Quarantine

The Physical Cave

physical cave

 

Today’s topic is one of the harder ones for me to tackle. Today we’re diving into how we want to emerge from our quarantine cave when it comes to our physical body and health. Straight up I know what to do, that doesn’t mean I actually do it!  We each have strengths, and we each have weaknesses. For me, when I get stressed or I’m at home a lot…I start craving chocolate and I want brownies…this is my weakness.

Recently, my friends from high school and I were doing a “Zoom Happy Hour” (I know many of us are doing this now to feel connected) and I said to them, “Now that we started this, I expect this on a regular basis!” because it was so fun. But I also ate a box of donuts for dinner with a glass of wine.  I thought, “Ok Tara, this cannot continue.”

I keep thinking, as I emerge from this cave what will I look like? Remember, I live at the Jersey Shore.  I picture all of us at home binging on quarantine snacks while the gyms are closed and think….it’s going to be an interesting sight at the beach this summer. Not good.

So, in the midst of taking yet another donut bite, I had an interesting thought. I can use this time to become physically stronger and healthier…. or not. This is my choice and let me tell you, I’m battling with this choice.

It is a choice. I choose what I eat. I choose what I add to my online shopping cart. I can stock up on comfort foods (brownies, cookies, donuts) or I can choose to say,  “You know, this is the season since I’m stuck at home anyway I’m finally going to start cooking.

In my non-quarantined life I would always say, “I don’t have time to cook.” Now that excuse is gone. I have to come face to face with the fact that I can choose to pull out some of those cookbooks I’ve never used and cook healthy food or choose to continue on my sugar binge. Even I can’t fool myself to believe it’s because I don’t have time.

It gets worse.

As I was complaining about my expanding waistline, my blunt-will-tell-it-like-it-is precious daughter said to me, “You know, Mom, you have that treadmill you never use. This would be a good time to use it.”

In full disclosure about a year ago, I had purchased a treadmill in a fantasy moment of “I’ll start walking at home!”  Oh I used it…for maybe….a week? (I’m thinking I’m like most people, right?) It’s still sitting there. So maybe there’s some old exercise equipment that needs some dusting off during this quarantine time.

Always wanted to do yoga but could never afford it?  I’ve seen a lot of our local yoga studios start pay-what-you-can virtual yoga classes. (Damn another excuse gone.)  Maybe you’ve always been intimidated to go to a yoga class in person, and this gives you an opportunity to join in virtually from your home. You don’t even need to have a fancy yoga mat.  Just a carpet or towel and you’re ready to go.

I have a friend who’s offering virtual Zumba classes and I thought, “Oh, how cool is that!” Plus there’s a gazillion YouTube or on demand videos available to take a virtual exercise classes.

Then there’s meditation.  I mean, I know our physical health is interconnected with our mental health. And I  know I always feel 100x better after I mediate, but do I do it as much as I want to? Nope. Why? Because I don’t have time of course! (Isn’t that our go-to excuse for almost everything?) Well now we do. It’s the perfect season to create a mediation habit. To take time every day to meditate, pray, get centered, and to become really aware of our energy and our anxiety. There’s a lot of really great meditation apps out there and some are even free!  Maybe now’s the season, in the cave, we really commit to a mediation practice. (Here’s a a few of my favorite apps: Headspace, Insight Timer, Relax, Oprah & Deepak)

Another way we can invest in our physical bodies is learning about nutrition. For me, I grew up with a mom who I jokingly call a “recovering hippie.” From the time I was little, I knew words like “BHT” and “nitrates.” I wasn’t allowed to eat white bread or drink soda. Ironically, since I had all that information, I was on the mom who literally pureed all of my daughter’s baby food…organic…every week….by hand. Imagine my surprise when she was diagnosed with cancer. I was left thinking, “Are you kidding me? This kid’s never had a piece of sugar in her life!

When it comes to nutrition I might have a lot of education, (Thanks Mom!) but I am shocked how many people simply don’t.  They don’t know about processed meats and the direct correlation between nitrates and cancer. They don’t know about the dangers of diet soda or what sugar does to the body. (However, sometimes ignorance truly is bliss. I mean I know what it does and yet I eat it anyway in a very, “Do what I say, not what I do” sort of way.)

So maybe, in the cave, you choose to become educated. There’s so many amazing documentaries out there to watch, books to read, and courses to take. You can even rent free books online from your local library without ever needing to leave your home! During this season many places are offering free books, free courses, free learning. Maybe you take a nutrition course or try Whole 30. Maybe you choose to say, “Hey, this is the season. I’m here. This is the time. Let me do this!”  Just imagine all those new healthy habits we can develop now that will last even after we emerge from our quarantine cave.

With technology at our fingertips there a lot of great apps that we can use to support developing new healthier habits. (Personal disclaimer, I’m not affiliated with these apps I’m just sharing ones I know or have used).

One of my besties started using an app called Noom and has had really great results.

I have used the Fitness Pal app to track my food and macros so I can really see what I am eating every day.

I’ve also heard that if you want to change your eating habits, one of the easiest ways to do it, is to literally take a picture of everything you eat throughout the day and look through them each night. The idea being, that when we are hit with a BAM -in-your-face visual of what we are really eating it’s a wakeup call moment. I’ve heard its’s super effective but openly I have never tried it because I think it would horrify me!

Even little healthy habits like drinking enough water is one we can choose to develop in the cave. Just the other day I was snuggling with my dog and I looked down at my arm and it was all dry and flaky! I though, “Oh my gosh, I must be really dehydrated. I’m drinking a lot of coffee and I’m not drinking enough water!Since we’re home and close to the bathroom maybe now is the time to up our water intake (because when water goes in it has to come out!) Maybe now is as good a time as ever to our bodies adjusted.

It’s our choice how we will look when we step out of the quarantine cave. Remember, hibernation is the active passing. It’s not just sitting there and letting this season pass, but it’s who we choose to become during this time, and what are we actively doing during this season. The best part? I believe any healthy habits we choose to create now will last long after this season is over! Won’t that be great?

Some questions to ask ourselves:

  • On a scale of 1-10 how satisfied am I with my current health & fitness?
  • What would make the biggest difference in this number? Changing my eating habits? Exercising more? Learning about nutrition?
  • What’s one thing I can do this week to increase my health & fitness level?
  • How do I want my body to look and feel when I leave the Quarantine Cave? Why is this important to me?
  • Is this a wish or will I make this happen?

 

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