Disclaimer: In case anyone isn’t looking to talk about health and weight, feel free to turn back now. I’m not a professional and this is very much just me working out the thoughts I have about my personal well-being.
Recently I started this new health program type thing. It’s a thirty day cleanse that’s about resetting the clock on your body, etc. The factory settings of bodily health, you know?
I feel positive about it for a few reasons. One of the big ones is that the shakes don’t taste like death. I actually really like the vanilla, which is odd for me because usually these health shakes need more flavor to not be a miserable slog through breakfast. But actually I could just dump the vanilla powder into plain water and be perfectly happy with it.
Another positive about this program is some products you can buy from the company that aren’t necessarily tied up in this thirty day thing. There’s this fizz stick that gives you energy when you toss it in some water. A 5-hour energy drink except there’s no specific time limit and I don’t feel like I took a shot of fruity chemicals. Also I’m feeling the effects right now. It’s pretty great. A current of energy that isn’t giving me tremors. I just feel motivated and that is a pretty unnatural state for me.
I don’t know if these things taste as good as they do, or don’t seem to be messing with my body in unpleasant ways, because of the all vegan ingredients and heavy emphasis on keeping these products natural but it’s suiting me pretty well so far.
Another thing I liked about the thirty day cleanse pitch is that it’s not really about weight loss, it’s about overall health. Not to say they don’t mention you could lose some weight – I think every health program on the planet has to mention you have a shot at losing weight these days.
All this got me thinking about another decision I made for my own health a while back that I don’t regret.
I decided to stop caring about my weight.
This is easier said than done for a lot of people, I know. It may even sound irresponsible. If you’re not monitoring your weight, how much can you know about your health?
I did some irresponsible things in grad school. My first year I really, really did not look after my diet. My grocery budget was categorized under ‘luxuries’ in my head so it didn’t have a very high priority. I’d also made a promise to myself to manage all my own expenses while at school so asking for help was out. It didn’t feel serious to me at the time but I was learning some really bad eating habits. ‘Eat all you can when there’s food in front of you because who knows, right?’ is not a good mentality.
I lost a good chunk of weight. Enough that I fit back into dresses that had been a little snug. And while that kind of made me smile, I couldn’t get my head around the fact that this result society had told me was good came about because I wasn’t treating myself very well.
The bad habits lasted even when food was readily available again so after grad school I put on a little weight. Nothing huge but enough that I could feel it. I didn’t have the sensation of comfort in my body that had been standard for me. So I picked up exercise (a thing I really need to go back to) and started feeling a thousand times better. I didn’t just get back to being comfortable, I started feeling better than normal. And I stopped caring what the scale said.
I had energy and increasing muscle definition. My mood improved by miles.
I realized whatever number the scale might throw at me didn’t matter because I wouldn’t trade how I felt to get it lower. Feeling good, eating well, treating myself with a little care and compassion… That was the best diet in the world.
Of course life intervenes. I got out of the habit of exercising for a million little reasons but I know I’m going back. I still took care to feed myself. I’ve started cooking a lot and I find I enjoy it more than I thought possible. I also started drinking a gallon of water a day. Never going back to dehydration, no sir. And now with this thirty day health ‘reset’, I have a positive outlook on this journey I’m starting with my body.
But I’m never going back to the scale. For me, seeing that number isn’t helpful. Because I’ve seen that number go low, felt good about it, and realized it was the result of bad practices. And I’ve seen it go up, stabilize, and feel like my body had become a happy, welcoming place.
So I’m going to be a Millennial about this and prioritize my special ‘feelings’. When I feel bad, I’ll make changes. If I feel good, keep going.
This isn’t going to be useful to everyone. Some people want that number. It can be encouraging!
I just wanted to say to the people out there who don’t have a positive relationship with that scale in your bathroom, you don’t have to stay. You could tell say to it, “I need some space from you.” Or, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Or, “I’m trying to focus on my career right now.” You can always go back if you change your mind.
I guess at the end of the day I think you should feed yourself something more substantial than a number that might not be an entirely realistic representation of your health.
So take care, darlings! And be kind to yourselves. You’re listening.