Thursday, August 14, 2014

A few things I've learned about health, happiness and pizza.

We're all very obsessed with our health these days, aren't we. I'm sure it's nothing new, rather something I have noticed more than ever because of my peers and city culture. Me included. I try to deny it and be stubborn and do the opposite of the current  fad diets and eat a lot of bread and chocolate and stick my snooty nose in the air at it all.

The truth is I do care about how I look and how I feel and even the number on the scale. The truth is I know a lot about what is healthy and what isn't, and I listen and adjust my diet accordingly. The truth is that even though I deleted the stupid fitness app on my phone that depressed me more than helped me, I still count calories in my head. I've done that for years - ever since I took a fitness class in college that made me aware of what a calorie was and how much I should (not) have in the first place.

Actually, I'm really lucky to be a girl and to not have thought about my weight or calories until college. I never once dieted in high school, I was too busy playing on soccer teams and volleyball teams and fueling myself with probably not-so-good food. I suppose I'm glad I know more about what's good for a body and what isn't now, but I sure do miss those careless days of garlic cheese bread at midnight without an inkling of regret. Just pure, cheesy, garlicky joy.

The past few months I got a wee bit too controlling about my diet and my calorie intake. I'll admit it. It didn't last long because I was sad, and I knew it, and then my mom told me I sounded depressed, and I knew I was. And I actually believe that I was, chemically, not feeling well.  I realized after being vegetarian and vegan for 8 months I was deficient in some things my body desperately needed. No, not meat. Vitamins, healthy fats and probiotics that I had been denying myself. Poor body. In my attempts to be healthy, and, "fit", I wasn't giving you what you needed and you suffered for it. Sure, I eat way more vegetables and fruits than the average American. But even that doesn't equate complete health.

So, I'm learning you do need vitamins, and if you have a restrictive diet (or a bad one, I suppose), you need to know what you might be missing.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard about good fats, and sure, I know you need them. Yet until I started actually feeling my mood change without them, and my body yelling at me for not giving them the fats they needed, I didn't realize how much we really. do. need. fat. Consider this a friendly reminder that healthy fats are your friend.

All this talk about healthy this, good that... Man, that stuff can get a person down. Look, I know an avocado smeared on my toast is better for you than butter, and yet, sometimes I just want the butter. And, I have made the personal and executive decision as the person in charge of my body, that that is OK. I know that dark chocolate is better for me than milk chocolate, but as the CEO of me I have decided that I like all chocolate and I won't discriminate.  Plain yogurt does have less sugar than the fruity kind, but cherry yogurt sure does taste better.

The point is, I have stored up so much knowledge about what is good and right to eat, and overall, I think I do a pretty good job with my daily choices and what I need is a little more room for it's gonna be OK. I think those of us that are privileged know a lot about diet,  we have access to a lot of information, and we should be informed about our choices. We also have to be careful not to get carried away. I have seen this mindset of health steal happiness away. I saw it starting to happen to me. I experienced my body and mind weaken. I'm not willing to sacrifice so much for the sake of "health"

I wonder if Whole 30, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-free, Clean Eating, etc. are really the solution to our health crisis? We do need to consume less sugar. I know, I promise, I know. I hear it every single day. Is it really our bodies that are the least healthy? What about our minds? What about our hearts? What about our happiness? And is it really for health or is it for a size, a number on the scale? These questions. These are important questions to ask when considering a diet change or move to a more healthy lifestyle. There are so many people that do need to eat more healthfully. I happen to know a lot on the other end of the spectrum, who need to be kind to themselves. Who need to eat a milk chocolate bar if they want. Or a piece of bread, one piece of white bread will not kill you instantly. I don't think.

I'm sorry, I don't mean to make fun. This is mixed in with my own struggle, my own failures, my own heart and mind and health. I've learned all over again that I should appreciate my body for all that it can do. The number on the scale simply does not matter. Our minds and bodies are certainly connected, intimately, and we need to be aware of how that effects what we choose to believe we "need" to give or restrict our bodies. What we fill our minds with will influence and impact us. Choose positive stuff to fill that mind - it matters too!

Last night I ate cheese pizza and had a couple bud light's on a boat with my soccer team. I asked for seconds on the pizza, because it was good. I was extremely happy and thriving, not a worry or a fear that this food consumption might set me back a week. It felt so great. I'm not saying the key to happiness is light beer and 4 slices of cheese pizza and you should do it every day. But maybe, at least, once in a while, it is the key to happiness, and the key to health.

Today, I'm not going to run 5 miles to "work off" the pizza. I went for a walk with my neighbor this gorgeous, cool morning. And that's all I'm gonna do.


Donna Boucher said...

Your mommy sees. She knows you pretty well. You figured it out. I'm glad. Here is my advice... Eat what you want to eat...just watch serving size. Be thankful for it. What's that Bible verse that says nothing is forbidden? We just should not be gluttons. I'm proud of you and will ask God to help you be free of diet stress. Love you.

Robin in New Jersey said...

You are a very wise young woman. Wise beyond your years. God Bless!

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