I really, really love Christmas. I love giving gifts to people I care about. I love my mom’s lasagna tradition. I love having nowhere to be but with family. I love when we have snow that acts like a blanket of tranquility. I love the crisp, cold air that brings a peacefulness to every breath. I even love the nostalgia of Christmas during my childhood, waiting at the top of the stairs in the morning for mom and dad to say they were ready for us to come down for our gifts.
So, this week’s blog has nothing to do with fitness and everything to do with enjoyment. Because, for so many years, I let my enjoyment be clouded by my opinion of my body. But this weekend, it was all about Christmas. I went Christmas shopping, tried a gingerbread cookie recipe for the first time, (found out I don’t like gingerbread cookies) and babysat my nieces while we danced around to Christmas carols. I left the toys out, the table with dinner plates on it (which yes, was pizza and carrot sticks), and stayed in the present moment, even if it included wiping butts and cleaning up spit up from inside my slippers, it was with some of the most precious people in my life.
Normally, I would have been preoccupied with not eating too much pizza or avoiding the cookies my nieces made for me. Normally, I would have been freaking out trying to clean up while missing out on the time I got alone with the girls. But not this time. Instead, I put on my kindergarten teacher hat and danced around to “Must Be Santa” and “Run, Run Rudolph.” I made a flower out of pipe cleaners. I played dolls and watched some of “Tangled” for the first time…. and I ENJOYED MYSELF.
It makes me sad to think of the days I have lost to obsession and preoccupation with my body. It even angers me. Which is why, I want to write a 5 Part Blog Series on the 5 Things I Changed to End My Obsession with Food, Fitness, and my Body. You may be one of the people who follow me and think it’s easy for me. Or think I’m genetically gifted. Or argue that I love to workout. And in some ways, you’re right. But in others, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
For every way it’s easy for me, there was a way that I struggled with. For every muscle I’m genetically gifted to be able to attain, I’m also genetically exposed to a potentially life threatening blood clotting condition. For everyday that I love to workout, there’s food I love to eat and days I want to chill. But I got here. I got to this place of simplicity. Of balance. Of enjoyment. I got to this place where obsession no longer blankets me like a cloak of depression and anxiety. And my first step to this place started with a single choice. A choice I made because I became exhausted of the life I was living, battling my mind and body on a daily basis. I became aware of what it was costing me and what I was trading away for it. And I set out for a different way.
And while I’m thankful for how it’s helped me, I want to share it with you. I know I’m not the only one who struggled with this obsession. I know I’m not the only one who lived and died by the rules I made for myself. I know I’m not the only one who was letting life pass me by en route to “my ideal body.” It wasn’t the body I was chasing. It was the feeling. And I want to help you have the freedom I now have.
I want you to be able to bake 300 cookies for gifts and not eat 100 of them or even worse, beat yourself up for eating just one. I want you to be able to enjoy the people who enjoy you. I want you to be able to shopping with your mother and not get your blog done till 8pm and know that it’s ok! (True story) I want you to know that it doesn’t have to be this way. That together, we can simplify, balance and enjoy.
So with Christmas around the corner and New Year’s close behind it, I want you to reflect on some of the things I’m going to talk about, raw and vulnerable, as 2018 rings in loud and clear. I want it to be a year of excitement, freedom and opportunity for you, not dread, control and criticism.
These are the things I really wanted for Christmas… the things I couldn’t buy. I already had love from others, but I needed it from myself. I already had peace with my loved ones, but not with myself. I already had freedom in life, but not with my mind and body.
I wish this for you.
And this is my gift to you.
Stay tuned… and in the meantime, enjoy yourself.