20 things I am learning through my healthy body journey: lessons from an eating disorders warrior

14 years ago, skinny was my goal and life purpose. Even at 90 pounds, skinny wasn’t enough. My pursuit of the perfect body was self-destructing..but it never really was about my body. It was about the mental sickness and depression I was going through. Now, I’ve been in recovery for a long time. I am a mother and psychologist, and have been through immense physically, emotional and mental healing to where I am now able to help others, and that my goals and desires have transformed into better and healthier ones. But even so, I’ve learned that in the process of being healthier, it is much a physical battle, as it is a mental and a spiritual battle, and that negative and destructive thoughts and beliefs can still linger…

Like any normal person I went for a checkup on overall health few months back and realized that my fat percentage was way above of the healthy range and my metabolic age was almost 10 years above my current age. I was stunned and it made me anxious. For a bit my mind got lost in this thought of not being “skinny enough” and feeling frustrated and angry, but that quickly changed when I saw my future flash before my eyes and I envisioned my old self. All those excuses of.. “one day….one day I will make exercising a habit, one day I will eat better, one day I will sleep more…” came to mind and I realized that if I  want to grow into a healthy old, strong woman, I would need to start making changes today.

                      The quality of my future depends on my habits today.

I’ve made it known that after my daughter, I was left with tons stretch marks, saggy skin and a belly dip and pooch, and you know what? That’s normal!!! Accepting my body is one thing, but taking care of it is another! I’m finally on the right path. So here are 20 things I’ve learned through my body journey.

1- I can’t hate myself into a new body. I have to take responsibility for where I am today, accept it and transform it to love and acceptance and go from there. I’ll be more motivated to be healthy when I’m coming from a place rooted in love and compassion, not when I’m bullying myself.

2- Dwelling on my “old body” isn’t helpful. Too much past-thinking  creates bitterness, self-hatred, regret and it sabotages my efforts today. I can’t change the past and longing for what was will only stall my progress.

3- Yes! It’s OK for an eating disorder warrior to want to be in better shape and in better health! I am all for self-love and self-acceptance, but this not an excuse to disregard health! I am tired of people using this self-love approach as a way to be irresponsible for their health and families. Healthy is not defined by your weight or appearance, you can be healthy at any size, but accept that health is important!

4- Working out more and eating less is not the answer. How many of you believe if you work out harder and longer, the faster you’ll reach your goals? I’ve tried it this way, and your body will get stuck and overworked. The price is high and exercising more will be more of a burden than a stress reliever and enjoyment.

5- Monitoring your heart rate is key. Burning fat is more valuable than burning calories. Fat burning zone is the place to be if you want to drop the fat percentage and I had this all upside down. I was overworking my body to the point where instead of losing fat I was storing fat because I wasn’t eating enough and exercising too much.

6- Don’t work out too late, and don’t work out without eating a snack first! Exercising from energy is important or else you’ll be burning off your muscle. It’s better to eat a light snack first. (my go-to’s are bananas, nuts, seeds, or peanut butter) And working out too late in the day affects your sleep. You’ll be achy and restless and a rough night affects our mood the next day.

7- It’s all about food distribution. Stop counting calories, stop restricting. Are you getting enough grains, fats, fruits?

8- The same exercise routine, does not get the job done. Your body gets used to repetitive work outs and will plateau. Plus, it’s super boring to do the same thing over and over.

9- You can work out anywhere! “I have no time, I can’t get to the gym, I’m too tired,  there’s too much traffic” were my constant excuses. Take advantage of technology! There are so many apps and home programs available.

10- I am worthy of wearing a bikini whenever I want. Yesterday, today, tomorrow! There is no such thing as a bikini body.  Stop with this nonsense belief that until you reach your goal weight, your “allowed” to wear a bikini.

11- The scale doesn’t reflect your health. And most likely the numbers on the scale won’t change much if your dropping fat and gaining muscle. So, stop worrying about the number!!

12- Decision making over feelings is the secret. You will have bad days, days when you don’t want to do a thing but eat and sleep and watch tv. Any type of journey depends on the DECISION to move forward. So, stop waiting to feel the desire to work out or to eat right. It’s all a matter of decision making. That’s how choices become habits.

13- What you do today, proves what’s important to you and what’s important to you is what you teach your kids. Teaching by example. What do your thoughts and habits say to your kids?

14- Seek some professional help and be careful for those who only want to get money out of you. I went to nutritionist to help me sort out and improve my eating habits and may I say, that she was quite the pro because she never ONCE not ONCE, even though I tried  to get out of her, did she say what my ideal or goal weight was. She just kept reminding me to stay focused on loosing fat percentage and adopting a healthier lifestyle. She insisted on not weighing myself and just measuring my progress through my clothes.

With that said, I went to another doctor to check my hormones and she told me that I needed to be a part of their weight loss program because according to her, my body fat was in an obese range and  and kept telling me with a disappointing look on her face on how I need to eat less and less and work out more and more, and that her program had all the secrets and solutions. You need to filter information and people, even if they are “professionals”.

15- Community over competition. Allow yourself to be supported. Find your people, find accountability. Share your progress with others. Don be embarrassed, don’t be ashamed. Find people you can vent with, find people who will care for you. Have people who will show you empathy.

16- Our bodies are meant to gain weight, and as I get older my metabolism slows down. So, watching what I eat and staying active is a lifetime commitment. With that said… ENJOY YOUR LIFE!!! I travel, I enjoy good food, I drink wine and some days  I just rest. It’s all about balance.


17- Stop following people on social media who make you feel bad about your body! What you feed your mind will grow and grow in your belief system. Stop contaminating your mind and soul with people and things who only make you feel sad, depressed, alone and not good enough.

18- Allow other’s success inspire and encourage you, not discourage you. Look at other’s achievement as positive motivation. If they can do it, so can you!


19- Trust your body more than you trust your thoughts. Be patient and give your body time. Stop comparing! Filter your thoughts and meditate on the good. Remind yourself constantly why you are doing this and be kind to yourself.


20- Any type of challenge is an opportunity for learning and growth. See your difficulties, your stumbles and falls as a way to strengthen your heart, soul and mind. There is a reason why transformation takes time… it’s so you can learn more about yourself, your character and your strength.

 

with love and courage,

 

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