That’s my body on my scale a little over a week ago. That’s a measurement of my flesh, muscle, bones, water and my blood. My brain and my heart.
And that number is almost 20 lbs. higher than it was about 14 months ago. I know this because weighing myself had been a consistent practice of mine, and it’s one I encourage my clients to practice, as well.
There are people who believe otherwise and will tell you to ignore the scale; and I actually did decide to ignore the scale for some long stretches of time this past year. More about that in a future post.
What good can come from stepping on to a piece of metal for 10 or 15 seconds? Some people might liken it to stepping onto a personal roulette wheel (“bada bing — Am I in the red? or black? did I win — because I lost? or did I lose — because I gained?”).
My visit with that number every morning was an opportunity for me to meet my mind and my thoughts around my body. I would ask myself this: What do I make that number mean?
That number gave me information about the facts of my physical body that morning — and then I would consciously decide “what does that mean to me — about my life? about who I believe I am?”
I used to think that weighing myself every day would be a source of torment, but it’s really a form of intimacy.
When you have that little meeting with yourself for a moment each morning over a long period of time, you get to know your body.
You get to know how it feels when your menstrual cycle is getting ready to start. Or what your body feels like when the number is lower than you expected, but you’re dehydrated and tired.
You get to know when your body feels free and energized and you can think about how you took care of yourself that led to those feelings.
You get to decide how you’re going to hang out with yourself when the number on the scale is a surprise to you — whether you’re up from your natural weight — or down.
You get to know your body, yes — but you really get to know your mind.
I could write a few thousand words in one blog post about what that number above has meant to me and what’s happened over the past year, but I’m going to slow things down to share what I’m learning over the course of the next few weeks with a series of posts.
There’s this desire I have to take you through a whole journey of ups and downs and moments of doubt followed by moments of resolve. I want to tie it all up for you in a nice, neat inspirational bow. Right here. Right now.
But that’s not how I am going to do this.
There is no perfect landing place for what I will share. I’m discovering things in real-time — day after day. I’m getting quiet and listening to what’s going on with me instead of eating in order to diminish it.
I know I love my body and my life right now and I am coming into a higher level of understanding, love and care for myself than I’ve ever known before.
I also know I’ve been incredibly hard on myself, really to the point of torment.
I know I’ve had the most incredible year of success, marriage, family, travel, love and friendship.
And I know I’ve felt frustration, loneliness, doubt and stress. I know my cortisol has been through the roof.
I know I’m creating and doing things I’ve only dreamt of and they are happening.
I know I’m proud.
I know I’m driven.
I know I’m one of those people the book The Highly Sensitive Person was written for (laughing out loud, but also bowing my head in recognition of):
- my spectacular imagination
- my big heart and capacity for love and empathy
- my wildly intuitive capabilities for sizing up a room or a situation when no one has said a word
And sometimes, more often than I let myself understand, this means:
- feeling overwhelmed
- letting my conscientiousness be a trap versus a portal
- feeling like I’m either hiding / disappearing if I withdraw OR willing myself to continually rise, rise, and rise — sometimes to the point of exhaustion
I know I’ve sat by myself at night consuming lots of sugar — not quite binges, but just shy of that.
I know I’ve felt shame around that. Confusion. Loneliness. I know that my consumption was not about physical hunger. I know I was trying to fill something else, and I’m learning about what that is every day.
I know that although I’m an authentic, open and vulnerable woman — that unless you’re very, very close to me, I’ve lived with the pendulum of all of this pretty privately.
I also know those things have come to live with me in my body this year. And since I love this body and who I am so much, I have been questioning why? How can I love myself and still struggle? Maybe I’m learning I could never love myself enough.
One of my painful thoughts around this was that I “went backwards” — that I unlearned all of what I learned five years ago when I lost almost 40 lbs. and changed the way I lived my life.
And then I told myself what I told my clients in the Body of Work program:
“You cannot unlearn this, Laura. You can choose to turn away from it, but you and your brain have met this new way of seeing and being. It remains, and what you do with it is your journey and your story of who you are. What if this is a deeper love and respect for yourself than you believe possible?”
So here I am. I am here to slow down and find out what there is for me to learn. I am not telling myself that I or my body are “problems” to solve.
I am not declaring a number I “must” get to.
Nothing has gone wrong here. And for me to say that, brings tears to my eyes, because I would have never said that years ago.
Years ago, that rising number on the scale meant I did something wrong. I was wrong. I had no discipline. I had a problem. It meant that I was less because that number was more.
There is something that my body wants me to know, and I’m here to find out what that is.
And I’m doing it right in front of you.
