Here is to 2020!

It is the end of the year, the end of another decade and a time for reflection. 

2019 was a good year.  But I did not accomplish all the goals I had set for myself.  Sometimes life steps in and we have to adjust our sails and get back on course.  It happens.  Life happens. 

I am looking forward to 2020!  I have already set some goals for myself when it comes to my health, my fitness, my weight and my mindset.  All things I have control over.  And all areas I struggled with in 2019.

September saw the beginning of a few months of health issues for me.  And lots of visits to doctors.  Ugh!  Let me tell you, health issues can be quite the wake-up call.  Thankfully, all is well.  But all the testing and doctor orders kept me from exercising the last few months of 2019, completely throwing off my game-plan for my 5ks. 

Life happens.

Sometimes we need to adjust those goals so that they are more reasonable and achievable.  Adjusting goals is far better and much more motivating than giving up.  So, I adjusted.

My goal for my upcoming January 5k will be to finish, instead of pushing myself beyond what my body can do, because I want to reach my original goal of finishing my fastest 5k.  If I did not adjust my goal, I would be setting myself up for disappointment and failure, both of which would sabotage any efforts I may attempt at getting healthy and would make me give-up.  It is better to adjust goals than to give up!

My goal for getting back to my lifetime WW goal did not materialize.  So, I am giving myself more time.  The goal to lose that much weight in such a short period of time was not reasonable.  Adjusting my goal to losing more slowly is far more achievable and takes the pressure off me, removing the guilt that ends up sabotaging me and making me quit.  Adjusting goals is better than giving up!

So, thinking about what I want to achieve in 2020—better health, better mindset, healthy weight loss and better fitness, has me thinking about the steps I can take now to help me move toward those long-term goals.  The steps I can take today, this week and the coming month.

Breaking the long-term goals into smaller steps makes the end not so far away, makes it seem as if those goals are within reach and it motivates me.  Each small step taken and achieved gives me confidence that I CAN do this and I WILL do this.  Each step is another step on the path to success.  And those missteps, the detours, well they are another steppingstone helping me to build my path to success. 

I have got this!

The past two days I have taken a couple of steps toward those long-term goals of better health, fitness and mindset. 

First I signed up to do the Run the Year 2,020 miles in 2020.  Yes, 2,020 miles in one year.  I was not going to do the Run the Year.  Friends of mine had done the 2019 Run the Year and were registered to do the 2020 Run the Year, but I was going to skip it.  But my health issues gave me quite the wake-up call and yesterday, I decided that the Run the Year race was exactly what I needed to motivate me to move more, to get out and walk more.  So, I registered.  And the race bling is added incentive for me! 

The second step was to purchase a new Fitbit.  My old one died.  And I have not worn a fitness tracker in over a month now.  My birthday is coming up soon, and I told my husband that I wanted the gift of health this year and that meant a new Fitbit.  I am wearing it right now.  An early birthday present.  One that will motivate me to move more.  To walk more.  Another step on my journey to my goals.

I am planning for 2020.  I am looking forward to 2020.  I am certain I will achieve the goals I set for myself this coming year.  I know it will be a great year.  With the support of my family and my “tribe”, I CAN and I WILL move forward….

One step at a time!  One small goal at a time!  One day at a time!

Here is to the new year!  I hope that all your goals are achieved this year—one small goal at a time! 

Happy Dance!!

Happy Dance!!  Happy Dance!!  Happy Dance!!

Can you tell I am happy? 

This morning I went to a workshop and I stepped on the scale to weigh in.  I weigh myself every morning (see my previous post here about weighing or not weighing) and I knew it would be down!  Down! 

After all of my struggles the past couple of years and especially this year, I am thrilled to see the number down.  But I have seen this before.  Shoot, the past year I have been up and down a million times.  So, what makes this week any different?  Why am I so happy?  What makes me so sure this is the beginning of continued downs on the scale?

Because things are different….. food choices, behaviors, thoughts, words I say to myself and my mindset….all different.  Finally!

I committed these past couple of weeks to making me a priority.  And that means, I do the things that help me move forward.  It means I am tracking.  It means I am mindful of my food choices, the signals my body is sending me and the thoughts in my mind.  It means I go to a weekly workshop and step on the scale.  It means I meal plan.  It means I remind myself every morning that I am worth it.  It means I am taking care of me—mind, body and soul.  I am making me a priority.  (Seriously, why did it take me so long?) 

