Category Archives: health

Still Learning Healthy Skills

I was uncomfortable in my body when I was unhealthy and that did not change once I was healthier. My mind had to catch up with my body. What I did not know yet was that it would take time. Even though I was at my thinnest ever in my life, I became obsessive about two things. How flat other women’s stomachs seemed to me and counting my caloric intake. Seriously, the majority of my thoughts focused on that alone. I would sit in a room during Bible study and instead of paying attention, I would find myself staring at other women and their stomachs.

[Tweet “Were theirs flatter than mine? I need to sit up straighter so mine doesn’t poof out as much. If my stomach was flatter that guy would want to talk to me….”]

Were theirs flatter than mine? I need to sit up straighter so mine doesn’t poof out as much. If my stomach was flatter that guy would want to talk to me….

Then there was the constant counting of calories in my head. Constantly going over in my head and My Fitness Pay how much I ate and when I ate it. Calculating how much of my workouts negated the calories I had consumed.

I was exhausted. I had gone from binge eating to binge thinking about food. How much I ate, when I ate and what I ate. I spent more time on the food app then anything else.

A huge motivation during my journey to getting healthy was that it would lead to my believed fairy tale ending. I was blinded by the idea that it would be my turn, finally my turn and nothing was going to move me away from this idea! But (and there is always a but with God isn’t there), God was showing me something more. He placed people in my life who continue to cultivate the idea of His love in my life. People who challenge me and force me to really take a look at my motivations behind my goals.

I also had to grow comfortable with how my body. The key for me was coming to terms that my stomach will never be flat no matter how many ab work outs and sit ups I did. That no matter how much I count calories, there will be times that I am off or just don’t care enough.

I have gained weight since meeting my weight loss goal four years ago. Today, I am in a healthier place mentally and no longer desire to try to fit into some mold that doesn’t work for me. Meaning I still strive to be healthy, working out and eating well ( for the most part) but not freaking out as I once did when I do not. Accepting my body for what it is, for how God has made me has been so freeing.

I encourage those of you to strive for your goals, to be healthy and see the amazing things your body can do! Also learn to accept the reality of what your body will look like. There will be a time when the choices you make will be to not work our or to eat that “forbidden” food. Just try to be kind to yourself during those times. You are not less than because of these choices. How you come back from them is what will define you. Gaining health is not about getting it right all the time. It is learning skills in order to be healthy. To live a well rounded life.

I am still learning how to be healthy, and some lessons take longer than others. The biggest lesson I have learned is to keep going, that life can get in the way. Or like me one can just want a break for a time from the work out grind. And that is just fine…

 

 

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Mid Week Motivator : Over All Health

What is over all health? To be it looks like a balance in different areas of life working together as one. It looks like this for myself.

Mental Health: taking time out for myself. Sometimes this takes the form of a quiet day away from people. Or going for a workout, especially when I don’t feel like it. Other times it means allowing myself to feel my emotions, face them head on.

Spiritual Health : When I am distant from God, not praying as often or seeking His word my soul feels it. I am darker, more pessimistic and prone to anger. I don’t want to engage with people. Not in a self care kind of way but in a selfish way.

Physical Health: By working out and eating well, I feel good. I feel energized and ready to take on the day or task. I sleep better when I am consistent. My disposition is better when the food I eat is healthy and nutritious.

I can only be healthy when all three of these elements work together. When I lack in one area, the others suffer. It is important to be aware of my needs, recognize when I need more of one in my life.

 

Mid Week Motivator : Sleep

I have never had problems sleeping. I am also a deep sleeper, it often takes a lot to wake me up.

Sleep is important but it may also not come easy for everyone. If you have issues sleeping please seek professional help. This article is aimed towards people who choose to sleep less.

There seems to be a contest in this country about who can sleep the least. Bragging rights belonging to those who get “by” on X number of hours. The X usually being the least amount.

Getting the sleep we need is vital to overall health. Our bodies and brains need the maximum hours of rest each night. Without it our bodies work hard to compensate. One is food. The body is lacking energy, food creates energy, which leads to overeating.

Another is getting sick. By not getting enough sleep, the body has not had time to repair itself. Cells have not been able to repair themselves.

 

 

Mid Week Motivator: Water

It should be easy to drink water. I mean it is easily accessable  in our lives ( especially those of us living in the modern, western world). We are surrounded by places to buy water to our liking. Water fountains are in every public building we enter. Not to mention,(hardly ever) do we need to question how clean the water we are drinking, cleaning and bathing in is safe. Plus we have the option to further filter our drinking water if we so desire.

So why is it so difficult to get into the habit of drinking it?

All day long other beverages are consumed are they not? There are the sugary drinks and the various colas. Since it is still summer time, the choices added lemonade and iced tea. Let us not discount all the blended coffee ( or as my friend puts it, coffeeish) beverages.

But drink water? Just plain water with no flavor added? Really?

I mean, who does that?!

I do.

I enjoy water. I enjoy being properly hydrated. Have you ever finished a soda and felt, well thirsty still? I have and either wound up drinking more soda or a glass of water. I can honestly say I am no longer tempted by soda. While I do enjoy one from time to time.

