HerStory

All in a Day's Words

Page 4 of 13

Commencement

Commencement represents graduating from one life chapter into the next while contemplating the future. When I taught middle school, every June a recurring dream envisioned my death and a funeral to follow. I wondered who would attend and how would anyone know of my demise (prior to social media). A relentless sadness engulfed my psyche. With concern my death was imminent, a friend set the record straight, suggesting that the end of each academic year brought with it feelings of completion of one life, while a new set of students started the process again in September. As my current twelve-week exercise and weight loss journey ends and a new one commences, I contemplate the future with fresh eyes, ears, and actions.

With one week remaining, taking stock of the experience flows into my consciousness. Many prior participants fail in second, third, and fourth twelve-week program attempts, as their practices become lackadaisical, laid-back, and rebounding pounds return while former, poor eating habits resurface. Fueling motivation to reduce future failure like the initial fire that sparked my first twelve weeks requires exploring, searching, and digging for inspiration. Engaging with each twelve-week challenge, as if brand new, requires intention, goals, and determination that pave the path to continue what experience has taught me, while releasing less than optimal actions. When failure occurs along repeated journeys that were once successful, inner healing waits an awakening.

Getting to the core of underlying emotional issues along the weight loss journey sounds an alarm. The initial accolades that complemented your journey from outside sources as friends, neighbors, and strangers, cannot remain prime motivation. Internal praise, the heart or soul’s applause, contain the continued fist bumps. Transitioning to a long-term healthy lifestyle, growing comfortable in a new body, and healing within, must differ from the initial bout in the ring of past weight loss failures. Going ten rounds in the fight for maintained weight loss, fitness, and inner healing, is lengthy, hard, and requires stamina, consistency, and perseverance. Each leg of the journey commences, graduating from an ending to new beginnings. Repeated finishes and starts are lessons in completions and renewals, freedom from past transgressions, and a movement forward to pastures of personal growth. Let the commencement begin.

Hit the Refresh Button

My weight loss and maintenance process is broken down to twelve-week increments. The door of my recent three-month experience is closing as another opens. Strategically I end and then start a fresh twelve-week challenge with a supportive, social network of like-minded individuals with similar weight loss, fitness, and personal growth goals. Each person arrives at beginnings differently, some distrusting from being duped by the diet industry, several open with a hint of nervous excitement and opportunity awaiting, while others trust the process immediately. Whichever pile an individual originates from, all are worthy of reaching their goals. Helping others acclimate into the lifestyle is inspiring, energizing, and rewarding. New beginnings starting each three months refreshes the journey.

By hitting the refresh button, an excitement reoccurs every twelve weeks, reengaging the process by reframing and renewing the knowledge and wisdom. Like a starting line with newfound energy and vigor for the next cycle, we shift into drive away from coasting, no longer running on empty fumes and final sprints to the finish line. That prior race becomes history, while new avenues establish fresh paths to carve and pave, alternative strategies yet to come, and non-scale victories on the horizon. No longer bursts of pounds dropping, instead tiny increments of ounces decrease to cross a major finish line onto the last lap of lifetime weight and fitness maintenance, full of strength, self-assurance, and pride. Living in the body that highlights your best self, comfortable in your skin with emotional balance, and living your ultimate purpose, is a victory within a lifetime marathon, rather than a sprint.

Refining our tools for a lifestyle of clean eating and healthy boot camp classes is the continued journey. Given a repeatable opportunity to right the wrongs of failed attempts, healthy living rebounds, buoyant and refreshed by newfound energy. Each trip enables a strengthening of healthy practices, learning from the errors of our ways, and enhancing the success rate of hard work, dedication, and resilience. To regain footing when traction slips, we return to the track when off roaded by distractions and lift ourselves up when life shoots us down. Interruptions sometimes lead us astray. Doing consistent actions over time is the foothold of ultimate, long-term success. Hitting the refresh button repeatedly enables improvement, increased motivation, and resilience along the weight loss journey.

The Quest for Greatness

My quest for the Holy Grail of sustainable weight loss and maintenance is complete. Eating enough calories for satiation and preserving muscle while balancing sugar levels and exercising vigorously for short periods, is my prototype. To eliminate the weight, reveal the underlying muscle, and heal the inner emotional turmoil, are pieces of my puzzle for sustainable weight loss. When put into place, wholeness replaces the void that used to occupy a space within. Maintaining this masterpiece of wholeness completes the quest for greatness.

Tools scattered, half-baked solutions abundant, and follow-through short lived, I searched for the magic pill, the pot of gold, and the silver bullet of sustainable weight loss. The search ended when I stopped searching outward, as the answers lay within. Truth lay dormant in my heart and soul, awakened by readiness, desire, and effort. Finding the Holy Grail of weight loss, weight maintenance, and fitness took extensive research, experimentation, and struggle along a roller coaster path of weight loss and gain. Yet a paradigm shift occurred, changing my mindset about food, exercise, and time as an elixir, while required healing within turned the necessary final key to reach the ultimate treasure.

Bypassing hard work is not an option; emotional healing cannot be hidden, squashed, or swallowed. Gathering the broken pieces of our bodies and hearts is a prerequisite for change. Without addressing internal strife, imbalance occurs, causing preservation of brokenness within, diminished physical strength, and revisited pounds. Utilizing community support conjures weight loss, and empowers transformation. Like an everlasting Gobstopper®, the colors might keep changing, but eventually if you remain committed, you will reach the core, the great sweetness of arrival. There are no shortcuts to the center, no biting through to shortchange the journey. Lessons along the avenue of change are vital for achievement, maintenance, and increased strength.

Eating for fuel, weight bearing exercises, and psychological healing, are works in progress. Without the journey, the result is short lived. Finding a man behind a curtain with all the answers, only to realize they were with you all along is an age-old story. Yet seek the truth and you shall find the will, ability, and motivation, to carry yourself over the rainbow and back home again. Within our hearts and bodies lives the Holy Grail, we sought to find. There stands our strength, our noble steed, awaiting an awakening into wholeness of being.

