Over the past few weeks, I’ve felt more excited, awake and like myself than I have in a long time. Mainly because I’m working on a project that means so much to me and feels so timely and important. While I’m normally a major homebody and highly affected by stressful schedules with a lot of travel, all of my back and forth (via train, plane and bus) for our book’s photo shoots has made me feel alive.
Moments like this call attention to all the times you realize you aren’t feeling that way. And having this recent moment of energy and focus has helped me pay better attention to what I need to work harder on to change at home and at work.
I realized that this book project only happened because I recognized a moment where I was unhappy and needed to make a change. I wasn’t inspired or moved by our old book topic and, with some major help from Julia, sat down to create a new proposal that captured what I was truly passionate about right now. That moment of inspiration and honesty lead to the excitement I’m feeling now and reminded me that I needed to do this everywhere in my life.
So, last week, I sat down and looked at the parts of my day and life that aren’t working the way I’d like them to. I took a good, hard look at what was making me happy — and what was bringing me down — and decided to take the first step toward changing all of them into something new. The first big step was a difficult one, but after a year of being unhappy in my own body, I joined Weight Watchers.
Image above by
Like a lot of people, I define myself in my head by a lot of different factors. What I do, who I spend my life with, how I behave and, how I look. Growing up I dealt with a pretty significant eating disorder that dominated most of my inner dialogue until well after college. I don’t think you ever fully “beat” an eating disorder, but I worked really hard to understand those parts of myself and feel much more healed than I ever have. So much so that without realizing it, I learned to let myself be so happy and so comfortable (which is not a bad thing) that I gained 5, 10, 15 and almost 20 pounds when we moved upstate.
Let me say first that there’s not a single thing wrong with gaining weight if you’re happy and healthy. To have enough food that you’re able to gain weight is a luxury. Not everyone has access to adequate food and water so I recognize my personal health challenge is one of privilege and not necessity. There are much bigger problems in the world than weight, but feeling uncomfortable in your own skin affects everything in your day, from how you interact with others to how you work and carry yourself in the world.
I spent the last year waiting for my body to suddenly turn back into the body I’d always known and recognized, but it just wasn’t happening on its own. I moped about it privately and then finally heard myself complaining and something kicked in. No one was responsible for making me happy at work and no one was responsible for making me feel happy in my own skin.
Just like with the book, asking for what I wanted was only the first step. I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable talking about my weight openly (I always feel more comfortable discussing work/mental struggles more openly than physical ones), but the second I did, things felt a lot less scary.
You know that expression about “keeping your head in the sand” like an ostrich? I used to be like that with a lot of things. I was like that about money, happiness and health (all the big areas of life). I just hoped that if I kept my head down and kept working, they’d all solve themselves. But they didn’t.
So in the last month I’ve started really LOOKING at all the things I’m scared of. The biggest one was feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. So joining a program that reminds me that I can have a healthy relationship with taking control of what I eat is helpful. I’d only known unhealthy ways of controlling food and in just this first week I’ve realized that, in the same way I check in with our team on a regular basis, I need to check in with myself and how I feel about my health, too. Sticking my head in the sand and hoping for things to always stay the same just wasn’t going to happen anymore.
I’m not suddenly my ideal, healthy weight or 100% happy with my body, but I’m getting there.
This little change in mindset (that I have to be the one to bring change to my life to move forward) reminds me every day to be open, ask for what I really want and then follow through. I stumble a lot, especially when it comes to the follow-through, but taking those steps has been a valuable lesson. I don’t have to be perfect and nail it on the first try, but asking and walking forward is a good start on its own.
I’m curious to hear what some of you may be scared to ask for or work on right now. Does anyone else out there struggle with that feeling of sticking their head in the sand (why do we do that?)? I want to spend more of my life above ground and feeling aware and in control and I’d love to hear how all of you are doing that, too. I know all of us have stories that would be helpful for others to hear and learn from. xo, grace
*This post is not sponsored by Weight Watchers. I mentioned the brand name here because I’ve found this particular program helpful so far.