.
As does Nathan. We're both trying our best to keep living by this because it just makes sense for us.
Has it all been smooth sailing?
No of course not! Week 3-6 was an absolute killer - I went through so much of a battle with my ego who was trying to convince me that everything I had been doing was perfectly fine, and why should I change.
Fortunately I won the battle, and kept moving through that!
There have been other challenges along the way, and of late, I've decided to test a few things out, seemingly to just remind myself of why I don't eat certain things now.
Ie - chocolate!
Surely one little bit can't be that bad.
But then, like today I ate a Caramello Koala and remember why I don't eat chocolate now - it makes me feel gross, bloated and in general my body doesn't like it! (Sorry Mum, I don't mean to blaspheme, but chocolate and I are no longer friends!!!)
Actually, that's probably been the biggest thing to come out of all of this.
I've realised just how sensitive my body is, and the concrete link from it to my mind and spirit.
I haven't got the layers of crap covering it up anymore!
A great example is how I can now instantly see how sugar makes me go on edge - now I understand how much food would have contributed to my being at my peak with anxiety.
And while this has meant cutting out a lot of foods that used to bring me plenty of comfort, it's all been worth it (something I need to remind myself of at the moment!).
Phew that was an essay. And it's not even the half of it really!
Of course, no "before & after" is complete without photo evidence!
So here we go....I didn't have the 'glazed pork' photos handy of us about 5 years ago (when we were red, shiny and puffy!), but here's us looking well rounded in the Grampians in December 09 (you can't see it, but Nathan's tummy is just as rounded as mine!)...
And one from my best friend's wedding in October 10, only 3 months into our transformation...we've come even further since, but this is a favourite photo of mine!
Actually one last one - this is me at the wedding loving that fact that for the first time in my life, I had a flatter stomach than Lucy!!! Believe me, she's famous for it! And fair enough she had a pretty good excuse, but I'm still counting it - I wasn't even sucking in!
Anyway, if you've been searching for a food and lifestyle approach to apply to your life then I can highly, highly, highly recommend Ayurveda.
Particularly if you want one that helps you lose the layers on all levels of your being.
Nathan and I are fabulous examples of just how well it can work.
Nathan and I are fabulous examples of just how well it can work.
You can see the difference in our eyes alone - they sparkle with energy and life now, rather than the dull gleam of old.
In short - we love Ayurveda!