After years of consuming we wake up to the truth: Too much is not good for you. Keep that in mind, ’cause I’m not telling you you shouldn’t indulge. I’m not telling you what to do, and when, in any way. That’s not good for your health.
Let me explain. We all get caught up in ‘musts, shoulds, do’s, and don’ts’. In the meantime we’re totally stressed out trying to do the best we should be. Forgetting all about what our best is… We run after every new diet, exercise, pill, self-help book we can find. As long as some fit looking guru tells us we must change our lifestyle we chase after the dream.
I refuse to let my life being lived by someone telling me how. A few years back I had a burn out just for trying to live my life perfectly. You know what? I can’t. I can’t be perfect all the time, the rest of my days. Furthermore, I really, really, don’t want to. For the first time in my life I sat down and wrote a list of all the things I loved. Every time I wandered off to something I ‘should love, because someone tells me it’s for my own health and good’, I wrote it on the ‘hate’ list.
My love list was a lot shorter and much more difficult. I was brainwashed into believing what others told me I should love. In order to have time for fun, I was supposed to do many things at the same time. I was supposed to make as much money in a short time, so I could retire earlier and have fun. A bowl of pasta was an absolute poisonous treat ’cause it was filled with carbs and it would ensure an early death. I had to exercise strenuously in order to get the perfect body.
When I was 40 years old I decided I had to join a gym. Or I would die. The lady doing my intake, was a 20 year old with ‘the perfect body’. She took one look at me and said I had to change my whole lifestyle. And even then she wasn’t sure if I could live for another 10 years. My body had had years of abuse (bowls of pasta) and I was in my menopause and I had to WORK HARD to get my health back.
I believed every word she said. I felt the ugliest, most lazy and most unhealthy person on earth. WHY? Because some teenage girl told me so? Then what’s the point of even starting this exercise regime? I left the gym after one day of work. Hard work. And fell into that same spiral of feeling useless. I read another five self-help books on discipline.
Then one day I looked at my ‘love’ list. Without any distraction of ‘others in my head’ knowing so much better, I wrote my list again. I love to eat. And I love to be out in the woods. Writing is my passion. Having a glass of wine with friends is a joy I cherish. Shopping makes me happy. So does reading.
Before I knew I had a long list of things I wanted to do for the rest of my life. If only.. But I had enough of my daydreaming and wishing. I was going to spend the rest of my life doing the things I love. Easy? No, not always. But it wasn’t that hard either, ’cause I did exactly what I wanted to do, not what somebody else told me I should do.
One step at a time
I like to walk in the woods. So I did. One step at a time. I didn’t have a smartwatch telling me how many steps I took, how many calories I burnt. Who cares? I was outside walking. Ten minutes the first time I was out. Fifteen minutes the next day, one step at a time. I love pasta, but I also love veggies and shrimp. So I combined the two. I made my living writing. No, I don’t have a lot of money. But I have enough to get by. How to shop with no money, though?
That was not easy. But I save my pennies and I eat a little less meat. That way I can have a ‘me-day’ once a month. I go shopping. I find treasures at second hand (book) stores. Reading? No more self-help books for me. I read Scandinavian thrillers. The more dead bodies the better 🙂 And I have a glass of wine with friends m very weekend. And you know, sometimes even on a regular Mondaynight.
In my mind I can hear all the health gurus turn away from me. ‘She can never be saved again.’ Now I know there are some people out there who have the best intentions. Who are really trying to help us. I haven’t found many. Most of them promise us heaven while raking in the dough. I’ve found my own heaven.
I’ve never been happier. I learnt to manage stress by writing. In two years I lost over 30 lbs. I feel strong, happy and healthy. The one thing that really worked for me was to let go of all the shoulds. To change my life all I had to do was to go back to myself, listen to MY truth. And not take everything and everybody so darn seriously.