This post is part 1 of 5 in the series Self Embrace: Learning to Love the Skin We Are In.
I used to start out each morning with the same song and dance: go to my closet, try on 10 different outfits, all of which were too tight or unflattering, and finally slink my way into my one pair of jeans that fit and a loose fitting top that hugged instead of clung to my curves. I would continue on with my day, rewarding myself with food when something good happened and comforting myself with food when something bad happened. I would go to the gym only if it fit conveniently in my schedule. I would take loads of laundry from our laundry room up to our bedroom and become winded. I preferred to sit rather than run around outside with my boys and feel my fat jiggling with each step I took.
At some point this past year, the weight I was carrying around on my body became a weight I was carrying on my mind and heart. I knew I had to make some changes before I was totally drowning in this hole I had dug.
In June, I joined an online fitness group and started working with a fitness coach. She gives us four cross fit-style workouts to do each week that I complete each morning at my gym. In August, I changed the way my whole family eats and started to follow a mostly (we still eat some dairy) paleo diet.
I began to see the changes slowly, and before too long I was getting stronger. I started to run on the days I did not have a scheduled workout. I started craving healthy foods instead of the sugar and carb filled foods I used to fill up on. The number on the scale kept going down and the pile of clothes that were too big kept growing. But most importantly, that weight on my mind and heart started to get lighter and lighter until I felt like I could finally breathe (both figuratively and literally) again.
Here are a few things I have learned so far in my journey:
The very first day I started this program I almost faked a sickness just so I wouldn’t have to do my workout because I thought it was too hard and I couldn’t do it. I somehow mustered up the courage to give it a try, and although it wasn’t pretty, I completed it. I have done many things since that first day I never thought I was capable of.
I am important and worth taking care of.
Nobody else can do it for you. You have to make yourself a priority day in and day out. My husband knows that every day I’m going to go to the gym at 6:00 a.m. and this is non-negotiable. I have said no to treats when everybody else is eating them because I know it does not fit in with my goals. I have taken the steps to truly love and take care of myself the way I should have been all along, and it feels good.
Happiness does not come from a number.
This actually surprised me. When I started this journey I thought I would be so much happier once I was XXX pounds. I have found this to be simply untrue. I am most definitely happier with my body than when I started, but the happiness comes from the goals I am meeting and the other changes I have made. I am happy because I know I am feeding myself and my family healthy, nourishing foods. I am happy because I can do regular burpees instead of modified burpees. I am happy because I have shaved a minute off my mile time. I am happy because I can run and play with my kids and go up the stairs and not get the least bit winded. And I will admit that it does feel good knowing I can get dressed in the morning in a closet with clothes that all fit. Most of all, I am happy because I took a chance on myself to lift that weight off my body, mind, and heart and truly become a happier person.
What’s weighing you down today, and what will you do to lift the burden?
Read more from our Self Embrace series!
- Flat-Chested and Proud
- A Love Letter to My Body
- Resolving to Find Self-Confidence
- Five Daily Rituals to Improve Body Image