If you watch the news or read the newspaper or even watch Oprah, you probably have noticed the growing list of "shoulds" for your health. You "should" eat 9 servings of fruits and veggies, you "should" drink 8 glasses of water a day, you "should" exercise 3 times a week. Of course these are just basic ones. There are hundreds more out there! Do you get tired of being told what's good for you?
In my opinion, most people do already know the basics but hearing it all the time tends to make me feel guilty if I don't measure up. I could have perfect health, never get cancer, never be overweight, never crave sugar, never have diabetes-IF ONLY I were perfect when it comes to health.
If you're like me, you honestly do your best. What I've come to see is that if you do your best most of the time you'll be ok. If you even try to be moderate when you do any of the "shouldn't" you'll still be ok. Nobody is perfect, least of all when it comes to health.
I used to smoke cigarettes but I quit when my daughter was born. At one time, I was really addicted to cigarettes and reading articles about getting cancer and wrinkles didn't help me to quit. Heck, I even worked in the operating room and saw cancerous lungs first hand and didn't quit. In my daughter, I found a reason to quit that was more important to me than my wish to have a cigarette.Do I still miss having a cigarette once in a while-yes, lots of times. But I can still score one for me that I don't give in to it anymore like I once did.
I used to be a binge eater too. I could sit there all day and tell myself I shouldn't eat a box of donuts in one sitting but I'd do it anyway. I could read articles on the dangers of obesity and diabetes and that didn't make me run for the salad bar either.
I used to be very depressed at times. Not just getting down once a while but a deep, dark sadness would settle over me. Like being surrounded by a black cloud where I just couldn't get out or figure out what to do.
So, these days, I'm not a binge eater and I'm also not depressed. When I think back about how I got from where I used to be to where I am now, I can see that it was a long, slow process. I took small steps toward being healthier and happier but each step made me feel better and better.
I started taking vitamins which I think my mind and body must have desperately needed. I started walking every day and I tried to eat healthier food. I also started educating myself on health and well being. Not just reading about dieting to lose weight or trying one diet after another to drop pounds that came back every time. I wanted to really become a healthier person AND a happier person.
I started reading books by Wayne Dyer about changing my thoughts and once my thoughts started changing, the rest fell into place. Once I was happier, I didn't want to binge eat and I wasn't depressed. When I'd get down, I'd write out a plan. What can I DO to make this situation better. And then I'd ACT on the plan until I felt better. Feeling powerless is the worst feeling in the world but there's no need to be powerless.
Each and every person has to decide for themselves what they want to change and create a plan to change it. Take small steps at a time, steps you can live with and continue. But if you have a day where you want to eat chocolate all day, just do it! Dont' feel guilty. Maybe your body is craving magnesium (which is in chocolate). Just go with it for the day. The more you fight something the more you draw it to you.
What I learned from Wayne Dyer is that whatever you think about will grow. If I thought about health and well being, then that's what grew in my life.
So, now instead of getting annoyed by the constant barrage of health advice out there and knowing I'm probably falling short, I just ask myself if taking that advice is something I can or want to do. If it's something like "take more Vitamin D to prevent colon cancer and help build stong bones" I can do that easily. If it's "drink 8 glasses of water every day," well, I give it a shot but it hardly ever happens.
Along the way, I have discovered some important things that make me feel better and don't cost too much money. One is green tea, which I've grown to love. I credit green tea with improving my immune system and keeping me from getting colds and flu like most people do.
Another important thing I do is eat LOTs of fruits and veggies. I know, I know-this is one of those hard to do recommendations-getting 9 servings a day but I really credit this with helping me keep my weight down and my mood up. My body really craves all those nutrients now. Here's a few easy ways to get fruits and veggies
- Buy fruits and veggies fresh when possible, not canned (which contain added sugar) or dried. Frozen is also good as fruits and veggies are usually frozen soon after picking and retain most of their original nutritional value.
- Add a piece of fruit to each meal and make a fruit salad for every dinner.
- Keep carrots and celery washed and cut up in your refrigerator so it will be easy and convenient
- Add lettuce and tomato to your sandwich or wrap and take you own lunch to work.
- Eat at the salad bar when you eat out or need to stop for fast
- Try many of the 100% juices such as cherry and pomegranate instead of soda or sugary drinks.
- Get concentrated, whole fruits and veggies with Nuriche
So how did I go from being an overweight, depressed binge eater to being healthier, happier and at a good weight for me? One step small at a time! In fact, I'm still taking steps, sometimes forward, once in a while backwards. But overall, I'm taking more steps forward and that's what I focus on.