Have you ever said something that makes you stop in your tracks? Something that surprised you. Something that made you go, “huh”? You’re taken back a bit, rewinding the words in your mind, just to make sure that you indeed did just say that.
“But I need a small”.
My 5 words. 5 words I never thought I would ever hear myself say when it came to clothing. But I said it. As I stood in the clutter of winter coats in the Target aisle with my mother, I said those 5 simple words. Me. The woman since junior high who has always been a L/XL (especially in winter coats.) The woman who still struggles seeing that same girl when she looks in the mirror—the one who doesn’t consider herself beautiful. The woman who still struggles on a daily basis with her body image. That woman was able to say those words and rediscover what discipline, a clear mind, and self-love can do for her.
Full disclosure, I’ve fallen a bit off the wagon these past couple weeks. And when I mean “a bit”, I mean I took a running start and leaped off the back of the wagon.
Holiday season usually means a storm of sweets, carbs, and lots and lots of baked goods on display at your work and family gatherings. Every holiday season I have had at least two jobs, this year three. So, I don’t get hit just once by this storm; it is a giant tidal wave engulfing my entire being. I’m pretty sure I put more sugar in my system this past week than I did in the past 4 months combined. I allowed myself to sample pies and cookies and breakfast casseroles loaded with cheese, and pizza…pizza twice in 48 hours. Some of you might be thinking, “So what? Enjoy yourself a little. No harm in that.” But if you have read previous posts, you know that I discovered taking out foods with gluten and dairy have significantly improved my weight control, mood, and thyroid functioning without medication. Eating those foods and getting back into that habit won’t help me stay medication free; it won’t help me feel relief from my Hashimoto’s symptoms.
As a result of my nose dive into these foods, I began to feel drained, fatigued, bloated. I woke up each morning with a headache (something I haven’t experienced since June–chronic headaches used to plague my life). My body was no longer “regular” (if you know what I mean). My hormones began to feel out of whack, and my mindset began to plunge into a dungeon it hasn’t been to in a long time. I started to believe that I wouldn’t be able to get back on track and a lot of my insecurities began to reemerge affecting my interactions with others and interactions with myself. Instead of working in harmony with my choices these past few weeks, I pushed myself away. My coworkers would apologize for bringing in foods like donuts and my response was “It’s fine, I’ve already had two” with a laugh. To my friends I laughed it off like it was no big deal. But to myself, I was rude, harsh, discouraging, brutal. The comments I told myself because of my choices put me back into a mindset I had worked so hard to release my grasp from, and I began to believe that was all I was capable of achieving.
I chose to ignore what my body was telling me: stop. But I couldn’t stop. Even though I felt like crap physically, emotionally, and mentally. I couldn’t stop. And it wasn’t fair to myself. It wasn’t fair to those around me. As a result, I wasn’t loving myself well. Which meant, I couldn’t love others well. Then this moment in the coat aisle reminded me of how far I’ve come and what a clear mind, self-love, and discipline got me instead of my old habits and mindset: freedom to thrive. Freedom to discover my passion and calling. Freedom to connect with others.
Pushing yourself and disciplining yourself is good for growth. Telling yourself hard truths can be beneficial for growth. Being hard on yourself to reach goals is necessary for growth. But the moment that push, that discipline, that critiquing becomes self-loathing, a feeling of repugnance toward your own character, that is when it is no longer beneficial to your healthier, happier, fitter life. I had reached that point (as I continued to stuff my face with that extra slice of pizza). I doubted my capability of resetting my mindset and life. But then my coat moment happened. And I realized a small meant a healthier me, not just physically but emotionally. This moment reminded me that my push and discipline was growth.
This post isn’t coming from a place to seek praise or words of affirmation for my weight loss and fitting into a small winter coat. It isn’t coming from a place of “look at me now”. This post is coming from understanding that my journey will have setbacks and truly embracing that that’s okay. This post is coming from a place of encouragement for others to discover we all will have setbacks in our journeys.
- We all mess up.
- We all have moments of regression.
- We all have moments of regret.
- We all have moments of doubt and believing we are insufficient.
Just don’t choose to stay in those moments. Don’t wade in the moments that will eventually push your head under water. Instead of living in those moments of doubt, choose to fight for the moments that help you discover your best life, not just a mediocre, meh life. But your best life! Seek out those moments that allow you to thrive. I was so consumed by the moments in the past few weeks that I had deemed failing moments in my journey, that I almost missed out on the moments that reminded me that I am stronger than I let myself believe. Don’t let those moments win. When you get caught up in those moments, and you will, we all get sucked back in on occasion, remind yourself of this.
You can be disciplined.
You can be happy.
You can be healthy.
You can thrive.
Don’t let your circumstances or others tell you otherwise.