I think it’s time for some serious self-reflection

So, so far this blog has been largely about my struggles with mental health. Looking back at past entries, I tend to do some stream-of-consciousness self reflection. That’s great. It’s helped me more than a few times to flesh out some things that are going on so I can better communicate things to my treatment team. I can’t begin to say how helpful that has been for all involved, and I encourage those of you that sometimes have a hard time putting things into words (like myself), to think about journaling or blogging just to get your thoughts out of your head and onto a medium where you can examine them. Sometimes just putting thoughts and feelings into words make things more clear.

Anyway. That was way off of the point. (But my advice stands.)

So what I’ve decided to do in the next kind of series of posts, is really dive down into my motivations for doing things, the results I expect (or expected), my current feelings on things, etc. I need to get to know myself. Somewhere over the last few years I seemed to have lost sight of myself and what really makes me tick. Why do I do the things that I do? Are the reasons for doing them good, or valid? Or are they just things that I happen to… do.

First up, since I just got done with a workout and things are fresh in my mind, is my motivation for changing my eating habits, getting healthy, and losing weight.

When I started watching what I was eating and was planning on starting to work out, I told every one that my main motivation was to get healthy. I was overweight, had a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, my eating habits were awful, I didn’t exercise past what running around and lifting I did at work, and all I saw in my future was heart disease, diabetes, weight loss surgery, and on and on.

All of this is true.

But.

At the heart of it, I hated the way that I looked. While yes, all of the health issues are a concern, I hated that I was fat. At my last job, I worked a lot of overnights. What do you do when you’re bored and stuck at work at 3 AM? Yep. You eat. And you don’t sit there and eat a tangerine. You eat chips, cookies, soda, Sheetz breakfast sandwiches and snacks. Carbs, sugar, fat.

I’ve always had a very unhealthy relationship with food. As a kid I was a very picky eater. I later came to find it was because my family can’t cook themselves out of a paper bag and would only eat at the same 5 restaurants. Since meeting my (chef) husband, he has introduced me to the wonderful world of food. And once I realized that food is, for the most part, delicious I gained the confidence to get out on my own and try things without his guidance. I would eat until I was so full I could barely move. I would get so bloated that I looked like I was 7 months pregnant. And more than one person over the last few years asked when I was due. Yeah, that was awkward.

So point 1 was learning portion control, healthy alternatives to some of my favorites, and learning that it’s okay to still eat crap once in awhile, but do it in moderation and don’t eat 1500 calories in one sitting.

Point 2 was getting active again. I bought the Body Boss Method program. I know it’s not the greatest program out there, but it gave me a regimented program that I knew that I could commit to.

Since February I’ve lost a little more than 20 pounds.

I have one chin again. And I feel better. I have more energy. And you know what? When I was teetering on the edge of an episode last month I was able to pull myself back and refocus.

But there’s still a lot to unpack here.

Yes, I want to look better. I want clothes to fit better. I want my husband to find me attractive. And yes, I’m going to say it. I want other people to find me attractive. I miss the way I looked when I was 26. I miss the way people reacted to me when I was 26.

There’s so many messages in the media about how you should look, and I’m going to admit that my mind can be very impressionable when it comes to these things. I’d see people on TV or in the movies or in ads, and then I’d look at myself in the mirror, and I would be disgusted by what I saw. (We’re going to come back to this in another entry, so keep it somewhere in the back of your head.) I hated everything about myself. We wouldn’t have sex unless the lights were low, if not off. I wore baggy clothes. I lived in hoodies this winter using the convenient excuse that I worked in retail, in a dirty job, and the store was cold. It shouldn’t come at as any big surprise at this point that I have incredibly low self-esteem. I see very few things in myself that are positive or even desirable. I don’t understand why people are friends with me. And all of the noise coming from the TV and computer screens were not helping at all.

But how do you turn that off? Truth is, you can’t. There will always be TVs, and movies, and Instagram. So you have to figure out a way to find your truth.

And you know what? I am feeling healthier, and fitter, but I’m also looking better. And while I’m still doing Body Boss (starting week 3 of my second time through pre-training before I tackle the “actual” program this week), I’m also going to slowly start training to run a 5k. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, but I never felt like I could do it. I do now.

And while I’m still doing this from a physical standpoint, I also am enjoying the health benefits from it.

I really need to start planning out these entries rather than writing whatever comes into my head when it comes into my head. I’ll try to do better next time. =)

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