Bringing Your Body Into Balance

My 100+ pound weight loss is what grabs people's attention. However, my weight loss was merely a side effect of finally taking my health and happiness into my own hands and finding that perfect balance. Body, mind, spirit. It all matters.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Finding My Way Back to Center

I'm growing. 

I'm so close to a complete person I can smell it from where I'm standing. 

But I'm not quite there yet.
This is my beautiful, messy story.

Recently I almost lost myself. It involves a man and I promise I'll dish more on that in a post very soon but I want to keep this post about me. Because that is what my life is supposed to be about right now. Me and my growth.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Pema Chodron:

"You are the sky, everything else - it's just the weather."
I let the weather throw me off center.

There are so many things that can throw us off our center. And the inherent problem with this is that once we are thrown off, it's really hard to realize that's the problem because we feel so freakin' bad! So, instead, we reach around and desperately grasp for something that feels good to heal our suffering. And I think we all know by now that reaching outside of ourselves for happiness or peace is not sustainable and almost always ends in emptiness and pain.

So, what do I mean by "off center" as it pertains to my life?

For me, I know I'm off center when life suddenly holds no joy or wonder and I find myself unfocused. When I get off center, I suddenly lose motivation for everything that previously mattered to me because it no longer seems important.

This isn't a new concept for me. It's something we all experience. In fact, a large majority of people spend most of their lives walking around at least slightly off center. I spent a good chunk of mine doing this.

However, now that I know what it feels like to be truly centered, I learned yesterday that suddenly feeling off centered feels absolutely horrible, almost painful, in comparison. Finally understanding what being centered and grounded feels like, it's so much easier to find my way back. And when I'm centered and grounded, I'm happy and confident and all of this radiates out of me and draws good things and good people into my life. 

Yesterday I woke up completely off center. A lot of little things in my life felt out of control. So, instead of facing my problems head on, I found myself consumed by thoughts of a man almost too good to be true. A man it would be so easy to lose myself in. Especially when everything else felt so out of control. But I'm different now. I've got an amazing person in my life who has always, consistently been there and always will. Me! And thank goodness I'm finally at a point where I actually believe and embrace that I am worthy of my own attention. I truly enjoy my own company. I am someone I would (and do) hang out with on a regular basis. Now I know the elation that being at peace within myself can provide and not even the intoxicating feelings of budding love (that we're not talking about right now) can compete with that! So I knew I had to get back to me and fast.

Today I woke up completely centered with peace in my heart and my passion for my own life restored. How did I do this in neck breaking, record time when it used to take me months to get re-centered only to keep losing it again? Well, I'll tell you...

First, I've created a life, a mind and a body that I absolutely love. In the past, I was constantly looking for an escape from the miserable existence I was living. I never fully inhabited my own life or even my own body for that matter. Now, I'm living a life I love in a body capable of amazing things. 

Which leads me to the next thing I did. I ran. Literally.  I ran like hell. Never underestimate the power of a cleansing, sweat soaked workout to help you get back to center.

Next, I have formed amazing bonds with friends who prop me up in my weak moments and inspire me. In my old life, I think I almost felt unworthy of good friends. And even if I happened to make a few friends, they were out the window as soon as I was in my next relationship. Now my friends are such an important part of my life that I really don't know how I survived without them before. In fact, at times I barely survived. In my darkest moments yesterday, I reached out to my two best friends and they helped hoist me up by the elbows and drag me back to my path.

This one might seem a little weird or insignificant but I've found NUTRITION to be extremely important in staying centered. Different foods have different kinds of energy. When I eat dead food, my emotions feel dead. When I eat nourishing, living foods, I vibrate at a higher frequency. So when I'm down and tempted to eat "comfort food," I remind myself that these kinds of foods will be anything but comforting. They will drag me further down. Instead, I eat lots of brain foods like avocado and raw nuts as well as lots of vibrant fruits and veggies.

I took care of my crap! Because I felt out of control, it was easy to try to distract myself. However, the subconscious mind is way smarter than that. All those little loose ends that needed to be tended were still hanging out in the back of my mind driving me mad. So finally I dug in my heels and did something I do a LOT...I made lists. Then I started tackling all the easy, bite size things I could on my list so that I could see progress happen as I ticked my tasks.

