One Year Ago

It was one year ago today when I decided I’d had enough. And what a year it’s been! There have been plenty of ups and downs. As the year was coming to an end, I even faced a great deal of fear: What if it doesn’t last? What if I revert to old patterns? What if I gain back the weight?

I believe I am finally over that hump. I know there will be further obstacles for me to overcome, but at least there, I think I can finally move forward with confidence again.

I know now how important it is to be kind to myself. Every time I say … think … feel a negative thought about myself  –  about my body  –  I take a deep breath, let it out, and replace it with a positive thought of appreciation. At least, I try to. It isn’t always easy. But what a difference it makes.

I also know that I have done so much of the emotional work. It wasn’t just physical weight I was carrying around with me all these years. It was the emotional weight that had to go before I could begin to lose the physical weight. I believe that has been the real key to my success.

Finally, I have my supports in place. My chiropractor, my acupuncturist, my Pilates instructor, my massage therapist. These people do much more than just physical work with me. They are my confidantes. I can call on them for help when I need support, encouragement, or deeper help with my emotional issues. I have family and friends I can turn to as well. And most importantly: I’m no longer afraid to reach out for help when I need it. I know that I am not alone. I know that these people are not here to judge me or put me down. They love me. They support me. And they want to see me happy, just as I want to see them happy.

Most of all, I am grateful. I have such a rich life, I am sometimes reduced to tears of overwhelming gratitude just to think of it all. And I am grateful for this extraordinary body that I have. I love the way it feels now. (I was recently on an airplane in the middle seat, and I actually did not feel self-conscious about being too big and accidentally spilling over into the seat next to me!) I love the confidence I have gained in this new body. I could go on and on! But it is late. And I also know that I need my sleep 🙂

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Just Begin

I love chronology. Things in order. Nice and neat.

However, that is not how my life is most of the time.

And so, part of embracing my authenticity is being okay with the bits of chaos that I float around in all day long!

I would love to go back and begin my story somewhere at that beginning (although I’m still not even sure where that is). But it would take too long to catch up to where I am right now. And I want to write … right now.

So here I go. Into new territory for me. Jumping off into the deep end instead of carefully slipping my toes into the water at the first step of the pool.

That might mean it’s a bit difficult for any readers to follow along. Sorry about that. This blog is really for me, though. I’d love to know that some of the wisdom I’ve gained is helpful to someone out there. But for now, this blog is a way for me to sort through what’s going on and all that I am learning.

Last December I turned 39. Apparently, this is a really big year for people. I am no exception. It wasn’t exactly on my birthday. It was about 3 weeks later (after the chaos of the holidays had died down). On January 4th (yes, this was the actual day), something began to erupt in me.

ENOUGH. —  I. am. so. done.

I was ready for a change. A big change. It had been building up for a long time. A lifetime, even. But certainly over the past few years, things had really begun to boil and bubble inside. In my 30s, I met my husband, got married, finished my graduate degree, and gave birth to two beautiful baby boys. It was time to focus on me again. The timing was perfect.

After a lifetime of struggling with my weight and self-image, I was ready to look myself square in the eye (or body) and make a change. No more negative talk. No more judging perceived imperfections. Positive words only.

On January 4th, my husband and I went out to dinner at one of our favorite steak restaurants. But that night, the food wasn’t very good. Nonetheless, I sat there and ate it, maybe wishing the next bite would be better. But it wasn’t. I came home feeling over-stuffed. Heavy. Weighed down. It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling, alas.

I happened to sit down on the couch and pick up the latest issue of Cooking Light. With the first issue of the new year came an article from the editor about losing weight. I’ve read countless articles on losing weight. I’ve done the yo-yo dieting, each time thinking I’d found “the one,” only to end up 10 pounds heavier than when I’d started. The weight had piled on. By the time I was getting married, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life.

But this time, something did click. I read about an app I could get for my phone to track what I was eating. Oh, I’ve done that before, too, and it didn’t work. Although, never with the ease of clicking away on my cell phone. There was a big learning curve as I taught the app all the foods I eat. I began tracking meticulously. And I weighed and measured all my food. That part, I don’t actually mind. The nerdy math side of me rather likes playing the numbers. I told the app about some of my behaviors and entered the focus to lose one pound a week. One pound. I could do that.

It wasn’t just the app, though. There has been so much more that has led to my success. For one thing, I was ready. That’s such a nebulous idea, I know. It’s one of the inexplicable things. You just have to feel it.

I also had this new idea. What if it took me until I was 40? Would that be so bad? Not really. I could definitely deal with that. So instead of wanting results in a month or a week, I had a long-term focus.

It’s now September. I don’t know how much weight I’ve actually lost. (One of the lessons I took away from previous dieting attempts: I can’t handle having a scale in the house. I become too obsessive.) But I’ve gone down 3 sizes. I’m wearing clothes in sizes I’ve never worn in my entire life. It feels amazing.

There is so much more to delve into. There are so many layers. So many aspects that have contributed to my success. I want to go into more detail in future posts. I want to process it all. And I also want to remind myself of all that I have learned. Because now I am entering the next phase of maintenance, and I do not – under any circumstances – want to go back. Not ever again.

I am embracing my new self. I am exploring this person. Who am I? Who do I want to be? How do I want to present myself to the world? Still many questions to be answered and explored. Here’s to the next phase of my authentic self!