I'm always on board with goals and resolutions in December and January, but something that's also super important to me is staying true to who you are and being brave enough to put it out into the world in the culture we've created of online shaming, criticism for being different, etc. Too often we take what is fed to us through the media — the latest diet fads and trends, for example — and we think, Sure, I can do that. Or, This is the newest superfood? Okay, I can eat that. But following blindly may not serve you well.
This is not to say that we don't all go through phases — I have been in a yoga-pants-as-often-as-I-can phase for about two years now. Trying new activities, foods, even trying on new "habits" can be energizing and fun. But around resolution time especially, it is abundantly clear to me the difference between trying on a new outfit, per se, and trying to stuff myself into a robot costume.
Winter is a time of reflection for me, and I am being reminded how, if given an inch, I'll take a mile. I've talked briefly before about how I used to hop from one diet to another, chasing an impossible goal of thinness, fitness and "optimal" health. I've also detailed my tendency to self sabotage, however. To take things to the extremes. This is nothing earth shattering, so I'm sure many of you can relate. And here is what is starting to take shape for me:
One of the "diet" or healthy living philosophies I believe in is intuitive eating — listening to your body and treating it with kindness in what you eat and how you move. But I have struggled to apply that not only to what I eat but also how much, eating past satiety and my body's cues to stop. Or so I thought — perhaps the past couple years of overeating are just what I needed to land me here, learning today's lesson.
The lesson is the reminder — to "remember," my word of the year — who I really am underneath whatever pressures I take on to be healthy, thin, successful, happy, etc:
- I hate waking up early.
- I have a hard time chugging those really bitter green juices.
- I do love my yoga, but I also crave a good walk or run from time to time.
- I like feeling strong and knowing that I'm taking care of myself, mind, body and soul, in my way.
And knowing that that way will never be "perfect" — I'm picturing yogi whites, meditating for hours, not a drop of sugar or sweetness in my life (this is MY image of "perfect" right now) — is imperative. The reality is that MY "perfect for ME" is perfect for me, and I encourage you to find your perfect, too. Not the artificial image you may have created, like mine, of some unattainable standard. Your "perfect for you" is tailored to who you are, what you love, what you need and what you want. A lot of resolutions are all about denial, but if you're denying yourself your favorite foods or activities, you're denying a part of you. Playing with balance and moderation and what feels good is where it's at. Trying to be someone you're not will never work. I feel like I repeat this message often, even if that's just because I need to hear it.
At any rate, going from one extreme to the other — binge drinking on New Year's Eve and then trying to "detox" on January 1st, for example — is hard on your body. I hope that if you are playing with healthy new habits or changes this year, you're easing in and being kind and compassionate to yourself. That is truly the only way to go.
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