This past week I made some changes.  In my mindset, by making me a priority and in my food choices and awareness, which meant I tracked.  Every. Single. Day. 

Food choices were not always the best this past week, but they were made with me keeping in mind that I am the priority.  Each temptation, each meal plan, each food choice was predicated with the question to myself—“Does this make me a priority?”  If yes, then go with it but if not then what will?  The best example of this is on Halloween, yes, that challenging day filled with all sorts of candy temptations.  My husband and I went to a movie, and we got a bag of Twix bites to share.  Before this past couple of weeks, I would have just sat down and ate, without thinking, out of the bag.  And I would have eaten quickly to make sure I got my “share” before my husband could.  But this time, with this new mentality, I actually looked at the back of the bag at the label.  5 pieces were a serving and there were 4 ½ servings in the bag.  I calculated the points (7!) and decided that I could have 2 servings—10 pieces.  I told my husband that I wanted 10 and he could have the rest.  And I ate them slowly.  When I finished the 5th piece, I stopped.  I STOPPED!!  At that moment I knew I was good.  That the treat made me feel like a priority, but I didn’t need anymore.  So, I did not eat another piece.  I made me a priority—enjoying a treat without the guilt or overindulgence. 

The other part of my food changes came in the form of a lightbulb moment!  I realized that when Freestyle launched 2 years ago, that it just didn’t work for me, because I changed, drastically the way I ate.  When it first launched, I was teetering dangerously close to the edge of the cliff and needed to be talked off that edge by a friend and one of my managers.  I knew myself.  I knew that all of those 0 point foods, that used to be points, would be dangerous.  Because now I could eat all of those foods AND STILL eat all of my points!?!  I knew I would overeat.  I knew it would be dangerous for me.  But my manager and friend convinced me to look at it differently…..that those foods would fill me up and keep me from eating the other higher point things….. but for me, personally, that wasn’t how it would work.  But I tried it and convinced my members to follow it and to trust the program. 

Freestyle works for a lot of people.  But not everyone.  Weight loss is NOT a one-size-fits-all journey.  And each of us needs to find what works for us.  Because, we are the only ones who truly know us.  No one else knows what works for me, only I do.  And I often told members in workshops that they needed to find what worked for them, to trust the science and then make the WW plan fit their life.  Make it their own.  We are all on a similar journey, but an individual one.  And I needed to remind myself of what worked for me, so I pulled out my old trackers.  That is when I realized that I had changed the way I was eating.  When I brought out my old program materials and my old handwritten food journals, there it was, one of the missing puzzle pieces to my journey….. I had changed what I was eating and how much.  And I was still eating ALL those points too.  I was eating 4-6 eggs per day and counting 0 points, when in the past they would have cost me 8-12 points.  But they were 0 points now and I could eat them, as much as I wanted…….

Every time I heard a member say they could eat as much as they wanted I would stop them, and we would discuss that it was meant to be as much as they needed to fill satisfied.  And here I was with that same thought process, only I hadn’t realized it ‘til just last week.  No wonder I was struggling!  So, I told myself what I had heard my voice say when talking to struggling members, “just because they are 0 points does not mean they are free!  And it does not mean we need to change the way we eat, just because the food is now 0 points”. 

AHA!  BAM!!  The truth for me was that I needed to eat the way I had been eating for years, the way that worked for me.  And this past week I did just that.  I went back to my egg white omelets in the morning.  I went back to my normal lunch, instead of looking for the 0 point foods and gorging on them.  I went back to healthy snacks that were not just 0 point foods, instead of the sweets and chips that I was eating to use up all those points I had left because the other foods were 0 points.  And you know what, I felt great!  I tracked it all and I stayed on track.  Why didn’t I just do this sooner?  Had I continued eating the way I had been, then Freestyle would have worked fantastically for me!  Instead, my mindset around food changed and my choices did too.  How I wish I had realized this when WW first launched Freestyle, I would not be where I am today (maybe).  But this journey is about learning and growing and finding what works for me so that I can be the healthiest and best version of me. 

Like I said earlier, we each need to find what works for us.  And while I struggled, many others found great success, including a friend and former member of my workshops who reached lifetime today with a 105 lb loss! 

