Since my early thirties I have been faithfully setting New Year’s resolutions. Never one to choose the classic ‘give up sugar’, ‘lose 20 pounds’ or ‘exercise every day,’ my resolutions have been about improving myself on the inside.
Becoming a better or a stronger person.
In year’s past, I’ve resolved to spend more time with friends and saying ‘no’ instead of getting roped into crap I didn’t want to do. Another resolution was to turn my filters off—in other words allowing myself to calmly call someone out when they were lying right to my face. It made sense in my life at the time. One year, I even made a resolution to moisturize every day! LOL! That one turned out pretty good and I’m still doing it. Well, mostly.
For me, a New Year’s resolution isn’t something I jump into on January 1st. I begin thinking and working on it sometime in October. After all, you can’t just magically expect to make a lifestyle change overnight. And, yes, I was the kid who did their homework early. Even now, when I write books I don’t write by the seat of my pants, rather, I plot my stories.
Logically, then, I would plot my New Year’s resolutions, too.
So what was going to be my latest idea for self-improvement in 2015?
I first thought about revamping an old resolution that obviously still needed work, like the moisturizing every day thing (ugh! my feet could really use some TLC).
How about learning to say ‘no’ but without feeling guilty about it?
That was promptly dismissed, however, after talking with some ladies over forty. Most of you know me as a writer, but at my other job I’m a hairdresser/nail tech. I have a full clientele of the most amazing women you’ll ever meet. I often refer to them as my council of wise women. They come from every walk of life, age, and income bracket, and we enjoy having philosophical and introspective conversations—or just talking about their husbands, LOL. Almost all of the ladies over 40 assured me that by the time I hit my next decade I wouldn’t feel bad about saying ‘no.’ Honestly, I can already feel that happening.
Back to the drawing board then
Then a light bulb went off in my head while surfing the web for a sauerkraut recipe. Sauerkraut? Trust, I’ll go off on plenty of tangents in this series, eventually circling back to my point, but let’s just leave that one for another day, shall we?
My second idea was this: Learning to make choices to be healthy not thin.
Pretty profound for a woman in this generation, don’t you think?
Also pretty daunting.
I realized in very short order I wouldn’t magically begin thinking, “Eat the organic fruit salad because it’s full of antioxidants, and those nachos are full of hydrogenated oils that clog your arteries and release free radicals.”
How could I, when all through my twenties I would think, “Better pick the fruit salad because summer’s coming and you look like a cow?”
My journey toward making choices for my health would first have to start in my mind.
I was going to have to learn to think healthy not thin—which meant completely altering twenty-seven years of thinking.
‘Twenty-seven years ago?’ you may say. ‘But that would make you about eleven!’
Yes, around that age my mother began cautioning me, “Once you turn twelve, you’re not gonna be able to eat like that or you’ll get saddle bags.” If you don’t know what that is, it’s that natural outward flair of a pear-shaped woman’s thighs. And apparently the devilish byproduct of one too many slices of deep-dish.
This was the beginning of “thinking thin.”
Now before anyone starts bashing my mom and blaming women like her as the root cause of anorexia, in her mind she was trying to prevent what happened to her. When she turned thirteen her dad told her she’d gotten a big butt and needed to lay off the junk food. She’s had a complex about it ever since. When I was growing up, she didn’t want me to have the same complex. Unfortunately, her efforts to prevent me from having the dreaded thunder thighs she “suffered” from only gave me the same complex—don’t eat that or you’ll get fat.
After all, nothing tastes as good as thin feels, right?
We can say that archaic adage is false, but the pressure for young girls and women to look like the people in magazines and on TV is on the rise. And there are plenty of parents out there who, like my mom, are totally unaware of the power of their “helpful” advice.
Take for example a young woman I know. Let’s just call her Betsy. Betsy is a husky size sixteen, very stylish, and pretty. Her super skinny mom, however, is always cautioning her to watch what she eats and drinks, wanting her to go to the gym because she wants her to be “healthy.”
All Betsy hears is “lose weight, you’re fat.”
Not that different than my mother telling me not to eat pizza because you’ll get a big butt, right?
Society is more aware of how negative comments can harm the self-esteem of young girls than when I was younger—hence Betsy’s mom using the word “healthy” instead of “fat.” But unintentionally, both moms made food the enemy and exercise merely a way to look good.
They have trained us to “think thin” and we have done nothing to stop it.
Over the last few years, my tiny tomato pots have morphed into a huge garden and I began canning my produce, at first because I had so much bounty. But the more I have gotten immersed into putting food by, the more I have begun doing it for the obvious health benefits to my family—no preservatives, less sodium, etc. This organic-ish way of life is defiantly at the heart of my decision to begin this journey toward thinking healthy not thin.
But after all these years of thinking thin, how can I change my mind for the better?
Well, I already mentioned I’m a plotter when I write books, so trust me, I have a game plan for this, too. Join me tomorrow as I lay it all out, and hopefully, put me one step closer to thinking healthy not thin.