I’m willing to bet there are women who feel some part or fraction of what I’ve written about here. We’re all on a journey with our bodies — there’s not a finish line on a scale. We’re with ourselves until we take our last breath.
I love sharing the photos of long ago when I carried that extra weight on my body and then the “after” pictures of my lighter life — lighter in my body, my mind and my eyes.
But I also want you to know the story goes on; it’s not about perfection or white-knuckling my way to one number on that “roulette wheel” — that piece of metal called a scale. The story has more depth and breadth than that.
My body has not betrayed me, and I have not betrayed her. There is something to learn here, and I believe what’s happening now is a big, wide open doorway into a place that’s filled with light, understanding, compassion, patience, contentment, ease and joy.
THAT, my friends, is the embodiment of a woman’s Body of Work — it’s deep creation, love and commitment.
You stop going behind your own back and decide that you fiercely have your own back.
Since meeting myself here in this space with my body and my mind, I’ve slowed down — most notably in my mind, but also in the flow of what happens during the day:
- my mind — being intentional about how I will use it — that love is the driving force — always and in all ways
- my work and how I do it
- what I put into my body
- what I tell myself about what I’m putting into my body
- when and how I sleep
- how I move — how much, how long, different types of intensity and formats
- days of rest from moving on purpose
And what’s transpiring has been what I thought I wasn’t capable of — there’s been more peace than drama within myself. More curiosity and fascination versus judgment. All the things I teach.
I’ve reduced the sugar significantly — but I have not eliminated it, because I don’t believe in that as a paradigm for my personal relationship with food. And I don’t miss what I’ve let go of so far.
I’m sleeping better.
My body — which has been in a near-constant state of aches and tightness for all I put it through — feels much better. The plantar fasciitis that has frustrated me and left me limping on a lot of days has shown a marked improvement. I’m willing to bet there’s less inflammation in my body.
I’ve started keeping my food journal again. And I weigh myself every day. I’ve lost two pounds in the past 9 or 10 days.
So there it is. And I’ll continue on and share as I go, because it feels like freedom to do that.
And if my freedom and vulnerability can help another person step into that for herself and really begin to understand true love within herself, that’s a good day at work for me.
I just ended the summer session of my Body of Work six week telecourse. We celebrated on July 30 with a beautiful dinner at my home, and for the ladies who couldn’t travel to the dinner; they got a special delivery from me to remind them of their connection to our group.
What happened in that six weeks? It’s hard to put something that beautiful into words, but I can give you some of the highlights of what happens when curious and courageous women come together with intention, support, creation, vulnerability, humor, fun, ideas and outstanding coaching:
- a 13 lbs. weight loss
- a bad ass business plan (written, printed and ready to be acted upon) for one group member who’s ready to fly out of job jail
- a woman embracing her body and her birthright to show up in it wherever she wishes — loud and proud, in broad daylight, in a swimsuit — something she couldn’t IMAGINE letting herself do over a month ago
- women who are writing again and revisiting once abandoned projects — embracing their creativity and other possibilities for their lives
And in their own beautiful words…
- “to truly have a relationship with myself…learn what I desire & give myself the permission to get it; to love who I am and “Be my own North Star”
- “to start loving myself right now exactly as I as a way into accomplishing anything I want. That I’m worth it. And paying attention to my thoughts, which is key to feeling what I want to feel. No sliding — I control my life.”
- “to hold true to what I need…. to try being comfortable with the uncomfortable… to commit to digging deeper and notice my curiosity more”
- “to look at myself in terms of who I want to be, not limiting myself to who/ what I currently am”
- “to be bolder”
- “to invest time and energy in myself”
To say we “accomplish a lot” in six weeks really doesn’t speak to how sacred all of this is. These are women conscientiously creating their lives and their bodies. What they are doing impacts, most importantly, their own lives — and also any life that touches theirs (the kids, their partners, their colleagues).
That is why I do the work that I do. My life and my life’s work are a prayer and I take that very seriously. And I’m also fun as hell : ) .
My brand of personal development is sacred and fun; and I love that.
Are you ready to consciously create your own Body of Work? The Fall 2016 Body of Work Program is open for registration now.
The first class is on Wednesday, September 21st and will continue through October 26th. Same time, same day each week.
You can find out answers to any questions you have about the program (and also register for it) by clicking here.
Space is limited because I like to keep the group pretty tight with all of the coaching and content I deliver in the program. I want my people to have an optimal experience, so quality is very important to me — not just ramping up my numbers of participants.
If you have any questions not answered on the Body of Work page, email me at email@example.com and I will address those.