Attitude of Gratitude: My Health

We have been back in Maryland for one week now and are (mostly) adjusted to the time zone differences and general travel exhaustion.  Yesterday afternoon, however, all of us seemed to be in the grips of the final “ugh” of jet lag: I had a slight fever, an insatiable appetite for snacking, and cold symptoms; H had a fever, a tendency to cry hysterically, and a refusal to nap; Min was morose and felt no sense of accomplishment in completing the awesome task of reclaiming the jungle that our backyard had become; and J was restless, irritable, and showing signs of TV addiction.  It was a bad scene.

However, we worked through this and this morning, I resumed an early morning work out class routine and healthy eating regime.  I had a productive day at work and will complete my first return volunteer shift at hotline tonight.  Min and the kids seem in better spirits and are back to routine.  I feel more relaxed and at peace.  I believe my ability to transition from an afternoon of misery to a Monday of productivity and wellness is a function of my (relative) good health.

For many people, it will seem shocking for me to say that I am grateful for my good health.  I have two major chronic diseases: ulcerative colitis and type 2 diabetes.  I am still classified as “overweight” on the BMI scale, and have in the past been “obese.”  Despite my love of group exercise classes and hiking, I have a hard time classifying myself as “fit,” and I am often the one modifying choreo for ease, using only bodyweight for lunges, or taking breaks every 50-100 feet on the trail.  My health, in particular my two chronic diseases, are a major impediment to any goals I may have related to early retirement or travel (U.S. health insurance is a major problem).  I have often maligned and cursed my body for its limitations and resistance to good health.

Ever since becoming a mother, my relationship with my body has changed.  First, pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding were the first experiences I ever had where I had been awed by my body and its abilities.  The creation and nurturing of life is something my body did–twice–and it still amazes me.  Second, I know that whatever attitudes and habits I have with my body will be part of my children’s own health story.  Focusing on the amazing things my body can do helps them see their own bodies as purposeful and positive.

For me, good health is about recognizing and celebrating all the ways my body supports me through my mission in life.

I’m not perfect, but since 2014, I have lost about 40 lbs, attained remission with maintenance medication for the ulcerative colitis, been diagnosed with and controlled the diabetes without medication (some medication during pregnancy #2), and become a regular (at least 3-4x week–enough that the trainers and other participants know me) participant in gym classes.  I feel more comfortable moving through my daily life and stronger when attempting physical challenges.  I’m not the strongest I’d like to be, the size I want to wear, or as effortlessly consistent with my healthful eating habits as I desire, but I know that I can achieve those goals through consistent effort and acknowledgement of the power of my body and my health.

I am grateful for the ability to pursue these health goals.  Not everyone has the luxury, support, or financial ability to prioritize their health.  I appreciate all the ways I have been able to arrive at my present state of good health, and commit (as ever) to investing further in my health.

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