Positive Self-Talk: How it helps me to go from feeling crazy to feeling calm ūüíē

Life is messy. ¬†Some days are hard and they’re hard for no particular reason. ¬†Today was one of those days. ¬†For no apparent reason, I let negative thoughts begin to formulate in my mind and for me, once it starts it’s ike a dangerous rollercoaster – one negative thought feeds into the next. ¬†They snowball out of control until I am so overwhelmed by negativity, I lose all sense of myself. ¬†Today, those feelings overtook my mind and my body until I was a hot, snotty, crying mess. ¬†But now that I’m back on even ground, I realize that that’s okay. ¬†(Trust me, in the height of these feelings and thoughts it’s anything but¬†okay).¬†We all have those days. ¬†And I’m okay now. ¬†I have grounded myself. ¬†I have turned off the negative thoughts by thinking every positive thought I could think and then writing it down because that’s how I cope best.

 

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Now I feel so much better. ¬†It’s about embracing it all. ¬†The good, the wonderful, the terrible, the hard, and everything in between. ¬†Here are my positive affirmations that helped turn my mind around today. ¬†Once I got started they weren’t hard to come up with. ¬†It’s when I am feeling the most intense feelings that my fingers fly over the keyboard the fastest. We have to be aware of when we’re filling our own minds with negative thoughts and use every strategy we can to turn them back into positive. ¬†For me, it’s the only way I can go from being a complete emotional wreck, to feeling happy and calm again. ¬†I simply turned on some calming music, shut myself into my room, and started to write to remind myself of all the reasons I should feel good. ¬†What are your coping skills for the days when life just seems so hard?

Positive Self-Talk ūüíē

 

(While doing this I imagined I was talking to one of my best friends, because after all we should all be our own best friend!)

You have been working so hard at making yourself healthier.¬†You have been educating yourself about nutrition and sugar and making changes to improve your health and weight. ¬†You overcame the fierce addiction to coffee and flavoured cream and other junk food and treats. ¬†You have been able to say No to them. ¬†You have been brave enough to experiment with alternatives. ¬†You sought out answers for yourself. ¬†You have reached out for help and support when you needed it. ¬†You have stood firmly by your own beliefs and stood true to them even when others you respect may disagree. ¬†You have said no to fast food and temptations numerous times. ¬†You are strong. ¬†You have been feeling good about your body and the changes you see in it. ¬†You are proud of yourself because you work so hard. ¬†You have learned so much about school and technology lately and have worked hard to make engaging lessons for your students. ¬†You have worked tirelessly and endlessly to help each and every individual student and to be the best teacher you can be. ¬†You have stayed patient and have not been yelling at the kids when they frustrate you. ¬†You are doing your best. ¬†You are a hardworking, open-minded, dedicated teacher. ¬†You are a positive person. ¬†Be gentle with yourself. ¬†You are YOU. ¬†You are kind. ¬†You want the best for people. ¬†Your husband is amazing and suppportive. ¬†He went to buy you cold medication when you weren’t feeling well. ¬†He let you use the bigger blanket because you weren’t feeling well. ¬†He listens to your irrational tangents and sits with you and continues to speak logically to you and ground you and he does it for as long as he needs to until you are okay. ¬†You laughed with your husband and your son last night and it felt so good. ¬†It felt so good to share a joke with Brandon and to watch him laugh at himself. It felt so good to hang out with Brad in the garage doing something of his choosing but just enjoying each other’s company and laughing together – it felt like we were dating again. ¬†You have amazing family. ¬†When you called your Mom yesterday her voice sounded so happy to hear from you. ¬†Your nieces love you and were so excited to talk to you on video chat. ¬†They are adorable and you love them so much. ¬†You looked at your daughter’s grad photo this morning and thought about how beautiful she is and how proud you are of her. ¬†You have a home that you have worked hard for, that you take good care of, and that you love to be in. ¬†The sun is shining and summer is coming. ¬†Soon you will go on vacation. ¬†You will be near water and read books and go camping with your family. ¬†You will feel invigorated by the city and by the fresh air and just by summer in general. ¬†You have been trying to so hard. ¬†I see your hard work, your endless dedication, it’s enough. ¬†You are good enough. ¬†You are happy and positive and loved and smart and dedicated and hard working and beautiful and special. ¬† Now slow down. ¬†Enjoy life. ¬†Enjoy YOUR life and what truly makes you happy. ¬†You may have to find it again. ¬†It will take time but whatever you find it is good enough. ¬†It will bring you joy and true happiness and peace and serenity. ¬†Don’t listen to the judgements from others. ¬†Most especially don’t judge yourself. ¬†Don’t compare yourself to others. ¬†You are okay. ¬†Things will be okay. Life is hard sometimes. ¬†Really, really hard. ¬†It’s okay to be sad sometimes. ¬†To feel frustrated, overwhelmed, not good enough. ¬†But when those things happen, it’s okay. ¬†It’s all okay. ¬†It is life and you have such a beautiful life. ¬†So many reasons to be happy. ¬†You won’t always understood, have the answers, feel satisfied, but trust the process. One day at a time. ¬†You got this. It’s all okay. ¬†Everything is okay and you are happy, light, happy, and free. ¬†I love you. ¬†I love you so¬†much.

