I was feeling a bit shy about posting a #transformationaltuesday post, as I have yet to do one. But today, after my workout, as I lifted my arms to fix my hair, I checked out my biceps in the locker room mirror. And the progress I've made on them filled me with glee! So much glee in fact, that I proceeded to do a little jig to the upbeat dance music playing in the club all by my lonesome in the empty locker room. And in that moment of open hearted bliss, I whispered to myself:
"I love my body".
This has not always been the case. My body and I have not always been on good terms. For much of my life, I neglected her. I abandoned her. I have treated her poorly. No more! I have a new contract with her. A contract of love, highest respect, appreciation, and great value. Here's a little bit of my transformational journey thus far (because the journey is not done yet baby!):
It was in the awkward stage of adolescence where I was still discovering the "womanly" changes of my body when I was diagnosed with diabetes, which began the process of steadily putting on weight. It was subtle at first, as I was instructed to have granola bars and fruit snacks regularly to balance my insulin (not the most healthy recommendations I've received from doctors). Then in college the weight gain became more noticeable as I was living on my own for the first time and in a rebel stage with my disease, not caring about my numbers and eating whatever I damn well pleased. I wore a lot of black to hide my more….shall we say…. "voluptuous" figure. I prided myself in working multiple jobs, ALWAYS being sleep deprived, and constantly being on the go. I ate to deal with my emotions, to stay awake, and to treat myself. Working in a grocery store also provided me with copious amounts of temptation as I would ring up a multitude of different foods, which led to fast, less-than-healthy options (like donut sunday rituals - I'm a sucker for those fried old fashioned ones!) for break time snacks.
I'm not sure what flipped the trigger for me to start making changes. Maybe it was getting a job in a chiropractic office where a world of alternative methods to healing opened up to me. Most probably it was living without health insurance for many years and paying for my medical needs out of pocket (another topic of conversation for another blog post) that prompted me to start searching for any and all ways to "cure" myself. The transformation started with food first as I started reading any material I could get my hands on that suggested diabetes could be cured by nutrition. I experimented with every diet under the sun: only protein with no carbs, alkaline diet, vegetarian, juicing, detox cleanses, and raw vegan, just to name a few.
As I mentioned in a previous post, my relationship with exercise was on again-off again (and heavy on the "off again" side). It took time to build up the habit of making my gym-time a non-negotiable in my schedule and figuring out how to get there even when I felt like a slug. Moving to NYC, I realized that there was no way in heck that I was going to do any sort of workout at home after a long day of work, so I purchased a gym membership and challenged myself to go twice a week at a minimum, tracking what I did in an excel spreadsheet, so I could see on paper what I'd accomplished. I eventually started to crave sweat sessions and a consistent strength training program is one of the highlights of my life.
With the help of my muscle building, finally after years of trial and error, I have fine-tuned a way of eating that works for me and doesn't make me feel like I'm depriving myself. The key that made these important aspects fall into place was, this past year, I realized I needed to refocus my goals. Instead of constantly thinking about "losing weight", which felt like a discouraging losing battle most of the time, I started to focus on GAINING STRENGTH in the weight room and FUELING my body with nutrients that gave me energy and didn't make me feel sluggish and bloated. It became about feeling good, clean, and strong. Not about beating up my body because I was bad or "not allowed" this and that.
And whilst I was working on the food and exercise portion, the inner work became essential. As I started listening more closely to what foods my body preferred and as I started becoming more grounded and present in my body during exercise, I realized I could no longer hide from the emotions I was bottling up, carrying around, and were literally weighing me down. I believe we hold emotions in our bodies until we are ready to process them. So sometimes it will be impossible to get rid of the weight until we release the hurts we are holding onto. Our bodies are smart. Trained for survival, they know it's safer to store emotions in fat tissue than let them wreck havoc on our organs. So I sought out classes that would help me dive deep, books that would soothe and inspire, healers who would provide guidance, women circles for loving support, and my journals to hold all of my thoughts and reflections. This is not an easy part of the journey. Emotions can be messy, unpredictable, and painful. But also very beautiful when they are allowed to do what they do best: be in motion! In motion, they are truth touch stones. A compass for our body to tell us where we stand when we allow ourselves to feel them flow through our bodies.
This shift and transformation didn't happen for me overnight. It has been (and will continue to be) tiny baby steps over time. Clocking in the workouts and healthy meal choices. The challenge of sitting with my feelings instead of eating them and then being okay with letting them go instead of bottling them up or holding on. Getting honest with myself and what is truly important to me. Listening to that tiny, soft, intuitive voice inside rather than the loud, obnoxious mind chatter. Realizing and remembering that I love myself so much that I am going to take care of my body and soul to the very best of my ability. Consistently. Every day. Because I am worth it. Because I am enough. And I have work to do here in this precious life of mine.
I haven't "cured" my diabetes, but I have found healing. And I continue to heal, as I am discovering it is a lifelong process. I feel at home in my body. Not only am I slimmer, lighter, stronger in physical appearance, but I feel more grounded and vibrant in spirit. I am living a life that feels authentic and whole. I still have my ups and downs, of course, and times of anxiety, uncertainty, and discomfort, but I have a new tool box of resources that help support me.
If you are going through or embarking out on a transformation of your own, I am here for you and rooting for your success! I believe in you! If I can do it, so can you. Because you are worth it - you already are enough.
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