This weeks blog post is by Amber Magna who is a qualified Twenty8 Health & Lifestyle Educator and the creator of Simply Eat, an online crash course in nutrition that helps you to eat well and strive for health on your own terms. Find out more at www.ambermagna.com
The Rules of Self Care
by Amber Magna
About a year ago, I was sitting in a restaurant on the beautiful British island of Guernsey, looking at a menu. It was filled with delicious descriptions of fresh seafood, caught just hours earlier from the water that I could see from the window of the restaurant. I wanted to order the fresh crab, but I didn’t.
I didn’t order it because I didn’t eat animal products.
I also didn’t drink coffee or alcohol and I rarely ate anything that wasn’t organic or raw. I had an intensive daily routine of body brushing, cleansing, moisturising, oil pulling, clay drinking, meditating and anything else that I read was ‘good for you’.
Sitting in the restaurant, agonising over whether I should order what I was craving, or what I thought I ‘should’ eat instead (a salad), I realised that this set of rules I had been living by wasn’t created from a place of love and respect for myself. It was made and followed out of fear and a desire for others to see me in a certain way.
I realised that I had placed these rules on myself so that I could give the illusion that I was the ‘perfect’ example of health and self care.
I wanted people to look at me and see that I loved and respected my body so much that I didn’t drink alcohol or coffee, I didn’t eat any animal products and I forced myself to eat gigantic bowls of organic salad and drink litres of green juice every day.
The problem was that I wanted to enjoy a glass of red with dinner. I craved animal products. Raw vegetables gave me digestive issues and I hated the taste of green juice! My self care routine was exhausting and I hated feeling compelled to do it every day.
The rules I was following no longer mirrored my views about the world, but I was too proud to change them.
Having a set of rules, principles or guidelines to live by can be empowering and can give you confidence to stand up for what you believe in. It can give you a strong foundation on which to base everyday choices when you’re overloaded with information and ‘helpful advice’.
Rules can also keep you stuck, especially if you forget why you made them in the first place.
If you’re oil pulling and meditating because you genuinely want to and it makes you feel good, I’m all for it. If you’re drinking green smoothies and avoiding grains like the plague because you think that you should, it might be time to rethink.
So how can you consciously create a set of rules or guiding principles that empower you, rather than define you?
What do I really value in life?
What do I believe about the purpose of food, or self care rituals?
By asking myself these simple questions, I realised that I value freedom and that includes freedom from any self-imposed rules. I also value health and feeling amazing, both physically and mentally.
I believe that the purpose of food is to nourish, but also to bring joy and express love.
I think that self care rituals are a way to relax and to show up for myself even when life is busy.
Now, I eat and live how I want to eat and live in that moment, but I don’t forget that the aim is to feel free, healthy and amazing.
“I don’t eat animal products because animal products are unhealthy.”
“I value health and I decide what to eat and do based on whether it will take me closer to health.”
Can you see the difference between those two statements?
If you’re working towards ‘health’, what it takes to get there could change on a daily basis. One day it might mean avoiding animal products or gluten or coffee. It could also mean having a latte with your friends because that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.
For some people, the message of Twenty8 is about giving themselves permission to do more for themselves. Twenty8 has allowed me to give myself permission to do less.
I still cleanse my skin and I even oil pull when I remember. My form of meditation is reading. I eat vegies and drink lots of water, but I relish the hour I spend with my partner over a cappuccino every morning and I love a glass of wine with dinner.
What I love about Twenty8 and the Health & Lifestyle Educator Program is that self care means something different to everyone and that’s okay.
Remember that self care is not a race. It’s not about placing crazy restrictions or requirements on yourself, or trying to keep up with someone else’s self care routine. Just listen – and keep listening – to your body and you can’t go wrong.
** As a special bonus for all Twenty8 readers Amber is offering a very special deal on her program. Instead of $149 you can get her Simply Eat program for just $99. Go to www.ambermagna.com and use the code TWENTY8!
THANKYOU beautiful Amber… we love you! xx