Watch Your Diet

(C) 2022, JJ Shaun

I am a product of my diet. And I don’t mean just the nourishment I consume. I am a product of every book, board game, video game, news story, magazine article, and television show I have devoured. I am a product of the people I spend time with and the experiences I have lived through. Everything I have consumed over the years has shaped who I am today.

It’s the same with everyone. We are all products of our respective diets.

A steady diet of negativity and fear begets the same—negativity and fear. Looking back on one’s past and dwelling on the bad things that happen in life only draws more bad stuff into your life. I know. I’ve been there and hated living in that space. It almost made me want to give up on this life a time or two.

These days, I leave the past where it belongs—in the past. If a memory threatens to drag me into darkness, I think about everything that has changed, how I have changed since the event. Over the years, my goals morphed into something I had no idea I wanted, needed, or craved when I was in my twenties. I just let life carry me along, making a lot of good (lucky?) decisions and a few bad ones along the way.

Then I met First Reader, and my life changed.

I have this habit of starting things, then not finishing what I start. University was shaping up to be another in a long line of unfinished goals. First Reader would not let me stray from my path. No matter how many times I wanted to take this side path or that opportunity during those years, she kept reminding me to keep my eyes on the prize. For the first time in my life, I completed something that would have been easier to leave behind than to finish.

Getting that degree and the experience that came with writing to a regular deadline was invaluable over the years. Being a communications student taught me to recognize a bad diet when I saw one. I use that knowledge to inform myself of facts and know which organizations taint their diet more with opinion than fact. I also limit my time reading about all the horror occurring in the world today, even if I don’t cut it from my day entirely. In other words, I watch my diet.

Of course, your physical diet has as much to do with your well-being as your mental diet.

When I was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes last year, I was in denial. (I think I still am, to a degree.) But I still changed my diet. Overall, I felt crappy. I was bloated and kept having to buy bigger clothes. I couldn’t tie my own shoes without knocking the wind out of myself. I took a long, hard look at where I was headed and decided that I didn’t want to go there. So, I made a lot of changes to my life. I eat healthier meals and snacks, walk almost every day, and use my sit-stand desk more than not. In the past year, I’ve not only lost weight and inches, but my breathing also improved (even if my asthma hasn’t), and my joints don’t ache like they did last spring.

Now when life throws us a spitball, I am more prepared to handle the effects and not get so depressed despite the world seeming to fall apart around us. Being able to step back, take a breath (or ten), then look at the issue from a new perspective has given me a new outlook on life. The next time I see my doctor, we’ll discuss my physical health and my mental health. It might be time to think about life without antidepressants as part of my diet.

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