Checking Out: Sometimes, you just gotta do it

IMG_9335I cannot believe so much time has passed. Here it is, St. Patty’s Day 2019 and I have not written anything since last Fall? I used to be so disciplined, waking up early every Saturday morning to write. There was always something that felt pressing to talk about, or some important message (in my mind) to share with whoever might be interested. Sometimes, I just needed to vent over some ridiculous diet thing I came across, to be sure to set it straight. Over the past several weeks (months), however, I feel like I have “checked out”. Trust me, there have been moments where I have said to myself “OMG, you need to write something about that, that is ridiculous!”. But then, the holidays came, I needed to visit my mom, the couch looked more inviting than the computer, “This Is Us” sucked me in. Football. Politics. You name it, I had an excuse.

What motivates me now to write again? It struck me that what I am going through is probably very common. The feelings that surface when you don’t do what you think you should be doing are different depending on who you are, but I am guessing there are lots of people like me who feel a bit guilty, inadequate, not living up to expectations. The funny thing is that at this point in my life I thought I had gotten over all that. “It’s good enough” has been my mantra for years now. And yet, I have been judgmental of myself, feeling “intellectually lazy”. By that I mean, I just don’t feel like thinking sometimes. This is different than just feeling “lazy” physically, which happens to all of us (listen to your body, I always say).

Anyway, with the New Year come and gone, I thought, “should I make a resolution to start writing again?” Nah. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t believe in setting unrealistic expectations for yourself (just another reason to feel inadequate!). Instead, I have kind of accepted that my life may be shifting as I get older, closer to retirement age (although as of now, I just can’t imagine not working at the jobs I love, with people I cherish). Maybe it is coming to the realization that as time goes by, career is so much less important to me than other things in life. I feel like things are changing fast. I see my mom getting older, slowing down. And although I haven’t lost energy physically (thank God) when mom and I go for long rides in the countryside, neither one of us can remember where we are going or how we got there….FYI if you have to get lost in Connecticut, Litchfield and Cornwall are beautiful, New Haven not so much.

Yes, I have to admit I enjoy getting lost in the countryside and listening to my mom’s stories much more than thinking about dietitian kind of things. There are times when I quite honestly am really tired of being a “nutritionist”. I get tired of the reality that so many people think about eating and food in ways that to me are just not fun. Sometimes it makes me sad that a person can’t just “dig in” and enjoy food because their thoughts are busy judging, fretting, worrying, feeling guilty, planning, ugh. Sometimes I wish I did not notice these things, but because of my career and because of the clients I worked with for so many years, I can’t help it. I have spent decades trying to undo whatever damage I can, every chance I can. Even though I don’t work specifically with eating disorders any longer, I still try to give anyone a reality check who asks me for one. “Is the keto diet good?” NO. “Aren’t carbs fattening? ” NO. “Should I count calories?” NO.  And on and on and on. I have been trying in my daily life to help anyone who asks me a nutrition question to avoid the lure of crazy diets that promise to make you into something that supposedly is better than who you are right now. I have spent lots of energy over the years trying to teach people, anyone who asks, about a more holistic approach to feeling happy and good in your body. This involves intuitive eating (which is much harder for some than others, much more difficult than it sounds for those who have dieted or who have body image issues or disordered eating). It also involves good sleep, joyful movement, good hydration, healthy relationships and mental health in general.

So I guess the reason I needed a “time out” or to “check out” for awhile is just because I got tired. And just because I am writing now does not change anything. I still am tired of thinking about nutrition, but I am not tired of trying to help others enjoy their lives. I may have just shifted, I have noticed, into enjoying the cooking and cuisine aspect of it all more than the nutrition aspect. It is just so awesome to watch as someone (tentatively) tries a spinach ball or mango salsa for the first time, and ends of loving it. It is even more rewarding to see an autistic kiddo who used to only eat candy now accept pears and strawberries and blueberries. It even makes me happy when my corn-dog lovin husband tells me my quinoa sliders are delicious : D

My priorities have definitely shifted, and I honestly don’t know when I may feel like writing again, and who knows what I may feel like writing about….but spring is around the corner, so I am guessing it may have to do with flowers…..

In the meantime, please check out this article about how people judge what we eat, it says it all     .Don’t Judge

Happy St. Patty’s Day!! Hope you eat or drink something green today, and I don’t mean kale!

 

Taking Care of Me and YOLO

Imagine people frolicking on this beach. Old friends from high school, now 30 years old (almost) playing volley ball, jumping on motor boats, reminiscing about the good old days. Best friends from high school, former team mates on football teams, lacrosse teams, now grown up with experiences we may not even be able to imagine (like my good friend’s son who is now a Navy Seal, very emotional for me to see him, so thankful to have the opportunity to hug a hero, and say thank you for protecting me), yes,all these friends coming together to celebrate the marriage of someone they all love. Adding to the wonderfulness of it all was getting to see my son from Colorado and his girlfriend for a few days, enjoying a 3 hour drive with them up to New Hampshire and back that otherwise would not have been so much fun….anyway, back to work today, the dust has settled, we now are getting ready for another busy weekend with a going away party for my husband’s daughter and her husband. It seems the fun never ends….and the time scarce. When am I going to write my blog this week?

My husband said “why don’t you just write a short one? why do you always have to write so much?” I realized, he was right. I have these expectations for myself, and sometimes it seems it just never is good enough. You would think I would know by my age, what is important….like family….and sanity.

And so I just want to bring up the topic of perfectionism…..and the danger of missing out on life. I learned a word from one of my students who came to see me for some nutrition counseling at a college where I work. She was saying how she had some Chinese food (General Tsao’s chicken) and then she said ” you know, YOLO”…what is that? I asked….and she explained, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. Although I did make sure she understood that there is nothing wrong with eating food like that, I really loved the expression. It made me think of my dad, and the day he was told he was now in Stage 4 for his esophageal cancer (less than 6 months to live we were told). He had not been able to eat much for weeks. But for some reason, he wanted to stop at a locally famous hot dog joint (Capital Lunch in New Britain CT). He actually ate 2 chili dogs. He passed away less than a week later.

So you see, it is ok to not always do the best you know you can do. Sometimes sanity is more important. I apologize for any typos. I just don’t have the energy to go back and check. Maybe this weekend. But right now, I need to take another sip of wine and watch the first episode of Blacklist. YOLO.