Why the sudden health kick?
- Minimalism…is about eliminating the excess to make room for the more important things. Recently this mindset has overflowed into other areas of our lives beyond the number of our possessions. In other words, getting rid of the physical clutter has made it easier to discern other areas of clutter (like our health).
We aren’t trying to throw ourselves under the bus for being total couch potatoes. We run, and do body weight workouts, and play ultimate frisbee (aka sprinting, always). We also (thought we) ate pretty healthy to begin with. As the resident cook, I made sure our meals were carefully crafted (aka, eating the same thing every week) to ensure nutritional success. We don’t buy oreos, sugary cereals, or overly processed foods. But just because we don’t buy oatmeal cream pies doesn’t mean we don’t eat Qudoba, or movie theatre popcorn, or bagels with cream cheese. I admit our food rules are weird and kind of inconsistent.I used to put my ‘holier than thou’ husband on a pedestal for his ability to turn down an after dinner dessert on a regular basis. I was seriously impressed until eventually he told me that his secret for not eating dessert at night is because he eats a lot throughout the day at work. [insert dramatic eye rolling]
“Mr. so-and-so brought in homemade baklava and caramel cake from their secret family recipe.” Eventually the full confession erupts and he tells me “people bring us desserts all the time: triple fudge brownies, two dozen donuts, get well soon/employee appreciation/just because it’s Monday sheet cakes. I probably eat at least 5 dum dum suckers a day.”
My husband’s secret sugar binging aside, our intentions were in the right place but still our efforts were good, not great.
- Being honest with ourselves. Recently we had a conversation about how we were really feeling. Ready for some TMI? Between the two of us our symptoms include: recent migraines, bloating, lack of energy, abdominal pain, irritability, insomnia, tendonitis, symptoms of IBS, intense food cravings, diarrhea, energy crashes, hangry-ness*, seasonal allergies, mood swings, and hormonal imbalances. Whew!This past year gave us even more serious wake up calls including several trips to urgent care, and one to the E.R. It’s not that we experience all of these symptoms everyday all at once, but we’d be lying if we didn’t admit to them.
*I will fully own up to the hangry symptom. Hangry Katie is inhuman. Full disclosure: Clay and I adopted this tactic from the Hulk/Black widow as our own way of saying “calm down (food is on the way)”. (Except in this scenario I am the Hulk and Clay is Scarlett Johanssen.) Because running a finger across my palm is a lot less patronizing than trying to talk sense into me. Anything sounds patronizing when you’re hangry.
- Sooner (now) rather than later (never). Living forever is not the goal. I know that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, and even the healthiest people die while running marathons. On the other hand, we complain about our health but eat a donut the next day because “we deserve it” and we’ll workout sometime next week.
This quote by Joshua Fields Milburn is a great reminder:”We tend to manipulate time: We think that we don’t have enough of it today, but somehow we’ll magically have more time tomorrow, that somehow—even though we don’t change anything that we’re doing—we’ll be able to exercise and eat healthier and get into better shape tomorrow.” (full essay here.)
I don’t need to live until I’m 120 years old, but I also can’t participate in the “complain, eat a donut…complain, drink a beer” cycle anymore if I want to take my health seriously.