*I wish healthy looked like this–life would be so good. JUST KIDDING.
Last fall, I officially began backing off the running. I fell badly while out gallivanting with my 11 year old daughter Emma and lesson fucking learned–those pre-teens will school your ass every time regardless of experience on the road. (well, this wasn’t a road, it was a cross country trail but whatever) Something just went hay wire and before I knew it, I was on the ground, bleeding from both knees thinking: “am I crawling home or what because this skinny chick can’t carry me up this ginormous hill” I did go to the doctors and was given an unsatisfactory answer but I have been lax in seeing a specialist. I still can’t put weight on it and when I fell off the chairlift Monday night (yes, that happened); I busted the same knee all over again. Lack of activity became immediately noticeable. I went from running 30+ miles a week to running like 12. The weight I lost from running like a god damn maniac came back very quickly. I can’t imagine why, Dairy Queen is calorie free—is it not??? I could feel it piling on and the more weight that trickled on; the worst I began to feel about myself. I was in such pristine shape last year that I actually liked every single race photo I was in. (except those Reach the Beach pics, those are always shameful, ugh, like here I am on a 24 hour bender and you caught me with my mouth open and half a butt cheek out)
Last month I decided that it was time to give myself a break because the likelihood was; I would never again train the way I did last year. The scale said I was good but internally; I didn’t feel good. And lets be honest, healthy starts in the kitchen right? Getting your body moving is essential but it’s really the icing on the cake. A friend of mine wrote about this recently; modifying the expectations you set for yourself. It was an excellent reminder that a change of strategy isn’t always a bad thing. In fact it can be very, very good.
For me healthy used to be pushing myself until my breaking point. Getting up at dawn, running a bunch and then going on full throttle the whole day. It would be to shove into my mouth whatever I could get my hands on. Post race, it was sitting on the couch and eating the rest of the day. I was strung out, disconnected from my body and not as happy as I should have been considering all the great things happening around me.
I’ve really put food into focus the last month. But that does not mean that I haven’t made a million mistakes. Yesterday, I had a banana for breakfast and no lunch which means by 2; I laid into Roland’s candy drawer like I was saving a child from a small fire; consuming 4 fun sized Nestle Crunch bars. I mean, you would have thought I hadn’t seen food in a month. It happens. I went home and I made better choices. My lack of meal prep for the day caused me to slip, whatever, who gives a shit. I don’t.
Healthy for me is nourishing myself from the inside out while realizing I will fuck up from time to time. I am trying to listen to my body more and how it reacts to certain foods. (case in point, I feel all kind of fucked up after returning to sugar) Sleeping is key. Working out 4-5 times a week hard is necessary. Working out for me right now is a couple of short runs every week until I begin my new training plan and some rides on my Peloton. Good enough. You know? Healthy is realizing the journey is paved with stones in which I will wobble. Maybe even fall. (if its a chairlift, I’m fucking falling) Trying new things is good. (i.e. skiing) Spitting out food is perfectly fine. (i.e. french yogurt that looks like vomit) Saying no to some foods (kale) while readily embracing others (spinach) is cool. Bread, yea, from time to time I will polish off a loaf. (probably solo–dipped in olive oil) Concessions are good, sure. Deprivation, no fucking way. Healthy is also not allowing the scale to rule my life. Right now, the scale says I am 10 lbs. heavier than I was last year but I feel really good. I’m targeting different muscles, I have different goals. That number is infantile to how my body is telling me I’m doing. When I look in the mirror, I’m not upset at what I see. And I think that is positive change all on its own. Healthy doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Life, with its mountain of temptations, makes it too hard to do it right all the time.
Healthy is whatever you can give your best to every single day. It doesn’t look like what Gwenyth Paltrow is posting because lord knows we can’t meet her expectations. Whatever you want for yourself, whatever you can strive for with excellence, whatever little victories you can scoop up–that’s healthy. We have to learn that this world is harsh and bold; every day holds its own challenges. The key is to rise above them, take a deep breath and give yourself a break.