Through the journey, winding roads, and obstacles there to teach resilience, lessons of forgiveness, and great understanding, we reach a pinnacle unlike anything experienced before. These lessons build courage, knowledge, and fortitude for the lifelong journey. They fill in the puzzle, putting pieces in place where gaps had stood, resulting in wisdom, healing, and courage for a lifestyle of maintained sustenance, strength, and wholeness of well-being. The quest for greatness continues over a lifetime, no ending, no beginning, but a journey to the Holy Grail within.

Far Side of Struggle

Struggle finds us even when our eyes are wide-open awaiting shoes to drop and mountains to crumble. It surprises us, makes our knees buckle, and the ground suddenly feels closer to our hearts than moments before. We grasp at air to stay standing, yet fall upon the ground, pushing and pulling, clawing and climbing until we rest as our energy wanes among the ruins of despair, waiting for a savior, surrendering with a white flag flying, uncertain of how to rise to our feet again. Solutions are distant like a memory trying to retrieve itself, former knowledge vanishes from the forefront, and we lay tattered, worn out, and empty in the dirt of failure.

Yet when silence and stillness come, a soulful whisper does speak volumes of our strength, past victories, and resilience that live within. With self-compassion, begin to dust off, take stock of the current situation, and align goals with actions. Perhaps initially we rise to our knees, strength builds upon small increments until momentum or a hand lifts us higher. Atrophy need not return to the distant starting line, but further along than initially thought. Our egos recap incompetence, worthlessness, and failed outcomes, while our hearts reiterate our true value awaiting acknowledgment shutting out the cruel inner voice that plagues us.

Though the struggle is real, the heart leads you to the other side where healing lays waiting for solace, strength, and confidence to build. When feeling the pain influenced by hurtful substances ingested, let yourself feel the wanting of more and more, to let go of needing more and more. In these moments cry the tears of old patterns, desires of comfort, and absent relief of pain, like an old muscle memory that lingers long past its welcome. Those symptoms torment for immediate gratification while the heart aches for reaching the other side of struggle. The sweet relief is temporary until we distance ourselves from the culprits taunting our taste buds, acting as dictators to our senses, and attracting themselves to us like the addiction they have become.

The far side of struggle stands past the pain and requires acceptance of its lesson. Embrace the knowledge it offers. Old patterns repeat as guidance of significant value with messages that engage the future path set for us. Consequently, struggle waits steadfastly until ready to move to its far side. Lean into the emotion to let the whispers speak fully and wholeheartedly. Our healing lies within hearing the cries of wisdom. Without moving beyond the struggle, we remain in a holding pattern, reacting to pain with comfort by unhealthy replacements for nurturing. There we reside until the healing comes. Be mindful of how pain exhibits itself, what it teaches, and how to align with it for healing. The paved path is a truth away with a shift of intention, focus, and awareness bubbling to the surface. This path leads to the far side of struggle. Take the first step.

Shift Happens

External transformation causes an internal stirring of emotions. On the periphery, we alter our bodies and environment: reduce inflammation, cleanse clothes from the closets, release toxic friends, clear the clutter, and eliminate consumption of artificial ingredients. Inevitably, an emotional shift occurs when we lose significant weight. Clean food choices, exercise, and community support change our energy, physically and psychologically. Deadened, dormant pieces of ourselves arise from their slumber and shift our awareness. Deep-seeded, internal, heartfelt secrets emerge from the soul and awaken for healing, retrieval, and release. Speaking our truth, illuminating the untold stories and guarded spaces of ourselves, ultimately sets us free to live an enlightened existence of self-love, peace, and happiness.

When we physically change, sacred secrets hidden within awaken our senses. Releasing imprisoned emotions requires courage to bare the bones of our hurt, alleviate our pain from the past, and shed the stale crusts of our core, ignored, buried, and shut out from the light. These shadows deter life’s full potential, limit possibilities, and diminish self-worth. Shielding ourselves from truth, we fear its existence and the vulnerability that lurks with possible exposure. Yet that vulnerability is the exact necessity for strength and healing. The hidden pieces of us must find light, awareness, and visibility in order to heal, mend, and alleviate buried pain. Without this nakedness of being, we lay injured, in disrepair, and immobile. Love, worthiness, and healing are precepts for change, strength, and connection.

Hardwired for connection, vulnerability, truth, and empathy are its foothold. To have a sense of belonging, we must feel worthy, illuminate our authentic selves through truth, and access the deepest depths of our hearts. Mutual exposure with others forms human bonds where empathy lives. Accessing “me also” from another strengthens vulnerability, an empowered feeling and weaving of connection. Even if our experiences are different, we walk in other’s shoes in our mind’s eye to share the sacred space. Taking the risk to reveal our inner selves to entrusted friends, therapists, or relatives, has rewards, while exposure to those who do not have our backs may warrant some falls in the process. While failed connection may occur, entrusted confidantes holding your story and pain with safety, empathy, and love is worth the risk.

As the body transforms into a stronger, thinner, and exposed version of our old selves, so too will our insides shift. A supportive network of people is necessary to carry our truth, healing, and pain. Aloneness, independence, and sole survival do not equate with humankind. Delving into our past reveals our true selves, alleviates the wounds, and stirs inner change. Although an internal process, community rises up in support. When the shift hits the fan, life happens. It spins, sputters, and spits out the dust of life experiences, awaiting cleanup. Should we allow the dust to settle upon the sills of our lives, it may remain untouched until stirred by the winds of change. Body transformation is the ultimate in unsettling our dust. Worth exploration, worth risk, and worth pain to heal the inner wounds, we enable true worth of our existence to rise from the ashes with the support of community. We are worthy of this greatness.

