Taking Care of Myself

It’s interesting that I scheduled this blog to coincide with the New Year.  It wasn’t intended that way, and this certainly isn’t a “resolution” post.  I’ve been pondering this subject for a few months now . . .

My dad had Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and was once 150 pounds overweight.  He had four congestive heart failures before he finally took his doctor’s advice to change his eating habits.  Unfortunately, the damage to his heart was already done, and he didn’t survive his fifth CHF.

I always thought that if I had some sort of life-threatening disease that my doctor told me could be fixed by changing my diet I’d make the changes before it was too late, unlike him.  However, lately I’ve been wondering if that’s really true.

I discovered a while back that my eczema is brought on by eating products with gluten in them.  If I remove wheat-based foods from my diet, my fingers–which have cracked and bled since I was 15–clear right up.  But for some reason, I still give in to my processed carbs craving from time to time, and within two days, my poor fingers are dry, flaky, and cracking again.

The same is true for dairy products.  I’ve known for several years now that dairy isn’t good for my system.  I get really bad halitosis, phlegm starts building in my sinuses from the first bite, and the following morning, I have what feels like a hangover; sloth-like lethargy and fuzziness in my brain.  Yet, like with bread, there are weeks when I’ll eat dairy every single day.

Falling off the wheat and dairy bandwagons starts innocently enough; I tell myself that I’ll just have a little cheese on my omelette, or just have one piece of garlic bread, especially if it’s been days since I’ve had either.  After all, everything in moderation, right?  But that first bite seems to trigger an even stronger craving and next thing I know, I’m inventing reasons to have them every day after, until I can finally get the cravings under control again.

Exercise was another arena where I wasn’t doing what I knew was good for me.  I did a boot camp at the beginning of 2012, which helped somewhat, but after it was over (it was a 10-week thing), my exercising was sporadic at best for the rest of the year.

So last summer I began to question what it would take for me to finally buckle down and kick those cravings and want to exercise more regularly.  I went to hypnotherapy for a couple of months, hoping that would somehow alter my inner dialogue and get me to change my habits, but I didn’t get the results that I thought I would.

off-switchI’ve had to take a good, hard look at myself and what my expectations have been.  I realize now that I’d been hoping there was some magical switch in my head that could be turned off so that I wouldn’t succumb so easily.  I’m sure that’s why I tried hypnotherapy.  It was helpful, to a point, but it quickly became clear that it wouldn’t be the “fix” that I’d apparently been hoping for.

Craig pointed out that it seemed I was punishing myself for even having cravings, but that I need to accept them as a part of life, and having them doesn’t make me a failure.  That one is hard to assimilate, mostly because I don’t like what I consider to be weakness in myself.  But I’m coming to realize that everyone has cravings.  What makes some people able to abstain from them is a diligent awareness of what they put into their bodies.

So after all the soul searching, I realized that the only option left for me is to be more mindful and DO THE FRIGGIN’ WORK!  I’ve always known that there’s no cure-all, or diet pill or system that will help me lose the weight I want to.  Heck, I’ve even told that to other people.  But when it came right down to it, apparently I, too, was looking for that magical something that would make me do the “right” things.

But there isn’t, and that’s what I need to accept.  I realize my “issues” aren’t life-threatening; at least not now, but I know that my past choices aren’t doing my body any good either.  I don’t need a doctor to tell me that when my body already is.  It’s time for me to realize that the only way for me to get to the healthy weight I want is to take better care of myself by being aware of what I eat, getting plenty of rest and exercise, and being honest with my emotions and thoughts (which are what often trigger the cravings).  When I do all of that . . . THAT’S when I’ll see success.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana Fredsti
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 11:16:29

    I would suggest looking into the gluten free options for breads/snacks that are becoming more and more available (even though yes, they are a bit overpriced) to help you on this. There are some really tasty ones available that help alleviate the cravings. For me it’s important to not feel deprived and for my body to know that I’m going to make sure it’s satisfied. I’ve had to retrain it to crave certain foods and let go of habits, but it’s possible…and the more things you find that are good for you that nourish your inner “I want a treat!” self, the easier it becomes. Same with dairy free products. You will see success. You do the hardest work of all and that’s thinking these things through!

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 04, 2013 @ 11:28:19

      Thanks, Dana. I’ve found a really good non-flour baking “flour” that, when used in my banana nut muffin recipe, tastes just like when they were made with wheat flour. I haven’t tried it with my cookies yet, but I’ll give it a shot.

      Dairy is a bit harder for me, because there aren’t very good non-dairy melting options, in my opinion. I’ve found some sliced “cheeses” that I like, but haven’t found any non-dairy shreds that taste good or melt right.

      But I think what I’ve been stuck on lately is the retraining my body to crave certain foods. That’s where I need to begin the work now & stay diligent with it.

      Thanks for stopping by today. 🙂

      Reply

  2. Terry Shames
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 11:49:52

    I’ve been non-wheat for 8 years and rarely slip because when I do it upsets my stomach and makes me feel anxious. But if I had to give up dairy, I don’t know how I would do that. The one thing I’m happy I’m addicted to is exercise. But I still have weight problems because sometimes I start throwing too much sugar into me–and that includes the sugar in wine. Pretty soon the scale starts to let me know I’ve overdone it, but even more I start to feel sluggish and tired. But it STILL takes me a while to get myself back in the groove of eating in ways that make me feel good. Like you, Alyx, I ask myself why, and haven’t come up with a good answer. Why wouldn’t I want to feel good all the time? Being human is sometimes hard work!

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 04, 2013 @ 13:13:36

      You’ve hit on a very good question, Terry: Why wouldn’t I want to feel good all the time? When I KNOW how dairy or wheat affects my body, why on EARTH do I keep ingesting them? But I’ve been pondering that question for quite a while now. I think this might be a case of doing the work first, & the “why” will be answered later.

      Thanks for stopping by today.

      Reply

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