This story of Evolving Wellness lifestyle change in action comes from Lars. Below, Lars shares how he overcame diet and health challenges in his life to transform his health and wellbeing, and what key approach worked to provide the best results. To connect with Lars, visit him on his site

Area(s) of My Health and Wellness that Needed Change

I’ve been a vegetarian since the age of 6 but didn’t have much of a clue about health whatsoever. When I started studying computer science, being 19 years old and living away from my family for the first time, I was at the pinnacle of my unhealthy lifestyle. My everyday life consisted of sitting in front of the computer, watching TV-series, drinking soda, eating pre-prepared pizza or noodles, and just occasionally attending a lecture. Neither was I active and doing any sport at all, nor had I any perspective or vision about my future.

In retrospect, I would almost consider myself being depressive during this stage of my life. My mind was full of destructive thoughts and I was living in seclusion more and more. Being around other people made me feel uncomfortable and I went as far as preparing my meals at midnight to avoid getting in touch with any of my roommates in our shared kitchen. Deep down in my heart there was a very quiet voice telling me that there was something very wrong with the way I was living my life. However, I kept disregarding it and lost myself in distraction, time after time.

Slowly but steadily my body became afflicted by many ailments such as back pain, acne, and even breathing problems. Of course, I also gained a good amount of weight and was in terrible overall shape, often times getting a stitch in my side just by walking around. All of this wasn’t enough for me to make any changes. I continued to live a life without purpose and kept distracting myself…until one day…

On that cold December day at the end of 2009, I went out to have my hair done and what the coiffeur told me as I sat down struck me big time. She confronted me with the fact that my hair was getting thinner and that I was most likely going to lose much more over the course of time due to the genetic impact. I was shocked to say the least and couldn’t believe that this was supposed to be my fortune. While I wasn’t really bothered too much by getting out of shape more and more, the idea of going bald really conjured up an immense fear inside of me.

My hair was always the one thing I was proud of and I was desperate not to lose it. I just wasn’t going accept this. Everyone in my family had a full head of hair even at an old age so my genes couldn’t be too bad. It had to be lifestyle factors after all.

Strategies I Implemented & Their Results

After the initial shock and desperation, I decided to take my health into my own hands with the sole purpose of retaining my beloved hair. Little did I know that this was the turning point of my life, changing every single aspect of it for the better.

Having no idea at all what it meant to live healthy, I just went out to the grocery store and intuitively bought a huge bulk of raw vegetables. This was what came to my mind at first when thinking about healthy food. After 2 days of nibbling on carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers, it became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up this way of eating.

It was then when I started to do a ton of research and investigate every aspect of achieving optimal health. I read several books about the amazing benefits of a raw vegan lifestyle and also watched some very impressive transformation videos of raw foodies on youtube. I noticed that my initial attraction to raw foods wasn’t that far off but that a raw food lifestyle is actually so much more than chewing on a few vegetables in an uninspired way. A whole new world opened up with crackers, raw soups, noodles, and fruits that I had never even heard of before. I was hooked immediately and being 100% raw was the ultimate goal for me to achieve.

It made perfect sense to me that whole, fresh foods, which are not denatured contain the most life force and healing properties so I hopped on the raw vegan lifestyle right away being as motivated and determined as ever. With my initial impulse, I was able to hang on for around a week before I fell off the wagon and binged on junk food like crazy. I felt terrible and swore to myself that this wasn’t going to happen again. But the circle repeated. I burdened myself with so much pressure by only accepting a 100% approach. I started one attempt after another but always failed sooner or later.

Besides all the up and downs diet wise, I made quick progress with my physical appearance and also my mental state of mind. I learned that both go hand in hand and that I also had to work on my thinking patterns and beliefs in order to achieve perfect health on all levels. So I started working with affirmations, meditations and breathing techniques which gave me a great boost of calmness and confidence.

On top of all the mental work, I also started working out and went for a run every couple of days. Being exhausted after only half a mile in the beginning I soon made progress and was able to run up to 6 or 7 miles with ease. The diet part, however, still remained the most difficult one to figure out. It took me a long time to finally be more gentle with myself and accept that my approach of exclusively trying to eat raw foods just wasn’t going to happen for me at that moment. I had to accept that I would need to transition in a slower fashion and carefully listen to my body’s signals.

While trying to eat as clean and healthy as I possibly could, I didn’t neglect my cravings anymore. For instance, every once in a while I was still longing for some pasta, so I simply allowed myself to have some cooked whole grain pasta with a self-made marinara. I just went with the flow. This was such a great relief and opened the doors for a much more gentle but sustainable shift towards becoming the healthiest version of myself.

