Minor setbacks

Setbacks happen, especially when you are on a journey of self healing and discovery. This past month or so I have been deleting and re-downloading calorie counting apps. Each time my mind goes to “summer body” and “losing the pudge” I feel that I need to restrict in order to be happy with my body but, then after tracking maybe a few things I sort of snap out of it and remind myself that this isn’t the life that makes me happy.

Yesterday I made a mistake. I got on the scale and didn’t like what I saw at all. It surprised me because lately I have upped my fruits, veggies, and exercise and have been feeling great! I don’t know why I got on the scale this morning, something just pulled me toward it. When I saw 153lbs on the scale I just went numb. I felt disgusting, discouraged, and lost. What do I do now? I thought to myself, I don’t want to weigh this “much” and I sure as hell don’t want to weigh this much when I’m in a bathing suit. I hate summer.

That is a lie, I love summer and the weather it brings. I love being able to wear close to nothing and just relax outside under the sun and feel the cool breeze on my skin. Why did I let this stupid number bother me so much? Probably because it’s that time of year where weight loss is advertised everywhere as well as washboard abs. So, the majority of yesterday I was fighting the negative thoughts in my head, trying to overcome them with light and positivity but, the day just seemed to get worse.

When I was in the locker room later on that day at work I noticed two small purple stretch marks on my stomach and I just sighed and shook my head. Weight gain has been a fear that has plagued my mind for over a decade and seeing those stretch marks made my heart sink. How am I supposed to love and accept my body when I feel this way? How come some days I think I am the sexiest human being alive and on other days I just want to throw up because of my own reflection. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Body positivity and self love & acceptance is a constant battle because you have to think, you are fighting that negative voice in your head on a daily basis and sometimes, that voice wins and yesterday was one of those days.

It’s tough when the people who love you tell you are beautiful and because sometimes you just don’t see what they see. You see someone who is inadequate, fat, ugly, and unworthy of love staring back at you in the mirror. You don’t see the bright, lovely, beautiful, and strong person in that mirror but, we are all of those great things and so much more, that is what I am trying to remember and what I am telling myself because if I don’t, that little nagging voice will win indefinitely. So, I finished yesterday trying to see the beauty in myself and got my mind ready for the next day to come because all we can do is move forward and let go of the negativity.

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New Year’s Resolutions 

We all know this time of year very well. People start thinking of resolutions or goal for the new year to come.

For many, this goal is usually to lose weight. Gyms will start having their sign on specials, health websites will start having sales on supplement stacks, and fitness clothes will be all the new rage.

As for me, this has been my New Year’s Resolution as long as I can remember especially after a holiday season filled with so much food and pictures. Pictures that you see yourself in and think, “I just need to lose x amount of weight and I will be where I want to be, that picture is my motivation.”

I am going to tell you guys something very real about me. This morning, I went on Facebook and saw that my Mom had posted pictures from yesterday and saw myself in one. Mind you, I was wearing jeggings, an oversized sweater, and my hair was kind of messy (I sort of like it that way) but, when I looked at this photo I instantly thought, “I need to lose weight this coming year, I just can’t stand looking at myself in this picture.” After that thought had come and gone, I felt very disappointed in myself. Lately I have been working so hard on breaking away from “losing weight” mentality but, through this journey I have put my health on the back burner. Disclaimer: I do believe when breaking free from the dieting world it is essential to just let go and relax. If that means eating less nutritionally dense foods and skipping the gym, that is 100% okay! Some people need to do this to recover and this is what I did. However, due to this neglect when it came to my health these past few months, I have been extremely bloated and swollen due to the fact that I haven’t been getting hardly any fiber whatsoever and have really slacked on eating fruits and vegetables. I also haven’t been sweating out any of the toxins going into my body from eating some of these not-so nutritionally dense foods which at the time was okay (and still is of course!) but, I want to treat my body better.

So, here they are, my goals for 2016.

  • Eat more fiber: I need to get my digestive system back on track with proper health because I have Celiac Disease and if by chance I eat gluten, I need a healthy digestive system to help me get rid of it.
  • Sweat more: I don’t mean as in, “to count calories burned, etc..” but, so I can treat my body with respect and feel better mentally and physically, in the hopes that I can sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed.
  • Do more yoga: I have been upping my yoga game a lot lately. I try to aim to do it at least two times a week but I would like to get to the 4-5 days a week seeing as the results have been incredible both mentally and physically and it has brought me so much happiness and peace.
  • Forgive myself more: You are your own worst critic in all aspects of life, especially if you are an ex-dieter you know this all too well. This year I really want to work on letting things go and not being so hard on myself all of the time. I need to remember that I am not a perfect human being because things happen, life throws obstacles in your way, and what counts is working to get past them, not beat yourself up about it.
  • Practice mindfulness: This is a huge goal of mine (also: none of these are in particular order) I am always rushing through life whether it be eating, driving, exploring, writing, and so many other things. I forget to appreciate the different sensations and my surroundings and I miss out. I want to see the world for what it is, I want to live in the present because the past is the past and the future hasn’t come yet.
  • Read more: This is my last goal but, I want to read more. Lately I have been making the effort to pick up a book rather than my Apple TV remote but, I want this effort to be much more significant in the new year.