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My Newest (and most Important) Reason to Get Healthy!

I feel like I’ve made a revelation of sorts recently. ¬†In fact, it’s one that’s so huge, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure it out. ¬†It seems like something I should have realized years ago, but somehow I missed the boat. ¬†It’s taken me almost twenty years to realize this:

Nutrition and exercise are directly related to mental health.

As I said, it seems so obvious that I can’t believe I never really saw or understood that before. ¬†I mean, sure I’ve read it and heard it, but it’s never hit home for me until now.

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For me, losing weight was always about looking good. ¬†It was about trying to meet some kind of ideal of “healthy” and “thin” which I always, always linked with beautiful, sexy, successful. ¬†For years the desire to be those things was enough to make me want to lose weight. ¬†But something has shifted in my life and although I still want to be beautiful, sexy, and successful, those things in themselves don’t seem to be enough to motivate me to put in the hard work that it takes to lose weight and maintain it.

So I’ve been struggling. ¬†I haven’t been able to find the inspiration and the motivation to get back on the wagon. ¬†Terrible eating habits and nights on the couch in my PJs are my daily routine again.

Also part of my daily routine, especially at this time of year, are a major lack of motivation, incredible feelings of laziness, always, always feeling exhausted, and some feelings of anxiety, overwhelmness, and hopelessness.  Not to mention headaches, bloating, gas and a multitude of digestive problems.  Ugh.

Why did it take me so long to link the two?

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For the first time, in my decades-long journey of weight loss, I have finally found a source of inspiration that I believe could be a real turning point in my life. ¬† It’s like a giant, golden light bulb has gone off and what I have been looking for for years, is suddenly here, loud and clear.

I have a new, and significant, reason to want to eat better and exercise. Because now I know that doing those two things will impact my life in ways I may have experienced but never really understood before. ¬†Fueling my body with healthy foods and exercising won’t just make me “skinny” and “self-confident”, it will directly impact my mental health and in essence, my overall life.

It will give me energy again. ¬†It will give me the fuel I need to make it through the day. ¬†It will alleviate my headaches and prevent me from feeling so tired by 4 p.m that I don’t want to do anything but bury myself under a blanket and never come out or cry. It will help to heal my digestive issues, build physical strength to prevent achy legs and hips, and take away the bloating and gas I so often deal with. ¬†It will¬†improve my self-confidence and drive me to want to improve other areas of my life. ¬†It will fill me with positive self-talk and help me to be kinder, more gentle, and more patient with others – all things I want so desperately in my life but often don’t have the energy for.

I still can’t believe I never understood this before!¬†

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Many times my husband has told me that he thought I was “happier” during the few years in my life when I had met my goal weight, was working out like crazy, and eating on plan. ¬†For so long, I disagreed with him. ¬†I even wrongly perceived his comment. I took it as his way of saying that he prefers me to be skinny rather than overweight. I would shrug off his comment with the argument that I am just as happy now as I was back then.

But now I finally realize what he meant. ¬†It doesn’t mean that I am unhappy¬†now. ¬†It’s just that the habits I had established then had such a direct impact on all aspects of my life. ¬†It’s that eating well and working out regularly affects you in so many ways that I didn’t even realize it. ¬†Yes, it’s possible to be happy without diet and exercise in your life, but it’s so much easier¬†to be happy with¬†those things.

For the last several months I have wallowed in self-pity and guilt. I have felt discouraged and was searching desperately for reasons to justify my lack of healthy eating and working out.  And now I can so clearly see that all that was doing was bringing more negativity into my life.

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So finally, finally, finally¬†I feel like I have found my motivation again. ¬†I have always known that eating healthy foods and exercising is important but I just couldn’t find the inspiration to do it. ¬†Now that it is so obvious to me the direct impact they have on my mental health (and overall well-being) it doesn’t seem so daunting. ¬†And although a new year is just around the corner, and it’d be so easy to say I’ll just start then, this new reason to want to get healthy doesn’t seem like something that can wait. ¬† It needs to happen now. ¬†And I can’t wait to get started!

