5 Lessons in Loving Yourself More

I’m going to share with you some surprising life lessons I’ve learned since becoming a health and wellness coach and how it has taught me to love myself as a divorced plus-size woman struggling with self-esteem issues. These lessons can be difficult to accept at first, but they can be life changing if you choose to embrace them. Although I’m nowhere near achieving my ideal body, mind, and spirit, I’ve learned to accept that change is a very messy process but oh so worth it. I hope you’ll find at least one of the five lessons listed as an inspirational takeaway!

❤️ CHANGE TAKES TIME…a really long time.

This probably is one of the first lessons I had to embrace. Not really understanding what that meant is probably what contributed to my years of yo-yo dieting. We all want that quick fix, be it pills, fad diets, endless trips to the gym, binging and purging, or not eating at all in some cases.  I don’t need to go into the societal pressures of what it means to be a woman (or a man for that matter). The point I am making here is that if you have spent decades hating yourself, don’t expect that fitting into a pair of skinny jeans will make it all better. There is work to be done physically, mentally, spiritually, and it will take time. BUT here is the saving grace…the more you learn to accept this truth, the more enjoyable the process of change becomes, making your end goal less important. You will begin to embrace every seemingly small success along the way, and that is how you will learn to love yourself.

❤️ YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM…so stop it!

Many of us have set up our own traps, myself included. It’s called self-sabotage. When we adopt a worldview in which we are always the victim, more often than not we are partly to blame for our circumstances. I know that may be difficult to accept; I cringed many times when I first heard of it and it took me a couple of years to finally make that mental breakthrough. So here is one way of looking at it…assuming we’re naive about something or someone, we can easily fall prey. When we have no control over certain events in our lives, we can become a victim of circumstance.  But here is the lesson…you can only be a victim once. If you continue to find yourself in the same scenario over and over again, something is definitely wrong, and it usually means you are self-protecting in some way that may not be obvious to you. Because we are talking about something much deeper here, self-reflection is definitely required. Journaling, talk-therapy, meditation, hypnosis, or prayer can be very helpful. Self-investigation and taking the time to really think about why you are sabotaging yourself is an act of self-love and self-care.

❤️ MOTIVATION IS DOING!

I am a thinker. I overthink all the time. I have ADHD and that means I have more thoughts running through my mind taking a shower than most “normal” minds do by the time they get to work and have fueled themselves with coffee. But whether you have ADHD or not, many of us will wait…and wait…and wait…hoping for something or someone to motivate us to do what we already know is necessary for change to occur. But that just isn’t how it works. There is a difference between being inspired and being motivated. Inspiration comes from observing. Motivation comes from doing or taking action. So how do you get there? How do you make that first move? You simply stop thinking about it! I’m not saying it’s easy to shut it down…trust me I know! However, realize that your brain is designed to be habitual, which is why change is so difficult. The more you think, the more you end up battling with your own mind and it will convince you that it’s not worth trying, so you have to trick your brain into action. This is why I believe in order for you to change how you perceive yourself on an emotional level, you have to start with physical activity. Exercising, eating well, taking care of your physical body is an act of self-love.

❤️ FAILURE = SUCCESS?

There are countless examples making the argument that in order to be successful in anything, you have to try and fail many times. Unfortunately, most people will never try again after they have failed. So it’s not so much that failure equals success, it’s just that success can only be achieved by not allowing your failures to stop you from trying again. I have failed so many times, allowed doubt to creep in (it still does), and I end up berating myself with negative self-talk such as, “I’m such a loser, I’m worthless, I’m unlovable, I’m disgusting, and I’ll never be successful in life.” There goes that victim mentality again, right?! The attitude that you have about failure is more important than your attitude about success. Again this is a mental shift, one that I had to learn as a health and wellness coach. In order to make a mental shift like that, you really got to tap into personal development constantly until it really sinks in. I’m talking about reading books, listening to podcasts, watching Youtube videos, following inspirational people, and above all CONNECTING with other people who are LIKE MINDED! That part is huge.

❤️CONNECTING WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE

If you want to become successful in anything, if you want to change that victim mentality that you have, if you want to learn how to love yourself physically and emotionally, you absolutely have to evaluate the company that you keep. Without having tapped into personal development, I never would have understood how important it is to connect and build relationships with people who are smarter, more successful, more fit, and more confident. Watch them, learn from them, ask them questions, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, because I promise you that every successful person that has what you want and is confident in themselves won’t push you away if you are serious about becoming a better version of yourself. Everyone has potential. Everyone has beauty. Everyone has something to offer this world. If you are married to, work with, or hang out with people who are jealous, bring you down, don’t see your worth, it’s time to start loving yourself and letting them go.