Raise ‘Em Up

The remarkable workout community I frequent uniquely offers support. Competitive, corporate, and scrutinizing gym populations miss the mark propping up peers. Exercise environments propagate vulnerability and act as starting gates for fitness and weight loss. Initially physically weak, aiming for strength and health, a harsh, competitive atmosphere triggers newcomers to run for the exit long before reaching goals. Discovering an alternative, special environment, where raising one another up and offering support, rather than negatively judging, surprised me. Helpful advice granted, sacrificed workouts to guide others, and extreme encouragement offered to the new, the weary, and the shy, counter usual gym atmosphere. Raising others up emotionally is a lesson in giving, wishing better and more for the stranger next to you, an effective, overwhelmingly, heartwarming experience.

Giving without expecting anything in return, this gym community bonds within a private, social media page with words of wisdom, inquiries, and cheer. Motivational pep talks parade the pages; postings by veterans and newcomers alike engage and commiserate about emotional healing, fitness, and weight loss. Pictures of food preparation, inspirational quotes, and before/after photos of successful participants, bombard the posts to engage and inspire the masses toward successful choices. Women vulnerably divulging life struggles meet up with empathy, supportive solutions, and listening ears, raising hope, sharing healing processes, and establishing an inclusive, belonging spirit to over four hundred pairs of watching eyes and sponge-like minds

Besides the virtual community, connection, camaraderie, and collaboration occur upon the floors of exercise classes. Teaming up for intense strength interval training, boosting the efforts of a partner, is a full energy sprint in giving with energy, enthusiasm, and support. Wanting more for someone else orchestrates a genre of palpable, euphoric giving. It plays a harmonizing tune in our hearts, pounding from adrenalin, beating with love emotionally, and sounding the alarm of support. Reciprocation feels immensely satisfying, yet unexpected. Joy, healing, and belonging occupy connection among peers while bonding ensues, vulnerability dissipates, and strength flows among the masses.

Competitive environments motivate many, yet within the vulnerable space of healing the broken emotional parts of ourselves, empathy necessitates a kind-hearted community, connection, and consoling place. Typical gym philosophy negates this need. Yo-yo diet and fitness cycling continue without core results, core healing, and core well-being. Community supports accountability, and motivation to be better, do better, and become the best versions of ourselves. Breaking down the boundaries, revealing the depth of our despair, and revolutionizing support through connection, the charge to change fitness communities is possible. Raising each other up enables the successful road to wellness, paved with generosity, sharing, and engagement of humanity’s greatest strength, love.

Recognize other’s success is not your failure, kind people are the best type of people, and a supportive environment is the difference between successful, sustainable lifestyles and failed long-term attempts. Boosting up others’ spirit, power, and reserve to continue when failure feels inevitable, empowers the masses. It raises hope that anything is possible with the power of many. Assembling the pieces of the weight loss, fitness journey alone requires perseverance, focused energy, and consistency. Yet when the shoe drops, others picking you up, dusting you off, and exhibiting compassion, a web weaves connection. Together courage, accountability, sustainable success causes the confetti to fly. Community within the gym requires “raising ‘em up.”

Toxic Friend Removal

Besides cleansing the closet, body, and pantry of past poisons and fashions, emotional toxicity lurks within relationships. Chosen friends strengthen or deplete, support or oppose, compliment or criticize. When you succeed or fail, do they empathize or sympathize, encourage or discourage, share or monopolize? Toxic individuals embody a variety of characters, yet how you feel when with them and long after reveal the amount of connection, sincerity, and support within a friendship. During the weight loss journey, a path of improvement strengthening physically and emotionally, intention, connection, and camaraderie among friends requires evaluation. Identifying ally or enemy is vital for success.

Friendships experience transitions, sometimes necessitating change and departure. A former “you” no longer fuels the same fire and needs to change environments to accommodate successful results. Reaching goals through actions requires setting and aligning parameters. Environments we choose, including our social interactions, must correlate with changes to our lifestyle. Like alcoholics no longer visiting bars, healthy lifestyles constitute gym gatherings rather than junk food outings. Like dates with Ben and Jerry traded in for Sal and Ed, the old connections no longer serve you, as drinking, all-you-can-eat buffets, or commiserating about the hardness of life, pivot to healthy options with like-minded souls.

When change bestows novel experiences, revelation, and positive body and mind transformation, finding and utilizing social support is beneficial. Like energy vampires, those that suck life force from a path that highlights healing, strength, and personal growth, toxic relationships test stamina and determination. Low self-esteem perhaps enables a friend to feel needed, helpful, and supportive. When independence and self-reliance appear, their importance diminishes, and the friendship’s foundation depletes. Authentic, balanced relationships remain fertile even during change and struggle. Genuine friends support unconditionally, surviving, shifting, and thriving, while relationship limitations illuminate weakness when emotional bonds disband as each individual grows.

Connection requires vulnerability, allowing emotional exposure. Laying our hearts open in the presence of others is required. If you feel threatened, violated, insulted when you reveal yourself with words and emotions, then disconnection exists. Toxicity of that nature is the poison that burns our insides as we hang up the phone and think, “That felt awful. Did she insult me while complimenting me? Was she cheering for me while criticizing simultaneously? Was she jealous rather than envious?” Friendship is safe, feels good, and requires reciprocation. Sharing that vulnerable emotional space builds a foundation of connection. Empathy, the “me, too” attitude is required, while sympathy, “well, at least you …,” disengages the closeness. Although situational moments exist, connection strengthens a relationship.

Friendship has equal opportunity for trust, support, and affection. Anything less is unworthy of your time, energy, and commitment. Experiencing worthiness is pinnacle in healing and lifestyle change. Those that respect your choices will always be there to share, cheer, and support your endeavors. Saboteurs, naysayers, and negative Nellies, weaken our resolve when we allow it. Accessing independence from others’ thoughts equates to “what others think of me is none of my business.” Removing toxic people from our lives is another step in the journey to self-care, self-reliance, and self-respect. Our renewal depends on setting those people free and releasing their lassos. Building a network that correlates with who you are becoming is a prerequisite to long-term healing, healthy weight loss, and well-being.

