Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Listening and Life Lessons

One of the things I have had to learn how to do to lose weight, get healthy,  and become a runner is how to listen to my body.

I used to just eat whatever and whenever I felt like it, just because I could. I used to eat way past when I was full just because food tasted good. I used to stay up way too late. I used to let myself get exhausted. I used to get sick a lot. I used to never exercise. I used to put little thought or care into taking care of myself. My body felt tired, slow, fat, uncomfortable, unhealthy, unhappy, and worn out. But I didn't listen to it.

I was really good at taking care of everyone else. I made sure the kids got meals, naps, sleep, medications,  and everything else done on a schedule. I took care of Josh and kids and the house and clients... I gave and gave and gave to everyone but myself.

When I decided to get healthy, one of the first things I had to do was pay attention to myself. I had to figure out what I needed. I had to learn how to eat when I was hungry and stop eating when I was full. I had to make sure I got enough sleep. I had to make sure I didn't let myself get worn out emotionally or physically (as much as that is possible). I had to make some time for myself and put some energy into myself.

I had to figure out how to make myself a priority in my own life.

It was a totally foreign concept at first.

As I got into running casually, then more seriously, and now really seriously, I have had to get even better at listening to my body and taking care of myself.

Am I getting enough to eat? (Running 80+ miles a week makes a girl HUNGRY). Am I eating too much? Am I eating good food and fueling my body well?

Am I getting enough rest? Am I worn down? Am I overtired? Do I have plenty of energy for the day?

How does my body feel? Any sore spots? Are my legs fresh? Am I hitting my paces without too much effort? Am I having successful workouts? Am I stretching, rolling, ice-bathing, cross-training, and doing all that I can to stay healthy and free from injury?

And maybe the most important - Do I feel happy? Do I feel strong? Do I feel confident? Do I feel content? Am I smiling (inside and out)?

It took me quite a while to find the right balance in life. It took me a while to figure out that I could do a first rate job taking care of my family and home, and do my "work" job, and take care of myself and chase my own dreams too. In fact, I fact I realized that I am happier and better for the people in my life since I figured that out.

By giving to myself, I have more to give to everyone else.

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -Howard Thurman



15 comments:

Stephanie Anne said...

love your post :) In our entire life its so important to listen to what we need. I need to work harder at listening!

misszippy said...

GREAT post! Truer words were never spoken.

On the Right Track said...

I definately need to work harder at listening...we probably all do as women in these times...

but what I need to do more is believe that when I do MAKE the time to listen, I can actually BENEFIT from it...in so many more ways than one.

Thanks for bringing this to the forefront of my mind when I need it most!...

Annette@(running)In the Right Direction said...

Love this post because I feel like this is where I am right now! I am loving figuring all these things out and I am realizing that its true...do it first for yourself and everything else comes so naturally..
Great post.

LBTEPA said...

what a great post on the first day of lent - a focus on self-care (giving up self-neglect) is essential if your life is about giving

Christina said...

Very good post. It is important to take care of ourselves - emotionally, mentally, physically so we can be strong and take care of the others around us.

Ugly said...

As Abraham Lincoln said, "It is not the years in your life that counts. But it is the Life in your Years than counts"....

The best advice is the 'Dont Worry; Be Happy!'

Too much stuff going on in world that we cannot change....we can only control what we do and think....

Running is a Positive Addiction....

Becky at Prairie Runner said...

I tend to be really good at listening to others - I read blogs, listen to podcasts, and read all the advice columns I can. I need to remember the importance of listening to my body! Thanks for the reminder!

Taryn said...

What a wonderful post - it is always a good reminder to listen to your own body!

{lifeasa}RunningMom said...

This is just what I needed to read today. I try to listen to my body and eat appropriately and not give into stress-related chocolate cravings. But my one weakness....I am not getting enough sleep and I really think that is why I am getting so many colds. You are right. I need to take care of myself and making sleeping a priority. Perhaps a one early night a week. The trouble is getting hubby-me time at the end of the day after darling daughter is in bed. I often stay up later even though I am exhausted so he doesn't feel left out. But honestly, if I sleep a bit more, my time with him would be better too.

Amanda@runninghood said...

Sounds like you're doing a good job of listening and giving to yourself. Keep on keepin' on! Boston is going to be awesome for you!!

Jill said...

I've been so blah about listening to my body and fueling it the way I should....I know when I'm in tip top shape and training for an A race, I am so focused and in-tune to what my body needs, but when I'm sitting here clawing my way back, I'm not so diligent. I need to get back into the right frame of mind again....thanks for the little nudge!! ;)

Katie @ Will Race for Carbs said...

Great, great post. When moms put themselves last, I think everyone loses. It seems like the right thing to do but then you are exhausted and no good to anyone. Like always, an inspiration! Thanks for the words of wisdom!

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

I have not been the best about listening to my body lately and have eaten a lot of crap. bleh.

Great post, it is so important to take care of ourselves.

SWMom said...

Absolutely great post! I've been working on just such a balance since I started running last May. I was getting better at it until this week... your post is a perfect reminder to carve out that time and being a healthy Mom is being the best Mom I can! Thanks! Best wishes with Boston training!