Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday!

A few years ago I came to realize that beating myself up over foods I truly enjoy needed to change. I now believe that moderation is key to everything in life. Denying myself the things that I love was only wearing down my happiness factor. Besides, eating one cookie on occasion isn’t going to hurt me!

Eat. The. Cookie. You will be glad you did. ūüć™ūüėÄ

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Waking Up

About twelve years ago I woke up and said to myself, “I am done being fat”.¬† I had lived with extra weight since my first pregnancy when I was eighteen years old.¬† Within just four years of my first kiddo, I had three little babies and a bunch of added pounds.¬† I was fully investing in being a momma and unfortunately at that time I had no idea that not investing in myself was actually a disservice to them.

Carrying the extra weight also meant that I was clearly eating foods that were not the healthiest and I was doing no exercise or self-care at all.¬†I had every excuse in the world as to why I was unable to lose weight; healthy food costs so much, I don’t have time, I am too busy, I can’t afford a gym, etc.

Clearly my mind, body and spirit were so disconnected.  I was lost.

The day that I woke up and decided that I was done was in the month of March where spring was just beginning. When I think back of that time, I realize that I too was in a rebirthing or awakening from a dark and long slumber. I was beginning the journey of my own form of blossoming.

My plan consisted of many things but the foundation of it all began not with the outer or my physical body, but instead it started with cleaning up my inner world.  My thoughts.

My first course of action was that I chose to wake up one hour earlier each morning and start my day with quiet, contemplative reading.¬† I journaled every single morning.¬† My journal entries at that time were not a recount of my day or diary-like at all, instead I wrote affirmative statements such as “I am worth it”.¬† I also wrote down all that I was grateful for in the present, and all that I was grateful for that was coming to me.¬† It was something like this: “I am grateful for the food I have chosen to eat.¬† I am grateful for my healthy body”. The quiet and contemplative time was like a drink of cold water on a hot day; refreshing, awakening and invigorating.

The time spent still and quiet each morning began to stoke my inner fire of mindfulness.¬† As I became more aware of my thoughts and was purposeful for those sixty minutes, I began to train my brain to be more aware of my thoughts throughout the day.¬† I began to notice when my thoughts would shift to lack or negativity and I would immediately pause to reframe them to something that was positive, and true. I found that many times I was attaching myself to a made up story or a future based fear.¬† For example, when my thoughts were something like, “I am so heavy….I am a pig…..I can’t afford that…..I wouldn’t look good in that…..I am broke…..I am a mess”, I would stop and tell myself that all of that was a story and the truth was/is “I am worth it….I have plenty of money….I am beautiful….I am amazing….”

Once I began to remove the heavy and sludge-filled thoughts that were literally weighing me down, I became more deliberate in my actions.  Through the act of being mindful, I interrupted the patterns that were contributing to my extra weight and replaced those actions with healthier ones:

  • My walking shoes were placed on the steps that went from my garage to my house and every day when I came home from work and before ANYTHING, I slipped on my shoes and walked 40 minutes.
  • The dog’s leash was set out and every morning–rain or shine–I walked my dogs 40 minutes before work.¬† I slept less but as I moved more, my body was less fatigued and required less sleep that ended up actually being more restorative.
  • The kids snacks were put in the cabinet above the fridge so it literally took a step stool to get to them.¬† The extra work allowed time for me to really think about how much I wanted/needed cheetos.
  • Instead of going straight to the kitchen when I got done walking, I went straight to the bathtub.¬† Not only did this give me a self-care ritual, it interrupted a pattern of snacking before dinner.¬† By the time I got out of my bath, it was time to cook and I eliminated extra calories in mindless snacking.
  • I used small salad plates for every meal which tricked my brain into thinking I was eating more.
  • I taught the kids how to wash and load their own dishes because I was eating thousands of calories in leftover chicken nuggets and fries after I just ate my dinner.
  • I invested in measuring cups and a food scale.¬† I did this deliberately for a short time so that I would be more intentional with my choices.
  • I logged EVERY single calorie that passed through my lips.¬† I did this for two and a half years!¬† Eventually that was an obsession that I had to let go of because it was getting in the way of joy and pleasure with food, but for the time,¬† I needed to learn just how much food I was over-eating.¬† Portions and extra wasted calories were out of control.
  • I started to love who I was.¬† I became passionate about ME.¬† I was investing in myself and the results were astounding.¬† I was happier, my relationships improved and my life began to be incredibly vibrant.

When asked how I did it, my answer is this:¬† I woke up.¬† I opened my eyes to my life and I said yes to me.¬† I cleaned up my inner world of thoughts and as a result my actions became more deliberate.¬† I began to see my self-worth and choose to love myself by honoring my thoughts and actions.¬†You see, it was not a crazy diet that was restrictive or extreme and I wasn’t killing myself at the gym (although that did come later and had its own set of deep lessons).¬† I just woke up and put intent into my life.

The teaching that I always return to is really so simple: align your thoughts with your actions and your life will change.

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Shifting your perception

It seems that more often than not the world is in a constant perception of lack and limitation.  The perpetual stories that are told about not enough time, not enough money, not enough flexibility, not enough sleep, not enough knowledge, etc.  This continues despite most of us knowing that our thoughts and words cultivate the perception of our reality.  By thinking and speaking limiting belief statements,  eventually those sharp words actually do result in the feelings of lack and limitation.  Remember, that our natural state of being is one of harmony.  Negativity does not cultivate harmony.

To shift your perception of lack and limitation, try following these subtle, yet powerful guidelines:

1. Start your day on the positive note.¬†When you open your eyes in the morning, pause before leaping out of bed. ¬†Just pause. ¬†Breathe. ¬†Remind yourself that this is a brand new day full of opportunity. ¬†Rather than complain that you didn’t get enough sleep, be grateful for the soft bed and your present surroundings. Pause again. ¬†Breathe in the morning.

2. Notice. When you walk outside for the first time today, before hurrying to get in the car or rushing to catch your mode of transport, look around.  What do you see?  The abundance of fall color?  The vast blue sky?  The flock of geese? The brisk air? The sun rising? The hustle and bustle of life around you?  The sound of children on a playground? Laughter?  The world around us is vibrant and filled with abundance.  Notice.

3. Random acts of goodness. We have all heard about the nice guy at Starbucks that buys coffee for the car behind him.  How about going out of your way to give random acts of goodness that are free; a smile to the person at the stoplight, helping someone open a door, picking up a dropped item, complimenting another person, making eye-contact with the clerk.  Purposeful and intentional interactions of goodness.  When you vibrant goodness it is impossible to feel empty.

4. Catch yourself and then choose.¬†Challenge yourself to change any statement you think or say to be positive. ¬†When you find yourself saying “I don’t….” catch yourself and try changing it immediately to “I choose”. ¬†The belief “I don’t have enough time” can be completely reframed to ” I choose to _______ “. ¬†Remember, we are designed to live in balance. ¬†If you truly are so busy that you have no time for joy, by saying you choose to overwork yourself you may discover just how horrific that sounds that you begin to make changes in your life that will support a harmonious state of being. “I choose to spend my money on_____”, rather than “I don’t have enough” is another example of negating the idea of lack. ¬†By speaking statements that offer empowerment with your choices you will begin to recognize all that you really do have.

5. Finish the day grateful. As you settle in for the night, take five minutes to review your day; who did you see, what did see today, when did you feel joy, what did you do to stoke your fire of empowerment, how did you find balance today.  When you review the goodness, your mind will settle into a space of gratitude and you will find that the lack and limitations you once focused on, are less apparent.

Congratulations, you are beginning to wake up to your life and own your beliefs.