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.

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!!

The Body

I love that my body has remained neutral through every step. It never sought revenge for all the negative abuse I gave it. All those awful words and feelings I threw at it throughout the years. The weight may have piled on, but still my body continued to work for me. It moved and healed and did all I asked of it.

When I was ready to be kind, to appreciate it for the extraordinary thing that it is, it was ready to respond. I think perhaps it was eager  –  chomping at the bit  –  so ready to get going!! The results came quickly and continued. Even as I had my doubts and slips back into old habits throughout the year, it kept on going.

Have you ever stopped to think about how much your body does? In every moment of every day, it is accomplishing all kinds of feats from behind the scenes. Inside us, there is a veritable symphony of workings going on. Do you ever stop to thank your body for all the things it does without ever being asked?

I never did. Until I became pregnant. During my two pregnancies, my perspective on my body shifted drastically.

The first thing that happened was that I no longer hated my belly. I always carried my weight in my stomach. How many times I would try on clothes and think, “Nope. Can’t buy that. It makes me look pregnant.” But, ta-dah! I actually was pregnant. My body was supposed to look like that! For the first time in my life, I felt beautiful from head to toe. It was thrilling!

So with my first pregnancy, I began to really appreciate my body from the outside. With my second pregnancy, I turned inward. I began to have a stronger awareness of all those wondrous things the body just does. All on its own. It just knows what to do. A life was growing inside of me. My body grew a whole new organ to support that little life. It’s extraordinary when you really stop to think about it.

So if my body could do all that, surely it could change on a cellular level. I could retrain it to slim down.

For me, losing weight was not just about food. It wasn’t about calories in and out. It wasn’t about exercise. Yes, all of those things were a part of it, but it has been vastly bigger than all that. First, I needed to change how I thought about my body. I needed to appreciate it. I needed to be grateful for it. And I needed to be kind to it.

Grace

I had an experience recently where time seemed to stop and I was overwhelmed by a calm emotion that I could not at first name. Then someone gave me the word: GRACE. It was as if in that moment I was lifted up to a state of grace that I had never known before. There was indeed a calm to it. And a knowing. All is well. Life is extraordinary.

The idea of being graceful has certainly been appealing to me since I started this journey almost a year ago. That is how I want to feel in my body: graceful. Whatever size or shape my body is, I want to feel strong, confident, and yes … graceful.

But there are many meanings to this beautiful word.

Today I was reminded again of this word, grace. Not the kind of grace that has to do with smooth and pleasing movement, but the kind of grace that elevates one to a divine place. (I will note that I am not a religious person, but I do see myself as a spiritual person.) And I wondered, what is the word for grace in German (my second language)? The word is Grazie. And then I realized, this is the same word that in Italian means thank you! So I looked it up. And sure enough, the etymology of the word grace comes from “Latin gratia favor, charm, thanks” and from “gratus pleasing, grateful”. It is also “akin to Sanskrit gṛṇāti he praises” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grace).

This connection was a revelation for me. One of the things I have been trying to focus on lately is being grateful. It is an essential tool for me in moving forward. If I cannot appreciate all the work that I have done, if I cannot appreciate my body and all the extraordinary things it is capable of, if I cannot appreciate the wonderful life I have created for myself, I will never be able to move forward or even to hold on to all that I have accomplished.

And so I go forth, trying to hold on to this exquisite state of grace … and gratitude.