“Without giving up hope—that there’s somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be—we will never relax with where we are or who we are.” ~Pema Chödrön
There are twenty-four hours in a day. This is true for you, me, Obama, and Oprah. Yet, I often feel like there are things that I would love to do… if I only had enough time.
I used to spend my days in a frenzy.
At my worst, I woke up at around 4:45 to meditate for an hour, then go to the gym, rush off to my twelve-hour law job worried …
“Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.” ~Christine Arylo
When the alarm went off, the haze of a dream dissolved into the memory of yesterday’s failure. My stomach was still full from last night’s binge, and I was utterly disgusted with myself.
How could I have blown it again? What was wrong with me?
I grabbed a notepad and pen and resolved that today would be different. Today I would stick to my diet!
As I had every day for the previous several weeks, I made a list of …
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens!” ~Louise Hay
In my quest to learn to love myself I did therapy, read plenty of self-help books, and took personal development courses, hoping I could learn to love myself like I could learn accounting.
This was all helpful; however, when I reached the self-talk stage my progress came to a standstill.
Before then, I hadn’t consciously realized that I used powerfully negative words when speaking to or about myself. I was the first to put myself down, the first to …
“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ~Louise L. Hay
Years ago, I had this friend. She was gorgeous and fit—and she ate whatever she wanted. A burger with the bread. A burrito, if she wanted it. She even ate (gasp!) pizza whenever she felt like it.
I was in awe.
How did she do it?
How was this possible?
What was her secret?
You see, I never allowed myself any of those things. I used to think that being happy and feeling good in your body …
“The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow.” ~Unknown
We all hate to suffer, and avoid suffering at all costs. I’ve gone through great lengths to avoid discomfort, pain, and sorrow.
I stayed with the wrong people to avoid the suffering of letting go; I indulged in tasty, fatty snacks to avoid the suffering of not eating them; and I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day to avoid the suffering involved with quitting.
I stayed in bed for longer than I should to avoid the discomfort of waking up when I needed to. I …
“Focus on what you want your life to look like—not just your body.” ~Sarah Failla
Growing up I never had much concern for the shape or size of my body. Perhaps once in a while the idea of losing weight or beginning an exercise routine crossed my mind, but it was always fleeting and I was quickly back to gossiping with my best friend or writing a note to my boyfriend.
Once I entered college I gained some weight, what with the unlimited access to Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch (something that never, ever crossed the threshold of my childhood home) …
“I always wanted to be someone better the next day than I was the day before.” ~Sidney Poitier
I felt I was living a dream life. I had a great husband, a lovely child, a nice house and cars.
I studied in one of the best colleges in my country and went on to do my MBA from another best in the country. While attending b-school I met my husband, and we both went on to get mind-boggling jobs.
Going on lots of vacations, eating at posh places, and focusing on next big house were my ideas of a good …
“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up.” ~Robert Tew
For a good twelve years of my life, I was obsessively consumed with food.
I had this unhealthy relationship with my body and my eating. I simultaneously loathed myself and desperately desired to be skinnier, while also compulsively binging until I couldn’t move.
For months I would restrict. I’d eat some fruit for breakfast, green peppers, and ranch dressing for lunch and a few bites of whatever was in my fridge for dinner. I was also hooked on diet pills and exercised …
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
There I was, reading yet another diet book.
It was the spring of 2013. I was routinely doing intense workouts in my living room at 5AM. Then I would go teach group fitness classes later in the day. By that point, I had tried all kinds of diets. In fact, I had lost count.
As I sat there in front of the latest book, looking for someone to finally give me the answer, the words began to …
“Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.” ~Glen Cook
Beep! Beep! Beep!
You’ve got twenty minutes to shower, get dressed, eat, and get to work.
Screw it—skip the shower today. And you can wait till lunch to eat.
Go! Go! Go!
We all know the feeling. These mornings suck.
From the moment you wake up you’re in a constant rush to get ready for work and out the door on time.
