My “AH-HA” moment
The other day I used my phone while I was driving (well, stopped at a red light) and I know that’s really bad but here’s why: I had a thought, and I knew it was important and I wanted to make sure I wrote it down before I forgot.
The funny thing about ah-ha moments is that you can hear the wisest words spoken by the wisest people, but unless you apply your own context to them and are ready to really internalize those words, they don’t mean a whole heck of a lot. So I’m going to share my ah-ha moment, which I literally felt reverberate throughout my entire body, but I definitely don’t expect anyone else to be impacted by them in the same way. So here it goes:
When you invest in weight loss, it’s an investment in your appearance in order to please other people.
When you invest in your health, it’s an investment in yourself as a human being.
For me, the important part of that is acknowledging that I am a human being and therefore deserving of all the same things that all other human beings are deserving of. That could include, but certainly isn’t limited to, love, joy, access to sound medical advice, deriving pleasure from food (sheesh, that’s a hard one to say), deriving pleasure from my body (ack! that’s an even harder one to say), validation of my experiences, support from my family and friends, etc.
So the skeptics might say “Well, if you invest in weight loss because your joints are really bad and you need to alleviate some of the pressure on them, that’s not investing in your appearance.” Maybe. Maybe not. I think that someone well-versed in the health at every size movement would respond with something like “If you are having problems with your joints, the medical profession should give you the same advice as a smaller-bodied person – that is, medical advice predicated on fact-based science – to help you deal with that situation.” That is to say, “lose weight” is not a cure-all for everything.
And I think it’s important to say that the wellness culture that we’re currently experiencing is a co-opted version of diet culture. When I say invest in your health, I don’t mean go to yoga 3 times a week and eat kale salads for lunch everyday and go on silent meditation retreats once a month. I mean figure out what makes you feel good and brings you joy and redirect your time and energy into that.
For me personally, I’m in the exploring phase. I’ve started volunteering once a week with kids because that brings me joy. I’ve started going to the pool because I find swimming very meditative. I signed-up for an Absolute Beginner yoga class at my community centre to get back in touch with my body. And yes, I bought a meditation pillow and a beeswax candle called “balance” that smells like lavender and peppermint – so what? I’m a fucking hippie now. I’ll wear that.
I’m taking a more deliberate and thoughtful approach to food in the sense that I am trying to set myself up to have 3 meals a day and snacks in between. With the help of Robin Glance, the most amazing non-diet dietitian, I’ve moved away from the mindless and frantic way I used to eat and I’m trying to appreciate food (all sorts of foods – there are no restrictions on what I eat) for what it can give my body. Anyone who is interested in learning about healing their relationship with food should definitely do a bit of research around intuitive eating. It’s a game-changer (and I’m not even that fully immersed in it – one thing at a time).
I’m tracking my habits (when I remember) and trying to see how I feel when I engage in each of these things. And when I say tracking, I don’t mean in a judgmental way. I’m trying to look at how I feel from a place of neutral observation.
I’m also writing, which is such an important creative outlet for me.
Someone asked me the other day why it’s taking me so long to heal (obviously it was a family member because it is a universal truth that family feels entitled to the most ridiculous questions in the world). I’ve had to think about it a bit but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not just healing from my one-week hospital stay, I’m healing from years and years of negative feelings, hurtful experiences and judgmental (both real and perceived) comments from others. The truth is, I can’t remember the last time I felt this good. I have more energy and I feel balanced and empowered. I still have A LOT of work and healing ahead of me, which I hate to break to the person who asked that ridiculous question. That said, I am so proud of how far I’ve come and how good I feel about my journey, even if it's been a bit of a roller coaster (more on that another time).
I don't believe in resolutions or making all sorts of changes with the new year. I am, however, looking forward to closing the chapter on 2019 (i.e.: the year of being vulnerable) while I carry with me all of its lessons into the new year. If this realization about my self-worth was the one thing that came out of 2019, then I'd say it was a success.
Wishing you each your own ah-ha moment and all the best for 2020!