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….

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.

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!