I got a good night's sleep. This one has tripped me up a lot. Never measure your life through the lens of a foggy, sleep deprived brain. It will never look very bright or happy. That's what I was doing yesterday. I was prioritizing fun, late night conversations over a good night's sleep and I paid for it. You can't borrow extra time from your sleep. The economic principle of "there's no such thing as a free lunch" comes to mind. It WILL catch up to you. Last night I went to bed at 9:30.

And the most important difference that made getting back to center so easy?

I've done it before. 

Thousands of times now.

Meditation, mindfulness, being present. It's all the same. It's an exercise. A practice to find your true north. It's like working a muscle. The more you do it, the easier it is to find your way back next time. 

Oh, there's one other thing that made all this possible. I finally chose better people to be in my life. The man I'm not going to talk about, the amazing one, he didn't use my moment of being off kilter to suck me in and try to own me. Instead, he gently took me by the shoulders and pointed me back in the direction of my path. I took it from there. Maybe it's wrong to pat myself on the back for this one but I can't help but do so. I did the work. I raised my frequency to attract higher quality people into my life. I quickly identified and eliminated the toxic, low energy people. 

So it turns out growth definitely is the squiggly line people say it is. But I can look back over my lifetime and see where I've come from and where I'm headed and my heart swells with pride for the work I've done.

I'm growing. 

I'm so close to a complete person I can smell it from where I'm standing. 

But I'm not quite there yet.

This is my beautiful, messy story.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Feeling Pain

I don't know what I would do without my amazing friends sometimes. Especially now that I am deliberately single for an extended period of time, I've become so acutely aware of the importance of good friends on difficult days like today.

Recently I found myself becoming interested in a man. This obviously isn't new territory for me but this was definitely new territory during my fast. Up until now it had been easy to stick to my goals because, quite honestly, no one piqued my interest in the least. And then this earthy, athletic, spiritual, attractive man came onto my radar and started telling me how amazing I am....which (as a chick with less than stellar self-esteem) is my kryptonite. 

I suddenly found myself unfocused. My thoughts would wander to him. I started digging and looking for some reason not to like him and have yet to come up with one that has anything to do with him. However, last night I came up with a much better reason. BECAUSE I AM NOT READY.

In addition to the fact that I am still growing, I am also still in mourning. Obviously the most specific thing I am mourning is my last big relationship. But, it's more than that. I am mourning every painful thing that happened to me for years and years during that time that I learned to shut down and run from my pain.

I was discussing this with one of my very best friends this morning. He is the person I've come to rely on in my darkest moments because he always guides me back to the light when I'm too broken to guide myself. This morning was no exception.

I told him that I hate my ex for still having any power over my emotions (even if those emotions are only hatred and pain) because he doesn't deserve them. I told him I was tired of feeling pain and acknowledged that I had used this recent guy's attention and the prospect of new romance as a distraction. His words moved me to sobbing tears:

"Remember what Brene Brown says about numbing our feelings. Alcohol, drugs, sugar, caffeine, shallow flirtations....we often engage in these things to distract or numb ourselves to pain. But when we numb ourselves to pain we also numb ourselves to joy and love and true connection. Feel the pain, and know that one day that pain will be replaced with joy."

These words have created a complete paradigm shift within me. As I sit here with tears running freely down my face, they feel different to me. Every. Single. Tear. is a promise that the numbness I have felt for years, numbness that I created by steeling myself against toxic men, is melting away. I am finally feeling (and releasing) the pain of every time I was lied to, cheated on, screamed at, insulted and ignored. And when I really pay attention to this I realize that life has progressively became brighter and brighter. My laughter has been more jovial, my love for my son swells bigger in my heart. Everything is deeper and more meaningful. So I'm going to count my tears and thank my pain for making me whole again and reminding me I'm alive.

