A Year of Clearing

A friend recently told me about the website called Daily OM. You can take online courses on various topics related to mind, body, and spirit.

I just signed up for one called A Year to Clear What is Holding You Back. I had seen it advertised on Facebook and bookmarked it to check out later when I had more time.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I found myself asking for new inspiration to stay positive as I continue to try to change my body image. Ever since my recent encounter with the scale, I just can’t seem to get back on track. I haven’t been logging, and I know I’m eating more junk again. As I lay in bed wishing for sleep, I thought about getting up to go look at the course. A few minutes later, my oldest son knocked on the door, because he couldn’t sleep. After I put him back to bed, I decided to see his interruption as an opportunity to tip-toe downstairs to my laptop. I thought about setting up a health session with my acupuncturist for the next day, but she didn’t have any openings. So I looked up the course and signed up for it.

I’m a little nervous about it being a whole year. But she says to think of it as an “elastic year” – meaning it can stretch if you need it to. If you miss a day or two, just pick back up where you left off. No problem. I like the sound of that.

And I thought about where I want to be one year from now. Do I want to be stuck in this place of frustration? No, thank you! I want to move forward. Ready, set, go!

No More Scales

On April 4th, I made the colossal mistake of getting on a scale.

I thought I was doing a wise thing, since I had been logging my food again. I learned before that a smaller body needs less energy to fuel it. So if I was losing weight – as I believe I was – I should probably check in and enter the new lower weight, so I could recalculate my daily calorie goal.

The only thing was, when I entered my starting weight back in February, I used a number from last October. It was the last time I’d been on a scale, when I was at the doctor’s office for my annual physical. Well, between October and February, there were the holidays. Guess what? I must have put on some weight, because even though I felt as though I’d lost weight between February and April, the number on the scale was had gone up quite a bit.

UGH!!!!!

I wish I could say it didn’t matter. In my mind, I know that there is a much bigger picture, and that the number on that scale is only one small part of that picture. But emotionally, I feel something so completely different.

Seeing that number on the scale sent me into a tailspin. It sure as heck did not encourage me. I stopped logging. I started eating whatever. I stopped caring.

And now, two weeks later, I still can’t seem to get back on track. Heck, I don’t even know exactly what track I want to get on! I try to start logging again, but it isn’t working.

And so I have decided never to get on a scale again. I mean it. Never. Ever. The next time I go to the doctor and they ask me to get on the scale, I intend to politely decline. And if they insist, I will turn around and get on backward, so that I don’t see the number. It seems like the most compassionate thing I could do for myself.

Every time I get on a scale, it messes with me. So why would I want to keep putting myself through that? No, thank you.

Release

Something huge has just hit me.

I’m a firm believer in the mind-body-spirit connection. I believe (thanks to Louise Hay) that when our bodies are in any kind of “dis-ease” (as she calls it), it is trying to tell us something. (See her book You Can Heal Your Life.)

About four years ago I sprained my back lugging a suitcase out of the back of my car when I was 6 weeks pregnant. Ever since, I have lived with intermittent pain in my low back. It’s one of the reasons I continued to do yoga, see a chiropractor, and get regular massages. And then my chiropractor suggested IĀ  try Pilates to strengthen my core and take some of the load off of my back. And then my Pilates instructor and my massage therapist suggest I go to physical therapy to find out what was really going on and get some more specific help. That was about 5 months ago.

I was also working with an essential oil blend called “Release” from Young Living. I had started using it to help release my negative beliefs that I believed contributed to my negative feelings about my body. But as I worked on my back, I realized how much I needed to release that, too.

Yesterday during Pilates, I did some of the exercises recommended by the PT. And for the very first time, they were easy, and there was NO pain. Now that’s not to say that it’s gone forever. I’m still going to do my stretches and strength exercises (also because they just feel good in general).

But here’s the connection: It is also the same day that I took charge and decided NOT to do the detox. Ever since that moment, I have felt a new sense of calm. And a stronger sense of empowerment.

Because I didn’t go on the usual emotional roller coaster to make the decision. I heard the old arguments in my head (“don’t be a failure” – “what will your chiropractor say?” – “you can’t give up, because you were so ready to brag about what your were doing!” – and on and on). The words were there, but the strong negative emotion was not. I took charge and made the decision that was right for ME.

And in making that move, there must have come a big release in my physical self, too. Which is why my back felt better than it has in years!

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….

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 šŸ™‚ 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 šŸ™‚ 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.

Black & White

I love black and white. I love to wear it. I love to decorate with it. I love the simplicity and the contrast of it.

I also love to live in it. I love to have things simplified and see them in their opposites. The problem is, we live in a world that is made up of infinite shades of every color of the rainbow. Life simple is not black and white.

I particularly need to stop seeing the concept of success vs. failure in terms of black and white. I see this journey in terms of black and white far too often. I’m either doing it … or I’m not. And when I feel I’m not – I see that as failure. And I get extremely critical of myself.

But that simply is not the case. The journey of transformation – emotional and physical – is not about success and failure. To see it in these terms is far too simple. It truly is a journey. I may get off course and fall back into old, bad habits. But most of the time these days, I don’t get so far off course that I end up in the next county. It’s more like a slight meandering along the road. You know, when you get a little distracted and swerve just a bit within your lane. There’s no real danger in that. You simple readjust and get back into the center of the lane and keep moving forward.

The same is true when I feel like I’m having a set-back. Like I felt last week when I was at the doctor’s office. Getting on the scale hit me hard. And I got pretty emotional about it. I wondered, why does it feel like I keep banging my head against the wall? Why am I still having to work so hard at this?!

Once again, I was WAY too hard on myself. And the cool thing is that I actually came out of that hole pretty quickly. I didn’t go so very far off course. And I do have the tools I need to get back into the center of that lane. It was by no means a failure.

Sometimes success feels sooooooo good. When I was losing weight last year and fitting into smaller clothes, I admit, it felt absolutely amazing! And now that I’ve had to go back up a size in my jeans, it feels … far less amazing. But what I was not appreciating is that it’s only one size! After I’d gone down two or three! I wasn’t back to where I’d started. It was just a swerve off course.

And sometimes I think that if we move too quickly from A to B, we simply can’t sustain it. We aren’t quite ready for it yet. We haven’t learned enough along that short journey.

I even had a fortune cookie giving me this message! No joke! I couldn’t believe it when I read the little slip of paper:

2015-10-06 22.26.21

It was as if the Universe was knocking me over the head with this idea, compelling me to believe it. I do not have to measure myself in terms of success and failure!!!

Time to let go of black and white. Except maybe in my wardrobe šŸ™‚