Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

But I won’t tell you who it is

I love great stories. I dunno about you, but I am beaten up by bad news, so I love it when someone shares a success story with me. This comment, which is in fact public, landed on a story of mine recently. It’s so good I hadda share it.

For those of us utterly stressed, eating too much, and eating too much of the wrong shit (I was, too) here is what one reader did:

It was under quarantine, I too realized I needed to do something different about my stress management. Unfortunately, I’ve always had a particularly cruel metabolism. So with the added stress of CV + being over 40 (when I can no longer take my body for granted and assume it’ll just do what I need it to do), I’d gained stress-weight and my sleep was abysmal. Granted, I had been gaining gradually over the last few years and doing little to curb it. And I had to accept exercise is not a means of weight loss, but to work the stress out of my body and I needed to build back my strength and endurance.

I had to take on a lifestyle change. In the last 4-months, I’ve returned to working out 4–5 days a week and scrutinizing my nutrition (cutting out complex carbs and booze, balancing out my macros for my needs), utilizing IF. As such, I’ve shaved off over 25lbs, gained much of it back in muscle, improved my cardio, and cut my body fat by 15%. But my motivation was not specifically weight loss. Nice side effect, but I think people can be distracted or laid back once they’ve hit a weight loss threshold. Then they get discouraged when they don’t continue to lose more. Instead I focus on the benefits of how I feel. I can now do things I physically couldn’t before, because I’ve built up the strength and improved my overall balance and endurance. Also, the tension physically trapped in my body (through my shoulders and neck) is gone (or more accurately managed because of the types of intense workouts and stretching I do). (author bolded)

Photo by Magdalena Smolnicka on Unsplash

If I may.

You and I see plenty of bad news. I can’t speak for you but I really want more of this. This kind of thing reminds me of the simple fact that when we choose to do the right thing for ourselves, our bodies respond. That eases the feelings of guilt and anger about the shape we’re in. It sets us up for feeling far more in charge. For being responsible.

You and I can push the dominoes in any direction. They can fall in the direction of self-love, self-respect, self-care and an energetic, happier life.

Or we can continue to feed at the trough of hopelessness. We don’t get time in quarantine back. We’ve already had one turn at this. We got to see what we do that doesn’t work. For my part, I’d prefer to read more stories like this one from folks brave enough to make smart choices. Remind themselves, as well as you and me, that there is plenty that you and I can affect.

This person isn’t a fitness model. Most of us will never be. That’s not the point. The point isn’t perfection. The point is taking care of ourselves. That is the best revenge against conditions over which most of us have little say. We have plenty to say about our health, in most cases. I realize and respect that this varies greatly. That said, our mental health can and does improve with better physical health.

Photo by kike vega on Unsplash

As we slide into silly season, I hope you will take stock of what you’re stocking into your kitchen. I’ve loaded up with tuna, salmon steaks, salad makings, and tons of fruit. Not a candy or chocolate in sight. Not a cookie or cake or donut. Not one. And there won’t be, either. Much as I’d like to, self-care for me does not include foods which can do me real harm. It does include reading things which feed my soul, stoke my hope, remind me of the power and goodness of my fellow humans and encourage me to not only to keep doing my best, but to also share good news stories with you.

We’re in good company. Plenty of folks all around us doing their level best to be their level best. Their examples are holiday treats enough.

Please take care of yourself this Thanksgiving week. For my part I send out my heartfelt thanks to those of you who keep sending me your good news stories, your achievements, and your many reasons to find reasons to hope.

Photo by Howie R on Unsplash