Taking care of your mental health is 100% as important as taking care of your physical health. And sometimes, your heart and your soul just need ice cream and popcorn. It’s a thing. I swear.
I’ve always been an emotional eater. Stressed out, overwhelmed, sad, whatever, I’ve generally used food as a crutch to deal with my feelings. As I’ve progressed on this journey, I’ve gotten a lot better at acknowledging the difference between genuine hunger and emotional hunger. And most of the time I’m able to talk myself out of making poor food decisions. Sometimes, though, I have no interest in talking myself out of it. Sometimes I need to accept that I’ve had a stupid day and eating a snickers ice cream bar and a bag of popcorn is good for my soul, even if it isn’t good for my health.
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned several times over the past few months that I have a cyst sitting on my tailbone. I don’t love the idea of sharing this information with the interwebs, but it’s something I’m going to be dealing with for the next few weeks and it’s going to affect a lot of different things, so I might as well just be up front. It’s a pilonidal cyst, which sits at the base of your tailbone and causes nothing but grief. I’ve had them before, but they usually flare up for a day or two and then go away. This one, however, has been hanging around for several months. And it’s quite large and quite painful. I went to Dr. Robinson yesterday for what I thought was going to be no big deal. Turns out he needed to cut me open. Also turns out it’s a bit more serious than we thought and I’ll probably have to have surgery to get rid of it in the next few months.
Everything is fine, I’m fine, and the thought of surgery SUCKS, but it’s something that will hopefully keep it from being an issue again. But for right now, I have stitches along my tailbone, making sitting and bending pretty freaking painful.
And that is what brings us back to ice cream and popcorn. Yesterday was rough. I hadn’t mentally prepared for that. I didn’t expect to leave the doctor’s office with stitches. I have to keep them for two full weeks, meaning sitting will be even more uncomfortable than it’s already been for two weeks. Trying to bandage yourself is pretty hilarious when you can’t actually see/reach where you’re trying to cover. So I was overwhelmed and tired and frustrated. Work was rough, so when I got home I wasn’t in a place to deal with anything. Luckily, I had plans with Rebecca to watch The Desolation of Smaug. So when I stopped at CVS on my way home, I realized I really wanted ice cream. I also have no willpower to stop myself from eating an entire carton of ice cream, so I bought the mini snickers ice cream bars. And so we sat in my room and ate ice cream and mini bags of popcorn while watching dwarves and elves and a hobbit be awesome.
Long story short, did I need ice cream and popcorn for dinner? Absolutely not! I had that delicious kale concoction sitting there waiting for me. But my brain and my heart needed to know that it was okay to feel like crap. And it was okay to deal with feeling like crap by having an utter girly breakdown with one of my best friends.
I woke up this morning and my stitches HURT. Who knew day two would be even worse? But I also woke up this morning and smiled because last night was wonderful. I got to watch an awesome movie with an awesome friend and forget for a while about my cyst. And that was all I needed. The popcorn and ice cream may not have propelled me forward in my physical health goals, but they did wonders for my mental health.
Basically, you need to remember that it doesn’t HAVE to be all or nothing. I will have days and weeks where I’ll stay totally locked in. I’ll eat clean, I’ll hit new PRs running and lifting, and I’ll see quick progress. But that’s not going to be all the time. I’m human. I’m a girl who is hilariously emotionally unstable sometimes. I’m going to have days and weeks where I just say forget it. As long as I keep moving in the right direction, though, the progress is going to come. And ultimately that’s what matters most to me. What’s my motto? Baby steps. Baby steps are still progress. And sometimes they include wonderful, delicious ice cream.