Small Health Changes I’m Making

Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

I have four papers and an article due in the next 10 days, so obviously I’m going to write a blog post. (Now that I have less free time than I’ve had in years, I, of course, have all the ideas.)

Over the past few years, it’s been no secret that my mental health has been priority. I’ve been literally trying to stay alive. My physical health has largely been pushed to the back burner.

But now that I’m feeling more stable, I’m ready to start making changes to feel better. And I’ve had a lot of signs and reminders lately.

This weekend, I saw Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour. (I was at the one where she fell when she was literally talking about balance. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a whole arena collectively gasp like that.) She gave us wellness workbooks, and we had to score ourselves in various domain of health: emotional, nutrition, physical movement.

Some of the questions in the nutrition section included: do you eat enough vegetables? Do you drink enough water? Nope and nope. Over these past few years, I’ve told myself that my diet isn’t that bad, that I still eat better than the average American. Well, yes, but that’s not saying much.

As I took a Sunday mid-afternoon nap, I wondered why I was so tired. “Well, Theodora,” I said to myself, “all you’ve had to eat today is carbs, so…”

It was such an a-ha moment of no shit you don’t have much energy because you’re not fueling your body right.

I saw something interesting on Tina Muir’s Instagram last week: “A ‘sweet tooth’ is not necessarily what it seems. For years, I was so addicted to sugar, I HAD to have dessert, even if it meant walking to a store half mile from where I was at 9pm. Really, that wasn’t a sweet tooth craving, it was my body screaming at me for more calories.”

Man, did that resonate. (Disclaimer here that Tina isn’t an RD, but it’s an interesting point.) I have had such cravings for sweets the past few months. It’s rare I don’t have ice cream in my fridge. (But, y’all, So Delicious Oatmeal Cookie Oat Milk ice cream is THE SHIT.) I’ve drastically changed my drinking habits: I rarely have more than one drink, when I used to consider two drinks a light night. And I’ve heard that when you cut back on drinking you have craaaazy sugar cravings. So I’ve been trying to focus on one change at a time, but enough is enough with the sugar.

Plus, I’ve just been feeling pretty unbalanced since starting school. I’m working and going to school full-time, and so I have more going on in my life than I have in years, and it’s an adjustment.

So here’s the small changes I’m going to make. Bonus: this all helps mental health too.

  • Make sure to get at least four glasses of water per day. (I’m starting realistically.)
  • I’ve cut out refined sugars for Lent. Dark chocolate doesn’t count, though. Jesus would understand.
  • More vegetables. I’m going back to my meal delivery service for a bit (with this link, you get $50 off after being a customer for four weeks. BFD, I know.) I’ve also bought some Vega All-in-One to get some extra nutrition in.
  • Committing to at least one CircuitWorks class per week. Basically, it’s a local OTF wannabe. But it’s close and on ClassPass, so win. My goal is two times per week but I’m starting realistically.

Looking Back to Move Forward

Photo by Jermaine Ee on Unsplash

Leaving NYC, my therapist told me, can be like a breakup.

You vilify what you’re leaving behind in order to accept your new reality.

When I moved out of NYC last year, I was all “fuck New York.” The city I’d grown up in the shadow of. The city where I spent my mid 20s to my mid 30s.

I could see all of the pain I experienced there and none of the happiness. But my trip back this weekend was different.

My therapist always reminds me to slow down and let myself feel things, and I took time to do just that this weekend in between stuffing my schedule with plans. I walked over to Central Park and sat down on a bench, intending just to listen to some music or journal a bit.

I was surprised when my eyes started stinging with tears, then filling with them, pouring out of my eyes, before I could identify what was happening. But as I looked out at the runners on the loop, my heart began aching for the old days. When all I had to do was tweet to find a running buddy. When most problems could be solved with a good run. When my mom was waiting for me at finish lines. When everything was less complicated by the layers of life we’ve all experienced.

I walked over to Toloache to meet friends for brunch, and my friend Shannon was the first there. We sat waiting for our table, and I looked at her and told her I’d just been crying in Central Park, missing the old days. Shannon is one of the first close friends I made in NYC, and she has been one of the most unconditional friends…ever? I looked at her and started crying harder, remembering all kinds of old memories.

All those months and years of anger and hatred towards New York City melted away, and I saw all the fun, all the good times I had, too. But a lot has changed since those times, and you can’t go back, only forward.

I was able to open my heart to appreciating my old home and being appreciative and excited for this new life I’m building. NYC will always hold a big piece of my heart, but for right now, I love Santa Monica and the life I’m building there, by the ocean with my sweet little dog, going to grad school to fulfill dreams. Life contains multitudes, and right now, those are loving and missing NYC and being really happy where I currently am.