Well I figured it was about time to not just talk about body positivity and self-love but to share what MY self love process entails.
It has been an extended road with a lot of bumps to get where I am. I think I will forever be learning and growing in this process but to look back on where I was gives me hope for the steps I am currently taking to be in a place where I celebrate who I am and how I look every day. I am not aiming for all day every day at this point but I am hoping that I can spend part of each day being content with who I have become and the body I reside in.
It’s hard to pinpoint where this whole process really even started because for a while now I have been learning to stop prioritizing the things that don’t make me happy and diminish my quality of life. I spent a lot of time learning to change my relationship with food and I guess that is part of when this all really began. Really I started to grow when Andrew and I got together now that I am thinking of it. I had someone who loved me for me and was my best friend and so supportive for no reason other than because he cared about me and we had an amazing friendship. He tried to comfort me when I started worrying about my weight gain when I was still at my smallest, he even came to the gym with me while we were in California even though I was also eating like garbage because I felt like I deserved it. I had deprived myself for so long that I had an unhealthy attitude with food so I started enjoying everything for a little while without regard for my health.
Now that I have gained a good chunk of weight I realize that although I allowed myself to eat whatever I felt like (within reason still sorta) I was just eating things like I would never have them again so it’s kinda like i was stuck in “I start my diet tomorrow” mode without actually planning to “diet” in any capacity. This has led me to my current physical state and way of life, which needs a change without a doubt.
It has been a few years of learning to accept love, learning to enjoy food without extreme guilt, exercising for enjoyment and health not out of obligation, accepting my body with all its imperfections and to do things that feel good and enjoy my life more than I had been in the past. I can’t imagine what our wedding would have done to my anxiety and health had I not been happy in my body when shopping for that dress.
So where am I at right now? Well if you had asked me a couple of weeks ago I was in a whirlwind of letting my depression win, extended periods of loneliness and a lot of self-doubt. It took me a good chunk of winter to realize that all my moping and shitty eating was a lot of self sabotage. I was making everything harder on myself, I was over thinking and extremely anxious and I wasn’t doing anything that I enjoyed.
In the past week and a bit I had a lot of clarity. Eating pizza and having milkshakes and cookies and Superbowl food was all fine and dandy but at some point I had to realize just how poorly I was treating my body. I wasn’t working out anymore, I was eating like garbage and I was a couch potato trying to just let the storm pass without any effort. It’s like being in a sinking boat and refusing to plug the hole while you look for a permanent solution. I was eating my feelings and my eating was making my depression worse. I was lethargic and lonely and I was buying things online to help cheer me up because happy mail helps right? not while my insomnia gets worse and my anxiety rises because of money woes.
Let me clarify again what my current job situation is. I am not making a steady income. I was working out of a gym for a while but when my client number returned to zero I was just doing customer service hours and in a small private gym that basically meant killing time on my computer with the occasional workout. So after a lot of consideration, I took a temporary leave from the gym (which also included a 2k walk one way) hubby and I thought it was best for me to spend some time at home and reorganize my thoughts and my future. I opened the Etsy shop again and I’m taking it slow but making new designs and new listings and trying to revamp for some extra money.
The beginning of the year is hard on a lot of people money wise but I have been anxious and conscious of money for as long as I can remember and as much as that sounds like it would be a great thing, it can be crippling. Like I mentioned before I was spending money but I clearly wasn’t making any and this added to my anxiety ten fold. I am constantly worrying about money, worrying about our future and struggling with my guilt frequently. I have had to take a step back and look at the big picture though. The reason I am home and not at a job that doesn’t give me joy was to find my passion and pursue it at whatever pace works for me, but, this doesn’t mean to just lose all passion for everything and give up. Andrew is so supportive but the guilt on the days I wasn’t being productive were incredibly defeating because I would always beat myself up about my lack of contribution to our household that day.
This needed to change and fast. I was in a downward spiral and realized that I was standing in my own way. I was the source of most of my problems, I was to blame for my anxiety and my guilt and whatever else. It was something I had the power to change but I was just choosing to ignore that fact and let it keep weighing on my shoulders. I want to be a version of myself that I know I wasn’t even remotely close to being at that point, I was to be resilient and strong and smart and empathetic. I want to be a trainer and a blogger and own a t-shirt brand and be more crafty and eventually be a mom too. I want to be proud of who I am so I needed to get off the damn couch and put aside all the things that don’t give me authentic joy.
So that brings me to my current self-love approach.
I’m more conscious of my eating habits, paying attention to my macronutrients as well as eating more micronutrients enriched foods. I’m snacking less and when I do it’s smaller portions and healthier options. I am trying to cut out all my boredom eating because even though I knew what I was doing before, why not right? Who cares? me apparently. Don’t get me wrong, this is not specifically a diet. I am not eating to lose weight because somehow I think that will increase my self-worth but I am eating foods with the purpose of fuelling my body and keeping me energized versus over eating and taking a two-hour nap after pizza. I am also taking vitamins, drinking a ton of water and implementing a yoga/workout/mediation schedule that works for ME. I am trying to do right by my body because I know all it is capable of and this current situation isn’t it.
I am painting, reading and crafting more. I paint only when I want to, I stitch only when I feel into it so I don’t get frustrated and mess up a whole project. I do the things that make me feel good, like blogging. I wanted to have a schedule for myself but that just stressed me out instead of writing every time the mood struck. I am doing activities for me, even if it’s watching a few episodes of a show I love, I pay attention to the why of what I’m doing and evaluate if it really is what I want to be spending my time doing.
I have been better about making chores part of my routine. Even though I hate them all the time, having a tidy house alleviates so much anxiety it allows me to enjoy my fun stuff that much more. It also allows me that much more time with Andrew when he gets home.
I started a quote book. Every day I am adding something that is insightful or inspiring or meaningful to me. It allows me to take time each day and read through to find the right one for that day and that mood. It is some “slow down” time that I am enjoying each day so far. I want to be able to flip through this book on my bad day and read the things that I think will keep me going, keep me grounded and focused and if I really need it, something to help me remember all I have to be grateful for.
I have veered off my path time and time again but I feel like the more I explore who I am and what works for me I am finding the things that keep me going, the things that make me tick and the things that keep me happy enough to not be wishing my life were something else. Sure I wish I had more money to contribute, I wish sometimes that we could just have money fall into our laps to build our dream home and so we can both start our businesses but being realistic, I am becoming happy with life again. I lost my gratitude for some time but having appreciation for our little family and our little life makes waking up each day a different experience.