Who Have I Become?
When I began this blog post, I was in a different place. In fact, I commenced this entry 1 week prior to beginning my new health journey. I went back to continue with my writing and I was shocked. I haven't forgotten these words, but I cannot believe how much difference 8 weeks can make.
As it was...
The woman in the mirror…I don’t know her anymore. My health has faded, my beauty has diminished, and wrinkles have found a home where smooth, tight skin once existed. I am no longer competing with anyone; unfortunately, I’ve lost the desire to compete with myself.
This, I believe, is where we truly begin to fail ourselves. I lost that internal drive. My brain doesn’t see grey; only black and white, but my heart envisions colors…bright, invigorating colors. I want to be someone my husband and children can be proud of, but what is even more important to me, is to feel a sense of pride in myself…and I don’t.
I’m know longer competing with anyone; unfortunately, I’ve lost the desire to compete with myself.
I used to take photos of myself and feel attractive; I wasn't super model material, but I felt good about me. Now I feel that holding a camera a yardstick’s length away from my head provides a more comfortable angle; an unrealistic angle. Filters have taken the place of airbrushing; every woman can filter and make their online presence resemble that of a magazine cover. As difficult as it is to be an adult and feel insecure and often, insignificant, I am so very thankful I missed this as a teenager. One of the greatest blessings of my life was growing up before social media.
8 Weeks Later...
When I look into the mirror, I see me. Not perfect in shape and form, and not wrinkle free, but definitely the old Heather. I appreciate the wrinkles again; they demonstrate life, loss, and love. I appreciate the laugh lines; I am thankful for all of the experiences and what they have taught me and blessed me with. The Heather that liked herself and wanted to be present in her own life and that of the lives most significant to her is making an appearance. Welcome Back to Me~
Taking a Leap of Faith...
I won't dedicate many of my blogs to this topic; I want my readers to relate to my posts, and never feel a sales pressure in my writing. It's not about that anyway. I am not selling anything. I'm sharing a health plan with the people I care about because of what it has done for me. It has CHANGED my life! In fact, when I began this writing, it clearly was not my intent. Based on the first few paragraphs, it is obvious something needed to happen; a big change. I was in more than a funk. I could barely get myself off of the couch, and when I did, I decided the effort wasn't worth it to repeat on a daily basis. Thankfully, I came across a post from a friend and took the leap of faith.
I want to delve a little into my lifestyle change and give y 'all a taste of the basic elements of this program. First off, weight loss is just one of the elements. It's definitely not the first, or even the most significant. First and foremost you need to decide to accept you for you; you need to love yourself. I don't mean to love the future you who may meet big goals; I mean love you. Once you have figured this out, the other habits fall into place.
I eat 6 times per day. I "fuel" my body to be successful. I don't cheat because it is not a diet. I stay on my plan because I have made a choice. I continue to make that choice on vacations, at parties, at big fancy restaurants, everywhere. I drink lots of water. I still enjoy coffee. I follow a consistent plan with fun variations based on the research and application of a phenomenal doctor and mentor. I communicate with a personal coach. I actively engage and participate with an online "family" full of more love and support than I have ever received from my family or my immediate circle. I also have access to resources, journals, books and a search engine that helps with questions, concerns, and opportunities. The program deserves more than to be Googled, so I prefer to share the complete content in conversation. But let me tell, it's a game changer to get your life back.
My family is healthier. I cook better. I make better decisions at the grocery store; after all, it is my responsibility to change the habits of my family too so they can provide the same for their families. You live what you learn. Do we still buy Oreos? You betcha. Do I buy them regularly. No. The junk drawer has dwindled and healthy alternatives have replaced the junk...but we still have our share.
My grocery bill has decreased. My specialty coffee needs have diminished. My clothing allowance has increased. (Just kidding, but my clothes are getting too big). Our dining out has decreased significantly. We order less pizza because it is now accompanied with a salad, veggie, or fruit. We drink less soda. We drink so much water. Our condiments have turned to lower sodium options and a large array of flavorful, lower carb salad dressings, though we still enjoy the higher carb versions. I throw away a lot less bread. We love nuts and healthy fats. The snack section involves an array of almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios and so forth. We are learning together.
We take family walks...by choice rather than force...What?
I do workout, but just enough to keep my heart and body healthy; treadmill at a slow pace, maintain steps on a fitness watch, and some occasional arms and legs now that I am moving closer to my personal weight loss goal. Believe it or not, exercise does not equate weight loss. It is important for your health, but many factors assist in achieving a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index). If you do not fuel your body and find a balance with diet and exercise, it fights you, plain and simple.
I have taken every supplement and diet pill known to mankind. I have starved myself. I have exercised obsessively. I have been sickly skinny, and I have been obese. My body both ways was unhealthy. You need for the bulk of your food to be unprocessed. You need a balance of everything: exercise, fat, carbs, sugars, calories, protein, probiotics, and essential vitamins and nutrients. We need to do our best to go back to the idea that if we can't grow or kill it, we shouldn't be eating it,unless in moderation.
Bottom line, I like me again. I love the way I feel. I have energy and hope and desire. I had lost these. I can breathe when I walk longer distance; I can eat without acid reflux. I can complete a task and move on to the next without my diagnosed ADHD kicking in (unmedicated). I am getting ready to wean off my depression medicine which I was taking as a result of losing my father. In fact, I blamed much of my health problems on the devastation of loss and grief until I realized:
A. This is a choice.
B. Dad would be furious.
About a month before we lost my dad I said something about my weight to him. I was starting to struggle with the back and forth from hospital to hospital and state to state. I was struggling to breathe and my arthritis in my ankle became quite evident at this point.
I said to dad, "I think I look okay this way, don't you?" He may have been a little out of it, but he said, "Elizabeth, I think you might want to get some Nutrisystem."
Now, I am not doing Nutrisystem, but I laughed so much when he said that and I still do. He was acutely honest. At that point, I weighed just a little more than I do now so I continued on this destructive path for well over a year. Again, it is not just about weight, because weight was not the only thing I had gained, and it's not the only thing I have lost.
We should all spend more time, in my opinion, loving ourselves, and appreciating this life we've been given. I believe, for me, that includes taking care of my body internally and externally. I cannot control everything in my life, but if I have any say, I want to live as long as possible alongside my husband and have an opportunity to play with grandchildren, be at weddings, and spend our retirement years able to walk the parks, hike the hills, and if we choose, cut a rug.
God has a path for me, and I have no say in that, but I will work to give myself and my family the best shot possible, and that is what I want for you~