The Weight Of Our Thoughts

Apr 22, 2021 Wellness, Faith, Motherhood, Personal
“You cannot heal a body with hate.” - Dr. Will Cole

I grew up very insecure & not fully appreciating my body. Even on my best days, I always felt like I wasn’t thin enough or was too big boned or just wasn’t enough, period. I was only 7 years old when this photo was taken & I clearly remember thinking I was ‘too fat’ & to ‘suck in my stomach’. It's not an easy truth to share, but it’s an important one.
From a very young age I was often called 'cookie dough'. By the time I was in kindergarten, I was the tallest person in my class, which made me feel even larger than I 'should' be. I remember fighting my mother daily as to what clothing I was going to wear because I didn't feel comfortable in most clothing or thought they made me look 'fat'. I would joke often that my sister could eat an entire box of oreos & lose weight, whereas I would merely look at the box of oreos and gain weight.

As I grew older, I couldn't stop thinking that I needed to lose weight. One summer, when I was around 14, I began monitoring everything I ate & doing Jane Fonda Step-Aerobics and/or Tony Little Workouts daily (who else remembers those btw! ). I toned up (all the while outgrowing puberty at the same time) & began to feel good about myself. When I returned to school that year, I was honestly shocked by how many people noticed my transformation. On one hand it felt like the biggest compliment, yet on another hand it felt like it validated all those years of thinking I was not enough just as I was. As I look back, this was the start for me of wanting to be healthy because I could see how good it made me feel, however also just scratched the surface of the long journey ahead to truly heal & find beauty within myself at every stage for the right reasons (not just acceptance).

Even as I graduated & ventured into college, it didn't matter how fit I felt or clean I ate, I very rarely felt like I was where I 'needed to be'. I tried every diet program there was & was often made fun of for always eating a salad or 'healthy' foods by my friends (who seemed to be able to freely eat whatever they wanted). I carried a lot of guilt & stress daily over what I was eating or if I ate "too late". In college, my boyfriend lovingly poked fun at me for not wanting to showcase my rear end because I would always wear longer shirts or tie something around my waist. What he didn't know is how true that was & how insecure I was about doing just that... which mortified me inside that he noticed.

Events that involved swimming & being in a bathing suit always stressed me out because I felt too exposed & couldn't 'hide' behind anything. There were too many summers to count where I wouldn't wear tank tops because I didn't think my arms looked strong enough. When I met my now husband, I spent most of that first year dating him feeling utterly self-conscious as to if he "really" was into me since I was so much "bigger" than his ex. When we were engaged, I would wake up at 5am every day to workout (which doesn't seem like a big deal to me now as a mama, but most definitely was as a 32 year old who could choose to sleep in if she wanted to). After having babies, I struggled with being SO appreciative for what my body had accomplished, while at the same time longing to feel lighter & get back to the weight I was pre-pregnancy.

It wasn't until these recent years that I started to really turn inward & realize that if I couldn't love myself for who God made me to be, then nothing else would make that happen for me. It had to begin with me.

The crazy part is that my unhealthy self image all began because there were people in my life that spoke untruths about me. Some did it playfully, some did it not knowingly, & some did it harshly. What I have noticed is that people's own insecurities when not dealt with, often lead to them hurting others. This leads me to wonder :

"At what age do we start allowing others brokenness to define us and invade our own wholeness?"

Have you ever had those days where you wake up feeling heavy both in your mind & in your body? Where you base your day on the number you see on a scale? Where you can't shake the negative thoughts about yourself no matter what you do?

Now ask yourself, at what age did this begin? Is there someone that made you feel less than or distorted your image of who you knew yourself to be?

I have learned so much which has brought me to where I am now — a mother, a wife, a friend, a human BEING who has never felt more EMPOWERED by what true health & healing really means.

If we don't have a love & appreciation for our bodies first & foremost, than life will just feel like you are constantly trying to swim upstream. We need to put ourselves first & be gentle with the process.

Here are some practices I have integrated into my life that have helped me fuel my thoughts & body, which in turn have helped me keep a positive body image. These things came into my life one at a time. As I felt confident in one, it became very natural to layer another one on top as I continued to heal.

1// Take practice in filling your mind with positive thoughts. Read books and/or listen to podcasts that inspire your soul & remind you what is most important. Get Out of Your Head is one of my faves! Look in the mirror daily & tell yourself what you love about your body.

2// Aim to get up an hour earlier than expected. Take time to get some movement in -- be it a long walk, a nice stretching routine, a great workout -- you choose, just MOVE. Most days I choose to start my day off with a workout, but some days I choose to journal during this time or pick out my verse of the day. Some days I choose to just sit in the dark of the early morning with some hot lemon water in hand. Some days I schedule a 'walk & talk' with my bestie & get lost walking throughout our neighborhood. The choice is yours of what you do, but I assure you that by adding in this little shift, it will set up your day for great success for your mind & body.

3// Aim to drink half your body weight (in ounces) of water every day. This is so much easier said than done but the benefits of flushing out your system daily are simply put -- incredible & worth it! This is my favorite 32 oz water bottle which makes it super easy to only have to fill up a couple times per day & get all that water in!

4// Get outside & get some fresh air plus sunlight! Stand in the grass barefoot to get more grounded (literally).

5// Aim to fill up your plate with more real, whole foods. As we tell our children to "eat the rainbow", we do so ourselves! Always try to have over half of your plate filled with beautiful colors of vegetables & fruits! The more you eat this way, the more you will CRAVE it... & thrive.

6// Aim to get 7 hours of good sleep a night. If this means you might need to head to bed earlier, then so be it! The benefits of good sleep set the tone for the day ahead of you.

7// Find a great therapist that you love & connect with. If you try someone out & it's just not 'feeling right' or 'clicking', then that person is not for you -- but don't give up there! Keep searching until you find your person -- the benefits of having a great counselor is one of the most powerful tools you will have in your 'tool belt for life'!

We ALL hold the key to being & feeling our best. We simply have to understand that, & actually BELIEVE it. Our thoughts are pivotal & the first ‘muscle’ we need to work on.
You cannot heal a body with hate, and to love and appreciate your body fully is a journey. As much as I have grown in this area, there are still things I am working on, as well.

What is the 'weight' of your thoughts? If you’re feeling 'heavy' reflecting on this & looking for a place to begin, take action first on addressing your thoughts. Make that therapy appointment, say out loud all that you are grateful for, look in the mirror & tell yourself you’re beautiful— just, start. And be sure to be patient & kind with yourself along the way.
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