When I was younger, and at the height of my eating disorder, doctors were always telling me I needed to gain ten pounds. At the time it was unfathomable to me. I couldn't even hear it.
After babies when I was sitting on 8 extra pounds, still under the doctor's recommendation, I believed it even less. All the weight was flab around my stomach and thighs. My clothes didn't fit well and all I wanted was to lose the weight.
Well I did! In 2 rounds of the 21 Day Fix but I kept going with that healthy lifestyle and you know what happened? I gained 8 pounds of it back in muscle. Right now I weigh the same as the day I started the program. I'm a healthy weight for my body, I don't have the flabby midsection, and I'm working towards an active and healthy middle age life.
My reasons for doing this have changed drastically. I've gone from being obsessed with the scale and maintaining a thin body to caring for myself through nutrition and daily exercise and embracing what healthy looks like for me. Instead of being worried about the size of my jeans, I'm interested in building muscle to keep me strong mobile as I go through my life. I don't want to be tiny and frail as I get older. I want to be healthy and strong.
The truth was I was more concerned with being socially valued than personally fulfilled. I was literally starving myself to maintain what other people told me was beautiful. If we are restricting our food intake to control external circumstances or over eating to self medicate, we are out of harmony with truth. Food is fuel, wonderful glorious fuel, not the enemy. Exercise is freedom, not punishment.
I'm willing to bet all of us have had some sort of negative experience that has warped nutrition and exercise for us, whether we are obsessed or opposed. It's ok to take it at your own pace and heal. It has taken years for me to shed a lot of the negative thoughts and self destructive habits. That stuff doesn't change overnight. Each day I would just make the best choices I could for myself and address the lies, fears, and pain as they surfaced.
What I started without even knowing it was working on my anger and damage and grief. I attached it to my weight but as I worked on that I uncovered the real culprit and I was able to heal and accept myself. Turning it all around and following the trail of destruction back to its source is the only way to have lasting change and true healing. So, if you are looking around you today and all you see it the mess, you are headed in the right direction! Keep going!
I shared this with my challengers today. We are almost out of January and for most people that means they've already bailed on their resolutions but there us a reason for that and it's not a lack of will power:
" This is the last week of this group but I have a mental exercise for you that might seem odd. I want you to reevaluate your goals. How are you feeling? Are you encouraged? Motivated? Excited?
AWESOME! This means that you have clear goals that are true to yourself and the very act of following through fills you will excitement! It should! These goals are YOURS, you SHOULD be excited about them.
But what if you're not? The first thing I want you to do is ask yourself what is the root of your goal . Like this quote says, does it stem from a true desire to accomplish something true to you or does it stem from a place of inadequacy or not being good enough? Be honest with yourself and us. If it stems from a place of inadequacy its never going to excite you even if its something you really want to accomplish.
You don't need to be "fixed", you are more than enough just as you are, truly! It's SO important to make sure that our "WHY" or the reasons we are doing this are helpful and true. If they aren't we can regroup and dig in to why we are feeling this way about ourselves and how we can change that first.
Why am I saying this now? Because this is the last week of group and I don't want anyone feeling like they failed. If what we need is an internal overhaul, let's get started! Let's make progress so we can call this round a win! Yes? So be honest! How are you feeling this round? Are you feeling good? Are you seeing positive changes inside and out? Are you tallying "failures"? Are you talking negatively to yourself? Are you comparing yourself to others? Lay it on us below!"
Reevaluate with us today. If you need some help message me. I'll walk you through it. Starting with a clear vision is half the battle!
Yesterday I started my first test group for a program that was just released, I'm excited to do it! There is something motivating about committing to something difficult and 80 days is a long time!
I bought the tools to do the workouts a month ago and then this past week I was hesitant to commit and I wasn't sure why. Honestly, its not because the workouts are longer than normal or the nutrition is timed and must be followed exactly, I thrive on those kinds of challenges ( just ask my hubby! ha!)
I realized it was because I really didn't know my reasons for wanting to do it. I struggle with perfectionism. It's something that I have been eradicating from my life. I also spent a lot of years looking to other people's opinions for reassurance and direction and I'm done with that too! I've spent much of my life trying to motivate myself with shame and fear and envy and none of that lasted leaving me feeling worse about myself than ever.
I don't want my striving to come from a place of seeking a perfect body or trying to impress other people with what I have accomplished. I want every decision I make to be true to who I am and who I want to become. I want to encourage others to live a life of purpose and to be healthy mind, body, and soul and, my friends, you can be healthy without a six pack. You can be healthy without a job that makes others envious, you can be healthy and look different than those around you.
