As this blog posts I am now on day sixty-six of posting my happiness in life. Since April 1st of this year I have posted something that brings me joy. I participated in this about two years ago and decided to try it again this year. To be honest I don’t quite know why it began but I enjoyed loooking at my life and saying that in each day there is something good.
Some may find it fake ( which it can easily become if the poster is more concerned about gaining likes and comments than being honest) and others banal. I found in doing this exercise is I learned to be more grateful for what and who are in my life. I can take so much for granted. Not everything in my life is exciting or easy to define as happiness. But I try my best to define this as best I can.
There are some days I have to think about what to post, and at least once I refrained from doing so and posting twice the next day. I also two things to post the next day that showed something that brought me joy.
Happiness does not always look like happiness. At least for me, it can take me down the contemplative road. Some days it has been a breakthrough or a hard day that taught me something needed. Those days can be harder to post as they are harder to encompass properly in a photo per se. But the happiness is there, joy exists even in the hardest of days. Joy can also look different, it could mean a brief moment of levity or laughter. Or a quiet moment that gives perspective to what is going on in my life.
Happiness and joy aren’t perfect. They come at the most inopportune times as it with things in life. It doesn’t look like the perfect instagram photo and that is ok. Perhaps the pressure some people have felt in participating in this sort of thing is to be perfect, have something to post each day. And to make sure the post is perfect and exudes EVERYTHING happiness is supposed to be.
My advice, if you find it too much then stop. If this adds stress and anxiety then stop. If you prefer to not make it public on social media, then don’t, keep it to yourself. If you want to try it but a whole 100 days seems too much, then do ten or five. If it starts to feel forced and not at all what your reality is, then please stop. If you allow this project to be more organic and real, it won’t be forced or stressful.
I know that for me, in my life it has helped me to regain perspective. I may or may not do the full 100 days.
I was uncomfortable in my body when I was unhealthy and that did not change once I was healthier. My mind had to catch up with my body. What I did not know yet was that it would take time. Even though I was at my thinnest ever in my life, I became obsessive about two things. How flat other women’s stomachs seemed to me and counting my caloric intake. Seriously, the majority of my thoughts focused on that alone. I would sit in a room during Bible study and instead of paying attention, I would find myself staring at other women and their stomachs.
[Tweet “Were theirs flatter than mine? I need to sit up straighter so mine doesn’t poof out as much. If my stomach was flatter that guy would want to talk to me….”]
Were theirs flatter than mine? I need to sit up straighter so mine doesn’t poof out as much. If my stomach was flatter that guy would want to talk to me….
Then there was the constant counting of calories in my head. Constantly going over in my head and My Fitness Pay how much I ate and when I ate it. Calculating how much of my workouts negated the calories I had consumed.
I was exhausted. I had gone from binge eating to binge thinking about food. How much I ate, when I ate and what I ate. I spent more time on the food app then anything else.
A huge motivation during my journey to getting healthy was that it would lead to my believed fairy tale ending. I was blinded by the idea that it would be my turn, finally my turn and nothing was going to move me away from this idea! But (and there is always a but with God isn’t there), God was showing me something more. He placed people in my life who continue to cultivate the idea of His love in my life. People who challenge me and force me to really take a look at my motivations behind my goals.
I also had to grow comfortable with how my body. The key for me was coming to terms that my stomach will never be flat no matter how many ab work outs and sit ups I did. That no matter how much I count calories, there will be times that I am off or just don’t care enough.
I have gained weight since meeting my weight loss goal four years ago. Today, I am in a healthier place mentally and no longer desire to try to fit into some mold that doesn’t work for me. Meaning I still strive to be healthy, working out and eating well ( for the most part) but not freaking out as I once did when I do not. Accepting my body for what it is, for how God has made me has been so freeing.
I encourage those of you to strive for your goals, to be healthy and see the amazing things your body can do! Also learn to accept the reality of what your body will look like. There will be a time when the choices you make will be to not work our or to eat that “forbidden” food. Just try to be kind to yourself during those times. You are not less than because of these choices. How you come back from them is what will define you. Gaining health is not about getting it right all the time. It is learning skills in order to be healthy. To live a well rounded life.
I am still learning how to be healthy, and some lessons take longer than others. The biggest lesson I have learned is to keep going, that life can get in the way. Or like me one can just want a break for a time from the work out grind. And that is just fine…
This is a month more than any other where much is asked of us. Between work and family obligations, parties, shopping and food it can be overwhelming. Let me tell you a not so secret, it is fine to say NO.
No to that party.
No to the request for 200 cookies.
No to a gift exchange.
Saying NO doesn’t mean that you don’t care. Taking on more than you can handle because of feeling those expectations thrust upon you is nothing more than a disservice to yourself.
Say YES to those things you truly have a heart for. Say YES to what brings you joy. Say YES to what serves your family and lifestyle best.
I have been thinking about body issues lately. More so about the perspective I have about my body. I have been rather hard on myself lately as I have not been running.
I was allowing for the fat girl to return. Someone who I had thought I had let go of nearly three years ago. You can read this post here. I had to put away some clothes that were no longer fit me. Clothes that I had worn since I lost weight. This began my downward spiral in doubting all that I had done. The old fear I had that I would wake up and find myself back at my old weight haunted me.
The thoughts of am I good enough? Did I deserve to be healthy began to pop up in my mind.
So I turned to food as I have always done to find comfort. This time though, it was different. I had no real desire to eat in the way I once done. While I did not always make the best choices, I was making better choices than I would of three years ago. That is where the victory lies.
Maintaining weight is just as hard as losing it. Maintaining for over two years is no easy feat. During the initial weightloss, a lot of attention was given to me. Once people began to notice I was often pulled aside and told to keep going or way to go! It was weird and awkward but thrilling at the same time.
Then it stops because it would be weird and awkward to continually congratulate someone on their past accomplishment.
What I have realized is that my body has finally settled into itself. After the initial weight loss, which was also rather quick, I was simply thin. My mom feared I was too thin. So did a good friend of mine.
At the time,it just felt good to fit into size 4 jeans. It really did. The attention that came along with did too. But being thin isn’t this magical key to the life. I did not become a millionaire or instantly fall in love and get married. Those things are not a “reward” for losing weight.
My body was still changing. I had more muscle to gain. My body was still adjusting to the drastic changes.
It has been three years after I began this journey. Three years of change and adjustment. Both physical and emotional. These days I am more comfortable with myself. I have to remind myself that a my worth is not my jean size.
That as I get older my body will continue to change. As I age what matters is that I take care of this temporary vessel. So that it may carry me to the end of my days for a life well lived.
So look in the mirror and stop being so hard on yourself. Make the changes you need to become healthy. But meet yourself where you are today, right now. And love the person staring back at you.
How have you dealt with your body changing on your journey?
This past week I did not feel well. I had a cold, I finally conceded. All the symptoms were there. Sneezing, chills, general weakness.
I was in no shape to run as I wanted. However, I also did not want to lose a week of working out. Instead I chose to do Yoga. I felt it was the gentler choice for my body.
I know I am doing something good for my overall health and not missing out on staying with my workout schedule. If you are not well, doing an alternate, gentler workout can be a choice.
Please if your illness is worse than an oncoming cold, take the time off to rest. Once you are up and about go for the gentle workout as your body continues to heal. This is self care, especially with cold and flu season coming upon us. Choose the gentle route to keep that momentum going!