I am enough. I am enough!
How easy that is to type out, yet how freaking hard that is to believe. I have worked very hard at defining and believing my worthiness, and to help others do the same. Many years of prayer, support, and therapy, have led me to trust that I am enough, just the way God made me - curvy hips, cellulite (no matter how much weight I lose), a lower belly pooch, one too many peanut butter cravings, and an extremely obnoxious laugh.
But every so often, I slip back into a cycle of negativity that plagues my every thought. And you know what is so upsetting?! As a Women's Wellness Coach, I see this with my clients time and time again. Although on various scales, it is extremely prevalent. Even in this "body positivity" world we are living in, most of us have a negative voice we have to work very hard to acknowledge and reverse.
If you're overweight, you need to get skinny. If you're naturally thin, you need to build your butt and gain curves. If you're single, you need to find a man. If you're married, you need to be the perfect wife. Don't even get me started on parenting! The list goes on and on...
It can be all too tempting to see an amount of worth defined by success in these things, especially when it comes to the numbers on the scale.
One of the biggest epiphanies I ever had in therapy was the realization that it is so much easier for my brain to fixate on my body + weight, than for me to actually deal with the sh*t going on in my life. Whether it is a challenging task at work, tension in relationships, or just a tiring day as a mama, it is WAY easier for me to scroll through my phone and google top ways to lose weight, rather than actually just do the things I need to do.
I find in especially tiring times (and I'm sure my husband would agree) - when my brain is exhausted and I am at my weakest - my confidence quickly lowers, and I become almost obsessive with my body. When I'm not consistent with my self-care, prayer life, daily movement, and clean eating, I easily lose sight of where my worth lies, and I forget all of the beautiful gifts the Lord has given me. This has led to me to experience both ends of the stick - extreme, quick, weight gain as well as an equally quick, frightening eating disorder.
I remember this starting at a very young age - sometime around when slim fast shakes and the 2-week special k diet was embarrassingly trendy. I was maybe 8 or 9? This was a time when thin was in and I was at an age where I easily absorbed everything around me. With magazines telling me how to lean out for summer and the 100 calorie oreo thin packs in the cupboard, I was constantly bombarded with messages telling me in order to be enough, I needed to be attractive. In order to be attractive, I needed to be tiny. Once I am tiny, only then would I fill the empty void and experience the happiness I was aimlessly looking for all along.
This led to actually trying these diets starting at a young age (seriously how was replacing 2 meals with 2 bowls of processed cereal ever a thing?!). This turned into teenage + early college years filled with finding approval from anybody that would "validate" my worth. Unfortunately, WAY too many poor choices were made that compromised some of my deepest morals + values. I knew better, yet I didn't. I hoped for more, yet I was constantly feeling like a failure. My heart hurts for my younger self. Ohhhh what I would give to go back in time, and tell that desperate, beautiful young lady just how loved and worthy she truly is - just by being the person she was created to be. (Btw, thank you to the supportive people in my life who did this for me when I didn't know how... you know who you are!)
As I mentioned, I truly have taken time to sit with the pain and heal from what created some of my deepest wounds. However, every so often, my inner voice is silenced by the loudness and temptation everyday life throws at me.
Here is an example of how a trigger will go...
I currently have monthly weigh-ins at my prenatal appointments. This is where I am told if I am right on track or if I should watch my weight gain.
As someone who is pretty health conscience (daily movement, fairly clean diet, regular yogi + prayer + meditator) it is REALLY easy to use these check-ins as either a "good job you did everything just right" or "you failed, what more could you have done?" The "you failed" piece is often accompanied by an intense fear of failure and a desperate anxiety to find whatever I can that will help me do "enough" and to "not fail" next time.
This pregnancy, I didn't gain weight in the first trimester (false security that I was doing everything “right”, especially when I wasn't able to eat and throwing up daily!). Now that I'm in my second trimester, I am able to eat a wide variety of foods - including Blue Moose spin dip, thank you Jesus - and I can lift heavier weight in my workouts.
At my last appointment, I learned that I gained 8lbs in one month (temptation to feel like a “failure”). The second I stepped on the scale and saw the number I felt the knot start to form in the back of my throat. Failure. Not enough. The thoughts overwhelmed my whole body and I was instantly sucked into an all too familiar place.
Similar examples of triggers at different times in my life were:
> Intense pressure to be a certain weight at milestone events (graduations, wedding, etc...)
> Needing my body to look a certain way before I would allow myself to be truly vulnerable, intimate, or happy
> Daily weigh-ins where every morning I would take off all my clothes and step on the scale. The number would then determine how I felt the rest of the day.
As you can see, my body has been through ALOT. I am SO thankful I now can see that throughout these different seasons, I was worthy no matter my shape and size.
You are worthy + you deserve to feel that with your deepest being.
Your body is SO much more than a "success" or "failure" based on the darn number on the scale. If anything, know that most of the charts are extremely outdated and if you have a good doctor and support team, they will talk you through this.
Stop falsely searching. Do not allow your mind to aimlessly look for what will make you good enough. Build your support team and trust the journey you are on.
If you truly are taking steps to better or maintain your overall wellness, know that you are doing exactly enough. We all know an apple makes us feel better than a donut or that moving your body for 30 minutes a day will make us feel better than sitting on the couch. Most days :) One "off" meal or one missed workout will not make you fat, just as one salad or hiit workout won’t give you a ”bikini body.”
Consistently practicing self-care, moving your body, taking care of your mental health, and eating mostly whole foods WILL move you in a direction towards whole-hearted living. It might not make you look like societies standards, but it WILL help you live life to YOUR greatest potential.
We can't keep letting so many women feel this way!
We MUST be an example to the women we surround ourselves with and to any little eyes that are looking up at us.
Life truly is too short to allow ourselves to feel so belittled...to allow our day to be determined by the number on the scale or a false validation of approval.
If you hear someone talking bad about themselves, ask them more. Ask what is really going on.
Take action to build your supportive, encouraging tribe and begin taking steps to remove any toxic people from your life.
Girl. YOU DESERVE THIS. You owe it to yourself to pause, take a deep breath, and allow yourself to trust that you are safe.
You are more than enough. Right now, in this moment, exactly where you are. You deserve to live the life of the woman you were created to be.
Be on the lookout for the next blog post!
I'll be highlighting my top strategies I personally have used + coach clients through to...
> define self-worth (and believe it)
> accept your body where it is, right now in this moment
> love your body while still desiring and achieving goals that may change it
> trust the process and trust that you are doing more than enough