Blog, My Health Journey

Old Habits Die Hard

Last Friday was the last day of my 21 Day Sugar Detox. The 21 days are intended to help you break a habit and start a new habit. I don’t consume a lot of things with sugar as it is, since I follow the AIP, but the sugar I do consume via sweet tea, Enjoy Life chocolate chips, and sometimes hard cider, had gotten to be a bad daily habit. And you know what, on Saturday it was as easy as ever to pick it back up. Thankfully, my desire for sweets is not to the level it was previous to the 21 DSD and neither is my consumption. But, like many other things, it creeps slowly back in until you have to “reset” again.

This kind of thing isn’t limited to what we consume, but extends to thought patterns, and actions. This is where it gets hard. When you recognize a recurring bad habit that continues to play out through your thinking and actions, and you have to remind yourself and choose to stop doing whatever it is that you’re doing.

Towards the end of last week I started feeling a little more tired and agitated than usual. This could be from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), although I really think they should call it MAD (Moody from lack-of-sun resulting in Agitation Disorder), which I don’t actually know that I have, but I do know come January and February, I feel agitated and I need sunshine, and it does seem to affect my mood. Anyway, the tiredness and agitation could also be from just ending a busy season of work, the holidays, the new year, and teenagers, etc.

By Saturday I was feeling quite tired and anxious. When I get extremely tired it makes me nervous. I have had Epstein Barre Virus (which lasted about 5 months) and other long periods of extreme fatigue and tiredness, and when I feel tired like that it takes me back to a place of fear and panic. Since these times happen fewer and farther in between (thankfully!), when it does come up, I just want it to go away.

Almost instantly, my first inclination was anger and frustration at my body. After that, it was me pushing through and getting done what I wanted done. I’m so good at pushing (especially myself). This is an old habit of mine. And old habits die hard.

I’ve been here before, so many times. Wanting and willing my body to do what my mind wants it to do. Only, it can’t always do that. I forgot I have to take care of myself. I forget these things often and have to be continually reminded. It has been such a blessing to have some return to normalcy in my physical condition that sometimes I take it for granted. Even though I consciously know that my body isn’t to the level that it once was, I still get frustrated when it doesn’t perform how I want it to.

This is an area of ingratitude that I really need to work on. I have to remind myself of what I need to be grateful for, and there are many things! I am thankful for this body, even as it outwardly wastes away, inwardly it is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). It has great capacity to heal, but I have to give it the proper tools to do so. And being angry and frustrated at my own body does not help.

What does help is taking care of myself, including and specifically, rest. Changing my expectations of what and when I’m going to accomplish. Being thankful for what I am able to do with this body, even if it’s not what it once was. I’ve realized, I will, most likely for the rest of my life, have to take extra care with my body. So, I’ll continue to form the new habit of doing so. And good habits are formed by continuing in the same practices, and when you mess up, you begin again.

Finally, I know, whether I like to remind myself of it or not, that God will accomplish all that he wants with my body.

“… Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Last night I realized, as I went to bed with a sore throat, that my body has probably been fighting off something (which could definitely explain my extra tiredness over the weekend). So, the best thing I can do is rest, eat nourishing foods, and sit before God’s throne of grace, and that is a wonderful place to be.

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