Find what works for you!  There are many things I love about Freestyle—it keeps me from feeling guilty or stressed.  It gives me flexibility.  I love the rollover points, so I can plan for those parties and special occasions and not worry about going off the rails.  But for me, the unstructured 0-point foods were dangerous….. Now that I know that, well I can get back to eating my normal way.  Instead of 2-3 cups of chili AND cornbread (usually 2 pieces, with butter and honey), I am having 1 cup of chili and a piece of cornbread.  Instead of 6 eggs in my day, I am having 1.  Instead of 6 oz of Chicken breast, I am eating 3-4 oz.  It works for me.

Those food realizations and changes, combined with my “make myself a priority” mindset, proved to be quite successful for me this week!

When I stepped on that scale this morning, I was thrilled!  I lost 4.6 lbs this week!!  (yes, I know a lot of it was water, but I LOST!)  And next week that scale will be down again.  Why?  Because I am now making myself a priority!! 

I may not be perfect each day.  But I am perfectly imperfect on this journey to a healthier and happier me!

Accountability and Commitment–Making me a Priority!

A few days ago, I wrote about excuses and that it really comes down to making me a priority.  Since writing that, I have been mindful of making me a priority.  I have been more aware of my thoughts.  And I have been more purposeful in my choices, choosing me as a priority.  It is not pretty or perfect, but I am working on it. 

I have been, still am and will always be a work in progress.

This morning I took a step that made me a priority.  And in the process I found accountability beyond myself and commitment to myself.

I went to a WW Workshop.  And?  What is different about that?  Haven’t I always gone to workshops? 

Well, yes, I have gone to workshops.  I lost my original weight going sitting in those chairs.  I continued to go to workshops even when I worked for Weight Watchers as a Coach…..most of the time, anyway.  And once I quit working as a Coach, I continued going to workshops.  But I didn’t go regularly.  I didn’t want to pay…..

And when I did go, I did not step on the scale.  I didn’t want to see the number written down, though I already knew what the number would be, because I weigh myself at home.  I also didn’t step on the scale because I would be weighing in front of former co-workers, some friends of mine.  I didn’t want them to know how much I was struggling (as if they couldn’t tell by the clothes I wore or the way I looked….).  Excuses.  Excuses.  Excuses!

This morning I had planned to go to the workshop because someone I know was going to reach Lifetime and I wanted to celebrate with him and his wife.  Before yesterday afternoon, I had no plans to step on the scale.  I was just going as support for someone else and this wasn’t about me and my struggles. (yes, more excuses)

And then last night I thought about how I can move forward making me a priority.  And it hit me that workshops are important for me and my goals.  I had been making so many excuses all these months for not going to workshops for me and instead only going as a support for others therefore I did not need to step on the scale.  I was not making me a priority!  I was missing out on a tool that works for me.  A tool that keeps me accountable.  A tool that provides the support I need.

So, I made the decision that when I got up this morning I would go to the workshop and I would pay.  Not just pay for this one workshop, but I would purchase the three-month pass for three months of weekly workshops.  That would be my commitment to me.  Finally!  Commitment to making myself a priority.  No more excuses! 

I was still on the fence about weighing on the scale in front of former co-workers.  I didn’t want them to know.  I didn’t want my weight submitted so that my former bosses could see.  I just wanted to be anonymous.  I wanted to keep it a secret.  But NOT STEPPING ON THE SCALE does not work for me!  I need the accountability.  So, I told myself to suck-it-up buttercup and get on the scale at the workshop regardless of who would see the number.

And I did.  I stepped on the scale.  I hated the number I saw.  I hate that I am not the only one who saw that number.  And you know what, that means that I cannot hide any longer.  I cannot deny any longer.  It is so easy to push the reality deep inside the back of my mind where I don’t think about it, if no one else sees the number.  This morning I went back to what works for me because what I had been doing for a year now, wasn’t.  And the accountability was real.  No denying now.  No hiding behind oversized jackets now.  No excuses! This is real!  This is my journey.  This is me making myself and my health a priority!

At the workshop this morning I found another form of accountability beyond the scale.  I said out loud, in answer to someone else, that I was committed to being there and to myself.  I said I would be there every week.  And then the Coach looked around the room at everyone else and said that they heard me and now were going to hold me accountable to be there and the room all said they would. 

