A year ago I was reflecting on the changes I had experienced in the previous year. I was remembering the devastation of the diagnosis and the dread of starting the Damn Diet. I was remembering the fatigue and how, over time, I slowly gained more energy each day.
A year ago it seemed like a major milestone to have stuck to the Damn Diet for one whole year. A year ago there were many milestones to celebrate: I experienced drastic improvement to my health; I went from some days of sleeping for 12+ hours to getting up at 6:30 a.m. and spending an hour writing; I went from experiencing numbness in my limbs to no symptoms; I gained new understanding and appreciation for the amazing creation that is my body; and, I learned that maybe this new normal wasn’t so bad after all. I am healthier, more energized, and–bonus!–thinner than I’ve been maybe in my entire life.
A year ago I had reached a goal that I had set for myself–a very important goal. Achieving goals is something that comes easily to me. It’s not just that accomplishing the task is easy, but staying on target until it’s accomplished is my natural course of action. It’s how I’m wired. When I am working toward something, I’m focused, determined, disciplined.
A year later, as I celebrate the two-year milestone I wonder if there really is anything to celebrate. I haven’t achieved a goal–there was no goal to achieve this year. This year has been all about maintenance.
A year later I am reflecting on having accomplished the goal of achieving health–last year. Now the goal is to maintain health, which seems much more difficult. Maintenance does not have an end or a target. Maintenance does not have a measurable change. Maintenance requires that I stay the course–indefinitely.
A year later I am living in the land of indefinite. The land I have been trying to avoid for two years. It is the land that I begrudged when the Damn Diet was prescribed: I couldn’t fathom committing to something that had no end. And yet, here I am, a year later committing to something that has no end.
A year later I realize I will be on the Damn Diet for the rest of my life. That means I have to regulate myself. Always. I have to continue to ask for a grocery list of exceptions when I order out at restaurants. I have to continue to ask about the menu when going to a friend’s house for dinner. I have to continue to answer questions about my health choices.
A year later I have slowly started to help others answer questions about their health. I have written an ebook about managing depression with out drugs. I have taught two health workshops at the yoga studio where I practice. I have become an advocate for making healthy choices.
A year later I am making healthy choices every day and realizing that I have to consciously and deliberately and intentionally choose health. I choose when to go to bed and when to get up so that I get enough sleep. I choose what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I choose to eat vegetables as often as I can. I choose to treat myself with a cup of decaf coffee and coconut cream. I choose to say no to events or invitations and stay home to rest when I’m feeling low energy. I choose to be in business for myself so that I can continue to make choices for my health without the stress of how they will affect my job.
A year later I continue to choose what my normal will be every day.