Iíve spent almost an entire lifetime as my own worst critic, and itís a hard habit to drop; but of all bad habits Iíve ever had, this is probably one of the best of the worst habits to do without.
And thatís just what Iíve done.
Itís not to say that I donít get a little frustrated with myself every now and again, but Iím not the same person that I was a couple years ago, or even a year ago.
And for that I must say Iím profoundly grateful because it really is a life changer.
My journey of self acceptance began long before I joined SparkPeople. Itís a journey of many years for me because even though I knew something needed to be changed, I just didnít know how to go about changing it.
It was, as I would like to think of it as, a self-perpetuating cycle of events that just kept going and I didnít know how to stop it.
In my mind, I wasnít good enough. I wasnít thin enough. I wasnít attractive enough. I wasnít smart enough. I wasnít tidy enough. I wasnít savvy enough with money. I wasnít good at enough things, and Iím not sure that there were many things I thought I could measure up to.
That sounds pretty horrible to think like that, and though I did think like that, I think I did a pretty good job of fooling myself that I didnít at times.
Thatís because I used to drown out thoughts and feelings with large pizzas for a while, night after night, that I used to eat myself in one sitting while watching TV, the more mindless it was, the better.
I canít even begin to tell you how many times Iíve done that kind of thing, but I know itís a lot.
I donít think like that any more and I donít down entire large pizzas either anymore.
My life has changed, and for the better.
I used to get so frustrated by all the things I would see in myself that need changing because it all seemed like so much that I couldnít figure out how I would ever handle it.
Iím glad to say that frustration is gone and Iím a new person.
I still have some of the same issues ahead of me, for instance, Iím still trying to lose weight and still trying to keep on top of all of my other responsibilities, but the difference between now and then is that not only am I much kinder to myself in the process, and accept myself for the way I am, but I also find myself taking a whole new approach on life and success finds me a lot more often than it did before.
In the years leading up to my joining Spark in Feb. 2010, and finally getting serious about it in Sept. 2012, I found myself reading voraciously any book that I could get my hands on that I thought could help. I found myself watching TV shows that I thought would help, and movies as well, and at one point I found myself coming to the point where I knew I needed to talk to someone.
Iím glad I did all of those things because it was that journey that led me to the place where I am and thatís one of self acceptance.
I found a way to be kinder to myself, even at my highest weight of 382.2 pounds, than I was ever to myself at any other weight.
Howís that possible? Itís all in the approach that I take to life and how I choose to see things.
I look for the positive side to everything that bothers me now. Sometimes I have to stop and consciously look for these things, and other times it just comes to me naturally after having done it so many times.
Iíve taken the time to accept things the way they are, but have also made up my mind that even though I have accepted those things about myself, that itís okay to want better for myself because thatís a healthy part of taking good care of oneís self.
For instance, if Iím not happy with something in my life that happens to be something I can change, I take a moment and ask myself, what will make this better and then I do it if it is a rational and realistic solution.
At 382.2 pounds, I wasnít happy not being able to walk across a room without trouble getting around. I knew that was a situation I could change even though I took the time to accept it, and thatís just what I am doing here on SparkPeople. My rational and realistic solution was first to join TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly). I had already joined SparkPeople, but hadnít to that point paid much attention to it. I did well for a while just going to TOPS, but then I knew I need something more, and here I am now on SparkPeople, finally realizing that I had an amazing weight-loss tool at my fingertips this whole time.
I found the solution, a combination of both TOPS and Spark, and Iíve made that situation that bothered me of not being able to get around very well much better.
But thatís not all. I use this manner of thinking in everything I do now.
I take the time to sit with my feelings now, but only for a very short time. I donít let myself sit with them too long anymore because I know now that doesnít get me anywhere but directly in front of a large pepperoni pizza. After I sit with my feelings just long enough to recognize how I feel, I ask myself what I need to do change how I feel.
I do this while meditating, praying or journaling. Whatever seems appropriate for the moment.
Usually, when Iím all done with that, I feel better, and now, I donít have to stop and take the time to do these things so much anymore, because it comes natural to me.
Iím grateful for that, and so is my waistline.
I think that journey was the perfect setup for my SparkPeople and TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) weight-loss journey because it has me in a better frame on mind to deal both with the blissful triumphs and the little itty-bitty bumps in the road that pop up along the way that could sour my mood.
Iím not perfect of course in that though. I still occasionally want to fling my scale into orbit sometimes, or jiggle my bat wings straight off my arms, but that feeling doesnít stay long. It comes, and it goes, where before it used to move in and set up shop for what seemed like a lifetime.
And that is not healthy, but thatís the way things used to be for me.
I used to think I hid it all very well. I sometimes wonder if every extra pound on my body was evidence of all the times I was ever hard on myself and didnít take the time to accept myself the way I was, or the situations I was in the way they were.
Itís incredibly freeing to be rid of all of that emotional garbage I used to lay on myself. And as much as I like pizza, itís good to finally be done with the almost nightly large-pizza binges that used to plague me years ago.
I donít eat my emotions anymore. I eat because itís an essential part of life.
And strangely enough, even though it may not always seem like it, Iím happier with myself than Iíve ever been. I accept myself the way I am, but Iím not going to stay the way I am because Iím not yet at a healthy weight and size.
I want the best for myself, and I always have, I just didnít know how to get there.
But now I do, and Iím grateful to have SparkPeople and TOPS to help me get there.
What worked for me may or may not work for someone else, everyone has to find their own path, but this is how I got to be where I am today, happy to be me, and eager to be on this journey of becoming the best me that I can be.
And being nearly 50 pounds lighter than I was not so long ago, I can say that every part of my journey, no matter what it was, has been worth it.