I Owe My Body an Apology

Source: tender-love-is-blind.tumblr.com

Source: tender-love-is-blind.tumblr.com

I’ve put my body through a lot in the last five years. First it was a severe diet and exercise program resulting in a great looking body, but a seriously damaged mental and emotional state. Then more than a year in a long distance relationship, traveling back and forth across the country while spending my ‘free’ time getting my house ready to sell. Insert devastating breakup here. After that it was a new job where I spent two years working 60-80 hours a week in a highly stressful environment trying to ‘prove’ myself.

All this has taken a serious toll on my physical health. Duh!

After I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue in May, I did a lot of research. I discovered how hard my body has had to work these last few years. I’m ashamed to admit there was a time in my life when I was hyper-focused on weight loss and the way my body looked. It’s all my friends and I would talk about. In the shadow of compromising my health, it seems so shallow; so superficial.

And yet…here I am again.

Recently I stepped on the scale and the number staring back at me shocked me. As much as I hate to admit it (especially in this public forum), I’ve gained back all the weight I lost and then some. And I’m irritated with myself that I feel less than because I’m heavier than I used to be.

I’ve been tempted to blame my body for failing me, but it had no choice. The weight gain is a result of reaching for caffeine, carbs and sugar, which I used to keep going every day in such extreme circumstances. It was a trade off. I ignored my body’s signals to rest, to go easy on myself. I pushed it to do more and more and more. I was unreasonable, unrelenting, a brutal taskmaster at times.

Not once thinking about what I was doing to myself, I took my good health for granted. I believed my body would keep doing what I asked, no matter how hard I pushed it. And my body did its best. It really did.

This has been a difficult lesson (aren’t they all?) for someone who has built their reputation on being the person who comes through no matter what. You don’t realize how much harder everyday tasks are when you’re physically tired and in pain much of the time. When even showering and getting dressed can be exhausting. But there’s nothing else I can do. If I keep pushing myself I’ll only do more damage to my body. So the alternative is learning to accept I am able to accomplish less right now. Much less.

Sometimes I think, “I just want the old me back.” But I don’t really. Okay…maybe I want parts of her back. Mostly her energy, her strength, and yes…her waistline. But what I am trying to let go of is the part of me who pushes so hard. Who doesn’t take care of myself. Who thinks my poor body will keep going no matter what.

Little by little, I’m learning to pay more attention to what my body needs and listen less to the voices in my head that tell me what it should look like. And even though it’s tempting to go on yet another radical weight loss plan, I know that’s not the answer. Putting more demands on my body will not allow it to heal. Treating myself with kindness is the only way to better health.

Who I am and how I show up in the world is so much bigger (pun intended) than what I weigh. Though I don’t always live it, in my heart I know it’s true.

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.

Be Where You’re At

okayPerhaps the title of this post should be “Take Your Own Damn Advice!” I’ve actually written about this recently in my post, “Go On…Have a Bad Day.” But as much as I know this and would advise a friend to do it, turns out I’m not very good at doing it myself.

I have several go to phrases I use when someone is having a difficult time:

“Be where you’re at.”

“You’ll be done with it when you’re done with it.”

“The only way out is through.”

These are not platitudes to me. I really believe them and I think they are helpful when one is up to their eyeballs in resistance. They are reminders to stay present; to not judge yourself. To feel your feelings rather than try to numb, stuff, or ignore them. The problem is it’s not always easy to practice what I preach.

I’ve been feeling down. Unmotivated. Kind of a general malaise. Not for any reason in particular; at least not one that comes to mind. But I’ve been judging myself for it.

As a new life coach trying to navigate my way through building a practice and honing my skills, I’ve found coaching myself to be difficult at times. I have a whole new set of judgments. “A ‘good’ life coach would be more positive. How can I coach other people when I can’t even get my shit together?” And the ever popular, “How do I expect to get what I want out of life when I feel like crap?”

So there I am…fighting how I feel. Feeling stuck…and miserable.

And then I started to cry.

I was sitting in meditation when this feeling of sadness came over me. I’d actually felt it several times over the past couple of days, but I tried to ignore it. I told myself I didn’t have any reason to be sad, so I pushed the feeling away. But as I sat there and let it be without judgment, the tears began to fall.

When I allowed myself to feel the sadness an interesting thing happened. The tightness in my chest eased up…just a bit. The dark cloud that had been looming over me felt a little lighter. I suddenly felt like writing again.

The message here? Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend…with love and compassion. Drop the judgments and feel what you feel.

Well, at least that’s the message for me today. If it resonates, then maybe it’s the message for you too.

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.