I have been on a journey of reinvention for about four years now. I’ve had to learn who I truly am all over again and I’ve had to ask myself: what kind of life do I want to live moving forward? The hardest part of the journey has not been in imagining what that future me looks like but in figuring out the path(s) that will get me there.
What I’ve discovered along the way is that every small step is still movement forward and while there have certainly been (and continue to be) frustrating moments when it doesn’t feel like any progress is being made, it has been my experience that I have had oh-hey-look-at-that moments where I was able to look back and clearly see that if I hadn’t done steps 1-200 (which felt like failures at the time), I wouldn’t have been led to a discovery of new experiences and amazing people, that combined, have led me closer to where I want to be in life and who I want to become.
If you’re on your own journey of discovery and reinvention, I celebrate you and say, keep going! You can most certainly get to wherever your heart wants to take you.
When I realized my 21-year relationship was ending, I remember standing in front of the bathroom mirror and taking a hard look at myself. I didn’t recognize the woman looking back at me. I wanted, in that moment, to snap my fingers and be magically changed.
I think there’s a lot of us that wish it were that easy, right? Especially when it comes to body transformation.
After plenty of starts and stops with diet plans and exercise, I’ve finally figured out that the best approach to creating visible change had to begin with learning what “self-love” means to me. Cycling through the stages of grief after my divorce, self-care was a hard concept for me to embrace. I had spent a lifetime up to that point caring for others. Switching my brain to accept that it was okay to care and focus on just me was a huge first hurdle to overcome.
I began by printing motivational pictures and quotes off Pinterest. I started reading articles that had amazing stories about other women and their jaw-dropping transformations. Especially powerful to me were those women who had begun exercising at 40 or 50.
Ok, I thought. Let’s do this.
But how did I want to go about it? I’d had amazing success with Atkins back in my 20’s, but the plan had fueled kidney stones. I got inflammation from drinking the shakes. I also had gained back the weight lost and then some. It wasn’t something I wanted to do again.
I love listening to podcasts as I do the dishes and clean. Sounds a little silly, but hey, it’s like a 2 for 1 positive action in my time management book.
One day I stumbled upon a podcast of Lewis Howe’s “School of Greatness”, who I’d already been listening to on a pretty-regular basis, but an older episode was suddenly being recommended to me on my YouTube feed. It was a conversation with a holistic nutritionist named Kelly Leveque. Her background in cancer research and her passion for helping others achieve the best version of themselves caught my attention. I loved the science behind what she was explaining.
I got her book “Body Love” and started reading it like a textbook.
I was completely willing to give her approach a try when I read the following:
“…happiness and health are attained when you find balance…balance is found with intentional movement to eat clean, sweat often, and even enjoy a glass of wine with friends. Accept who you are, love who you are, and build a lifestyle focused on health, not some abstract idea of perfection. Punishing yourself for “failing” is unhealthy and unproductive, and breeds disappointment. You just need light direction. And you can think of this book as the bumpers on your bowling lane.”Kelly Leveque, “Body Love”.
The word “lifestyle” struck a chord in me. I was not looking for a new trendy diet, but a new way of being.
What I was reading in this book complimented the Pinterest quote I’d printed and taped on the wall over my stove:
When I was reading this book, Washington State had barely begun reopening businesses. Ordering a book meant driving up to a bookstore, phoning in that you’d arrived and watching as an employe came outside to put your purchase on a little lonely table on the sidewalk before you could exit your car to retrieve it. Even going to the grocery store wasn’t something anyone really felt comfortable doing yet; the shelves were still pretty thin of popular items.
So, I figured this was a great time to explore my opinions for home delivery from a local organic farm. (Which, by-the-way, turned out to be pretty cool.)
Kelly’s approach to building a lifestyle begins with small changes. Replacing breakfast with one of her Fab Four smoothies, for one. I was taken aback by the color of some of the smoothie recipes and admit that at first, it took some time getting used to drinking something that was vivid green in color, but luckily, none of the recipes tasted like grass like I feared they would. (Makes it easier to stick with something when the recipes are yum.)
My eating habits up to the discovery of this book were horrid. I craved the vending machine at work every afternoon and had been starting each day with a sugary, creamy, blended coffee.
Kelly’s book helped me get my hunger hormones (which she talks about in her book from the start) under control.
It really did take me more than a month to really get going with this. But then one day, I started to notice change. Not so much on the scale–but with a measuring tape. Measurable change.
This time, I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and the words that came out of my mouth were, “Holy cow, it’s working!” In fact, added to the work I’d already done, I discovered I’d lost 5″ from my waistline.
(L) Four years ago, I had professional photos taken to aid me in my job search. I hated them and didn’t end up using them because they made me feel worse about myself at the time. But now they serve as a marker of how far I’ve come–not only with my outer transformation, but the inner one as well. Little by little, I’m getting to where I want to be. Hurrah!
So now, I’m a wee-bit obsessed. I bought her second book “Body Love Everyday” and have read that from cover to cover like a textbook as well, taking notes and marking pages with Post-It Notes.
Hello new lifestyle. Hello future me. The woman I wanted to see reflected back is starting to show up in that bathroom mirror now.
I’m extremely grateful for this wonderful discovery.
Quiet Endeavours is a blog about the simple things in life–sometimes told in a complicated, jumbled, and creative way–but always honestly expressed with a big heart. Posts are intended to not only entertain, but to hold true to three values held by the author: education, exploration, and imagination. It is written for an introverted community, and for any similarily-wired lovers of all the little endeavors and discoveries in life that bring great joy. To learn more, please visit the About Page.