Momma B and I sat down one night and laid out our health goals for this year. We ended up with 17 total, but one in particular struck a chord with me and I've found a renewed vigor because of it.
Goal #1: Eat at home.
I've always collected cookbooks. I simply cannot go into a book store without at least walking through the culinary aisles. Sometimes I think if I just touch one book, I will acquire an innate sense of possibility. Yet somehow over the course of the last couple of years, I've let convenience and excuses override my passion. I've talked and talked and talked about how much I love cooking, but it was just talk mainly. I was a fraud. No more.
This last week, I planned a fairly simple menu. I went shopping for organic, fresh foods. I've enthusiastically prepared meal after meal ... and posted pictures of my creations on my Facebook to share my amusement. What I've found is that by eating richer, more flavorful meals I actually end up eating less! What a concept, eh?! Rather than gobbling up inferior bites that are gooey, greasy, or just full of empty calories, I'm going the total opposite direction and using full fats and rich, organic meats and produce. A friend of mine posted on my FB that she basically assumed that what I was making was not "diet-friendly" or "bad for you" because it looked too yummy. Well, it's been an extraordinary finding: real food is good for you! Trust me, it sounds overly simplistic and kind of stupid, but I was like so many others that believed the opposite for a long time. This is revolutionary, in my mind.
My joy of cooking is just the first step. Our goals are simple and sometimes I look at them and think how sad that something so obvious needs to be a goal of mine ... but I don't look at it negatively, but rather as a moment to realize the importance of the basics. This is for my health: physically, mentally and spiritually. Somehow I've been able to rescue my enthusiasm and put it to good use. It's a new prospect, this inward focus I've taken on. I've decided the best thing for our future children is a healthy, confident, happy momma ... but more than that, it's the best thing for me!
What started this spark of retrospection was a book I started, called The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. It got me thinking about my life.
I have a good life: a career that I love, a spouse that embodies unconditional love, good friends (though few), and loving family members. All in all, I feel content, but I don't always feel happy. I don't feel like I appreciate fully those wonderful things that are in my life, and I feel I've lost some beautiful things along the way because of it - mainly friendships. I certainly don't appreciate myself.
Growing up, there were always the "if onlys." If only I were skinnier. If only I were smarter. I was told so many times I came to believe it myself and always felt I would never be that girl that people found attractive or the woman that anyone would want to talk with. I internalized all of this lack and have been holding onto it far too long, letting it keep me from forging new friendships and from taking care of my physical self. I've recognized it's presence for several years now, but always fought against it - which merely served as an avenue for my self pity to take over. It has been no way to live, especially in light of the juxtaposition of my external and internal worlds.
Yet this book started a tangent of thought that allowed me to look at my feelings and realize that I need to appreciate those feelings - where they came from, what they've meant to me, what security they've provided. No fighting, no struggling, just nurturing. It has been quite the eye-opener, but more than that it's been an inspiration.
I finally have momentum again. Simply amazing.
So I've started three of our 17 goals already. I have sparkly stickers for my calendar to remind myself of my own importance and reward my progress. Juvenile, perhaps, but it makes me smile so much seeing those happy faces line up on my date planner.
Now I know this is all new and wonderful and roses and butterflies at this point, but that is why I knew I had to write it ... not just to myself, but put it out there. Not for accountability, but to make it more real, more solid somehow. So here it is. Something to look at, examine, and remind me of the excitement of beginnings when I may get bogged down in the work of middles.