CRAP!  What did I just do??  Now I had to be there every week because they were expecting me to be. 

Good move, Coach! 

When I was a coach, I often said that saying something out loud in the workshop gave everyone accountability, to themselves and to the group.  And now here I was, at the receiving end of that accountability.  THAT is just one of the many reasons that Workshops work for me!

I am listening to me now.  I am making me a priority.  And I am creating accountability beyond just myself.  Because, honestly, accountability just with me, doesn’t work for me.  It is too easy to excuse it away, to hide and to deny.

Next week I will step on the scale again and it will show a loss.  Why?  Because I am making me a priority on this perfectly, imperfect journey!

Halloween–Do Something Different!

It is the end of October. 

Halloween is this week.

There are so many ways for me to sabotage myself during October.  But today I just want to talk about the challenges surrounding the holiday that kicks off the “Eating Season”Halloween. 

Halloween can be a struggle for many of us.  Halloween IS a struggle for many of us.  The candy is everywhere!  And we buy candy to give out to Trick or Treaters.  The good candy.  The candy we like.  And we expect that we will be able to resist.  And then of course, there is the sales on candy after Halloween.  We are surrounded by candy….

And it is not like we can really avoid the Halloween candy in stores because they put it everywhere! 

Halloween for years was a struggle for me.  Before my 5th journey with Weight Watchers, I would buy candy the beginning of October.  The candy I liked getting as a kid.  The candy I still liked.  And the candy I still like.  I would buy the biggest bags so that I would have plenty to give the kids that would ring my doorbell in those cute costumes. 

And those big bags would be gone the first week of October, shortly after I bought them.  I don’t know how.  I only had a piece or two…… multiple times until the bag was gone.  Then my guilt would make me buy more because I couldn’t let my husband and sons know I had eaten ALL the candy.  (of course, they knew, but as long as I was in denial of their knowledge the guilt wasn’t quite as bad.) 

And then those next bags were gone before I knew it.  Seriously!?!  Surely they just didn’t put enough candy in the bags, that was why the candy all disappeared.  That was what I told myself, anyway.  Justifying my over-eating worked…… because it couldn’t be that I was really gorging myself on candy, that would mean I had a problem with food.  And I didn’t.  I was in a lot of denial all those years. 

But the shame and guilt were only making me eat more.  And eat in secret.  I became the queen of secret eating over the years.  I found ways to open a bag of Halloween candy on the seam that no one else could see.  No one knew the bag was open.  Therefore no one knew that I was eating all that candy.  And if no one knew then I could live in denial. 

In 2006 when I joined Weight Watchers for that 5th time, I wanted to lose the weight.  I joined in March.  Plenty of time to lose some pounds before the eating season would arrive.  That first Halloween on my 5th journey, old habits came back.  I wasn’t losing weight in October.  I couldn’t figure out why.  I was counting my points.  I was in my allowance.  I was tracking.  So why wasn’t I losing?  Could it be the non-tracked Halloween candy….the bags of Halloween candy I kept eating and replacing so no one would know?  And if I didn’t track it, well then it didn’t count.  Right?  That was my mindset.  But it did count.  And the scale showed what I was doing. 

The next Halloween, October 2007, I was determined to do it differently.  Because obviously, what I had done in the past didn’t work for me.  My leader had said in one meeting that “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.”  And that stuck with me.  Those words came back to me when I was faced with the dreaded Halloween Candy! 

So, I did something different.

I did not buy Halloween candy at the beginning of the month.  Something different.

When I did buy Halloween Candy in the middle of the month, I bought candy I did not like.  Something different.

I put the candy in a cupboard where I kept the holiday dishes, so that I would not see it every time I opened the pantry.  Why?  Because despite not liking the candy, it was still candy.  And it was the beginning of the eating season…. Something different. 

And then on Halloween as we handed out the candy, I chewed gum.  With gum in my mouth there was no temptation to pop in a piece of candy.  Something different.

Doing those different things got me different results.  And I lost weight that October. 

I am grateful for those Weight Watchers meetings, where I could learn to do something different.  I could gain the tools necessary to change my behaviors and my habits. 