How My Changes Benefitted Me

After my switch, I basically became a whole new person. I quickly dropped 20 pounds and achieved what I consider my optimal weight. My skin cleared up in no time and my hair, while not yet growing back, at least stopped falling out. People complimented my glowing and alert look which gave me a good deal of self-confidence. And indeed, I did feel as good and clear in my body and mind as ever.

The last time I had that kind of feeling must have been sometime in my childhood and I had almost forgotten about it. I was seeing progress from my exercise routines and it motivated me to hang on and continue to shape my body. I felt quite proud of myself and with all the confidence I now had in my body, I lost a great amount of the anxiety I had and wasn’t afraid to step outside and meet other people anymore.

My mental work paid off as well. I created goals that I worked towards and felt that I had a purpose now. Affirmations and my trust in the law of attraction gave me the feeling that I was in control of my life and anything was possible. I finished my studies with excellent grades, followed my dream of traveling the world for almost a year in 2013 and got into a relationship with the most amazing woman shortly after that. What a turnaround!

Next Steps on My Health and Wellness Journey

Sounds like the perfect transformation story, right? Well, the truth is that there were lots of struggles, highs and lows, experiments and failures. I’m still fighting some battles today, but I managed to establish a much deeper connection with my body that allows me to listen and adapt to its needs quickly.

So what happened after that initial boost of motivation when changing my lifestyle completely? Well, after making some rapid improvement in just a few months of time, I hit a plateau or even took a few steps back. I became a little lazy and often times disregarded my mental work. In times of feeling somewhat good, I told myself that I’m doing quite alright and there’s no need of working on my inner game. Later on, I found out that being in a good mood is actually the most effective state to create and manifest beautiful things and attract even more love and amazing circumstances into your life.

So at that time, I had a lot of trouble keeping up my positive focus and often times found myself in doubt and disbelief. I was trying a lot of plant-based diet approaches but never really settled. Once again, I had to accept that my body is unique and doesn’t really fit a certain diet with strict rules. I needed to respect my intuition and not work against it. Eating animal products never stood to debate after I had found out about their negative health consequences and the unethical treatment of animals.

In regards of my eating habits, I am very happy at the moment and believe that I have found a sustainable approach that works for myself. Today, I’m eating a whole food plant-based diet high in raw foods. But I don’t have to force myself to eat these amounts of fresh foods. It just comes naturally and doesn’t make me feel deprived at all.

Other areas of my life like my fitness and mental outlook still need to be worked on. But then again, this is a lifelong journey after all. After launching my own online business a couple of months ago together with my girlfriend, I totally lost myself in this project, staying up late, sleeping very little, not taking enough breaks and totally forgetting about my meditations or getting in touch with myself. It didn’t take long until l felt worn down and utterly exhausted. I was grumpy and miserable at times and it took me quite a while to dig myself out of this hole and reconnect with my body and mind.

So that’s one thing I’m going to look out for in the future: Putting myself first, no matter what. Maintaining a positive outlook by practicing meditation and setting intentions every single day, going to bed early and improving my flexibility by getting into a routine of doing yoga on a regular basis.

Wisdom & Inspiration for Others

Changing one aspect of your life can have a tremendous impact on your overall being. My catalyst for taking my health into my own hands was the wish to keep my hair, but what happened was a transformation on all levels. So many beautiful things came into my life, I made a lot of experiences that let me grow and expand my knowledge.

You have a lot of power when it comes to your health and achieving your life goals – more than you might think! Set your intentions and don’t let them get out of sight. If you keep your focus steady and take action to achieve your dreams, you will inevitably be successful.

Sometimes it’s more powerful to do small steps into the right direction than big ones that eventually lead to failure. Pick one aspect of your life and think about how you could change it for the better. For instance, you might want to try to go to bed at 10 pm consistently. Focus on this single objective entirely and make it your priority until it becomes second nature.

The important thing is to get going, then you will notice that other changes will follow and that establishing new habits and breaking out of old routines is quite fun. Just don’t force yourself to do it all at once.

Be gentle with yourself. Just because a certain diet might sound perfect in theory doesn’t mean that it fits your individual needs. Experiment within the plant-based world. The closer to nature and less processed your foods are, the more will they contribute to your overall health. But you should always be eating in a loving state of mind and not a restrictive one.

If you have to force yourself to eat a certain way, but it’s no fun at all, take a step back and slow down. Allow yourself to have a processed meal every once in a while if you’re craving it big time. By pushing it away, there’s a good chance that you’re building up pressure and will eventually blow up.

Speaking of slowing down: Make sure to frequently calm down and get in tune with your body. Take some deep breaths, check how you’re feeling at that moment and what your true desires are. Then align your actions with your deepest wishes and you will notice how things are going to fall into place; you will almost effortlessly achieve your goals and have fun along the way. You are the creator of your life!