 

Learning Self Love

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It came to me this morning as I was awake in bed after having slept in late for the first time this summer.¬† I was just laying there, not really thinking about anything except maybe about how I was going to convince myself to get up and start the day.¬†¬† Then suddenly, my mind drifted and I was thinking about my weight (this often happens in the morning because nearly every day when I wake up I promise myself that this will be the day I get back on track permanently). Out of nowhere it seemed though, a thought popped into my mind and it seemed so clear and made so much sense, that I could hardly believe I hadn’t realized it before.¬† This is what came to me:

The reason I can’t get back on track to losing weight this time is because I don’t¬†hate myself enough.

I know, I know.¬† It sounds all wrong and probably is,¬†but¬†frankly this is how I sometimes feel and I promise you if you keep reading, you’ll understand more where I am coming from.¬† Sometimes I believe that¬†to really want to make a change, and to actually follow through with that change, you have to be displeased with yourself.¬† You have to be unhappy, grossed out, angry at yourself, maybe even disgusted.¬† You take all these negative feelings and you build yourself into a warrior promising yourself that you will win.¬† You will battle this negativity and make all the right changes until you can love yourself again.

But then I think, what happens when you aren’t really that unhappy/grossed out/angry at yourself/disgusted?¬†¬† What do you have to fight against then?¬†¬†Okay, I’m not saying I have totally and completely learned to accept my body at its current size.¬† In fact, I always question myself – is this way of thinking just another sneaky excuse to get out of doing what I know I really should do?¬† Am I just trying to convince myself that I’m okay like this, at this size, at this weight?¬† Or am I slowly and truly learning to accept myself the way I currently¬†am?

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It’s a contradiction that constantly bounces back in my head like a tennis ball in a dizzying tennis game.¬† Some days, I just want to love myself.¬† I want to be okay with my body, my weight gain, with being heavy.¬† I tell myself I’m older now and it’s more acceptable to be heavier.¬†I tell myself that this lifestyle is easier, more enjoyable, that I’ve got new and more important things to focus on.¬† But just as I tell myself these things, I¬†start to consider¬†how ridiculous they sound.¬†¬†After all, what could be more important than focussing on my own health? And then just as soon as I’ve thought those words, the tennis balls leaps to the other side.¬† You’re not happy.¬† You were happier when you were¬†thinner and fitter.¬† You look in the mirror, see how much weight you’ve gained and you’re angry with yourself.¬†

And these contradictions don’t only exist in my head.¬† All around us,¬†we are bombarded with messages about body image – love your body but follow this diet (cleansing/juicing/carb-free,¬†gluten-free, high-protein, counting points, the list goes on)¬†¬†– learn to accept what you’ve got, but here’s how to get washboard abs in two weeks – you’re beautiful the way you are, but eating clean will give you the body you dream of.¬† The cycle of conflicting messages is never-ending and it’s ingrained in me so much that I never know which side to believe – should I love my body, or hate it?

So now, I am thinking again about that message that came to me this morning.¬† About how I can’t find the motivation to stay on track if I don’t hate myself enough.¬† Maybe I think this because that’s how it always¬†been in the past.¬† Years of negative body image finally led to a 60-lb weight loss for me about five years ago.¬† But then,¬†after only a few years of maintaining my weight loss,¬†I have gained all the weight back.¬† Although I thought I had finally “solved the puzzle” something obviously went wrong and needs to be different this time.

And I think I know what it is.¬† I have to drastically change my frame of my mind.¬† Motivation based out of self-disgust, anger, and hatred is only temporary.¬† It may fuel the fire long enough to get the results you’re looking for (or alternatively could send you into a long, downward spiral of depression and self-loathing) but then suddenly your fight is over.¬†There’s nothing more to fight against because suddenly you love yourself.¬† And when the fight is over what do you do?¬† You stop fighting.¬†You get comfortable and you forget how to fight for yourself – slowly the changes and habits you used to fuel your fight are gone and before you know it, you’re right back where you started.

So now I think I know what I need to do.¬† I need to learn how to accept and love my current body while at the same time taking steps to improve it.¬† My workouts and diet can’t be based on self-loathing, they need to be formed around self-love.¬† I read a quote once that said something like “I don’t work out because I hate my body, I work out because I love it”.¬† This is the new mentality that I need to adopt.¬† I need to know that loving my body is not going to send me into some¬†eating-frenzy comfort¬†zone that I’ll never find my way out of.¬† I need to know that it’s okay to accept my body all while being aware that, like anything, there’s always room for improvement.¬†I need to work hard and stay relaxed. ¬†I need to be gentle with myself and at the same time dedicated and determined.¬† I need to understand that, like life itself, there will be ups and downs, good feelings and bad feelings, and wonderful days and terrible days.¬† But above it all, I need to know that it’s okay – it’s okay to love myself along the journey – and that only with self-love will the true change that I want really come along … and stay.

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It’s time… (A Very Personal Struggle)

Feeling great after the 10k.

Feeling great after the 10k.

