Keep Health in Mind
New Year’s resolutions have never really been my thing. I believe that the common resolves of exercising and eating healthy should serve as the foundation of a balanced lifestyle which is why I actively maintain such behaviors. Sure, I indulge in a gluten-free treat when the craving arises (a thumbprint cookie from Sweet Freedom Bakery anyone?) and skip the gym in favor of the latest Women’s Health and my couch when an afternoon meeting runs well past 5 o’clock. But when it comes down to it, I make a nutritious meal and a sweat session on the treadmill a priority.
So I surprised myself this January when I vowed to make a commitment of change like so many other Americans do. As someone whose family has always joked has “ants in her pants,” you can imagine that I have a hard time doing nothing, letting my mind rest and just being. To be honest, I feel guilty if I’m not busy. Whether it is for work or pleasure, I enjoy always having something to do or something to think about. But lately I was letting my thoughts run wild more than usual and I decided enough was enough. I resolved that 2011 would be my year of mindfulness. I would learn how to observe my thoughts and control the process rather than letting my thoughts control me. I would become more aware of the present moment and actively participate in the dynamic between my emotions, thoughts and actions.
Of course, this all sounds very nice but the million-dollar question was: “How am I going to do this?” A week after dusting off my yoga mat and buying a new journal, I found myself frustrated and, if anything, less mindful than when I started.
When I shared my sense of defeat with a friend, she replied, “Well, it sounds like you’re trying to learn something all over again. These types of things never happen overnight.” Her perspective piqued my interest. I jogged my memory to think back to the last time I had “started from scratch.” Aha! How had I not thought of the obvious before?
Going gluten-free involves deciphering every food label and becoming more aware of every morsel ingested and every beverage sipped. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I felt as if I spent the first several months after being diagnosed with celiac wearing a magnifying glass around my neck. Adjusting to a gluten-free lifestyle required acceptance (is this really happening to me?), patience (what happened to a quick trip to the grocery store?) and mindfulness (what are the ingredients?).
I smiled and let out a small sigh. I had been forced to alter my entire relationship with food within minutes of my doctor telling me to “go gluten-free.” Surely I could learn how to quiet my mind and regain control of my thoughts over the course of a year.