Embracing the Pear

Disproportionate, pear-shaped women who embrace their curves encompass self-acceptance. An eyebrow of uncertainty rises while reading this by those unaware of this particular population. Less than endowed upper-bodied women, occupying a bigger, bequeathed booty, have curves like a trapezoid, also known as pear-shaped or pyriform. Essentially shoulders, chest, and waists, are narrower, while hips, thighs, and buttocks, have considerable width in comparison.

Therefore, bathing suits bought in separates is necessary; pant sizes are larger to accommodate a bigger booté; and A-line skirts, dresses, and wider pants are prerequisites for attire. Although pear-shape physiques have a decreased risk of heart disease and child-rearing hips are handy for motherhood, supermodels with this description rarely exist in our culture. Embracing these bodily quirks and blessings are part of the healing journey towards a healthy body image.

My pear-shaped experience as a thin person proves that when my pant size dips low, my emaciated upper body receives great attention from the critics. “You’re getting too thin.” “Are you okay?” “I think you should stop losing weight.” These meaningful warnings alarm the presence of a disproportionate body. Although my weight is perfectly within optimal, healthy levels, the distorted ratios of my physique are misaligned. Therefore, I have a stopping point, where my hips and thighs measure thinly, strong, and fit, when my upper body is close to the bone.

Appreciating and loving my body has been a lifetime of redirecting perceptions and mindset from disadvantaged genetics to opportune beauty. My shape, a God-given gift, thankfully has awarded me athletic prowess and a plethora of physical abilities. Fitting the inside with the outside, the emotional and physical puzzle pieces together, and paves the path to a healthy wholeness. The internal messages speak and must correlate with loving all parts of myself.

Although some harvested pears disengage from trees prior to ripeness, others remain to grow further. My own journey equates to growing upon the tree, awaiting my moment to ascend to acceptance, love, and respect for the shape I am. Self-love for the beauty bestowed upon us at birth is a blessing to embrace wholeheartedly. Pear-shaped or any other carries us through life, irrelevant of its appearance, shouldering greater responsibility for physical movement and empowerment. Embracing the curves and the pear is a step in that direction.

Imposter

Feeling like a fraud and faking our way through life is normal modus operandi. Much prepares us for life, yet fearlessly facing the unknown, doing something for the first time takes courage and a little, ”Fake it ’til you make it” protocol. Insecurity put on the back burner, forging into unknown territory, and jumping stepping-stone to stepping-stone until functioning with confidence, fortitude, and experience is imperative for transformation, personal growth, and renewal.

On a side note, my seventy-two year-old father-in-law reinvents his career every five years. When asked about his experiences, he notes, “I’ve never taken a job that I knew how to do.” Finding, figuring, and perfecting a new career is similar to any transformation in life. Until arriving comfortably, there is a holding pattern awaiting safe landing into the position. From temporary imposter to confident specialist requires patience, action, and drive for education, experience, and expertise.

Although having posed as a math teacher, entrepreneur, writer, film series host, president of a non-profit organization, and mother, nothing has been more profound than my role as a skinny, kickass, kettle bell-wielding woman. Impersonating skinny, strong, and tough women I first reverted to an overweight, uncomfortable–in–my–skin little girl, fat and afraid to expose herself to the world. Becoming an imposter, you must believe yourself worthy, accept the role wholeheartedly, and act as if you are that individual, faking it until it becomes second nature. Without self-belief, the position is temporary, and expertise unreachable.

Posing as of a thin, badass woman and imitating her actions, I have claimed self-worth to meet the ambition of the person I had not been. Learning her cues, strengthening from boot camp classes, and becoming the woman who respects her body with what she feeds it, I am the thin, confident, worthy woman I impersonated. Becoming that which I desired is a process of fraudulent beginnings. Imitation to start, but a genuine marathon race to the finish line, I medaled in posing, winning the gold for becoming my intended self. When the dots are connected, following a path of those that ventured before, I became my intended, an imposter at first, but genuine victor at the finale.

Mending Damaged Goods

After two scores and seven years, recreating my physical and internal “self” into appreciated assets is overdue. At a high school reunion, a friend was shocked to hear of my early insecurities; my confidence level appeared indestructible. My childhood comprised a hidden home life; I struggled terribly. School served as an escape comprised of ultra-optimism and happiness. During my initial twenty years, I lived two lives. At seventeen I departed home, discovering my inner self without the barriers, rebellion, and barrage of shame, and began to peel the layers to reveal my inner core, an independent, vulnerable, and lost soul, in search of meaning. Deeply damaged, I began the healing process.

Ten years later, still tossing, reeling, and spinning out of control with symptomatic yo-yo dieting and destructive abusive relationships taking the helm while looking for love, emotionally dying inside was my diagnosis. My walls were crumbling, the floor was made of sand, and my climbing ability weakened upon each ledge. Aching, lying upon the bottom rung of my own doing at thirty, I had seen and felt enough pain to gather my belongings, take stock, and edge gracefully to the surface for sunlight, healing, and gentle strength, increasing with each step. If guidance reigned from above or an inkling of self-awareness enabled me strength, I am uncertain. The depth of despair dissipated like fog, and I empowered my existence into greater healing.

With insight, clawing for breath and driven to exhale, my recovery ascended. Difficulties traveled like a seesaw never quite hitting the ground. The daily grind of regurgitating the past grew old, tiresome, and wrapped itself around me like mummified, tattered strips. Yet continuing to replay the music of my past proved helpful; it slowly and melodically healed my damaged soul, and elusively replaced itself with self-love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Introspection, analysis, and meditation, brought me closer to the self I was meant to discover and be. It played as my heart opened, softened, and strengthened, allowing life force energy to pump through it.