Top 6 Things NOT to do During a Separation or Breakup. 

I’m no relationship expert. Hell, I’m divorced even! But I will say that I have learned from my past experiences things which ring so true that I absolutely must share them with my broken hearted sisters.

If you have any hope in reconciling your love relationship, or you just want to heal as quickly as possible, then I hope you will consider taking my advice.

1. STALKING ON SOCIAL MEDIA

For the love of all things holy, DO NOT stalk your ex on social media. Trying to figuare what he is doing or who he is doing it with will only cause you greater pain. Trust me I know. I’ve been there and I could tell you some horror stories. Fortunately, I learned before my final marriage separation to never put myself through that again.

If you have any social media “friends” that you know are really “his” friends, separate yourself from them. You don’t owe anyone an explaination, but if you are a “people pleaser”, you can be very gentle and diplomatic by messaging that person before you unfriend them. Keep it short and sweet. Let them know it’s nothing personal against them – you just feel it’s for the best as you both go through the grieving process.  In most cases, people will understand, and some may even appreciate you making it  less awkward for them.

Ultimately it’s about you though. The more doors you keep open, the more avenues you have in getting hurt. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that his friends are your  friends. And if you are the one who ends up getting blocked, just take a deep breath and don’t take it personal.

2. SENDING ANGRY TEXT MESSAGES

One of the most effective and therapeutic ways in which I was able to move through my separation and later my divorce was typing out long text messages, then deleting them or saving them to my phone. When you know in your gut that there are things better left unsaid, yet you feel so compelled and justified to say something, use this technique to release that momentary pent up energy.

Think about it. What good will come from saying what you want to say? Will saying something resolve the situation or will it only escalate it? I can tell you that every time I allowed my emotions to take over and I expressed them to the person I was angry with, it always backfired. So how do you prevent this reptilian reaction? I don’t think you can unless you are big on meditation and able to calm yourself down quickly.  If you are however a passionate firecracker quick to temper, the best thing to do is to spew on paper or in an unsent text message.

3. DROWNING YOUR FRIENDS IN SORROW

Drowning your sorrows is never a good thing. You would not be the first to get a little wasted and poopoo on your ex, but be very careful not to make this a regular occurrence unless you want to quickly wear out your friendships. This was a hard lesson for me at first, but after a while I realized that my grieving process was going to take a lot longer than what my friends had the stamina for.

You have to understand and accept that your friends and even your family can only take so much. Negativity drains a lot of energy, not just from you but from others as well. I will never say to someone that they should just get over it. What I will say is that sometimes your friends and family aren’t the best people to vent to because there is a shelf life, so it’s important to put other supports in place like joining a private social media group or seeing a therapist.

4. STAYING FROZEN IN YOUR MIND

Your gears are constantly turning. You’re exhausted from crying non-stop. You’re having bad dreams or not sleeping at all.  You’re obsessing about the past and can’t shut it off. Your chest is so tight it feels like your heart is going to implode. And some days you pray you could just close your eyes and peacefully drift far…far…away only to never wake up again.

Yup! Been there too and stayed there for a long time. It’s called depression and heartache. You have two choices. Either sit and marinate in your sorrow while entertaining suicidal thoughts, OR get up and start moving! I know it’s not easy. I cried so much during my separation and divorce that my own child started to roll his eyes at me. I had no control over my thoughts or my emotions. I had to do something about it. So I started going for a walk and tuning out with music, and I’ve been exercising ever since.

There is nothing wrong with letting out your emotions. You have to feel them in order to heal, but eventually you have to  start focusing on your mental wellbeing and the best way to start that process, I am convinced is through physical movement.

5. KEEPING PERSONAL CONTACT

I prolonged my healing process by staying in contact with my ex. We share a child so ofcourse we had no choice, especially if we were going to co-parent. But there is a fat line between necessary contact and excessive contact. I fooled myself into thinking we could still be “friends”. I had envisioned a perfect scenario in which he and I would be the greatest co-parents in the world, we would share holidays together with the grandparents, and even befriend eachother’s new love interests.

