As I’m sure everyone noticed, Valentine’s Day was this week. While I hope you had the chance to show a loved one how much you appreciated them (my husband and I engaged in our annual tradition of Chicago pizza and cupcakes on the couch in our PJs), I hope you also had the chance to show yourself how much you appreciate, um, yourself.
In that vein, I direct you to Rebecca Scritchfield’s Me Movement, which is one of the best things on the internet (in my opinion). I had the pleasure of meeting Rebecca in person at the Healthy Living Summit a couple of years ago, and the way she talked about health, food, and wellness really spoke to me. To her, health and wellness starts on the inside, with being good to yourself. Everything you do in the name of health should connect to that principle.
Why should you eat healthfully? To respect your body and to be good to it.
Why should you exercise? To move your body and to be good to it.
Why should you take downtime for yourself? To give your body and mind the rest they need and to be good to them.
Why should you enjoy the things you do? Because life is too short not to, and by letting yourself have fun you’re being good to yourself.
How should you exercise? However you like! Running is my thing, but maybe it’s not yours. Maybe you’re a walker. Or a weight lifter. Or a yogi. Or a step class champion. Or a cyclist. Or a little bit of all of the above, depending on how you feel that day. The point is, how and how much you work out isn’t really the point. The point is that you do something and that you enjoy it, whatever it is.
Her philosophy on food is also along those same lines. She’s an RD, so she knows what’s good for you and what’s not, but she’s a strong believer in moderation. She’s the type of girl who will enjoy a pile of veggies and some lean protein for lunch, but won’t deny herself the occasional drink at happy hour with the girls. Or a dessert for a special occasion. After all, what good is food if you never enjoy it? As someone who strongly believes that a little chocolate or Diet Coke can be good for the soul, this is a thing I can get behind.
All of this is why I love her Me Movement. It’s all about respecting, loving, and taking care of yourself. For me, that means trying to find a balance between the schoolwork I have to do (and love!), the sleep I know I need, and the exercise I’m happier if I get. And the social life I still like to pretend I have. And if there’s one thing I would absolutely love to give myself as a gift, it’s a big chunk of downtime where one of my main priorities is to relax. Someone takes care of preparing delicious, healthful meals for me and I have all kinds of time to exercise, read, and just go for walks in the woods.
Something like, say, a week at Green Mountain at Fox Run. One of the things that Green Mountain also gives you, in addition to a week to relax and recharge your batteries, is time and guidance to think about your relationship with food. While I like to think I have a generally healthy outlook on it, I know that feeling tired or worn down (mentally or physically) or stressed out sends me right for the baked goods and cheese. Not my healthiest habit, admittedly, and those urges tend to come up right when I just don’t have the resources to turn them down. Spending some time digging into those tendencies so I can get a better understanding of them? Sounds awesome. Karen Anderson talks a bit about her experience with that in this post, and there’s a quote from it that really resonated with me:
It’s not about what I should do, it’s about what feels good. But if I’m stuck in a cycle of self-loathing (the opposite of love, acknowledgement, and safety), what I should do will ignite my inner-rebel and what feels good will most likely be self-destructive and punishing, not nourishing and healthful.
Not going to lie: I’m pretty sure my inner rebel is the one that says, “Screw it – who cares?” when I’ve had a long day and am contemplating a slice of chocolate cake the size of my head for dinner. Learning new strategies on how to make “should do” and “feels good” line up more often, especially in those times when my inner rebel wants to come out? Would be absolutely fantastic.
Plus: A week. At a gorgeous resort. With no homework. And delicious, nutritionally balanced food cooked just for me? I’m pretty sure that’s my current definition of heaven.