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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bennett

Getting into my skinny jeans...

Understanding why we do things is important… well I think so at least. Every choice that we make is the result of a stimulus. The smaller choices maybe less impactful than the big ones at time. For instance, making the decision of whether to put mustard on a ham sandwich is way different than making a career change. Yes… I’m aware that’s extreme, but it’s true.

A few months ago, I knew I needed to get back to the beginning and back to basics. After a struggle with weight gain over the last year because of perimenopause I decided that it was definitely time to ctrl-alt-delete. What I did before to keep my healthy weight was obviously not working. Now, if you’ve been following along in this blog or on my social media for a time, you know that I’m a health coach. I help people lose weight and gain health. And the weight gain was … well frankly put, it was embarrassing. I felt shame for letting this happen to me. And WOW when I started to realize that was the kind of self-talk, I was giving myself it was a bit of a wake-up call. I had to address my mindset. Because good grief! It's not like I can control my own hormones as much as the next woman! I didn’t LET anything happen to me. I just didn’t know how to address it.

So, I started talking to my doctors and researching. But what I did know was that more exercise and less food was not the solution. Because that’s what I’d been doing. I’d been strict in my diet and in the gym 7 days a week. And it just wasn’t working. The more I worked the stronger I got… yes. Loved that. But I also just kept getting more and more frustrated with my middle. Very frustrated.

Want to know what happens when an already unstable perimenopausal woman gets frustrated? Well I can only speak for me, but…. I got hot flashes and mood swings out the ying yang! I was not a very nice person to be around. I couldn’t think clearly. And the big one… the fatigue hit. Every day I felt like I needed a nap. I would lose focus at work and conversations with my own family. It was hard.

Something had to change.

I had to start over.

One thing I talk to my clients about is when we start over, we’re not really starting from the beginning. We’re starting from experience. And because journaling is a part of the program we go back and revisit the things that we learned and start from there. So, I just did what I coach my clients to do. I went back to the beginning and revisited my “Why.”

My original why:

I remember when I decided to make a shift. I needed to lose weight… and bad. I was nearly 220 lbs and was watching my mother die after a struggle with obesity for my entire life. I remember coming home from picking up my son from day care and looking up at my family and saying that I was going to do it no matter what. Because I wasn’t going to go out like that. That’s exactly what I said. ‘I’m not going out like that.” I needed to stay on this planet as long as I possibly could to see my son grow up. And to see his kids grow up. This was something my mom was never going to be able to do. This was what got me started. There was a sense of urgency there I couldn’t deny.

3 years later… why:

I remember talking to a health coach... yep! You know it! The health coach has a coach of her own. I remember talking to her and feeling stuck. Like I thought I was doing everything right. I was eating healthy, and I was exercising like a boss. I had lost some weight, but I struggled to keep it off. And even then, I still needed to lose more to get out of the obese category, but the weight just wouldn’t come off. And I just wanted to get to a healthier place so I could move better. My original why was still strong. But it had grown a bit more. As I’d begun to focus on getting my health in check, I started to realize what was possible and I had goals of being able to see all the muscles I’d been building that were currently covered in a layer of bodyfat. I also had a son who was growing up fast and I wanted to be a present mom. I was already way older than most of his friend’s moms and I just felt that he needed a vibrant mom. Fast-forward 4 months and I got to my weight goal.

Fast-forward 2 years:

I’d kept my weight off, but I was still overweight by health standards. I had gone in for a physical and everything looked great, except on my chart it said “obese”. Technically I was still in that category by my BMI. I hated it. It made me mad. I loved how I felt in clothes. I loved how I moved in exercise. I loved how I looked in the mirror. But I didn’t love that word. That word meant that my disease risks were still in a not so good way. And so I had a new goal. And with that goal came the need to revisit my why. I found what I wrote down…

It says…

  • I am changing and focused on improving my health and wellbeing because I…

  • I want to be proud of my body and what it can do.

  • I want to run in regular 5ks.

  • I want to overcome the “fat girl” feeling.

  • I want increased and consistent energy.

  • I want to be a good example for my son.

When I look at that, It doesn’t feel like that original desperation. I just wanted to be better. I’d already achieved some major things, but what I really wanted was more. That was a strange feeling because I don’t know that before that I’d ever thought I deserved more. It wasn’t even something I’d considered. But now I did. I’m happy to say that after a few months of really going for that goal I’d gotten to a healthy BMI, and I literally danced in the street. It was the only place I COULD dance because we were in the beginning months of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, while everyone else was collecting wine bottles and baking banana bread, I had dropped 25 lbs. and started running.

So, what about now? Has my “why” changed?

After getting to a healthy weight and maintaining it for a year I now know what that feels like. And it felt amazing! Not just physically though. My mind felt peace and happiness for the first time probably ever. The struggle that I’d fought for so many years with weight was gone. The fear of all the disease risks had gone down tremendously. The cancer, heart disease, diabetes that had plagued my family was now something I feel like I had as much control over as I possibly could. (FYI… healthy weight isn’t a total cure for disease, but it’s a damned good start). So, what happened when the lbs. started to creep on as my hormones started to shift? My peace of mind started to slip. And I went to revisit my “why”. Here’s what I wrote.

  • I want to physically do things I’ve never dreamed of before.

  • I want to live a life with less anxiety.

  • I want to inspire others by my example.

  • I want to travel without worry or pain.

  • I want to be free of worry.

  • I want peace in my body and mind forever.

That last one is the one that gets me. I want peace in my body and mind forever. That’s the kicker isn’t it. The anxiety that came from having no control over my mind and body was something I’d carried around as long as I can remember. I had that peace, and then when I started to gain again, I felt that peace slipping away a bit. It scared me. That fear reminded me of the sense of urgency I felt in the very beginning. That urgency to get to my healthy weight again. So that’s what I’m doing. And WOW, revisiting that has made my focus and determination so strong that the decision making is easy.

So that’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m doing what I do. It’s so I can have peace. Getting into my skinny jeans is just a bonus.

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