Moderation Monday -Slow and Steady Wins the Race

"Hi. My name is Suzie, and I'm a recovering perfectionist." I felt like that is how this post should start. :) When I had my second child and was dealt the circumstances that came along after it, I have spent the past two years greatly changing how I think and how live my life. I was an all-or-nothing thinker. If I did something, it had to be all the way, 100%, no, make that 110%. If I did not do things perfectly right from the get go, I failed. I didn't immediately give up, but sort of petered out, lost my momentum, my focus. I wanted to do everything; all, or nothing.

Life doesn't really work like this. At least not when you have very young children living in your home with you 24 hours a day, who depend on you for their livelihood, happiness, guidance and sometimes entertainment. Very long story short, over the last two years, I have been trying very hard to change this way of thinking, to try to catch myself when I am doing it. It is very hard to change a lifetime of habit.

Which leads me in to the topic of habits. After recently seeing pictures of myself at my family reunion just this past weekend, let's just say it has been motivation enough to really try to focus in on changing some habits.

Having a fun time at Bear World
I'm not interested in tearing myself apart or being self-deprecating. That's something I've been extremely good at all my life and am also trying to change. More than anything, I have realized that if I don't take care of myself, no one else will. That doesn't mean I don't have love, help and support from family and friends, but when it comes to self care, no one else can do that for me.

So, I am going to attempt something that is a little bit terrifying to me and exciting at the same time. I have been a subscriber to an awesome website, Healthy Habits Healthy Moms, for almost the past 6 months. I am in no way affiliated with them, but I will say that this group/site has greatly contributed to changing the way I think, the way I see myself, and the way I see other women. They focus on changing something with your health/nutrition, for one month at a time. Just one habit. One. Their point is that until you feel you have something mastered at about 85% of the time, you have made it a habit.

I admit this whole line of thinking was so weird to me, being a former all-or-nothing thinker. I'm used to doing programs like Body for Life, Jillian Michaels, programs through my chiropractor, which were good, but had you cut out a ridiculous amount of food, Weight Watchers, 21 Day Fix ... all programs that really are great, in their own right. When I started these programs, I would think,  "I can do anything for 21 days!", "I can do this for 12 weeks", " I can do this for 5 months" ... I'd done it all. But then when that time was up, I was always left thinking, well, now what? How do I maintain this? I felt great, and like I said, these are great programs, but for me, I realized I had truly, sincerely not made any of these things a habit, a life change, a consistent behavior. I did it to just get to the end, hoping that I would be changed, cured, transformed.

Struggling with depression is extremely debilitating, but it has been a blessing in disguise. It has caused me to slow down my life, change my line of thinking, embrace small and simple things and to be okay with that. My way may not be your way, and vice versa. I've had to really come to accept this, that I couldn't really do what other people did. I have had to figure out what is going to work for me, while sorting through other mental, physical, and emotional trials at the same time.

Small and simple things seem to be the answer for me at this time of my life. Moderation. One habit at a time. So, back to the point. After seeing my not extremely flattering, but still nice and okay pictures of myself,

It's good ... but it ain't great! ;) In beautiful Idaho with my love.
I have really decided to focus in on my habit change. I don't promise to post any pictures of myself in my sports bra and underwear (sorry, REALLY not my thing), or share extremely dramatic changes in a short amount of time. I am all about slow and steady winning this race. Because part of managing chronic depression is learning to take care of yourself. Because this isn't just a 12 week race for me, it is a lifelong race.

I have a few friends that are joining me in this journey, one habit at a time. If anybody else wants to join, please do! We are choosing one habit to change each month, in three different categories:

Exercise/Movement
Nutrition
Sleep/Self Care

For my month of July, I am choosing to do the following:

Exercise/Movement: I am working on a postnatal program through HHHM to correct my diastasis-recti (where your abs separate during pregnancy and don't come back together), and my pelvic floor (dang Willem for being a super big baby and messing that up) for the next 16 weeks, but within that, I am trying to do some sort of exercise for 20 min or more a day. Program 3 days a week, the other 3 days, whatever I enjoy, gets me moving and gets my heart rate up. Dancing with my kids, walking fast outside, yoga, HHHM workouts, etc;
Nutrition: I am going to practice portion control. I have learned that if I try to restrict something from my diet, I MAJORLY fail. It's like reverse psychology for my brain. "Oh, I can't have that? I WANT ALL OF IT! GET IN MY BELLY!" I am going to eat what I want, fruits, veggies, protein, carbs, chocolate, ice cream ... just the actual, correct portion of it. Novel idea, I know.
Sleep/Self Care: I am a major night owl. My entire family is, so this is a hard one for me, changing literally a lifetime habit. But I do find that if I can be asleep no later than 11:00, I function much, much better. And I have also found that sleep is the number one key in managing my depression and my moods. Really, don't we all need sleep?!?

Each Monday on this-here blog will be "Moderation Monday", for anybody interested, anybody who wants to join in. And if you don't, great, do what you want. :) It's also a way for me to be held accountable publicly, and hopefully passing on something of value along the way.

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