Self-Reflection

Back in October 2012, I wrote a post talking about how I was losing weight after discovering Zumba and making some changes to my nutrition. I happened across that post this morning, and as I read my own words from ten years ago something stuck out to me. Long before I started seeing more favorable numbers on the scale, I noticed awesome changes in my attitude, self-confidence, and outlook on life, I wrote to describe the transformation I had experienced in the time between moving to the Northwest and writing that post.

Over the last two years, my outlook on life definitely hasn’t been the most positive and I know that my self-confidence has plummeted as I continued to gain weight. Like a lot of other people, I fell into eating too much to cope with the stress and anxiety I’ve felt since the beginning of the pandemic, but I can recognize that falling into that unhealthy habit and the subsequent weight gain just gives me more stress and anxiety because I don’t like how I look or feel. Even though the logical way to feel better is to make healthier choices, I’ve conditioned myself to crave comfort food (and too much of it) and so I end up stuck in this cycle where my coping mechanism also fuels the bad feelings that I need to cope with.

It can be extremely difficult to make changes to our behavior and how we show up in the world. It’s one thing to say that I know how I would like to live my life. It’s another to figure out how to shift my behavior accordingly. Motivation comes second to change, meaning that first I have to start changing my lifestyle and that as I begin to reap the benefits, I’ll be motivated to continue even when it feels hard. So where does the initial push to start come from? According to the Internet, the answer to that question is from determination. Being determined to make a change, knowing full well going in that it’s going to be tough.

I’ve found determination to make changes at different points in my life, with varying motivations. I’ve been known to achieve things just because I was told I wouldn’t be able to. Other times, determination came from a place of just being fed up with where I was and knowing that I couldn’t stay on that path. I think that this time, my desire to lose weight and be healthier is coming from a combination of being fed up with my current habits and also wanting to make life easier and more enjoyable for my future self. Often in life I have found myself grateful to my past self for sacrificing to get me where I am now. And yes, it totally does help to think of my past, present, and future selves as independent beings, even if it may sound odd.

I don’t know that I have any profound or insightful reasons for writing this post, but after re-reading my own words from 2012 I felt compelled, if for no other reason than to reflect in writing on the way I used to think and where it got me.

Changes

I came across this post on Instagram and I find it so inspirational! I love the way it reframes a lifestyle change – something that can be very difficult- into something to look forward to.

In July, I turned 38, and I’ve been contemplating what I want this year of my life to be like. Since the pandemic hit back in 2020, it has felt to me like my main goal has been to just get through each day, but I want more than that. I’ve spent the last two years waiting for Covid to recede and life to return to normal, but I’ve come to accept that the world may look different forever and I need to start figuring out my new version of normal. I can’t keep living like my life has been put on pause, because if I do I’ll end up mourning the wasted time.

I very distinctly remember feeling the most confident back in 2012-2013. I was really focused on health and fitness and I loved that lifestyle. I felt great and I was finally at peace with my body. I loved thinking of myself as an athlete. Being that self-confident helped me to make better decisions for myself, and overall I’m very happy with where I am in life.

Ultimately, although I changed my life dramatically and I’m happy I did, in doing so I fell out of most of my healthy habits. I still exercise regularly, but my nutrition is all over the place. Over the past several years I’ve tried lots of different things to get it back in check – following diet plans, briefly working with a nutritionist, logging all of my food in my LoseIt app and counting calories. I’ve had some short-term successes, but I always end up gaining back what I lose and then some. Today I’m only about a pound away from the heaviest I’ve ever been, and I know it’s not a healthy place for me to be and that everything in my life will improve if I can make some changes.

I’m fairly happy with my current fitness routine. I work out 5-6 days a week, taking dance, barre, and spin. I also recently tried a weight-lifting class and really enjoyed it! I know the key to sticking with my workouts is finding ones that I look forward to.

I’ve been faithfully logging all of my food in LoseIt, so I have plenty of data that tells me I’m just eating far too much and that’s absolutely the reason I’m heavier than I’d like to be. In order to be successful, I need to actually set a calorie goal and stick to it. And so this morning I set myself a daily goal and I’m going to work very hard to be mindful of my eating.

Instead of feeling intimidated by this process, I’m choosing to be excited about it. Yes, it’s going to be hard at first to change my lifestyle, and I know there will be times when I feel frustrated and want to revert back to old habits. I just need to keep my eye on the prize – a happier, more confident me who can’t imagine going back to living that way.