Now, I would like to tell you that I never went back to old habits at Halloween, but I am human and I am not perfect.  There were a couple of Halloweens where I found myself sneaking that candy.  And when I did I caught myself and stopped before I ate too many bags.  Old habits can still sneak in even after the changes we make.  Old habits are my comfort zone and when life gets crazy, stressful, messy…that is when I want my comfort zone. 

But there is a difference now.  I can stop sooner.  I can recover sooner.  I have the tools I need in my back pocket to help me overcome the challenges.  It is not always pretty.  It is not always perfect. 

For the past few years my husband and I have made some changes to Halloween.  We no longer have kids at home.  And where we live in our neighborhood, there are very few trick or treaters.  So instead of having the candy in our house and having a ton left over (like we did 5 years ago on our first Halloween here) we go out.  We go to dinner and a movie.  It works for us.  It keeps me from falling back into old habits fueled by a tempting season. 

In Weight Watchers meetings we share our strategies for getting through Halloween. Here are just a few of the ones I have learned over the years—

  • –Buy candy you don’t like
  • –Wait until Halloween or the day before to buy the candy
  •  –Avoid the Halloween isle in the grocery store
  •  –chew gum while handing out candy
  •  –Hide candy after buying it
  •  –Do not hand out candy while hungry—eat first
  •  –Don’t go to the store and buy the sale candy the day after Halloween
  • –Look up the point values of candy BEFORE Halloween so if you have candy, you know the points.  Knowledge is power!
  •  –donate left over candy (dentists will collect candy)
  •  –send left over candy to work with a loved one—get it out of the house

What would you add to this list?  How do you deal with Halloween?  How do you deal with the candy?  What do you do differently that works for you? 

How are you preparing for Halloween and the kick-off of the “eating season”?

Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.

Excuses.  Excuses.  Excuses.

I can come up with hundreds.  But none of those excuses will help me to get where I want to be.  None of those excuses will help me to reach my goals. 

The only thing excuses do, is keep me from becoming the me I want to be, the me I strive to be.  Excuses keep me stuck, unable to reach the goals I set.  And excuses keep me beating up myself.

Every day I step on the scale.  Dread fills me as I look at the number.  I know what it is going to say.  When I started this blog last April I was 26 lbs over my goal.  Now I am 29 lbs over my goal. 

And that frustrates me!

And then I justify my weight with a myriad of excuses.  Excuses that keep me from reaching my potential.  Excuses that fill my mind with negative thoughts and words.

I am working on changing those thoughts.  I am working on ending the excuses. 

Today I get real.  With myself.  And with you.  No more hiding behind the mask of excuses.  No more lying to myself.  No more “I’ll start tomorrow”, because guess what—tomorrow never comes! 

No more excuses.

I am where I am because I have not made me a priority.  Period.  And there is no excuse for that.  How can I be the best me, if I don’t make myself a priority?  And that doesn’t mean that I become selfish in the sense that I never do anything for anyone and only do what I want for me. 

Making me a priority means–I face my emotions instead of eating them.  I find time in my day to move more.  I find the time to spend on self-care.  I make time to fix healthy meals.  I make time to meal plan.  I get a good night’s sleep.  I spend time with my family.  I make time for walks with my husband.  I make time for date nights.  I spend a day in my pjs watching movies if that is what I need.  I write. 

Making me a priority means letting go of the stress, anger, and other emotions that I allow to make me eat.  And it means letting go of the things I cannot control.

Making me a priority means living my life to the fullest.  And it means loving myself, imperfections and all. 

No excuses.

So, today I start, right now…not tomorrow, today!  And I start now 29 lbs over my goal weight.  No beating myself up over this, because that won’t help and will lead me right back down the excuse lane.  Instead I will celebrate that I am getting real with myself.  I will celebrate that I did not gain the entire 72lbs back.  I will celebrate that I am alive and can now work on what needs to be done.

Because, after-all, I am worth it! 

I know it won’t be perfect, but who needs perfect?  I just need to keep moving, keep learning and keep growing!

OOPS!

Well….. I have been doing this a LONG time…. 13 years now, not counting all my previous attempts.  So, you would think I would remember… that I would know better…. But…..

Yes, I have been struggling, but I decided to start again with tracking, something I have not been consistent about for quite some time.  Yesterday was pretty good.  And this morning I had EVERY intention of having a great, stick-to-my-points, day. 

