Seeing the Difference

Being the critical thinker that I am, I decided to engage in a short-term experiment. As I have shared in previous entries, doctors are treating me for chronic pain and fatigue that they believed to associated with fibromyalgia. During the second half of July and beginning of August, I spent a lot of time in the pool doing my exercises. My personal trainer pointed this out and suggested that a time of “total rest” might help me get back to full throttle. Total rest meant not going to the gym or doing any exhilarating exercise for a few weeks. She wanted to see me be able to get back to doing the tougher land-based exercises from before my pain worsened.

I saw what she meant. My body was likely not getting the full benefit of the workout that it could be. I gave it a shot. For the first week or two, my body felt about the same. Towards the end of the second week, I noticed that the pain actually worsened. My body was doing better when I was at least doing a small bit of exercise and movement. About a week later, the pain lingered. However, another pattern emerged.

I fell into some other bad habits. Over Labor Day weekend, I greatly strayed from the healthy eating that I had worked so hard on to improve the last six months. I was eating fried foods, chocolate, soda, and junk food galore. It hit me when I was standing in front of the mirror getting ready for work. I did not feel good about myself. I lost the confidence that I sported recently. I felt fat. I felt disgusting. I felt like I gained thirty pounds back.

I jumped on the scale out of curiosity. I was only one or two pounds more than what I was before. My physical standing had not changed much. What changed was my mentality and the respective behaviors. It dawned on me the impact that my self-care had. I saw the benefits not only to my physical health, but to my mental and emotional health. For the first time in years, I possessed a healthy ego and strong sense of identity. I validated myself without significant distraction. It all felt right. Using this insight, I got back on track with my diet. Luckily, it was only three or four days of junk food, so not too much damage was done. About a week later, I got back to the gym.

Seeing the difference in myself opened my eyes to how much self-care has helped me become a better person. It also shed light on the direction I was going with my previous lifestyle. I learned my lesson.

I did not realize what I had until it was gone. Therefore, I brought it back.

-The Caring Counselor

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