The furthest thing from a young woman’s mind may be that time far off into her future when she will be Over Fifty. Well, dangity! Who has time to think about being An Old One when life is full and there is so much to do and see and be? Wheeee! When your entire future lies out before you in a seemingly endless stream of days, months, years! When the results of your actions aren’t yet cumulated into the bigger whole of what You will be—one day. And what you will be—one day—is Me, or a version of yourself that you can pretend is me for the poiposes of this blawg post.
What I wish a big sister (I grew up with four brothers—no seestors), a Future Me, had told me in my teens, twenties, and thirties is this (cause I prolly didn’t listen to my momma): how you treat yourself and how you ask to be treated by those around you will affect/effect the person you become. Who are you?—I don’t necessarily mean the Mommy You or the Wife You or the Career Woman You or the Just Trying to Figger Thangs Out You—I mean the Woman You, who you are as a complete person, inside and outside and everything in between. For one day in your future you will look into a real and metaphorical mirror and see the woman you have become from the experiences and thought-processes and behaviors you have now. As your big sis, I want to tell you, stress to you, to please care for yourself. And since I’m Personal Trainer Kat, I’ma gonna start with your lovely body and its magical innards.
So tell me, lil sis, what’s in your refrigerator and pantry? I hear the groans and I’m ignoring them—imagine me tapping my foot and giving you the Personal Trainer Kat Evil Eye. Right this moment, at the end of this sentence, go take a gandery gander at what is stocked there; I’ll wait (Jeopardy music here)—and if you aren’t home, then I know you’ll check when you are home, right? Right? Riiiiiiiggggght.
Okay, do you have fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit? Yogurt—and not the sweetened-to-death kind, but one low in sugar? Any raw almonds and walnuts, and other kinds of nuts/seeds? Whole wheat/grain bread? What about whole-grain cereals? Brown rice? Maybe even some flaxseed (okay, I hear that big-arse multitudinal ewwww out there!) If you are meat-a-sauras, is there fish and/or poultry or other lean meats—and not a bunch of processed “lunch meats” or canned meats? Or if you are a veggie-sauras, some other source of “lean” protein? And just cause I said “lean” doesn’t mean you need to eradicate fats from your diets! Lawd no! We need fats, protein, and carbs—we just need to be smarter about what kinds we shove into our hungry opened mouths (and sometimes our “not hungry” opened mouths, am I right? Uh huh. PT Kat knows!).
Did you have to push aside bags of chips and cartons of dips, processed foods that are nowhere near to what they originally were meant to be, and/or cookies and candy, to see if any of these healthful items were lurking in the dark recesses of your pantry/refrigerator, their good-for-you-labels looking sad and forlorn and forgotten?
I’m not here to put more pressure or guilt on an already over-worked, over-guilted sisterhood; however, what I am here to say is this: there are some foods that are easily added to your diet that will make you feel better now and in the future—it’s a start, and A Start is a beginning, and a beginning won’t hurt all that much, will it? The good news is, some of them take no time at all to prepare, or need little or no preparation at all. Shoot, throw a sweet tater in the oven or microwave – Ta da! Roast some ‘sparagas or other veggies with olive oil – or throw them on the grill-mmmmm! Make a fruit smoothie – without adding sugar *uh huh*
Walnuts and almonds are good fats—yes! There are Good Fats out there! Almonds are chock-full of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, as well as vitamin B2; they are fiber rich (and more fiber means you feel full longer, along with some fat for satiation), and have as much protein as an egg (which, by the way, I believe eggs have a bad rep they do not deserve). Walnuts contain a power-punch of antioxidants, and are a good source of omega-3. These nuts are good for your heart, regulation of cholesterol, and for your skin. When I was younger, nuts were considered off-limits because they were “fattening.” Huhn. Well, I eat me some good fats, including nuts, now, lawd be I do!
Even my dawgs know they have to eat they’s greens!
Another good food that takes no time to prepare other than maybe throwing some fruit in there, is yogurt. Good yogurt (I like Greek yogurt), with live bacteria, may work to strengthen your immune system, and may help digestion. It has calcium, which of course we know is good for our bones—something else you will be glad you strengthened while young (because you are also doing some kind of weight-bearing exercise, right? Right? Riiiiiggghhht)—but, as well, there is research that shows calcium consumption helps with weight loss. No groaning about how yogurt tastes bad; there are a multitude of varieties on the shelves, so surely there is a low-in-sugar one you can choke down, or throw into that no-added-sugar smoothie? A nurse friend of mine says, “Every woman should eat a container of yogurt every day. I wish I could write a prescription and hand it out to all my patients.”
There are multitudes of whole-grain foods out there—and check the labels for whole grains not enriched/processed to death foods. Dang y’all! There are many choices in life now; use your Power of the Choice! Once you begin adding whole-grain foods to your diet, the “white bread/enriched flour” won’t taste as full and rich. Think about it, the manufacturers of certain foodstuffs commercially take out the good wholesome wheat and then put just enough back into the item to call it “enriched” so you will feel good buying this particular “healthy” product. Why not instead look for “whole wheat/whole grain” as a first ingredient on the label?
I want you to consider the benefits you will receive right away, yes, but I also want you to think about two years from now, five, ten, twenty, thirty—your body will become healthier and stronger so that you will have more energy for your busy life, and further, when you reach My Age, your body will have fared better with such a healthy base. And if you are already near or to My Age, it is not too late—trust me, your body will love you for the healthy changes you make—I FEEL THE POWER! Say it with me now: I FEEL THE POWER! There’s nothing sexier or cooler or Hot Damner than a strong, confident, POWERFUL woman. Right? Rigghhhtttt!
Imagine, just for a moment: there you are with your stronger healthier body, full into My Age, and the children are gone and/or you have retired and/or you are looking to start another career in your dotage (laugh), and you think, “Wow. What do I do now? What’s next?” And what you do is go out and have another life or rev up the one you already are living—because your body is well-prepared for the Next Stage, even if that next stage is to be as good a grandmother as you are/were a mother. Stop. Internalize. Imagine yourself healthier. You are worth it, gawd-dammit! You are Worthy—say it with me now: I am Worthy. Your future you will thank you.
Finally, when is the last time you patted yourself on the back for a life well-done? Have you been perfect? I bet not. Has every day been a gloriously sunshine-filled day of joy and happiness? Probably not. Have you lost your temper, been in a foul mood, screamed at someone, stomped around as if you were a two-year old? Maybe. But if you did not do these things on occasion, I’d wonder what you were trying to prove, huhn. I’ve done me some stomping, let me tell you what!
We need to give ourselves a little break now and then to consider just how hard it is to do all the things we do, be all the things we are—even when we are doing Good Thangs. Since you will one day be me, I give you permission to love yourself, one day, one meal, one choice at a time.
(Note: For those of you who have word verification on your blogs, I am unable to comment–so I can visit and read, but you may never know I’ve been there–word verification is a beeotch!)
(photos by Kat magendie)