This magical thinking will only lead you down an even more painful path that could have been prevented. Don’t be surprised if you end up sleeping with eachother. Don’t be surprised to find that you end up creating more points of arguement and rehashing old ones despite how many times you end up having sex. And if you have children, they will end up more confused once you  decide to put a solid halt on things after deciding its best to stay away from eachother for a while.

Every relationship is different. The dynamics that existed in my relationship might be very different from yours, but the end result is still the same. You can not hope for reconciliation until you give yourself the time and space to be away from eachother. It is only then that you can start to see things more clearly and make your own assessments without the influence of triggered emotions.

6. OPENING UP YOUR MOUTH

This last one I know is difficult. It’s still difficult for me at times, but I can not stress enough how important this last one is. So many times I wanted to tell my version of what happened, but on the very few occasions I did, I almost always regretted it.  Say what you got to say to the right people; a trusted few who know your story because they lived through it with you, a therapist, or vent to a group of strangers in an online support group.

I’m very close to my mother in-law, and I’ve always had a special place in my heart for my father in-law. Divorce doesn’t simply dissolve that for me. But as much as I wanted to tell my in-laws how I felt about things, I had to swallow my pride if I was going to keep a relationship with them. When I found out about my ex husband’s new fiancé, my emotions were still very  raw and believe me, I had plenty to say. Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes for a moment will hopefully give you the perspective you need to keep your mouth shut and not make a complete ass out of yourself. There will always be your version, his version, and the truth which sits somewhere in the middle. It’s only natural for his support system to side with his truth, just as it is only natural for your support system to side with your truth.

I want to come back around to social media. I am very active on social media because it plays a huge part in what I want to do with my professional life. Being open and sharing my personal story is part of that. There is however a right way and a wrong way when it comes to sharing about a failed relationship. The general rule of thumb I would say, is to ask yourself why you are sharing. Is what you are about to share going to provide value to your audience?  If not, then don’t share it! The very last thing you want is to come off as bitter, negative, or without class. Be very careful in how you air out your dirty laundry as they say, because it can backfire in a mean way causing you more grief than is necessary.

Accepting Fitness – Two Decades Later

It wasn’t until my life seemed to fall apart that I really understood in order for me to change my negative victim mentality, I had to get off the couch and stop thinking and sobbing so damn much. 

I was at my heaviest at close to 290 pounds when my husband asked for a divorce. My child was only 5 at the time, and I was completely distraught. I also hated my work environment, I was stressed and on edge. I had been going through some mental health issues at the time and had lost all confidence in myself as a wife, mother, supervisor, daughter even. I no longer knew who I was or what I wanted.

Since my pre-teens, I desired change – to transform into a completely different person. I read self-help books, but without implementing the work. I bought into many diet programs only to fail over and over again. I joined several gyms only to stop going. I wrote out my vision without following through with any of my goals. Eventually, I stopped living, dreaming, visualizing, hoping.

It wasn’t until my life seemed to fall apart, that I really understood that in order for me to change my negative victim mentality, I had to get off the couch and stop thinking and sobbing so damn much. Easier said than done right? That’s why for some of us, it takes hitting rock bottom. This is what I discovered though…by working out for 30 minutes a day, I was allowing my brain to take a break from all the unhealthy circular thinking I was doing. I’m not saying that fitness will solve all your problems. In my case, I depend on stimulants and anti-depressants, I talk to a therapist, I decided to take a low key job, I drink a nutrient dense shake every day, I surround myself with positive people, I reduce the noise in my environment. However, tapping into fitness has made all those other pieces start to fall into place; it was the key that I knew I was missing, but too stubborn to accept for decades.

Minimalism and ADHD

Someone just asked me in a FB group how does living a minimalist lifestyle help with my ADHD. Below are some examples in how it is helping me specifically, however if you want the short answer, it is this…

The less you own and have to keep track of, the less messy your environment can get. The less messy your environment is, the easier it is to locate things or get distracted by, which in turn reduces stress. Reducing your stress will lessen the impact that ADHD symptoms can have leaving you with more room for your brain to process information. 

