Whole45@45 – Day 18: Body Confidence

'I knew it! 'Chicken' comes first!'I feel like another shift has occurred and I really want to talk about it. But first of all, thanks again for sticking with me through all of this! It’s been 18 days now and it still feels easy. I’m really, really grateful for that.

I’m sitting in my backyard this morning and it’s chilly and gray and just the slightest bit breezy. It feels like fall and I’m loving it. I have a cup of Rooibos tea with collagen and I’m listening to one of my favorite sounds in the world – the wind in the leaves. Love love love it! On top of that, I am planning to go hiking with my son today so I couldn’t be happier.

Yesterday the whole eating craze thing was totally non-existent. I ate my meals, felt totally satisfied, and didn’t even have the urge to snack throughout the day. This tells me, I think, that these past couple days, I was experiencing an increase in progesterone leading to a faster metabolism, more hunger, and bigger cravings. Progesterone rises during the luteal phase of a woman’s cycle so this increased metabolism/hunger/cravings cycle is likely to happen every month. I don’t know what to do with all that. Maybe eat more, maybe increase my carbs, maybe try to work through it…I think it will depend. Rather than dwell on it, though, I’ll just move forward with a little more awareness.

It’s actually raining right now. Seriously, I just can’t tell you how much I am loving sitting out here typing while this lovely weather is happening!

All that being said, the real shift that I have felt occur has been in body confidence. At the beginning of this Whole45, my confidence was a bit low, I didn’t feel attractive, I felt like I kind of wanted to hide away for a while. Now just a couple weeks later, I can feel my confidence and body appreciation rising. But realistically, how much have I changed? Sure, I’ve lost a few pounds and some bloat, but in just two weeks, the change is not THAT significant. Maybe a couple people notice, probably not though. Because in all truth, the difference isn’t that extreme. But I feel much, much better. So what’s the difference?

I think the difference lies in how I am treating myself. Over the last few weeks, I have shifted how I nourish myself entirely over to things that are providing what my body actually needs. There’s no alcohol, no sugar, no junk. It’s all about nutrient-dense foods and it all tastes great! Honestly, I have zero intention of changing my health by taking away the joy of food. That simply isn’t going to happen; I need to love what I eat. I am also exercising consistently, making room for play (tennis, hikes), consciously adding a yoga day that I don’t teach or do at home, meditating, allowing for naps when necessary, paying attention to the ones I love, and being outside as often as possible, which feels joyful to me.

The more we care for ourselves, the more worthy we feel of self-care. This feeling of worth then expands, creating greater energy for life, more to give to those around us, more awareness, more INTENTION. We live more fully and feel more alive and have a greater sense of self-love, which translates back into confidence and self-worth, allowing us to expand yet again. It’s pretty amazing, really.

When I was drinking wine and eating a pack of crackers, it was a self-fulfilling cycle of frustration, sapping the energy right out of me and creating feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Difference – when I’m drinking wine and eating crackers (with amazing cheese) while connecting with friends, that’s living life richly. I’m good with that. (Just not right now…).

Food IS self-care. I’m experiencing that right now and it’s made me look at my body confidence a little differently too. Two weeks ago, uncomfortable in the gym. Yesterday, comfortable in my skin. That’s not to say that I don’t want to make changes in my body, I still have plans for that. The difference is in how I feel and carry myself. But I don’t look any different! So which came first – Body confidence or a better body to feel confident in?

I’m going to have to side with body confidence generated from a place of love and care.

I have a crazy-amazing friend who trains triathletes based on her own experiences as a world leading Ironman triathlete over at Rising Tide Triathlon. (Seriously, if you are looking to do your first Ironman or your 15th and want training that encompasses the whole you, check her out! She’s the best.) A while back, she and I had an email exchange around bodies and she said something that has stuck with me and replayed off and on in the back of my mind.

It was this: “If I am living the way I want to live, like incorporating the things I love and working through the stuff I don’t love in a conscious way, then isn’t the body that comes out of that, the body I should be happy with???”

My heart-felt answer is YES! Absolutely! Our bodies are all different and amazing and remarkable in their own right. If the life we are living is one that we love, then our bodies as a physical representation of that life are, indeed, loveable!

Now that I am feeding my body what it needs and showering it with self-care and love, it IS the body that comes out of that life. I can still want to change it, but I don’t love it any less. It is the same body that it was two weeks ago, but today I appreciate it for working so hard, being so capable, and affording me so much grace for the times I didn’t speak nicely about it. I am, in fact, proud of all it’s done despite how I’ve treated it at times.

I think this is where I got stuck. I knew deep down, and maybe not so deep down, that what I was putting into my body wasn’t really nourishing or nurturing it. I was placing great physical demands on it in terms of intense workouts and great psychological and emotional demands on it in terms of intense, well…, life. However, instead of giving it the food that it needed to navigate all of that, I was giving it wine and crackers. That’s not very fair. So I KNEW that I wasn’t caring for myself in the best way I could and I felt guilty about that, which created a negative spiral.

Have I fixed it for good with a few weeks of meat and veg? Hardly. But I’ve reminded myself that small shifts in self-care can translate into huge gains in terms of happiness, vitality, and renewed confidence. That’s a pretty good start.

What are you doing to care for yourself today? It doesn’t have to be a grandiose gesture, you can absolutely start small. Just show yourself some love today. You totally deserve it.

Shine bright. xo

What did I eat today?

Breakfast – 3 eggs, garlicky chard, 1/4 avocado, sauerkraut, a few chunks of sweet potato

Pre-hike snack – Broccoli salad / Grapes

Lunch – Sausage / Apple / 1/3 c. Roasted sweet potato

Post-hike snack – Nuts and dried fruit

Dinner – Curried chicken / Broccoli / Smoky carrots

How did I move?

A beautiful hike with my son near Westcliffe. Those are some mountains I wouldn’t mind living in. It was beautiful! And I made it home in time for yoga so it was truly a wonderful day.

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