How to Love Yourself

Sometimes I come at life from the wrong angle, especially when it comes to taking care of myself, and I’m sure many of you can relate! This is partly why exercising regularly, for example, is difficult for me. Instead of thinking “I love and respect my body enough to take care of it” and viewing exercise as a way to love myself, I think “I had better get out there and run or I’m a failure at life.” Like I said, the wrong angle. And I have to remind myself of this often.

So! Reminding myself and you, here are some ways to love yourself, respect yourself, and treat yourself well. We’re worth it. ❤ ❤ ❤

  1. drink more water! the cells in your bod will thank you.
  2. exercise more! but make it fun (dancing, playing a sport). endorphins = yay.
  3. eat well! love yourself enough to only put good things into your body, not low-key poison (MSG, anyone).
  4. connect with nature! give your cells some vit-D, give your lungs some fresh air, and remind yourself that you’re a human being with a soul, not a robot. be outside and listen to the trees and the wind and the birds.
  5. do fun things for the sake of them! not everything has to have a point. color because you like coloring. bake because you like baking. garden because you like gardening.
  6. know your self-care things! maybe it’s sitting down for half an hour with herbal tea and a magazine. maybe it’s knitting. maybe it’s making soap. it doesn’t really matter what it is-just figure it out and then do it daily. you deserve to be taken care of, and who better to take care of you than you?
  7. get more/better sleep! there are several things you can do to improve your sleep quality, and beyond that, make sure you’re sleeping enough. don’t skimp on sleep for anything. the rule of thumb is, the more stressed and busy you are, the more important sleep becomes.
  8. eliminate the bad stuff! take a look at who you spend the most time with, and what you spend the most time reading or thinking about. I’m not saying be in denial, I’m just saying that you’re no one’s trash can. don’t allow yourself to be one. you. deserve. more.

Do you have any other self-love or self-care tips?

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How I Bant

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This is not a food or health blog, but I have shared the occasional health related post, and since this is an important one that’s what’s happening today.

Let me start by saying that I am not overweight, and I generally eat pretty healthy (at least according to generally taught nutritional standards). However, I have been tired my whole life, have had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) since I was 8 or 9, and lately have been struggling with energy and concentration. After watching some videos and reading some very real positive experiences with Banting, I thought, what the heck, nothing else is working, so I might as well try it.

Banting (recently made popular by the very controversial Tim Noakes) is a high fat, medium protein, low carb way of eating. No sugar, no grains or legumes, and no processed foods. It is commonly misunderstood by people as a high protein diet (like the Atkins diet), but this is a misconception: protein is not the priority – fat and vegetables are.

dinner2

I’m not going to go into the science of Banting or the controversy surrounding it, because a simple Google search will give you lots of reading material on that. What I will do is tell you about my personal experience so far. I was at the point where I had about 4 good hours in a day, and the rest of the time I felt tired, sluggish, blurry-eyed, and foggy-headed. I would have to take an hour or two long nap after lunch and I drank coffee all throughout the day in an attempt to keep myself awake. My concentration was terrible and getting my mountain of work done was a challenge.

From day one of eating this way, my energy has been ridiculous. The first two nights I actually had trouble falling asleep and I woke up a few times during the night because of all the excess energy. My eyes feel like they’re wide open all the time and they’re back to their lovely, sparkly selves. I no longer have to snack all day long or combat unstable blood sugar. I’m not the least bit tired until late evening, and even then sometimes it feels strange that I have to go to bed. My concentration is absolutely unreal: I started Banting during what is normally termed ‘Hell Week’ at UCT and on the first day I worked for six hours before I looked at my watch and realized I’d been working for that long. In short, I feel amazing. Even my anxiety is better – everything just feels stabilized and more normal than it’s been for me in a very long time. And I don’t miss the sugar.

dinner1

I strongly suggest that you read the arguments for and against Banting before you jump in, but do ask yourself who benefits from speaking out against it: sugar, diets/diet food, and medicine are massive industries and they all take a giant blow when people start being truly healthy. Do some research about how the traditional food pyramid was developed, and by who. Think for yourself. If you come to the conclusion that this is all nonsense and that everyone doing this will die of renal failure and heart problems in five years, that’s fine – I came to the conclusion that this is the way to go for me, and my experience so far has confirmed it.

bb1I don’t eat any of the “replacement” Banting foods like the bread, crackers, etc. My day typically consists of the following, plus 1 or 2 cups of coffee in the morning and black rooibos tea or water throughout the day:

Breakfast: 1 avocado, along with 3-4 pieces of bacon and 3 scrambled eggs fried in about 2 tablespoons of butter.
Lunch: a thing of the past.
Afternoon snack (only some days, usually if I didn’t have enough salt in the morning): a small piece of feta cheese or another avocado.
Dinner: 1 palm sized protein such as salmon, chicken (with the skin on), or a nice, fatty chop, and at least 2 cups of low-carb vegetables (often broccoli cooked in butter, some tomatoes, and occasionally half a gem squash).

