Church today was yet another wonderful service. Well, then again, they all are. Saying goodbye on Sunday to Pastor Kevin, I was gleaming with happiness, realizing how much I love walking into that space, love the presence I feel while there, the kindness and smiles from everyone I am surrounded by, and the warm & friendly good byes I get when I leave. This overwhelming joy brought me to a place of reflection. Looking back on the last year (well almost a year) since I started attending New Life, thinking about how much my life has evolved in such a short span of time, and how I couldn’t have imagined this past year without opening my heart to God. Reflecting on the people that have come into my life over the past year, leaves me feeling such gratitude. I definitely feel that God speaks to me through certain people he has brought into my life - call me crazy, but it’s true. I think of the steps I have taken in my own life over this year, the risks I was willing to take in 2012, and the opportunities that have arisen because of my willingness to take these steps forward. In addition, there has been some less then ideal situations I have gone through, but even they were much easier to handle with him by my side. I definitely feel blessed. IF someone would have asked me 15 months ago IF I ever thought I would be writing about something like this today, I would have thought them crazy - but when you open your heart and soul great things happen.
All in all 2012 really was an amazing year. I started the year with an injury which created a huge setback in my physical and professional goals. In all honestly, I am still fighting this battle, but along the way I have learned a tremendous amount about myself through this experience. In addition, it helped me shift my professional focus, realign my passions, and possess an entirely new outlook on fitness, and this I am happy about. In addition, while it ended up closing some doors, I realize now this was for the better, because it allowed other, better doors to open wider! I guess it helps me deepened my understanding that good does come from bad. It has been a long journey, and honestly, if I didn’t have prayer, and God to keep me at ease, I don’t know how I would be or where I would be emotionally with this experience.
I started dating someone in 2012, for the first time in over four years. I made a commitment to finally open my heart back up after being very closed off for way too long. And for the first time in my life I experienced what a truly amazing, beautiful, trusting, mutually respectful, passionate, inspiring, and encouraging relationship felt like. This relationship brought me another best friend. Someone who inspires me, encourages me, believes in me, and stands in my corner no matter what. I never knew that someone like that could exist until now, and honestly without God in my life, I don’t know that I would be able to see this existence, because I wouldn’t be able to trust it. While the romantic part of the relationship did come to an end, the experience, and the growth still remains. Through God, I was finally able to feel worthy of this type of love, this type of friend, and this type of relationship. Now for the first time in my life, I feel very clear on exactly what I want and need from a partner and a romantic relationship in my future, and I can walk into an opportunity with confidence and ease, knowing how I want to show up.
Speaking of opening my heart, as mentioned above, in 2012, I did experience the loss of an intimate relationship with someone I loved. For the first time in my life I knew that to love and loose was worth far more then never loving again, and completely worth keeping an open heart. What I realized most was that yes the actual romantic relationship did come to an end, and I did have a process of healing that I needed to experience, but set that aside, I never lost my friend (that part just got put on hold). Despite the pain my heart initially felt, this experience was such a positive one for me on so many levels. First and foremost, it taught me how to lean on God, and not only strengthened my relationship with him, but my trust in him. It taught me how to let him help me, and to trust that through him and with him I could overcome any obstacle and come back stronger. I feel that the healing process opened so many opportunities for me to grow both spiritually and personally. While, admittedly, I have moments I am embarrassed by the emotions that ran through my head, or words spoken, I recognize they were all part of this process and crucial for my growth. Experiencing these negative emotions, allowed them to surface, which opened the door for reflection in a time I was also in constant prayer. This really helped me come to some deeper understandings about myself. My reflection of my whole experience with this person strengthened my personal voice, and my desire to take another step forward professionally with confidence. In addition to strengthening my relationship with God, through this experience I also developed stronger relationships with some close friends and my father. It made me want to learn more, be more, and trust that I could do more all on my own.