Today I had the dreaded memories pop up on Facebook. I'm guessing anyone healing from a long-term relationship who is on Facebook can probably relate to this. Some days I don't look. Some days I'm just curious. I want to see old pictures of my son and weird things I said almost a decade ago. Today I stepped on a landmine. There were quite a few pictures of me and my ex ranging from two years ago to four years ago. I noticed how happy we looked in those pictures. And, you know what, those early pictures, I was happy. Everything was new and sexy and exciting, nothing had really started to erode yet. But those later pictures? Well, here's the funny thing...we looked just as happy! In fact, I've had so many people comment, "wow, you guys seemed so great together." It's so easy to paint on a smile and look happy. What I felt was numb and anxious....mostly numb. I've noticed it more and more over the years. I don't blame my ex. I blame myself. I was the unhealthy one who chose to shove my painful feelings down so that I could continue to have those fake, foggy moments.

So now I'm paying my dues. I'm peeling back the layers and finding lots of sad things I never dealt with. These pre-date my ex, of course, because I was unhealthy long before my dysfunction met his dysfunction. I am continuing down this sometimes unbelievably painful path of self-discovering. I'm not distracting myself. Not with food, exercise, men, booze....I'm feeling the full spectrum of my feelings. And sometimes it's going to hurt like hell! But my smiles will continue to be more and more authentic as I continue to do my work.

So my hunky new man friend lives in the friendzone for now as we get to know each other and I ride out my fast. When I catch my mind wandering to "what might this become?" I'll redirect my thoughts to "what might I become?" because THAT is the most important question right now.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Day 30 of 133: Who's Counting Anyway?

I love this meme. I keep it in my "favorites" on my phone. It challenges me.

If someone is completely isolated in society without any friends or family, that is a different kind of loneliness! We are, by nature, creatures who need other creatures. However, if you are surrounded by friends and family who love you and you still feel lonely, chances are good there is something inside of you that needs mending.

That's where I was. 

And, God forbid, if I was actually physically alone for five minutes, it was unbearable. I would seek out someone to fill those empty moments. 

That's no longer where I am. And this is huge for me! 

Something has really shifted inside of me. I am not sure exactly what caused the switch but I am guessing it has something to do with me stopping my desperate search for that man who I was convinced would complete me. I stopped and faced some really uncomfortable feelings. And here I am, an entire month into that resolution and at a point where I actually embrace being single. I don't mean this in a "you know, even if I never have anyone, I think I'll be okay" kind of way. I mean this as in, "it is hard for me to imagine trying to make room in my life and my mind for 'the one' now."

 As I've freed up this mental energy and done away with the time suck that is dating, I have really zeroed in on my own life. Here are some big changes that I've made recently:

