Thursday, February 18, 2010

Letting Myself "Be"

Ever have those days when you are just in a funk?  When you are just having a "grumpy day"?  Nothing is overtly wrong, but you just don't feel like yourself.  You can't put your finger on the reason for it, but you know that you aren't in your usual state of mind.  When this happens, sometimes, I find myself feeling quiet or withdrawn.  Other times, I just want to not tax my brain too much and let myself rest. 

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned over the years is to simply let myself "be".  This morning, my youngest niece, who is 7, told me on the phone that she was having a "grumpy day".  I told her I was having a grumpy day too.  Then, I said, "You know, it's okay to have a grumpy day every once in a while.  You can let yourself feel grumpy today, and then tomorrow I bet you will feel better." 

Often we fight our natural feelings because we think we need to present a happy face to the world, or that we need to be up and energetic, when we really are feeling everything BUT happy and energetic.  I have found that the more I let myself "be" and not fight the "grumpy" feelings, the faster they dissipate and the less I want to indulge in something sweet or unhealthy.  It's almost like engaging in reverse psychology with myself.  The less I fight feeling the way that I do, the faster my mind and body work through the emotions. 

It took me many years to learn to value this state of just "being".  I am a very active person, with an active mind, always planning and thinking about what I want to accomplish on a daily basis.  I had always thought that just "being"  - and not "doing" anything - was giving in to the negative feelings or somehow acquiescing to them.  Sometimes, I worried that those feelings might stick and not go away if I chose to "accept" them and that I might end up unmotivated, sluggish, and sad. 

Growing up, I had always valued the state of "doing" to make things better.  Taking action to fix the problem.  Seeing a need and filling it.  While it is important not to dwell permanently in the land of "problems" and "grumpy days", it is also key to know that sometimes we just need permission to accept those feelings as they just "be".  So, just for today, I am going to let myself "be" and I have resolved to be okay with that.  I am not going to fight it.  I am just going to observe and feel the emotions, let them pass through me, and watch myself naturally return to a state of balance.  In short, I am going to accept with grace that today is just a "grumpy day".

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What's Not Working for Me

Yesterday afternoon, I had a battle with sugar - and the sugar won.

I truly believe that there is always room for a little sugar in your diet, but where to draw the line is not always clear. Although I prefer to choose honey and natural sweeteners when I can, sometimes when good old regular sugar makes an appearance  it is hard to resist. Since I was a child, I have always loved bullseyes - the chewy caramel candy with the white confectioner's sugar in the middle. I sometimes salivate just thinking about them!  And, yesterday, I could not stop eating them!

I can tell that sugar and my body don't get along because my skin breaks out in a red, itchy rash a few hours after I eat it, usually on my hands, arms, knees, or feet - a strange combination of places, I know.  I can tell my body is talking to me and that it is saying "I don't like sugar!". But, even knowing what I do about clean eating and healthy living, I sometimes I don't listen to what my body is saying.

The question I had to ask myself is "Why am I eating these bullseyes?" Yes, they are sweet and chewy and tasty, but what is making me eat so many? I wasn't feeling stressed or hormonal or tired or cranky. I didn't have a craving for them.

This may sound simplistic, but I think it was because I COULD eat them. They were available and there was nothing to stop me. No peer pressure, no self-pressure, no shortage of supply.  It was easy and I could do it.

Even though as of late I very clearly have found that "it's not about the food", and that instead it is about everything else in our lives that make us not eat well - our stresses, our worries, our lack of time and planning, our habits, and, most importantly, our mind-talk - I realize that it is also because of our ability to choose.  Frankly, yesterday, I chose poorly. I chose a food that gave me a skin rash, upset stomach, and tired body, even though, based on past experience, I KNEW that my body would react that way.

The ability to make choices is very powerful.  Sometimes that is easy to forget. I ignored my responsibility to my body to make a healthy choice in what I eat, and I paid a price for it. I have been thinking long and hard about how important it is to remember to choose well and to take care of my body...for no other reason than just because I can.