I did this detox program thing a few years ago that involved some extreme food rules and tons of juice and tons of vegetables and not a lot of "flesh," as the author described it. The experience ended when I stopped being able to poop for 5 days and I had started to grow a beard after living in complete reclusion for the duration.
Kidding about the poop.
No, for real, the experience was so isolating. And the author knew it. She even suggested survival skills to incorporate the diet long term into your life, one of which involved bringing a tuperware of your required food to fancy dining affairs. Ummmmmmm.
Yeah. This is not for me.
When wellness becomes isolating, I draw the line. Yet, there’s a sliver of reality here that is important as we approach the holidays. Making healthy choices often can be isolating because - ugh - your friends and colleagues and the world around you do not exactly like having a “healthy choices” example around them. This is true. And so completely odd. BUT TRUE! They look at you wide side-eye as you layer your plate with un-fried food and they fake smile when you admit to working out. And, so, most of us, who are social creatures and also often socially anxious creatures, feel the brunt of that and just join them in the festive “fuck its” du jour.
Here’s the problem and an easy way to address it:
Problem: Our modern world is founded on saying fuck it to the perceived constraints of living with health and vitality. We’re a world that would like to believe our superstars and our celebrities are just born “that” way. We’re a world that would prefer convenience over the sometimes inconvenience of choosing health. We’re a society that associates binging with freedom. We’re a society that needs to be fulfilled by taste and immediate satisfaction. When you opt out of those things, it can feel like you’re all by yourself. And you can feel like you’re missing the Train to Funland. This is not your fault. It’s merely the currency of our social structure.
The flip side of this problem is that people who choose healthy things are sometimes - ok, often - dogmatic about it. There’s a reason for this and it has to do with the isolation. Here’s how it goes: You choose something healthy for yourself, you get isolated from that currency of fuck it, and then you have to re-identify yourself and find a new group. So, you become dogmatic. You attach to labels. You assign yourself with vigor and fortitude a new way of being that is better than everyone else’s. Crossfit paleo vegan pegan lumberjack skinny girl four hour work week pilates yogi guru blast off.
And, viola, then this whole way of being becomes a stereotype that the “fuck-it” troop then further distances themselves from, with good reason sometimes. So, we have a black and white, polar ice way in terms of wellness: Uber-health-guru-who-is-annoying-and-dogmatic-and-only-talks-about-grass-fed-beef-jerky OR the fuck-it fried-donuts-who-cares-I’m-relaxed-and-enjoying-life.
This bites ass. Especially during the holidays when we want to have fun, but we also don’t want to collect a variety of self-induced health issues in a mere three weeks.
The solution: 1) Make your wellness personal, and 2) Fake it. I know, I just said that. And, I mean it. Grab a piece of paper and write down what sort of food, drink, and such makes you feel whole and good. Write down your personal formula for activity and consumption. Don’t choose a diet or thing, just write down what you know works for you. YOUR PERSONAL FORMULA. Attach yourself to it. And then apply it with reasonable flexibility when you approach social settings. Respond to yourself with kindness. Be conscious. Choose pleasure over isolation, but choose self-love over pleasure. This leads to #2 of faking it. Dude, stop talking about it so much. Just eat and be merry. Workout and move without having to have a shout out. Don’t make a scene. Don’t explain your choices. Just be normal about it all. And relish in the fact that this wellness is not anything more than your personal love story with yourself.
Wellness is nothing if it demands us to be all alone. You can’t do this thing called life alone. You also can’t do this thing called life without being healthy. So, please, enjoy the holidays and the parties and the delicacies with full embrace and stop thinking being healthy is separate from these essential nutrients of life.