Awhile back I posted that I was going to try to make healthy choices as long as it was something that I enjoyed. Healthy food, healthy exercise. And not beat myself up over it when I didn’t.
This is actually something that is somewhat difficult to maintain, for me. As much as I like to think I am a person who naturally craves balance, this is only true for some parts of my life. I like balance when it comes to structuring my time — work, family, friend, and “me” time. But when it comes to eating and health I have a surprisingly hard time trying to find a balance between healthy eating and indulgence.
I also have a fatal attraction to extreme diets. I found myself, this week, reading up on cleanses, fasts, detox diets, and something called a “fat fast.” (This is what it sounds like – you eat nothing but fat!)
I am not actually doing any of these things, however. I was not always so wise. I had periods of disordered eating in high school and college. I was not an anorexic, but I definitely had periods of fasting, followed by periods of overeating. I remember wishing I could be just “a little bit” anorexic – enough to lose, say, ten pounds.
In my more rational mind, I believe something like intuitive eating is probably the most sustainable way to maintain good eating habits. As I understand it, this involves respecting and listening to your body. I find that when I am mindful of how the food I eat makes my body feel, I do all kinds of good things. I eat more slowly and chew my food more thoroughly. I don’t eat until I am uncomfortably full. I don’t eat that last bite just because it is on my plate. I eat more vegetables and less sugar.
But, here’s the thing. The things my body wants are boring.
When I was practicing intuitive eating, my body would tell me it didn’t want dessert! Or I would take a bite or two and it would be enough! And it would make me get off my ass and make a salad for lunch instead of reaching for something more convenient. Stupid body! Why do I have to listen to you?
It is strange to talk about the wisdom of the body on an addiction blog. Isn’t the whole point to conquer what my body is telling me it needs? Isn’t that what addiction means? I don’t think so. Never having been physically addicted, my reasons for drinking were all in my head. My body did its best, but the nausea, night sweats, and crippling hangovers sent me a clear message that my body wasn’t happy with what I was doing.
So here is what I have been able to do, and what I plan to continue to do:
1) Daily walks
2) Taking vitamin D (I was low in my last blood work) and cod-liver oil
3) Eating slowly and mindfully, and paying attention to how it makes my body feel
4) Exercising outside when I can, at the gym when I can’t, but only for the mental health benefits, not to put pressure on myself to lose weight.
5) Taking a few minutes each day to just breathe, especially when I feel stressed.
Sigh. So boring. 🙂