How Do You Know?

A few years ago, one of my close friends from college texted me late at night. We were catching up and then she randomly asked me “how do you know when you’re in love?”

Naturally, I was caught off guard. First, late-night catching up sessions aren’t usually geared toward philosophical topics. Second, I was recently single (which was most likely the result of lacking any knowledge on love lol). Third, because I didn’t really know how to answer the question.

I took pause. I thought, do I really know what love is? I concluded that I didn’t, in fact, know what love was. I was young, naive, and what quasi-relationships I’d been through could hardly count as experience. However, I knew a feeling…something I would most closely relate to what I thought love felt like. Love feels like joyful sacrifice.

Love is opening the door for her wherever we go. Love is holding the grocery bags, carry-on luggage, and bear spray so she doesn’t have to. Love is driving around for hours, with a destination in mind or just get away, to cruise side by side – what matters is being together. Love is calling her up because you have happy or sad news, it’s about sharing all aspects of your life with her.

Love is being able to say what’s on your mind without reservation or fear of judgement. Love is sharing secrets and trusting they’ll be kept. Love is asking questions and discovering different perspectives; most times, it is realizing beliefs, values, and core principles align.

Love is an action, not a passive reaction. Love is compromise; love is forgiveness. Love is feeling safety in chaos. Love is effort, love is challenging, love is difficult to comprehend; but, all the while, love is the feeling you have when being with her makes you happy, when you yearn her presence, when being with one another feels so easy.

That feeling, that’s what I think love is. Love is often described as the relationship between two lovers, which may be the first thing to come to mind, but that type of love isn’t alone. Love is so much more than your feeling toward a significant other. There is parental love, sibling love, friendly love, love for passions, for all beings, for the universe.

I told my friend the only truth I knew about love: love probably feels different for everyone and knowing when you’re in love can only be judged by you. Maybe your love is taking him on an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii. Maybe it’s packing him lunches and making homemade dinners every night. Maybe your love is watching curling during the Winter Olympics, even when you think it’s the most boring sport on the planet, but he loves cheering on team USA.

How do you know when you’re in love?

You don’t do these things because you’re told. You don’t do them because you have to. You do whatever it is because there’s a feeling deep within that encourages you to do them, almost like a reflex. You do these things because you want to, for the sake of someone else’s happiness – you act out of love.

I’m not sure what my friend’s love feels like. I didn’t ask because I know love is too complex to describe. We can try to explain what we think love is, but love may not be able to be illustrated with words, maybe it’s something we can only feel.

Earlier this year that very friend reached out again. This time she asked, “Will you be my bridesmaid?”

I think it’s safe to say she found her own definition of love. (I said yes, btw.)

Dieting is About Self Control. Have You Tried Moderation?

It’s Wednesday, I haven’t worked out all week, I’m exhausted. I’ve been working so much, I’ve chosen sleep over exercise, which I don’t regret. It’s times like these, stress used to get to me; I’d end up eating a quart of ice cream in one sitting.

Unfortunately, as we age, our metabolisms slow down – I can attest that mine has definitely slowed way down, almost to a halt LOL. Hence, I cannot sit and eat gluttonous amounts of ice cream when I feel like it. Although it’s sad to say those days have passed, in all honesty, I seldom miss them.

I used to be overweight, not dire, but definitely not fit. A handful of years ago I made a lifestyle change that proved to be immensely simple, with definite results. I’m not talking “I lost a 100 lbs in one year” type thing… No, this was much more gradual, which, I believe, has made it easier. With gradual weight loss comes another proven fact: losing weight slower almost guarantees you’ll be able to keep it off, instead of gaining it all back sometime in the near future.

So, what’s the secret? Sticking to it.

A lot of people begin their weight loss journeys but fail for all the same reason: lack of self discipline. My sister used to tell me “everything in moderation,” which is sort of where my lifestyle change began. So, what’s the change? I know y’all eager to find out.

First thing’s first, I needed to stop eating my emotions lmfao. Then…

80% diet, 20% exercise. You’ve heard it before, right? I began by cutting out chips, fries, and bread (wahhhh! Adios, bagels – cue *crying face emoji*). I made an active effort to buy more fruit at the grocery store. I began this when I was a pescatarian, so I wasn’t eating land animals either. For not eating meat, you’d think I was good about eating veg. Wrong. I did not eat as many salads as you think I would; so, I began fitting salads into my daily meals.

The end result is quite simple: eat more produce and less processed foods / carbohydrates. Fiber is key. What shocked me was that I would occasionally reject the diet thing and eat a cookie, or a scoop of ice cream, or drunkenly go to McDonalds after a night out with my friends. That one cookie, or that one large fry, didn’t harm the weight loss agenda. Because those instances occurred in moderation, I continue to lose inches even with the occasional binge.

But, that’s when I realized that my diet doesn’t depend on moderation, my whole life does (especially my drinking habits haha). Dieting isn’t about limiting yourself to what you can and can’t eat. Dieting is about self control itself. I learned so much about health and fitness on this journey, but I’ve also learned a lot about life.

I learned stuff like sometimes you can put a shitload of effort in, but time is still needed to see results. I learned that you can fall off track but what matters is pulling yourself back in line. I learned that moderation doesn’t just keep us healthy, it keeps us alive.

Moderation, by Merriam Webster definition means avoiding extremes of behavior or expression: observing reasonable limits. Observing reasonable limits.

Reasonable limits.

To me, that’s exactly what moderation is – understanding that we are human. Humans have limits and we must respect those limits. There is inevitable danger in extremes.

It’s been about 3 years since I implemented this whole “lifestyle change.” Those 3 years taught me that my stomach, my energy, my time, my metabolism all have limits. As I’ve lost inches (and now at a figure I can maintain) I’m comfortable with eating bagels again (thank god!) and other foods I had cut out originally.

But, I only indulge in moderation.

My final words of wisdom on the weight loss thing: you can’t expect one change to produce mass outcomes. Big change is followed by many little changes, a lot of small gears, turning to move the machine. With weight loss, diet is a pretty large change in itself; yet, exercise, rest, and mental stimulation all contribute to the greater goal. I wrote a previous post about how exercise literally does wonders to the human brain and why we need it for our sanity – you can read it here.

(As a disclaimer: everyone has different body shapes and metabolic types; thus, not every diet works for everyone). What works for you?