Hello there and happy Summer! I have an hour of quiet today and while I know i should be doing other productive things I cannot help but want to tap into my creative self for just a few moments. I actually went to the basement and played on the keyboard for 15 minutes and it felt so good. Sometimes it feels good to just do what feels right versus what we ‘should’ do. It has been a while since the house has been quiet and I am gifting myself just a few minutes to write and share my heart.
The topic of today's post can apply to anyone and everyone. It has made such a huge impact on my life. It is simple and yet so important: IT ALL MATTERS. That is right, every small thing you do each and every day matters. And sometimes we get ahead of ourselves when we think in our lives with our goals, schedules, wellness or work. There is so much coming at us in the world with videos, and articles, and news, and TV etc. There are so many ‘should’s’ and expectations; this mindset can lead to unhappiness and disappointment.
Next I will get more specific and personal so that you might understand and apply this to your life today. I have struggled with a few things over the last few years. My son will be five in the fall and I would say for the last almost four years things have been a battle with regards to my gut health, eating disorder issues, extra weight, my purpose and knowing what to do with my time etc. There are many factors that created the perfect storm of some of the internal challenges that I have gone through that impacted my mental and physical health. I won't get into them too much but will simply say my gut health (insert parasite after having not a good gut) impacted my mental mind + lack of sleep impacted my mental mind. Additionally, my eating disorder flared up because my health issues required a restricted diet. In every cell of my body I resisted all the “no’s” in my diet and truly wondered what will actually make me feel well.
Over the past few years I gained a good amount of the baby weight that I lost (about 15 pounds to be exact). And this has BOTHERED me. Why? Am I that concerned with how I look? Well, after a lot of experiencing and writing and tears and soul searching the answer is NO. But, I am human and it MATTERS how I feel in my body. It MATTERS that I feel strong and that I can eat a meal without looking 7-months preggars and like I have a monster in my stomach. And it MATTERS that I feel confident enough to put shorts on and enjoy summer. I still remember a run that I did three summers ago where my shorts wouldn't stay on and I felt awful. I felt so ashamed and not good in my body. I was pissed that I had to wear pants to work out and wondered what was wrong with me.
And I pause here for a moment and say it is even hard to admit the above. This subject is tricky because weight and body image are personal. It is almost a taboo subject to admit when we don’t feel good in our own skin. I mean, what about “body positive.” And all the reasons in between. But I am going to put myself out there today and say that not feeling good in my body was my reality. It did impact how I felt just doing life. And my entire point in brining it up is that it mattered to me and that is enough to make it mean something. It is crap to say love yourself if you are playing tricks on your mind. And I have tried that and it doesn’t work. On the same token, grace and love of where you are, and the body that is perhaps actually protecting you with your discomfort, is part of the process to.
When I realized that summer that I had gained a bit of weight making me feel uncomfortable but yet I was eating healthy foods (most of which didn't satisfy me because of my restrictions) I was DETERMINED to lose the weight. I have done this before and I can do it again. But I didn't. I was unable. I was stuck.
And then insert today, I have no idea if I weigh less or not, but I FEEL DIFFERENT. Why? Well, I am pretty sure it was a series of events that I want to share with you that explains why it all matters. And most importantly, that everyone has a unique formula for what will work for him/her. Yet with the amount of information that is out there we forget this. We start seeking from EVERY possible source. Whether it is wellness, work or adventure, we are often caught seeking. We watch videos and research. Even when we try our best to get the right information we often are missing one important factor: connection with ourselves. We are losing that ability to know what IS working and what ISN’T working. We are numbing ourselves with social media, alcohol, food, lack of movement, being over busy, and more. We are DISCONNECTED.
Yet we seek and try even when we know something is off. In these situations we can find ourselves blaming others, and even worse, blaming ourselves. That is the crappiest thing of all. Somehow, from my perspective, this society has taught us to be empowered and strong yet when things don't go right we are so darn hard on ourselves. Why do we go so quickly to being hard on ourselves? The answer: the quality of the mind. As I was taught so eloquently by my teacher Rod Stryker a couple years ago at his Minneapolis training, we are more attached to our self-identity than air. Wow, that has an impact.
Since that training my awareness of this has helped me to come out of this attachment to the way that I WAS physically before. I used to be able to eat food and follow ad 80/20 diet or even 90/10 diet. I was a strong athlete and what kept me in balance or feeling good in my 20's is now completely different. My gut health from the Rx in 2010 to the parasite in 2013 impacted my mental and physical health. For some reason I was gaining weight and hormones were off even though I was trying to do everything I USED to know to make changes. Nothing seemed to work. But do you know the biggest thing I was doing of all? I was GRIPPING. I was TRYING SO HARD. I was so attached to not feeling good and so ANGRY at my situation that it kept me STUCK.
Being stuck impacted so many of my emotions and well-being. It was a rollercoaster. Some moments I would tell myself I could do it and the next moment I would make eight trips to the bathroom or catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I just didn't feel right and something had to change.
How am I right now?
This is where the point of all of this comes together. I realized something had to change and it started with doing my SIBO test. The results were I had SIBO (methane and hydrogen) pretty bad. And off I went to the most amazing practitioner I have ever seen, Dr. Meghan. And do you know what? She has been treating me, Kristin, uniquely. I can tell that she uses the current situation and we adapt and adjust to what I need. I know that my healing IS happening because of her approach to looking at what is unique and needed for ME right now. And then all the little things and treatments add up.
