Weighty Matters

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Diet Mentality

Last week I had a phone consultation with a nutritionist. I feel like I’m sort of slogging along and not making any progress. I know this woman through other friends in town and know that she’s all about healthy, balanced eating, striving for “clean” foods, respecting our bodies and our metabolisms, etc. The friends who have worked with her on their nutritional programs and weight loss efforts have achieved good results and like what they’re learning from her. After thinking a lot about it, I decided that a consultation was a good idea and a potentially positive step forward.

I’m always leery of tipping over into a diet mentality. For me, I equate “diets” with huge restrictions and that thinking leads to negative feelings of deprivation. The chattering monkeys then hook up with the mind squirrels and I begin to think that I need to hoard food and protect at all costs my need and right to eat whatever I want. Sometimes just thinking about denying myself a certain food triggers my eating disorder.

Devising a healthy food plan with a broader approach calms my mind and buffers me from that diet mentality. Even though I ultimately restrict my food choices, the key is that the action remains a choice and not a demand. I do much better thinking, “Choose to eat more clean, unprocessed foods and emphasize fruit and vegetables over breads, potatoes and other starches” than I do when someone says, “No carbs. Only a little fruit. No more than XX grams of XXXXX or XX grams of XXXXX a day.”

It’s a mental and emotional balancing act, but when I approach it calmly, I reap physical benefits.

I like having a nutritional professional working along with me. You’d think after all this time, I could serve as my own expert, but I’m not. Left to my own devices, I can easily veer off in the wrong direction. I’ve made a lot of progress, true, and I’m much better informed than I was in the past, but there’s more improvement that I can make as I continue to move forward.

The nutritionist and I will speak again this week. She’s working on a plan outline for me. I know that I’m steering clear of the dreaded diet mentality because I’m looking forward to discussing the plan with positive anticipation instead of diet dread.

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Here’s to Taking Care of Ourselves

Okay, I’m going to wave a banner, lead a cheer and completely urge everybody reading this to find one great thing that you can do for yourself this week. Pick something that you completely enjoy and that falls in the category of Good Self Care. Then go and do it.

I did some of that tonight by going for a massage. The massage therapist I use is A-Ma-Zing! She pays attention to energy in my body, where it’s blocked, what’s tightened, what needs to release, etc. A session with her is so much more than a head-to-toe rub down. She can tell if an issue is rooted in muscle, tendons or nerves.

Thanks to the work she did on me this evening, I have immeasurably better range of motion in my left shoulder than I’ve enjoyed in weeks. I can’t tell you how much time she spent on the nerves and muscles in my right leg but the flexibility is incredible. That’s my weaker, more arthritic knee and it feels ten years younger tonight. I also am not experiencing the phantom ache I’ve felt in that leg every evening for the last week or so.

Yes, caring for self is a wonderful, positive thing.

Now, some might argue that everything I do is caring for myself. Eating healthier, exercising, working on my eating disorder and food issues — the whole kit and caboodle. That’s a valid argument. However, I will argue that it is incredibly important to also add extras. The additional things we do for ourselves might be physically, emotionally or mentally good for us, but they’re also treats which boosts the emotional benefits. These acts of self-care are great positive reinforcement.

Bi-weekly manicures and a monthly pedicure are self-care for me, but I’ve come to think of them as essential and routine. I guess coloring the gray in my hair falls into this category, too. I’ve always considered massages and facials as “extras”. I’m starting to think that I should schedule them more on a regular, routine basis, too. Ooh, now here’s a slightly indulgent dilemma. If the extra self-care treats are turned in regular occurrences, do I then need to find myself new extras with which to treat myself? Hmmm. I’m sure I can figure out a few ways. 😉

What are a few ways that you can practice self-care this week? Take a bath, find some alone time to read, get a massage, a facial, your nails done? What can you do to reward yourself for just being you?