Sometimes you need that one friend in your life who will tell you exactly what you need to hear, no matter how hard it may be to hear it.

Thank God, I have my husband.

We had a conversation today that I may not have wanted to have, but needed to  desperately.

We had a conversation about my weight.

It’s no secret that I have struggled with my weight for most of my life.¬† About four years ago though, I thought I finally had it figured out.¬† Over a course of a few years (and a lot of hard work!), I had dropped 65 lbs. and felt better than ever.¬† During that time, I learned so many things about nutrition, healthy eating, portion sizes, exercise, and fitness.¬† I tracked what I ate meticulously, attended Weight Watchers meetings regularly, and was constantly challenging my body physically.¬† I was over-the-moon with my new, slim, fit body and all the praise and comments I got from others. One of my proudest moments, was in 2011 when I completed my first 10k race as part of Ottawa’s Race Weekend.¬† I may not have been the fastest runner that day, but the fact that I had come¬†that¬†far in my fitness routine and achieved such an accomplishment was thrilling to me!

Bradley and I after running the 10k in Ottawa.

Bradley and I after running the 10k in Ottawa.

From 2010 until 2013, I maintained my weight loss.  I continued working out and introducing new challenges to my fitness routine.  I watched what I ate and my new, higher metabolism allowed me to have treats without wreaking havoc on my process.  I reached all kinds of milestones and felt a new sense of confidence and self-love that I had never experienced before.

Then I got married.

I don’t blame my marriage at all for my weight loss, it’s just the turning point for when I started gaining back all the weight I had lost. Shortly after we got married, I began a new job an hour away which drastically changed my daily schedule. ¬†Ever since, I have done nothing but let my newly-formed, healthy habits go.¬†Devastatingly, this has resulted in all 65 lbs. being packed on over the last two years.

Now, instead of the highly motivated, inspiring, and life-loving girl I was, I have once again become a person who is filled with disappointment, anger, and overwhelming sadness for what I have let happen. Why did I do this?¬† How come I have let this happen?¬† I swore to myself I’d never gain the weight back! I say to myself again and again.¬† The negative self-talk is overwhelming.

And like so many others, I let those terrible, negative thoughts take over me.  Instead of fighting back with positivity and motivation, I gave in.  I gave up all the habits I had worked so hard on, and resorted back to all the bad ones that got me into trouble in the first place. Instead of loving myself and working hard to improve myself, I sit on the couch, do nothing, and think about the next tasty snack I will eat.

Why do I do this?¬† I have no idea.¬† It’s like there is a constant inner battle in my own mind that utterly exhausts me.¬† My own little angel and devil, each sitting on a shoulder.¬† One side tells me all the reasons I need to get healthy again, the other side tries to make excuses, tries to make me believe that I can be happy like this.

Except I know I can’t.

And my husband confirmed that this afternoon.¬† As tears of frustration streamed down my cheeks, he sweetly sat me on his lap and pointed to pictures hanging on our wall where I am fit, healthy, and happy. “You don’t smile like that anymore,” he told me. I cried.¬† I cried because he’s right, he’s so right, and that’s just the saddest thing to me. ¬†All this time, I have been trying to convince myself that I can be heavy and happy and while I truly believe this is possible for some people, I know it just isn’t for me.

Strong body, strong mind.

Strong body, strong mind.

Don’t get me wrong.¬† It’s not all about being skinny.¬†It’s not about¬†getting hung up over some number on a scale, or going on a drastic, restrictive diet.¬†It’s about feeling good about myself.¬† It’s about being strong, physically and mentally. It’s about establishing habits that will improve my overall health, habits that will help me live longer, and be happier.

So it’s time.¬† It’s time to let go of all the anger, the whys, the how-did-I-let-this-happen?¬† It’s time to stop dwelling on what was, and time to start making changes to what is.¬† The fortunate part for me is that I have all the tools.¬† I know how to lose weight, get fit, and be healthy because I’ve done it all before.

I really believe today was a turning point.¬† My dear, loving, sweet husband made me realize that it’s time to let go of all the excuses, turn off the negative self-talk, and do something.¬†¬†He cautiously and carefully pointed out to me what I already know – if I don’t do something, I am going to end up obese, miserable, and sick.¬† It’s my reality and it’s time to accept it.¬† I know him doing this was coming from a place of honesty and love, and frankly, I love him for telling me what I needed to hear.

I am not going to lie – thinking about starting all over again is daunting.¬† I am scared of failure.¬† I am scared I won’t know where to start, or that I will always be exhausted and won’t have the energy to go on.¬† But it’s time.¬† It’s time to start taking care of me again.¬† It’s time to stop all the negativity and to work for what I deserve ~ a fit, happy, healthy body and mind.¬†¬† I’ve got this!¬† ūüôā