I have some friends that have chiseled bodies and yet emotionally they are the most unhealthy people that I know. Being fit isn't everything, it should be part of a balanced life. I loved this from Don Miguel Ruiz in his book 'The Mastery of Self':
" It is a widely held belief that the best way to achieve your goals is to whip, chide, or use some other form of self-deprecation to push yourself to get to where you want to go. As a result, many people feel that the best way to succeed at something is to employ the iconic drill sergeant character in your mind, which pushes you with negative self talk to "be all you can be"...First of all,the problems with this type of approach are numerous. Anytime you use negative self-talk as a means to achieve your goals, you imply that you in your current state are not good enough.
Secondly, pushing yourself to achieve your goals through negative self-talk leaves little room for self-acceptance and self-love if you don't reach your goal, setting you up for more internal berating in the future. This is the reason why not achieving a goal can leave you felling worse than before you started If this occurs on a regular basis, the result is that you will become less likely to set goals or even stop setting them all together.
In addition, anytime you judge yourself for not meeting a specific goal, you also open yourself to being judged by others because you have already implicitly agreed with the judgement. This is how the great majority of people interact with themselves and others, imposing goals and expectations onto one another and subjugating themselves to judgement if the goal is not reached.
Admittedly, the reason that setting goals in this way is such an effective trap is that sometimes it seems to work. The voice of your inner judge can be a powerful motivator, and it uses guilt, shame, and envy, and a host of other negative emotions to push you to action. But when this negative self-talk does seem to work, the success is short lived.
By tying your self-love and self-acceptance to a goal, your happiness corresponds to its achievement. When you reach your goal, your self-esteem rises temporarily; when you don't you think less of yourself."
I needed to take the time this week to make sure that I was doing this for the right reasons. It's the middle of January and if you started your resolutions this way and are wilting under the weight of that inner drill sergeant, I just want you to know you CAN do this in a way that build you up. You don't need to shame yourself. My fear was that if I let go of the shame than I would abuse the grace. I held onto shame for dear life as though it was the only thing holding me back from wrecking my life.
My life has been a far better place without it! In fact, I struggle less with binge eating and feeling the need to numb my pain, because I was the source of most of that pain with my negative inner dialogue. Other people's negative perceptions of me don't even phase me anymore because I don't accept their judgements. I know who I am and where I am going and I don't need the affirmation of others to feel confident in my choices.
I have to reassess at times though because old habits die hard and I can find myself entertaining that drill sergeant again. Your healthy journey can be a complete joy, even through the hard parts! Evaluate today. Are fear, shame, and envy leading your decisions? Or are you truly working on treating your yourself well inside and out?
If you need a mental detox I highly recommend his book!
I'm not easily angered. I'm pretty accepting of different ideas and beliefs, and I do my best to ask questions and see things from other peoples perspectives, so I was pretty surprised one day to find myself positively fuming over a blog post that was floating around facebook somewhere. It wasn't anything that should have set me off really. It was an article about cleaning. Yes, you read that right! ha!
This women was writing about how irate she gets when people say they don't know how to clean. Pick one thing up at a time, she says in a snide way, and keep doing that until its done. End of story. Grrr.
It's not though. My mom taught us ALL every chore. Gender did not make us exempt from a task. Boys learned to cook and clean, girls learned how to take out trash and mow lawns. We rotated chores and we all know how to clean and to clean well. I wasn't angry because she offended me personally. I was angry because even with all the tools my mom provided me, sometimes I walk into a room my kids have destroyed and I'm overwhelmed for a moment. It takes me a minute or two to decide where to start, or what to make THEM do. I know that if I dive in and just keep going I'll get there but staring at the mess makes me want to run into the other room and hide. Therefore, I am not surprised when that is what someone else chooses to do out of fear or shame or ignorance. I feel compassion for that person and the woman that wrote the article did not feel an ounce of compassion which made this emotional liberator infuriated! ;)
Friends, today I was reminded of that feeling. I signed up to be part of a test group for a new program that starts on Monday. I'm excited to be part of it but life has been crazy with the holidays and I have yet to even crack the book on the nutrition plan. I started looking at it today and realizing how in depth it was and I got that feeling again. I had to remind myself that the first time I started the 21 Day Fix that the portion control containers and meal plans were confusing. I don't even think about them anymore! it's just the way I eat! I had to remind myself that I made TONS of mistakes and still got great results. I had to remind myself that this challenge isn't to impress anyone else, it's a personal challenge that I have with myself. If I completely fail it, it's not about anyone but me. I don't owe anyone anything. I can decide it's not for me or I can start again. And suddenly, all the fear and shame and overwhelmed feelings went away because I consciously chose to drop perfectionism. I'm not here to be perfect, I'm here to LIVE! I want to live life with the open abandon of a child wanting to learn what she is capable of and pursuing everything she loves with fervor!
