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 Bits of Love this February

I’ve been a big fan of Louise Hay for many years now. Last year, I discovered her page-a-day calendar and loved it. So guess what everyone got for Christmas this year? Yup. The new 2016 version of the tear-off calendar. I love getting a new affirmation every day. She even has an extra page to begin each month. Here is what she has to say for February:

Love is the nourishment that we humans need to fulfill our greatness. As I learn to love myself more, I learn to love everyone more. Together we tenderly cultivate an even more beautiful world.

I am in the process of changing some pretty deep-rooted beliefs (but that’s another post or two….). So I was inspired by this affirmation to focus a little love on myself each day this month. I thought I would post one thing each day that I love about myself, be it part of my physical appearance, a character trait, whatever! It feels a little conceited, I have to admit. But then, that’s something else I’m trying to change: my perspective on myself. It’s okay to proud of who I am. It’s okay to be happy with who I am. It’s okay to celebrate who I am!! So here goes….

One, Two, Three

Short and sweet, I feel I have three things to focus on as I move forward, if I want to achieve my goals of being healthier and shedding the weight I no longer need.

  1. Loving myself.  I believe this is the most important element if long-term weight-loss is to be achieved. Other things factor in, like diet and exercise, but nothing *real* can happen if I don’t love myself – including my body – including my body right now.
  2. Appreciating.  It’s time to take credit for all that I have accomplished! My weight may be fluctuating. It is still less than it was two years ago. And along the way, I have done some serious emotion purging of old beliefs, judgments, and fears. I also believe it is important to appreciate the extraordinary life I have – my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my home, my work, my growth, my support…. The list goes on and on. And that’s not to mention the beauty in nature all around us, a song that uplifts me, soft sheets on the bed, spotting a hawk soaring above, a delicious chocolate chip cookie – on and on and on – all the big and little things that make life so sweet!
  3. Letting go of Control.  This is a big one for me. It’s time to hold the reigns a little less tightly. In ALL areas of my life, including my need to lose weight. My 2-year-old son’s favorite song is “Let it Go” from Frozen. I love to listen to it over and over almost as much as he does, because it reminds me to let go 🙂

And one final note about loving myself. At the risk of sounding arrogant (which I do not think I am), I had a thought about my fears of people judging me: seriously, I think that all the people in my life – family, friends, fellow parents at school – would actually say I’m pretty darned amazing! I don’t know who I think is out there judging me so harshly! The only one doing that is ME. And it’s time to stop.

Is a Picture Really Worth a Thousand Words?

We had family photos taken a couple of weeks ago and just got to see the proofs today.

I love seeing the images captured of my boys and the smiling faces of my family.

I’m less than thrilled to see the images of myself. Earlier this evening, I was so disheartened. I seem to look the same as I did two years ago before I started losing weight. According to the numbers, I’ve only gained back about half of what I lost. And I definitely am still a smaller size than I was. But I don’t see a difference. I also know that I may be smaller still, but my body shape looks very much the same to me. And that is a tricky point for me.

I almost cried in the car on the way home from dinner tonight. I just feel like I’m on this bumpy ride. I get clear. YES! And then I get derailed. UGH. And then I get clear again. OKAY, GO! Oops, off track again. GAAH! Back and forth I go, like a tennis match.

I feel like I am so close to being in alignment with the person I want to be. But it remains just out of my reach.

When I started this blog, I thought it was going to be about maintenance. And I wished I had started it sooner, so I could have shared the “secrets to my success”. Ha! Looks like I don’t have as many secrets as I thought. Either that, or I’m just not using them. Or maybe I’ve outgrown the old secrets and am in search of new ones.

Tonight while I was dancing, I felt like punching the air. Just busting out all of my frustrations. So I did 🙂 It felt good. LET GO. Just let go of the past. The power is in the present moment (my Louise Hay calendar said that the other day). And that means that in any given moment, I get to begin again. Start fresh. Let go of the past. It does not have to have a hold on me.

I’m looking for new ways to feel healthy. To feel happy.

The other night, my husband and I were out for dinner. Just the two of us 🙂 It was so nice to be out and away from the bustle of every-day life. And I was inspired to try some dishes that I don’t normally order. I chose a small salad, a soup, and an appetizer. Everything was absolutely delicious! I loved savoring every single bite. I loved the way I felt afterward – just right, satisfied. I didn’t care how many calories or grams of fat were in the foods I ate. I simply enjoyed them. And felt healthy doing it.

THAT is how I want to feel when I eat. But it is not an easy feat. Especially with young children at the table. It’s almost impossible to savor each bite. I’m not sure how to get around that. But I know I want to.

