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  • Jenny

My 2024 Mantra: Intentionality

What you may not know or expect about me, having a food blog, is that I had an eating disorder for most of my teenage years. Diet culture was rampant in the early 2000s, but was just one of a few pressures I felt to change myself. The weeks were a series of intense restriction, binging and purging, attempting to "coach" myself into self-discipline, drawing motivation from tumblr "thinspo", failing time after time, and finding myself in a pit that was completely void of self confidence.

I could go on for pages about my childhood trauma and the propagation of self doubt and lack of worth over the years, and why I think I turned to food for comfort. But what I'd rather focus on, is the overwhelming joy I feel to be freed from this vicious and toxic cycle over the last two decades. With the help of a supportive partner, therapy and good friends, I crawled out of the eating disorder, and over time, out of other deranged messaging I received throughout childhood. Sometimes I can't believe I was able to get out of that, overcome, and not only eat and live freely, but now manage a blog dedicated to something that was once so limiting. I feel very grateful.

The premise of my ED was relinquishing control. While trying to keep it all together and force order, I actually surrendered all control to otherness: to the binge episodes, to the roller coaster of weight changes, to the mistreatment of my body. Control was the North Star I was desperate for, yet never actually achieved throughout my teenage years.

I've decided that my word or "mantra" for 2024, is intentionality. Control can be heartless and authoritative and thoughtless. Intention, to me, is mindful and structured, usually with a plan in place. I'm not a fan of setting resolutions, only to feel like I've failed them in a few weeks. Over the last few years I've set annual goals, and have learned it only makes sense for me to set them if I put the plan in place to get there. Intention, I've realized, is the backbone of actually achieving those goals. And I think intentionality has depth; it ties an action to something else... a "why."

So as I think about my intentions for 2024 related to eating and drinking and health, my "why" is to achieve feeling my best self with a positive and focused mindset. I want to be intentional in everything I do, and tie it back to a bigger goal. I've always been a goal-oriented checklist person who likes to follow a specific plan, but doing the thing and reminding myself on the why is what I want more of in 2024.

In no particular order, the what and the why:

  • Cook 3 dinners a week. We ate out so much in the last two years in support of growing the Instagram page, but to the detriment of health. I used "I don't know how to cook" as one of the major excuses to not do it. In the last quarter of cooking more, I've gained some confidence in the kitchen and sometimes even look forward to making dinner (dread for doing dishes remains). I physically feel better.

  • Less binge drinking. It makes me feel like trash and can ruin the whole next day, and is especially sad if it's a precious Saturday or Sunday. (Ugh but it can be so fun the night of.) Starting April 2023, I tracked my weekly miles and drinks as I worked toward the Columbus marathon. From Apr-Dec last year, I averaged 18 drinks a week, with a significant reduction as I got closer to the marathon in October. I can only imagine how much better my training and running would be if I reduced this year.

  • Less drinking what I don't like. I love red wine, and I can pretty confidently say I won't be giving up red wine in my lifetime. What I want to do... is drink red wine when I want to, and not drink other drinks when I don't actually want to or just feel pressured to. This is all with the lens of intentionality and making decisions based off what will make me feel my best self, and this one is more emotionally than physically.

  • Wear my wrist guards at night. It is such a hassle to wear them and they make me sweat, but it does help my wrists feel better in the mornings lol.

  • Brush my teeth without scrolling. I value focusing on doing something without distractions. The quality is so much better. But the value of feeling entertainment has outweighed health quality way too often in the past.

  • Get more sleep. I feel significantly better when I get 8 hours, and don't stay up too late on my phone or watching movies. I am notorious for getting nightmares and not being able to sleep when I watch thrillers past 10 pm (but not in the day time). I would say "when will I learn" but I've already learned this... it's about "when will I do" and no better time than the present. I've been intentional about bedtime the last two nights and am already feeling so much better mentally and physically.

  • Limit social media consumption. This is a hard one for me as a creator but it's the best way to protect my mental health. You know when you post a series of stories and you watch them over and over because narcissism? (Lol. Kinda joking). That has the potential to be me almost every day. This year I want to create more and focus on higher quality content, but also disconnect more.

  • Train for a spring and fall marathon. I felt so great training for the October marathon. Having the marathon last year was also a great way to keep my other goals in check. Running a PR with minimal pain was an overwhelming high.

Cheers to 2024! What are your goals and intentions this year? To doing more of what makes us happy and healthy.

NYE 2024: deciding that I wanted to have red wine for the ball drop and not a cocktail or liquor drink & going for it.


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