Eat a balanced diet. Exercise daily. Eat those fruits and veggies. So simple and yet I have always been determined to find a better way. Refusing to take information at face value. I am stubborn like that. Rather than trusting the process and listening to science, I will find my own way. A faster way. An easier way. A way to shed pounds and eat what I want. Believe me, there are many diets/programs that changed my body, quickly. But at what cost? Did change bring me happiness? Through it all, I felt miserable. Feeling edgy, tired, and missing out on living. When I commit, I am “all in” to a fault. We all know physical changes take time. I don’t have time. I want results instantly. Frustration peaks. Working out obsessively, eliminating carbs, logging food, daily weight checks, eating high fats, shakes, fasting, tracking macros, tricking my body through crazy eating patterns…you know the drill. The never-ending pattern. Work hard, lose weight, gain weight, frustration. Repeat for over 20 years. This is my life. I am exhausted.
My goal pants. There is a space hidden in my closet for “those pants.” Pants that you have to hold your breath to even button. But one day they will fit. They are too cute to donate, so they sit. One day I say to myself. Just give it time. Truth is, they have not moved for years. My pile just grows. I need to let them go. Be free. Another mama could rock those pants. Truth is, I may never be able to feel satisfied even if they fit.
I cringe when I look in the mirror. Nothing new. Do I see what you see? I wonder. I know, I know…I preach confidence to other women, yet my lack of confidence consumes me. When I ran a marathon, I was in my prime and in the best shape of my life. Still, I didn’t like my body. Stronger than ever, yet blinded distorted thinking. It gets me every time. You know, that voice that reminds you that you need to be more? Be more. Do more. Therapy is ongoing for me. Acknowledging distorted thinking is hard. Digging into those thoughts is brutal. One day, I will be able to look in the mirror and love myself. I am running another marathon. This time, I am training to change my thoughts. The first step to being okay with me. I may train for the rest of my life. After 43 years, they won’t disappear. Life is sneaky. Training my mind to respond to negative triggers is where the magic happens.
As a cancer survivor, sometimes my oncologist feels like a family member. We meet often. The man has seen me at my lowest point. Physically. Emotionally. He is delicate with me and knows I don’t like my body. He says I am too hard on myself. He’s right. I marched into my last appointment with my head up and shoulders back, just like my grandma taught me. I had news to share. He surely would call me out on my body changes. Did he not take a close look at my chart? My hard work paid off right? For love, just praise my weight loss Doc! Nothing…crickets. Rather than just letting it go, my stubborn self shared about the “program” that I credit for my results. Like a ball of fire, I just beamed and glowed with joy. I found the hidden key to weight loss! It is a complex program, but it worked. Temporarily. He just grinned at me. Oh boy, here it comes. The gentle soul was about to whisper words of truth. Nothing new, just the facts. He grabbed my hand and pulled up his stool. “Angie, eat a balanced diet and exercise. Enjoy food in moderation. You know what to do. Let go of the need to change, take care of your soul, and live.” I nodded and waited for more words of wisdom. That was it. Nothing more. That gentle whisper resonated. Why? I knew what I needed to do to be happy and healthy. On this day, I surrendered my need to find a way. Keep it simple. His gentle words shook me to the core. Stop trying to find a way and do what I have known my entire life. I am not living when I am so focused on the latest and greatest in weight loss. Time to live and make friends with my body.
Little eyes watching. Little ears listening. Kids love you at face value. No judging, only big loving. I caught myself feeling stressed ordering takeout one evening. My choice would put me over my food intake for the day. My son’s face was perplexed. I started to explain how I track my food and mid-sentence I froze. Those moments that you replay and wish you could erase. My wish is for my kids to enjoy food without guilt. Try new foods, don’t skip the dessert, and love your food in healthy moderation. Move their little bodies and embrace the mirror. Understand that their bodies are always evolving. Feel confident even when you don’t love the way you look. Be grateful for your health. Rock their faith and have souls that cannot be shaken. Mamas, you are their greatest influencer. Be just that. Let them see the authentic you. Be vulnerable and live your life well. Our world today is full of unknowns. So, I continue to work on myself daily, see the good when I stand in the mirror, love my family, and do my best to eat well and exercise daily. Some days I just need to rest and snuggle my precious cargo. It’s called balance. Don’t forget those fruits and veggies!