When I began this blog a year ago, I wanted to create space where I could write about my experiences with yoga, fitness, dieting, and overall general health. I had no idea all of these subjects would tie so deeply into my personal life. Shortly before starting this blog, I ended a long term relationship and found myself struggling with the inner turmoil, insecurities, and resentment that came from it. I was at one of the lowest points of my life. When you’re that low, it’s easy to pick apart all of your flaws; most of mine were physical. I became obsessed with what I saw in the mirror and I was sure that if I could fix my physical problems, I would find happiness. Thus began my obsessive journey with weight loss.
I stuck to a strict eating schedule, measuring/weighing my food and limiting my calorie intake to 1300 or less a day. To avoid dealing with my issues, I busied myself by either working, working out, or partying. I was miserable, but my strict diet, heavy partying, and lack of sleep distracted me from realizing it. After a month, I finally lost the 10 lbs I was aiming for. I was the smallest I’d have ever been. I remember looking in mirror through my tired eyes feeling more miserable than ever. It still wasn’t enough, I wasn’t enough, and I broke down.
Realizing Happiness Beyond The Mirror
Much has happened since my mini-breakdown and I took a pause from, well, everything, to focus on my mental and physical well-being. I realized that I needed to radically change how I defined good health and happiness, especially if I was going to write about it.
We as a society spend invest so much on the physical side of health. We’ve associated “good health” with the aesthetics, but there is so much more to our health than what we look like or what we consume. From my own journey, being thinner didn’t make me like myself any better. In fact, I was engaging in physically damaging behavior in pursuit of thinness. After my month of misery, I knew that I needed to take a different approach to finding my health and happiness. Thus began my new journey, the pursuit of happiness through self-care.
For me, investing in self-care meant learning how to love myself again. It meant understanding myself and not viewing myself as flawed because I didn’t measure up to others. It meant learning how to not feel guilty about putting my needs first. It meant finally accepting my anger and resentment and being mindful to my feelings instead of trying to mask them. It was a long and painful process, but something beautiful happens when you accept your pain. You begin to heal.
What I Learned
All of this is a process. While change cannot come overnight, the changes I have made has made me the happiest I’ve ever been in years. I went from avoiding food and obsessing over calories, to eating to enjoy real and nutritious meals. Before, I worked out with the end goal of losing weight. Now, I view working out as a means to train myself so that I can understand my body and do the physical activities I enjoy. Even though I have gained some of my weight back, this is the first time in my life I’ve been able to look in the mirror and love the person staring back.
From this experience, I’ve adopted the belief that when have a healthy mindset and outlook on life, good health will radiate outwards. This new mantra of mine has proved itself to be a positively impactful guide to the healthy choices I have started to make in my life. The truth is, the number on the scale or on your jeans will never reach a point to make you satisfied until you can be happy within