I want to share something really personal with you, and I should start by saying that not everyone needs a breakthrough, but I did. Some of you are just here because you like the sneaky little healthy recipes sandwiched in among all this heavy stuff, and that's cool!
This blog is about my breakthrough, and for those of you that are stuck, and need a breakthrough like I did.
Today I have been re reading some of my early conversations with Alex, looking for quotes to include in my talk at the upcoming The Balance Project evening I'm hosting.
For those of you who haven't been following me for long, Alex was the friend I spoke to who helped me see my eating behaviour in a different light, which ultimately led to me making this huge change in my life. (I wrote a specific blog about it called The Switch a year ago and also an Interview with Alex).
In reading through our conversation I got very emotional. I'm sitting here having a cry and realise it's for two reasons.
First, I remember that place of desperation and unhappiness so very clearly. Sometimes I forget because life is so different for me now, but when I read the words - I remember the feelings, the hurt, the frustration and I feel incredibly sad for me. I was fully functioning. I went about my busy life and I suspect no one knew how unhappy I was, but I was in a dark place when it came to how I viewed myself. I certainly was not unhappy all the time, don't get me wrong, I was still a positive person about life and my place in it - but deep down I was not happy about myself.
Following feeling sad, I felt immense happiness and pride. To look back and see what I have done and how I've done it, I'm so proud. It has made such a difference in all aspects of my life. The breakthrough is the hardest part. The breakthrough is what changes your direction and leads you on a journey of self discovery and improvement, but it can be hard to get there. I didn't understand back then what making these changes would mean, I just knew I needed to change and part of what this blog is about, is showing people what the other side can look like.
What I wanted to share with you is part of the conversation that I had with Alex that night. There was an important question that Alex asked me, that I'd like to share with you, and more importantly, my response. It is very personal and to me still a little raw so it's a big deal for me to share it as not all goals came to fruition, as you'll understand when you read on.
This was the question that made me think about my future. I remember answering VERY quickly, typing fast and crying as I did it. I'd like you to think about your answer, maybe write it down to reflect on later.
Alex:If you and I are having this conversation again in 12 months time and you are really happy with how you've progressed and your results. Tell me what those results would be. Physically and mentally.
Justine: I would have energy, I would be able to run around with Aiden and not get tired, I would be able to do all the active things I love with him and Bill that we enjoy as a family but I am limited to do at the moment. I would look better, I would be able to wear the clothes I want. I would be pregnant. Or at least if I wasn't pregnant, I would know it wasn't my fault. Because right now I feel like I am the only thing stopping Aiden from having a sibling. And that weight is paralising sometimes.
The very first thing that he said to me after that response was:
'Justine, You must stop holding yourself to ransom', and the words were honestly like a bullet.
That is what we do to ourselves, we blame ourselves for all our past perceived failures and hold ourselves to ransom. We fill our head with negativity because we are not who we think we should be, because we're fat, or unfit or just plain unhealthy.
It's time to stop it. Stop with the negative self talk, it's not ok anymore.
You are worth more.
One thing that Alex said to me that has really stuck is, "you must commit to starting to understand yourself better". Mindfulness and awareness is such a huge part of changing how you eat because it's actually not about the food. This is something I have learnt to practice everyday, to THINK about what I am doing. Do things with intention. There is no need to pressure yourself with a long list of things you CAN'T eat, life is for living and if certain foods bring you joy, don't do yourself the disservice of saying you will NEVER eat them again. It's not realistic for a start, you're setting yourself up for failure. You must also realise that when you start exploring with different food, food that fuels you, you find other things that you love - even as much as cake ;)
Here are the 5 things I believe help you to have your breakthrough and help you to get started on your journey.
- Write down what success looks like to you, what do you want?
- Forgive yourself of your faults, what's done is done, there is no point in beating yourself up anymore. LET IT GO.
- Get to know yourself better. As Alex said to me, you must commit to starting to understand yourself better. Understand why you make the decisions you do - you don't have to stop them, you just need to start with understanding your triggers and why you make those choices. Then you can recognise it next time.
- Be in the moment. Concentrate on today. There is no need to set 30kg goals and make your task a mountain - do well today, and then move on tomorrow.
- Love yourself and think of yourself positively - practice this every day
My last piece of advice, for now, is to utilise the people around you that love you.
I reached out to Alex because he had offered countless times over many years to help me. I was never ready, and I was stubborn, but when the time came - I knew exactly who to call. I am very fortunate to have a husband who has been my biggest cheerleader & supporter. The changes I made have not only been for me, Bill & Aiden have been part of this as well and are also healthier because of it. Aiden counts my steps each day and tells me he's proud when I hit 10k.
To be successful, you must let the people who love you help you and be part of your journey. Bring people into your fold, and it becomes a happy place to grow.