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Looking back on my life and various stages of dietary knowledge and compliance over the years, I've come to the conclusion that I have no regrets for choosing the right foods and refusing the wrong foods. In the moment, it seems like a big deal..."everyone else is eating it, I want to eat it" or "I'm having a really hard day, that bit of junk would make me feel better for a moment". In the end, it never was worth giving in in the moment.
Here's what I do remember: I remember what it was like to always be sick, in pain, and/or tired. I remember missing out on activities due to not feeling well. I remember being depressed or anxious, for no good reason, I remember not being able to think well or feel the emotions I deserved to feel. I regret not being more "there" for my family and friends. That was when I ate whatever I wanted...it didn't give me the life and memories that I longed for.
Then, I remember feeling good again. I remember getting out and active and having energy instead of pain. I remember that clearly, and am reminded of it every day I continue on that path. Every morning I go to taekwondo I make more memories and feel more grateful for my improved health. Every day I go for a walk with my husband or play around with my kids, I make more memories and feel more grateful. Those are the memories that stick with me. I don't remember the donuts or twinkies I refused to eat, I don't regret picking something healthier than a milkshake or cheesecake, even if at the moment it seemed hard.
Kind of makes self-control worth the effort, doesn't it? Now that I am less sensitive to avoids and toxins, I have to think about things more, I no longer get instant retribution when I eat something I shouldn't (unless it's wheat). I have to remember how I once felt and remember that if I eat wrong for too long, I'll end up back at square one. If I increase my compliance, the rewards are increasing, and the sky is the limit. So now instead of choosing between feeling lousy and ok, I'm choosing between feeling ok and exceptional. Something about me found the "slap on the hand" more motivating, but it's time to grow out of that and find a higher motivation.
I recently turned 35, and even with some recent dietary blunders, I feel better than I did at 25. (I think I look it too). As we age, we can see the cumulative effect of our choices and be blessed or cursed for them in more obvious ways. My body has only gained ability in the recent years, and I want to keep it that way. The thirties can really be the prime of life, if it's a life well lived and nurtured. (Maybe I'll say the same thing in my 40s...I hope so!). Maybe my best decade will be my 90s, the sky is the limit.