  • I've drastically, and I mean drastically, cut down my son's daily screen time. I've also increased his responsibilities around the house and forced him to eat better. He was not happy about this, let me just say. And it requires a lot of extra time and energy on my part. When I was constantly distracted in life, it was so easy for me to let him watch just "one more show" or suggest he hop on my computer for a quick innocent learning game so I could have more time to do whatever distracting thing I was doing. Part of this, however, had absolutely nothing to do with a man! I was exhausted. Constantly. I couldn't think straight and had chronic brain fog. Until very recently. Which leads me to my next big change...
  • I have completely cleaned up my diet like I never have before! All processed sugars, super sweet fruits, simple highly refined grains (and all wheat), alcohol, dairy and a few other things that I knew were making me feel bad but I kept ignoring because I enjoyed them too much. I am convinced I was finally able to do this where I never had been before because I've removed other toxic behaviors from my life. I've aligned my actions with my values and sent the very powerful message to my subconscious that I am worthy of self-love. Energy flows where attention goes and the attention has been on myself finally. The result of these dietary changes is that I am progressively waking up each day with a clear mind!! And I don't feel a desperate need for a nap each afternoon. I mean, it's amazing. Honestly, the entire post should just be about this one thing because it's life altering. And I knew it was possible but food addiction is a serious thing that only someone who has it can understand. In addition to not waking up feeling hung over every morning, I am officially the lowest weight I've been in four years! 
  • My workouts have purpose and self-love behind them. In the past, I've often felt like I was hating myself into better shape. Especially after my break-up, I felt like I was desperately trying to run away from the flawed woman that was discarded. All of that has changed. I no longer work out to try to eradicate some part of myself that is not worthy. Every single inch of me is worthy. I want to be strong and scale walls. I want to be doing it when I'm 60 too! I bust my butt in my workouts and with my trainer but I do it in a safe, loving way that ensures this body will be the best it can be for years to come. Unrelated tip: if you want a rounder, more defined bottom, learn about "glute activation." Squats are most definitely important but if your glutes (butt muscles) aren't firing correctly, you're not going to target them properly and you're probably going to end up hurting yourself in the process! Exercise safely to ensure your body continues to perform for you....and you'll actually end up with a better body if you do everything properly!! I find the chick at Redefining Strength to be an absolute genius in all things fitness and she has excellent form in everything she does. Here's her Youtube Channel
  • I nurture friendships. Friendship used to be this side gig that I would fall back on between breakups. Maybe I would even have a double date here and there. But that was about it. I never truly understood the importance of maintaining actual friendships. I now realize that they are so unbelievably important. I am blessed with an amazing family. I think it's maybe why I never nurtured friendships because I've had four built in best friends my entire life. However, there is something about people who choose to have you in their life out of no obligation other than the fact that they care about you and you bring value into their lives. I have a wonderful little circles of friends now that I know I can always turn to for anything. Three of which are officially my "tribe." We text each other good morning and good night. We set goals together. We run to each other in dark moments and hold hands until all the tears are gone. My friends are so precious to me and I can't believe I somehow survived so much of my life without them. No wonder I felt so alone. Likewise, I nurture my relationships with my family more. Like I said we've always been close, but now I actively make time for them. They're never an afterthought like they often were when I was in some dramatic whirlwind of a relationship. And last but most definitely not least....
  • I am content with my alone time. Friday nights (when my son goes to his dad's house) used to be date night when I was with someone or "desperately find someone to hang out with" night if I wasn't. No more. Yes, some of my Friday nights are now spent having belly laughs and intense conversations with friends. Others are spent curled up in my bed watching a chick flick or reading a self-help book and falling asleep by 9pm. And I'm perfectly content with either. This is uncharted terrain for me. 
I feel at peace. I don't know how else to describe it. And I hate that I can't somehow offer a "how to" to anyone who is struggling to get to this place. I guess I just faced it all and allowed myself to get uncomfortable. I stopped running away from those icky feelings of loneliness and just sat with myself until they stopped feeling so icky. 

I still have 103 days to go. I have male friends who joke that they are counting down. I joke about it sometimes too. But I'm not counting down. In 103 days from now, I won't start looking. On day 134 I will wake up, meditate, shower and start my day like any other...with myself and for myself.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Day 23 of 133: Thank You Sir, May I Have Another

When I've been in the throes of a toxic relationship, I've thought almost nothing of hanging on just a few more weeks. And I've often done it for absurd reasons. Maybe we had a fun outing planned or I wasn't ready to let go of the physical stuff quite yet. Whatever the reason, I could very easily justify "what's a few more weeks?" 

So when the idea occurred to me yesterday to extend my "man fast", it concerned me that I needed so much time and thought to mull it over. After all, "what's a few more weeks?" And that's exactly why I'm extending it.

The reason for this extension, in addition to the fact that I simply need more time, is that I am signing up to do a 5k obstacle race and mud run on March 18th (which would be the arrival point of my new countdown!) For some people, signing up for such an event is just a fun challenge. For me, it's much more.

By nature, I have always been a fearful person. I'm afraid of getting hurt and of being embarrassed. I have always tended to avoid any activities that could cause either and most definitely those that can cause both! 

However, a few years ago when I embarked on this new journey of self-discovery, I really started pushing the envelope. Exercise was the equivalent of what this mud run has turned into (as well as a skydiving trip I am seriously contemplating). Exercise used to be very fear inducing for me. There are even times now, when I walk into my Crossfit style gym, I look at the workout of the day and feel that little hint of fear bubble up inside of me. But I push through and grow every single time.