Today, my past feels partially unrecognizable, comforted by transformation, mending, and peace. In the recent year, physically changing my body laminated an inner self-respect, self-love, and self-acceptance the soul required for my healing. Sanding the shattered shards from my childhood continues to heal the brokenness that pained my past. Today I celebrate the change, resulting in happiness, empowerment, and a life with meaning. Reinventing the old into the new takes processes, time, and deliberate choice, faithfully knowing the power lies within. The day to reinvent your life with meaning, heal the past, and value its lessons, is present and yours for the taking, to reach the ultimate you.

Blueberry Binge

Exhaustion and an uncomfortable sensation encourage sleepwalking through choices, an opportunity to sabotage hard work and momentum along the weight loss journey. A series of small decisions made under the influence of sleep deprivation significantly throws the destination off course. Without careful deliberation, poor eating habits gain momentum, miles off kilter from goals. Seemingly inconsequential adjustments may affect results significantly, as an airplane 1% off course from California ends up 150 miles north or south from an east coast destination, depending upon the trajectory. Ultimately, sleep deprivation causes subpar choices, leading to lousy habits and failure.

Recently behaviors, cumulative in nature, seemingly inconsequential, and mindlessly conducted, awakened my senses. Without resting a minimum of seven hours, I function in an intoxicated-like state, asleep at the wheel. On autopilot, inattentive, and a barely breathing, my body walks through the day surviving, unaware like sleepwalking through life. Decision-making becomes elusive; choices are habit-driven. Hence, old habits haul to the frontline to lead the battle. When the battle is weight loss, healthy eating, and intense exercise, former leaders who typically lost that war resurface, with old tactical equipment, poor strategies, and disastrous results.

Therefore, when sleep deprived, or running on disrupted sleep, I may pull off a successful boot camp class, yet arrive home exhausted, depleted, and walking on borrowed time. Numbed into submission upon the couch, the uncomfortable sensation ensues. Unsteady, famished, and imbalanced, I reach for the habitual recovery protein shake, complete some parental duties, and return to the couch in a semi-conscious state. The next meal, prepared by a habit-formed ritual, I consume unmindfully. Soon, the sweetness of the blueberries from my recent meal catches my attention, reminds me of comfort, tastiness, and relief. The discomfort of low energy, exhaustion, and depravity, leads to a careless choice and consumption of two pounds of organic blueberries. (900 grams)

While lobbing berries into my mouth one by one, the sweet sensation relieves and numbs the discomfort. Serving its purpose, I am dumbfounded, looking at an empty container as the last blueberry vanishes. Suddenly aware of a bloated feeling, emotions point toward shame, sadness, and disappointment. Unable to comprehend the why of it all, I accept responsibility and journal the blueberry consumption into My Fitness Pal. Yet within an hour, the physical effects of bingeing on blueberries surfaces, as the blood sugar level plunges into discomfort with low energy and exhaustion, commonly identified as “food coma.” I lay upon the couch, surrendering to the semi-loss of consciousness with momentary lapses of shut-eye. Upon waking, shredded parmesan cheese whispers my name intuitively, and a sleepwalking body consumes half a pint of the salty scrumptiousness, balancing with former blueberry sweetness.

Again, a subconscious choice repeats until I awaken long enough to recognize the mishap, change environments, and contemplate the root cause of sleep deprivation. Some argue that blueberries and parmesan cheese are acceptable choices for overconsumption with limited damage and rapid recovery. Yet this habit-forming behavior of blueberry bingeing has occurred a half dozen times in the past few months. Unaware the source lay in lack of sleep, the habit dug deeper and gained strength; uprooting the tendency toward repeating has proven challenging. Getting to the foundation of “why binge?” is half the battle. Consciousness, analysis, and problem solving are crucial to recovery.

Sleep is imperative in winning the weight loss war. Sleepwalking decision-making is consequential when repeated. Initially without significant impact, yet bingeing diverts a recipe for success, off roads goals, and produces negative, zigzag, weight loss patterns habitually sabotaging concerted efforts. Successful ingredients for weight loss include conscious choices made under the umbrella of a rested mind. Sleep deprivation as the foundation of future actions is a recipe for disaster through subconscious eating, raised Cortisol levels, and habit-forming actions. Blueberry bingeing may seem negligible, but overtime it may be the leader of the losing battle. When waging a weight loss war, it is best to hire a well-rested leader, consistently and consciously able to choose best practices, leading to a successful, sustainable lifestyle.

CLEAN Does a Body Good

Gluten, milk, and simple sugars withheld from my palate seem extreme and impossibly sustainable. One year later and an ingrained lifestyle replace these ingredients. The critical three ingredients contributing to inflammation, obesity, and digestive issues, thwarted my weight loss efforts and overall well-being. Now real food sits as the foundation to the kingdom I always wished to enter. The weight loss speed is remarkably slow, yet attains the results of a sustainable lifestyle that eliminates excess weight, and improves health, mental acuity, and energy level.

Ridding life of processed, chemical-filled, fake foods is a present to the soul. It lightens the poundage, illuminates the flow and efficiency within the body’s system, and relinquishes mind fog. Releasing the foothold of toxicity from the brain, blood, and joints is a recipe that reduces inflammation, disease, and chronic pain many endure. Processed foods, aimed for extended shelf life and never meant to sustain the body, continue to plague humanity, zapping energy levels, dimming the brain’s capacity, and expanding the waistline. Removing one root problem by altering food choices to unprocessed, organic, grass-fed options for sustainable fuel is worth considering.

Although a financial and time expenditure exists for adopting real food, long-term effects of unhealthy, edible food substances that harden the body, our hearts, and our well-being, cost considerably more. Medications, physical stress, and low self-esteem are often required costs long-term when our lives are absent of such change. Engaging in a sustainable solution of “clean” food fuels the body efficiently, reduces physical stress, and affects an emotional positivity that decreases anxiety and depression. Initially this process was challenging. Yet in time, it became a lifestyle, sustainable, freeing, and invigoratingly healthy. “It does a body good.”

