1) a terrible complexion
2) excruciatingly painful, long-lasting headaches
3) severe (like first trimester of pregnancy severe) sluggishness and lack of energy.
So when I woke up today to find a small, yet very defined pimple on my top lip (yes it is absolutely as attractive as it sounds), which went smashingly with the angry ones smattering my cheek, and was barely able to focus my vision before 8:00 am, and had to medicate myself around the clock for the 3 days prior due to a pounding headache above my left eyebrow....I realized it was time to re-learn a painful lesson.
I started working on body acceptance in 2009. I wrote a blog post about living my life up until that point equating feeling fat to feeling ugly and inadequate. I was done with that form of self-hatred and worked hard to find a place of love and acceptance for my body just the way it was, right then--without any changes. I let myself eat what I want when I wanted to, and stopped the negative self-talk, replacing it with positive things instead.
As my body shaming decreased, I found something interesting: loving myself on the inside caused me to really look at what loving myself on the outside required.
I began exercising--not to torture my body, but because I wanted to begin really taking care of it. It became my daily form of Self Care, and the one hour each day I kept sacred as only for me. I watched my body become strong and endure more than it ever had. I grew proud of it, and felt confident about it, regardless of what size and shape it was.
In 2012 I challenged myself to a sugar-free diet for 40 days, in honor of Lent. I honestly did not believe I could keep that challenge--I had zero faith in my own abilities. Sugar had been a lifelong friend and addiction. In spite of my lack of faith, I was able to go the full 40 days with only one tiny lick of my daughter's birthday cake frosting (which was gross by the way).
What I found during that time was a powerful combination of emotional and physical positive outcomes. My skin was clear, my usual nagging headaches were gone, my energy was sustained throughout the day....and instead of feeling deprivation through completely shutting down and controlling my sugar intake, I felt empowered, courageous, in awe of my abilities and more than anything....I felt self-love.
My kids watched me going without sugar, Caleb especially commenting that he thought I was crazy. I have never used the word diet, only talking about how I felt like sugar controlled me and that I knew it wasn't healthy for my body. That I wanted to take care of myself, and this was a way I could do it.
That 40 days started me down a path that I continued for several years.
When my unexpected pregnancy with Claire showed up, I went straight to survival mode to get through that time and the stressful year after my pregnancy, where I could only function on survival instead of being thoughtful of what I ate and how I took care of my body.
So here I am in 2016, with my lip pimple, headaches and exhaustion, ready to reprogram my brain after slipping back into old unhealthy, destructive and addictive habits.
Today I'm on day 1 of being (refined) sugar free. And I'm on day 1 of exercising. This work is tough in all areas and takes me a while to actually enjoy it. But I have also been down the road far enough to know it is completely worth it, and it's a healthy way to show my mind, emotions, spirit and body the love and treatment it deserves.
If anyone wants to join me, I always enjoy company. Here's to the new year, and to self-love.