i regularly choose to do things that are bad for me and i’m not alone in this tendency. it’s a uniquely human characteristic. you don’t see rabbits choosing to eat four doughnuts for breakfast, and my cat doesn’t consume her weight in diet soda every day while calling it hydration.
i find it interesting that the thought came to me as i sat on the front steps smoking one of the twelve cigarettes i allow myself every day. it used to be twenty but in the interests of self-care, i’m trying to get the number down. i’d say i’m aiming for zero but that’d be a lie. i’m not even doing it because of the myriad of ways smoking is bad for you; i just hate the smell. and paying for it.
i spend a great deal of time and energy dealing with mental health issues and working on my recovery from a lifelong eating disorder. this is the way i justify my lack of care and attention regarding healthy choices in other areas. aren’t i doing enough already?
for instance, food. first off, i hate it. i hate dealing with it. it has been an enemy of my person for too long and i find it hard to regard it with affection even though i’m now trying to change my direction. at least, i find it hard with real food. i don’t eat enough protein. i don’t have variety in my diet. i don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. i buy the last regularly and in quantity, put them in the fridge for later, and there they sit ‘til they’re mouldy and fit for nothing but the compost bin. simple carbs, on the other hand, go down very easily.
in part, it’s a holdover from my eating disorder. when you are starving yourself, you need energy and it often comes in a compulsive and continuous consumption of sweet treats. breakfast might be a small pot of yogurt but that leaves you hungry, and ten gummi candies will take the edge off. i got into the habit of supplementing my food supply that way and the tendency remains. it’s not good for you, i know that. they rot the teeth, and considering the state my bulimia left mine in, you’d think i’d avoid them as a matter of principle, but the truth is i don’t, not so much. they’re bad for my skin, and they reinforce harmful pathways in the brain regarding what is and isn’t acceptable to eat. i know i should cut them from my diet but when i think about doing it, i get angry. that little voice in my head says, “you’ve given up so much already”, totally discounting that what has been eliminated is negative.
i know what the better choices are, i just choose otherwise.
driving’s another area where i’m not making good choices. those “drive safe” commercials always bring on the guilt. i drive too fast, i’m too impatient, and i make reckless choices. i’m not sure if it’s because i’m convinced that i’m “other people” who nothing bad happens to (and you’d think, with my life history, i’d think about that differently) or if part of me is still secretly hoping that an accident will happen, taking away for a while the responsibility i feel towards getting better. whatever the reason, i don’t operate my vehicle in a way that is good for me.
i stay up too late doing nothing much of import, just procrastinating on going to bed and getting some sleep. because if i was well-rested i might struggle less, might find it easier to make better choices, and we can’t have that.
my physical is two years past due and that number seems to be set to increase since i’ve yet to make an appointment to go see my doctor. i probably should, since i have a number of suspicious moles i’d like looked at, but to do so would be responsible and would move me in a direction of making good choices about my health, and that’s just not on with my brain. healthy choices are relegated to “not now” and “later”
don’t get me started about my diet soda consumption. i know it’s bad for me. perhaps not in an of itself, at least if you consumed it in moderation but i don’t. my ankles are permanently cankled from the water retention that consuming a couple of litres of the salt-laden beverage every day leaves you with. like the candy, the soda is also bad for my teeth. the idea of letting it go, however, rankles. i deserve it. i deserve to be allowed to make poor choices. i deserve to treat myself badly. it’s my reward.
appropriate exercise also doesn’t exist. i practiced inappropriate exercise for far too many years so i’m in a bit of an “all or nothing phase”, and i tend to fall onto the side of nothing. if i can’t elliptical ‘til i vomit, if i can’t work out hard in pursuit of the perfect body, then i’m not going to do it at all, cardiovascular and bone density benefits be damned.
i will get better. i have a plan. i’m going to eat right, exercise well, drink water instead of pop, drive according to all the rules of the road, meditate, make time for friends and family instead of putting them off because “master chef” is on, and stop spending the equivalent of the GDP of a small nation on candy. i’m going to do those things because it’s good for me.
i will start tomorrow, i promise. healthy living is important, i know that, and i’m going to get to it. soon. first though, i have a litre of pop to get through.
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