Letting Go

A shaming, destructive, and painful memory from the past flew into view recently with an immediate surprise; it triggered nothing. I felt nothing, no judgment, no opinion, no emotion wrapped around the memory. Peace suddenly arose and surrounded the thought normally met with anger, resentment, and sadness. Instead of grabbing the nearest Oreo®, I sat peacefully, aware of transition, healing, and a nothingness I did not know was possible. This newly occupied space of past hurt, regret, and pain, simply nullified into letting go, transitioning into a “knowing” of surrender, peace, and non-reaction. Relieved from non-triggered emotional response, uncertain prior of the form it would materialize into awareness. Today that “knowing” arrived and I let go.

Changing, healing, and mending of the heart happen sometimes silently. Does transformation require consciousness to process healing into being? My current experience concludes healing hovers, infiltrates, and assembles silently, invisibly, and undetected, until thoughts, emotions, and actions accustomed to pulling a lever no longer trigger an explosion of pain, worry, or divisiveness. When what would normally be reactive reverses, a “letting go” occupies the space. Peace, self-respect, and self-love replace the self-loathing, outward hatred, and stored, hoarded anger. Great supply of resentment releases and the heart softens.

While loving others and myself simultaneously, I let go. Lacking judgment, resentment, and anger, I let go. Without control, tightening, and fear, I let go. Insight, consciousness, and introspection occupy my mind, I let go. Transformation in silence, simply being, and undisturbed, I let go. Releasing the weight, the emotional baggage, and the past, I let go. Cleansing the closet, the old, and the ancient, I let go. Losing shame, yet acquiring resilience, I let go. Allowing, opening, and soothing the heart, I let go. Through peace, healing, and stillness, I let go. The “knowing” is living open heartedly, feeling a sense of belonging, self-worth, and peace.

A healed and wholehearted existence translates to living authentically. Knowing what others think of me no longer matters encompasses my life. Cultivating self‐compassion, releasing perfection, and engaging in vulnerability to connect with others, eliminating numbing of emotions and feeling of powerlessness, and cultivating gratitude, joy, and peace, enables the release. Self-love, respect, and acceptance, while letting go, replaces uncertainty. By simply being my authentic self, the nothingness suddenly existed, stillness presided, and I let go. Broken pieces of me, the shards of pain, and tarnished past, curiously mended. The void filled, and a foundation formed to let go. Time, process, and digging, healed deep wounds, but “letting go” set me free.

Prep, Prompt, and Prod

Weight loss management is a daily grind of continuous mindfulness, food preparation, motivation, and movement. Each requires a combination of skills. Culinary and time-consuming, emotional and psychological, and physical coordination and stamina, meet a plethora of needs to glide smoothly through the journey. The continuity is a path of patience, energy, and accountability, the payoff is rewarding, uplifting, and worthy of the effort. Weight loss, emotional stability, and physical strength combine for a life of continuous comfort, health, and well-being, within a body that walks with swagger, energy, and self-worth.

Preparing food is a constant when eating “clean,” a term that here means unprocessed, real food. Most American food supply is a hodgepodge of hollow, deflated, nutrient-deprived ingredients that typically include simple sugars, gluten, or dairy. Most processed foods convert limited energy, disturb natural digestion, and contribute to inflammation and disease. “Food as fuel,” is a chosen mindset of acquiring unprocessed, untainted, and “clean” options, to utilize its efficient conversion to energy for brain functioning and physical movement. What enters our bodies is a compelling, contributing factor to feeling good. Assuring macronutrients of lean proteins, vegetable-type carbohydrates, and healthy fats are included, well-being rests at the end of that rainbow of foods. Time to prepare and money to purchase quality, “clean” food is required.

Besides preparing food, healing the inner quandaries that stall success, are imperative. Emotional baggage carried by the masses of people with weight challenges, is healing pending. Without addressing reasons behind bingeing, numbing emotions with food, and psychological pieces that contribute to overeating, the unhealthy uses of food, a root cause of excess weight, continues to plague weight loss, contributing to failure of maintaining a healthy weight. Why weight loss challenges churn throughout one’s life, whether for physical or psychological needs and reasons, journeys without clarity, reminders, and motivational building blocks can detour efforts. Inner healing, emotional stability, and motivation are necessities for long lasting change and success.

Exercise as the final component pushes the body to increase lean muscle, strength, and endurance. Deleting fat reveals the muscular layers that contour the body, displaying beautiful curvature beneath. Increased muscle mass through weight baring exercises and interval-training classes enable the protection of the skeletal walls, empower the body, and increase strength. With exercise, endorphins rise, enhance mood, emotion, and energy. Additionally it suppresses appetite, optimizes well-being, and requires food as fuel to prepare and recover for and from workouts. As part of weight loss management, exercise engages the core that strengthens the back, aids in digestion, and maintains posture.

Edibles, emotions, and exercise are a conglomerate of weight loss management. A sustainable lifestyle requires consistency, persistence, and perseverance. Obstacles, distractions, and challenges that sidetrack the route are learning opportunities. These interruptions teach resilience, offer personal growth situations, and potential problem solving solutions that reroute, but with good decisions return us to our chosen avenue. Weight loss management focuses on food choices, emotional motivation, and movement with a sustainable lifestyle to maintain the journey. Preparing nutrients for fuel, prompting our inner child to heal, and prodding the body to move and strengthen, merge into permanent evolution. Progression toward a sustainable weight loss solution is about healthy food preparation, prompting emotional healing, and prodding physically for strength, opportunities for well-being.

Steady On

Sometimes the weight loss journey is steady. Although altering intense exercise classes and changing foods may improve weight loss rate, continuity remains. Keeping high amounts of “clean” food churning the metabolism, maintaining movement through exercise and food preparation in motion, and tracking food in My Fitness Pal, these cumulative actions beckon the scale to balance into submission. Clearing the closet, purchasing jeans, and celebrating with a new haircut, roundup rewards that help the mind catch up with bodily changes highlighting success.

