Healthy Body, Healthy Mind {How Being Selfish Made Me Healthier}

 

I saunter into my closet, fresh out of the shower, skin smooth from lotion and still warm to the touch. Surveying the contents of my closet, I realize it is Friday! Casual day, so jeans it is. I work in a professional, yet unpretentious environment. While I could get away with jeans any day since there is no formal dress-code, it is expected that we dress appropriately in case an unexpected meeting comes up with a department head. I hadn’t worn jeans in a week, since last Friday, because weekends are for leggings #amiright?

Stepping into the pant legs, I’m doing that butt shimmy thing, trying to get them over my hips. Dang, I must be sticky from not drying off too well. Or maybe they are tighter because they shrunk in the dryer this weekend? But once they are on and I do a couple squats to evenly distribute my ample derriere and stretch them out a bit, I realize that once they are buttoned, I can’t actually breathe. 

Of course I’m healthy, and I don’t need a scale to tell me

My weight fluctuates by 2-3lbs every day, so I stick to using the fit of my clothes to gauge how healthy I am. I have three daughters, and am conscious that they will internalize how I relate to my body. But that day, I stepped on the scale, maybe for the first time since my fourth child was born. And then I did the next worst thing: I calculated my BMI.

According to modern medicine, I was borderline overweight. I have never ‘struggled’ with my weight in the typical sense. Growing up, I had always been fairly active, eating healthy food, and partaking in alcohol sparingly (most of the time). I am happy with my body, for its strengths and function, even if it is not exactly how I would have shaped it, had I been given a biological choice. So why now am I gaining weight when I am not really doing anything differently?

I peeled off the jeans and slipped into some work-appropriate LuLaRoe. I texted my crew to tell them of my BMI discovery, knowing they’d reassure me, but also hoping that they’d support me to start being more healthy and active. We talk about going on walks at lunchtime often, but work, kids, school, and exhaustion get in the way more often than not.

I am fantastic at moderation in most instances

I ruminated on this issue on the drive to work. But what I realized was that I was consuming food from a place of scarcity. See, as a working mother of four, I don’t have much time to myself. I don’t have much of anything to myself. I was eating far past the point of satiety, gorging myself because it was the only thing I had that was all mine. When I went out to eat, I finished my meal regardless of portion size, knowing that if I brought leftovers home someone would get to them before I could finish. And the truth was I DIDN’T WANT TO SHARE! I felt as though everything that was once mine, was suddenly community property: my bed, my car, my body. I needed to control something, keep something just for me. That something ended up being food. No matter how healthy the content of my meal, the truth was I was eating too much.

I’m pretty new on this journey. I just had this realization a few weeks ago, but when it struck me what I was doing, and the negative effects that would have on my health if I let it continue, I decided something had to give. So I reclaimed my lunch hour. Rather than stuff my face while I work through, I’ve been intentional about taking walks while listening to my audiobooks. I feel better already just by getting out into the sun, and have more patience with my kids because I don’t feel emotionally exhausted. I am not exercising to lose weight, although that would be a nice side-effect. This is my ‘Me Time,’ filling my reserves, so that I have more to give to others. I’m not great at self-care, but this is a healthy step in the right direction.

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