My health has been on my mind a lot lately. I wish I was making different choices. I wish I was getting outside more, and that I could be more active with my family. I wish I was eating differently.
I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am overweight. Even when I’m feeling well, I lay in bed at night before I go to sleep and self-loathe, feeling unhappy in my own skin. Not because I don’t have a husband who adores me, not because someone has hurt my feelings, not because I don’t have a closet full of beautiful clothes and shoes… but because I cannot accept me as I am right now.
But in that moment before a bad choice, each time I eat, every day, I am compromising. I am either in a rush and about to gnaw my arm off if I don’t mainline the first edible thing I come across (so I eat drive-through garbage because it’s accessible) or I just crave something hot and cheesy to take the edge off. It’s my Calgon. Jack In The Box take me away.
I know my lifestyle isn’t healthy, not just in the physical sense, but in the emotional and spiritual senses, too. The reminders are everywhere – I enjoyed looking at the photos from our boys’ birthday party over the weekend. Everyone looked great, really happy, but there was one particular photo of me…
And I didn’t like looking at me. And I realized I haven’t been feeling like me. And I don’t want to do this anymore, I want help with change. No more of the self-judgment. The frustration, the unhappiness, the feeling of failure a hundred times over. The thought that I may die early because heart disease runs in my family and I fill my body with processed, contaminated, preserved stuff. Bodies aren’t designed to eat stuff.
I don’t want to keep justifying to myself why I look the way I do, why my inner beauty and outer beauty don’t match.
I have been successful at leading a healthier lifestyle at times – I felt my best (which coincided with my lowest adult weight) just after having my first son. We’d gotten into healthier habits with the baby at home, and taking him for walks in my mission to lose “the-baby-weight-plus-some”.
But in 2009, things kept falling apart, a chain of events beyond my control… That year, we found out that our two year old son had a brain tumor. I miscarried, and at the end of that year I was finally correctly diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, after six months of debilitating chronic pain. Since then, I lost my sister and stepmom, both to addiction, and we have been supporting my devastated dad.
I’ve got it fairly together (all things considered), but I’m still processing little pieces of these traumas every day. So much loss that just sits there in the background.
As I stop long enough to write this post though, the tears come. The tears that I’m too busy to allow during car line, packing lunches, finding lost shoes, fighting over homework, fighting with my husband, soul searching, meeting deadlines, paying bills, supporting girlfriends, planning for the future, loving my kids, loving my husband…
And the reality hits hard that there are still a lot of emotions I’m stuffing by eating. And too many excuses that I tell myself “are reasons” that I don’t take better care of myself. Only jamming self-love into the little cracks, the little airtight spaces between Everything Else.
There are too many commitments that lead up to me sitting in my dark living room at 12am, lit only by the TV and my email inbox, too late to take a walk, go to the gym, or move my stagnating body. When there isn’t enough time or energy in the day, I am the thing that gives before it breaks.
In some ways, I think I’ve just stopped trying. I don’t know what works for me anymore. I don’t know what will make me feel better about myself physically. I don’t know if it’s even about losing weight to be completely honest, it is just the most obvious, constant, nagging reminder of what I’m doing to myself on the outside for the world to see.
It’s not enough for me to be spiritually connected on the inside, to be open to my intuition, only to shut down the messages about my health because I feel helpless, confused and overwhelmed. I have to make a lasting change, not a change that makes me feel deprived or overly regimented, but a change that feels like a better alternative to what I’m doing now, a change I can live with. I want to live a long time, I want to be there for kids to grow up and I want to see their kids, I want to live long enough to really make an impact on the people around me. And I don’t want to do it in a failing body.
My first step to creating lasting change is to understand that the self-loathing only holds me back. My self esteem takes a hit and then I want stay in bed or destroy a Jumbo Jack… I have to start loving myself unconditionally. I love other people unconditionally. I require them to love me unconditionally… and yet, here I am, not holding myself to this standard, the one behavior that can actually transform this issue, to just love myself no matter what. I haven’t mastered this, but I’ve zeroed in on this being at the heart of the problem.
My next step was partnering with my friend Angel Denton of VIO (Vitality Inside and Out), Certified Nutritional Consultant and Yoga instructor (actually, the amount of training and number of certifications she holds is nuts, check it out here). She is as warm and not-judgmental an expert as you’re going to find, and she is going to help you and me get on track.
She and I are presenting a free live demo on Feb 13th, SNAP Into Vitality (SNAP stands for simple, nutritious, affordable and plant-based). Angel is going to show us 3 of her favorite dishes made from just one recipe, and get us started not just in losing weight (one of my personal goals), but in starting more healthy eating routines in general, like learning how to eat for vitality, for energy and to give our bodies the support and fuel they need to live a long, healthy time.
Afterward, we’re kicking off a 30 day challenge that will be extremely affordable and accessible, full of coaching and amazing value – Angel will continue to educate us on how to incorporate her manageable techniques and recipes into a crazy busy lifestyle so that we don’t even miss eating the old way, and I will tackle how our emotions, traumas and beliefs translate into an unhealthy lifestyle and how to start resolving those issues. The challenge will include a private online support group, video tours at our local grocery store and farmers market to make shopping less intimidating, a peak into our pantries (mine is very different from Angel’s as you can imagine…), recipes, demos and so much more.
I need support and to be honest. I need guidance and I need a community of people who can relate to my challenges. If this sounds like you, too, please join us for the one hour live demo on February 13th, if you can’t, register anyway and we’ll send you the video afterward. Best of all, when you register, you’ll receive a coupon code for the 30 day challenge, to make it even more affordable. If you need this, like I do, we want you to be there.
Can you relate? Share your advice with me – Where are you struggling to create healthier habits? What holds you back and where are you falling short?