I am passionate about health.(Sorry…Was that obvious?) And I’m fortunate enough to spend my time with a lot of other people who care about their own health and self development. Lucky girl, right?
But here is something I find interesting. There seems to be some underlying assumption that people who are passionate about health are somehow masters of it. I want to kill some of those assumptions. Because folks…even the healthiest of healthy people are far from perfect. Here are ten personal confessions from a self-identified health nut.
- I may act calm and grounded…but I am almost constantly having to keep my stress in check. Do I meditate? Yes. Do I practice good sleep hygiene? Yes. Do I balance my blood sugar with healthy food? Yes. Exercise? Yes…that too. But here is the thing…all that work is my way of coping with life. If I don’t get enough sleep, I lose my marbles. I don’t function well. If I don’t move my body, I feel anxious throughout the day. I’m not all that calm. I’m a nervous ball of energy. These “healthy” practices are my way of staying afloat in a world that is not exactly conducive to robust health. And trust me, its a lot of work.
- I sometimes overdo it with exercise. Most of the time, the exercise I do is the right kind. I listen to my body. I feel into what it needs. But sometimes? Sometimes I’m leaning on exercise the way another person might lean on a cigarette. It’s not always mindful jubilance that brings me to the track. Sometimes its desperation. I’m desperate to outrun the nearly tyrannical critical thoughts and to-do lists that I know will only be there waiting for me when the run is done.
- I tend to take on too much. Then I have to backtrack out of my engagements so that I can regroup. Then I feel guilty about backing out. So I try to get better about balancing my need to recharge with my need to connect. I want to balance my value of being there for others with the value I hold for my personal health. So do I know what my limits are? Yes. But do I adhere to them? Not always. Not often. I really struggle with saying “no” to things I ought to say no to.
- Eating makes me feel good when I feel bad. So sometimes, I eat too much. I know better. I know how to stop. I know the right tools to use. But I still do it. And then I feel bad about it afterwards. Well…sometimes I feel bad about it…
- Sometimes I worry that all this preoccupation with health is just my way of trying to escape death a little longer than the guy next to me. I am constantly having to check in and ask “am I doing this because I see it as actually being healthy? Or am I doing it because I’m just terrified to die? Sometimes I wonder if I spend too much time maintaining my life and not enough time living it.
- Chocolate is delicious. That’s just a fact. So is bacon. And sourdough bread. And butter. Health coaches don’t stop loving these things. At least I never did.
- I know that my weight is not the most important barometer of my own health. I KNOW this. I also firmly believe in a philosophy grounded in “Health at Every Size.” But I weigh myself every day. And I feel good when the number goes down. I feel bad when it goes up.
- I love scotch. And a good beer. Or a glass of wine with a fine meal. As a rule, I have made an effort never to use these things as a bandaid for elements in my life that I am actually hungry for. But there have been times that I have come home after a bad day, poured myself a glass of scotch, parked myself in front of the TV (I know…gasp!) and allowed my brain to be hypnotized by the screen. And you know something? It is AMAZING. I totally get why its a thing.
- I am a workaholic. It’s a problem. And it makes it hard to stay healthy. I sometimes feel like I don’t deserve to sit still. To relax. To sit down. To eat. To be loved. I’m so busy trying to be “healthy” that sometimes I forget to just be.
- Meditation is f**king HARD. I always appreciate it when I do it. But it takes a bit of coaxing to get me to sit still. If ever a health coach tells you its easy, they are either lying to you, or they know something I don’t. I can’t tell you how often I hear “but I just don’t know how to turn my brain off.” I have news for you. My brain works the same way. You want to know when it gets easy? The minute you stop trying to turn off the thoughts in your brain.
Healthy people seem to love talking about just how awesome it is to be “healthy” and eat “healthy” food. But they don’t always tell you about those days when those “healthy” habits feel oppressive. They don’t talk about how much work goes into taking care of one’s self. They don’t talk about how sometimes it can take over your whole life and go to far.
In the end, it really does seem as though a good life is one lived in moderation. And sometimes, that means moderating even moderation itself. Now if I could just figure out how to make peace with that…
What about you? Any confessions?