Take a look at the top Google searches for New Year’s resolutions.
You’ll undoubtedly see that eat healthier and lose weight is at the top of almost every single list. Talk to the average mama out there loving her family, working her butt off, and serving her community, and ask her what her goal is for the new year. You’ll definitely hear her mention, “…to serve healthier food and lose weight.”
Hooray! There’s no disputing the fact that our nation is in the midst of an obesity crisis. And according to the American Heart Association, our children’s generation may be the first generation to be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than us, their parents.
I’m all for helping our families get and stay as healthy as possible.
So as moms, we should all get on the bandwagon and kick off an epic New Year’s diet: vow to quit sugar, swear off those beloved CFA waffle fries, and devote ourselves to rigorous daily gym sessions, right? Well, if you’re reading this blog, you might know a little about my personal story and struggle with food and body image.
Because of my decade-long battle with eating disorders and distorted body image, I made a promise to myself not to jump on the bandwagon of fad diets or to hold myself to the unrealistic expectations we see on tv and magazine covers.
For the most part, I’ve been able to stay true to my promise over the last several years. I’ve worked on staying healthy by eating a balanced, mostly real food-based diet and getting regular exercise that is enjoyable to me (i.e., not CrossFit). And about 7 years ago, I completely ditched the skinny magazines — all of them: No Us Weekly, no People Magazine, no In Touch.
Even so, I’m a busy, often-stressed woman anticipating a landmark birthday this March. Lately, I’ve been feeling like the way I nourish my body hasn’t been working for me. Over the last few years, I’ve gone from a mother of one to a mother of three overnight. I moved across the country with my family of five, left a corporate job, published a children’s book, launched multiple businesses, and tried to keep it all together on the daily.
It’s been amazing.
It’s also been H.A.R.D.
I’ve faced more challenge, heartache, betrayal, fear, and failure in the last few years than in my entire life beforehand.
And in the face of all this awesomeness and stress and ambition, something had to give.
The thing I gave up was my health — my mental and my physical health.
In the midst of the challenges of starting new businesses and raising three children, I stopped buying and preparing high-quality organic foods.
In the midst of needing 15 hour work days but having only 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, I forfeited my work-outs and pushed harder in the office than I should have day after day.
In the last 12 months, I stopped reading for pleasure; I almost never sat down and played with my children. I yelled more than I wanted to. I cried more than I wanted to.
All the while, my body was sending me signals.
“Please slow down a little. Please look into the eyes of the children you’re doing all this for. Please STOP.”
And so for this New Year 2018, I stopped.
I stopped and looked and said to myself,
“What should I do?”
I love my life and I love what we’re building with this community. I love my family. I love YOU!
I also love myself. I want to take care of me so that I can keep doing this truly good work. But as a voice for recovered anorexic and bulimic women, and for my own sanity, I will not do a diet. I will not join a new gym. But, I will commit to nourishing myself…to dedicating time to my body and my mind again.
I decided that the best way to do that for ME is to detoxify my body and my mind.
I’ve chosen to read a book each month that is not for work or for personal growth, but purely for my heart. This month, I’m relishing in the magic that is Anne Lamott with her newest book Hallelujah Anyway.
I’m taking time to play with my children when they ask.
I’m saying “No” to others more than I am saying “Yes.”
This is what it means for me to detoxify my mind.
I’ve also decided to say “Yes!” to detoxifying my body and changing the way I see food.
For so long, even after 13 years of recovery from eating disorders, I’ve had a running list of bad foods and good foods. While I have come to wholly know and love myself, I’ve continued at times to struggle with loving the size of my thighs or the idea of bathing suit season. And this made me realize, that in my heart of hearts, I still have a somewhat toxic relationship with food. Cooking and serving others is one of my favorite hobbies, but how I serve myself is rarely the same joy.
So, I decided to join my friend on a transformation program to detoxify my body and establish a relationship with real, delicious food that is based in joy and vitality. Some people will join this transformation program to lose weight and whittle their waistline. That’s not me. I’m not measuring or weighing anything — food or myself.
I’m committing to this transformation program because if I want something to change — my stress level, my joy, my ability to be fully present in this beautiful life I’m building — then I need to be as healthy and vibrant as I possibly can be!
Deciding to do something that is wholly for ourself can be really hard as a mother.
It can be even harder to do something without letting the expectations or assumptions of others influence our truest intentions.
But, hey, we are women. We are mothers. We do Hard Things Everyday!
Whatever you do this New Year 2018, do it for you, Mama!