It’s been said that people on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum have a tough time making changes. To a point, I’m certainly “guilty” of that, if it’s something to be guilty about, which in itself is up for debate. My take? It is what it is, whatever it may be, for each of us.
During this recent, unexplained (and currently, unexplainable) Cocooning Period, I’ve been given the time to draw inward, to retreat without having to go anywhere. The retreat into my psychological and spiritual innards doesn’t always feel like the peaceful vacation/holiday that the word “retreat” conjures up, but: it is what it is, right? It’s cliché, but it’s true.
Retreats are temporary, even the longer-term kind. I always return, at least in some sense of the word, maybe not ever fully, for contemporary civilization as we know it is not really my home or my natural state, but I do return to a level that is at least visible, a level at which I can survive and blend and mask and interact and function according to the standards set by society at large. Powering back up and on is another challenge for perhaps another post. 😉
For now, though…
Upon many of my returns, I have souvenirs from my retreat. And this one is one of them.
The souvenir I picked up this time was a revisitation of Ayurvedic Medicine, the traditional healing system of India, toward which I’ve often gravitated and of which I have easily and intuitively understood.
I needed that.
One could say my life depended on it without even being melodramatic.
To make a long (long, long) story short, I discovered that I was eating in a way that, while generally in balance with my nature, I had tipped the scales too far in the other direction. And gradually, I began to suffer for it.
The obvious answer, then, is to begin to eat differently, and restore the balance.
Some of you may be initiating stress responses at the mere mention of changing up your diet.
I’ve done it before, sure, so my learning curve isn’t nearly as steep as it might have been (was!) had I been (when I was) doing this for the first time.
But my Asperger’s/autistic neurotype can be so bossy. It sticks its nose in where it doesn’t always belong. 😉
In my experience, it can work against me at first. But the good news is, it often works in my favor later on, after I’ve smoothed out some of the initial kinks.
Being relatively (re-)new at all this, I face a few hurdles.
One is that I must break my goals and tasks down into smaller steps, ones my brain can easily wrap itself around, without putting up too much of a fuss.
Another is that I have to–eeeek!–change my routine. I can’t reach for the same snacks, shop for the same foods, eat at the same times (usually too late at night), etc, as I did before.
The rationalization part is easy: I am in the mental and physical state that I’m in due to a combination of genes and my long-term daily choices. I can’t change my genes, but I can work with them more effectively. And I can change my daily choices. And if I want something different (which I do), then I’m going to have to make different choices each day.
That’s the rational part; there’s a faith/hope part, too, which goes like this: if I make those different, healthier choices, then hopefully I’ll actually get the different, better result I’m looking for.
Breaking it down into smaller steps…
First I googled different food lists, making mental note of what I should eat more and less of. Then I used the Notes app on my phone to keep track of these suggestions. Then I communicated with my partner, who does most of the grocery shopping and cooking at our house.
And then I actually had to execute the plan, to reach for those different foods when my partner brought them home, to re-wire my tastebuds to accept those new foods in place of old foods once they (the new ones) hit my tongue, and to remember to eat at times I’m not used to eating.
Yeah, it’s a work in progress. My Asperger’s/autistic mind is going through a few withdrawals right now. I feel as though I’m in a state of flux, with my feet firmly planted in mid-air.
But I have to remind myself that that’s a good sign. It means I’m really doing this, and it means I’m making progress.
I also have to remind myself that it’s toughest in the beginning; it doesn’t stay this way . It gets better (and easier!) from here.
I’m one week in. I started my first research a week ago today, after making a few other changes over the past couple weeks before that. Already I’ve lost 5 pounds for the first time in a year (in the past month or so), and in the past week/few days, my brain seems a little sharper, New & Improved, Now With 20% More Motivation (TM) (!).
Once I incorporate this into more of a routine, my Asperger’s/autistic-tinged tendency to stick to said routine will work in my favor.
This isn’t about change, which implies a shorter term effort. This is about transformation, a transformation back into my true self. ❤
(Image Credit: Licomomo on Deviant Art)