By the time you arrive you’re stuck in a frenzied state of mind, never able to settle …
“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.” ~Buddha
As a kid, I was taught that the Devil tempted us to do evil deeds. When I had the urge to do something naughty, I imagined a pitchfork-totin’ demon whispering into my ear. He’d encourage me to steal that Hershey’s bar from the 7-11, or to lie to my mom when she asked if I’d finished my homework.
Today, I don’t believe in the existence of the Devil, but I do believe my doubts and fears can appear to be downright devilish—if I give in to …
“Stop hating yourself for everything you aren’t. Start loving yourself for everything that you are.” ~Unknown
Picture it: You’re out with friends having dinner, then one of them says, “I shouldn’t be eating this. I skipped the gym today.”
Another one replies, “I’m so bad. I’ve been eating out of control all week. I just can’t stop.”
And another one says, “I’m going to have to eat salad for the next couple days to make up for this.”
Does this type of conversation sound familiar to you?
It’s all too familiar to me. I used to be the leader in …
“Once you get used to people giving to you as much as you give to them and receive all of the benefits of a less stressful life, you will not consider putting yourself last.” ~Amanda Owen
Recently a good friend of mine helped me with a workshop project. She formulated spreadsheets, answered multiple emails and questions, provided feedback to my group, and then participated in the actual event by doing a demonstration.
“I’m not going to cash your check,” she told me the following week, after receiving my offering for the work she did. “I just want to give this …
“Your body is precious. It is your vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~Buddha
It’s interesting how easily we forget to appreciate the simple day-to-day luxuries that we are granted with our body.
We assume that as we exhale, there will always be an inhalation to follow.
We assume that when we lay our head down on our pillow at night, our heart will beat, our blood will flow, and we will open our eyes in the morning.
We go on day after day, running around with a mile-long to-do list without taking a moment to check in with …
“When I had nothing to lose, I had everything. When I stopped being who I am, I found myself.” ~Paulo Coelho
Someone once asked me if I was happy.
The question confused me because it didn’t really seem like something I had a choice in.
I had two parents and wonderful siblings who loved me deeply. I was smart, a good friend, and had opportunities many people throughout the world didn’t have. I never worried about being hungry or safe. What else was there?
Unfortunately, growing up semi-privileged doesn’t prevent us from developing fears and insecurities.
Though there was laughter …
“The quieter you become the more you can hear.” ~Ram Dass
We live our lives at such a fast pace. We seem to be working more hours and juggling more tasks both at work and home, with no relenting.
As part of the technological age, we are connected 24/7, and we find it difficult to switch off.
It has changed the face of how we live and work. Expectations are higher, the pace of life is quickening, and we’re struggling to keep up.
In a world that encourages noise and busy-ness, we find it hard to be quiet and still.…
“The danger is not that the soul should doubt whether there is any bread, but that, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry.” ~Simone Weil
For most of my life, I was hungry all the time. My belly only ever felt full for a few precious seconds while eating the last few bites on my plate.
One night after having dinner with friends, we stood outside the restaurant on the sidewalk, chatting and saying our goodbyes. I launched into an enthusiastic description of the next restaurant where we should eat, how fantastic their desserts were, …
“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits—anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” ~Kim McMillen
Sometimes people ask us questions that change our lives, questions that require us to dig down deep and think about what’s really important. Questions that push the envelope and show us that maybe the direction we’re going in isn’t the one we want.
My cousin, unknowingly, asked me one of those questions over ten years ago:
“Well, this is what you always wanted. …
“When we run from our feelings, they follow us. Everywhere.” ~Martha Beck, Ph.D
I’ve tried Paleo, The 4-Hour Body, even Body for Life.
I’ve tried intermittent fasting. (That was no fun.)
I’ve tried low-carb, carb-cycling, and carb-binging. (While I don’t think that’s a diet strategy, it was what I experienced.)
Sure, I lost weight temporarily, but I never felt like I “arrived.” I never felt…good.
Ironically, it took me gaining weight to learn the secret.
How Will I Know When I’ve “Arrived”?
Is there an image inside your head of what you “should” look like?