And then this happened. 

It is small…..really small…. The smallest ice cream cup a person can buy.  Only 3.6 oz.   Can’t hurt, right?  I had a great on point breakfast and then decided to have a tiny treat….

I ate it all, which wasn’t much!  And then I went to track it and wanted to check the points.  It is less than a ½ cup serving, so it had to be less than the 12 smartpoints I usually track for a ½ cup of this ice cream. (note to self, this ice cream ranges from 11-15 points per ½ cup and this particular flavor is 14 smartpoints per serving). 

WHAT was I thinking??? I know to ALWAYS look up the point values BEFORE eating.  Oh. My. Gosh.  How many times over the last 13 years have I talked about or heard about checking points before eating?  Yet, I thought I knew the points without looking, it was smaller than a normal serving size after all.  HA! 

This little, less than ½ cup serving of ice cream was…. Wait for it….. 13 smartpoints!!  13!!!  WHAT!! 

So, here I am.  The experienced Weight Watcher member and former coach and I figured I KNEW what the points would be without double checking.  Oops!  A lesson learned.  A reminder to check BEFORE eating. 

And a lesson in slips.  They happen.  We all slip.  We all hit that bump in the road.  We all have those “Oh my gosh” detours.  And even the experienced have those moments. 

But that slip is NOT failure.  The bump does NOT derail everything.  It is a just a moment in time.  A moment on the journey that allows for feedback.  It is an opportunity to learn.  To realize what works and what doesn’t.  An opportunity to see that sometimes on this journey we slide a little, sometimes even a lot, but it doesn’t mean we have failed and cannot succeed.  We learn and we can get back on track.  We move on, rerouting the journey so that we keep moving forward…. One-slip-at-a-time….. One-step-at-a-time….

That slip is just another steppingstone on the path to success!! 

So, I tracked that little bit of ice cream.  And combined with my breakfast, I am almost out of points for the day.  The day is just starting.  Good thing I have those 0 point foods to rely on today!  And those extra points for the week.  I have my plan for the rest of the day and this slip WILL NOT derail my progress!

This is proof that I am really on a perfectly imperfect journey!  And all is still right with the world!

Body Image–Shifting Negative to Positve, part 2

Last week I wrote my thoughts on the WW weekly topic relating to Body Image.  A tough topic.  Not one most want to talk about.  And it doesn’t matter our age, our weight, or our gender.  Many have negative thoughts about our bodies or parts of our bodies.  And those thoughts are so ingrained in our psyches, influenced by people in our lives or the many media forms, print and online. 

I spent a lot of time this past week thinking about the body image topic and working on shifting my thoughts about my own body.  I even went to a second workshop. 

That second workshop made me think.  The coach asked questions of us that were meant to get us thinking.

And I asked those questions of myself too.

How do those negative thoughts/beliefs/words impact our day?  What would change if we said/thought/believed something positive?  What impact would focusing on just the positive have on our journey, our day? 

And why is it so important to shift from negative to positive? 

How does one shift a mindset or shift the negative beliefs to positive ones? 

THAT is the question.  THAT is the difficulty.  If it was easy to change our beliefs, our thoughts, our immediate reactions, then we would never have a negative thought.  But it is NOT easy! 

Yet, it is so important.  Changing those negatives changes how we see ourselves and how we treat ourselves.  Getting rid of negative thoughts and changing them to positive thoughts changes our relationship with us and changes our relationship with the world around us including our relationship with food.  Yes, shifting a negative mindset will change everything! 

Think about it for a minute— if you started your day looking in the mirror and only seeing what you perceived as “wrong” with you, only saying negative things (“my hair is so frizzy and I hate that” or “ugh!  How disgusting!”  “I will never be pretty” “even sucking in my stomach doesn’t work” “my legs are to big so I cannot wear those shorts” or a host of other negative things!), how would those negative words impact your day?  How would you feel by starting your day that way?  What would your choices look like?  Would you choose the delicious healthy breakfast or go for the doughnuts?  Would you skip your workout?  Would you want to do anything to take care of you?  I wouldn’t….. 

Starting my day in a negative frame of mind, would set the tone for the entire day.  And it would not be a positive tone at all.  My choices reflect my thoughts.  They always have.  They always will.

