Challenges

For the past two weeks, I’ve been in a really good place. I started logging my food again, and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. However, I definitely have to remind my self to keep up the positive self-talk.

I haven’t been posting my Little Love Notes to myself, but I have thought of a few more that just need to get from my head to my computer. And even the few that I have up so far have been really helpful. I am truly seeing myself differently again.

And then…. We go on vacation. Warmer weather equals different clothing. That is, bathing suits, shorter pants, no layering with structured cardigans and jackets. Deep breath. It gets really rough. I try not to look at what is and instead focus on my vision of who I truly am and who I want to be. But when the image in the mirror is staring back at you, it gets difficult.

I’m not sure just what to do about it. I want to enjoy my vacation, which also means enjoying food. Well, really, I always want to enjoy food. That doesn’t mean eating only junk. Healthy food can taste great, too. So I’m trying to pay attention to what I’m eating. I’ll try to keep logging – if only so that I don’t get out of the habit. And here I am, writing about it to try to help smooth out this process.

Remember: I am beautiful (my 3-year-old tells me that all the time!). I am lovable. I am worthy.

And then remember the little love notes. Focus on the things you already really love about yourself. I truly believe that is the key.

What is the key?

For months now, I’ve been so frustrated with sliding back – and back up the scale. Why does this always seem to happen? When I started losing weight at the beginning of 2014, I was extraordinarily positive. There was absolutely a shift. I said, it’s going to be different this time. And I truly felt it. But then something changed. For one thing, I started letting fear creep in. I started doubting myself. So how do I really do this and make it stick???

Here’s what I think. The reason everything felt so different that time, is because I was truly seeing myself differently. I was absolutely appreciating my body – all of my body. Even my belly. But over time, as I logged calories and played the math game to hit my target (a slightly smaller portion here, a few more minutes of exercise there), I went back to my old ways. I forgot to focus on appreciating – on loving – ME. Just as I was. I got carried away by the wonderful sensation of feeling thin. I got addicted to the compliments. But then as people got used to me being more slender, the compliments stopped coming. And I started doubting. The old voice of the critic in my head started getting stronger.

I hadn’t really changed my feeling. I hadn’t changed the way I felt about myself. I allowed the mirror to tell me how to feel. But that mirror is no good.

The absolute, without-a-doubt, most important thing I can do is LOVE MYSELF.

If I lose sight of that, then I will never be able to achieve this goal of being a more slender me – and thereby also a healthier me.

It’s such a tricky thing, I think: I have to love me now, even though I want to change. How does one do that? Practice. Practice loving myself exactly as I am. Every little bit of me. And that’s why my Little Love Notes to myself are so important.

At this point, I’m trying the logging thing again. If only to make myself more aware. And if I’m willing to put the time into logging my food on My Fitness Pal, then I am more than capable of finding time each and every day to write a little love note to myself. It absolutely MUST be part of the equation.

Little Love Notes #6

I love my body.

Seriously, I’m so freaking impressed with the human body and what it is capable of. When we stop to listen to it, it tells us SO much. If we can hear its messages, it tells us what we need to work on emotionally. How cool is that?

One of the first times I ever stopped to truly appreciate how amazing the human body is was when I was pregnant. Seriously? This tiny little being grows inside of you? And has everything it needs to grow into a little tiny person? And then the body even creates a new organ to support that little life? It’s such a miracle! If my body can do that, just imagine what potential it truly has!

Little Love Notes #5

I love my feet.

I admit it. I am a little vain when it comes to my feet! They are just so pretty. Lovely proportion. Nice, long nails that take a great pedicure. Whatever I think about the rest of my body, I am always happy to show off my feet!

And then, just think of what they do for us! The feet are the very fundamental support of the entire body. All day long, we walk and stand on our feet. Oh yeah, and we dance on them, too 🙂

My feet look graceful and delicate. And yet they have so much power and strength.

I am grateful for my feet!

Little Love Notes #4

I love that I exercise.