In 2012 my brother and I, together, purchased our first home. Understand that I struggle often with making the small little day to day decisions and commitments, so to make a decision on such a large scale, and a commitment to this degree was a gigantic step for me. This I know for certain, that I couldn’t have done without prayer & God’s guidance. Along the way, I had moments of weakness, moments where I doubted our decision, moments where I thought I must be crazy to think we could make this work, and moments where I wanted to pull out or quit, but prayer always led me back into focus. The 60 days of escrow was a giant roller coaster ride of ups and downs, highs and lows, but every step of the way I just kept praying, asking for signs, and for direction from him, trusting the process, and trusting that if it was in his plan, it would become, and so it did. Of course I still don’t know the whole plan, we never will, and as the problems have already unfolded with the house, I imagine they are all a part of it, just another obstacle to overcome while maintaining my faith.
All in all what I have gotten most of the last year is the importance of keeping my focus on God, knowing that he will always be there to take care of me in the ways that truly matter. When I do this I don’t have a reason, no matter how big or small, to get super stressed out and obsessively worry, rather I pray. In addition, my ultimate goal and focus is to be as healthy as I can be, so that I can live the life HE planned for me, whatever that looks like. One thing is certain, my purpose is to serve him through serving others, and love him, by loving others as he would. I am so far from perfecting this, and I am so very flawed, and I will most likely be striving toward this every day for the rest of my life, but I am determined and committed to practicing it each and every day. A mentor once said, “IF you aren’t in a state of GROWTH, then you are in a state of DECAY, because there are only two directions. There is no such thing as STABLE”. I think the whole point of life is to be a little better today then you were yesterday, not only to yourself, but to everyone around you. Just my theory - I’m sticking to it.
Really? IS it true? Is it possible? Will it work? Is my happiness only 10 pounds away? Don’t we all really wish it were that easy.. oh but it is - quite easier actually.... Happiness... it’s a choice, and it isn’t contingent on 10 pounds, despite popular belief. I’ve rarely met a woman though, who isn’t always convincing herself, “that if she could only loose that last ten pounds” she would be happy with herself. You know what I am talking about ladies? You ever had those 10 pounds to loose? What happened when you finally lost them? Were you happier? My guess ... is no... better yet... my guess is you found 10 MORE pounds to loose! But let’s be honest with ourselves here.... what kind of way is that to live... Truth is - those “last” ten pounds... won’t do it for you... they simply won’t. You need to choose to be happy with yourself exactly as you are - I am not saying don’t strive to be better, don’t strive to change, or don’t keep making choices to keep you healthier - but PLEASE. DON’T. base your happiness off the scale, especially the magic number 10.
I will never forget a conversation I had with this lovely lady about 1.5 years ago now - it changed my life my relationship with my body! We were talking about how beautiful her daughter was. I actually complimented her regarding daughter and she said, “I try to get her to see it but she is always so busy thinking she is too big and needs to loose more weight.” Then she went on to tell me how if she knew 30 years ago what she knew now how different her life would look. She explained to me how she tries to get her daughters to realize their beauty now and embrace it, as they are. She continues to explain how when she looks back on her own pictures she realizes that she had it all wrong. She looks at those pictures and sees this beautiful young woman, but remembers how she spent the last 30 years not enjoying it for even one minute. It was always about loosing the last (or next) 10 pounds. She tells me how she spent all her life focused on what was not good enough, and the scale, and these 10 pounds she just had to loose, and before she knew it life passed her by, and she never really even appreciated what she had while she had it. So then she reminded me to ‘own’ it while I had it, enjoy it, appreciate it, and know it.
This story really got my head spinning in so many ways. It helped me realize who I was, my relationship with my body, what defined my happiness, what defined my beauty, and how insanely distorted all my thinking was. It was time to make a huge mental shift! Realizing that I was in control of my mind, my thoughts and my self talk was huge. I took some time to reflect on my life up to that point and realized I was no different than this woman. Looking back I realized that I had spent the majority of my life always trying to loose 10 pounds. I rationalized that I would be happy with myself once I lost these 10 pounds, as if 10 were some magical number. The thing is, even when I lost the 10 pounds, I miraculously always found 10 more I needed to loose. This meant, that I was defining happiness by a number that was truly never obtainable, because there would always be an ‘extra’ 10. I also realized that I defined my happiness on a number that really only has a relationship with gravity. I was working out hard, eating well, and more then likely gaining muscle, which would add to the scale weight, but in my tricky mind, it was never enough - not so long as I continued to give that invaluable number power over me. So I made a goal to shift my focus.
