Sweet & Savory Life

I AM ENOUGH: The first steps on my health journey

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)
And, I really want to continue to share my experiences with you. I will hold myself accountable to touch base on the topic of health/wellness/motivation at least once a week.

Vulnerably yours.

-Sarah

Update: Read Part Two Here! (02.21.13)

Categories: From the Heart, Health & Wellness

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35 Comments

  1. I find myself in protection mode a lot and I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until I noticed my young daughter emulating some of my behavior. I’m working on being more present and accepting of all my emotions and avoiding shame, but it’s a process. I really enjoyed reading this post and I wish you lots of luck on your journey.

    Stopping by from SITS

    • sweet sarah

      December 4, 2012 — 5:50 am

      Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing a little bit. I totally know what you mean–for years I had no idea how much I lived in my head. It’s a constant struggle though, and one that we’re not meant to fight forever. “Light bulb” moments can be hard to experience, but they really are flashes of clarity that can help guide you. I try to be thankful for moments like that, though that is easier said than done. I wish you luck on your journey as well! Stay strong :)

  2. Just stumbled across your blog from the SITS site. Great way and attitude to approach your journey to better health!

  3. Of all your goals, I love the last one the most. I’ve struggled with my weight in the last 3 years and found it less stressful when I focus on small changes. When I put too much pressure on myself to live healthier (not just lose weight) I get overwhelmed and back in a rut. Best of luck to you on this journey.

    • sweet sarah

      December 5, 2012 — 7:14 am

      It’s *so* easy to get in a rut, almost every single time I embark on a life change like this it happens. I am hoping that by starting out with this mindset (different than any one I’ve had before), I’ll be able to handle the ruts a bit easier. It’s just going to take some time, but mentally I feel ready. Thank you so much for your comment and support! :)

  4. YOU CAN DO IT SARAHPEAR!!!

  5. Good luck on your journey! I began the journey last year and I’m still pushing! :-) You have some great goals to get started! Visiting from SITS.

  6. Oprah’s soul series has been inspiring to watch and I think Brene Brown has been, for me, her best interview. I applaud your effort to become more vulnerable and am amazed at your maturity at 25. I don’t remember now but I think Brene warned the audience about choosing who to be vulnerable with–they have to earn that right. It’s courageous of you to admit you need to be in better shape, even though others may judge that. That’s where some growth can come in, too. Let them have their opinions, and you can learn how to stand strong in yourself. Who cares what others think–you get a chance to really own that you are enough! It’s like being an athlete and performing in a game while others are booing you. The athlete has to be psychologically strong enough to know they’re doing the best they can in any given moment and to be strong in who they are. Letting the audience have their reaction without reacting back is an amazing skill to have. When you learn to not care about what others think, it’s liberating. Kudos to you and your journey to wholehearted living!

    • I look up to Brene Brown so very much. I loved her appearances on Oprah and feel so grateful to have the opportunity to read her work, listen to her speak and be inspired by her. And yes – you are right. It is very important who you share your stories with. The only reason I felt strong enough to write a post like this one is because I had solidified within myself that it was important to share my journey. Personally, when I have breakthroughs in my life, if I don’t share those breakthroughs in some way I feel “backlogged” if that makes sense. Plus, I also wrote everything out and then let the post “marinate” for a couple days before hitting “Publish.” I wasn’t afraid of anyone commenting with hurtful comments, primarily because vulnerability squashes shame and judgment. Now, I never expected to get the response I did, but it has helped motivate me greatly. So, thank you! I appreciated your comment so, hope to hear from you again soon!

  7. Visiting from SITS. I love this post, it is so hard to be vulnerable and put yourself out there. Good Luck on your journey to get healthy

  8. I feel your pain! Since high school I went from 130 to 180 (gah!) pounds! Now there were 2 babies and the freshmen 15 but still. It’s good to hear that you are taking a healthy approach to be long your ideal self! And you’ll get there. Happy SITS Day!

    • What’s sad is that in high school I thought I needed to LOSE weight! Ah! So backwards. Sometimes I think, “If only I knew then what I know now…” but then I realize how important it has been for me to go on this roller coaster ride of self-love. It ain’t always pretty, but it’s always worth it. Thank you for your comment!

  9. Happy with your decisions not being based on a number on a scale is a great way to phrase what you are doing. Good luck. Enjoy your SITS Day.

  10. Found your blog via SITS & I appreciate your sharing. I hit a bottom with my weight recently after gaining 10 lbs AFTER having a baby, not to mention the baby weight gained before that. I realized the weight is false protection. Taking care of myself, shedding the weight, and not stuffing my mouth is what is scary, because that is being vulnerable. Here’s to un-peeling the onion and becoming our authentic selves!

    • Haha, yes! Let’s remove all the layers we protect ourselves with! Only then can we truly understand how amazing we are! Thank you for your comment!

  11. Really nice goals. I use to fight vulnerability. I believe that I still do, just not with certain people. It is extremely liberating to be vulnerable and transparent. Nice reminder for us all. Happy SITS Day.

  12. Hi there! Stopping by from SITS. This post is beautiful. Thank you for being vulnerable and wonderful!

  13. Thanks for your honest post your line, “a prison built with my own two hands” really jumped out at me! Great post!

  14. This is really a great way to think and I thank you for sharing it. So authentic and made me feel good about life. Nice writing!

  15. Something about putting it out there seems to be very motivating for me. For me, the issue is not weight, but home organization. My mom gets really mad, but I take pictures of my dirty house and then try to get it cleaned so I can show the difference. I’ve even had friends ask randomly, “How’s your living room look?”

    • That’s so interesting, and a great way to motivate yourself! I have taken pictures of myself as my body has changed, and maybe one day I’ll put them all in a post. I think about that sometimes and it really inspires me to keep going! It’s great to share accomplishments with others :) Thank you for your comment!

  16. This is a wonderful honest post. I know when I realized I wanted to change my life and how I felt, posting helped keep me on track. I read the Happiness Project and I set up a 30 Day Challenge for myself. It helps to know that people are watching and supporting you. Happy Sits Day.

    • I have been meaning to read The Happiness Project – I need to order it from Amazon already, have heard so many good things about it! :) Thank you for your comment.

  17. I love that you are sharing your journey with others! Good luck on your endeavors and yes, you are enough. Happy SITS Day!

  18. Happy SITS Day!!! This is such an inspiring post. I wish you the best with your weight loss journey :)

  19. Being in touch with your vulnerabilities makes you stronger – if you already realize that so eloquently and pragmatically at age 25, your sailing will be smoother than your peers’.

  20. Every day is a new chance to make the right choices. Something I still need to tell myself everyday, too. Great uplifting post!
    See if my story is like yours: http://www.chocolatediaries.com
    Tiffany

  21. I love your post and that you are so open and honest. Losing weight is challenging, but with determination and hard work, you will reach your goals. It is all about making small, gradual healthy changes that will last a lifetime!

  22. Sharing your journey will help you and help others. Great post!

  23. Fantastic stuff. I am trying to lose baby weight, and I keep having stops and starts. It is NOT easy. Kudos to you for embarking on this, and loving yourself NOW.

    • Thank you for your comment! And good luck in your journey as well. The main reason it’s so important to me to start living a healthy lifestyle is for the family I hope to have someday :)

  24. I Love This! And I am so impressed that you have gotten to this place in your mind at your age. I am here, but I’ve only been here a short time at 37 years old. You are inspiring others, well done. Happy SITS day!

  25. It truly is something I work at one day at a time, and some days are *much* easier than others! Thank you so much for your comment! :)

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