Who is not What or Where

A friend of mine recently contacted me asking this:

Sooo you know what happens when you eat your stress away?? You GAIN a ridic amount of weight. Remind me no quick fix is the answer.  Ugh.   Any pearls oh health guru?

I responded with what I will tell anybody who feels they are starting from square one:

Stress eating is a killer…you’re right though – no quick fixes. Try following the 5 Habits of Good Eating: 1. Eat slowly (20 minutes per meal, but only until 80% full. 2. Eat a palm sized portion of lean protein with every meal (as in the the volume of your palm – same circumfrence AND thickness). 3. Try to get at least 2 servings (leafy veggie: the size of your clenched fist; chopped veggies: 1/2 cup) of non-starchy veggies (or fruits) with every meal…yes, with breakfast too! Try to keep your vegetable to fruit ratio at 5:1. 4. Save your starchy-carbs for after workouts, NOT as a reward, simply with the understanding that some starch is necessary after workouts. Keep portions to one cupped hand. 5. Eat healthy fats every day. You need to eat fat to burn fat. Anything that says fat-free or low-fat, throw it away…far away!

If 5 habits seem overwhelming (and to most people they do), tackle them in order. Start with #1. Work on that for 2 to 4 weeks. Once you have that down, add #2 and so on. It’s a slow process, but it works.

If you want to accelerate the process a little, add exercise. Ultimately, you need to get to 5 hours per week – half of which should be intense (resistance training, interval training, etc) and half of which should be low intensity cardio (walking, ellipting, running, biking, etc). Start with an hour per week (15 minutes, 4 days a week) and build slowly.

You can do this. You are not only a woman (they tend to have higher pain thresholds than men) you are a mom – the toughest, fiercest creatures on the planet.)

She thanked me, but then added that her current situation had given her another reason to hate herself.

I paused and then wrote:

Hate CAN be motivator (as in “I hate the situation” or “I hate feeling this way”), but don’t mistake the way you feel or the situation you are in with who you are. Walk your way back to the gym and go find that woman you love…the woman [your son] and the rest of your family loves. Ultimately, you’ll find her where she’s been all along (she’s you!).

And that to me is a lesson we all, including me, need to be reminded of on a regular basis.  WHAT and WHERE are not WHO.  What we do and where we are (geographically, physically, mentally, emotionally, metaphysically) do not and should not define WHO we are.  That is the scary thing about depression (see Robin Williams) and abuse (see Janay Rice) – they blur the lines; they convince us that the depression and abuse are who we are as opposed to what or where we are (depressed or in an abusive relationship).

I know too many people, within this industry (health, fitness, blogging) and without, who define themselves by what they do.  Any questioning of what they do becomes an attack on who they are.

My above mentioned friend “hates herself” for the de-conditioning she has gone through over the past several, stress filled months.  Deep down, I reminded her, she is still the loving, funny, beautiful woman with an infectious smile and a twinkle in her eye that she has always been.  That is WHO she is, not WHAT (stressed) or WHERE (out of shape and in a changing family dynamic) she is.

You just remember that Mrs. M!