My name is Lexi Tavares (@healthydynamiclife), and I am 30 years old. I currently live as a digital nomad. I am founder and CEO of Healthy Dynamic Life. I read two nutrition and weight-loss books that changed the game for me, helped me switch to a plant-based diet, and change my outlook mentally too.
For most of my life, I have been pretty fit. I grew up doing all sorts of activities, and I am very passionate about dancing. My mom shopped at the natural food store and made my family home-cooked meals. I considered myself pretty healthy.
As I was growing up, though, I experienced body dysmorphia and disordered eating behaviors, as well as over-exercising. But I remember every day by lunchtime I would be so hungry I would end up overeating at lunch. Food controlled my life.
Then, in 2018, I started gaining weight in a way that I never had before. As this was happening, I started to get super depressed. I would try to sleep as much as possible because I couldn’t bear to face myself or the world. I was relying on food as my source of happiness and pleasure.
On top of being depressed, I was in constant physical pain. My upper, middle, and low back constantly hurt. My knees, hips, and ankles hurt. I had frequent stomach aches and gastrointestinal issues. I had migraine headaches. I had chronic respiratory infections and had frequent bacterial and yeast infections.
My turning point came in February 2019 when my sister, who was living in Austin, Texas, invited me to come stay with her.
I was super excited to go visit my sister and lots of friends I had made when I lived in Austin about a year prior. But I realized that my friends in Austin had never seen me at this size before. I realized I had a huge motivation for myself to lose the excess weight I put on, and I wanted to do it as quickly as possible. But I also wanted to do it as healthily as possible.
I had done *all* the fad diets before throughout my life. I would feel deprived, hungry, and end up gaining weight again. And I would get stuck in a cycle of restriction and bingeing. So I remained open to new, healthier approaches.
One day, my mom recommended that I read the book Fit for Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond.
It took me a few days to read it, but it just made total sense. And after I read it, I decided that the next day I would start practicing their recommendations of:
Eating fruit until noon (kind of a spin on intermittent fasting, without actually fasting entirely!)
Focusing on raw, whole foods until 4 p.m.
Properly combining the right nutrients for meals for easy digestion
Getting 30 minutes of exercise a day
I also came across a book called the 80/10/10 Diet by Douglas Graham, whose approach involves consuming at least 80 percent calories from carbohydrates, 10 percent or less from fat, and 10 percent or less from protein. Now, my diet consists of edible-as-is, whole, raw, fresh, ripe, plant foods and lots of fruit, with some easy-to-digest greens like lettuce and celery. My diet includes fruit salads, smoothies, salads, veggie noodle dishes, and "nice cream" (frozen dessert made from fruit). I also include a small amount of raw seeds on occasion.
It works for me because I get to eat whenever I’m hungry and until I’m fully satiated. It gives me energy to do any and all activities that I love, and it aligns with my ethical values. My diet is also so easy on my digestion, so instead of getting sleepy after a meal, I feel energized and creative. This lifestyle has also helped me feel alive, vital, and energized and maximized. (Reminder: This is what works for me. You have to experiment—and possibly work with a dietitian or doctor—to figure out what makes sense for you.)
My diet changes made me really desire and have the energy to move my body.
I decided to go for walks around my neighborhood for about 20 to 30 minutes. About a week or two into my journey, I had the desire for more. And while my whole life I had a strong aversion to running, I suddenly had the desire to run a 5K!
So I signed up for a Couch to 5K program with my local library. I did walk/jog alternate workouts three times a week for six weeks, and I ran my first 5K ever in April 2021.
These three changes made the biggest difference in my weight-loss results.
I adopted an attitude of gratitude. While I didn’t even realize I was “doing a gratitude thing” at the time, I really was so excited about all the positive changes I was experiencing. I continued to focus on how light I was feeling, how much energy I had, how much I got to eat and enjoy, and as a result I continued to attract more and more of these juicy experiences as I released a pound a day. Focusing on all the positive benefits was key.
I started eating more fruit. My body was able to heal itself from the inside out. Some people say fruit is magical, but I think the body is magical when it is fed proper fuel. And for me, that means lots of fruit.
I started having fun moving my body. The body is designed to move! Choose activities that appeal to you and have fun while doing them! Whether it be walking, running, dancing, hula-hooping, hop-scotching, basketball, swimming, yoga, pilates, Zumba, line dancing, volleyball, or weight training. Choose what excites every cell in your body and rejoice that you are alive!
I lost 70 pounds in the first several months of my journey.
This journey has completely changed my life: how I think, how I eat, and how I live. Because of this journey, I now understand how to properly fuel my body so that it can heal itself, maintain itself, and then thrive so that I can accomplish everything I want to do.
I now understand how to think about unhealthy cravings and how to make choices that are in service to my highest self. I now know how to love myself and know that I am good enough and lovable just as I am right here, right now. I know how to be willing to change and grow.
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