First, in December of last year, I realized that I had no idea how to unconditionally love myself. If I was sticking to my diet and exercising, I was worth loving. If I wasn't, I wasn't. Simple as that. Not only was that sick behavior keeping me miserable and in battle with myself, it was extending out beyond to my kids, even to my Higher Power! I was in a constant power play with my kids, trying to gently coerce them to change their eating habits or how much they were exercising, not out of a concern for their health alone, but because I worried that they wouldn't be loved by the external world if they didn't. And why did I worry about this? Because it's the conditions I placed on loving myself, and whether consciously or unconsciously, it became my belief that it would be the conditions that everyone else would place on loving me and on loving them, too. Here's where it gets really heavy - I had to check myself and realize that they DESERVE my unconditional love, regardless of what they eat or how they look or who they love or what they believe. They are my CHILDREN. Of course I love them unconditionally! I was devastated to realize that maybe I hadn't been, actually. And so I immediately owned that and let it go. And in letting that go, I would begin the process of learning how to love myself unconditionally, too.
It took me a few more months to realize how my Higher Power factored into the equation, but I'll get back to that.
I became willing to seek the help of a personal trainer (again), and as soon as I sat down with her, I knew Mal would have my back and would help me get to where I truly wanted to go. You see, she didn't start talking about food plans, calories and macros (even though she has literally written a book on all that stuff). She explained that our progress was going to be measured by my STRENGTH, COMMITMENT, and HEART, rather than my measurements, weight or calories. She plunged right into my soul, and got to the core of what matters to me, what's actually IN my control. Is it any wonder I jumped all in with both feet, signing up for five days a week of in-person, CrossFit-style workouts?
At the same time, I was reading a book one of my close friends had recommended, called The Gabriel Method, which suggested that a fat body sometimes wants to stay fat for some reason that is completely out of our control - either because it is afraid of famine because of years of chronic dieting, or because it's feeling unsafe in some other way. This also resonated with me as part of the solution, and I immediately signed up for their "Ultimate Coaching Experience," which included monthly mentoring sessions, monthly alternative therapy sessions (e.g., cellular release therapy, tapping, etc), full access to their private Facebook group, as well as weekly access to their brilliant founder, Jon Gabriel.
For the next few months, I focused on learning and changing. I consistently completed Mal's workouts and began to undo the damage from years of chronic dieting and trying to control my situation through sheer force of will. For the first three months, I didn't weigh myself at all. I allowed myself to eat what I wanted, when I wanted it and simply added in supplements, healthy fats and live foods to start giving my body the nourishment it needed.
In mid-March, I realized I should probably get a sense of where things stood, from a measurement perspective, as my size 18s had long since become too tight, and it was becoming uncomfortable to even go up and down stairs, let alone do anything beyond the 20-30 minute workouts Mal was sending me to do at home, due to the stay at home orders. I was shocked and disheartened to see that my weight had reached an all-time high of 264 pounds. At 5'4", I was technically bordering on morbidly obese.
My team reassured me that this was a necessary by-product of getting off the dieting roller coaster, and that my weight would one day level off and then eventually start to decrease. I heard what they were saying, and in my prayer and journaling time it had come through that the weight wouldn't start to come off until somewhere around the six-month mark, but it was still making me crazy that despite working out five days a week and following the Gabriel Method plan of eating, I had still only lost a whopping 3.2 pounds over a 2.5 month period, landing at 260.8 as my lowest weight.
In May, I turned 50. My spiritual mentor recommended a doctor who could do more in-depth blood testing to see what havoc menopause and perimenopause may have wreaked on my body. I learned that my cortisol levels were through the roof all day long, despite twice daily meditation and sleeping more than 9 hours a night (albeit interrupted 2-3 times by nighttime bathroom needs). She recommended adrenal and cortisol support, as well as a progesterone supplement to balance out the high estrogen levels in my blood. Immediately upon taking the supplements, I felt less irritable and had more energy. I started doing a Couch to 5K run/walk program three days a week on top of my CrossFit workouts. I began seriously watching my macros, and started keeping them at the 40% carb / 30% protein / 30% fat my trainer recommended. After two weeks, I optimistically hopped on the scale.
