“I’m all in”
“It’s all or nothing!”
“Dive in head first!”
(The best egg sandwich from Ambrosia in Sacramento next to the Capitol with crusty ciabatta bread and gooey gently cheese- UGH)
The amount of times I’ve heard these phrases and tried to make myself believe all or nothing is the way to go is more times that I have fingers or toes. I think we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be 100% on a project we are completing, in a relationship, on a decision, believing were right or wrong at a certain point in our lives and the truth is it’s simply not true. Like nutrition, life isn’t black and white. There’s plenty of people who think in this manner and portray it to be true (lookin at you social media) but it only sets us up for failure because it assumes we are either perfect or are completely sure, both of which human are not. Humans are inherently indecisive and can be persuaded to go one way or the other but we are pushed to believe if we aren’t 100% then we are 0% and that’s just frustrating.
(Pizza lunch- literally one of 3 pizza lunches- I felt like I was going to turn into a pizza during this trip- ha!)
When we approach health decisions and are learning to take better care of ourselves, a huge mistake people make is going in “all or nothing” with no wiggle room and no room to be wrong. If they are wrong, then back they go to their old ways. The thing is that health and taking care of yourself isn’t black and white because humans aren’t black and white. Humans are messy, life is messy, and we expect too much of ourselves. Working with teens has taught me a lot about that. Teens are SO pressured to have the perfect college app, perfect friends, perfect bodies, and somehow figure out life? If theres one thing I do for my kids is tell them they are enough, because they are. I may be the only person they hear that from because many come from really stressful family situations and it’s my hope that Y programs make them more at peace with themselves.
We bash ourselves for “messing up” on our eating for the day. What does that even mean? You ate a brownie at the end of your meal instead of a quinoa raw bite? Ugh. When we view eating as black and white we are almost asking for mess ups because we have already asked too much of ourselves. If you are someone looking to make more positive changes in your life I encourage you to take it one at a time. Nutrition changes don’t come from eating the same meal 7 days a week because it’s “safe” or “approved” it also doesn’t come from cutting out a certain food group completely. It comes from one change, maybe adding veggies to your plate, then another, making a list of whole grains and buying 2 for the week that YOU like. It comes from changes you decided on- not changes someone else told you to do. Nutrition is very, very personal. I tell my nutrition students the same thing. We learn about how to balance our plate, how to slowly become an intuitive eater, how to maybe switch our perspective of exercise from a “have to” to a “want to” but doing everything at once is wayyy too much.
(Some advisor friends and awesome ladies)
Its ok if you just do a little. It’s ok if the only goal for you this week or this month or few months is to stop forcing yourself to go to the gym when you are tired and instead only go when you have energy. Maybe you find that the workouts you were forcing yourself to do were workouts you don’t even like and that’s the reason it felt bad (that was the case for me- I found out that I HATE RUNNING). Maybe you realize you had been skimping out on socializing with friends or your significant other and put the gym in that place and now that you gave yourself a little more grace you have more energy to have a great workout and feel accomplished rather than depleted.
(I shared this with a friend- we also got the savory egg sandwich above to get both sweet and savory in!)
Its ok if you are just starting to bring gentle nutrition into your life after not caring at all or caring too much. Its ok to work on purchasing more whole grains but not everything whole grain. Its ok to eat imperfectly at just one meal a day instead of expecting yourself to be intuitive all the time. Its ok to ask yourself uncomfortable questions about why you are eating and to not know the answer. Its ok to not fully understand how to gauge your hunger and fullness cues yet.
(I was craving greens at this point in the trip so finding this Mediterranean salad was amazing)
Trasitioning to well-being isn’t some flip of a switch. Learning to take care of yourself is a slow, slow process. Diving in head first will only make you feel inadequate when in reality you aren’t, you are awesome. I encourage you to pick just one thing to work on at a time and once you feel as though that has been incorporated into your life then and only then do you choose your next goal.
When transitioning to intuiting eating, one of my first attempts at change was giving my body some grace. I used to view only “hard” workouts as workouts and I wanted to start looking at all movement as just movement. It took me a loooong time to get there but I’m happy to say I am so at peace with moving my body and boy does it feel wonderful. I would say this took almost a year to be ok with. To be ok with being tired and not wanting to workout and working to silence that little voice in my head that says “you aren’t going to be healthy if you skip your workout” “you are going to gain weight if you don’t workout”. I have a lot of little voices in my head and instead of tackling them all at once I chose the workout monster first.
What will you choose first?
(My parents helped out with one of the Y programs Sacramento this year- it was special having them there!)