Some personal examples:

  1. I suck at putting things away right   away. I’m working on it, but until I have firmly developed that habit, I at least have a spot for everything so that the task of picking up is less daunting.
  2.  I own one purse. Sure it might not always match my outfit, but honestly I really don’t care. What’s important is that I don’t leave my keys, glasses, or my planner in the wrong bag before I leave the house.
  3.  I have less dishes to put away which helps keep the kitchen looking somewhat sane. Especially now that I’m single, I tend to dirty every dish before I take the time to clean up. I’m working on developing the habit of emptying the dishwasher every morning while I brew my coffee, but I’m not yet consistent. Still it helps knowing that it won’t take long to clean up before I get distracted again.
  4. I also keep my kitchen counters bare minus the things I use every day. Of course if I wait to clean the dishes, the counters have dirty dishes on them! But when it’s clean, I only have my NutriBullet for my daily shakes, my French-press, and a roll of paper towels. Looks great when the kitchen is clean and it gives me more space to work with.
  5. I have to wash my laundry more often because I have less clothing to choose from. I tend to avoid doing laundry like the plague until I no longer have any clean underwear. Since I only have so much, I have no choice but to do laundry every week. What’s great is that I spend a lot less time doing laundry than I have in the past, and it motivates me to then put the clean clothes away.
  6. Overall I have less “stuff” lying around to distract me. I only keep the most recent bills and I shred everything else. I keep important papers that need immediate attention in my planner so I won’t forget.

Developing Your Morning Routine

You know and I know that keeping up with a morning routine can set the stage for the rest of your day.  If you ever wished you could just fit more in, but don’t think it’s possible, I am here to tell you that it is! But there are several truths that you will have to accept before you consider developing your routine.

  1. If you want more time, you will have to make more time. Chances are, you will have to lengthen your day by simply getting out of bed earlier…I know, I know, easier said than done. That doesn’t mean you should sacrifice sleep. However, hitting the snooze button 15 times is counter-productive.  Trust me, I know how hard it is, but I also know it gets easier once you get a regular sleep routine going.
  2. Planning ahead of time saves you time. Sometimes creating more time doesn’t involve getting out of bed earlier, but rather spending more time the night before in planning out your day. Anything that can be done the night before, like setting out your clothes, will make your morning a little less stressful. Packing your bag/purse so you aren’t running around searching for homework and keys allows your morning to run smoother. Placing a pair of sneakers and a towel on top of an unrolled yoga mat may also help you get going faster.  A little planning can make a huge impact.
  3. On average it takes 3 weeks to develop a new habit.  If you are like me, staying focused long enough on anything that doesn’t stimulate me is challenging, but the fact remains whether you have ADHD or not, discipline, discipline, discipline will always be the mark of success. And while putting forth such effort might be more difficult for some than it is for others, I know that it will get easier with practice.
  4. Time Management is essential. Mornings are usually tight for most of us. Not being able to manage your time well will only make your efforts to get up earlier, plan ahead, and sticking to a routine a waste of time. You might as well just go back to bed again. This is an area that I continue to struggle with but am working on currently. Assuming that you determined accurately how much time it will take to complete your morning routine, you might still find that getting out of the door on time is proving difficult. Chance are, you tricked yourself into thinking you have all the time in the world and lost that sense of urgency. I’ve used a timer before to help me stay on track.
  5. How bad to you really want it? I both love and hate this question because its a truth seeking question. If you know having a morning routine would benefit you greatly, but find that you keep self-sabotaging, it’s likely that you are not emotionally invested in making that change yet. And that is okay. You may discover that it really wasn’t as important to you as you thought it was. It’s all about discovering what you want out of life and how you want to live it.

Now comes the fun part….

First, brainstorm all the things that you would love to incorporate into your morning. Is it working out? Meditation? Worship?  Reading? Journaling? Or simply enjoying a cup of coffee alone before everyone in the house wakes up? No matter what it is, think about why you would love to add that into your morning. Why is it important to you?

Now create your perfect morning by visualizing each task in order. Think about what it would feel like and what order makes the perfect sense. Incorporate the things that you have to do, like making breakfast, getting dressed, bringing the kids to school, etc. Don’t worry about how much time you will need yet.

Once you have your perfect morning visualized. Write it out and decide on how much time you want to spend on each item. Create a schedule that you and your family can see, like posting it on the fridge. Talk with your family about your plan, why it is important to you, and ask for support. Maybe someone can help you stay on task. Maybe it’s time to delegate a morning chore to allow more time for yourself. And if your family gives you a hard time for whatever reason, remind them…

You are no good to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself first!

 

 

Minimalism at Your Desk: A Wise Choice for the AD/HD Mind. 

