I do both of these things quite often.
Quite often, I find that the first (thinking) gets a little too muddled in the second (eating) at certain times.
As an individual that tends to get emotional (excited, anxious, stressed, frustrated, morose) when it comes to thinking about any one thing for long periods of time, having myself mulling over something as simple-yet-complicated-and-important as eating always leads to a bit of a mental mess.
This post is not the first time that I have entertained these thoughts, but every so often it feels like I make a shift in my thinking, and things make a little more sense, feel a little more right, and get a little less frustrating; in the last week, I had a shift of this sort. Just a small one – but enough to decide to write about it! As I repeated my belief to someone that they should probably have some protein following their vigorous workout, and as I myself was mixing up a protein-y beverage to consume, I was met with a simple enough response: “I’m not hungry right now.”
Hm. That’s interesting, because my body craves food immediately after I exercise vigorously on most occasions – and I find that many people I encounter share similar sentiments. While I still believe that protein (amongst other nutrients) following vigorous exercise is important for re-building torn muscles and providing your body with a great deal of goodness, an oft-repeated message seemed to ring more true than usual: Not every body is the same.
Not every body feels the way mine does after I work out, or has the same cravings, or enjoys the same food, or is structurally the same as mine, or is going to build muscle or gain/lose weight the same way that mine does.
It seems so obvious, and I have shared these thoughts with others in the past – you can’t expect the same results you see in someone else if you do exactly what they do, because you and that person are not the same! I get very caught up in thinking about how much I’ve exercised and what I’m eating and how I’m feeling and often realize (too late) that I’ve been subconsciously relating my own journey to someone else’s (exercise regimen, dietary choices, muscle bulkiness, etc.).
My process of really thinking about what I ate began when I became a vegetarian, and then four months later began to exercise regularly (and vigorously) and improve my overall diet and think about what I need for a balanced lifestyle. Unfortunately, in my healthy decision making, I developed a tendency to decide a little too carefully about the aspects of my life that were improving my health, such as exercise and my eating choices. What I mean by this “overly-careful decision making” is that I would sometimes feel I hadn’t “earned” certain treats if I hadn’t worked hard enough that day (in my own eyes) or that I would become reluctant to enjoy snacks that looked as though their calorie count was “unreasonable” (I never counted calories, mind you, but sometimes one snack’s worth of calories seems a little crazy, y’know?).
While I’ve not entirely escaped those ways of thinking, I have started to recognize that I don’t need to be self-conscious if I want to have a snack but someone else doesn’t want to have a snack at the same time – I am not glutinous for eating when someone else is not. Nor am I out of shape or unconditioned if my body is responding to exercise and food in a different way than someone else who is doing something similar to me – or even something entirely different. I cannot allow myself to think that a snack will automatically turn into unhealthily stored fat if I eat it without exercising extra to “earn it.” It is not fair to me, when I work hard to be good to my body and my health and my well-being, to criticize myself for doing things that fall outside of the realm of “healthy lifestyle” once in a blue moon – or even more often than that.
None of what I do for myself is going to be worth it if I cannot be happy along the way. Happy with me, and for me, and for others who are on their own journey that is different that mine. I deserve to be happy, and to share in my love for eating and exercising and achieving peace of mind with those that I care about – and those that I have not even met yet.
I would not say that I have ever been truly unhappy, but there have been dark patches in my healthy journey that left me with certain unhealthy mindsets that I have worked on and made brighter opportunities for learning and improving myself.
My goals have become healthier ones, and are less shaped by thinking that I have anyone to be accountable to other than myself. I cannot say that I do not think of others as I work to better myself, but I am becoming better at thinking of myself first.
This has been a somewhat long and potentially ramble-y post, but it felt like something I wanted to share and put into words I can look at in order to establish them more clearly in my mind! Thanks for taking any amount of time to read any number of the words here, and perhaps some of them will help you with your own “shift” in your thinking along your own journey.
I do both of these things quite often.