When I was growing up, my life seemed to always be In Transition. My life seems to always be In Transition. And if you are anything like me, transition makes it difficult to form habits. Take moving, for instance. How many of you have sat down to a home-cooked meal in the midst of packing boxes, moving, and unpacking boxes? More than likely, you grabbed something fast, less than healthy, and more than fattening. Well, my name is Nikol, and I am a transition addict. I have moved twenty-something times. You can imagine how many french fries I’ve eaten.
It’s not only the moving, but it has been the comfort of food during transition that has led to my unhealthy eating habits. Daddy’s going to New York and we’re staying here = no money = macaroni and cheese and hot dogs! Mom says we deserve a treat = McDonalds! This led to a pattern of rewarding myself with food…unhealthy food. My mom cooked for us often, and when I ate at home, I generally ate well. But as a teenager, I ate McDonalds several times a week. And then in college, I ate McDonalds several times a week. And then my boyfriend broke up with me, and I ate McDonalds. And then I went through a phase where I ate nothing. And then I was thin! And so I continued to eat nothing, unknowingly damaging my body’s natural homeostasis. And then I was depressed and I didn’t know why (most likely because my hormones were now schizophrenic)…and eventually…I ate McDonalds again. And then I was partying several nights a week and everyone wanted to go to Taco Bell or Denny’s or McDonalds. And then I met Tony and I was a fat McDonalds addict.
Of course there were moments of clarity in between where I tried to eat healthier, but I only did it to be thin. I didn’t even realize the impact that food – and chemically processed food – or lack of food – has on the body. It wasn’t until I started nursing school that I began to understand just how much damage I have been doing over the first thirty-one years of my life…whether it was fast food, or restricting calories, or overeating, or under-eating, or starving or binging or yes, even purging. So, I have decided that for the next thirty-one years, and however long God gives me after that, I am going to be nicer to my body. I have not been making good use of the gift that God has given me. In fact, I have been fucking it up quite nicely.
This isn’t another example of Nikol going on another one of her fad-diet, “I want to be skinny”, adventures. This is just an example of me looking in the mirror and recognizing my mortality. This is me being aware of how the body works, and being scared shitless because I should have had a heart attack by now (sad, but oh so true). This is also me being aware that the things that I have put in my body and the things I have done to my body may prevent me from being in the optimal condition to have a child. And so I want to reverse the negative things I have done, as much as possible, so that I can be confident in my health and in my abilities to use my body in the ways it was created to be used.
You are wondering how I am going to do this?
Research. Common Sense. Knowledge of Nutrition. Knowledge of Human Biology. Prayer.
I expect that it will be a continuous learning curve, especially because there are so many “experts” out there. There are countless websites and books and infomercials with celebrities endorsing various products. There is just too much bullshit to plow through. And then I have friends who are vegans and vegetarians, cousins who lost X amount of weight doing X, sisters and brothers-in-law who own a health food store, and a husband who used to date a registered dietician. Let’s not forget everyone with whom I come into contact who has ever embarked on the South Beach Diet, Atkins, or Weight Watchers. I’m not trivializing these things or these people in my life…I am happy that these things work for them, I love them and I respect them.
However, if any of you have tried to live a healthier lifestyle before, you know that you have to do it when YOU are ready, and you have to experience your OWN journey. No one can do it for you. And sometimes unsolicited advice about wellness is a lot like unsolicited advice about religion. And for me? At this moment? I need to obtain my knowledge from medical and nutritional research, because I am not about to use my body (again) as an experimental tool in order to look healthy on the outside. Instead, I want to be healthy on the inside and then be able to finally accept how I look on the outside.
I Will Not:
-become a vegetarian or a vegan: The vitamins and minerals in meat and dairy products are essential for healthy living.
-starve myself: This very low point in my life scared me enough that I have gone to the opposite end of the spectrum in order to never be in that place again. What I wouldn’t give to be able to maintain Middle Ground.
-purge: See above.
-eat fast food or drink soda: My physician told me several years ago that many of the lymph nodes in my throat have been damaged. He asked me if I smoked, and I said no. However, after doing some searching (and thinking), I believe that this damage is due to my Coca-Cola habit. This habit has also damaged the enamel on my teeth and has caused some tooth decay. And yet, ask me if I ate a cheeseburger, french fries and a coke last week on my way to clinicals….go ahead…ask me…
-really try to exercise at least three days a week for 30 minutes: Notice I said “really try”…I’m including this qualifier because my schedule sucks a big, fat, hairy toe. That’s my only excuse…and it’s still not even a great one.
-really try to not expect too much of myself: I am my own worst critic, and this will probably never change. But I will make an effort.
-pray for strength: Because I really do believe it is sinful to be lazy, and I can be very very lazy.
I don’t know why I’m blogging about this today, except maybe to have it in writing. I’m very sorry to include you in my personal therapy session, but just think of it like reality television…INTERVENTION: Nikol Sits Herself Down and Gives a Stern Talking-To.