May 242018

I’ve had the tenets from my previous post about healthy winter habits floating around my brain this past season, but haven’t been able to grasp on tight enough. I knew what worked for my body and mind that successful year, but let’s be realistic. A lot changed in the past five years and eating well hasn’t topped the list of priorities. To recap:

  • 2013: The year of house hunting. Searched two states, dozens of towns and cities, ultimately buying a house on Long Island and leaving NYC behind.
  • 2014: The year of new beginnings. A new job (still non-profit but a better fit), a shift in work-balance, lots of travel, a new pregnancy, new and rekindled friendships.
  • 2015: The year I became a mom. First to Rebecca in January, finding our way in the world together, then the discovery that another little one would join us soon.
  • 2016: The year of 2 under 2 with the addition of Nicholas to our household, plus a major project at work. Without a solid support network, we wouldn’t have come out of 2016 the same.
  • 2017: The year Mike’s job role changed and along with that, so did our family dynamic. The challenges were great and we did our best to make it appear easy.
  • 2018: Acceptance of a new normal, now striving for balance.

My interests have adjusted in the last five years. It’s obvious, but it’s more than just me and my own needs now. I’ve traded in books about health, food, science and lighthearted novels for parenting books, potty training guides, and tomes covering early childhood philosophies. Sometimes I get lost in the shuffle, feeling guilt whenever I start doing something for me over supporting my family.

This morning I opened an email that sat in my inbox, one that I would typically gloss over along with more than 4,474 other unread messages as unimportant compared to the preschool updates, library book due date notices, bridesmaid duty messages, and deadlines that warrant my attention. Yet something beckoned me to open it.

A smile spread across my face as I read what was happening in the life of a blogger I used to follow regularly. I felt like I was coming home, visiting an old friend. She’s still here. Still writing. I did a quick search of others I used to read and found some are defunct, some have shifted gears, and some are still chugging along, sharing their life’s journey with the world. Maybe I should join them.

And so I’ll open myself up a little to say this: Winter ‘17-’18, you were not the Winter ‘12-’13 I hoped for. What started with a case of shingles mere days into a new weight lifting regime, turned into a series of failed attempts at exercise and healthy eating. My trusty notebooks mock me with unfinished programs, eagerly started and soon abandoned. I came to terms with it, though. I accepted the timing just wasn’t right. I gave up (or gave in?) and before I knew it, my new normal was two giant muffins for many breakfasts, lunchless days, weeks without a vegetable in sight, and nights with two dinners (one with the kids, then one with my husband, often involving heaps of pasta). I gained my typical winter weight but one thing was different: I didn’t care. I’m not in the same place I was as a newlywed.

This winter, I felt putting the needs of my husband and children light years ahead of me was more important. My meal planning and food prep for my children involved steel cut oats, whole wheat french toast, spinach omelettes, fresh fruit sliced or diced 3x a day, unsweetened yogurt with a drop of vanilla and honey, roasted green beans, baked sweet potato spears, bean chili and lentil soups… I just couldn’t bring myself to eat it. I’d spend hours cooking, planning, shopping, and then binge on a bag of Trader Joe’s vegan marshmallows when nobody was looking.

Then my own words came back to me:

“Add in the good food, crowd out the bad.”
“Move, as much as energy permits.”

I’m listening and making simple improvements. I’ve found salad again. I’m hydrating again. We are having smoothies for breakfast. I’m roasting broccoli and making meals from scratch that I know the kids likely won’t eat – just for me. There’s no need to sacrifice myself and I’m equally important to the other members of my family. “Put your own oxygen mask on first” and all that.

So here we are in May 2018, ready to take a look at what’s real and what can be done. The possibilities are endless. I just need to make some choices, and one of them is to focus a little more on me.


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