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This weekend I was at a lake with some family friends, boating, tubing, paddle boarding, and just generally having a lovely time! I adore this crowd. My parents have some of the coolest friends on the planet, and I consider myself lucky that they’re my friends as well. As can sometimes happen when chatting with a retired, or soon-to-be-retired, crowd, I found myself in a conversation about investments and IRAs or Roth IRAs. While explaining why I’d chosen one over the other at different income points in my life, I jokingly said “See? I’m not as dumb as I look!” I expected a little chuckle, as usually happens when one makes a silly quip like that. However, the response I actually got surprised me.
“Wait, so you used to make “up here”, and now you make “down here”? What’s wrong with this picture?!”
This was also said in jest, and I get where the person was coming from. But I suddenly felt attacked, and felt the need to justify my life choices.
While yes, I made an awesome income and had great benefits, I hated my job. I was living more than 6 hours away from my family. I was commuting an hour and a half each way to work every day on mass transit in an overpopulated city. Cost of living was atrocious and we’d never be able to buy a house, even with the better income. I was always stressed, always trying to find ways to get out of my situation, and I wasn’t able to even consider raising a child in that environment. I’d be away from home for 11 hours a day so wouldn’t even be able to see my kid if I’d had one! My salary and my nice coworkers are literally the ONLY things I wish I could keep from those days. Everything else was awful. I couldn’t wait to get out.
My husband and I were able to move to be closer to family. Cost of living is such that we were able to buy a house. Working from home means no more 3 hours of commuting, traffic, and stress every day. (The job is also way more enjoyable and rewarding than what I was doing before!) Being near family means that my husband and I are happier in general, since we get to spend a lot more time with the ones we love.
The flexible work-at-home job and close family network means that we were finally able to start our family, and we now have a little boy that we can’t imagine trying to raise in our old situation. So while I’ve been part-time since I started working for Georgie at One by One Nutrition 2.5 years ago, there are many other changes that have taken place too – all of which are changes for the better.
The moral of the story is that money isn’t everything. Yes, it’s possible to focus just on the money, and chase that ever-higher number as a marker of how successful you are. But as my story shows, that can sometimes come at the expense of happiness in other areas of life. Success isn’t just about how much money you make. There is a lot more to the story!
Just like work isn’t ALL about the money, eating healthfully isn’t ALL about the calories. Both are numbers, and numbers/data can be great. But they are NOT the whole story.[bctt tweet=”Just like work isn’t ALL about the money, eating healthfully isn’t ALL about the calories. ” username=”raisingnutritn”]
Yes, we need to lower our calories to lose weight (if that’s our goal). But striving for a lower and lower number of calories starts to become an exercise in misery. While surviving on just 1000 (or less!) calories a day may be possible, and you’ll certainly be successful at losing weight, you’ll also very likely be miserable!
There’s no room for a treat every now and then. You have to be a slave to counting calories, and avoid situations in which you can’t determine how many calories are in the foods that are offered. Life is filled with a lot of “I can’t”… I can’t have that, I can’t eat there, I can’t go out, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.
When the focus is on how few calories you can survive on, you miss out on LIVING! Life is a big, vibrant, complex, and beautiful thing. There are so many things in life to enjoy, and so many things that contribute to our overall happiness and peace.[bctt tweet=”When the focus is on how few calories you can survive on, you miss out on LIVING!” username=”raisingnutritn”]
I’m willing to bet that’s not how you picture it. I think most of us envision a life where eating healthfully means choosing delicious and nourishing foods most of the time, eating in response to hunger and fullness cues most of the time, and allowing some indulgences periodically (completely guilt-free!). In essence, it’s fitting healthy eating into the bigger picture of a full and happy life.
We want to be able to go out with our friends and not stress about how many calories are in our order.
We want to be able to enjoy a brownie every once in a while.
We want to be able to go to parties or go on vacation and not freak out about the food.
We want to be able to participate in activities we enjoy, and have the energy to do them!
We want to enjoy life and enjoy our food at the same time. This is absolutely possible, but not when you’re only “allowed” a minuscule number of calories a day.
You are more than your income and you are more than your calorie budget. There is a lot of room for success AND happiness to co-exist if we take a more reasonable, moderate, and enjoyable approach to both life and eating!