This is a good Facebook group if you are just starting out or have any questions.

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Happy and sparkly, with the energy to actually live life instead of just chugging along.

T-Minus 36 Hours

Ok people, it’s the 30th and NaNoWriMo is happening the day after tomorrow. If you plan to stay up until midnight to start, then it happens rather soon! About 36 hours, in fact. The point is, it’s almost here! So here are some more practical tips for starting the month off right. I’ve already posted a more general tips thing and some other NaNo 2013 blogs, but this is the hands-on, nitty-gritty stuff!

Conspirators

Good Snacks For NaNo

Soooo a lot of people eat tons of chocolate and candy and junk food during NaNo. While I totally understand this, it’s better to eat healthier so that your brain can actually function instead of just try to keep you breathing. Obviously candy will happen, but some other, healthier snacks that are easy, fast, and in some cases eat-able-while-you-write, are:

1. baby carrots

2. tzatziki & wholewheat crackers (you can make your own tzatziki if it’s too expensive)

3. popcorn (if you pop it on the stove using olive oil it’s much healthier)

4. toast & peanut butter

5. protein powder with milk (preferably a healthy brand, not one with a bunch of added stuff)

Posture Pizazz

DON'T DO IT
DON’T DO IT

1. Especially if you’re going for a higher word count, but even if you’re doing the traditional 50,000 in a month, your posture is really important. I know it’s temping to lie on your bed and write, but your back will murder you in your sleep if you do this all month. Try to sit at a desk or table when you write.

2. It’s good to vary your position now and then, especially in a long writing stretch. If you have a laptop, alternate between a comfortable position for your neck/back and a comfortable position for your arms/wrists. You can’t have both with a laptop, but if you alternate it will help. If you have a separate keyboard you can use, definitely use it; elevate your laptop/monitor on a stack of books until you can keep your back/neck straight while looking at it (at eye level, in other words), and put your keyboard on the desk so that your hands can rest comfortably while writing.

3. Get up regularly. When you take a writing break, try to spend at least half of the break actually standing/walking/doing jumping jacks/stretching, and not just surfing the ‘net.

Other Stuff

1. Write whenever you have time, even if it’s 15 minutes. You don’t have to get your whole word count in one sitting.

2. If you live with other people, whether your family or roommates, explain what you’re doing and ask them not to bother you while you’re writing.

3. Do use the forums (especially the Shoutout forum) to check in, motivate others, and get motivation for yourself!

4. ENJOY IT. Aside from the actual writing, the point of NaNo is that it’s fun. So have fun 🙂

Warning Novelist at Work Neon Light Sign

Tomorrow Night is the Big Night!

If you’re staying up until midnight, it’s tomorrow night, people! That’s exciting! I’ll post another short blog tomorrow before I get started.

I’ve started a vlog about NaNo but I don’t know if I’ll keep it going. Also, here is my day one spreadsheet and here is my month spreadsheet in case you want to see how it’s going 🙂

A day and a half to go!

In Practice

So here’s the thing. The media and world have become obsessed with being thin and ripped and all of us looking like models and body builders. It’s a fad, just like being overweight and pale was a fad a century or two ago, and it will pass. A lot of Christians are quick to criticize this fad because it’s based on self, self, self and can very easily morph into making fitness and health your idols. Also, when people don’t reach their goals because they were too unrealistic given their lifestyle, biology, finances, and time, they get discouraged and their self esteem plummets.

But…what if we do it from a godly point of view? God has given us these bodies, and they are his temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Is it right, then, to poison yourself and to let yourself become soft and unhealthy? This is a hard one because most of us don’t think in these terms and because it’s extremely difficult to change your lifestyle, especially, I’m sure, when you have a spouse and kids and a job (I wouldn’t know). But, just like we take spiritual care of every other part of our lives, it’s our job to also take care of our physical bodies, and to do it for God’s glory. Think about this: what kind of testimony would it be if churches were packed with severely overweight, unhealthy, tired, depressed people be? Well…that’s kind of what’s happening.

We don’t have to be body builders and super models. But we have a responsibility to look after our bodies, just like we have a responsibility to look after our spiritual lives and everything else God has given us. We are stewards of HIS money, HIS property, HIS people, and HIS temples, our bodies. Look at the amount of effort and care Solomon took in building the temple; well, now our bodies are God’s temple, so shouldn’t we exercise the same effort and care?

God has been convicting me about this for some time, and I’ve started doing something about it a few times. Every time I’ve had to stop because of some serious sickness or injury, and then starting after I’ve lost all that ground is very discouraging. However, now that I’m on my own and am the only one responsible for what I put into my body and what I do with it, I’m starting again. I strongly urge you to pray and think seriously about this. And, if nothing else, think about this: the more energy and health you have, the more time and energy you will have to do what God wants you to do.

If you have no idea where to start, check out these links for some ideas.

How to Start Running
Eating Clean
Nutrition
Fitness