This was an unusually tough week. Lots of long hours at work, combined with some challenging personalities equals me stressing out. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say, some of my demons came out and it was tough finding my center this week.
But here’s the good news: I didn’t let it turn me into a binging maniac. I didn’t let it push me to the place where I want to pick up my toys and go home, hiding out in the late hours eating, or use it as an excuse to bail on taking care of myself. There were some nights I didn’t get enough sleep, and there were two nights when the lines got a little blurry (unsalted peanuts in the shell as a ‘treat’ after dinner). There was one day when I rushed out the door without eating breakfast or packing my lunch. I struggled with a few sleepless nights, worrying about things I know will mean very little a few weeks from now.
It’s been almost a year of being sugar and flour free, and while I’m not at my goal yet, I am wearing size 10 jeans which is HUGE for me. I haven’t worn size 10 since before having kids. So, it’s a real thing to celebrate.
This time last year, I was pretty miserable. This time last year, I was hovering between a size 18 and 20, and weighing in at the heaviest I’ve ever been. This time last year, I was in mental and physical pain. I was depressed, I felt hopeless, and incredibly unsuccessful. So, despite a rather lousy week, I’m sitting here steering my brain away from the negativity and the self-deprecation, and focusing on where I’m sitting NOW. I’ve not done this perfectly. I’ve had my moments where I wanted to give up. And I’m very focused on getting to my goal by the end of this year at the very latest. I am beginning to see the finish line. Despite imperfectly arriving at this rest stop, I look back on this year and feel pretty damn proud of myself. Sometimes, the little voices that chide me with “But you’re not there yet,” or “you should’ve reached your goal by now,” or any of the many digs my internal voices can throw at me, but I’m sitting here as the leaves fall, and I’m letting in the good stuff. I’m wearing a size 10. I’m feeling in control around food way more of the time now. And I’m in a mental bootcamp that focuses on letting go of those negative voices, or at the very least, not allowing them to spread their ugly little wings for too long.
And so, this week I bought myself a present: An Apple watch. I was waiting for the new one to come out and then promptly ordered one, waiting for its arrival like I used to wait for Christmas morning. One of the things I didn’t expect is how awesome the little Breathe app is.
At first I thought it was pretty silly. This little chime rings to remind you to breathe. Um, hello, I’m breathing just fine thank you. The way it works is a little flower appears and for one minute, you simply focus on the flower as it expands and contracts, inhaling as it grows, exhaling as it contracts. I set it to remind me every couple of hours, and I started a little experiment where, when I’m feeling anxious, I call it up, and take a minute. Just one minute. That silly little app has begun to help me come back to center when I need it. Of course, it does a lot of other cool things, and on some level it felt a little indulgent to buy, but there’s something about this new little gadget that has helped me stay focused on my goal which is to spend less time stressing about past or future, and more time in the present. Staying centered, no matter what the day brings. No matter what stressballs get thrown my way. Stress is a big factor when it comes to weight loss.
You’ve probably read about how hormones like cortisol can wreak havoc on both the immune system and slow down weight loss. So my new little toy is helping me to be more aware and less of a stress ball. Another tool in the toolbox. And then, there’s the activity app, which helps me stay focused on moving more, and helps me set a goal each day.
So as I prepare for another week, I breathe in this moment. I take one minute to remind myself how far I’ve come, I breathe in the good stuff. I spend time breathing in the fresh fall air, taking in the beautiful aroma of the Fall season. And when my mind wants to go to those negative places, I practice coming back to center.
This week, let’s all take some time to just breathe. When you’re feeling anxious, or stressed or leaning into the negativity, try stopping for just one minute, and simply breathe. And remember that whatever is stressing you out in that moment, will undoubtedly mean very little within a matter of days or weeks, so why waste time or energy on it? Think about where you want to be in a week, or a month, or this time next year. Breathe in the good stuff, and see where it takes you.