Seeing becomes believing change occurred while you were sleeping, exercising, and eating “clean.” The remedy of stagnation, boredom, and motivation restlessness, requires regularity of daily processes, reminders of reasons for the weight loss journey, celebrating non-scale successes, and a caring, continuous flow of community support. “Steady On” only functions effectively with continued focus, eyes on the ultimate prize, and the “Why” the journey began initially.

Keeping the goals, attention, and process alive with diligent consistency, the finish line remains in sight. Detours exist, but fewer rather than greater; scales fluctuate to achieve correction for water, but eventually dip lower; and life events happen, temporarily affecting efforts replaced by resiliency and a return to the prior path. Staying the course and continuing along steadily, movement occurs over time. A monotony of longevity may cause you to question your path, stop to take stock, and abandon the course, but with choice and backing the basic elements of change, you return to be, steady on.

Weight Loss of a Different Color

After an exhaustive number of years losing and gaining the same pounds, new expectations round this final phase. No longer is it acceptable to live in fear of rebounding weight, engaging in perfection tactics of all or nothing, and maintaining a closet occupying five different pant sizes awaiting fluctuations. Instead I headline “slow and steady wins the weight loss race,” while recognizing detours, struggles, and seesawing pounds from water retention, constipation, or hormonal imbalances are part of the journey. While disabling the power of the scale and empowering non-scale victories by the way clothes fit, how strong, energized, and happy I feel from the integral healing happening, the weight descends. Within my heart a void disappears, old perceptions and beliefs depart, and the past mends fully, making this weight loss journey a different avenue.

Like a horse of a different color, this process looks, and feels like nothing I have seen nor experienced. My past repeated pounds spotlighted inner healing left undone. While now processing, mending, and releasing emotional baggage that weighed me down, healing materializes and the void dissipates, changing food’s purpose. With food as fuel, emotions expressed, the feeling of wholeness needs nothing to fill; self-love, self-respect, and self-worth nullify the old needs. Moving into freedom from fears and liberating the lightness of being, suffering ceases. Excess weight did not translate to an issue about physical weight, but rather directly representative of pain and suffering, a darkened heart, deepening depression, and a life in need of inner healing.

When healing arrives, a healthy relationship with food, body, and soul replaces the prior process of weight loss and unhealthy lifestyles. Food as a numbing agent from expressing emotions; destructive, disrespectful treatment by feeding the body unhealthy edibles and contributing to atrophying and unused muscles; and damaging, weakened self-worth that believed it was not worthy enough for forgiveness, healing, and change; all contributed to repeatable poundage. Transcending, deepening self-respect, and transforming through inner healing, replaced the old, and brought in weight loss of a different nature, foreign, yet comforting, consoling, and kind to my senses. I have arrived at a healed version of myself, a self-actualized knowing who I was meant to be. Weight loss of a different color, paints a new picture of the journey ahead.

Cleansing the Closet

Entering a chronic dieter’s closet, equates to a shopping experience where multiple sizes adorn the racks. My overflowing closet needs a considerable purge rather than a wearing. Organized by size and clothing type, the “skinny” clothes live in the back, the larger upfront. To beautify the space, green, fake-suede covered hangers prevent clothing slippage and create a color-coordinated closet. This visual emphasizes simplification, consistency, and overall organization. Believing this alleviates the painful experience of choosing clothes has instead stood as a reminder that greater issues exist at the forefront. Until I feel comfortable in my skin, no creative closet solutions alleviate the inner emotional turmoil and excess weight.

As the unvisited clothes in the back waste away upon hangers, and accumulate dust, inner emotional issues settle within my heart and heal gradually. Disappointment and despair led to keeping the closet door shut, but opening the door recently feels liberating. The closet left unaddressed now needs attention. Since the closet formally closed a few months ago, a healing and transformation of my mind and body have occurred, causing me to venture in, purge it, and release it from purgatory. Although some clothing fits presently, the closet remains a reminder of my past I no longer wish to revisit. That was the old me, today the new me stands taller, stronger, and freer.

Removing and donating the clothes to those in need is gratifying, and surely would have made sense three years prior. Unready to settle that score between my closet and generosity, I rationalized that the clothes could and would fit eventually; purchasing new was unnecessary and impractical. Now foolishly I realize the frugal error. Many an expert claims ridding oneself of any form of clutter makes room for the new. Yet I could not hear it once upon a time until readiness arrived. Today the purging cleanses and heals. A reckoning frees my senses and the closet opening, drained of its contents, allows its freedom.

Cleansing the closet, taking action, and removing its contents, releases the deep-rooted struggle between the past and present. Former careers highlighting a certain style, dresses worn to weddings, and a host of ensembles that never made it to any ball, are ready to fly into a slew of trash bags awaiting occupancy. Clearing the clothes consciousness awakens, enables a “knowing” the excess weight of the past is gone for good. The clothes confined within a space metaphorically represent imprisoned history. Alleviating its captivity is a commitment to lightening the emotional load of the past, making space for the new. Cleansing the closet is healthy action for healing.

Accrual Yet Kind Weight Loss

Recognizing no cure exists, following a consistent, healthy lifestyle without a silver bullet to magically manifest instant weight loss, feels overwhelmingly unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and undeniably impossible. With a continuous, healthy approach including obstacles, self-sabotage, and deterrents as components along the path, we discover consistency, perseverance, and habit-forming practices that occupy the guide to sustainable weight loss. These roadblocks, rocky terrains, and slow speed are part of a long process of cumulative, gentle weight loss.

To commence upon a passage through life as your new way of being, a lifestyle of small steps inch toward accumulation of repeatable actions. Daily the initial intention to practice a particular path of eating, exercising, and self-care is executed. Focus, mindfulness, and intention guide the unexercised muscle to motivate, strengthen, and elongate. Each day flows into the next, until an ingrained, sharpened practice replaces former behaviors, where ritual and habit require less effort, yet continued dedication.

