Well everyone, here we find ourselves again. Unbeknownst to everyone, I had planned my mental health posts every two weeks. And only known to me, I’ve blown that deadline twice in a row. Honesty is the best policy! So let’s get back on track! This is a revisit of one of my way older topics from yesteryear. And you, Dandelions, are in for some tough love.
Stop treating your body like a dumpster.
Why? I’ll tell you why.
In 2012, Chuck Wendig wrote a blog post about 25 Things Writers Need To Stop Doing and #9 on that list was “Stop treating your body like a dumpster.” It resonated deeply with me. I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I hit puberty thanks to my medication. I’ve done Spark People, Weight Watchers, and have been pressured into losing weight to make others happy and save relationships. I either had great results, but it all piled back on, or I never lost any. It’s discouraging.
And the medications definitely don’t help.
And you say “Duh. The easiest answer is to stop taking the medication.”
And that is where you are very wrong and ill-informed, and that’s a whole post on why medication is good for another day. For me, my meds, in short keep me from becoming psychotic and homicidal. Not a metaphor. Not a joke. The cocktail I take is some strong stuff and makes me able to maintain a functional quality of life, out of a psych ward, or a prison.
One of my meds in particular is strictly an anti-psychotic. And like all anti-psychotics, they have a major factor that contributes to weight gain. It’s almost an unspoken secret in the mental health industry. Take a medication to improve your life, and be happy, but at the cost of weight gain. I was pretty much resigned to the idea of “Do you want to be a size 6, or do you want to stop crying every day?”
I’ve never been a size 6 (if you count when I was 6), but I did get down to a size 14 from a size 38 once upon a lifetime ago. Even while medicated. Why?
Because I stopped treating my body like a dumpster. We see it all the time in books on writing craft, or online in stupid Facebook ads, or TV like Biggest Loser, we get needled to take care of ourselves. Like go for a walk, eat a vegetable, drink more water, get more sleep. How many times have we said “Yeah, yeah. Sure, whatever.” Ask yourself Dandelions, did you say that today? Yesterday? The day before? I bet you did.
But then we’re brainwashed into thinking being healthy = being beautiful. And there are ads everywhere for that and discussions on ideal beauty. This is definitely a discussion for another day and one I’m not particularly good at.
But no matter your shape or size, even if you want to shed a few pounds, or more specifically, get off that blood pressure medication or control your blood sugar? You have come to the right place.
Dandelions, I’ll level with you. We make a fuckton of excuses. We know them all. And we find ways to keep making them.
We make excuses out of fear.
“If I go to the gym, people will see me.”
“I don’t like vegetables, so I’m not going to waste money.”
“It’s too hot/cold/wet to go outside.”
My fave: “Sleep is for the weak!”
One: You don’t have to go to the gym. I don’t even have a gym membership. Two: Have you honestly tried a vegetable and prepared it in an appetizing way? Because no. Three: You don’t have to go outside. Even walking around your house is just fine. Four: For the love of god, please sleep. Sleep is good. Very good.
Dandelions, you are given only one body. No matter the shape it comes in, take care of it. I’m not asking you. I’m not saying pretty please. I’m saying get off your ass and do something.
Because if not now, when?
I used to feel like I had to do all-or-nothing, go in whole-hog. I can tell you, I failed every time. And you will too. Start simple. Super simple and super small. Try these:
Drink an extra glass of water during the day. Just one.
Watching TV? Walk to the bathroom and back during the commercial breaks.
Trying to sleep? Sleep with your phone and other devices (no tablets or laptops!) out of the room. Need an alarm clock? Buy an alarm clock.
Now say you have to leave the house. We all do eventually. Kids, school, work, etc. But what about fun things? Like going to movies, or the mall? I see a lot of movies. Like a lot. And because Pensacola is a podunk town we don’t have reserved seating at movie theaters. Which means I stand in line for popular movies a lot. Getting up at 6am for a 7pm showing of Rogue One? Yup. That was me! But walk around the movie theater grounds. You’ll be sitting anyway for a 2 to 3 hour behemoth slog of a movie. (Looking at you Pirates of the Caribbean. Do we really need another one?)
At the mall? Now, you don’t have to become one of those mall walkers who get up at o’dark-thirty, because who has the time? Unless you want to! But out shopping? You don’t have to worry about people staring at you because everyone else is walking around too doing their own thing.
Easiest trick ever that’s a no brainer? Park farther away if you have to go somewhere.
Now what about fruits and vegetables? You say “They’ll go bad before I eat them!” And I say, “Because you’re buying too much of them.” You really can buy just one apple, or one banana, or orange, plum, avocado, whatever! Stuff that’s priced by the pound? Like grapes? And I can put away some grapes. You can just take some out of that little plastic package and distribute them in other packages. No one cares! The grocery police won’t stop you.
I challenge you to try one new fruit or vegetable a week. Just one. Even dried fruit is fine! My faves are dried apricots, mango, and pineapple, and dried cranberries. I eat sun-dried tomatoes like jerky. It’s actually good.
Still have no idea where to start? Here’s my ultimate favorite and easy recipe involving grapes. Love Sour Patch Kids? Oh yeah. Sour Patch Kid Grapes are fucking amazing. Dump sugar-free Jell-O powder in a ziplock bag, add grapes, shake it up to coat, and dump those tasty grapes in a bowl! Save the rest of the Jell-O powder for later! Still don’t trust me? Here’s a video!
So how about a giveaway! What do you have to do? For the next two weeks, let’s keep each other accountable, tell me the one healthy thing you attempted! Did you drink an extra glass of water? Did you walk to your mailbox and back? Did you sleep with your phone out of the room? Did you gasp try a fruit or vegetable? Tell me aaaaall about it in the comments!
Two winners will walk away with their choice of any of my eBooks from Dreamspinner Press or DSP Publications! Your choice of titles you can find here, and here.
You have two weeks. Winners will be chosen June 7th with the next post.
Ask yourself: if not now, when? We have only one body, but a lifetime of chances.