Getting shingles in my early 40s made me think about what was going on in my life. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many positive things in my life, but I started to reflect on the last 12 mos to see if there were any new stressors that could have triggered shingles at such a young age.
My first thought was on the intervention my brother and I did with my mom last spring. We found her barely able to breathe in her condo surrounded by trash. We made her go to the hospital, and I called Adult Protective Services. For that she vowed to never speak to me again. She went to the hospital on a Friday and the doctor said she would have been dead by Sunday if she had not come in for oxygen treatment. I know I did the right thing, but I also know that she is an adult that has to want to change her behavior to get better. My job is to be present for my husband and children, that is what I have to focus on.
Another stressor: Samantha and school last year. I observed, went to conference after conference watching her get further and further behind in math. To see her leave second grade above grade level in math and then not even score proficient on the EOGs at the end of third grade broke my heart. We did Sylvan tutoring to get her back on track, but that plus Carolina Friends’ tuition for 2 kids was hard on the budget….which led to the additional stressor of trying to work more while developing a non profit organization which I believe in wholeheartedly. This stressor has worked itself out, as I have been able to generate enough income to cover one kiddo’s tuition for the year (the goal), but getting there and exploring additional part time work was not for the faint of heart.
Then came probably the biggest stressor of all…. the end of Samantha’s quest to become Catholic. I do not want to go into detail here, but we experienced some serious family judgement and fundamentalism. This stressor led to the idea of moving, which became a stressor within a stressor. The idea of leaving the only real home I have known as an adult was really hard, but I seriously considered it because of the situation.
So how does all this complaining (sorry) lead to getting back on track? When I am stressed, I gravitate to foods which are not good for me (i.e., food cravings). Cravings. Ever find yourself uncontrollably eating a box of Wheat Thins or reaching for a third slice of buttered toast? Ironically, the foods you’re most reactive to are the ones you crave most. According to Dr. Daniel Kalish, your body reacts to intolerant foods by creating addictive narcotics called opioid endorphins. Like a drug, you have a feeling of euphoria when you eat these foods, and subsequently crave them.
I have felt so sluggish lately, pants fitting snugger, etc. And then I remember this picture when I was taking good care of myself in terms of what I ate…
I need to get back to this place. Not because I want to be fit (that is a nice bonus) but I need to figure out a way to reduce the stressors and eat in a more clean way. Ironically, when I have a clean eating life, I am less stressed.
Wish me luck!