Tuesday, 26 February 2013

My Body Needs My Help

I have been out for a few days. Food poisoning. Wow. I have been working on fears but that is something I can add to the list of things I am afraid to experience again! What made it worse was that my daughter suffered simultaneously and there was nothing I could do for her. Thankfully, her daddy stayed up all night to help.

It has been quite a recovery. The dehydration took its toll and I am considerably lethargic. Yesterday I spent in bed. Today I managed to make slow-cooker stew, take my girl to her sing along group, do some laundry, and then fight with my teething munchkin to get her to eat and nap. Now, I am wiped!

I have so much housework. I need to print photos for her grandpa and great grandpa's birthday cards. But right now that just isn't going to happen. Let alone any physical training I would love to do. Priority at this moment is taking the time to heal.

We live in a society that really has an epidemic of not taking care of themselves. There are so many reasons to justify it. Following the crowd. Finding the easiest route. Giving in to temptations. Too busy, mostly. We live in the now without thinking how it will effect us later.

One big area is diet. We are in a rush and grab processed things to go. All we care about is filling our tummies and we don't think about the effects on our bodies later. For many, this is hard to change. We live in a world run by marketing. We get so many mixed messages. Others remain in the dark that a problem even exists. It won't effect them. We are surrounded by people who eat all this processed stuff, and they're fine. We argue that there is nothing we can do because too many changes would be needed. So we try to play the what-I-don't-know-won't-hurt-me card and refuse to educate ourselves properly on healthy eating. Then we don't feel bad about avoiding it. I guess I understand that tactic. I don't grasp politics, and every time I try I just get more confused or frustrated and give up looking into it further. So yes, sometimes ignorance is easier. But it won't get any results.

The facts are out there. Cancer is increasing. Diabetes is increasing. Average weight is increasing. And though there are some things we cannot control, we could most definitely make an impact if we would educate ourselves and make our health, and ultimately our future, a priority. Sure, we might not get it perfectly right, but we could make small changes, especially in the areas we know are an issue, like consuming white bread.

I look at it this way. I had leukemia at the age of 26. The type that I had is more commonly seen in an older population. I was probably born with a chance of having that cancer. If I had taken care of myself, then maybe I would developed it 10 or 20 or even 30 years later. Because of other health reasons, I didn't exercise enough or eat well. As a teenager I treated myself quite horribly (anorexia, alcohol, wrong food choices). And as you already know, I was very anxious and had a lot of stress, which is very burdensome on our system. It wasn't my fault that I had leukemia (it took a bit of convincing to release myself of that accusation). I didn't know that I was predisposed to get it. But my lifestyle did not help to prevent it. If I had taken care of myself and got sick much later someone would have thought, "See, no point in being healthy. You still get sick". Yes, but I believe the when and the how bad and the recovery are factors we can influence.

I think it is like that with all cancers. Manage your tension to lower the stress on all the individual systems so they can function at peak. Eat well in order to feed the body the nutrients it needs while lessening it's fight against harmful molecules. Exercise to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery, improve cholesterol, boost mood, and develop muscular strength, which benefits the battle against so many conditions. Our body is an amazing thing but sometimes it has no energy or resources enough to repair because it is so busy fighting off the damage we give it every day, every meal, every night.

Too bad our bodies couldn't talk to us. "Hey, I have a little issue starting down here in the kidney (or the bowel, or wherever). Could you help me have the resources to fight it by loading up on exercise, sleep, antioxidants, and water?"

But, unfortunately, when our body talks to us, it is very subtle. And we just don't hear it. The "I'm busy" voices are too loud. The "I don't want to miss out" voices are too loud. The "I want what satisfies me" voices are too loud. The "I'll be fine" voices are too loud. The "No one can tell me what I can or can't do" voices are too loud.

Anyone who has gone from unhealthy lifestyle to healthy, or even vice versa, could tell you that it does get easier to hear the requests of our body. Avoid salty take-out and processed for long enough and when you go have some again you will find the sodium level too much for your tongue and your system. I love sushi but find my thirst overwhelming after because I love to drench it in soy sauce mixed with wasabi. My body isn't used to that much, so I have to keep that habit infrequent. (Likewise, if you keep overloading on something, your body will convince you that you are used to it and it won't shock you as much, but the damage is still occurring.)

Being down after food poisoning is a reminder to me that my body is wondrous but fragile. It needs my help. My cooperation instead of me working against it. My body needs me to fuel it, rejuvenate it, energize it, rest it. Sometimes I should sleep more. Let things go. Eat less sugar (I would love to go to the movie and pig out on buttered popcorn and M&Ms like I used to before baby). But I'll keep trying. Hopefully my efforts will mean that we can have a long, happy life. More years to enjoy my children and grandchildren. I don't want to look back and think, if only I had taken the time and invested in myself. I want to help my body now so it can help me live the life I want to live. With adventure, excitement, agility.

Today though, I'll settle for sleep, relaxation, vegetation.

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