I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it if you would take 10 minutes to read this. A little lengthier for this week…but I think you might just find a nugget here.
For years I tried every single fad diet who ever walked into a room. To this day I can provide you with the calorie count, carb count, protein grams and fat content of virtually any food known to man. I admit this was with no measure of pride. Because it is crazy. And, sadly, My Lovelies, I know many of you can relate. Thus I shall share.
My journey into the world of personal development began many, many moons ago when I stumbled across the gem of a book, “Take Time for your Life” by Cheryl Richardson, a brilliant pioneer in the field of life coaching. After devouring the book, I set out on a mission to shine in all areas of my life. Hence, I have spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours reading, writing, researching, and in self experimentation, in one-on-one coaching, in group coaching programs, in therapy, and in all areas of what one would consider to be self-help.
In January of 2013, I decided that 37 years of self-loathing, hating my weight, hating my body and not really enjoying life in general…was about enough. So I sought out the best help I could afford. That year alone I spent over 10K on becoming well in all areas of my life. Though I realize that this admission may seem excessive to some, I tell you candidly that with God’s Grace and under the tutelage of several talented mortals, I saved my life that year. And it was worth every penny.
I learned how to pay attention to myself. I figured out what I liked and what I didn’t. I calmed down. I ended an unsuitable marriage. I paid attention to foods that gave me energy versus foods that drained me. I redecorated my house. I bought flowers. I figured out my finances. I got more involved in my church. I traveled. I helped where I could. I had my nieces over. I spent more time by myself and let many deeply engrained, crappy beliefs behind on the pages of my many journals. In short, I reinvented myself; I chose what I wanted and mindfully created the woman I knew myself to be. And it was great. And I lost weight. I kept the weight off for a couple years, without much drama. I DID NOT DIET.
Let me repeat-I paid attention to myself. I worked out, ran, I did yoga, I went for leisurely strolls; sometimes I worked out hard and sometimes not so much. I exercised to feel well, not to lose weight. I started dressing differently. I threw out my tunics and moo moos. I started to show more of the shape I always hated. I wore jeans. I got rid of a haircut that was stupid for me, but which I clung to for five years because it hid my “fat face chipmunk cheeks” (side note: it did neither).
I made peace with the body that I was certain God had made a mistake on. I accepted my God Pod however she showed up on any given day. I made peace with the fact that I would never be what “they” call “skinny”; that I would likely always look my best in an M and look rather sausagey in an XXS. And I was good. No, actually I was awesome. Wait. I still am awesome. Yes folks, I said I am awesome. Present tense. Give it a shot. A couple of weeks ago I noticed my favourite pair of pants were a little too damned tight. I stepped on the scale. The number glaring back at me alerted me to the fact that I had gained 6.5 pounds since I got married 10 months ago.
I wish I could share with you that I didn’t freak out, that I coached myself through this wretched turmoil. After all, I am an aspiring life coach with arsenal of tools under her belt. And I am so good enough, and I am smart enough and people like me (True Story).
But I did freak out. Totally.
Securely stationed atop my toilet lid, I ugly cried and berated myself for being a fat, lazy, and stupid fake of a pig woman. How could I let this happen? I wondered how many people were judging me for gaining this utterly shameful 6.5 pounds. In that instant I vowed I would never eat another carb, molecule of gluten, not an ounce of dairy and certainly not another gram of sugar, that I would run a marathon daily until this weight came off. Nonsense.
So now what, Ms Life Coach? “Whatcha gonna do today, Napoleon? What ever I want? Gosh…” Here’s the million dollar question, ‘What are you making this (consider inserting your own circumstance here) mean? Does gaining 6.5 pounds really mean I am a fat, lazy, and stupid fake of a pig woman? That everyone around me is laughing uncontrollably and ogling at my recently acquired 6.5 pounds? That my husband is probably dying inside but too kind to say a word? No. It doesn’t mean that at all, and none of these DUMB thoughts are true.
I will tell you how these 6.5 pounds came back to me, because once I calmed down and wrote it out, it became as clear as day. I lost myself in trying to be a Perfect Wife, Perfect Mom, Perfect Stepmom, Perfect Housekeeper, Perfect Employee, Perfect Blah Blah Blah, and in saying yes to all the new request suddenly swarming around me. I started eating kid friendly meals instead of Crystal friendly meals. My weight came back to remind me that I stopped paying attention to myself and to let the life I meticulously created in that January Rebirth 3.5 years ago.
As I continue to discover on the daily, it is not our circumstances (I gained 6.5 pounds and my pants are currently too tight), it is our thoughts around those circumstances (I am a fat, lazy and stupid fake of a pic woman) and that cause our suffering.
Here’s the beautiful thing. Choice. I can choose to believe DUMB thoughts like I am a fat, lazy and stupid fake of a pig woman. Let me show you what life looks like when I choose to believe this particular DUMB thought: I wear loose yoga pants endlessly, I dress like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, I roam around with chipped nails, no make-up, and I overdose on dry shampoo. There are no flowers in my house. I procrastinate. I spend a lot of time looking at my work while getting nothing done. I hide out in my house with green flooring. I am short with my saint-like husband. I hit snooze multiple times. I watch more Netflix. I’m not really present with my kids. I eat a lot of sugar. You get the picture.
Let me show you what life looks like when I choose to welcome, yes I did say welcome this weight messenger: I PAY ATTENTION. I do my hair and make up, even when no one is watching. I paint my nails red. I get a lot done. I put on my big girl panties, and not the old lady ones. I write in my journal, I come up with great business ideas, and then I implement them. I keep my commitments ot myself and to others. I PAY ATTENTION to what I’m eating and how I feel after meals. I choose to eat slightly differently than the rest of my family. I often pass on dessert, because it actually doesn’t make me feel well. I eat a couple of squares of high quality chocolate instead of a couple of family-sized bars. I keep a food journal so i can see on paper what I’m really doing. I weigh myself daily and coach myself out of any DUMB thinking. I wear jewelry. I say no to my kids. I say no to having too much on my plate; both the physical and the metaphorical one.
And so this is how I am showing up in August of 2016…with 6.5 more pounds and another Rebirht waiting in the wings. I am enjoying the process of finding what my remarried new normal will be. I am not broken and neither are you. In my life extra pounds show up when I need to get my own attention. Message received.
What I choose to make this all mean is that my personal struggles have led me down a path where I am becoming an armored life coach, with a carefully curated collection of experiences and tools, which I will use repeatedly, to help myself and to help others. My life-long burdens are making more sense, they are shaping into something. God does not give us burdens just for His kicks, and it is no mistake that I arrive into August 6.5 pounds heavier. Because this is my work. Aside from my own personal wellness journey, now I see a greater purpose for the struggle and for the hours in contemplation and questioning God with this pain. And I’m going to use it to help. I still don’t know what this looks like, nor do I know how and when it will show up in this world. But I do know that it will slowly but surely happen. God works in mysterious ways, not DUMB ones.
So, I invite you to start questioning your DUMB thoughts. I invite you to consider your messenger these days. Is it extra pounds? Extra wine? Extra clutter? Extra shopping? Extra credit card debt? Extra hours at work? Extra procrastination?
Be bold and share it out loud here, or be bold and private message me. I would love to hear from you.