Redefining Health

Hi guys! Long time no talk… er write.

I’ve been MIA because I’ve been busy well… living.

I’ve been known to go off the grid. I’ll “lose” my phone or let it die (and not charge it). And when it’s not lost or dead I’ll have half a dozen text messages that were semi constructed during the red lights I hit during my commute home. And by lights I mean just the one light. I live less than a mile away from work, so I don’t have enough red lights to finish my texts. They tend to be forgotten the moment the light turns green.

I’m one of those.

It’s really annoying for most people in the age of instant gratification.

But for the most part I’ve been busy with work and hanging out with my family. I’ve been rearranging my priorities. I’ve been giving myself head space, taking long walks and pondering life and how I want to live it. You know, the usual.

I haven’t written quite as much lately because I haven’t needed to. I’ve been getting my creative outlet through teaching. I spend a lot of my creative energy manipulating the education system in a way that allows me trick kids into enjoying school. This is actually pretty funny because in my latter high school years I spent the majority of my creative energy manipulating the education system by skipping school.

I was a master I tell ya. I mean, I literally walked through the front door, waved to the office ladies on my way out, and made my way to my car which was parked in one of the temporary parking spots at the front of the school. So cheeky! I know.

The past couple of weeks I’ve also been busy redefining what health means to me. My perspective has changed quite a bit since my surgery. Right before spring break I was feeling particularly weak and unhealthy. I stumbled upon a Pinterest article on how to use social media to motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle. Mostly it consisted of women dedicated to attaining the perfect body.

When I first saw the before and after pictures I was super impressed. I followed them on Instagram and then slowly as I watched them pop up on my feed I began to notice what was really going on. Hidden behind their inspirational quotes about not giving up was a lot of loathing and self doubt. It seemed to me that the “Don’t Quit” theme started to warp itself into, “Don’t quit picking out the parts of you that you hate… because there is always something that needs to be improved!”

What started out as a motto of belief in oneself turned into a motto of “You’ll never be good enough”.

I soon discovered that these women were just using social media to scrutinize themselves. You could tell that they were relishing in the attention they gained from their success and were feeling the pressure from it. Through this they were beginning to lose sight of what it means to be healthy, constantly comparing themselves to these unrealistic standards.

Being a middle school teacher I can spot this type of desperation a mile away. These grown women were doing the very thing I try to encourage my daughter and all of my students NOT to do.

Instead of finding freedom in their newfound health they were chaining themselves to an unending torrent of selfies in which they judge themselves. I’m talking ab selfies, butt selfies, arm selfies, boob selfies, stretch mark selfies, food selfies… It’s never ending.

It made me wonder if that is what I had been doing all along and maybe that was why I was losing interest in my blogging journey. I mean, I’m not a huge selfie fan but look at the title of this blog. “Too Hottie For That Body” what does that even mean?

I’ve been thinking about my own journey and all of the self-deprication I’ve dished out to myself. I would make healthy choices in order to lose weight, end up feeling really good about myself regardless of whether I lost weight or not. But I would ignore how great I felt because I felt obligated to focus on the superficial end result. At one point I did it for you. I felt like I needed to apologize for being happy with myself the way that I was.

By putting my journey out there I felt like people were waiting for me to succeed and by succeed I mean posting a final AFTER picture of myself in a bikini.

With this vision in mind I would calculate how long it would take me to reach a certain number. I would come up with these restrictions that I felt needed to happen in order to obtain my goal. I would implement these restrictions, get pissed off by the restrictiveness of it all and then rebel against it.

I don’t think that’s healthy.

Maybe I was rebelling against all of these restrictions because deep down I knew it was shallow and unfulfilling.

I hate to break it to you but I kind of doubt I’ll ever post that bikini picture. Not because it can’t be done, but because even if I did get to that level of fitness I wouldn’t need your validation on it. I don’t have anything to prove. In fact, I like my imperfect bathing beauty look just fine…

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When I was in 8th grade I remember being in the locker room with a bunch of girls. Somehow we all started talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I thought about it long and hard. When it was my turn I said that I wanted to be happy. Everyone thought I was a weirdo, but it didn’t matter because that was truly what I wanted.

Over the past few months after my injury I’ve been thinking about that more and more. What does it take to be happy? Lying there with my crippled leg I wasn’t happy and I rediscovered that a true piece of the happiness puzzle is health.

In reality, true health feels good. I’ve learned how to tune in to my body and acknowledge what feels good to it. Real food makes me feel good, sweating on purpose feels good, sore muscles feel good, the sun on my face and a good endorphin pump feels good. Taking a deep breath and feeling grateful for that very moment… that, that’s what feels good.

I’ve decided that this whole diet culture has screwed around with my head long enough. Healthy is just a path you choose, it’s a road I’ll have to choose for the rest of my life. Because in reality, there is no end result… not unless you’re dead. And that’s kind of the opposite of what I’m going for here.

4 thoughts on “Redefining Health

  1. Good for you Nina! I did the same thing, but it took me a lot longer to get there. I decided good health is way more important than anything else, and I quit dieting. Life is so much better without all the head games. I quit dieting about 7 years ago, and I will never diet again.

  2. Now, this journey I really want to read about! I’m on my own quest to find health and I would love to read about this in your blog. I think this is the best choice ever, good luck!

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