It has been nearly two years since I wrote the post on my history of my ups and downs with diet and I thought today was a good day to circle back. I’ve been thinking a lot about this as of late (thanks to news stories and other blog post) and I thought I would share some things I’ve been struggling with and what I’m slowly learning. I’ll have a another recipe coming next post, so if this isn’t your type of post, no worries. I just felt like sharing.
See, I get really nervous about meeting people that only know me from this site. I have this fear that when they first meet me all they are going to think is: “She runs a healthy food site? How is that possible, she’s overweight!” I know, this mentality is not only silly but it’s also damaging to me and my self-esteem. I have a husband that tells me I’m beautiful every day and while most days I smile at him with self-confidence, I still have a good amount of days when I just want to tell him to shut up (he knows this and does his best to accept it.)
I think one of the hardest things I hear and read about the issue of being healthy is that it’s easy! Just eat right and exercise- how hard can that be? But the truth is, it takes willpower and a lot of determination. It’s not easy, it’s work. If you read my old post, you know that I fought and struggled to be healthy (and back then, my idea of healthy was thin.) Since that moment, I’ve been gaining weight. There are a myriad of factors as to why this has happened but I think it’s easiest to sum it up to “life” and not taking the time (because really, It’s making time for my health that needs to be a priority.) Someone from the outside may call this lazy but those who know me, and my husband can greatly attest, I’m far from lazy.
I, of course, say that and then turnaround and work all day still. For awhile, I would start work by checking my emails before I even left the bed which would usually lead to me hurrying through a short walk with the dog and then starting work (where I would be until I couldn’t do it any more.) By the evening, I’d be so tired and absorbed with what I was doing that I’d tell my husband I didn’t feel like cooking at which point we would order pizza. This happened more times than I care to count.
The other part comes with stress. I handle a lot of things with grace but stress isn’t one of them, especially when I’m already feeling overwhelmed. I handle stress with ice cream, carbs, and movies. The deadlines, projects, and clients felt (and still feel sometimes) too much. I pile too much on and then collapse under the pressure (I get everything done, but my mental/physical state definitely suffers.) I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember (my father even warned my husband shortly after we started dating that this was the case.)
I have, however, hit a breaking point. I’m tired of saying “I don’t have enough time” or “I’ll start being healthy tomorrow.” Through all of this, I’m still not focused on a number. I’m focused on feeling healthy. We’re making small steps towards this. Change that we can keep (and not “grand plans” that fail a week in-been there, done that more times than I want to admit.) And if I’m being honest, working as a team on this has been harder than if I was going at it alone. It’s all a big learning experience.
So here’s what we’re doing. I can’t tell you how we’re doing with this because we’re just starting and faltering. But, we’re being persistent and determined.
1. Step away. One of my biggest struggles right now is stepping away. During the weeks I’ve been going on longer walks during the day or pulling out the yoga mat for 30 minutes during lunch. I’ve also stopped checking emails before I’m ready to actually work in the mornings and I steer clear of work (for the most part) on the weekends. I’ve come to learn that emails are a weakness of mine. I feel compelled to answer, to work, to finish whatever comes across my inbox and it wasn’t really doing anything for me.
2. Change small things. While we’re still in the midst of trying to find a good schedule, my husband and I have started eating a quick breakfast together. This helps us center ourselves before our day actually starts.We’re also trying to implement dinner dates in the evening, but this one is proving to be a bit tougher. We’ll get there though! Also, on nights where I don’t feel like cooking, we piece together meals of salads, pasta, or something else quick and we keep healthy snacks on hand (like pistachios and grapes.)
3. Decide what is right for you. On our way back from the holidays, my husband and I had a serious talk about how we eat. The more research he has done, the more he feels that a low carb, high meat protein diet is right for him while I eat pretty much what you see on the site. We’ve found a bit of compromise on meals and it’s working (again, just takes effort.) There is so much hype in the media about what is “good” and what is “bad” that I can barely keep up. If you find something helps you feel healthy and get in the kitchen, then that is awesome. (I wrote a whole post about this that you can read called “love your food.”)
4. It’s not all about food and exercise. This was a big lesson for me. I truly thought that if I focused a lot on food and exercise, that would be the only thing I needed. However, I left out one major component: happiness. It sounds rather cheesy when I say it like that but it’s true. I’ve started finding things that make me happy, like taking off a random Wednesday to go snowboarding, splurging a bit on a cheese/cracker/hummus dinner (my favorite), or simply heading to a coffee shop for a couple hours to get a change of pace.
5. Say no. As a person that makes a living from working about four different jobs, it is easy to say, “Yes- I can do that!” because the money I earn is directly related to the amount of work I’m taking on. However, by saying “yes” all the time, I was adding stress and pressure that was causing me hit that breaking point. I’ve been saying “no” more often and it’s such an amazing feeling.
I’ve stopped sharing a ton of personal information on the site but I felt that this was important. I know that I go to sites or follow people on social media and it would seem from the outside that they have everything figured out and while some do, that’s just not me. A big reason I keep this site going is because it helps keep me on track, keeps me engaged, and makes me feel creative in the kitchen. I say this a lot but I truly mean it, thank you for the kind comments, emails, and for making the dishes. You keep me inspired.