It would be wrong of me to lie to you and say that losing weight didn’t cross my mind, of course it did! I’m an ex-dieter trying to find her way on this journey of self love and body acceptance but, I do want to treat my mind and body right because this is the only body I’ve got. I am happy that I have some goals not related to health because I find that this is an important step in diet recovery. When you have goals solely focused on health, it could appear that maybe subliminally your goals reflect the subconscious idea of losing weight and although those are not my intentions, I think it is important to point this out for those in diet recovery  trying to think of resolutions/goals for the new year.

When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, don’t think too much on it. Close your eyes, envision yourself lets say…six months from now, where do you want to be? What goals could get you to the point? And choose those as your goals. For example, by practicing mindfulness, by six months I hope to not eat so quickly and truly enjoy my food, and to also drive slower seeing as I have a very long commute to work I always tend to drive like a maniac and I would like to slow the pace down and enjoy the views even if it is snow. Having an image of what you want your life to be can really help when choosing these resolutions. Meditate on it, I promise that with some stillness and relaxation, these goals will come to you.

I am finally free

For as long as I can remember I have battled with myself. From orthhorexia to binge eating to overexercising, this cycle kept going for a long time. Although I had gained control over my BED in 2013, I still struggled with my body dysmorphia. Looking in the mirror all I would see is lumps, bumps, rolls, and bones. I did not see beauty, nor did I see the strength I had inside me.

Back in 2013, I truly dedicated myself to a more positive lifestyle. I tried to push away the negative thoughts and the little voice in my head telling me that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t pretty or skinny enough. It was tough because I felt accomplished for overcoming my BED, but I still found myself loathing who I was and my body.

Working out was an obsession, eating “clean” was an obsession, becoming thin was an obsession. I tried every diet, exercise, meal plan, you name it I’ve probably tried it. Counting macros, hiring an online coach, counting calories, lifting weights, I was doing all of these things that I hated. I hated it all, I had no desire to be a bodybuilder or competitor but, I thought I did at the time because I followed so many young women who transformed their bodies doing these things, and although those things worked for them they didn’t work for me. Your journey is YOUR journey. Just because something “worked” for someone doesn’t mean it is right for you.

So, I was going back and forth between being this “IIFYM girl” to a depressed and frustrated overeater. I couldn’t find balance, I couldn’t find enjoyment in anything health related because it all felt fake. It didn’t feel right for me but, I kept doing it because “No excuses” right? That is some utter bullshit if you ask me. “No excuses” really? If you are sick with the flu and you don’t go to the gym, doesn’t that sound like an okay “excuse” to not workout? Well, if you had asked me that a few years ago I would’ve told you no.

I felt trapped, alone, and confused. I felt like no one understood me until I watched a YouTuber named Josie Mai and her video on Intuitive Eating. I was so intrigued by this I had never heard of it before but, it sounded very appealing. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full, sounds easy right? Not so much. It isn’t an easy journey it has it’s ups and downs and lefts and rights. When I first started my IE journey I was enlightened and felt free, although the next day I was so concerned with what I was eating (i.e. calories, fat, sugar etc..) I just couldn’t get the diet mindset out of my head and that is the biggest concept of Intuitive Eating is that you need to let go of the dieting mindset and put weight loss on the back burner.

Wait…put weight loss on the back burner? The one thing you’ve been trying to achieve for over ten years? The one crutch you’ve had for all of your emotional turmoil? The only thing you felt that you could control? Gone? Yes. That has been the hardest for me to be honest. For so long I relied on weight loss and being on a “diet” to keep myself together, to have some sort of control over my life. I couldn’t control the kids bullying me in school, I couldn’t control the insensitive men I chose to be in relationships with, I couldn’t control my ever changing emotions in regards to my depression and anxiety so, weight loss and dieting gave me a sense of control.

It was that control that sent me spiraling down this black hole, into a place I thought I would never get out of. I was body shaming myself every day, every damn day and I was done. The last few months I’ve been really working on my Intuitive Eating, sometimes yes, I think about the calories in my food but, nothing like how it was before. I am slowly feeling the obsessive and restrictive patterns fall away, I feel so beautiful and sexy in my skin sometimes I just want to cry of happiness because I have never felt this way, but the best part about this journey is I finally am free. You know how good that feels? Fucking incredible. I eat chocolate, fries, pizza, rice, vegetables, fruit, you name it I eat it because I canDo you want to know why I can? because when I am hungry I truly listen to my body, I ask what it wants, what it is craving, and I eat it. I eat it mindfully and when I feel my belly starting to stretch and become full, I try my hardest to stop. I’ll be honest, sometimes I don’t but hey, that is totally okay. Like I said, this is a journey, it is your own, so make it the way you want it to be. The beauty of IE is that you are your own coach, you are the person guiding yourself to your happiness. Do not keep yourself in this horrible dieting mindset, let those insecurities and need to control go. Your body will figure out it’s natural weight and body composition, all you have to do is listen to it.