Earlier this week, I got a text from my husband that he was not feeling well and getting worse as the day progressed. I suggested he leave work and go home to let his body rest. He replied with a long list of things that he had to do at work that needed to get done that day and reasons why he could not leave. He even included a quote Star Trek to support his decision, something about the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the one. I realized more talk about “self-care” was not going to help me make my point, so I typed “If your car had a flat tire, or was out of oil, you wouldn’t take it on a road trip to California.” Not the best analogy I’ve ever thought of but it did cause him to stop and pause.
Many of us are focused on our bodies right now trying to exercise more or eat healthier as part of New Year’s Resolutions. Often our reason for wanting to lose weight or exercise is to fit into smaller clothes or look better for a big event. But have you ever thought about how changes in diet and exercise might allow your body to function better? If you think of your body as a machine, you want that machine to run as efficiently as possible. The food that you put in your body not only satisfies your hunger, but allows your body to function for the next few hours. Have you ever paid close attention to how your body feels after eating? Does it feel the same eating a salad versus after a hamburger and fries? What about after drinking water, coffee, soda or wine? It might feel good in the moment, but are there any after effects that you might not be paying attention to (i.e. headaches after too much coffee)?
The other side to the coin is to look at how we are physically using our body. Have you ever sat around all day and when you get up you feel stiff or even lethargic? What about when you’ve pushed yourself to the limit working out and running from activity to activity only to be exhausted at night? We all have aches and pains, but how do we address them? Do we complain about them and hope they go away? Or do we try to repair, rebuild and strengthen the muscles around the pain? Our physical body enables us to move about and function throughout the day. We can’t sit and collect cobwebs and then expect it to fire up the first time. Similarly, we can’t run it to the max every day and then be surprised when it breaks down on us. If we perform the basic maintenance in the form of food, exercise and rest, our bodies will do most of the rest. Our body is like a self-sufficient mechanic that can maintain and repair most of what is needed to keep us healthy and running smoothly. When our bodies can’t do it alone, they turn on the warning lights to alert us that we need to step in and do our part to help with the repair.
In the end, my husband stayed at work and powered through the waves of nausea to finish his day. Once he got home, he did go to bed early and thankfully woke up the next day feeling much better. If your motivation over a new diet or exercise routine is starting to fade, change your perspective. How is eating better and exercising more allowing your body to run more efficiently? Unlike a car, you can’t trade it in or go buy a new one, so you’ve got to keep it running for the long haul.
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.