In the discussion of healthy living, the matter of healthy eating is bound to come up at some point. “You are what you eat” and all of that.
Naturally, diet is an important part of a healthy-living conversation, but it is not the whole conversation. I feel that sometimes when discussing healthy living, diet and exercise are the only things discussed to the neglect of other important aspects of healthy living.
At the same time, diet and healthy eating cannot be completely ignored when it comes to the matter of healthy living. A healthy diet is part of a healthy lifestyle, and it is vitally important for a highly sensitive person due to our often keen sensitivities to certain foods. The link between diet and HSPs is a central one.
Why The 40-Day Journey?
I’ve taken these journeys before in which I have tried to embrace various aspects of healthy living, usually over a period of 40 days. Why 40 days? Well, I’ve read that it takes roughly six weeks to build a habit, and 42 days is basically six weeks – give or take a few days. So that’s one reason.
But the other reason is the significance of the number 40 as in ancient literature 40 days (or 40 years) were significant markers measuring a bridge from one place to another. (I hope I am not the only highly sensitive person who loves significant numbers and patterns.)
Think of the Israelites and their 40 years in the wilderness. Or Jesus and his 40 days in the desert before beginning a public ministry. Or the 40 days he remained on earth after rising again before ascending to heaven and releasing his gift of the Holy Spirit.
Whether or you consider these ancient narratives as truth or myth, there is definitely something about that 40-day mark that acts as a bridge from one thing to another.
In choosing 40 days for my journey toward healthier living, I am hoping to tap into that medium and find some form of bridge or breakthrough.
Now I am not naive in thinking that 40 is a magic number. (Would that it was.)
It is all too easy to land upon a certain time frame – or a certain diet, returning to the earlier conversation – and assuming it is all you need to find significant change in your life.
It rarely is all that you need. Usually, significant life change is only bought at a significant price.
The season of the coronavirus pandemic we are facing worldwide bespeaks the importance of being aware that significant life change can occur when we least expect it. Perhaps a reason to do what we can to prepare for such times.
A Just Balance in Healthy Living
But back to the conversation about diet and healthy eating. In times past, I have used my diet (and more specifically, my weighing scale) as a measure of how effective my healthy living quest happened to be.
In short, if I lost 10 or 20 pounds, it was a success. If I didn’t, well, that was all that really mattered. It is embarrassing to admit this especially when considering the fact that I have never been overweight. As a highly sensitive person I have been aware that thinness is merely an unhealthy societal expectation, I have still succumbed to the cultural view that the thinner you are, the better.
This is why I I’m making an effort to focus on other aspects of healthy living before the matter of my diet. Aspects such as a clutter-free lifestyle and a mind learning and growing through good books.
The problem is that it is often all or nothing at all with me. If diet is not the main focus, I find it difficult focusing on it at all.
Perhaps this is a common plight of highly sensitive people. Because of our depth of processing and the fact that we think so deeply on various matters, it is difficult and next to impossible to focus on so many aspects of healthy living at the same time.
And so it has been with me over the past week since I began my 40-day journey toward healthier living.
I start out the day decently, but the early part of day has never been my problem. It’s always near the end of the day when I begin to crave salty or sweet things.
Questions from an HSP on What Healthy Living Really Is
It is, I believe, my seeking of a comfortable and familiar thing, the way I turn to these things in the evening, usually when I have a small amount of space to myself, even for just a few moments, to read and to indulge in a few squares of dark chocolate or even something as unsophisticated as Cheetos.
And I find myself as a highly sensitive person waging some inner war against myself in some inner discussion. Wondering if I lack the strength to simply say no to these bodily concessions and do without. Wondering if it really would make a difference to my soul or spirit if I were to cut the extras out of my diet, to trim the fat so to speak.
Or if by the eating and the indulging I am simply being true to myself and partaking of those things that help to relax or refresh me as an HSP when I need it the most.
Who is to say? Which really happens to be the healthier kind of living?
What really wins when the mind wins over the body? Is it a victory or simply a decision?
Naturally, I understand that moderation is key to all things, and if I were to consume a pound of dark chocolate on a nightly basis, the discussion would be a different one altogether.
For now, this is only the beginning of the conversation of healthy living and healthy eating, and perhaps one vital aspect of the conversation is to be open to these questions and to understand there is no single right or wrong way to “do life” or to “do healthy living,” especially for a highly sensitive person.