“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”
― Steven Pressfield
10 years ago I made a decision that I was going to put myself first. I was going to make significant changes to my lifestyle, to get the body I wanted, to get the job I wanted, and to have the life I had dreamed of for so long, but up to that point, never took action in my life toward the personal changes I needed to accomplish to move forward.
I chose to stop giving into distraction, avoidance, and neglecting my value, and step into my life, for the first time I can remember, I knew I had to take responsibility for the choices I’d made, and get myself back on track.
In 2008 I weighed 234 pounds, and at 5’ 1”, that made me morbidly obese. I had neglected taking care of myself, and I was disgusted with my body. It was on October 20, 2008, that I made the decision that I was going to take back control of my life and my body. The photo here is from 2005 but my body was about the same or worse by the time I had decided to join Weight Watchers and start to take action to lose weight. The stark difference between my body back then, and my body now, is really amazing. Not only can I reflect on how my posture is improved, but my entire deminer also is one of open and happy now compared to insecure and uncomfortable.
To understand how I got to weighing as much as I did is a long story that can be put simply, I didn’t value myself. I don’t want to focus on the past as much as focus on the work I’m doing now, but previously I put everything and everyone before my personal care and my goals. I wanted to impress people with visions of me that weren’t based in reality, and I wanted to believe that I was going to have it all figured out “one day.”
After the decision to lose weight, and taking that responsibility, I needed to do the work, and over the next four years, I did the work and got to my “Goal” weight, in 2012. I had gotten the job I wanted, had dated the guys I liked and had reached what I thought would make me “Happy” yet, I wasn’t. I spent the four years making small improvements but still binging on foods that didn’t help me feel my best, and after a few rough times including losing several jobs, and not being able to maintain a healthy relationship with a significant other, not to mention having a negative relationship with myself, I kept spiraling up and down, never getting to be that heavy again, but getting up to 170 lbs in 2014, back down to 140, up to 160, down to 140 in 2015, then the last spike back up to 170, which is where I started 2018. I mention the numbers because this is a red flag for me, and I’m still working to learn to focus on the habits and making choices that help me “Feel My Best” and align with the person I want to be instead of that last person who is trying to hit “numbers” because the number isn’t what is going to make me “Happy” I need to be happy RIGHT NOW. At this moment, and that’s my work. It wasn’t until the past year, 10 years later, that I’m really starting to understand why I have the relationship I do with food, and how I can actually change that relationship with food and with myself.
“If you’re not failing, you’re not pushing your limits, and if you’re not pushing your limits, you’re not maximizing your potential”― Ray Dalio, Principles: Life and Work
For so long I was working just to be liked or loved, and even today, I recognize when I am doing or saying something just for others to like, appreciate, or love me.
I realized that in the last two years, I’ve spent more time focused on the relationship with myself and building that foundation to really love myself. I have established habits and working with a coach, and building relationships with supportive friends have helped me build the true path to my best self, the one in the photo in Denver, Colorado where I went last month.
I could share so much more, but I’ll leave you with the top lessons I’ve learned. I could write 1,000 because I’ve had to learn these over, and over again.
I now have a daily yoga, journal, and meditation routine and am working to continue my journey with weight loss, without focusing on the number on the scale, but building my best self.
- Be Aware – Be aware of where I am, the words I’m speaking, the decisions I make, and the actions I take because I’m either moving towards my goal or away from it with each and every action, so be aware of what I’m doing at all times. A lot of my life was spent in ignorance and distance from awareness about reality. I want to be aware and alert, that means not drinking too much, not indulging too much, and focusing on what’s important, by prioritizing my life with awareness, I can be present.
- Be Honest – If I lie to myself, it doesn’t serve me. I am a horrible lier, but continue to lie to myself each day about what I “want” versus what I “need” and if that want/need is even true. By challenging my integrity to be truthful, I’m taking better care of myself and valuing myself.
- Be MY BEST SELF – I had to create the person I am today and that person is someone who is healthy, who wakes up early to do yoga and meditates. That person reads books and writes in her journal, and has a good understanding of self. I created a vision board and continue to work through vision boards each month and sometimes I create them for a challenging week ahead to guide and focus myself on the person I’m working to become. It isn’t about being “good” or “bad” or being “right” or “wrong” but it’s about being my best self, and living up to that intention in my choices, actions, and words.
- Build a network – The best part of this year was building my network of people who encourage, inspire, and support my efforts. There’s nothing as important as support and encouragement in times of challenge. It’s usually when I struggle that I turn away, but I’m learning to turn to my support system, asking for help when I need it, instead of turning to past patterns of self-destruction. Here are some of the vision boards I’ve created over the past few months.
Books I’m reading