I remember brining my Tupperware of prepped food to a family party and eating it in my car because I was afraid of eating whatever was being served. I remember saying no to dinner invitations because “what if they used butter on my food?!” I remember feeling so anxious the morning after I ate pizza because “oh my god what did I just do?” I remember turning down invites to go out with friends because I was scared of gaining weight from a single night out. Carbs were bad, fat was bad, sugar was bad, alcohol was bad. What did I have left besides chicken, eggs, spinach and asparagus?
Well, I had no social life, binge ate a lot, spent lots of time hating my body, I hated myself for what I put into my body, then I would resolve to start again on Sunday. But every week it would be the SAME.DAMN.THING.
In my resolve to change, I bought countless meal plans from online trainers, hired personal trainers, read as much as I could about eating for fat loss and fat loss workouts, ran my ass off, lifted until I could hardly move, then did hot yoga to “relieve” myself and relax. I’d buy fat burners, try detoxes, fat flushes, whatever it took.
Nothing changed. It was a crazy cycle week after week. I was so busy trying to control every aspect of the outside that I never once stopped to think about what was happening on the inside.
I was a people pleaser, a perfectionist and cared much too much about what people thought about me. I was single for the first time in years which did a number on my self-esteem, my work environment focused solely on being “skinny” and looking perfect, whatever that meant, and my social life was at a zero. I was miserable. I thought what I looked like mattered most. At some point I knew I had to do something because I could hardly stand myself so I looked online and found a 10-week mindset makeover. The program said it could transform my mindset, success, outlook and physique. At the time I still wasn’t fully aware of what my ‘mindset’ even was but I saw that this program could change my body…I was all about that! I signed up and got emails every day with different points to focus on and homework to do.
After it was over, I remember telling my friend who also did the program that it didn’t work and I didn’t feel any better than when I had started. I was still food obsessed, body obsessed, over exercising, the whole 9. I even unsubscribed from the programs email list and unfollowed the Facebook page because I was so mad that I didn’t get the results I was told I would. It was back to my ‘restrict & binge, poor me’ cycle.
The reason this program didn’t work (at first) was because I didn’t want to take any responsibility for how I was feeling and what I was doing and that’s what the program was making me do! How could it be my fault that I had self esteem issues when my boss was always calling women at the gym fat (who in my mind were beyond perfect) on top of the fact that I was just dumped? Clearly my boyfriend broke up with me because I wasn’t good enough and I was destined to be alone (dramatic much? I was 26!). And why was it bad that I cared about my body so much that I declined any invite that involved alcohol or food and scrutinized everything I ate? I wanted to take care of myself…how could that be a bad thing? I couldn’t see how any of this was my fault. Everything was happening TO me. I had no control over any of it. Or so I thought.
Fast forward a couple months and something changed. For some reason I sought out the Facebook page I had unfollowed and unsubscribed from. The post that came up hit me where it hurt but made me wake up and realize exactly what I had been doing.
Holy crap. This was me. This was EXACTLY how I was thinking. It suddenly clicked. I actually had a say in how I reacted to all these things that I felt were being done TO me? I had a choice in how I handled the cards I was dealt? How empowering!
Was it an immediate transformation? Hell. No. I look at the first mindset program I did as ‘planting the seed.’ It was giving me all the info I needed, I just wasn’t ready to implement it. After I read this Facebook post, I was ready. It hasn’t been an easy road and of course I still have slip-ups where I feel “done wrong” for one reason or another, but now I look at it much more objectively and don’t feel as victim-y. No I can see that everyone is just who they are their choices have nothing to do with me.
This mindset shift made me realize that I had control over whether I stayed in that work environment or not (I didn’t). My relationship ended because we were absolutely never going to work out, we just weren’t the right for each other and it had nothing to do with me being not good enough. And lastly, and probably most importantly, my relationship with food was toxic because of how I chose to look at it (which I’ve touched upon here and here).
Personalizing every choice someone close to me makes turns me into a crazy person and I don’t want to be that person. Concerning myself with whether or not people accept me, judge me for what I look like, talk about me, etc., is a huge waste of time. If I’m being authentic and being myself and not harming anyone why should I care what anyone else thinks?
I can’t describe this feeling as anything other than freeing. I feel like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I’m happier, healthier, more sane (though I’m sure some might argue otherwise 😉 ) and my confidence has never been higher. I go out with friends regularly, have a glass of wine ‘just because’ a few night a week, enjoy whatever food I like, eat my protein & veggies, exercise sensibly and enjoy life. I’ve never looked or felt better. What the heck was I waiting for holding myself back all those years!!
I’m so blown away with how amazing I feel that I want to help you do the same. If you can relate at all to anything you read above, pop over to my website and check out my new 12-week Lifestyle Makeover. The mind is a powerful tool that can either build us up or tear us down. Let’s build you up! There are only 8 spots open. I’m keeping it super small so we can be in constant communication with each other. If you get stuck, I’ll help you get unstuck. We’re in it together. Check it out and let’s start 2016 off together on the right foot!