How serious is too serious?
Is it a diet, or a lifestyle? Are carbs really the devil? What about my mental health?
Well, dear reader, it's been a minute, hasn't it? I've been having a fantastic summer off from school and am currently on vacation from work. I've been taking it fairly easy, with some long motorcycle rides, walks with friends (socially distanced and inside my bubble, of course), and spending time with my husband and dogs. However, I haven't been totally enjoying my time off, because there's always that nagging thought in the back of my head: "I haven't posted on my blog in a long time! Why aren't I doing it? What will people think if I don't? They'll think I'm lazy, or unmotivated! Horror!"
Or, more likely, they won't care at all. Not because people don't care about me, but because I place WAY more pressure on myself than people know (and how could they?), and my friends and family will not mind if I post every day, or every week, or once a year. They'll be proud of me either way. Saying that and believing it, however, are two different things.
So what happens when we get distracted from our diets/lifestyles and "fall off the wagon?" Most likely, the same thing. We may hate ourselves, but our friends and family won't mind. Because here, as in all arenas, we are putting the most (unnecessary) pressure on ourselves. But as I sit here writing, I realize that's not really what this piece is about. It's about me, giving myself a break. I think you can probably relate.
I've been through some big changes lately. The biggest of which pertaining to keto is I have stopped incessantly documenting everything I eat, and comparing it against every little bit of exercise I do to ensure that I stay within my allowable 30g of carbs per day. This may not sound like a lot, but after six months of religiously logging my food and exercise, it has been a big change. Resuming eating without logging has felt kind of like jumping off a cliff into the cool, clear water below. At first, I felt I was in freefall, but I made the decision trusting I had practiced the ketogenic lifestyle long enough to have a pretty good handle on what to eat in a day to stay low carb. I've been eating free of logging for about a month now, and guess what? My weight hasn't changed. I get to the gym when I can, and if it isn't twice a week, that's ok too. If I have a "cheat" day, that's also ok. I can make it up the next day by eating right. Like Jennifer Aniston tells us, "just stop eating shit every day." Emphasis on the "every."
This issue of cheat days, going over on carbs, and demonizing certain foods or ourselves for indulging is a micro example of why so many women struggle with weight and body image issues. Society pressures us to look perfect and to be perfect, and some of us struggle under the weight (so to speak) of unattainable goals. I know I'm not saying anything original here, but if you're looking for an explanation for why I've been silent on my blog for so long, this is it. I wanted to give myself a break, or as much of a break as my hamster-spinning-in-the-wheel brain will allow me, because I go back to work next week, and I go back to school in two short weeks. I wanted to reclaim the time I was spending logging (and it was actually a surprising amount of time,) because I wanted to redirect that time into my relationships.
As this year has shown us, part of living a healthy lifestyle-whether ketogenic or otherwise-is giving yourself time to relax and connect with people who recharge your batteries. We spend so much of our time obsessing over little things that, in the end, won't really matter that much. It may sound nihilistic, but when I have a thought in my head that I can't get out, I ask myself, "am I going to care about this on my deathbed?" or another favourite, "will this matter in a year from now?" Extreme as these thoughts may sound, I find that these questions are an exercise in reframing my worries within the realities of the life I've created for myself. Since my obsessive thoughts are extreme, they must be counteracted by logic that is equally extreme.
This has been a year for reframing much of our collective thinking, and reconstructing established ways of doing things. I hope it's not too optimistic, but I have high hopes that one of our takeaways from this year will be that mental health is critical to overall health, and one way I'm working toward improving mine is by trying to not take myself too seriously.
Jared and I on our motorcycle road trip to Port Renfrew, BC.