Sigh. Not again.
At this rate, I’m going to have to throw everything out and start from scratch (not that I can afford to, but a girl can dream, right?)
I can’t help but laugh at myself, exasperatedly sighing over the fact that my jeans are too big.
A year ago, I would have been celebrating. I would have happily given them away and bought myself a new smaller pair to congratulate myself.
A year ago, I was on a journey towards improving myself physically and mentally. I started the new year with the decision to work towards loving myself completely— even my body, which I had never, ever, ever been able to bring myself to even like before.
The goal was never to “Lose 30 lbs by the summer” or “Be a size 6 by the end of May.” The goal was simply to love myself more fully. I never counted calories, I didn’t beat myself up if I missed a day at the gym, I didn’t take before & after photos, and hell yes I still enjoyed the occasional beer or cheesecake or poutine. I had cheat days once a week, but one day usually turned into two.
I just started looking after myself more. I reduced carbs and sugar, and increased protein and other essential nutrients. I started hitting the gym before work. It was fantastic. It was the best I had ever felt in my life. I felt healthy, I had so much more energy, and most importantly, I was finally starting to like the young woman looking back at me in the mirror.
I even posted my first #transformationtuesday photo!
As I shared on this Facebook post, “It’s INSANE what eating well & taking care of yourself can do. The first step was making a decision to learn to love myself, where I’m at, no matter what. Everything else started to flow pretty easily from there.”
But this morning, when I pulled my pants up and discovered this kangaroo pouch at the front and the tons of excess fabric around my thighs and butt, I didn’t rejoice. I didn’t think about buying a new pair. I just wanted to cry (and not just because my butt’s getting smaller, but seriously, that blows).
This morning, I didn’t love myself when I put these jeans on. I didn’t feel fantastic, it certainly wasn’t the best I’d ever felt, I didn’t have energy, and I was not pleased with the young woman looking back at me in the mirror.
I was disappointed. I was ashamed. I was exhausted.
This time around, I haven’t been losing weight because I’ve been making efforts to improve myself and love myself more wholeheartedly. If anything, it’s been almost the opposite.
I can’t remember the last time I made a conscious effort to work on loving myself more. I haven’t been exercising, and I haven’t been eating well. In fact, come to think of it, I’ve hardly been eating at all.
I lost weight because I haven’t been taking care of myself.
It hurts to say that. But I know that simply speaking the truth is one of the most powerful things a person can do, even if the only change it brings about is within themselves.
It’s been a rough few months. I won’t get into details, because that’s not why I’m writing this, but the last few months have been some of the most difficult of my life. It’s been a season where I’ve desperately needed to love, care for, and support myself in practical ways. And I haven’t. I’ve been so focused on everything that’s going wrong and on other people, that I’ve somehow completely forgotten about myself.
It wasn’t that I decided to stop eating 3-4 meals a day. It’s that I just forget.
I don’t feel hungry, so I don’t think to eat.
I don’t feel tired, so I don’t sleep.
I don’t feel like telling anyone what’s been going on. I don’t feel like talking about it. So I don’t.
I don’t feel like leaving the house. Like, ever. So I don’t. I get up, I go to work, and I come home. And there I stay.
And while I deeply believe that feelings are essential, and normal, and valid, I know that your feelings can be wrong and misleading, and that sometimes truly caring for yourself means seeing past what you feel (or don’t feel) and taking action anyway.
And when I say “taking action,” I certainly don’t mean anything overly challenging or intimidating.
I mean eating even when you’re not hungry. Getting enough sleep even when you don’t feel tired. Opening up to the people in your world who love, support and value you. Getting some fresh air, even if it’s just to walk to your mailbox and back.
I know from personal experience that self-care can fall low on your list of priorities. I know that it often doesn’t even make it onto the list. But I also know from experience that self-care is absolutely, unconditionally vital to healing and to getting better and even just to living life to its fullest.
Maybe you’re going through some stuff too. Maybe you’re not. Maybe life is at its peak awesomeness for you right now. Maybe you’re somewhere in between. But no matter what kind of season you may find yourself in as you’re reading this, please, I implore you, take care of yourself.
Be gentle on yourself when you’re trying & when you fail. Remind yourself that you’re not your mistakes, you’re not anything that has happened to you, and you’re not all of the thoughts you think about yourself.
When you’re thinking of all of the people and all of the things in life that you love, be sure to include yourself.
Remember that being sad sometimes is okay, and being angry is alright too. Allow yourself to feel. I spent years completely numb, convincing myself that feelings weren’t important and wouldn’t get me anywhere. And it turns out that mindset contributed to an ongoing cycle of self-hate more than my feelings ever could.
Develop healthy habits. Eat, even if you’re not hungry. Sleep if you know you haven’t been getting enough rest. Show gratitude towards yourself for your resiliency and strength in the face of adversity.
If you’re a people-pleaser like me, remind yourself every day that you are worthy of the love and kindness you freely share with others.
I could go on for the rest of the night with a list of important self-care tips that I try to hold myself accountable to, but I know that the decision to care for yourself and love yourself is resting in your capable hands. I truly hope that you don’t even need to read this. I hope you love and value yourself unconditionally, every moment of every day.
But we all need reminders sometimes. And yes, I’m aware that given everything I just told you about myself, I’m very much included in that “all.”
Lastly, you’re never alone. People care. Even people that you’ve never even met yet. I care. I genuinely do. And if there’s any way that I can help you, encourage you, or even just let you know how worthy you are of love and respect and value, please allow me to do so. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me and we’ll go from there. You have so much to offer to this world and to yourself, and I want to see you step into it fully and bravely and gracefully.
And I want to see myself do the same.