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I’m Lydia, an Integrative Health Practitioner with big dreams. I strive to make conscious decisions that nourish my body– the vehicle that allows me to wander– and choices that honor the beautiful planet on which we live. While navigating this human experience, I constantly remind myself to operate from places of inclusion, gratitude, presence, and love.

Growing up, many of my family members experienced health issues including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, blood sugar dysregulation, stroke, and epilepsy, to name a few. I saw my family try their best to implement lifestyle changes to improve their health, but none would last. They lacked the direction, momentum, and personal guidance needed to make shifts that could have prevented their dependance on pharmaceuticals and deepening of their disease. I was no different.

In middle school, I developed the most confidence-crushing acne. I took countless antibiotics and used bottles upon bottles of topical medication that deteriorated my skin. My face was raw. It hurt to smile. It hurt to cover my skin with the pore-clogging makeup I bought with babysitting money, but I did it anyway. Not only was my skin inflamed, the rest of my body was too. I was constantly bloated. I held a lot of water. My face and fingers were puffy. I remember hiding my hands in my sweatshirts because I was self conscious. My body was crying for help and so was my self-esteem. Middle school is great, isn’t it?

As I scoured the internet for instructions to become a naturally glowing goddess, I found workout videos, I learned how important drinking water is, I watched “What I Eat in a Day” vlogs in which people only ate plants (a very new idea to me), I found DIY face mask recipes which inevitably taught me that answers can be found in the kitchen–I wish I could sit here and tell you a great success story about healing my horrific acne naturally… but that didn’t happen. In middle school… I was lazy. The only things I implemented were the quick DIY face masks and the shortest at-home workout videos I could find. I did these really inconsistently, of course. And when I used these tools, I would hide in my room. I felt embarrassed about making positive lifestyle changes. “What if my family thinks I’m trying to be a crazed health nut? I just want to be pretty.”

So I continued drinking milkshakes every night and making my gourmet afternoon snack of chips with cheese melted on top in the microwave. Call me a chef. And I continued taking medication that didn’t make my problems go away, and if it did, it didn’t for long. I eventually took Accutane, and it worked, no doubt. In the process, though, it made my skin brittle, sensitive, and stripped it of its own ability to heal. I was free of acne, and still free of that fresh-faced look of a healthy person I desperately hoped to have. Only later did I realize that my external appearance is a direct reflection of my inner world, and that if given the right environment, the body does heal.

 
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In high school, my friends convinced me to join the cross country team. “Why am I here?” I thought. I would have rather watched Youtube videos of confident, buoyant people eating salads and doing pilates on the beach, as if that would actually help me become the person I dreamed of being.

I remained on the team, and after the drudgery of conditioning my sedentary body, something really magical happened within me. I started feeling… joy… in being active. I started to have… confidence. I started to drink… water and eat… vegetables. Before I knew it, I was making smoothies for myself every morning for breakfast… which caused me to be late to choir class most days. BUT, these small changes were becoming so easy and I began experiencing a vitality I never knew I could feel, with a glow that shined from the inside out.

The manifestation of symptoms is often painful, like with acne, for example– so of course we try to eliminate them as soon as possible. However, when our symptoms are masked with one-off prescriptions, the underlying issues still remain. When unaddressed for a long time, they can fester into something devastating. Which is why I am so thankful to have realized that my skin was trying to tell me something. It was saying “Hey girl! Could this body get some nutrients, please? And hydration? Stop watching Youtube late at night so it can maybe get some rest, too. Oh, and could you QUIT it with the inflammatory garbage you’re eating? Thanks! Yours truly, Inflamed Acne.”

It is so imperative to ask “Why is this happening?” when also asking “How do I make this go away?” As a young girl, I wasn’t aware that dealing with chronic symptoms and disease is NOT our destiny, and that most of it can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle.

You know why I was finally able to transform my habits? Because I got started. Getting started gave me the momentum to keep going. With that, and the accountability of a team of girls that expected me to show up every day, I changed my entire life.

I am now armed with the knowledge that food matters. Nutrition matters. Exercise matters. Sleep matters. Even mindset, matters. We have the power to change the course of our lives by taking responsibility over our health. I could shout this from the rooftops!

I am so grateful for the acne. I am so grateful to have the understanding that modern medicine isn’t enough. My internal flame is burning brighter each day with motivation to change the trajectory of health in this world, especially in the United States, and in my own family.

MY WHY is to empower others to lead lifestyles that allow the fulfillment of their own life missions. I don’t believe that anyone’s passions, visions, or purpose should be dampened by the symptoms they experience. We are not here to suffer. We are here to utilize our gifts and add goodness to the world. Living in a healthy relationship with our bodies can be daunting– we are a misled culture, advertised into crippling lifestyles from the day we are born. However, we all have a legacy to leave.

My mission is to help others navigate this world of conflicted interests and take ownership of their health so that the collective can be in accordance with their own purposes that extend beyond our physical bodies and ultimately elevate the entire world.  

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