Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My "Rules"…Part Two

Hey! Welcome back! If you missed yesterday's post (My "Rules"…Part One) I encourage you to take a minute and give it a read. This post is a continuation of yesterday's post about my personal life rules. So, without further ado…I give you Part Two.

Surround yourself with positive people and try to cut out negative people from your life. Fill your mind with positive thoughts and try to cut out the negative talk. I know, I know…it’s my inner hippie speaking but it’s true. Happiness loves company the same way misery does and if I had to choose I would pick being happy over being miserable any day of the week. Luckily for me, it is my choice. I can be happy every day. It’s totally my call. But having negative people in my life and negative thoughts in my head make it hard to see that I am and deserve to be happy. So I made the (not always easy decisions) to cut out the people in my life that were always bringing me down and I actively work/worked on reducing/eliminating the negative thoughts that liked to frequently overtake my mind. I love myself and deserve to be treated with kindness and respect; from others as well as from myself. If you want to be a happier you then it’s time to get rid of the haters and the Debbie downers…even if (especially if) they reside in your mind.

It’s just food…but it is also so much more than that. This is a difficult one to explain. It’s really like two rules in one. On one hand there is this idea that it is JUST food. It should not control or wield power over me. The only control food has is what I give it and there is no reason for me to give it any power…at all. IT IS JUST FOOD. On the most basic level, we need it to survive and that is all. It is not a friend or an enemy, a ways or means to heal or grieve, it is not a shoulder to cry on- it just isn’t. BUT…food is so much more than just food. Yes, it is sustenance but it is also nourishment. It helps keep us moving and functioning but also allows us to chase our dreams and push our limits. It allows us to be better, stronger than we ever imagined.  Or it can kill us slowly. Hippocrates (you know: do no harm/Hippocratic oath) said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. We don’t need pills or drugs to heal us, we can become healthier all by changing what and how we eat. We basically have two choices; use food as a tool to help us live a long, healthy life or we can allow food to slowly kill us. I am using it for the former but the only way I could was by taking back the power I allowed food to have over me.

Accept yourself now. This is probably the most common ideal I discuss on this blog; self love and acceptance. I believe this is the heart of being able to make any change successfully. But I know it is hard to do. More than likely you won’t just wake up one day and say ‘hey, I love myself. I am really awesome as is. Yay me!’ I mean maybe that happens but I would think what would need to happen first is that you fix the problems that have led you to be at a point in your life where you are so dissatisfied that you do not have self love or acceptance. If you don’t work on fixing the underlying causes of your problems they will just continue to resurface. I don’t know about you, but I was ready to fix me (all of me) even if that required digging through and uncovering a lot of demons and bad shit that haunted me. In the end, as difficult as it was to be brutally honest with myself, it was what allowed me to be who I am today- happy, healthy, focused but yet also a bit more carefree, more loving, and by far the best version of myself I can put forth.

Moderation, never deprivation. I think it goes without saying that nothing is off limits in my life. I drink beer, I don’t skip dessert and I have been known to totally house a vegan cheeseburger and fries every now and again. But, like I said yesterday, that’s my 20%. I don’t have foods that are off limits. But I do control how often I eat them.  I know what I want to do (be healthy) and what  I need to do to get there (eat good foods, be active, get good solid sleep, practice self care) and moderation is how. I don’t restrict my diet to the point I feel crazed from deprivation, I don’t workout until I am near collapse and in the same sense I also don’t eat and drink with reckless abandon and sit on the couch for weeks on end. No extreme overindulgences or depravity…just moderation.

Prepare for and openly embrace change. It seems obvious right? You want to change your life well then you should prepare for change.  You would think this would have been pretty easy for me but it wasn’t, at least not at first. It was like I wanted to change completely (like 180 overhaul) but could not get it through my thick skull that I wouldn’t get where I wanted to go by doing the same things I always did. My old WW leader always used to say; ‘if you always do what you always did then you will always get what you always got’. I got it, after time, and once I started to make changes in my life and started to find my way it got easier, much less scarier, to the point where now I openly embrace (even carve) change. Change…that’s where the good stuff happens.

Be a snob or be a French woman…Do you remember the book French Women Don’t Get Fat? I am not 100% I read the whole thing. I mean I feel like I did but who knows. But I do remember reading how French women eat very small portions of very rich foods. They indulge, but in moderation. Yes this kind of ties in with two of my other ‘rules’, I know. But the point I am trying to make with the above statement is this; I can only have two MAYBE three really good craft beers in one night, I eat dark chocolate almost every night but only a few pieces. My cravings are satiated by the depth of flavor of good quality beers and the richness of really good dark chocolate. I may seem like a beer/food snob but I found really good products that allow me to practice moderation and still really (REALLY) enjoy my life.

Listen to your body. I found veganism by listening to my body. Through food journaling I found what worked for me and what didn’t and on a whim (after a few months of personal research and diary keeping) I decided to cut out all animal products and what do you know? My body was giving me signs all along that the foods I was eating weren’t good for me. My body knew, I just had to figure out how to listen to it. Another big advantage of listening to my body is it allows me to monitor my hunger scale. My friend told me a few years ago about this concept and it has stuck with me ever since. Picture your sense of  hunger on a scale from one to five; one being full, not hungry at all and five being ravenous, wildly hungry. The key is to not eat when you are a one (or even two) because then you are eating out of boredom or some other non-hunger related reason. Recognize this behavior and work to break the habit of eating while full. On the other end, don’t let yourself make it to a level five. At that point you will be so hungry you will make bad choices, eat too fast, east too much, you forfeit all control. Instead just listen to your body and eat just as you are starting to get hungry, around a three. You will eat slowly and cognizantly and hopefully be able to recognize the cues your body sends you when you are full.

Don’t listen to me…I am no expert and I am not writing this list for you. I mean, yes I am writing this for you but not because I want you to go out there and do all of the things I do. This is my list. I wrote it for me. This is what works for Dacia. Maybe it can work for you too. Or maybe this list will make you miserable. But it’s a good place to start. To reflect on your life; what works and what doesn’t and maybe start to write your own list because you are amazing. You totally deserve your own life, your own happiness, and your own set of rules.

Until next time…

'Love, compassion and kindness are the anchors of life'

Love and hugs,
Dacia