I’ve had to recommit myself to drinking enough water. This became evident the other day as my friend and I had to end our run because of thirst. On other days I have underestimated the heat and humidity by not drinking quite enough water to get through my workout outside. In this vein I have purchased a snazzy new water bottle ( thank you Dollar Tree!) and am committed to refilling it at least three times during my work shift ( which averages around five to six hours). At home at least three to four more times.

Drinking water has helped me so much in staying away from other kinds of beverages ( as I stated above I still do drink them from time to time). Not to mention saving money by refilling my water bottle, I am not purchasing it.

Drink well my friends!

Fighting For Friendships

Relationships are hard. Friendships take time to cultivate and go through seasons of distance. It has made me realize that Friendships have to be fought for.

Recently my life has been busier and because of this, I have allowed some things to fall to the wayside. Busyness has become the easy excuse to not do things or to engage with people. Along with being busy also comes both mental and physical exhaustion. Busyness can be a good thing but we can also use it to avoid other things in our lives. As if it gives us an out for those things we engage in full schedules and obligations.

Which can lead to self isolation without realizing it is occurring. This has happened with my friendships recently. So preoccupied with the what I had to deal with and my own struggles, that I was missing what was going on with my friends. Accepting the odd text or social media comment made up for lack of conversation or time spent with each other. In doing so, I am missing what is happening in their lives and vice versa.

There are times when friendship can be easier, when we see each other at church every week or at a Bible study during the week. But when it is not as convienent to make those lunch plans, we can get used to letting friendship fall to the wayside. It takes effort to keep a friendship going, to go deeper than responding “I’m good”.  Or not asking for help or telling the truth of what is happening in our lives because we know the other person has a lot going on as well.

[Tweet “The reality is I forget how much I need friendship. In the busyness, I turn away from people.”]

The reality is I forget how much I need friendship. In the busyness, I turn away from people. In my exhaustion I hit decline an incoming call or answer a text the next day. But I need relationship, I need others to speak truth into my life. When I drift away from these kinds of deep of friendship, I lack true accountability.

Getting caught up in the busyness, I turn away from people. In my exhaustion I hit decline an incoming call or answer a text until the next day. But I need relationship, I need others to speak truth into my life. When I drift away from these kinds of deep friendship, I lack true accountability.

This can make once deep friendships all about the surface, eventually leading to an end. I would like to know that I fought for a friendship before it comes to an end. I know there are seasons for certain people to be in my life and I in theirs. And others, others that will last the rest of my lifetime. No matter which of my current relationships fall into, I will fight for it. Fighting through the busyness of my life, widening my view to  no longer be so narrow.

Understanding Mental Illness Better

May is Mental Illness Awareness Month. Better awareness of what Mental Illness is good but so often this can come from a negative connotation, as a description of a criminal.

This phrase is being used more and more in social media and on the news. Mental illness is used as a generalized descriptor for a varying range of brain diseases. While it is great that there is a greater awareness of mental health in this country, it also spotlights the great divide there is in treatment and attitude towards it. Because there is a stigma in our society for this kind of health issue. Depending on your health insurance coverage, the help and medications that one may need is not always readily available.

There is no one way that mental illness can look either. Not everyone dealing with a diagnosis of some kind of mental illness will not necessarily look or act how most of expect. This generalization can be dangerous as those who are diagnosed feel the need to hide it. Perhaps fearing judgement, having people look at them differently. Let’s face it, when someone is diagnosed with a physical disease, we know better how to deal with that. But a mental illness, which is something that cannot be cured but only maintained. It is scary and foreign for most of us.

My family is all to familiar with the ravages of mental illness. It is in some sense a part of our legacy, my grandmother was Schizophrenic as was my mother. I did not know my grandmother as she passed away when I was a baby. My mother though, I had in my life until her passing twenty-four years ago now. In fact this month is the anniversary of her death.

What I recall is her warmth and sweetness. The times I could not sleep, she scratched my back until I drifted off. She liked to dance in the car when a good song came on the car radio. But her illness stole her from my sisters and I. Breakdowns meant that mommy would be in the hospital and that she could not be with us. Then there were the times when the combination of medications meant she stared off into space, disconnected from the rest of us. She was not violent as some schizophrenia can be.

The times her medications worked for us, we had our mommy back. She lived her life, living with our grandfather not far from us. The day to day care of myself went to my aunt and uncle. She was in my life, picking me up from school a few days a week and spending weekends over at her place. But her illness left her in a stagnated place, she was unable to hold down a job for too long.

Today, it can be different, someone with mental illness can hold down a job, raise their families. This is if access to right medications and therapies is given. For so many, it is not. Either there is a cultural bias against treatment or simply not being able to afford it. There can be this picture of what someone with mental illness can look like, and it is not always a good one. Which can lead to people hiding their illness or even avoiding getting treatment altogether.

Mentally ill are not people that need to be kept away from or be frightened of. So many need to know that they are loved and will continue to be loved. We also need to understand the scope and breadth of Mental illness, to stop generalizations. Because until we do the lack of understanding and compassion will continue.

Do research, talk to those in your life who deal with this in their lives. Ask questions and most of all love those who are fearlessly. Because all anyone really longs for is to know they are loved and cared for no matter what.