Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Reflection. Why look anywhere else?

Through my career in public health I have heard the same phrase as a solution for any programmatic questions..."It Depends." Why? Because preventing health issues is unique to each individual, each community, each problem...the same overall theories can apply and the same golden rules will stand, but each program has to be tailored to its audience.

So.. (as per usual), I reflected on how this realization applied to my personal life...and it does...

I have recently been reading a lot of "self help" books and stories about other people who sought out happiness. And while I gained motivation and courage through them and realized that I am not alone in some of my issues, I now realize that "it depends"...on me. I cannot read someone elses books and expect that what worked for them will work for me. So where should I look? MY BLOG! And so...

Recently I have been stressed with my on going issue with my body and my obsession with what I eat and how much I exercise. And really more angry and fed up than anything...exhausted (I am pretty sure I have discussed this in past blogs). So I began thinking...when I quit drinking I decided that a good reason to stop was because alcohol was not bringing anything positive to my life...and those situations involving alcohol that were positive would have existed with or without the drug. SO..I quit. I quit because there was no reason to continue doing something that was not bringing positive things to my life. So why should I continue thinking the way that I do about my body and about eating? What positive is coming from it? When I dwell and obsess I very rarely change that much in my weight or appearance...and even if I do, so what? What have I benefited from losing weight? Absolutely nothing. If anything, when I am too small, I receive negative feedback and am tired. If I continue to dwell on calories and feel a constant feeling of guilt when I eat something "bad", what good will from this? Nothing.

So why continue? I know that it isn't an easy switch to flip and it takes time to change an entire thought process and because I suffer from anxiety, it is even harder. But an important realization that I made was that NOTHING will change if I stop obsessing. Nothing important in my life will change. My relationships will continue (and probably be stronger because I won't sneak around and eat, and I won't get cranky when I've eaten too much), my career and performance will not change, my boyfriend will not leave me (and trust me, I went so far as to ask!), my perceived image as a fitness enthusiast and expert will still exist, and because I know I am a healthy person I know I will not completely 180 and end up morbidly obsese. Now I know that all of those things are very obvious to most people, but for me...that reality needed to be stated out loud...I needed to understand and realize that ZERO good was coming from what I was doing. I believe that there was a point when watching the scale decrease and being too small for my clothes made me feel better about myself and accomplished...but that doesn't exist any more. I still weigh myself and feel slightly crappy if I've gained weight but the scale has pretty much stayed at the same weight for 6 who cares!

So anyways...the point of this rambling was that YOU are your best resource and your best example. Start a journal. Write down your thoughts and most importantly, write down when you feel the best about yourself so that when times get hard you can go back and read what you wrote. Reflect on how you've handled situations in the past and see if they can apply to new issues that you face. You are unique and while Eat Pray Love is a great book, moving to Bali may not solve your problems.

I really hope that this new outlook is a new chapter in my life. Its never too late, right? ;) I hope this mainly because I am exhausted from the guilt and stress of my problem...but also because I am about to enter one of the toughest moments in my life so far (doctoral program), and I refuse to let this weigh me down and distract me when I need to be focusing.

I hope that my insights help you and I hope that you reflect. Look at that man/woman in the mirror :)


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