For almost 15 years, I’ve been healthy.
Or at least I thought so.
Even though I would gain a few pounds here and there, I took care of my body and ate well.
But after a divorce and a wave of depression hit for the first time in my life, weight really began to creep in. Before I knew it, I was 30 pounds heavier than I’ve ever been. My clothing didn’t fit, and I just felt absolutely awful.
As a certified health coach and yoga teacher, I couldn’t understand how I allowed this to happen. The thing I had to realize is, I am human. And part of being human sometimes means being raw and messy. Unraveling. Coming undone.
Yes, this is a vulnerable post. But I know I need to share my truth, because I think others may benefit from it.
I am currently in this process of returning to myself. Here are five steps you can take if you need to make the journey home too:
1. Start where you are.
Forget about last month or last year. Try not to think about next month or next year. Drop into the present moment. Where are you now? Start there, without judgment. Embrace where you are. This won’t last forever.
We can only take life one day at a time and be patient with ourselves. Celebrating the small victories helps keep us grounded in the present moment without being consumed by worry. If you went an entire day without sugar, applaud yourself. Notice the changes. See if you can breathe into the moment and find compassion for your body. Compassion for yourself.
2. Eat mindfully.
We can choose to see food as our friend. We can do this by taking a trip to our local markets and stocking up on the colors of the rainbow. Pick beautiful fruits and vegetables. Plan out some quick and healthy recipes that you can make. Clean out your pantry of the empty foods like chips and sugary snacks, and replace those snacks with almonds and seeds.
Food is not the enemy. When you sit down and eat, look at your food. Say a blessing if you wish. Eat mindfully. Slowly. Without your phone or TV. Chew your food. Skip the diets. Forget about starving yourself. Think of this as a lifestyle. Get back into the kitchen and cook. Eat real food. Food is there to nourish you. Don’t forget water, too!
3. Practice self-care.
We need to take care of ourselves. Only when we fill ourselves up can we be there for others. I know how hard this is. Life moves so fast and before we know it, we are feeling empty. As a mother of three kids, I am aware of how challenging it can be, but I also know that self-care is food for the soul. And without it, we deplete ourselves in every way.
Self-care will mean different things for different people. It might be a warm cup of tea, 10 minutes to breathe, a warm bath, or a massage. When people say they have no time to do anything for themselves, they are basically saying that they don’t feel they are important. There are always 10 minutes in the day to make for you.
Try starting each day by writing down three things you are grateful for. You can also say these things out loud when you are still in bed, just waking up. When we drop into gratitude, it helps us be more present and less focused on the negative. It’s difficult to be stressed when we are being grateful. Try it!
We need to move our bodies. Find what brings you joy and makes you feel good. It can be dancing to Beyoncé in the house, walking, running, yoga, swimming, and more. Try to see movement as filling ourselves up to be more healthy, not as a means of losing inches from our waistlines. Additionally, the more we move our body from a place of joy, the better our choices around food will become.
And a healthy, rested, cared-for body is the first step to finding our way back to ourselves.
Author: Simi Fromen
Image: Author’s own; Darla Hueske/Flickr
Editor: Callie Rushton