Update: Read Part Two Here! (02.21.13)
So. I just watched a really inspiring video about embracing vulnerability, and am compelled to share some thoughts with you on the matter. I think there are all kinds of vulnerability out there, but the one that I seem to be shying away from recently is the topic of my weight and evolving self-image.
In the video, Dr. Brene Brown talks about how, as a society, we are very accustomed to numbing vulnerability, as well as shame and a host of what I like to call the emotions that just make you feel like shit. Here’s the thing though: your brain can’t selectively numb emotions. You brain is pretty much an equal opportunity numb-er, if that’s the route you’re taking. Numbing vulnerability also means you’re numbing joy… and all the other good feelings. By doing that, you’re also halting any personal growth that could take place.
We all know that moments of weakness, vulnerability and uncertainty… are infinitely important for growth. So, when you choose to feel those hard feelings, truly experience the internal struggle of it all, you are growing. It’s good, though it does not feel like that in the beginning. I think we can all attest to a difficult time in the past that we feel has shaped our future in a positive way–even if that positive reason wasn’t truly understood until much later.
I am so much more vulnerable these days than I have ever been before. I have weathered many seasons where I was constantly in “protection mode.” And I didn’t allow myself to be vulnerable to anyone. I thought that I was preserving myself, and I guess in a way I was, but when I look back at those days now all I see is a girl sitting all alone in a prison she built with her own two hands. I am glad protection mode isn’t my default anymore. I’m proud of myself that I can be vulnerable, but not feel weak. I am happy that I can feel the hard emotions as well as the easy, happy emotions. Sure, some days I do feel like an ocean of emotion, but I’m still learning how to navigate the waters.
The real reason for this post: my weight gain. Since graduating high school in 2006, I have roughly gained 30 pounds. It’s been gradual, but over the past year I’ve felt like it’s really spiked. Some days my confidence is high. Some days it is not, and I feel uncomfortable in my skin. I am not a fan of those days. That being said, I have been at a crossroads for quite some time–experiencing a swirl of emotions about it all. I can’t keep gaining, on average, five pounds a year.
Right now I weigh 165 pounds. At 5’3″, that is not an ideal weight to be at. Numbers are very triggering for me–they always have been. If I’m being truly honest with you, I’m not excited to hit “Publish” on this post, knowing that these numbers will be out there for others to read. My knee jerk reactions are… Who will read this? Who will judge me? What will they think?
But, here’s the thing. In my heart of hearts, I know that by skirting the truth and not being wholeheartedly authentic, I am not being vulnerable. And by not being vulnerable, I could be numbing emotions of shame, guilt and… ceasing any opportunity for growth before I even get started on this journey to a healthier Sarah. That’s the last thing I want to do.
So. Here I am. I am 165 pounds and I accept myself the way I am–in this very moment, at this very weight. If I am not okay with myself right now, I will not magically be okay with myself tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now. I cannot shed my excess weight overnight, nor do I truly want to. It will be hard. There will be sacrifice.
It will be worth it.
I am proud of myself. I have already taken steps to be a healthier Sarah, and have plans to take more. I went to the gym today for a consultation and did 30 minutes worth of cardio. I was embarrassed to step on the scale and have a perfect stranger measure my waist, but embraced the process. I am signed up for three months worth of bootcamp classes, and I attend my first one next Tuesday. I will make a healthy shopping lists. Buy more ingredients for The Fresh 20 recipes in my inbox. Prepare meals for the week if I need to. I will drink lots of water.
I will go on this journey.
And I hope you’ll go on it with me. In Dr. Brown’s lecture, she talked about how those who live wholeheartedly feel as if vulnerability is a part of life–that it can get you from one place to another–and that’s how I feel right now. My vulnerability about my self image is a vessel in itself. I believe that if I honor my emotions and truly strap myself in the front seat of this roller coaster, I will experience more thrills along the way than pitfalls. At the end of the day, I will always choose to experience the raw emotion than no emotion at all. That is the only way that change will take place.
My goals for the upcoming week:
- allow my body to rest (6+ hours of sleep a night)
- got to the gym 3-5 times
- no carbonated beverages
- to be more mindful of how I spend my idle time (I’d like to start meditating daily, even if only for 10 minutes)
- to know when I lay my head down at night that I am happy with every decision I made that day (it’s not about a number on a scale)
Update: Read Part Two Here! (02.21.13)