My whole life, I believed I was nonathletic. I never did very well in gym class – dreaded those horrid physical fitness tests.

What I’ve come to learn is that there is a kind of exercise for me. In fact, there is even more than one!

I love to do yoga. I love the way those stretches feel. I love the way my confidence rises higher and higher as I hold a pose … and as I am able to get deeper into a pose over time. I love the awareness of my body that yoga brings. I love the non-competitive atmosphere of my yoga studio. I love how yoga has taught me to use and lengthen my breath.

I also love to do Pilates. I love the feeling of strength building over time. It, too, brings a confidence that makes me feel like I am thriving. And I love the way it makes me breathe. Even if all I do is stretch during a Pilates session, at the end of it, I feel taller, more vibrant, more alive.

I even love to get on the elliptical from time to time. I have to admit that I don’t even mind sweating! It feels good to use up all that energy!

Most of all, I love to dance. I always have. I took my first dance class at age 5, after I saw Annie, and absolutely had to learn how to tap dance 🙂 I still love to tap! I also love ballroom (if only my husband enjoyed dancing, too!). But really, almost any kind of dance will do. And it was dance that made me realize how much I actually do love to exercise. I started dancing almost 3 years ago, almost every night after my kids go to bed. Sometimes I don’t want to, but I do it anyway. And then it can be hard to stop!

Tonight was one of those nights when I didn’t feel like exercising. I was tired. I was cranky. I was frustrated. (All good reasons to exercise!) I wasn’t going to do it. Even got into my comfy jammies. But then I realized what I’d eaten today, and thought, okay. Just 30 minutes on the elliptical can make a big difference. And now I hardly care about the calories I burned. I just feel better. All that tired, cranky, frustrated stuff seems to have burned off right along with the calories.

Little Love Notes #3

I love my sensitivity.

Growing up, I was often chided for being too sensitive. But in recent years, I have come to not only accept my sensitivity, but to appreciate it and even celebrate it.

My sensitivity presents itself in many ways.

My physical senses are quite strong. I could work for the perfume companies, I think, with my strong sense of smell. It can get in the way at time. For example, I can’t bear even a hint of spice in food, because it overpowers me. But I also greatly enjoy the variety flavors in the foods that I do like to eat.

I cry easily. Weddings – forget it. Doesn’t even matter if I really know the bride or groom 🙂 TV shows, movies, even Hallmark ads (you know, the long ones they put on during the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies) – they can all do me in. In fact, when my mom and I get weepy about these things, we created the term “Hallmarking” for it. “I was Hallmarking all over the place,” I’ll say to her 🙂 But then, I rather enjoy a good cry now and then!

I have recently become more sensitive about my body. I notice things more. I pay attention to its messages (hence my love of Louise Hay’s work). I have always had a high tolerance for pain, and yet I am increasingly sensitive. I had to have a root canal last week. The procedure was fine enough, but the recovery was long and painful. At first, I felt like a baby for complaining so much. But later, my dentist told me it can heal in a matter of days or may take more than a month! So I felt a bit vindicated. But then I realized it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. The plain fact is, I was in pain. Perhaps I felt it more because I am more sensitive to my body these days. I don’t think that is a particularly bad thing.

And so, I embrace my sensitivity and celebrate it as one of my finest qualities!

Little Love Notes #2

I love my hands.

I have always thought that I had rather graceful, delicate-looking hands. They are neither too big, nor too small. And I have beautiful nails at the ends of my fingers. The tips of the nails are so white, I hardly need do more than put a coat of clear polish on them to give the effect of a French manicure.

And yet these lovely hands are also strong, resilient, flexible.

These hands take care of myself and those I love. They held my babies. And now the hug and caress and tickle my little boys. These hands cook and type and draw and crochet and play the piano. They hold the steering wheel of the car. They do a thousand things every day – so many seemingly mundane things, that I can’t even think of more!

I am grateful for these beautiful, strong hands.