My Wellness Journey by Rebecca McGuane
I had always been the type of person that could eat whatever they wanted without putting on much weight, It used to be something my friends would get jealous about. Why exercise when I was happy with the weight I saw on the scales? Why eat healthy when burgers and cake taste so good?
In 2014, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (“PKD”)…
Although it wasn’t made official until then, I knew deep down that I had it since my teens.
My dad has PKD, so I always had a 50/50 chance of inheriting it and I’m now dealing with the fact that my little boy will also have the same chance of developing the condition too.
My own diagnosis came with a number of unpleasant symptoms:
- Raised blood pressure
- Reduced kidney function
- Kidney Infections
- Heart palpitations
Yet, being diagnosed wasn’t enough for me to change my lifestyle. I was young, only 25 years old and wasn’t ready to address how serious the condition could be. I carried on with the brunches every weekend, the “eat whatever you want” diet and the “forget it, don’t sweat it” attitude.
In 2017, aged 28, I was diagnosed with a second underlying medical condition: Hashimotos Disease – an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid. This condition, although quite common and considered less serious than my kidney condition has definitely caused me the most issues by far. Who knew such a little gland could cause such big problems?!
It took me almost a year to consistently regulate my blood pressure and hormone levels through medication and during that time some of those symptoms persisted.
Still, I didn’t prioritise my well-being. 🤭
My wake-up call finally happened during a meeting, whilst telling clients how they could have a healthier workforce by starting a wellness journey.
I felt like such a fraud; Who was I to be sitting in front of clients telling them how to get their staff and company healthier when I wasn’t taking my own advice?!
On top of my junk diet and doing zero exercises, I was a former nurse, so I really ought to have known better.
The guilt was real. I decided that it was time for me to practice what I was preaching and get on a wellness journey.
I started by doing some self-reflection. I needed to understand what had stopped me from taking action prior to my epiphany and had to try and envisage any roadblocks on this journey to a healthier me.
I knew that I needed accountability, I needed help. This led to me seeking the assistance of a personal trainer. I also knew from my experience in corporate health that rates of adoption and success are much higher when individuals participate in health activities with at least one other person. My people were my sister and cousin, and they were more than happy to come along for the ride. We trained 3 to 4 times per week and actually grew to really enjoy it. I also took a deep dive into my nutrition, applying the same principles I’ve taught to so many others.
Although medication is necessary for my health conditions and has been a major contributor to the improvement in my symptoms and results, the biggest change I noticed both in terms of how I felt and what I saw from my blood tests came after my lifestyle shift..
Consistent exercise and a big shift in my diet and nutrition resulted in an even bigger shift in my antibody levels meaning my thyroid hormone levels became easier to manage.
On top of that;
- Today, my blood pressure is in a normal range
- My Hashimotos is in complete remission
- And my kidney function is at over 90%
It took me a while to get there, but I finally found my reason for getting healthy. There were no restrictive diets or intensive workout regimes, just a slow, gradual shift in daily habits that led to long-term change.
The moral of the story?
Don’t wait until it’s too late! Find your “why” and take start taking action today and get on a Wellness Journey.