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.

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.

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!

 

 

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.