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Hello there to everyone taking the time to read my rambling words. My hope is that after reading you will step away from your laptop, tablet or smart phone, and take a mental step forward to being a better you.
First of all, I will give you all a little background about myself. Right now I am a stay at home mom to 2 boys ages 4 and 11. I am also a wife to a sailor who is gone as much as he is home. I would be lying if I said I loved my job, a lot of days…it sucks! Before marrying my husband I was a full time paramedic, and never once woke up and thought “I don’t want to go to work,” but I also missed out on a lot with my oldest son. And while I was taking care of my patients – I was not taking care of myself. Poor diet (eating on the go a lot), little to no activity outside of working, and to top it off I was clueless how unhealthy I was. I lived this way for a long time and it was not until my depression after having my second son that I realized I needed to make myself a priority.
You see, I was that woman. You all know her, or are her. The one that complains about how she looks, talks about “dieting” and ends the day with eating a row of Oreos. One day as I was complaining to my husband for what must have been the thousandth time, he got fed up. He went to our room, grabbed my sneakers and said “Yes, you’re chubby, go run and do something about it – or stop complaining!“
Now a bunch of you are jaw dropped thinking “OMG, I can’t believe her husband said that to her!” At the time, I was mortified, but after a cry session I had to face the truth. He was right. All my complaining did nothing to change myself; neither on the outside or inside!
So, I went for a run.
I had always hated running and it was only 1 mile….but it was the first of many that changed my life.
As a paramedic we are taught first thing: scene safety. This is the most important thing because if the scene is unsafe and the medic gets injured, what use is he or she to the patient? NONE! This is the mentality we all must take. Yes, it is hard to put yourself first with kids, spouses, house cleaning, errands, school, work, on and on and on. But let’s face it. None of those things, most importantly your kids and spouse, are getting the BEST YOU! What good are you to them if your mind, body and spirit are suffering? You may be getting by…but I am positive that if you are still reading, that you want more than that for them; for yourself.
So, how do you put yourself first? We are all wired to want to care for everyone around us that it seems impossible and even selfish to do this. But, you must. I am a firm believer that mind, body and spirit are all linked and if one is lacking then eventually all will be. Once you start to improve in one area though, the others will follow. It is not overnight. There are no quick fixes. It is only one step and one choice at a time. It is not measured in days, weeks, or months. And while we are talking measurements, throw away your scale! You do not need it. Scales, in my opinion, are worthless and harmful. Especially, as a women, we gain and loose up to 5 lbs a day! Yes, it fluctuates that much! You do not need a number to affirm what you already know by looking at yourself and acknowledging how you feel.
Lets take a look at body. The one thing that all of us can control all the time is what we put into our bodies. It is true that you are what you eat, and even if you can’t get in a lot of activity or exercise, 75% of your health is food related. So start by making your first good choice. Eat an apple instead of that Snickers. Put down the soda and get some refreshing water. It is only one choice at a time. That is it. Do not make goals far away. Wake up and make a goal of having a good breakfast. Done – accomplishment…YAY!
When you make your first good choice, the next comes easier. Circling the parking lot to find the closest parking spot? Make the choice to park further away…more walking! YAY! Another good choice. Now you are on a roll!
Next, onto the dreaded topic of “working out.” This can mean different things to so many people. Some like gyms; some are intimated by them. Some enjoy running while others prefer swimming. It is a personal choice. For me, I do not like gyms and I do not promote the use of them. The biggest reason is that it is a place you need to get to. It is far too easy to make excuses not to get there! My gym is outside. Rain, sun, snow, hot, cold, it’s my gym and it leaves me no excuses because all I have to do is step out the door. There are many things you can do outside with and without your kids. You can run, walk, do sit ups, push-ups, etc. They only require that you make a choice to do them as opposed to not doing them. It is all on you! At the park? Great! Chase your kids around, get yourself on those monkey bars, pump your legs on the swing set! All of these things can be done if you allow yourself to do them. It is very important to recognize that not all physical activity is going to be easy. If it was, everyone would do it. And, you don’t have to be perfect at it. When I started running I was slow, still am to some standards; but what matters is that I run. I put one foot in front of the other until I am done…do not expect anything more from yourself, this is for you, not a contest or competition with anyone else.
With a healthy body comes a healthy mind. It’s science. The more active, the better nutrition, the more endorphins, the better brain chemistry and BAM! You’re happier! No lie…its proven. The more good choices you make, the better you will feel about your appearance and the higher your self esteem will be because of all the one-step-at-a-time accomplishments you are making several times a day! You’re a rock star!
When discussing your spirit, this can mean many things as well. For some, it is attending a church, others meditate. Some just heighten their spirit by taking in and appreciating the natural beauty around them. Whatever this means to you, take the time to do it. I love the rain. Everything about it whether its warm or cold, drizzly or pouring. I have always felt this was natures way of cleansing. I have never ran from the rain, only through it with arms wide open. I chose to embrace this gift from nature and it cleanses my soul every time.
Find your rain.
To wrap this up I want to add just one more very important thing: forgive yourself. You are not perfect, and you need to accept that. At times you will chose to have that cookie…and it is okay. Do not deprive yourself of the occasional indulgences. As long as you are making more good choices than you are negative choices, you are creating a better version of yourself, and when you make yourself better, you make everyone else around you better.
Now go…and take your first step.
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