To quote Jay-Z, "You can't heal what you never reveal." I believe that deeply, so I felt like it was time to share about something that I've been grappling with silently for awhile. And also tell you how I'm shifting the way I'm thinking about it, and how we can all stop telling ourselves, "I'll be happy when x, y, or z happens."But before I do let me say a few things...
1. I wrote this before the tragedies we witnessed this week with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain and thought maybe something like what I'm expressing below (which feels insignificant by comparison) wasn't worth talking about right now in light of those shocking and saddening moments. But I also don't think we talk about what's really up for us enough, and that can lead some of us to isolate, not ask for help when we need it, etc., so I decided to go ahead and share it in the spirit of our vulnerability making us stronger.
2. My intention in sharing this is that any of you out there going through the same thing will know you're not alone and so we can support one another.
3. Weight is such a hard topic for me (and most of us) to talk about, but it had built up to a point where it had been consuming my thoughts so I wanted to give voice to it, and in a way, set myself free from having these thoughts rolling around in my head at the same time.
4. I also feel it’s important for me to say that I know there are plenty of people who are heavier than I am right now who are healthy and thriving and love their bodies. Please know the message behind what I’m saying is NOT that you need to be a certain body size to be happy and healthy. All I’m talking about is how I feel in my own body and what feels comfortable and right for me.
Ok, here goes...
I’m no stranger to struggling with my weight. I went through a period in my mid-to-late teens where I gained and lost nearly 35 pounds, but for the past fifteen years it’s been more like going up and down within the same 5-10 pound range. So, I had no plan or way to deal with an unexpected 30-pound weight gain, especially when part of it was beyond my control.
If you’ve read my story about burning out and dealing with hypothyroidism, among other things, you know that I gained 20 pounds in a matter of months, which was actually one of my first clues that something major was going on with my health.
Cut to a year and a half later when I finally weaned myself off of three years worth of daily Adderall (with the help of the immensely talented Dr. Kelly Brogan) and I gained 10 more, which is totally normal during the withdrawal process, but still sucks.
So, now I sit here 30 pounds heavier than I was back when this all started. But I’m also healthier overall than I’ve been in years.
My thyroid and adrenal issues are getting resolved, my labs are looking better, I’m eating well and moving my body, my energy is improving, I’m sleeping well, and I was just diagnosed with estrogen dominance/low progesterone, so I'm hopeful rebalancing those hormones will help my weight balance out too (not to mention my migraines!).
But I can’t help it that I’m a little mad at my body right now.
And I’ve been holding myself back in any number of ways because of the weight. I’ve put off reconnecting with friends I’ve haven’t seen in awhile, I’ve avoided cameras (and mirrors!), I’ve played small.
Case in point, I look at the picture of me below and think "Who is that person?" I can't remember the last time I posted a picture of myself anywhere that was full length.
A lot of people say, “I don’t even notice it,” or “Really? You still look great.” Are they lying? Maybe. Maybe not.
Maybe they don’t see it like I do? Maybe they’re just trying to make me feel better? Maybe they also think these things are hard to talk about? Maybe I’ve been thinking about this too much.
On the outside I’m uncomfortable with how I look. Uncomfortable with how I feel in my body. Uncomfortable being seen.
But on the inside I feel better than I have in years.
On the inside I feel confident in my ability and my purpose. I feel balanced and calm. I feel inspired and creative.
So, I guess what I’m really dealing with right now is how to integrate those outside and inside feelings as I continue to focus on being as healthy as I can be, inside and out.
I confess I’m still a work in progress on this one, but here’s where I’ve ended up. I need to make peace with how things are right now. Period.
That doesn’t mean I’ll stop taking all the steps I’m doing to lose the weight, but it does mean that I’m done putting my life on hold while I wait for it to happen.
I was recently reminded of something I first learned from Gabby Bernstein and realized I’ve had a case of the “When I Haves,” which is basically when we keep telling ourselves “When I have my ideal body I’ll be happy.” Or, “When I make X amount of money I’ll be happy.” Those things may in fact make you feel “happy” when they do happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be perfectly happy right now either.
Holding on to “I’ll be happy when...” is a really easy way to completely forget about being present in your life as it is today. When we’re constantly “future tripping,” as Gabby would say, we’re not present. Not even a little.
So, I’m taking her advice and accepting that I’m right where I need to be at this moment in my life. And so is my body.
When it’s ready to release the weight it will, but I can’t base who I am and what I’m doing in the world on the premise that I’ll only be totally happy in my life when and if I lose those 30 pounds. And I hope you won't either. For you it might not be weight, but whatever it is I hope you stop telling yourself "I'll be happy when..." too.
My goal is to accept where I am now, find peace as I go through this process, and embrace the happy moments that are all around me each and every day.
Can you relate? Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how I can support you.