I figured it out.
I had tried for over 10 years to diet and exercise to lose weight. I had been miserable in my body and to my body; punishing myself at the gym, counting calories and points, but nothing ever helped. And then one day I somehow made the switch and the weight practically fell right off. How did I do it? What changed?
No, for once I’m actually not talking about cutting processed food.
Yes, of course, cutting processed food was absolutely critical in my transformation, and all this time I must admit that I thought that was exactly what I had done, that it was the one and only key to my success. It wasn’t until this last month or so that I realized that there was something more, something deeper that I had done, without even realizing it.
But I’m not going to tell you the secret just yet.
First, let’s talk about how I made this incredible discovery. You may have noticed that it’s been rather quiet around here, the crickets have been chirping loud and clear. You may have seen my strange, rambling email newsletter that came out last week and wondered, what in the world is going on with that girl? (What? You aren’t signed up for my newsletter? Stop right now and throw your email address in that nifty box at the top of this page, or the one down at the bottom of this post. It’ll just take 2 seconds, I’ll wait here for ya.)
Well, here’s what’s going on. Life. Lots and lots of life. For about two months, I’ve been hanging on with both hands, trying to breathe through multiple beloved family members passing on to the next great adventure. I have stayed awake nights worrying about what was going to happen to our family as my husband’s employer of close to 10 years imploded and nearly disappeared. I have driven 3 hours round trip weekly for months for a miracle treatment that will (hopefully!) cure my daughter’s life-threatening peanut allergy, during the time that I was supposed to be working at my day job, praying the whole time that my paychecks would somehow be enough anyway.
With all this going on, my big driving passion, to help people to feel good in their skins so that they can know how amazing they are, still remained, and I tried to do a few things in my health coaching practice to push that forward. But mostly during this time of so many worries and challenges and changes, I pondered. I took a long, long time, and I just thought. I studied people who I look up to who have gone through hard times, and I thought. And as I thought, I came to a realization that I had made one huge change those years ago, and that that change was the key to my success.
So, what is my secret?
It’s simple. All those years ago, when I looked in the mirror and was repulsed by what I saw and decided a change had to be made and now, I made the decision to love myself. Yes, I just got all hippie crazy on you, but hear me out!
Let’s talk about the power of love!
For years I treated myself badly. I would punish myself for eating that second brownie by putting in an extra hour at the gym. The inner voice was nonstop sometimes, “Those pants look terrible on you!” “I can’t believe you let yourself get to be so disgusting.” “Can’t you control yourself at all?” “You might as well just eat all the rest of the cookies, too, it’s not like you’re ever going to be able to lose this weight anyway.”
When I made the decision to change, I unknowingly kicked this critical voice out of my head, and replaced it with a new attitude. Instead of exercising because I had eaten too many cookies the day before, I was now going to exercise because if I truly loved myself, I would take care of my body. I would exercise because turning on great music and dancing just feels so incredibly good. I would love my body enough to make it strong, and be patient with myself in the process.
As I chose to consciously show myself love, instead of punishing myself with tasteless “diet” food, I instead treated my body to delicious, home-cooked, nourishing, and of course unprocessed foods. I would relish each bite because I deserved it, and in doing so I was satisfied with less. My food was higher quality, lower in quantity. I treated myself to healthy food because I deserved to have lots of energy, to have good moods, and to just plain feel good every single day.
I also showed myself love by pursuing my new passion, by setting my fears aside and enrolling in my amazing school, allowing myself to gain the tools I needed to share my message with the world.
Do you see the difference? How can you do it, too?
First and foremost, please remember that love is a verb. It doesn’t mean sitting around thinking about how much you love yourself, it means taking actual actions to show yourself love. Exercise and eating healthy food can be a form of showing yourself love, depending on the attitude you have as you perform those actions, just like in my example above.
Another great way to show yourself love is to treat yourself.
How about an evening bath to wind down? Why not buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers? Would you like to spend some time reading a good book or enjoying a new movie? How can you give yourself a little treat today and show yourself love?
Even if you aren’t happy with what you see in the mirror, even if you don’t feel valuable or loved, I promise you that there is something incredibly unique and wonderful about you, just the way you are right now.
The ironic thing is that the more you learn to love and accept yourself the way that you are right now, the easier it is to change, to grow and become an even more incredible person.
I want you to start with one loving action right this very moment. Leave me a comment below and tell me one thing that you love about yourself. Even if that something is small, something like, “I really like my shoes today,” that’s a step in the right direction and I want to hear it!