Health Matters More

Something isn’t right. And I’ve known it for a couple of weeks – I just didn’t want to admit it to myself.

But, it’s time I stop ignoring the signs and do something about it.

Listen to what your body is telling you.

If you pay attention, your body will signal when it’s not working optimally. It’s up to us to listen and take it seriously. And, as reminded by an Instagram post by @wholenewmom,

If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won’t have to hear it scream.

The timing of this quote was perfect for me since I’ve been noticing some changes as of late.

  • heart rate increases for no particular reason
  • feeling “off”
  • balance off

These are symptoms I experienced two years ago when I was eventually diagnosed with Graves’ hyperthyroidism (an autoimmune disease).

Having been in remission for almost a year and a half now, the last thing I want is  my thyroid acting up. So when the symptoms started to creep up on me slowly, I wanted so desperately to ignore them and pass them off as temporary. Even as I write this, I still want them to be temporary.

Reality check.

Health doesn’t usually change for no reason. Something has changed to cause an effect in your body. So noticing these symptoms, I started to reflect on my life as of late. And, if I’m being completely honest, I haven’t been acting in a way that puts my health as the priority.

I’ve been letting immediate gratification win over long-term health. In other words, happily accepting offers of treats at work or with family and friends, or indulging in a dessert because I know it will taste so good in the moment. Or eating out at a restaurant and being lenient with my choices even though I know it’s not optimal for my body. And, let’s not forget emotionally-driven decisions, like having a stressful day and picking up a dark chocolate hazelnut bar to make me feel better.

Beyond food, I have not been consistent with sleep, and I know I haven’t been managing my stress as well as I could. I have a lot going on, in a good way, but when I’m not paying attention, it can creep up and I crash.

I have been making decisions based on the short term reward with little to no thought towards my overall health.

And it has added up.

Slow build.

I’ve learned over time that a few deviations from the norm won’t throw me off track, but if left unchecked, it’s a path towards bigger problems. And I have a history of knowingly pushing myself little by little to see how far I can stretch before I reach my breaking point. It’s like some twisted curiousity I have to bend until I break. Then I pick up all the pieces and start over again.

I know I’m not alone in this.

I also know it’s damaging in more than one way. Primarily, my overall health. Pushing your body to the limit until it pushes back is not okay. Your body wants to be healthy and will fight for balance. But it can become overtaxed and drained as it tries to compensate. Secondarily, my psychological well being is harmed. I observe myself as I knowingly harm my body with poor decisions, and when the breaking point is reached, I beat myself up over it. The self-talk is swift and not pretty.

And I’m ready to break the cycle.

Health matters more.

In my effort to really listen to what my body is telling me and to work to break the cycle, I intend to spend the next six months working to focus on long-term health over short-term rewards. And, I plan to work on my mindset regarding this pattern of mine.

I have made lasting in change in many areas of my life, including with food, and I won’t discredit the progress I’ve made, but I still struggle to make choices that serve me well in the long term.

So I’ve decided to adopt the mantra “Health Matters More” when I find myself wanting to fall prey to instant gratification.

Because ultimately, my health matters more than, say, the dopamine hit from some chocolate, or throwing myself a pity party after a trying day, or getting caught up on Instagram stories instead of getting a full-night’s sleep.

It won’t be easy, but it is worth it.