My other challenge to myself right now is to continue letting go of control. Not just when it comes to food, but in all aspects of my life. I recently started physical therapy for a back sprain I got over three years ago when I was pregnant with my second child. (Another topic I could go on and on about: why do we suffer through such pain instead of asking for help, as if to suffer like that is normal?!!) Because the injury is in the low back and pelvic region – areas that never get any rest – the muscles could not recover. And so it’s as if I’ve been clenching and holding tight with my back muscles while also using them to protect my abs that were weakened from pregnancy. It’s a telling injury: emotionally, I do the very same things. I hold tight, trying to control things and protect myself. But that just doesn’t work. It is time to feel – to know – that I am safe and protected and that I don’t need any “extra padding”.

Most of all, it’s time to get back to loving and appreciating myself. Just as I am. Right now. I’m not sure exactly how to go about doing that. But I know it is the place to start.

Unconditional Love

I recently traveled abroad with my family. While we were at passport control, the unusually friendly young man looked from my passport picture (about 5 years old) to me and smilingly said, “You have lost quite a bit of weight. Congratulations!” He was perfectly earnest in his compliment, and I took it as such. It rather made my day!

I have to admit, I have been looking forward to getting a new picture for my driver’s license later this year. And I was wishing I didn’t have to wait another two years to get a new passport picture. Those pictures show the “old” me. The heavier me. No, thank you. But after getting that compliment, I laughingly thought, hey it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have a picture that demonstrates that contrast and shows how far I’ve come!

Later on, though, I began to realize the negativity in all these thoughts. After all, if I am going to truly love myself, don’t I have to love all of me? And that includes me at every age, through every stage, and even at every weight. I can’t pick and choose. It’s all a part of me. It’s a part of the woman I’ve become and am continually becoming. Instead of judging her – instead of criticizing her – instead of wanting to shun her, I should be embracing her. I should be thanking her. I should be loving her. She, too, deserves love. Of course she does. She, too, is special and talented and interesting. She still has all the other wonderful qualities I’ve been coming to appreciate in myself.

After all, isn’t this month’s challenge from Louise Hay to “… prove to myself that I unconditionally love and appreciate who I am”? I am certainly not loving myself unconditionally or appreciating who I am if I cannot love that other (bigger) version of me. And so I am trying to focus on sending her all the love she truly deserves. All the love *I* truly deserve.

Bump, Bump

On January 4, 2014 I had had enough. Seriously. I hit the wall, and I was DONE. Enough of the feeling of being overweight and all the negativity that came with it. Over the course of the year, I dropped 4 pant sizes. Woo hoo! I used my positivity as my main source of strength. Everything else stemmed from that. Eating better and exercising became much easier, because I was finally being kind to myself.

Just before the holidays, however, things began slowly drifting away from me. I became fearful. What if it doesn’t stick? What if I go back to the “old” me? I knew the holidays presented lots of yummy eating opportunities, and I didn’t want to miss out on them. I did pretty well, too. I enjoyed the foods of the season, mostly in moderation. And I was confident that after the holidays, I would get back on track.

Only that hasn’t happened. Mostly I get inspired one day, then find I’ve come down with yet another cold. I feel like we’ve hardly had more than one week at a time with a healthy family. Ugh. It’s wretched. Every time I get sick  –  or over-tired from taking care of the kids  –  I start eating. Not healthy foods either, of course. Why is it that we want to eat junk when we’re sick?? I know I’m not the only one.

Okay. So I get over a cold and think, “Great. Now I can get back on track again.” I start tracking my food again. I start exercising again. … And then I get sick again.

I don’t know how much weight I’ve put back on, but I know my pants are snug. The clothes I was fitting into last fall are snug this spring.

sigh

I’m now getting over a 3-week cold. Here we go again. I’ve been trying to track my food. Not doing so well with that. I’ve been exercising. (Although I have found out that I actually really like exercising! But I think that’s another post.)

Here’s the thing, though. I’m getting that feeling again. ENOUGH. I’M DONE. I do not like that image staring back at me in the mirror. I don’t like the way I feel in my clothes. I don’t like the way I feel, period. So what am I going to do about it? Time to get back to the things that worked last year. But also find some new sources of inspiration.

  • Track food – especially works when I plan the night before for the next day
  • Exercise (as I said, I can definitely do that!)

But those are the physical things. I really believe that the emotional work is what’s most important.

  • Be kind to myself
  • Say only positive things about my body and myself
  • Appreciate my body and all that it does for me
  • Go easy on myself if I have a less-than-perfect day

I also believe it’s important to take care of myself. Have time for myself and with my husband and my friends. Get a massage, go to the chiropractor, schedule health sessions with my acupuncturist. Talk to people who are uplifting. Laughter feels so good!

Ah yes – be light about all this!! It should feel good! It should be fun!

So this post is in essence my very own pep-talk. Let’s go! It’s spring! It’s time to feel fabulous again!!