I had actually gained weight. How the fuck was that possible? I was hitting my macros! I was running, for God's sake! I was taking my supplements daily without fail. How could I not be losing weight?
Mal suggested I try to shoot for a lower overall caloric intake - ranging between 1400-1600 rather than the 1700-1800 we'd been targeting. She also suggested I try to make sure those calories came from good clean food, rather than processed food. What the hell difference would that make? I thought. A couple hundred calories can't make that much difference. And isn't a calorie a calorie?
But I did it anyway. And I cried and cried at how hopeless I felt. I was doing everything right, I thought to myself. I was doing all the things. Why isn't this dream coming true? Why isn't this new version coming into my reality?? I even started seriously considering volume liposuction. I told everyone who would listen, including God, "If I haven't gotten down to at least 230 by September, I'm getting that surgery."
My friends and family were supportive and understanding. My sister even agreed to come help take care of me during the surgery, if I needed her help. But in my quiet time, I prayed:
"What do you want from me, God? What am I doing wrong? What am I supposed to do? Please, one way or another, you need to help me. You need to give me a sign. What am I supposed to do?"
Then, my sister told me about a daily devotional she had been reading on miracles. I asked her to send it to me and she did. The very first day, I got this message:
"The path to a miracle is always through uncomfortable territory. The source of a miracle always comes in an unexpected way. So what do you do when you're on this road? You don't fret. You don't fear. You don't try to figure it out."
Well, I had been fretting, and fearing AND trying to figure it out...for years! It went on:
"You just have faith. You trust God and say, 'I don't know how God is going to do it, but He will do it." If God tells you to do it, even if it doesn't make sense, you do it. Even if going in that direction, or to that location, or to talk to that person doesn't make sense, you simply obey God and do what he tells you to do. And then, you get ready for a miracle."
Well, I'll be. That's pretty straightforward.
A couple days later, I had a scheduled call with a nutritionist who had been recommended by the doctor who did my blood work. She was explaining her methodology, and it was completely aligned with the Gabriel Method and what I had already been learning. I explained what I had been doing and she said it sounded like I was doing all the right things. Then she paused and asked me, "But do you believe that you are going to be able to lose this weight?"
For once, I really stopped to think about her question. I dug deep down to see what the answer was that was in my heart.
And the answer was no.
Tears streamed down my face as I confessed to her (and subsequently to myself and to God) that I did not believe that I would ever be able to lose the weight without extreme measures, like a crazy diet or a major surgery. And in that moment, I realized, I had not had faith. I had not believed. God had been here all the time, ready to perform Her miracle, and all She asked was that I say the magic words:
"Lord, I believe You can do it."
My friends, it was like a complete spiritual awakening in that moment. I could see what I had never before been able to see, which was that as long as I believed that I had to do it, I was lost and destined to fail. But as soon as I became willing to believe that God could and would do it, and that all I had to do was to get still in the morning and ask for guidance and then follow that guidance when it comes, I could settle down and get ready for my miracle.
Which is what brings us to the restart of this blog, and the redefinition of "recreation." When I started this whole process, it was about me recreating myself, but what I now realize is that I am actually being recreated. It is a co-creative process where God is the Creator and He guides me around what I need to do to support Him in the process of recreating me. Part of what Divine is asking me to do is to praise Her name, and let everyone know that with God ALL things are possible. I've seen it in my personal life, I've seen it in my career, and I've shared with anyone who would listen about the miracles that She has performed in those areas of my life for decades.
He's about to perform a pretty big miracle right here and I want to shout it to the rooftops, real time, as it happens. If you have an experience of God working a miracle in your life, with your health or in any area at all, please comment! I am all about amplifying the miracles that abound in a life built on faith.
I'll be back soon with more to share. Let the Co-Creation BEGIN!