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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bennett

Seasons, hormones, and that ugly "diet" word....

In life there are seasons. Some are long and some are short. There's poems and songs written about seasons. ("With every season turn turn tuuuuurrrrn"… is now running through my head) The Bible talks about seasons. Almost every personal development book will talk about the easier seasons versus the tougher ones. And it's true. We see this in our own lives…. Well I can't speak for you so I'll say that I've seen this in my life. There are seasons where I've been happy with the world and everything in it. There have been seasons where I feel like every day I have an argument with myself to even get out of bed. There are ups and there are downs. Some ups are really up there and you can just take on the world with every ounce of optimism and resolve and then on the flipside there are downs that are so low that you're not even sure if up is an option. Some ups and downs are more subtle… like the difference in being productive at work versus sitting and staring at a screen with no apparent direction for a few hours because you're just mentally spent (ask me how I know). There are also seasons where we come up against obstacles and struggles. We have to adjust priorities to compensate for circumstances, but on the other side there's the season of recovery and time to put things back in their proper order.

Over the last year I've been in a season where I've had to shift my focus a bit because dangit.. Hormones. (WARNING… SHORT RANT COMING). Why in the world is it an inevitability that we gals are going to have to go through hormonal changes?????? WHYYYYY!!!! Why can't we just live as we have always lived. It's bad enough that we have to go through a ton of changes in the most awkward times of our lives as teenagers…. Then to add insult to injury we become blessed with hot flashes, acne, weight gain, and God only knows what else later in life???? (OK.. Rant over)

Needless to say, the last year has been weird. There's been tons of blood work, doctors' visits, adding hormones, taking all the hormones away only to add even more later, elimination diets, homeopathic remedies… and all the while I've been trying my damnedest to maintain my health with my nutrition and exercise. I kept to my routine. And even with all that…. Ugh. Now I know full well that hormones can really throw you for a loop. Over the last year of trying to figure it all out (which it's still not fully figured out, but at least we've settled on a solution) I've gained weight. And you would think that's an easy thing to undo for a health coach, but when you are slapped in the face with the realization that weight gain comes with other baggage then the recovery becomes a daunting task.

So what other baggage, Rachel? I'm glad you asked. It's all history. Over the last 6 years I've worked consistently on building a healthy body to carry me through life. Over the last 2 I've really started to put in the mind work. And no matter what I do, old messages try to creep in. Now mind you, for a long time I've loved myself and loved my body. I've loved it curvy, extra curvy, thin (not too thin), toned, muscular… you can say that I'm ok with myself. That's never been the issue. But I've had to struggle with the thought that if I want to get what I want (which is an optimally healthy body inside and out) I have to diet again. It's the diet mentality that I struggle with. For the last few years I've not had to "diet" in the weight loss sense of the word.

So how do I get past that diet mindset? It took me a while to realize this… (actually it's taken me the same amount of time to realize this as it has to actually write this whole blog post ... and that's 2 months)… but here's my thought. It may get a little bumpy so bear with me.

There are particular words or ideas that create emotions within us because of past history. We relate these emotions to the past experiences and then it creates a bias. When the word "diet" is said or read I immediately go to a negative place. Why is that? Well, I think it's because when someone says they're "going on a diet" it means they have some bad things they want to get rid of … and they had to be bad to get to this space. And then when they do "diet" so many times they have tried and failed (bad) and come out worse than where they were before (also bad). Are you seeing a pattern here? Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. But does it have to be bad? Or are we assigning badness to the word? A diet is not bad. It's a process and a solution to put away something that you don't want (extra pounds, inflammation, poor metabolism and blood sugar levels). It doesn't have morality and therefore can't be bad. It's also a general word that just means the culmination of what we put in our mouths and minds. It needs an adjective to be assigned to weight loss (weight loss diet, deficit diet etc) Soooooo…. Maybe I need to stop thinking of the diet as bad. Maybe I need to think of this next season in life as a learning time and adjusting my current diet as part of my plan to get what I want.

Ok so enough rambling there. But as I truly collect my thoughts, I know and realize that my hang-ups with certain words is not really that productive. (Don't roll your eyes… especially if you're all freaked out by the word "moist"… you know who you are). But it's true. It's not productive. So the plan is simple. I have a goal. That goal is to get to a healthy weight so I can train for my next half marathon with more ease and perform better in the race. The long term goal is to be able to do that over and over on top of being an active mom… and grandma someday. So if a part of the process is adjusting my current diet then so be it.

Bottom line…. There's no even keel. Seasons come and seasons go and we learn from each one as they swing by. It's either a trajectory up or a trajectory down. There's an evening out that is always happening as life tries to achieve balance. A flow back and forth. The beauty and the lessons come from how we adjust and recover.

Be kind to yourselves through whatever season you're in.

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