Embodying Health

Embodying Health

For over the past month, I’ve been at battle with myself and my habits in my head. Luckily, I learned my sister was about to embark on a new health journey and I decided to join in. My current effort in the first week, I failed on five and a half days. My first two and a half days I did awesome , minus not exercising. Here I am sitting down after having eaten three donuts and two pastries for lunch washed down with an iced latte. A blatant failure.

Healthy eating and exercising are not my strong points, and never have been. But lately, this has been bothering me a lot more, to the point I’ve had whole monologues in my head. I have a daughter, who is 7.5 months old adjusted age and she is curious about everything I or anyone else is eating and drinking. And a thought ran through me, she sees EVERYTHING I put in my body. Every Fucking bite or sip. I’ve always been a binge eater and a secretive eater, but there is no secret or binge eating with her, she witnesses it all. And it terrifies me that she will learn that shitty behavior from me. So, I keep telling myself I have to work on these habits of mine.

But I keep failing. Get up once, fall down. Get up twice, fall down again. Part of me wonders if it just isn’t important enough to me? Am I just too lazy to change? Am I worried about how others will perceive me if I succeed? I’m not sure, but I’m frustrated with myself. And that is the answer I need to work with, no matter how small or how slow, any change is better than no change in the right direction.

Eating healthier, listening to my hunger cues, and exercising all need to be part of me. I’ve been dependent on coffee, sugar, and bread as a new mom to fill me up when I’m hungry. I’m always ravenous, or feel that way from breastfeeding. Granted the shit I pick fills you up on a lot of extra calories and not nutrition. It is also fast and easy, and close to my house. So here I am admitting my defeat, but wanting others to know that it’s a journey to this destination and I want to be accountable to myself by sharing that with others.

But eating healthy and exercising are only part of the battle of mommy Nina. The real battle is teaching body love and acceptance to my daughter. The reason I want to eat healthier isn’t just to lose weight, but rather to feel better in my body. I have a lot of aches and pains, headaches, and stomach issues sometimes. Things I like to ignore, but I know if I eat better my body feels much better. I also believe that no food is bad, eat whatever you want, just not all the time. This is actually how I lost 45lbs( about 16 kg) and have maintained it minus 2-3 kg (4-6lbs) for almost two years. My pregnancy didn’t go full term but I was extremely careful of weight gain already being overweight and within a month of giving birth I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight.Which I have maintained since, but my eating habits and what I am eating have gotten worse. Only breastfeeding is keeping that in check at this point.

I never really saw anyone exercising growing up and for me it was never something I got into at a young age. I do believe that the adults around us are models and we pick up their traits and hobbies to a degree. If I eat better and include exercise in my lifestyle then it is more likely that my daughter will not struggle as much with the two as I did. The hope is that if she eats well and exercises, she won’t struggle with her weight later in life.

Observing healthy eating and exercising is important, I don’t remember witnessing much of it growing up, though I do know my parents did their best to raise us to make our own choices. Mom always made sure to know that we were beautiful no matter what we thought of ourselves, whether we believed her or not. I didn’t until I was about 30 or 31, haha.

But I think while we need parents to model good eating and exercise habits, sometimes they can go to extremes: obsession of healthy eating, over exercising, or constant dieting. None of the above are good examples. Among all the female relatives in my family and my friends’ mothers, everyone was on a diet. All I can remember is another female relative on a diet or commenting on someone’s body weight or shape change. I don’t remember exactly when this started, but I remember distinctly starting to feel fat in 6th grade, granted almost all my friends and most classmates were smaller than me through middle school and high school. And of course almost everyone was always trying to diet.

Looking back now, if all of the women I knew in my family, among my friends and their female family members had just practiced healthy eating, exercising, enjoying fucking cake and wine, and appreciating their bodies, would my own outlook have changed? Would I have struggled less with my yoyo-ing weight changes since I was a teenager? Which has only made my skin less elastic with each change. Maybe I would have gone through my teenage years into adulthood not loving every ounce of my body, but I probably would have learned to eat intuitively and enjoy exercising occasionally, instead of feeling that my body isn’t made for it.

In the end, these past few weeks of failing has shown me why I need to work on this daily for progress. To accept how I look, and know for sure I’ll get healthier and look different with a better lifestyle, but the best lesson of all will be teaching my daughter to love her own body and not worry so much about every bite she puts in her mouth or how much she exercises. Enjoy life, enjoy food, and enjoy movement.

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