Part of the post is from a letter from The Joy Up, A 30 Day Journey. Shared with love::
Learning to love myself, finally, after 37ish years came quite surprisingly at my highest non-pregnant weight. Spending years in yo=yo diets, and I mean since I was like 12, I finally stopped. Stopped all of the diets and rules and early gym mornings. I just let my body be.
I gained weight, my body had never, ever existed as an adult without some sort of diet or restrictions to keep my weight low. I had never found a way to love my body inside of all the deprivation. Not even after being a health coach for two years. I was still finding ways to convince myself that if only I could make one more plan…lose a few more pounds ‘healthfully’ I would find that love.
20 pounds over my post pregnancy weight at 150 pounds (on the scale at the Dr. office, not knowing my weight since obsessively weighing to stay 128 pounds for years), I stopped. Let it all go. Released. Started to enjoy food again. This last year of my life has been a turning point. I learned to love myself, to release all the old thoughts of having to control everything. I knew all of it intellectually but had never quite been able to live it. Until Joy and I started to dance and she took my hand and led me down a path that I continue to discover daily.
And this is only the beginning. It is still new and scary and feels deliciously fresh.
As I would eat foods, no restrictions, some things that were known to be healthy wouldn’t feel good inside of my body. Other foods would feel delicious. It took me months to learn to trust that intuition, that deep body knowledge, what I always knew all along. This trust feels gorgeous. It is not deprivation, it is delicious knowing.
Eating to feel gorgeous felt gorgeous. It meant chocolate puddings with coconut milk, curries simmered with carrots and chicken, decaf coffee with coconut milk, eggs every morning, lots of salads in every shape and the occasional red wine in the evening.
It meant that I stopped trying to give up the morning cup of decaf I loved so much and never bothered me. But I gave up the gluten-free toast that was making me sick.
It also meant loving a wiggly, jiggly belly. A face that was fuller than I remembered it ever being.
It was me. Meeting my needs for feeling amazing in this body of mine. For easing the burden of brain fog and bloated belly. My needs for feeding myself with the same amount of love I finally felt for myself. It continues with that layering in movement, space, stillness, nurturing with time and energy.
That love will carry you to places you never imagined. Doesn’t mean you won’t have days where you kind of wished your belly was flatter or that your eyebrows could just go in one direction, but it means that deep down you are love. Loved.
I got to that love through joy. Through my allowing of joy to be present despite all of the past hurts, pains, regrets. Allowing joy to shine inside of my body, even when I felt down. In the very basic discovery that what I want, is made today. Love. Loved. Joy.
And now my body is starting to shift. It feels like love. It feels amazing to be losing weight that doesn’t belong, but without any sort of ‘rules.’ Just following what feels really good to my body.
I had a hard time letting go of wanting to eat the classic healthy foods. Brown rice, oats, green smoothies. I fought to keep those in my life because others felt good eating them. When I let all the rules go, let go of any restrictions other than I must feel good when I nourish myself, I felt like I was myself again. A self that feels gorgeous in her skin. Intuitive eating. Letting go of your need for any other outcome other than being totally in love with you.
It takes time. It takes the journey.
The only way it could have happened for me was to find that love in a weight that felt uncomfortable to the woman who had spent so many years dieting. In a body that had longed to be skinnier its whole life. (I recently saw a picture of myself in HS and couldn’t believe that this girl could feel so badly about herself, she was so cute and I just wanted to hug her. I was almost surprised by how small I was.)
To celebrate myself I went to a conference this past July and it was the first time before a very public event that I didn’t spend time trying to lose just a few pounds so my stomach would be just a little bit skinnier. It was the first time I got dressed to be surrounded by my friends and colleagues and felt beautiful. Like glowing. Like me. Like the woman I have been trying to be my whole life.
Each morning at my hotel I had the most delicious eggs and sausage that I have ever eaten. I sipped decaf lattes. I ate gelato with my soul-sisters. (Ahem, Rachel, Tiffany, Michelle, Laura.) I felt like a woman. I should feel that way, shouldn’t I? Honoring my curves.
When my husband says, “You look beautiful” I should feel that from the inside, shouldn’t I? When we are together in that delicious way, I should want him touching all of me, not everywhere except my belly.
Spreading wings into joy. I want more of this. I want this for you.
Joy wants to take your hand, your joy sisters want to stand in a circle with you, celebrating this deep love.
The way I could be loved at 18 is so very different than the way I can be loved now. It is so much deeper, so much more intense and whole and can scare the shit out me.
Learning to accept that and truly be in that, this is the ease that is waiting. This is the softness and the healing mixing and feeling unexpected.
This is the journey into joy.