Saturday, September 6, 2014

Selfishly Unselfish

Which sounds like a massive contradiction in terms, I know. How can one be both selfish AND unselfish? 

For years I have struggled with my weight. I have hidden behind any number of obstacles, too afraid to climb over them. I wrote about it here, and I wanted to believe that I was ready to make real, lasting changes. But as is normal for me, I quickly let my enthusiasm get swallowed by everyday life. 

Raising four squidlets is HARD. Supporting my husband through a law degree? A LOT HARDER than I thought it would be. But do you know the hardest thing of all? Admitting that I am important enough to be a priority. I'm quite happy to schedule my day around my husband's running, the children's swimming, housework - but seeing my own exercise as equally important? No way. I put so much effort and thought into planning what my children will eat for lunch, ensuring they have a healthy selection of food to sustain their growth and learning at school. Do I even come close to putting that much thought into my own need for sustained energy throughout the day? Nope. 

I've written about self-care vs. self-love, and I think too often, I class "self-care" as selfish. It feels good, therefore it must be a luxury. Why do I think this way? It's not helpful, and all it's scored me is a body which functions poorly, feels worse, and is not yet forty, but feels 75. 

I turn Forty in just 41 days. I won't be reaching my ultimate health goals in that short time frame, thanks to a finely honed knack for making excuses and procrastinating. My goal in that time isn't based on weight or numbers. My goal in that time is to adopt just one healthy habit each day, and to sustain it. By the time I enter my Fortieth Year Of Life (Capitalisation intended), I will be living a healthier, more active lifestyle. The weight, the fitness - will take care of itself, if I do my part. 

One of my hurdles is emotional eating. I'm stressed a lot. And this means I eat a lot. Or eat erratically. Or eat too much. Or too little. 

Another hurdle is water. Or the lack thereof. The birth of my third child (and the fourth, 13 months after that) has left me with a lingering complication, meaning that I don't drink a lot of water. Since one of my health goals is to drop excess weight and adapt a lifestyle so that I can have this complication surgically repaired, it's kind of funny that I have to drink more water as part of the process. 

Aaaaand...exercise. This one is weird. I actually really like getting out and exercising. I loved going out for a 5k walk, I loved going swimming. I loved doing my exercise class before I fell pregnant with #3. The challenge here isn't that I hate exercise. It's that I have to sacrifice caring for my family in the here and now, in order to be able to better care for them later. I feel like it's wrong for me to be unavailable for the 30-45 minutes it takes for me to squeeze in a workout. The reality is, I'll be unavailable for a heck of a lot longer than that if I don't make my health a priority. And given the benefits to my mental health, I should be all over this. 

So there you have it. Nothing earth-shattering. Just one mama's journey to wellbeing, one habit at a time. 

Today, I was at the shop with two of my children (stressful much?), and I was staring at the ice cold bottles of soft drink, and the bags of chips. I so wanted to go there. But I thought of this article, and softly but firmly said to no one in particular, "I love them more than I love Coke and chips". Hence the name of this blog. This blog is as much a promise to them as it is to me. That I will choose to love them more than I love the crap food and unhealthy lifestyle. I will love them enough to hit the treadmill. I will love them enough to not buy chips. And every day I do not buy them is a victory, a small but hard-won victory, which will lead me to the ultimate goal of a healthier, fitter, (hopefully slimmer!) me. 

Today's healthy change: Not buying junk food at the shop. 

Thanks for reading, 

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