#WellnessWednesday – Beautiful me yesterday, tomorrow, everyday…

I haven’t done a #wellnesswednesday post in a minute, and this week seemed like the perfect time. Warning: this is a loooong one!

I’ve shared for years about my struggle with my health and my weight. I even made a Pens & Prayers post called “God Doesn’t Do Un-pretty” about how my own body image affected my first contemporary romance series (check out the blog for an updated post today at www.pensandprayers.com.) My bestie Melissa Lummis is doing amazing work discussing how we see ourselves and how we can achieve wellness too. Although she might not know it, I have been listening. Honestly, for a while, I listened and threw the things she was saying right out the window, but gradually some of her words reached a place inside me… for all its simplicity, the most basic thing I needed to learn for wellness was to be kind to myself.

Mentally my body image has always been a big deal, but there are some significant health reasons for me to drop pounds and get healthier. Diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are all in my family history. And at 45 I’ve already developed some chronic issues. And so I’ve continued to yo-yo most of my life. For a while, I jogged regularly but the truth is I despise jogging. Hate it with a passion and it always seemed like I just had to do it as a penance for my sin… the sin of being fat, the sin of being unhealthy. And I’ve done fad diets, jumping on things like Wilder Way with some friends a few years ago, trying low sugar for a while, and even joining the keto bandwagon. Again, all of that seemed like a penalty. And my soul and my body weren’t receiving it well. Last year I thought of some of what Melissa has been saying… about how deprivation of the things I love and crave is just punishing us and how our bodies won’t respond to that.

So, I threw up my hands and gave up all the fads. Instead, I focused on making better choices without restriction of the things I loved. I chose moderation instead of deprivation. If I wanted chocolate, I had chocolate. And on those occasions when I had the urge to binge eat chocolate, I took a breath and focused on why I had that urge. Can anyone say stress-eating? I can! And I still do it sometimes. The important thing for me has been patience and love. I’m not a bad person if I overeat. It doesn’t make me a failure when I have 5 Hershey nuggets instead of just 1. I don’t deserve to be flogged if I miss one of my daily walks. If I need to I can make changes later in the day, choose to take a longer lunch walk, cut back a little on another meal or sometimes just set the thought of those extra chocolates aside and get back to my day. I don’t have to beat myself up.

Over the span of about six months, I’ve gradually followed that mantra. As part of that process, I determined not to step on the scale. This wasn’t about numbers. This was about finding balance. And honestly, my mind and my body reached a place of contentment and peace. I feel good about where I am right now. And I’m enjoying the fruits of this process too. One kind of weird thing I like is being able to curl my legs up close to my body and hug myself… I couldn’t do that about a year ago! I’ve learned a lot over the last several months. I learned that everything I need for that contentment and peace is provided for by my Creator.

My process has been to be kind to myself and to focus on all of the beautiful blessings in life… my amazing husband… my faithful dogs… my daily bible verses… my writing… soul-satisfying music… my loving friends… all these keep me grounded in one single important thing.

God made me beautiful.

Because goals are important I did set one for myself. And since I’d reached the six-month point, it was time to make a quick assessment. And guess what… I’ve exceeded that goal.

While I’m proud of that its still important for me to remember something…I was beautiful last year when I was 198 lbs. And I’m beautiful right now when I’m down to 167.

So the moral of this long post is this… love yourself, be kind to yourself, find your peace and contentment… and occasionally give yourself a big ol’ hug too!

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