I came so close to giving up on myself once.
Overweight and depressed, I avoided being around people because I felt so self-conscious about my body and weight. I hated looking in the mirror because my reflection filled me with so much pain and disappointment. What I saw was a reflection of everything that I had failed to do to get my life together.
I didn't have the solution to my compulsive overeating then, but a when a friend forced me to confront my reality, I knew I had to start digging deep for answers.
As I worked on healing my relationship with food and losing all the extra weight I was carrying around, life gradually began to feel different, and so did my perspective on it. But these changes didn't happen overnight or in a month"”it took me over a year to get to my goal weight, and longer than that to adjust to being in a body that looked and felt different, as well as let go of the pain I'd been living with for so long.
But when I did, amazing things started to happen:
1. I stopped feeling the need to eat my emotions.
The healthier and stronger I felt mentally and physically, the less I felt the need to reach for food to fill a void or deal with difficult situations and emotions, and the more compelled I felt to do things that fortified me further, like connecting with a close friend, meditating or going for a workout. And because I was filling up my body, mind and soul with real nourishment, my waistband started to loosen up"¦and stay that way.
2. Food made me feel happy, not fearful and overwhelmed
Even though I loved food, it scared me because I felt so out of control around it. After practicing listening to my body and giving it what it needed, I was finally able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted, but in healthy portions that didn't make me want to puke my guts out 20 minutes later. And, even though I still had days where I slipped up, I instinctively knew what to do to return to a place of balance.
3. I fell in love with movement.
When I first started exercising, I couldn't jog for more than a minute without feeling like my lungs were going to explode and legs would collapse. Every step I took felt like an uphill battle I would never win. But I made a promise to myself to never give up, and the moment I finally did my first push-up on my toes, ran my first 21-kilometer obstacle course, climbed a 12-foot wall, sprinted like the wind up the steepest hill I could find and felt stronger and more capable than I ever thought I would, I knew I'd made the right decision.
4. The spring in my step came back
The more progress I made, the more I realized that I no longer dragged my feet or hunched my shoulders. My steps felt springier, were filled with purpose, and my spirit felt lighter than ever because I could finally focus on living my life instead of chasing after the "what if's" I'd constantly been thinking about.
5. I started to feel at ease in my own skin
The first time I realized that I was comfortable in my own skin was when I stopped feeling self-conscious about how I looked — I was no longer obsessing over my weight, what other people thought about it, and what I had to do to look and feel differently than the way I did. I realized that I didn't need to be someone else to be happy.
6. I became my own best friend
The less I hated my body, the more I did to nourish, rest and move it with purpose. I also became kinder to myself, as I was to the people around me that I loved. After all, I'm the only one who's with me 24/7, so why wouldn't I?