I knew that I needed to start realizing that my happiness, my worth, and my beauty was not defined by a number. I also started to realize that number was constantly changing - both up and down, and if my focus was shifted to other factors such as how I feel, how my pants fit, how I look in the mirror, I would be in a much healthier place. For the next year and a half I still did weigh myself. I definitely practiced not letting the number be in charge or defining, but I still felt like it was important to know where I was at to “keep it under control”. I did however, shift my focus, and my goals. I set my focus in alignment with trying to be healthy. If I committed to regular exercise, and nourishing my body with healthy foods, then I needed to know that was beautiful in and of itself. I needed to find peace, joy and happiness in my commitment to living a healthy lifestyle, and living by example for other women. I realized that I wasn’t alone in this constant strive for 10 more pounds, and I wanted to empower other women to release their innate obsession over this ‘magic’ number 10, and to stop determining their level of self worth based on a number.
It wasn’t, however, until about 6 months ago when I started realizing just how incredibly warped our minds are as women, and how detrimental to our health and well being this obsession with our body weight really was. My partner and I started hosting a nutritional support group, where we asked everyone who participated to tuck their scales away for the duration of their commitment, solely focusing on health. I also, to support everyone, tucked mine away as well, and to this day I have not looked back, as it was the best decision ever. Until this point I had not realized just how much this number mattered to so many of us, and this was so deeply engrained. I’ve watched it aid in self sabotage on multiple levels.
One level of sabotage looks like this: People will be forced to be super connected to their bodies, and recognize how amazing they feel inside and out, will notice pants fitting more loosely, feel less puffy in the belly, and recognize their skin is better, their workouts are stronger, they have more energy... and so much more. In their heads they think that for this to all happen and be true they must be loosing so much weight. Then when they are finally allowed to get their scales back for a day, and they step on it, and realize the number didn’t go down as much as they expected, and suddenly they forget EVERYTHING amazing they have felt, only to be right back to sad or unhappy with themselves and the results. Sometimes in this situation, I have watched people just give up, thinking that what they were doing wasn’t working. What is up with this??? We have to learn to feel and trust ALL the other way more important indicators!
Ok, here is the flip side, and the other form of sabotage I often see looks like this: They person who feels really good, and is getting super committed to their health, finally is allowed to jump on scale, and realizes that he/she lost even more weight then anticipated and they are like “whoo hoo” .... “yay me” .... “I deserve a reward”.... and what does that often look like? A day off the gym, a shitty meal, which turns into several shitty meals, and a downward spiral only to find themselves right back where they started after all that hard work. See.. .this idea of a “reward” is merely our tricky brains steering us into sabotage. I think this scenario often plays out in people who don’t have a high level of self worth, because as they find themselves feeling successful, they quickly sabotage out of lack of self worth for this success. Either scenario is a loose loose. So how do we get to a win win?
I think we get there by throwing the scales away, and letting go of this strong emotional connection to the number on it. Ladies, I promise you that if you aren’t happy today - you will NOT be happy in 10 more pounds. Our relationship to gravity does not define our beauty, our worth, our health, or our happiness. YOU define these terms and choose them. We need to start redefining our relationships with our self, start to love and honor ourself enough to choose to engage in activity that is healthy and optimal for our bodies. Eat real and healthy food, get regular exercise, shift our focus to optimal health and trust that everything else follows. IF you eat well, sleep well, and exercise well, then you will inevitably loose the fat aka ‘real weight’ (**even if the scale might not agree**). We need to get more in tune with our body’s expression of health. Are you sleeping well? Are you sustaining energy through the day? Is your skin glowing? Are your moods stable? Do your pants fit? And so on..... And if the answers to these questions are still no... then we need to get more honest with ourselves about the choices we are actually making and make the necessary changes to get to that better place.
ust remember... there is NO such thing as 10 pounds to happiness! XO :)