Mindfully Healthy

mindfulneill

Tuesday I was at home with a sick toddler and spent most of my day on the couch watching hours of singing children’s television. After several days of cleaning up vomit from said toddler I was ready to deep clean everything. I was also really wishing I felt healthy. Sure, I was sleep deprived, I ate too many carbs, and even though I never actually threw-up (knock on wood) I felt gross from all the clean-up duty. There was a reason I felt bleh… but that feeling happens more often than not.

As I sat on the couch I started thinking about health and noticing how quickly my mind slid to dieting and thinness. Sigh. This cycle again. I know you’ve all seen it on this blog. I get excited about weight loss, I start a program, I do well. Then I fall off said program and make poor choices that spiral me towards disordered eating and self-harm. Then I declare that I am going to eat what I want and not give a rat’s ass about dieting. Then eating what I want turns into fast food, ice cream, too much coffee, etc. I gain a little weight or maybe just become bloated from salt and too little water. My face breaks out. I wheeze when I walk. I feel listless. So then I diet and it starts all over again.

I attempted to break this cycle back in March when I got back to therapy. The binge eating has subsided, but I still eat when bored, tired, angry, sad, happy. I have an emotion and then pick a food and stuff that emotion down. I still think of food as “good” and “bad.” I don’t reach for healthy food. I “save” things for when I’m “better.” As my therapist says, the only way to overcome this cycle is to be mindful. Mindful of my body, heart, and head.

I truly don’t want to diet. I don’t want the yo-yo. I cringe at the thought of people congratulating me on weight-loss. Does it mean they’re examining me? Waiting for me to mess up? Will I disappoint everyone?

I want to love my fat body. Yes, it is fat. Don’t tell me it isn’t. This body has carried and fed three kids. It has survived abuse and assault. It has a brain constantly curious and heart that loves fiercely. I have a soul. I have value and worth as I am. I want to honor this beautiful, sagging, scarred, tattooed, stretch-marked covered body. I deserve health, mental and physical.

Today I start a journey to embrace a mindful lifestyle focused on health and that not focused on calories, grams, and scale numbers. I may lose some weight. I may gain some weight. I’m not worried about that. I want restful sleep. I want to enjoy the food I eat and not race through meals. I want to be rid of the constant colds and infections. I want to be comfortable and not dissociated from my body.

Gosh darn it I want to like myself and treat this body well.

I am so bad about wanting everything to be perfect. If I cannot immediately be all organic, vegan, fitness super woman, then I will show you a binge worthy of one of those intervention TV shows. This path will be one of quiet, deliberate steps and not a rampage towards some big goal.

Is there a plan? Of course. While sitting on the couch I made a list of small, healthy lifestyle changes I can make. My goal is to work a few of these in each month and make it a routine. Here are the first seven steps:

Take a daily probiotic. The stomach bug inspired this one.
Mindfully take time outdoors each day. As in sitting outside and enjoying my surroundings for a few minutes or watching the sun rise on the back patio. Not on my phone, not rushing on an errand, but being present and mindful of my natural surroundings.
Start back with the organic produce delivery service. I enjoy eating the organic produce, rather than the flavorless stuff at the store. I keep throwing away uneaten produce because we don’t reach for it like we did with the organic produce.
Start my morning with a cup of green tea. I drink so much coffee at work. Starting with tea will help me cut back.
Wind down at night with a cup of Sleepytime tea. I love the ritual and quiet of tea before bed
Develop a morning routine and wake-up at the same time each day. To help reorder my crazy sleep patterns.
Get a blender and make smoothies for breakfast. I don’t like to eat solid food before 10am in the morning. This means by lunchtime I’m scarfing too much food down too quickly.

There we have it. Small, healthy steps.
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5 comments

  1. Excellent list! I find that a consistent wake/bed schedule makes me feel so much better, but it is hard work to get it (and it’s never as consistent as I would like). I’m with you on the outdoors as well – I call it my “sunshine” time. I’ve got to have 15 mins a day. Not too difficult if I’m already out and about running errands, but those days indoors…if I don’t force myself outside after a few days I just get grouchy. The other one that really helps me is walking. As much as I would love a daily walk, I just don’t have time for that in this season. So, I try to get in 3 walks a week – I’ve found that to be my “sweet spot” for keeping me sane, and it helps me sleep better, AND it keeps my joints from getting too stiff. Nothing ground-breaking or weight loss-producing, just overall health and wellness.
    Much success to you as you start on your routines!

  2. I admit, I’m not fully on the same brainwave, because I DO want to lose weight, and I know that no matter what I do, I’m going to feel uncomfortable until I do. It doesn’t help discovering how bad my health numbers are – almost worse than when I was a lot bigger six years ago. I’m extremely unhealthy, and in a lot of pain, and I want to lose weight for both of those things, and for the anxiety issues related to it. But at the same time, I don’t want to diet. I don’t want weight loss to be all-consuming, and make me less healthy mentally. I want to learn to love my body at the same time I’m working to make it more the way I prefer. Because I *am* less anxious when I’m in a normal body weight range. People don’t look at me so much then. I’m still trying to balance it all out in my head, because some part of me DOES want people to say hey great job and some part of me feels like it’ll get to be too much (like when people comment every single time they see me, even if I haven’t changed an ounce in a year) and I know that I’ll get my brain caught up in it and become disordered and feel like people are watching, but then again, I feel they are watching already…yeah. As you can tell, I am STILL extremely disordered and trying to find a good balance between the different places my brain wants to go, rather than going to any extreme. I’ve yet to find that mindfulness works for me, in such a direct way. I have a tendency to say “How am I feeling? Is food what I need?” and then eat twice as much to shut that voice up because it irritates me or feels condescending or whatever excuse my brain gives me at that moment. But I’m learning. Slowly. Hopefully we can all be in a better place one day.

  3. Hey there… I wandered over from the Readathon, browsed to this post. I don’t know you at all, but it sounds like you’re determined to make changes and choices that are workable and healthy for you… and to try to be compassionate with yourself while you’re doing it. And that’s brave, and awesome! All possible luck and good vibes!

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