Patience with The Process
In a perfect world all my produce would come from my own organic garden. I would prepare meals with a sense of peace and sit down to dinner at four with a smile and no distractions from the joy of food. I would have time to digest before bed as I spent the rest of my night marveling at the beauty of the world while I watched the setting sun from my front porch swing cuddling a cup of herbal tea.
Seeking a healthy lifestyle can be a long, bumpy, pot-holed muddy road. There are millions of decisions to make everyday that will shape how we look, feel, and perform. Our jobs, families, friends, stress, money and other responsibilities affect how we are able to take care of ourselves. When we decide we want to make better choices it is often difficult at first. My journey towards a healthy diet has been anything but instant. Health is about how we feed our mouths, minds, bodies, hearts and souls. An attempt to satisfy even one of these aspects is to be applauded and patience is key in this process.
I was raised on fast food. My parents worked full-time and my options every night were Mcdonalds, Wendys, or Taco bell. For lunch my brother and I would use the microwave to prepare frozen pizza or macaroni and cheese, the kind with the powder. When my mother did cook it was hot dogs and baked beans. She never drank plain water so I wasn’t introduced to this option until well into my teens where I found it revolting without the corn syrup and sugar I was used to. We were given lunch money and I would choose a meal of french fries and an undercooked chocolate chip cookie at the school cafeteria. My diet growing up consisted mostly of chemicals, by-products, and artificial sweeteners.
As a teenager, I was normal, very uncomfortable in my skin. The popular girls were starting to go on diets and I wanted to be cool too. So my path began as a way to try to fit in. I would pour over the glossy girls in the magazines trying to be like them but without the right information I thought garlic bread was health food and apple pie qualified as a fruit. The diet food in the frozen section became a staple.
I slowly gained more knowledge through mentors, classes, and research. I gave up soda all together in college and lost ten pounds. Foods I used to qualify as healthy, like wheat thins and granola bars made it into the junk food category. Today I never use a microwave and avoid anything processed or out of a box. However, I still allow myself wine and have a hard time saying no to icecream when everyone decides to go to the stand in the middle of the summer. When I find myself at a bakery with a reputation I dive into that day’s specialty. I do not have my own garden but know one day that will be a reality. I understand that making healthy choices doesn’t mean giving up all the foods I love and that health above all is about balance.
When I started to make better food choices it snowballed and I wanted to make more better choices and things continued to get easier. It started as a focus on diet and getting flat abs but the path to fitting in changed and expanded into other areas of my life. Now I know I want to be happy, so that is my goal. I also know that it is very hard to be happy without being healthy. So I have to be healthy first. Other things I have done include taking up drawing and writing, learning meditations, studying yoga, and the power of positive thinking. They all feed another part of me. Sometimes I fall off my be my best-self wagon, this can last anywhere from one meal to one month.
I have certain expectations of myself but try to remember when I make any choice I am not proud of the best thing to do is to move on. Any disappointment I hold onto is substantially more destructive than the piece of cake I chose to eat, the run I didn’t take, or the three hours of TV I decided to sit on the couch and watch. I do my best, and that is the most we can hope for ourselves. I encourage you in your own journey, which is yours and yours alone. The information out there is vast and overwhelming. Take advice or leave it and know that no one will know you as well as you know yourself. Only you can know what the right choices are and that can be frustrating in a world where we expect others to have all the answers. Change often involves taking a step into the unknown.. Even if you change one thing, you deserve to be proud, as change is always hard.