So, I've learned that facing my fears equals growth. Right now I'm facing a lot of them. In addition to the aforementioned, the fear of being "alone" is one I'm facing down every single day and it progressively has less and less control over my thoughts. There is something actually very liberating about facing life every day without a man around to tell me my value. I find that in myself now.

I recently had a male friend, who I used to be extremely interested in but he did not reciprocate my feelings at the time, tell me that this "new me" I was becoming made me extremely attractive. Likewise, other men, a type of men who never seemed to express interest in me in the past, have started popping up and challenging my resolve. Do I struggle when this happens? Yes. But not how you might think. I struggle to remain focused on my own self-worth instead of the false sense of self-worth they could temporarily provide. Other than that, I have no desire to pursue anything with any man right now. No matter how amazing. This is MY time and it's been a long time coming.

My last "almost relationship" was a couple months ago with a man who was so completely not my type. He was cute enough, cool enough and very funny but I consistently had to overlook all the many indications that he was not "the one". But still I struggled to let him go because THAT is how much I felt I needed a man in my life.

But the final straw that broke me of this toxic addiction to men was when my ex came back into my life a couple months ago. This was an ex who repeatedly hurt and betrayed me in various ways, eventually walking out of my life for another woman. I had, at least, grown enough where I had no desire to be in a relationship with him again. However, I hadn't grown so much that I didn't need his validation. 

Honestly, I can't say the subsequent time I spent with him was completely in vain. Maybe I would've healed eventually on my own. But I felt like I had hit a wall in my growth because I felt so unbelievably rejected and undesirable as a result of the way he had left me. 

Now he was back and telling me everything I needed to hear to feel once again validated. It was every bit of validation that a woman could ask for....yet it wasn't.

When he first came back around, it almost seemed that he was testing the waters of possibly getting back into a relationship. I was wholly uninterested in this and I told him so. I told him I could not see us ever being back together again. At the time, he seemed affected by it. Then suddenly he did not. He said he would be happy just being my friend forever. That bothered me. A lot. It bothered me that he seemed okay to never have me again....even though I didn't want him!

However, we both kept discussing how we were two broken people who kept going from one broken relationship to the next. We promised each other that we were going to be single for a long while in order to work on ourselves and learn to be alone. We were going to be friends and offer each other support in this. I felt good and excited about my own resolution....but somehow his still bothered me. I needed him to chase me like he used to. When I would bring it up, he would point out how he might have broken up with me once but that I had broken up with him four times before that and that he wasn't going to chase pain and rejection again. Intellectually, I understood this. I could look back to that first night he came back around and remember the look on his face when he said, "wow, you're different. More confident." Intellectually, I really did understand. I knew I had outgrown him. And I knew he probably knew it too. He knew I wouldn't tolerate so many things that I had in the past....but somehow I was still bothered that he didn't chase me....

This actually ate away at me and started to tear me down again, despite the overall ego boost that he had given me. I finally recognized this destructive pattern within myself and that is when my 100 day resolution began. My resolution of Brahmacharya: the conservation of ones vital energy  in order to direct one's attention toward divine pursuits and self-knowledge. I wanted to finally find that validation and self-acceptance that I so desperately needed.

At the time, my ex and I were attempting some convoluted version of a friendship. I told him I needed a little time before I actually saw him again so that I could really focus on myself and my new goals. Within less than two days, I told him I, instead, needed zero communication with him for a while to truly focus on them. His last words to me were "I completely understand, I will always be there for you. I'm not going anywhere."

About 48 hours later, he mysteriously had me blocked via text and social media. 

I could probably guess the reason why but focusing my vital energy on all that is exactly opposite of what I'm trying to accomplish here. And, interestingly enough, I find the "why" suddenly is of no consequence to me. I feel like in that moment of realization that he had walked away in this new fashion, that part of my mind and heart that had been reserved for him emptied out. I've had quite a few people comment since that I seem so different and "over it". And I am. It went from being a chapter I was stuck on and reading over and over again to a chapter I had no interest in whatsoever. 