That means I give myself permission to try new things and permission to change my mind. I honestly don't know right this minute if I want to do the test group even though I've been dying to be part of one for awhile. I'm determined to make decisions that bring joy and not stress to my life and sometimes that means saying no to things, even good things. So what is the first thing I am " picking up" today? I am looking at the meal plan. I'm going to spend the time deciding if I can commit to it with everything else I've got going on. I may decide to do it and trim something else out instead. Who knows? All I know is that my worth doesn't depend on whether or not I decide to do this or whether or not I "fail" at it. My overall health is great. I eat well. I exercise. it does not matter if I have a six pack. It doesn't matter if other people think I look like an impressive coach. I have to get my personal reasons prioritized before I commit to doing something and, at times, I may have to back out of things if I find that I've taken on too much.
The secret to living a life full of peace and purpose is knowing what you truly want and making moves in that direction everyday. Even though I don't agree with the attitude that she wrote her blog post, that author was correct. You just start with one thing and keep going. Just like the mom that walks into a disaster of a living room, get the toys in the toy box, get the dishes in the sink, fold the blankets and put them away, put the throw pillows back on the couch, and then tackle the kitchen right?
Same thing with your health journey. Choose one thing to change. Replace soda with water when you eat out, or add a veggie to every meal, or trim back on how many desserts you have each week. It doesn't have to all change overnight. Start to recognize that feeling overwhelmed and stressed is an alert. You are taking on too much or you are doing things for the wrong reasons. Make it manageable for YOU. As soon as you realize you want change, expect failure! Recognize that failed attempts mean you are attempting! Life change doesn't happen over night. Be at peace with what you are creating at your own pace. You are creating a masterpiece with your life, not running a race!
And don't let your inner dialogue be that infuriating author telling you its easy and you are inferior if you can't get it. It's not easy and it can be tempting to look at the mess and let it define you. Don't. What defines you is that you see the mess and you want to change. You want to reach your highest potential. You want your life to represent you well and you WILL get there! One little wise decision at a time! The most incredible thing about this process is that it propels your entire life forward. If you can change the way you think about failure and success, you will start to live life with abandon, chasing things that interest you without pause and without concern for how you look doing them. You pave a path for finding the things in life that energize you and make your life fulfilling! You have talents you don't even know you have an living a life of self discovery uncovers them in the most fantastic way! Fail! Early, often, and then fail forward! Don't just stand there feeling like a mess, take one step at a time and unleash the desire to discover YOU! <3 You won't believe what you can accomplish!
This is where we have to start. We've falsely learned over time that love is conditional. If we perform a certain way, if we make others happy with us, then we will be accepted. We look to our parents, our teachers, our friends, our bosses, our spouses to define what it will take for belonging and acceptance or we rebel against it, but neither brings healing. We are still basing our actions on someone else's standards ( an ever moving target) or dismissing them at the cost of our own happiness simply because they were forced upon us. We have to learn to make our choices from a place of love and not fear.
You are where you are. Shame and fear will not help you cultivate change. Your worth isn't hinged on the job you have or what you weigh or your marital status. You are worthy because woven into your very DNA is a strand of the Divine placed in you by the one who created you. Like a guitar string it reverberates the truth. It comes alive when we act in accordance with love and respect for ourselves and others. Your purpose isn't to make everyone pleased with you, it's to discover the gifts, talents, and abilities that are braided around that strand and use them to reflect the one that put them there, serving the world and enjoying who you are fully. Our joy is synonymous with our purpose. We are so complex that we will never reach the end of our talents or abilities and age doesn't alter our worth. In fact, a life spent mastering our talents makes us more valuable not less.
So, today, accept who you are and where you are this moment. Evaluate what needs to change but don't accept shame. Get excited to discover more about yourself each day. Create opportunities to try new things uncovering what brings you joy and serves the world. Cast aside appearances and embrace growth. Care for yourself mind, body, and spirit, acknowledging that if something is out of balance it indicates a lack of wellness as a whole. Decide that, for you, love will not be the condition for change, it will be the starting point. Accept yourself.
"And Aubrey was her name. A not so very ordinary girl or name."(Or so says David Gates ;) I'm a wife to Phillip, a mother to Scarlett and Juliet. We live in the beautiful city of Thornton, Co. I'm a recovering red bull addict. I love to read. I hate to cook. I seek to be inspired and also to inspire others. I am a Beachbody Coach on a quest to be truly healthy mind, soul, and body and challenge others to do the same.