March 11, 2015

on health

When the number of children in our family doubled over night, we went into survival mode. We started eating out a ton and exercising less. E and I had less time and less energy for those things we should be doing to stay healthy.

We have gradually gotten back on track as a family. Our kids are doing pretty well. But E and I decided we were ready to make more steps in the right direction of healthy living ourselves.

We created a challenge a few weeks ago, just between the two of us. Week one we had to eat 5 fruits or vegetables a day. In theory, that sounds so easy. Not for us. I've learned to dislike those things. I found myself choking down a banana and trying to disguise corn into my burrito. I know, corn probably shouldn't even count as a vegetable. It's pretty sad how I've trained my body to be disgusted by all things good for you.

I did it though. I got all of my fruits and vegetables each day (and I only counted corn that one time). We declared ourselves pretty successful with week one. The second week we added in you can not eat sugary sweets/treats. I thought that would be impossible for me. I turn to sweets nearly afternoon when I have my headaches or I'm tired or after Perry has been having an extremely aggressive tantrum or I'm worried about something.

I surprised myself. I learned that I do have some self-control after all. I found some better alternatives for my afternoon sugar fix that left me feeling much better than a candy bar or cookies ever did. I've learned to take a few minutes for myself to read, close my eyes, sleep, grab a more filling snack, or do a few push ups.

Oh, on the weekend I still cheated a little. I was at a girls camp YCL retreat and those chocolate covered cinnamon bears were calling to me. But it was nice to have a better balance about what I am putting into my body.

I've been thinking a lot about my emotional/mental health, too. A seasoned mom sat by me during relief society at church one day. She had noticed us during sacrament meeting. This is embarrassing funny because I actually thought Perry was doing quite well that day. The worst of it was only that he threw his sippy cup down the aisle of the entire chapel during sacrament meeting. I was quite pleased he hadn't aimed it at anyone so I was counting this as a plus in my book. (What do people really think of us?! Ha!) She noticed us working with him and I guess it got her thinking about her own days as a young mom with 5 kids, running a daycare, and with a husband who was gone working/school long hours. I was grateful for the wisdom she imparted to me about the importance of caring for yourself--she laughed about how if she had only realized this back then it would've saved her money on counseling later on. A couple of other moms chimed in on their experiences and thoughts. It was nice to be surrounded by wise, caring women.

It's true. My health as a person is important. That's why at our house date night is given such high priority each week. And I try not to don't let myself feel guilty when I take time to read and rest in the afternoons. It also helps that I read my scriptures each morning and take hot showers at night. I write in my journal and started a daily gratitude journal. I still practice yoga when I can, or at the very least yoga breaths when I am containing Perry when he is in a rage. I know what I like and what I enjoy doing (this is something those ladies told me--they couldn't have told anyone back then about themselves). I have good people to talk to, especially my husband. Because of these things, I stay sane (well, as sane as I could ever be).

I don't think health is about what size I wear, but about how I feel. It is about being in control and staying balanced.

Wish us luck on next week's challenge--we still have to agree on what we are adding to the 5 a day and no sugar, but it might be not eating after 8pm. yikes!