As I look back, I realize that him coming back into my life was the biggest blessing he could've ever given me. He helped me break through that wall I had hit. I was so stuck in that feeling of rejection and pain he had caused me that I just couldn't seem to move forward. I was seeking validation from unworthy men as a band-aid. And, again, maybe I would've eventually worked through it all on my own. But he came along and accelerated that whole process for me. Then he gave me the biggest gift of all.

He left. 

He left no stone unturned when he burned that final bridge we had: potential friendship. And, in doing so, he somehow broke that connection in my mind. There were no more unanswered questions. It was finally over in my heart. I kept waiting for it to resurface but it truly seems to finally be gone and I can breath deeper because of it. But there is still much work to do because life won't always be this neat and tidy. Someone could grossly reject me again and not come back and validate me. I need to be okay no matter what. 

So, back to me. As this is what this post is actually about! 

Instead of spending so much time obsessing about who may or may not like me, I find myself fantasizing about the new car I'm about the get, imagining myself free falling out of an airplane, running through muddy obstacles with one of my very best friends, the personal training sessions I bought as a Christmas present to myself, a three day backpacking trip I'm going to take with another friend and so often smiling to myself when I realize the unbelievably amazing little man my son is growing into. I am finally FINALLY fully engaged in my own life! And, yes, someday I will know great love. I will be a whole and healthy person and I will attract the same but, for now, I can't even think about all that. 

With every passing day, I find that I am more comfortable in my own skin. Without a man standing in front of me whose actions and facial expressions I can analyze and obsess over to determine if I am worthy enough in his eyes from moment to moment, I turn inward. And I find that I am enough. I am more than enough. I am amazing! And I'm becoming more amazing every day. I can honestly say that I am finally someone who I would that's what I'm doing. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Damage Control

The mentality of most of my clients, and probably most Americans at large, is that tomorrow is a day to throw down. People everywhere will be eating themselves into a stupor in a few short hours. And I totally get it! Thanksgiving has turned into a festive day of never-ending feasting and I've definitely viewed it as such myself in the past.

However, let me ask you, how do you feel after a day of eating like this? Even an afternoon. Are you glad you did it? That's what's ironic about our resolutions to just "enjoy the day." It often ends with us feeling absolutely horrible. Our bellies hurt and we are too tired to think. People like to blame it on the tryptophan in turkey but, I assure you, people who eat ham in lieu of turkey can often be found snoozing on the couch later that afternoon too. 

The problem is, our bodies can only handle so much food at a time. We shovel in massive amounts of various types of food (eating a variety of foods at one time regardless of the quantity can, alone, be very taxing on our system) and then we sit or lay down and allow that traffic jam of food to accumulate like a rock in our bellies. We go to bed that night often feeling anything but festive. 

So I want to challenge everyone to start approaching Thanksgiving the way I have the past few years. Changing my view of what Thanksgiving is has completely changed my holiday experience. 

First, did you know that each and every bite of food you put in your mouth you taste a little less than the bite before? It's the law of diminishing returns. So, instead of piling your plate high with gobs of everything, start with a small selection of your very favorite foods, including dessert. Keep in mind this law of diminishing returns and remember that each bite you take will deliver less flavor and pleasure than the bite before. Savor each and every bite knowing it is literally the best bite you're going to have from there on out. 

This does a couple of things. First, it takes a certain amount of time, that is different for each person and can average anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, for the stomach to start sending the brain messages that it is starting to feel full. By eating slowly you are sending less food down to create that full feeling.

Also, when we chew our food well, not only do we increase feelings of satiety (mouth pleasure is an important and often overlooked part of satiety) but we are also producing digestive enzymes in our mouth in addition to breaking the food down into smaller pieces, both of which are going to help us more easily digest our food, avoiding gas and other digestive discomforts.

I have found since I started being mindful of this that I enjoy my food much more than trying to see how much I can shovel in before I start getting full. Keep in mind that, in addition to not enjoying the food as much, once those gobs of mashed potatoes and bread hit our stomach, there's no turning back. You'll start out with a slightly full feeling but over time it turns into a horrible PACKED feeling! 