But if you started your day looking in the mirror and seeing something beautiful, something positive, saying something that made you smile (“my eyes are shining today” “Hello beautiful” “Those stretchmarks, well they are proof of the miracle of life, those babies!” “Boy are my arms strong”  “Look at those strong legs that carry me everywhere I need to go” “Today I woke up and that is worth celebrating” or a myriad of other upbeat and positive things) how would those positives impact your mindset, your choices, your day?  Would you want that healthy meal?  Would you want to go for that walk with your friend or get in the pool for some activity?  Would you want to do things that take care of you?  I would……

So, with all of these questions and thoughts going through my head this past week after attending the second workshop, I set out to find a way to shift my mindset and my thoughts. 

How?  How do you stop negatives that have been with you for a lifetime?  How do you get rid of the voice in your head from long ago, telling you how ugly you are… telling you all that is wrong with you?  How do you let go of the images that are EVERYWHERE in our society that show us what a “perfect” body looks like (and an unrealistic body since most of those images are highly photoshopped/edited)?  I can tell you it is NOT easy.  It is hard!  But NOT IMPOSSIBLE! 

It starts with recognition.  It starts with HEARING your words and knowing they are not helping.  Only then can you begin to change those thoughts and shift your mindset.  Then it takes INTENTIONALLY saying something positive.  INTENTIONALLY focusing on the positive.  Every. Single. Day.  Making it a habit.  And that takes time, sometimes a lot of time.  And it requires COMMITMENT.  When we first say that positive thing in place of the negative, well we may not believe it….not that first time, maybe not the second time, maybe not until he 100th time.  Commitment to intentionally focusing on the positive means we keep doing it even when we don’t quite believe it, because eventually we will believe it.  Eventually we will automatically go to that positive place.  And that is when we know that we have shifted our mindset, we have made a habit change. 

To that end, I decided to do something I had started a while ago, but to take it up a notch.  I had gotten in the habit of writing positive affirmations on the mirror above my bathroom sink, using dry erase markers.  Those positive affirmations made me smile.  So, if they worked on my mind in a positive way, then maybe writing positive thoughts about the parts of my body I didn’t like would help too.  But the mirror above my sink wasn’t the best place to write those, because, it wasn’t across from the shower… I could avoid that mirror until I was clothed (I know TMI). 

But…. The mirror on the backside of the barn-door that covered the entry to my bathroom, THAT mirror I couldn’t avoid.  That mirror was the one that I hated.  That mirror was where I needed to write my positive thoughts.  And I did just that this week.  “Hello Beautiful” at the top.  Positives about my arms.  Positives about my abs/stomach.  Positives about me.  Yes, my arms are strong and can hug my loved ones.  Yes, my stretchmarks prove the miracle of life, that I had two beautiful boys.  Yes, I am strong. 

Seeing those words every morning and every night is changing something in my mind.  Changing my attitude.  Changing my view of the world around me and my view of me.  Those words start my day on the right note, a positive note.  And that positive start helps me to deal with stresses differently.  And the little things don’t seem to bother me as much as they had before.  My whole outlook is a little brighter and more positive (and I tend to be a pretty positive person anyway, except when it comes to critiques about myself).  And those positives at night, well it just ends the day in a brighter way for me.

Shifting negative body image thoughts to positive ones, does not mean we are choosing to stay where we are at in this moment.  I still want to lose more weight.  That is a goal of mine.  I want to be healthier, stronger and live longer.  So, changing to a positive body image does not mean I am giving up on my goals and accepting this is where I am supposed to be.  No.  It is about being happy and finding the positives now, where I am at now and still working toward my goals. Happy people make healthier choices.  And I said above that my choices reflect my thoughts.  By being positive, thinking positive, loving me where I am at right now, I am helping myself to move forward toward my goals.  Because, when I am in a positive mindset, I make better choices when it comes to food, activity and taking care of me.  That is why this topic is so important right now.  Loving our bodies in every stage, finding something positive about us and our bodies, actually helps us get to our goals.  What do you think?  Do your choices reflect your thoughts, too?   

With all of that in mind, how can you start to change your views about you?  How can you start to change your thoughts and make them more positive?  What would that do for your day?  How would that impact your choices?  What one thing can you do today that will help you to take a step forward in changing your negative thoughts to positive?

You can do it!  I can do it!  We just have to take that first step….