The Journey toward Future Me

There is a lot of information about loving yourself. Accepting who you are, being happy with your appearance, working with what you have, and all your good and bad traits while learning to love yourself regardless. Over time, it becomes a background drone and loses its effect until you wake up questioning whether you love yourself or are simply going through life’s motions.

What does this accepting yourself look like?

Every person’s version of self-love is as different as they are unique. So, here I am, lying in bed at three in the morning, wondering how I could deceive myself so much into thinking that losing track of something like junk food and alcohol intake could be self-love. It had me propping myself up in the silent darkness of load-shedding and trying to picture what my version of self-love would be.

Could I hate myself so much that I torture my body to the painful point of memory loss?

What if I turned it around instead?

What would that picture look like?

Slowly, I brought myself to acknowledge all my self-sabotaging behaviours, jot them down in my brain dump journal (which is no longer a book but has become an exam pad in a lever arch file and dividers – I brain dump a lot), the nauseating list of self-sabotage lengthens and I shudder to see everything I have done against being a healthier version of myself.

I have a Summer Challenge coming up with SleekGeek. It’s 8 weeks of building and implementing healthy habits while working toward fitness goals. Part of me is excited, but another part is scared like a quivering blancmange. What if I don’t meet expectations?

What if I self-sabotage again?

In this challenge, I’m the one who is supposed to set the example. Will I be able to?

I roll my shoulders back, practise some breathing exercises learnt with SleekGeek, stroke the mounting panic until it subsides to a bubble of worry and exhale.

If I fail, I will pick myself up again. I will dust myself off and move forward. I will look at my reflection in the mirror and call myself beautiful, fit, fabulous, and loved. I will track what is put into my body, be kind to myself, exercise, drink lots of water, and watch my thoughts and speech. I stop and shake my head. I’ve told myself all of this before, but what I’ve never done is figure out the trigger.

What pushes me to the point where I throw in the towel, berate myself and torture my body with poisonous items the fast food industry calls food?

What could possibly make me need the euphoria of alcohol to the point of not remembering my actions or words?

This is not me. It’s not who I am. I don’t want to be this any more, so what is it that pushes me to the point that I do this to myself. Once again, I make a list, but this time, I put down my triggers and read through that horrifying list.

Yes, I said, horrifying. It is this because everything I see on that list can be addressed. It can be worked through, sorted out or simply discarded. Nothing on that list is debilitating enough that I cannot control what it makes me feel or think or want to do.

Drawing a line down the page, I counter the triggers with a healthier alternative. Feeling overwhelmed – go for a walk, delegate or simply say no. Mounting stress, which will cause a headache, do a quick bodyweight circuit in your living room or a walking workout followed by stretches and breathing exercises.

Too much on your plate? This one had me for a while until I realised I’m not the only one living in the house or running things for the family. Instead of taking on everything, I listed what others could take over and be responsible for, talked to them about taking over that part of the household responsibility and then let it go.

Will this approach help?

Can I find the space to focus on me?

Will my strategy work?

Uncertainty, fear, doubt and several other negative emotions rise to make me wonder if I’m worth the work, effort, and worrying about. Suddenly, I’m angry. Angry at allowing myself to think this way, angry that I’m letting these emotions make me doubt my journey until this point. I am angry that I hate myself so much I say these things to myself.

Things have to change, and they cannot be the same as they were before. So what do I change? How do I change these things, and what do I replace them with that is positive and healthy?

The first thing I realise is that I’m carrying every area of my home, from how it is run to what is brought in, such as food, supplies, and pet requirements, and the lengthy list includes the budget and financial savings for the family. I’m stressed out, overwhelmed and exhausted. I lie awake in the early morning trying to convince myself I have it all in hand, but I’m not sleeping, hardly eating, unfocused, and my energy is less than ever.

First, I hand back the finances, savings, ordering of food, supplies and pet requirements to my capable other half. The systems are set up, making it easy to follow them. I’m not the only one in this household or relationship, and I need to value myself and admit when I need help because I’m worth having time to focus on myself.

Secondly, I do not allow others to decide what will be used to store utensils and bulk foods that are made. I have containers for that use, and they shall be used to precisely what they are meant to.

Thirdly, having inconsiderate adult children is more stressful than having younger children. At least when they are younger, they are already there for meals, and nothing goes to waste. When they lead their own lives, factoring you into the information chain isn’t part of living their own lives. My stress trigger comes with food wastage. No longer will I be making food after seven at night. My nighttime routine will not work if I constantly ponder someone else’s requirements. A meal is made for those at home and eaten between six and seven at night. Should adult children come home after that, the skills they learned growing up can be used, and they can make a meal for themselves.

Then it comes to laundry, the bane of my life, the one item that can instantly make me despair. Just when I think I have it all done, I wake up the next day to find that there have been people living there that I knew nothing of, and another pile of laundry appears. It’s not something you can shove in a cupboard in an apartment; it’s noticeable, in your face and frustrating. Some time ago, I got these laundry bags from the Crazy Store, but until now, others in the family had not used theirs. I will always wonder whether they didn’t deem it necessary or were too lazy to put them to use. However, this newfound determination to get a hold of my life brought me to the point of pulling it out of where it hung just inside their cupboard door and hanging it outside, advising them this is where the laundry went and when it was full, wash the items.

These measures may seem dramatic, but I’ve never felt so liberated. I have never felt so sure that this path I’m taking is right. The extent of confidence I’m using is new to me and makes me consider that I can take on this journey of losing as close to 40kgs in eight weeks. If I cannot get the needle … and fat … to move now, I worry that I may break and throw in the towel altogether.

Desperation not to give up on me eats at my soul, and the inner exhaustion from constantly pushing forward drowns the motivation I once had and saps the energy levels I know are in there somewhere. Now that I have a positive outcome for my triggers, I need to move on to what fuels this beautiful body I’ve been gifted with. My subsequent breakdown in obtaining these necessary goals is nutrition. What I put in my body needs to feed and fuel it, not kill it.

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