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I won’t lie to you. This entire past month feels like I’ve gone down in flames.

The days seem to have been filled with Nutella (straight from the spoon), chocolate-covered strawberries (homemade), Liptons fettuccine alfredo (totally forgot the margarine, but took it down anyway), popcorn, Mr. Noodles (am I allowed to eat those past the age of eighteen?), popcorn, and chips(and I’m not even a chip girl). What the actual?!

I was a hot mess.

It started with pulling a muscle in my foot, which made putting weight on it painful. If I couldn’t put weight on it, I certainly couldn’t work out. I could barely walk on it. Of course it was the right decision to take a break from working out. It wasn’t really an option.

However, my workout is my emotional release. It is my way of putting emotional and physical fuel back into my tank before my energy is given to everyone else during the day. It is the quickest route to Finding My Bliss. Believe me when I say that you don’t want to be around me when my tank is empty. My family calls it ‘Scary Jaime’. The best way I can describe it is, The Hulk. Short of turning green, my entire nervous system becomes on fire and I want to destroy everything in my path. Yes, that sounds about right. It’s fair to say my workouts are an integral part of my sanity.

The foot injury took less than a week, which would’ve been great except that a nasty virus found its way into our home (not blaming anyone…TODDLER!). It started with my five-year-old and then moved it way towards the baby, before finally finding a safe home in my head.

Virus aside, I was drained by taking care of two sick babies. When it finally hit me, I was down for the count. The only thing to do was crawl in bed, close the shades, and pull up Netflix. Which is exactly what I did. For another few days. Can you now see how my eating went down in flames?

I was not eating healthy. But here’s the thing. It’s not about eating healthy. I want you to take a pause there and read it again. It’s not about eating healthy. “Is she nuts?” you’re asking. Yes, but that’s a totally different article for another day. This is about building a healthy relationship with food. One more time. This is about BUILDING A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD.

In my previous article (click here to check it out!), we talked about reframing the view of your habits from judgment and shame (which doesn’t help) to compassion and curiosity. It’s about looking at your behaviour as an opportunity to learn about yourself: about the ways in which you cope, what lays beneath your coping strategy, and to learn new ways to take care of your mind, body and soul.

Mindful of this new lens, I was able to tell myself that it was okay. That my body was telling me to stop and get some rest, which is exactly what I did. I told myself that I would return to working out when my body was ready, and to be gentle and patient with myself regarding my food choices. Each day is a new day to make different decisions, to find alternate ways to find compassion and love for our bodies, minds and souls.

Is exercise important and have incredible benefits? YES! Absolutely. Exercise is one of the most important ways I manage my mood and my eating habits. Physical activity reduces cortisol (the stress hormone), increases testosterone (connected to confidence), triggers endorphins (good, happy feelings), and enhances dopamine (another feel good reaction to accomplishing something).

There are many benefits. Find an activity that you enjoy, because if you don’t, you won’t maintain it. If you don’t like jogging, try walking (ask a friend to join you for added social connection and those benefits of serotonin), try tennis, yoga, biking or a dance class. The other night I went to a friend’s party and danced my butt off for two hours straight. It felt amazing and reminded me of how much joy it brings me. Yesterday, I took my little ones into a beautiful park to wander through the trees and walk through the water. My shoes and pants were totally soaked through, but it was worth it! I loved every minute of it.

So find something that brings you joy. Just remember, if you need to take a time out, for whatever reason, that is just fine. Listen to your body and trust it. You will get back up again, when you are ready. Until then, stay curious and compassionate.

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