So, in addition to slowing down and savoring my food (and, therefore, eating less of it), here are other shifts in my mindset I have made regarding Thanksgiving:

  • It's no longer a "food" holiday. Yes, it's a time for tasty eats but my new focus is on my family and friends gathering together to enjoy each others company. At the end of the day, it's become a tradition for my son and I to put up the Christmas decorations. 
  • I never sit down after eating my Thanksgiving feast! Instead of being the selfish, overgrown child after the meal, I help in the kitchen until everything is clean. Not only do the women folk who assumed this chore a long time ago appreciate this but it also creates necessary movement which aids in the digestive process. 
  • I try to get people to go on a walk with me. After everything is clean, I try to rally some of the lazy, overstuffed troops to take a walk. This is another nice, non-eating tradition that can be created for Thanksgiving. In addition to creating closeness and helping everyone digest their rocks, it is such a beautiful time of year to get out and see the brilliant colors of fall that will soon turn to gray.

But before any of this, I do something so crazy that I don't even know myself at times. First thing that day....

  • I exercise.

I know I probably lost about 7/8 of my readers just now. But here's what exercising on major holidays (yes, I also exercise on Christmas) can do...

  • It reminds you of your goals. "Energy flows where attention goes." Working out on Thanksgiving morning sends the very clear message to your subconscious "I even value my health and my goals today, on Thanksgiving."
  • It does the obvious of offsetting some of the extra calories you're consuming. Although don't get carried away with this mentality, you often burn way less calories than you believe. However, if you work out hard, it depletes your glycogen stores which means less of those simple carbs will be converted to fat.
  • It makes you enjoy your entire day more. There's something about starting ANY day with a workout that makes your eyes a little brighter and your step a little peppier. You will be more focused and positive the entire day and, thus, more able to enjoy the non-food elements of the holiday....the non-food elements being those other people sitting around all that food.

Thanksgiving used to always end with me feeling sick and depressed. It was the epitome of irony when I would look forward to it so much. Now I know I really can look forward it and I'll go to bed that night feeling fit, satisfied and happy. My day will be active, full of laughter and precious moments with the people I love most in the world and moderate amounts of tasty treats that I don't usually indulge in. And I will have savored every single moment and bite of the day. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Day 15 of 100

This time two weeks ago I was at the beach with a girlfriend. I sat that morning and watched the sunrise as I thought about the resolution I had made for myself the night before. 

100 days of me. 

It wasn't just about the dating that was distracting and exhausting me. It was about the constant little chatter in the back of my mind that said, "you're not good enough."

That's what I've realized in this 1/2 month. That's where all my problems have stemmed from. That little voice lying to me. Telling me that the answers were outside of me. Specifically in another person. 

I've recently started rereading the book The Four Agreements and it's amazing how differently I process it compared to when I read it the first time in my mid-20s. I was so unaware of things then compared to now. I guess it's because I've now lived in this brain of mine almost twice as long.

The first of the four agreements is to "be impeccable with your word."

On the surface, this could be taken at a very superficial level such as "be mindful of the words you speak to another." And, yes, that is part of it but by far not the most important part. Because we are generally much more mindful of that anyway. Most importantly it's the words we tell ourselves. The stories we write. Often ugly, convoluted stories. This frequently goes hand in hand with the second agreement which is "don't take it personally." 

I am honestly the world's worst at this. I will create a story in my head of why someone did or said what they did and how that proves that I am an unworthy person. 

And that will become my new story.

A man rejects me? It's not because he prefers blondes over brunettes or because he's not over his ex. It's because I have flabby arms and said that kind of stupid thing on our date. 

I write these horrible, horrible stories and then I walk around believing them. The more I actually step back and analyze just how absurd this is, the more I realize that I've been living this crazy lie all this time.

I look in the mirror each day and see a different version of myself based on who said or didn't say I was attractive or valuable the day before. 

All that has changed in the last 2 weeks. And that's why this isn't about the men. This is about me finally writing my own story based on what I think of myself instead of what I think the world around me thinks of me!

