Raetz: Healthy, and able to chase butterflies
I used to be overly fluffy. For years I was obese and out of hope. I had come to grips that maybe I would just always be that way, but I knew I was not happy, did not feel good about myself, ached all over and seriously just wanted to hide. That was not a good place for me as I am naturally outgoing.
I was prompted by a friend to journal all the reasons I wanted to be naturally healthy and fit. I listed all the obvious reasons: health, appearance, better self-esteem, to be able to find clothes that fit, etc. I continued to journal for deeper reasons and found the one that inspired my heart and gave me courage: I wanted to be able to chase butterflies with my grandbabies someday.
For several years, health, nutrition and exercise were of interest to me. My head was so full of good knowledge, but my heart had no hope and no clue how to make it real for me.
In April 2008, I decided to start making the best choices for myself. It has been all about baby steps. I started by walking around the block and eating healthier foods such as grass-fed beef and chicken from small, local farms. I got involved with the Sedalia Area Farmers’ Market before it opened for its first day. The market has provided many options for local, chemical-free produce and fruits in season, plus other choices like free-range eggs.
I also utilize and order from a food co-op once a month, which allows me to order items at wholesale that are organically grown but not found locally: for example, yogurt, cheeses and sprouted breads.
Within the first month of adding real, whole foods I had energy. My joints quit aching, which meant I was able to add other forms of exercise such as weight lifting, water aerobics and even Zumba. The better I felt the more fun I had with the whole eating experience. The farmers’ market has been a great place to familiarize myself with new vegetables and ways to prepare them. It has become my daily adventure to allow food to be nutrition for my body rather than comfort for my every emotion. An acronym I learned has helped me when I feel like eating for all the wrong reasons: Halt.
H: Hungry or hydrate, eat or drink something.
A: Angry, find a way through conversation or journaling to deal with it.
L: Lonely, call a friend.
T: Tired, take a nap or go to bed.
There are many reasons we put food in our mouth, but it is very seldom because we are hungry. I am learning, but it is a process of constantly reminding myself to eat for nutrients and not to self medicate.
I have gotten very serious about my health the last three years, but have been slowly making changes in what I eat and what nutrition I consume for several years. A quote that has come to be my motto is by Hippocrates: “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”
I admit I like to have all the answers and try to use my own strength to make it all happen. I am still learning that I cannot and will not ever be able to do this all alone, so I choose to be surrounded by positive people and place myself in God’s hands to make all things possible.
I recognize I have a love/hate relationship with food and every day is about choices. I have learned to follow a bad choice immediately with lots of good choices.
After three years, three months and 130 lost pounds, I am excited about the results. Now, I love to take a good, long walk. I thrive on eating “real” food that nourishes my body rather than “empty” food that robs me of my health. And, yes, I now have a beautiful granddaughter, Riley, and we chase butterflies.
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