Does Queen’s song, “Under Pressure,” pop into anyone else’s head with this title? I can’t help play the tune in my mind while drafting this post. And on that note, what does this song have to do with health? A lot.
Do you feel pressure when you ask yourself how your health is? Do you either immediately think of your waistline and if it’s a measure you want, or maybe focus in on some labs you had done most recently? When I ask myself this, I do a little of both, I think of my latest diabetic labs, including my fasting blood sugar and A1C% and also how I feel. With the latter part of that question, I include my thoughts on my weight. Am I alone? I am afraid not, as many of us are on diet, or attempting one. Granted I just had a child, my second, I still have a weight loss goal, and know how hard it is to lose the lbs I put on in 9 months. As for my labs, my latest A1C% (which is a measure of an average blood sugar over the last 3 months) was a 5.6%; which is pretty darn good. But I want better.
Yet, above all, regardless of where our health is, why do many of us self-impose pressure to be at a “better” place than where we are currently? It’s funny really. When I counsel clients I provide nutrition advice, lifestyle habits to improve on, and lastly, to be kind to oneself.
If I were to listen in on some internal conversations that we have with ourselves, I am afraid I’d be confused about whether or not we like ourselves. All in all, let’s break down this pressure we consume ourselves with and learn better steps to get to where we want.
Does everyone relate to this post? No, but maybe we all do or did at one time.
Let’s begin with simplifying things.
“The very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.” The Dali Lama
Agree? If so, feeling good, having an optimal quality of life, tucks right into this. So take each day one at a time, and strive to not overthink our food and drink choices, our gym membership, etc. Focus on what is best for us ay hand and in the long-term for happiness. Life is not a promised timeframe, it’s what we had yesterday, held today and hope for tomorrow. We need to use our time wisely and have no regrets, large or small.
“Eat only when hungry and drink only when thirsty.” Maimonides
Common sense, eh? Yes, but we have lost our ability to do just this around the age of 3 years old. A study done on 5-year-old children showed that at this age, most kids ate a plate of macaroni they were served, bypassing hunger cues. When trialed with younger pupils around the age of 3, the kids naturally stopped when they had enough.
Intuitive eating is a practice to be learned again. We should not eat by the clock, use food as entertainment or be swayed by advertisements. We need to know the difference between a craving and true hunger. Again, easier said than done. But little steps and effort can go a long way. Start small with something like thoroughly chewing food. Put down the utensil between each bite, take smaller bites. Goodness lets eat everything with chopsticks! Too far? Maybe, but I have clients who try to do this at meals eaten at home.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and the courage to know the difference.” Serenity Prayer
Self-love my friends. Religious or not, this statement is strong. Indeed on my phone camera, I have an image with this quote, and for example, if I am mellow over a blood sugar that won’t move into an ideal range, I say this prayer. When I do I feel a lot better. Maybe this quote doesn’t tick for you, but find an affirmation that does, and captures it somewhere and say it when needed.
In closing, let’s remove the stress we create. As my mom always says, “don’t invite worry,” and keep thoughts positive or constructive and enjoy the journey of wellness.