The other important factor is that this fall when I was rock bottom of being so frustrated I remember sobbing on the floor after I drank (downed) a whiskey and simply felt lost. I wanted to numb all of my feelings and just feel like myself again. My journey to feeling myself again from a food and digestion perspective and the extra weight I was hanging onto (not to mention my up and down moods) was staring at me in the face and felt too big. It felt so impossible yet, was it any different than what thousands of people deal with and overcome? i knew in my heart and soul that this face-down moment was the beginning of my true-healing journey. I can see it now, nine months later and I now understand why I did what I did last fall. Why I joined Beautycoutner was that exact reason why I can say that I am healing and making progress, finally, to feel like myself again, to not poop my pants (yes that has happened in my journey), and to love myself and appreciate life to a level I have never felt possible.
So what is the trick? I knew last fall that it ALL matters, yet I couldn't address ALL of it right then and there. I need a level of gratitude, faith, and focus each and every week. When I looked at the mountain I needed to climb it was too big. What would happen for me was the "f-it plan!" Do you know what that is like when you throw in the towel and say f-it? You just cannot fight anymore or you say that the healthful choices you are making don't matter and you eat two burgers and fries, or listening to your body on how much to eat is a stupid and bullshit phrase so you eat on-the-go and disconnect. Or you stop going to to the gym because you aren't seeing results. Or you stop eating the way your doctor is guiding you because you are fed up watching other people eat delicious food and you get to eat the same bullshit every day?
What happens when we choose the f-it diet or lifestyle/action that keeps us out of balance or is not in our best interest? Likely more suffering. Likely you will continue to be out of balance even more. But it is SO normal to do this because we live in a world of all or nothing. Not to mention the concept of Like Attracts Like, which essentially says doing what keeps us out of balance will actually feel good. Our challenges sometimes feel so big that how in the world can I possibly overcome them? Am I right?
To simplify even more let's talk about being overweight. I can only speak to this with an extra 15-20 pounds. I know it isn't much, but to me it felt like a lot. I knew what it felt like to feel healthy and in balance and I didn't feel that way. And so many times I just went to the f-it plan and it did NOTHING to serve me. And then I would make a plan and try to be perfect again and then I would FAIL.
What has changed for me is my MINDSET. I have taken my digestion healing plan, food, and business all as little baby milestones. Each week I casually, yet intentionally decide what I am going to add-in this week. SMALL. And I mean small things. For example, I realized this spring I needed more support. So I hired a second nutritionist and I am working on just one thing: eating three meals. My other amazing nutritionist has been working with me on this for years but I finally decided to listen. To take action. And that is it. Recently I have been writing down one day of food for analysis. That is it. And the changes that have come to it are HUGE. I am learning so much about my dysfunctional thought process, and what normal eating might feel like. But the biggest thing for me is that it was just one simple thing that is making a big impact. And on top of it, the new perspective and support allows me to actually gift myself the grace I often encourage others to give themselves.
Let's use exercises as another example. I was unable to do a lot physically with my joint pain and thus got more out of shape through the winter. I started to run and my feet immediately hurt. Instead of pushing through, which I often would I stopped and said, let's change the goal so that you can make it happen. Let's get new shoes and try to move more and then once a week when you walk, add in 1-minute bursts of running. EAch week I would do that and celebrate more movement and a little bit of running. Guess what? I ran 5 miles last week and 8 weeks ago there is no way I could do that without hurting myself.
Did it happen over night? No. What was my focus? It was adding in just a little bit more. And then a little more. And celebrating every win along the way. When I wouldn't move much on a day or when I wouldn't eat meals but graze every day and feel like shit. I would celebrate the crap out of that! It would be hard not to feel shame or anger with myself. I would catch myself and stop and say something like, " I am so glad I ate crappy today because my stomach feels awful and It reminds me why I have to meal plan and sit and chew my food!" And then I would feel all of the feelings of discomfort, but remove the shame.
What keeps happening when I follow this system? Changes? I am happier, I love myself more, I think I am losing weight or at least fitting into my clothes more, and I am healing! I go to the bathroom more consistently and I am connected to myself in a way that I wasn't for the longest time?
Do I have more work to do? Yes! And when I start to try too hard and I think to myself, keep moving and eating perfect Kristin, you can do this. Do you know what happens? I have shitty days. I disconnect and I forget that it isn't perfection or even the point of any of it. The goal isn't to be perfect in my body. The goal is to be connected to my body and feel good in my body so that I can live and love. I want to play with my kids and laugh with my friends and snuggle with my husband. I want to do more than my 1-minute of yoga again. Why? Not because I feel like I should but because I want to. I want to because I know that in time it will be back in my life. I will start slow and eventually I will have a longer meditation practice again.
Each week I just keep adding in small things. I am slowly swapping out products in our kitchen and bathroom. I am moving more and eating more full meals than ever. I need more sleep and yoga. I need more structure in my work life and family life. But that will come. Why? Because it all matters and it is truly the little victories that get us farther faster. It is being content with right now versus being so angry about how you aren't the same or that you have challenges. It is letting go at which the pace things happen. It is being in the moment as best as you can. It is being content with one breath at a time.
Is it every going to be perfect. Hell no. It is not going to be perfect, EVER! It is never going to feel like it and we are always trying to improve and get better. That is part of life.
What I will tell you is if you read or take away anything, it is this: It ALL Matters. Keep it simple. Decide one or two things a week you will add-in that will help your life. And then do them. Celebrate when it goes well and when it doesn't. Be kind in your words to yourself and as best as you can trust the process. Trust your body and your soul to lead and support you. The answers are not on the internet or anywhere else, even from the best of the teachers and doctors. The answers are within. Keep listening and taking action. Little steps because you are worth. It all matters. And most important, YOU MATTER.
In love and so much gratitude,