Paperwork, post-it notes, folders, notepads, post-it notes left by other people, scissors, tape, pens, pictures of the family, a plant or two, a stapler, paper clips, candy…you get the picture. If you have an office job, you know what a mess this can become. And if you’re stuck in a cubical, many of those things start to climb up the wall.

For some, a messy desk or office space is perfectly functional. Me? Not so much. In the past, I generally tried to keep my desk, walls, and cabinets neat. But after having a few office jobs, I’ve learned that neatness just isn’t enough for me. What I found is that every office job I’ve ever had has produced some sort of stress/anxiety which triggered my symptoms, or I was really bored due to a level of creativity that was lacking. So I would subconsciously devise ways of destracting myself.

Sometimes that would translate into organizing and reorganizing things,  color-coding or labeling, creating unnecessary spreadsheets, or rearranging the information I kept on my cubical walls. Sometimes I would shift around the photos I kept at my desk, mess around with my computer monitors, reorganize my binders, and rearrange other desk items over and over until I was finally satisfied. Then weeks, days, or even hours later, I would get distracted again by something slightly out of place, or by some colorful label I hadn’t noticed before, and it would start all over again.

My neighbors would often notice and chuckle at me. It didn’t matter how perfectly fine everything already was, I would always find a much better system or way or arranging something. But once my boss took notice and I wasn’t being as productive, it wasn’t so cute and fun anymore and I knew there was only one solution for me; to GET RID OF IT ALL! It didn’t necessarily cure my boredom, but it did lessen some of the stress by having less visual distractions to tear me away from what I really needed to focus on.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve come up with a few tips to help keep me from falling back into my own trap. I hope you’ll find at least one of these tips useful!

#1

You must first let go of the need to display your personality and personal life through the things you place on and around your desk. Make that mental shift that your workspace is NOT an extension of your home.

#2

At the end of each day, all items like stapler, tape, pens, scissors, note pads, etc. gets thrown into a drawer. Nothing is left out unless it doesn’t fit in a drawer. This also eliminates the need for a desk organizer.

#3

Kill the paper as much as possible! Get rid of the desk calendars and start using a planner, or learn how to use an electronic one. Get rid of phone lists and start creating contacts in your email, or use a roladex if you’re old school. Use the sticky note feature on your computer!!!

#4

Limit photographs and rid yourself of unnecessary chatchkees. Keep a single frame of your child or hubby, but leave the rest at home.

#5

Keep only the very bare minimum piece of information that you absolutely have to commit to memory. Once you know that piece of information, replace it with something else you are trying to master. But don’t have everything out all at once.

#6

Instead of various folders and files of work that needs to be completed, keep a nice SINGLE stack of paperwork. Divide the pile by category or priority using a sheet of blank paper.

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Weightloss Transformation 

When we think about weightloss transformation, often we think of comparing two photographs, right? What if those photographs don’t look all that different? Does that mean no transformation took place? We consider the before and  after, but what about the during? We rarely give ourselves enough credit for the changes we make during the process, which probably explains why we get so discouraged when we don’t see major physical changes right away. I used to fall into this trap time and time again.

One way to get yourself out of that trap is to start recognizing all the changes that are occurring during the process. Whether it be a mental note or writing it in a journal, celebrating small victories can make all the difference between empowering you to continue on your journey or discouraging you into quitting.

credit: chasefear.tumbler.come

Below is a dozen things that I have noted for myself to give you some ideas.

  1. Shopping for groceries has gotten so much easier and takes less time now. Half of the store is filled with a highly processed foods that I now avoid eating.
  2. I don’t purchase ice cream or cookies anymore. Instead, I go to an ice cream shop for a special treat.
  3. I’ve gotten used to drinking black coffee, something I thought I’d never be able to do.
  4. The other day I automatically asked a barista to use skim instead of whole milk in my chai – I even surprised myself with that one!
  5. Twice in the past two months, pizza was ordered when visiting my parents and I opted for making myself a side salad.
  6. I rarely drank alcohol in the past three months.
  7. I have enjoyed the beach several times in the past couple of months without worrying about what others thought of my body – and not because I look drastically different.
  8. I’m getting better at my daily water consumption.
  9. I no longer deal with constant acid indigestion and flatulance.
  10. I can climb the stairs and go up a hill without having to catch my breath.
  11. In the past three months I haven’t gone more than two or three days without working out compared to years of inactivity.
  12. Even when I didn’t lose weight for a week, I was still able to maintain my previous weightloss from the week prior.