365 Readers: It has been awhile since I have posted here and I apologize. I mentioned in my latest blog that I was cooking up something else. Although it is not ready yet, I do have some content that I wrote for the new site that I wanted to share with you. Enjoy it!
How to love your thighs and your crazy aunt
My philosophy for change is easy; you have to let go of your desired outcome and love where you are right now. What does this mean? It means letting go of the painful thoughts of what your life should look like and embracing the picture you have created for yourself right now. This is the first and the most important step that you will take on the road to a healthy life.
How much time and energy are you using everyday thinking about how life should be for you? You should have smaller thighs. You should be in a great relationship. You should be making a lot more money. All of these shoulds are causing you pain and are keeping you stuck in the life that you are in right now. It does not mean that you have to settle for a life without those things, it means you have to embrace where you are to get to where you want to be.
Learning to do this takes patience, persistence and most importantly, self-love. Here are five fun tips to fall in love with who you are right now:
1. Create time to make time. Find time to care for yourself every single day. Carving time out of your schedule to tend to only yourself may seem like a luxury that you cannot afford. However, living your life believing that you do not have enough time to tend to your own needs first is even more dangerous. How many times have you heard the spiel from the flight attendants about putting your own oxygen mask on before assisting others? Same thing goes in life.
Action Plan: Make a list of all the things you have to do during your day. Cut out a few of the things that are not necessary or find another way to do it. Ex: Have to clean the house? Enroll your significant other to help or decide that those dirty floors can wait until you have more time. Now take those newly free 30 minutes to exercise, read a book or catch up on a blog. Whatever it is you need that day. Do it with the same amount of importance that you would have placed on something not so important (aka cleaning the dog hair off your floor).
2. Clear out your contact list. We all have a few people in our lives that drain us mentally, emotionally or physically. It is time to be brutally honest and ask yourself why you keep these people around. I call these people “drainers.” They will continue to drain all of your awesomeness out of you until you no longer have anything to give. Doing a friend a solid is a part of a healthy friendship, doing a friend a lot of solids and having to continually prop them up in their lives is not. Take a look at the people who make you feel alive inside and full of laughter on the outside; those are the people to surround yourself with.
Action Plan: Hopefully just reading that last tip has sparked a name or two in your head. If it did not, it could mean that you do not have anyone like that in your life. Give yourself a high-five for not letting them in! If you are not sure if you have anyone like that in your life, then ask those light-up-your-life-friends if there are people in your life that you continually talk about because they make you feel crappy. Those LUYLF’s will be honest. Once you have the name(s), slowly let them go. Stop proactively making plans and take your time responding to emails/texts. Take note of how you feel with less of them in your life. If you notice a more positive you, then it is time to let go entirely.
3. Clear out your planner. We are back to looking at that wham-packed schedule of yours. Is there anything on your planner that makes you cringe? Perhaps a happy hour with co-workers and all they do is job bash? Or a dinner date with your Aunt who wants to talk about your recent weight gain? You do not have to do those things if they make you feel anything but stellar. Those situations will just steer you further and further away from the happy life you are aiming for.
Action Plan: You have a few options here based on what type of person you are or are striving to be. Option A: Cancel the plans and continue to keep them off of your planner in the future. Option B: Inform your co-workers/friends/family that if you get together then whatever it is that you do not want to talk about will not be up for table chat. Then come to the event prepared to listen (sometimes it is more fun to listen than to talk) with a list of suitable topics to discuss. Ex: Aunt Sally, tell me about the first time you fell in love or the biggest adventure of your life. I guarantee that more fun will be had for everyone involved.
4. Ditch the Donuts. We all have our favorite way of coping with issues in life. Mine used to be eating copious amounts of donuts until I felt so sick that I (kind of) forgot what my initial problem was. If you are here, then I am going to assume you turn to food when the times get tough. What’s your poison? Be honest to yourself and admit what you do and how you do it. Do you eat in your car or when nobody else is around? Or do you wait until you can go to dinner with friends and then it feels more justified? Everyone has their way of dealing, it’s time to take a look at yours.
Action Plan: Now that you have identified how you handle the pain in your life, it is time to dig deeper. What is the pain that you are covering up? Is it deep-seated and deserves some nurturing from a life coach or therapist? Is it light-hearted and just needs a friend’s ear? Figure out what it is and give it the attention that is needed to move forward. As you are in the process of figuring out your issues, you will have to find new ways to help you get through them. My favorite way is by going for a run. It is just me, my rockin’ Les Miserables Pandora Station (not kidding) and my thoughts. It is freedom in a sports bra clad disguise. Now it is your turn to figure out what feels better than stuffing down your feelings with a bear-claw. Lets recap these steps 1. Figure out how you (unhealthily) cope 2. Identify what it is you are trying to cover-up and how to address it 3. Introduce new (healthy) ways to help you cope.
5. Retrain your brain. After all of these changes have been implemented into your life you deserve a break. I do not mean running back to the fridge to celebrate with a pack of Double-Stuff Oreos. I mean that you need to reward positive behavior in your life with small celebrations that do not include food. This is going to reinforce the changes you have made and signal the brain that it likes the change. Change. Is. Good.
Action Plan: Have fun with this part! Create a list of all of the ways you can treat yourself for bringing more happiness into your life. Example: play fetch with the pooch, meditate for 5 minutes, drink a cup of tea, go to yoga, read a chapter in your favorite book, call a friend or zone out on a trashy reality show that you will not admit to anyone you watch. Once you have your list completed, reward yourself every time that you complete an item from the list above. Make sure that while you are integrating these rewards into your life that you are dubbing them that. You deserve this reward girl, rawr! Side Note: feel free to add in animal noises if it makes you feel sassy!
These are the first steps in learning how to move forward in your life without making life altering changes. When you add these in you will enjoy where you are and in return, stop yearning for those shoulds. After all, those shoulds do not really exist. They are just what you have created in your head to keep you in a safe place, paralyzed by fear. Ready to make some of these changes? In the comment section below, write about what things you gave up, what you added in and how life feels different.