After my 4th month, I'm down 30.6 lbs, but I've gained so much clarity about the weight loss process this time around. This time, I've let go of any specific expectations other than just trying to be healthy and get back to eating intuitively. The weight loss is not as important as the real changes that have occurred that made weight loss a secondary side-effect.
I've finally learned to let go of unrealistic expectations and to be more compassionate with myself. I know that self-love and self-care seem so cliche nowadays, but honestly these concepts are often mis-understood. Self-love isn't about empty affirmations or some satisfying splurge that's supposed to make you feel good, but actually leaves you feeling empty when the excitement's died down. Just like self-care isn't just about a trip to the spa or maxing out the credit card for that tropical vacation. People have been exploiting these concepts on social media to portray a Kardashian lifestyle, which actually serves the opposite purpose by leaving people to compare themselves with this unrealistic expectation of what an amazing life or body is supposed to look like.
People need to understand that some of these seemingly perfect icons with their millions of followers are just trying to show you what they want you to see. They spend hours trying to strike the perfect pose, with the perfect back drop, depicting the perfect life, but perfect isn't real! These pictures are filtered and edited to the point where all we see are caricatures. This isn't self love, far from it, this is self exploitation! At the core of self-love is accepting who we are at any moment -even when it's not picture perfect. But even that can get taken too far where it becomes self deprecating. So where's the balance when it comes to self love?
That balance comes from finding your truth, which is actually a much harder task than trying to lose weight. Finding your truth means staring into all the demons of your deepest darkest insecurities, and trying to understand the source of their power. The work comes from taking the power back! Self-love is that process! Through the process you let go of the internal criticism, the unrealistic expectations, the need to be "good enough" because you realize "I AM good enough just as I am." That realization is self love. It's not some affirmation that you write on your bathroom mirror and say over and and over while hoping that one day you'll wake up and look at the mirror and actually believe it. it's not about chasing goal after goal hoping that one day you'll achieve that one goal that makes you believe it. There's no fake it till you make it mentality with self-love because the only person you're trying to fake is yourself. You can lose all the weight, you can get super fit, you can run a marathon, win a body building competition, twist yourself like a contortionist, but if you're sacrificing what's important to you- what's the point?
Self-love is about vulnerability and compassion. It's realizing that we are all here doing the best we can with our own limited perceptions. Some people have more money, others have more resources, some have connections, others have luck (if you believe in that sort of thing), but at the end of the day there's one thing we all have equally. We all have 24 hours in a day! It's not about what we have, but HOW we use those hours that determines our life.. There are rich people who are depressed, and poor people who are happy. There are people who are disabled competing in olympics and people who are more than abled sitting on the couch. There are beautiful people who can seem right down ugly when you see their soul, and there are people who may not fall within the societal standards of beauty but yet are intoxicatingly attractive. So what's the difference in each situation? Simple...pure and honest self-love! Accepting where you are with compassion and striving to really live your ultimate life (whatever that is for you) for no other reason than because you can- because you are worth it- regardless of what others may think! That last bit- that's the hard part.
So now let's get to self-care. From what I've seen on social media- self care seems to be about spa days, tropical vacations and a late-night glass of wine. Yes, these can all be amazing self-care rituals, but they mean nothing if they are not truly making you feel cared for in the long run. Are these band-aids for a deeper wound that needs an ICU level of care? What is it that you REALLY NEED? Maybe self-care is about making that apology to an old friend. Or, forgiving the person that hurt you to allow the wound to heal. Maybe it's letting go of a relationship that isn't serving you, or maybe it's just taking off the damn high heels and walking barefoot on the grass. To practice self-care, you need to know what the self really needs, and trying to understand those needs isn't always as easy as it seems.
So now I'm at the end of my blog post about losing 30 lbs, but honestly what I've gained is so much more valuable. I've learned to appreciate where I am (still over 200 lbs, still laid off from my job, and living in an apartment where at any moment I might have to move because of constant leaks or floods). Scary sh!t right? Self love was learning the art of letting go, which was hard for me because I'm a fighter. But like the scorpio that stings so hard only to sting his own back - fighting is its own art (read the Art of War).
And now we get to the weight-loss bit (kind of)... Self-care is about taking care of your body (mind and soul)- not to reach some insignificant number on the scale, but rather because you understand that you truly are worth it. You don't exercise to meet some goal about what you think you should look like but rather you move because it feels so good to feel alive. You don't eat a certain way to be able to fit into some pants size, but rather to nurture your one and only body.
It is this shift that has made all the difference. I don't do yoga to get into some pretzel pose. I do yoga because it keeps me present and grounded and connected with my body. I don't go to the gym to get ripped. I go to the gym because I have so much energy and it feels good to physically express that and feel alive. I don't do pilates to get tone. I do pilates because it mentally challenges me to what I think I can endure (those three more breaths are eternal).
I know I've rambled on (I warned you these posts would be raw and crude and juicy), but I want to say this... I've been vegan before, and I've done yoga before, and I've worked out before, BUT the difference this time is my WHY! I had to let go of it all and find my own way back for my own reasons. I post my stats and my progress on social media, but honestly those are all just side-effects of the real change that's happened. In losing 30 lbs, I've gained so, so, so much more, and those things...well you can't see those miracles on social media <3