When obstacles loom, resilience to rebound, stand up, and dust the distraction off, is vital to the process. Learning to bounce back from the interruptions that rile us, the saboteurs that attempt to derail us, and the celebratory events of revelry that disengage our lifestyle practices, are training for triumph. The ability to adjust to obstacles in our path, engage our strength to persevere against the disabling opponents attempting to knock us down, ensure our success. Walking through, around, over and under these hurdles are struggles’ path to resilience.

Consistency over time is necessary for success, the following riddle demonstrates. Would you rather have three million dollars immediately or a penny initially that will double its total amount daily for 31 days. Many claim their three million, not recognizing that the latter choice results in more than ten million dollars. Slow and steady weight loss through consistent actions over time accumulates. While life is continuous, losing and maintaining weight over a year or two is a plan in patience, sustainability, and longevity. Particular practices utilizing cumulative results may not seem significant initially toward long lasting change, but compiled gain headway, seemingly miraculous over time.

“Clean” eating without calorie restriction, boot camp classes that draw improvement in small increments at every workout, and emotional healing of the inner self gradually, conjoin to create copious outcomes. With continuous consistency, patience, and persistence, achievement and goals are attainable and sustainable. The reliability of “steady and consistent wins the race” is a proven strategy to the finish line, where maintenance awaits. Quick fixes may establish immediate gratification, but long-term success is about consistency. Although challenging, accruing, compounding, and simple, repeatable actions lead to weight loss success.

Breathe Life into Your Story

Rewriting our stories, changing our lives, and altering circumstances, is foreign for many. We settle into a comfort zone, build foundations within boundaries, and score the lines of our existence within margins. Past constraints, limited beliefs, and former decisions prime our present choices. Reacting to our current predicaments is one way to live, while another is to reframe, observe our lives through a different lens, and rewrite the tale. Whether weight loss, career change, or engaging in new relationships, when inspiring change by steering, rerouting, or shifting our story, a constantly improving life unfolds.

A limited, adjusted, and worn path initially created awaits change. Complacent, steady, and experienced, its route no longer fosters spark for travel, like creativity gone dry, inspiration without energy, and a desert without water. A familiar, comfortable, and habitual existence, walking a treadmill of emotions and actions, is the well-travelled road. Yet when the wheels spin and no traction connects with the ground, navigating inspirational, fresh energy awaits renewal. Rewriting the path, repaving the journey, and reframing the picture before you, readies rejuvenation.

Realizing life is not happening to you, but you are happening to it, empowers the gears to turn and engage proactively. Spark, initiated by inspiration, pumps from our hearts, and pours from our soul to ignite our passions to share, connect, and offer our gifts to humanity. Drawing our senses to the surface, either one by one, or as a symphony, enables stillness to preempt passion to catch fire.

Arriving at moment-by-moment meditation is a practice achieved when tuning into the senses, eliminating the mind, and awakening the heart. Focus upon one sense to reach the original entry point into the present moment, gradually welcoming in another sense, one at a time, until time stands still tunneling awakened intuition. This communicates “right” action, inspired thought, and knowledge, for the next step forward. Trusting the stepping-stones is part of that process, like knowing the road continues long past where the car headlights’ projection ends.

Most of us sit in the shadows of our lives, wondering how, why, and how to engage with the dreams of our yesteryears. Rewriting our stories is engaging in stillness long enough to hear the familiar tune you already know innately, the recognizable notes born into your soul that shone in your childhood and lost their way. Life purpose, ingrained in our DNA, awaiting expression, revelation, and implementation loses touch with our knowing. This song, the melody of meaning, sings perfectly within our hearts, eventually feeling like emptiness when lay dormant too long. Reaching into our core, ascending upon talents within, is like coming home, with the guardian of your galaxy wondering why you waited and lingered as long as you did.

Transforming our stories and altering the future, awaits and beckons if we are silent enough to listen. Hear its call, and your music has the forum to play brilliantly. Deny its existence and the heart deadens slowly, regret surfacing at life’s end. The power to reframe our lives is not about changing who are, but becoming our intended selves, following one’s heart, and playing the soul’s tune. Preempted for greatness and wired for connection embody the brilliance to chime together as one. Without the birthed stories of one another coming to fruition, we shortchange life’s greater vision. Answer the call, and breathe life into your story, the destined tale that began when you took your first breath.

Weighted Down

Observing my son in action, nothing weighs him down. Effortless excitement leaps into a present-moment thrill, and he flies with wings that lift him from any doom that lies beneath. Bright lightness of being gradually dims as he ages, as life circumstance threatens the freedom of his imagination, the security of his emotional well-being, and limits his natural response for play, song, and movement. His innocence knows nothing of such possibility, a naiveté fragile enough to shatter by the meddling of his surrounding world.

Yet interference of great magnitude has affected us all. Parents, teachers, and the environment generating boundaries around the freedom of expression, begin to deteriorate one’s truth, imagination, and wonder. The weight of these limits begins to press upon expectations, cognitive functioning, and emotional stability. Our wings begin to crumple under duress, eliminating fearless flight. Ego, competition, and the mind replace living from the heart, intuition, and essence. Grounded until an awakening, the mending of the disruption, deterioration, and dilution of our spirit, navigate back to our original form, enabling our life purpose to rise. Without the inner healing, a weight burdens us, preventing a life with ultimate meaning.

Freeing our souls from the outside expectations, allowing a heart-centered moral compass to rule our behavior, and unleashing the intuition that guides each of us, lighten the heaviness that weighs us down. Materialized excess pounds act as a reminder to return to our original path of purpose and essence. Releasing the physical weight and this metaphoric boulder signifies a heart’s freedom and reveals a path to present-moment living where stillness, presence, and intuition live. With wisdom, the release of captivity from judgment, and freedom to follow the essence of who we are, allow our wings to resurface. Flight follows, weight of life dissipates, and we soar. The heart opens, essence illuminates, and we fly effortlessly.

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