Friday after my workout I stood and chatted with a couple of people who were about to start theirs. We were laughing and cutting up and I felt totally "included" and "worthy" of their friendship. As I walked to my car feeling good, I thought, "I feel like I'm making friends here." Automatically I was aware on an acutely conscious level of "the voice." It said, "but you know you're not like them and if they got to know you they wouldn't like you anymore." 

We literally had an argument right there in the parking lot. I said, "Why not? I'm in as good of shape as at least half of them, I have my own business, a pretty decent little home, I'm funny and smart and a responsible adult."

And you will never believe what that asshole voice said then....

I had just walked up to my car to get in and as I put my key into the door to unlock it the voice said, "Yeah, but you don't have automatic locks and there's faded spots on the roof of your car. They haven't seen your car yet. That's what will make them reject you. You should get a new car or just stop trying to be friends with them."

I know! I was as shocked as you are right now. And the saddest thing about it is that I've been believing that voice for a lot of years. It's a voice that gained a lot of control around the age of eight when I entered my third grade year a little chubby and kids started calling me fat. It gained even more control in middle school when the boy I had a crush on sat beside me on the bus, grabbed my thigh and shook it and called it a "hamhock." The voice became a scream after years of tiny insults and rejections that my fragile, developing brain allowed to define me.

So any time a man would come along who showed me some acceptance, it would sooth the voice a little by arguing with it. Any time I would recognize that maybe said man wasn't treating me too well, the voice would say, "Well, what do you expect? You're lucky anyone wants you." 

I'm literally crying as I type these words. I wish I could hug my younger self and tell her how sorry I am. I've allowed that voice to abuse her. Anything anyone has ever said to me has never ever been as hurtful or brutal as the things I've said to myself. The little girl in me needed healing, not more abuse. 

So now I'm healing her. I challenge the voice probably 100 times daily. Finally, after 39 years of living in some crazy, made up, self-destructive story, I am creating a beautiful, peaceful story for little Tammi to live in. And 100 days isn't nearly enough but it's where I'm starting. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Day 11 of 100: Being Kind to Myself

I've spent so much of my life dwelling on what other people think of me to define who I am. Someone thinks I'm a bad person? That shit will keep me up ALL NIGHT LONG. Someone thinks I'm lovely? I will cozy down in my sheets that night and fall asleep thinking about how amazing I am.

So what happens when I deliberately stop seeking that validation and go deep within myself?

Self love happens.

I had a hunch but I wasn't sure that would be the case.

However, the alternative had become too much to bear. 

  • Desperately find a man who wanted me and I actually wanted in return.
  • Feed off of his validation and attention.
  • Get insecure and depressed when he failed to give that validation.
  • Feel completely worthless and unlovable when he left.
  • Lather.
  • Rinse.
  • Repeat.
How unbelievably toxic and exhausting! So the discomfort of just being "alone" suddenly didn't feel so uncomfortable anymore. And that's what I've done. That's not to say I haven't tripped up along the way and sought out the attention of a man. However, for the most part, I've trudged along on my own for a long while now. And the last 11 days have been more notably focused on just that. 

The funny thing is, just as Pema states above, the more I turn inward and accept myself for no other reason than I am my best companion, the more my heart opens to the love around me. Friendships are deeper, my bond with my son is stronger, I remember to appreciate these precious moments I have with my parents and other loved ones. My heart is opening so big. And without the desperate need to have a man to validate me, I don't find myself allowing toxic people in my life to fill some "need" that it turns out I could fill myself the entire time. It also sends the subconscious message to myself of "you deserve better." Which leads to questions of what messages I was sending to myself before when I wasn't living from an authentic place and allowed unworthy people and thoughts into my life.

I've also realized that this unreasonable fear I had of being alone was just that, unreasonable. We live in a world with billions of people. Each person can serve a lovely purpose and meet a perfect need in my life. Not having a romantic partner does not translate to being alone. It's like I knew that but I didn't really KNOW that until now.

Love is love. And it turns out in order to truly love others, you have to love yourself first. That's the path I'm finally walking. And I really am enough.