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.

Approval and Acceptance

School started last week for my kids. And at the end of the week, we all had colds. Fabulous.

Whenever I get sick, I know I should eat better, drink more water, etc. But all I want is comfort food. Which often translates as junk food. I know that has something to do with why I put some of the pounds back on last winter: because I was sick every other week and practically the entire month of April.

So here I am again. I had just gotten back into a good habit of logging my food and was even being really good about drinking more water. And then with this rotten head cold, I slipped back into the haze of junk food. I know I’m not the only one who does this, too.

But this post isn’t really about whining. What I really want to think about is how to be in this place where I know I’m not anywhere near eating healthy and still being okay with it.

Today, my Louise Hay calendar said:

“The two main keys to positive changes in my life are self-approval and self-acceptance. I know these qualities work to make my life the best it can be.”

I asked myself, is it possible for me to approve of myself right now? I’m making terrible food and drink choices! I know that I am. And yet I do it anyway. I give myself excuses: I don’t feel well and this is comfort food. Hmph.

Well, maybe I can get to approval and acceptance in this way: I am not perfect. I cannot be perfect all the time. I am going to slip off track now and then. I am human. And human beings do not live in a state of perfection or joy or positivity 100% of the time. It simply isn’t possible. And actually, that is a good thing. We need that contrast. If we lived in that perfect state all the time, we would never want more. And wanting more or new is always good.

After a few days of making “bad” food choices, I’ve pretty much had enough. My cold is clearing up. And now I’m ready to get back on track. Will I start logging and drinking more water tomorrow? Well, I hope so. At the very least, I feel that I will make at least some healthier choices. And that is something I can approve of.

So what happens the next time I get a cold? There’s a good chance I’ll be making those less-than-healthy choices again. Is it possible to approve of myself then? That is a really tough one.

Post-Prom Confusion

My Prom birthday party was this past weekend. It was a blast! People really got in to it. One friend wore an original prom dress from the 80s. Another friend came in an over-the-top version of a powder blue tux … think powder blue matador! No joke!

I wore a classy black dress with a pink flower at the waist. It was strapless, defined at the waist, with a swingy A-line skirt. I absolutely loved it! I felt beautiful, sophisticated, and sexy. I did play up the prom part, too, with a couple of fake silver and pink tattoos, sparkly hair clips, and some glitter on my fingernails. What better time to bring on the glitter?!

I felt confident as I chatted with my guests, handed out prizes for superlatives (including tackiest prom dress!), was crowned Prom Queen, and danced the night away. It was pure fun!

Afterward, however, I found myself having mixed feelings. Some of the details weren’t exactly what I’d hoped for. But that wasn’t the real issue. It was the pictures. Some of them were great. Beautiful. Others, though … not so good.

I know that photos are a snapshot of a millisecond in time and are by no means a reflection of reality.

But it’s still shocking sometimes to see myself from certain angles. Do I really look like that?? Really?? Have I really put on some of the weight again? Really?? I don’t feel the way I look. How can I feel so much like a new (thinner) person – a new version of myself – and still look like the old me?

Well, maybe that’s just it. I have indeed come a long way. But I’m still me. I’m a concoction of all my experiences. You don’t just let go of the old stuff just like that. But by no means does it negate all the work I’ve done. It does not have to take away from how far I’ve come. The journey is not a straight and steady one. It has twists, turns, U-turns, bumps, hills to go up, and hills to go down. And yes, there are even some nice, smooth stretches. Those parts feel great, but you can’t stay on those stretches forever. It’s the bumps and turns that teach us and remind us what we are truly wanting.

So where does that leave me? I’ll start by looking only at the pictures I love. I’ll continue by focusing on the feelings: if it feels good, stick with it; if it doesn’t, make a change. That sounds simple enough, but it takes a lot of awareness. And then how to make a change to get out of the bad feeling? I like to take a deep breath and then blow it out with gusto. It’s a powerful tool, as you let the negative thoughts go out with the breath. Then look for positive thoughts. Not always easy. Like anything else, it takes practice. Practice, practice, and more practice….

Inspiration

Okay, I was just writing about how I’m looking for some new inspiration. Well, yesterday, I got it!!

I was having lunch with a friend and told her that I was thinking about having a belated celebration for my 40th birthday (which was last December). The holidays were just so busy, I couldn’t fit it in. But now it’s spring and the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming, and I am SO ready to be done with winter!! What better thing to do than have a party?! So my friend told me about how she celebrated her 40th, and I was immediately on board! I’m throwing myself a party. But not just any party. I’m throwing a prom night!! Funny thing is, I never went to prom (long story). So other than the versions I’ve seen on TV and in movies, I’m not even sure what that looks like! But I am super excited! I’m inviting friends and family from near and far. I don’t expect the ones from afar to make it, but then again, you never know! And since it’s prom, everybody better come all dolled up and ready to dance! As I was dancing tonight (have I mentioned that is my preferred form of exercise??), I was grinning from ear to ear, making a mental list of all the fun songs I want the DJ to play 🙂 This is going to be one super fun celebration! Oh yeah, and of course I’ll need a new dress! Now that is some pretty great inspiration to stay on track!!