Caterpillar to Butterfly : PART 1
July 2017 I was in different place. A strange place that looked so very different from how it looks & feels now. I was severely unhappy with how I looked and felt. And I was in a massive rut. Fast forward to now, April 2019 and I feel and look like a different person. I am, in fact, a new person.
So what crazy things did I have to do in order to get here??? Well let me tell you it was no 8 week challenge or 'change your life' weekend seminar.
And It didn't quite hit me in July 2017. The NEED for change that is. Although a turn of events from that month onwards (and months before that) left me miserable and severely under weight. When I hoped on the scales in December 2017 I learned I had dropped to a disgusting 47kgs. If I continued I would lose more and I looked horrible as it was. I knew something had to change. The internal damage (stress mainly) I was applying to my body was showing externally now. I could no longer hide it. It didn't matter how much bigger the clothes were it was VERY visible to the physical eye.... and to be honest that made my situation a whole lot worse. I was so stressed that I couldn't stomach food and lost my appetite. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get myself to eat. Running into people who I hadn't seen in a few months would stop me and say 'OMG are you alright?! You have lost so much weight! Are you sick?' Much to my disgust I would just force a smile and say 'no', change the subject or hurry on. I really didn't want to talk about it. But I continued repeating the patterns I always did when a 'crisis' happened. My mind & body were extremely stressed. I needed a distraction.
So I applied for a part time job doing some coaching somewhere outside of my business. It helped for a little bit and kept my mind off my real issues. I forged NEW friendships which I am forever grateful for. However busy wasn't always better. I was very quickly burning the candle at both ends juggling EJ Fitness and my 2nd job. I needed to address this asap.
One of my friends suggested I start doing meditation. She really thought it would help me and take my overactive mind down to a quieter level. I remember her telling me one day over a coffee that I may even get some answers as well as clarity on my situation?! I did struggle initally with meditation. It was like a muscle I hadn't used before. I had to train my mind. It was hard and at times I still do find it hard. But BOY does it help! It helped quietened my mind enough to understand that I was always ending up in the same situation every single time. I realised I couldn't keep doing the same things, same behaviours & habits and expect a different outcome. And ultimately all I wanted to do was be HAPPY. But what was happiness to Emma???? Well I couldn't answer that at the time so I started with some small changes first.
Being super busy wasn't really working for me, it never did. It helped with my anxiety whilst I was busy but why was I anxious? I'll talk about this at another time. So I quit my part time job and focused more on EJ Fitness, my baby. Meditation helped me do this as I quitened my mind enough to hear what my body was trying to tell me. I eased off my training as I was always fatigued. I also had glandular fever 12 months prior which I felt I hadn't quite recovered fom. So I started being gentle on myself and only going hard core every now and then. I have trained hard since I was 15yrs old and my body had had enough. I admit though, a small tear in my rotator cuff helped with taking it easy.... thank you inflammation for reminding me!
I stuck to training with my strength coach and mentor at least once a month. I needed someone to hold me accountable with my actions and words. I admire these people, so commiting to training was easy, it was just the work I had to do when I wasn't with them that made it hard. This is why you need someone to hold you accountable, it's easy to choose the easy option. Us humans are coherently lazy. I admire these people greatly and aspire to be like them. And we should ALL surround ourselves with people, who we aspire to be like. So I did that! They were in my corner and their feed back (good and bad) helped immensly.
Then there was my weight. It was creeping back on and I had no control. But my weight had always been up & down over the years. The only time I was truly happy with my weight was when I was in a good place emotionally and my focus was on what made me 'happy' not 'asthetics'. Which lead me to my next course of change.
I always had gut issues & certain foods made me feel terrible. I would notice I would eat sweet foods when I was anxious or when I was bored and wanted to feel something.... anything! I noticed this pattern with my journalling. FYI - I did & still continue to journal like a mad woman. It's like a massive brain dump and helps with my thoughts and feelings. From there I realised 'we are all of our thoughts and all of our feelings'. With this information I then went on to process of elimination with diet. First it was dairy. This was easy enough as I was lactose intolerant so I was used to waving goodbye to it quite frequently. Then it was gluten. I also gave caffiene a break for a month... my adrenals needed that. Giving up gluten was hard and still is. I fell off the band wagon so many times and still do. But I was and am determined to make healthy chnages so I get back on the horse. The changes I felt internally were starting to take effect and it became a lot easier. My body unfortunately hates gluten so I try to keep it out of my body as much as I can. I also noticed sugar wasn't helping my PCOS. I had a horrific hormonal breakout as well as weight gain at this time which really didn't help me emotionally. I had always had beautiful flawless skin. Never wore make up. It was the only thing I liked about myself up until that point. I had also come off the pill a few months earlier which I learned, later on, contributed to the outbreak. So you can just imagine the inner turmoil I was experiencing & feeling. I loathed myself.
There were so many emotions I was feeling but I had no idea how to deal with them until NOW. I like to think of emotions as a merry go-round. You can hope on and ride away from your bullshit and how you are truly feeling but at some point you are going to come back around and ride through the shit again. And the merry go round gets faster everytime you ignore what your body is trying to tell you.
So here I was. August 2018 and again in an unhappy place except I was 10kgs heavier. Don't get me wrong, mentally I had grown however I was still filtering through what made me happy and making changes. I feel like my body was trying to release all the shit stuff and the more I resisted the worse it got. Change is bloody scary! It took me 25 yrs to get there, I wasn't going to undo it all in one week. I had to keep telling myself that. However I stuck to my guns. Then I came across intermittent fasting..... and thats where it all started to fall into place for me.
I will touch more on this in PART 2 of my story. Below is a recap on what I learned up until this point:
- Our bodies are secretly trying to tell us things.
- Meditation helped clear my cloudy thinking.
- Journaling helped with my anxiety and doing a brain dump at end of day. Here I noticed my 'patterns'.
- Unfuck your head.
- Stop my 'go hard or go home' mentality.
- Process of elimination with food.
- Anxiety and sickness doesn't need a label. We are all different.
- Healthy boundaries with myself, work and family/friends.
- Don't need to necessarily follow a structured plan (8 week challenge).
- No extreme diets or 'quick fixes'.
- No matter how many times you fall of the horse, always, always get back on.
Notice how there isn't anything in that list about my training? I'll touch more in my next article, however, I did still train. Training wasn't what made everything change. It was my mind set.