Food, Exercise, and Balance

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I can’t even count the number of times I’ve written about this since I started blogging.  Mostly on my old blog Home of the Croslands over at Blogspot.

Many times in my life, actually, for years, it has been an obsession.

First it was eating all real foods and as naturally as possible.  All of the meat that I bought was natural, and even better, grass fed/organic.  I bought all organic veggies and fruits.  All organic eggs, butter, sour cream, etc.  I bought wheat berries, ground my own wheat, and even soaked it.  I even tried making sprouted flour once.  That was really difficult.  This was all very expensive and we couldn’t afford it, but that didn’t stop me.

Then, I tried the Trim Healthy Mama diet.  I obsessed about what I ate for 6 weeks.  If you know anything about this diet, it is very specific, and it is a lot of work.  You have to eat every 3 hours, or you’re messing it all up.  You can’t eat fats and carbs together.  You can have zero sugar, which means using sugar substitutes such as sugar alcohols and stevia.  All which cause me tummy upset.  I had to cut out a lot of things.

The most recent on was the 21 day fix.  The big thing here is portion control and “eating clean.”  I ate the same thing every day, for every meal.  I didn’t eat enough calories and I worked out like 2 hours a day (the 30 minute workout video, then a hike for about 1 1/2 hours every morning).  It was hard for me to eat enough eating so clean (and with very little fat).

My goal with all of these was weight loss.  Did I lose any weight? Not really.  I lost a few pounds, but nothing significant.

I struggle greatly with balance, and I am a very black and white person.

The last time I tried to lose weight (this summer), I went into a hypomanic episode (thanks, bipolar II).  I began to realize that actually, it happened every single time.  I just didn’t recognize it as such until recently because I’ve only recently been diagnosed.  And anyone that knows anything about bipolar or bipolar II, after the hypomanic episode comes the low… the depression.  I was depressed for several months.  It was miserable.  I couldn’t function.  I felt like I was a drain on everyone around me.  I went the other direction and didn’t take care of my body at all.  No exercise.  Eating terribly.

Since then, I am on all new medications and doses.  I feel like a completely new person.  I feel as though I have energy and desire to spend true, quality time with my family.  I color with them, play games with them, take them on hikes.  I’m homeschooling Karis and it’s going beautifully.  I have a daily routine in which I keep the house clean every day and keep up with laundry.  I feel amazing.

So the question comes back in my mind, can I handle trying to lose weight again?  I mean, I am almost 30 pounds heavier than I was a few years ago.

After lots of soul searching, talking it out, and praying, I have decided that I am done with the days of dieting and exercising to lose weight.

I am learning to be happy and content with who I am, right here, right now.

One of the things that I realized is that I care way too much what other people think about me.  Will I be judged for gaining weight?  What will people think?  People obviously think I am a lazy glutton because of the weight gain, right?

It just doesn’t matter.

I no longer have a scale, and I don’t care about that number anymore.

Does that mean it’s okay to be unhealthy?  No.  Healthy=self care.

So what does all this mean for me?

This means that I will exercise for health.  To feel good.  To set a good example for my kids.  And because I enjoy it.  I will take hikes, ride my bike, do some weight lifting.  Will I do this every day?  Nope.  I will be balanced and do this 3-4 days a week at maximum.  And if I miss a day, I will be okay with that.  Gone are the days of obsessively working out to be a certain size.  It’s not about that anymore.

Now food.  This is a hard one.  Robert (my wonderful husband) has told me that if I need something to follow so that I don’t eat terribly all the time (I feel awful when I do and as I’ve said, I’m very black and white), then I need to create my own way of eating.  What makes ME feel good?  What nutrients does MY body need?  What are some goals that I can have that are perfect for ME?

I’ve come up with a  few small steps that I will add to over time.

  1. Reduce sugar.  Have sugar in my coffee (because this brings me JOY), but try not to have sweets often (on occasion… gotta have a Little Debbie snack once in a while).
  2. Reduce Coke Zero.  This is a big one for me, and I have tried many, many times.  I will be gentle with myself.  My goal is to switch over to La Croix waters, which I love as well.  But I will always get a Coke Zero from Sonic when I’m in town (once or twice a week).
  3. Add in nutrients.  When I am eating a meal, focus on what nutrients are present.  If there’s not enough protein, add some.  If there aren’t enough veggies or fruits, add some.
  4. Eat breakfast.  Every day.  Eggs, Greek yogurt, oatmeal.  Smoothie.  Something.
  5. Eat a snack in the afternoon.  Every day.  Preferably a fruit, veggie, whole grain, or Greek yogurt.
  6. Don’t stress about fats.  Eat butter, peanut butter, full fat dairy, hummus.  Even ranch.  Most of those things are actually nutrient dense (minus the ranch, of course).
  7. Cook most meals at home.  But be okay with eating free food in the dining hall here at camp.

This is a new journey for me.  Self care.  No more scale.  No more weight focus.  Just a focus on health and loving my body just the way it is.  Will you join me?

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