Inspirationally Yours: Loving Yourself Healthy

Vicki T. Lee
November 7, 2011
Filed under Uncategorized

One of your family members needs to hear you say “I love you.”

She’s been your most ardent supporter; most trusted confidante. She’s the one you turn to first for guidance; the only face you recognize when you’re feeling lonely. No matter how neglected she feels, she’s always right there – in your mirror. See her there? Now when you’re ready, tell her “I love you.”

Did that feel weird? Strange? Like you’ve done something you shouldn’t have? If speaking it was hard, have you ever taken the time to show love to yourself?  Do you even know what that means?

Google “self-love” or “women loving themselves” and you’ll find what I did: pages of sexual information. Loving yourself is a natural concept made to feel unnatural. It simply means giving yourself the same love you give to others.

But who has time? There’s laundry to be done. Isn’t football practice today? How much overtime will pay for summer camp? Can I afford private school?  No time to cook. Better hit McDonald’s.

A woman’s work – says society – is to live up to society’s definition of what a woman is: a nurturer and a giver. We are Mother Earth. It is our responsibility to make sure that people around us are fed, cleaned, comfortable and satisfied on a daily basis. Those actions flow easily from us to other people while our inner self is standing in the corner with her hand up silently screaming, “What about me? I’m over here!”

We think as long as everyone around us is okay, then we’re okay. We don’t question that, nor do we recognize impending issues as having any connection to our neglect of ourselves. Chances are we haven’t even recognized that we are neglecting ourselves. We just plod on to the next task – sleep-deprived, high on caffeine, fat and salt, unable to climb a flight of stairs without panting.

Then one day we wake up with a severe pain in our head and tingling in our arms. Our blood pressure reading is 200/195. A monotone voice declares “stroke symptoms”, a diagnosis delivered too many times.  We panic, make thin promises to ourselves to eat better, exercise more and schedule “me” days. We recover, but we don’t learn.

It’s so hard! Who’s going to finish that project if I don’t? Who’s going to clean that kitchen if I don’t? Who’s going to climb that career ladder or cook a holiday dinner for 30 people if I don’t? I’ll rest tomorrow.

But when tomorrow comes, does our health survive the storms?

For many women, the answer is no. One of the most visible health problems facing the nation is the prevalence of overweight and obesity issues.  On the Center for Disease Control website, a 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of U.S. adults aged 20 and over stated that more women (35.5%) were overweight than men (32.2%).  Those statistics, stress and societal pressure can all wreak havoc on our self-esteem and lay the foundation for desperate actions.

In a recent USA Today article entitled “These women died after having liposuction,” three women, like so many others, chose liposuction to get rid of fat. It was an elective procedure. All three of them died from lidocaine overdoses – definitely not the outcome they elected. [1]

If they had set their minds to accept more gradual ways of fat-reduction, would they have lost their lives to a surgeon the article described as unqualified? Could it be that those women were so busy with others, when they finally had time to do something about their weight, they made a desperate choice?

I’ll mourn for those women. They exhausted their options to love themselves healthy. But we haven’t yet.

Loving ourselves doesn’t cost money or time. We just need to take baby steps in the right direction.

Instead of counting on diet aids or cosmetic surgery to get rid of fat, let’s respect our temples more.  Loving ourselves means watching what we eat and how much. It means putting the fork down before we have to unbuckle our belts.

How about trying a “me” day or a “me” minute? Make a date for a candle-lit bath, a walk or run in the park. Pull out an inspirational article, book or audio.

Does your blood pressure require medication? Is your daily caffeine fix increasing your heart rate? Are you unable to wind down and sleep without a nightcap or sleeping aid? Loving ourselves means changing what we can control: diet, exercise and stress management to live the healthiest life possible …

…and starting it off with a declaration of: “I love you.”

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