Tag Archive | weight loss

Journey into Weight Loss

As I’m preparing to start again the 30-day Whole30 food program (an elimination, anti-inflammation program), I’m thinking back to the first time I started it and why it was so easy. Because it is not feeling so easy now, I think while eating a donut and suffering the various physical reactions I have to dairy, wheat, and sugar: itchy eyes, congestion, cough, exhaustion. Why was it so easy in January, when it was dark and cold and depressing?

I have no easy answers, except to say that my journey is clearly not over. But I’ve come a a long way and I’ll hope that by sharing my journey, somebody else’s will be a little easier.

When I first started the Whole30 program at the beginning of this year, I told myself and everybody else that my primary motivation wasn’t weight loss. No, the real reason I embarked on a radical change to my diet was I was facing multiple nights a week of late night dance rehearsals. I was battling fatigue and joint pain. I knew I had to change something. I lied. To myself and everybody else. Yes, that was a really compelling, close #2 reason, but the truth was, I was ready to lose weight.

I am lying to myself and to you if I don’t admit that the desire to lose weight is constantly on my mind, as it has been since I was in my teens. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve lost weight and gained it back. The times I was so sure I had it all figured out. The year in nutrition school, becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. When “life” happened in the form of one of my biggest and hardest lessons and I gained the weight back. For the last time. And started for real my journey of learning to love and accept myself the way I am, the journey I had to begin before any kind of diet would ever work for me long term.

I maintained my weight for a few years. This is important, because nobody was congratulating me for looking thinner (because I wasn’t), but I was doing the real healing work to bring me where I am now. I learned to happy with who I am and where I am right now. I learned to stop waiting until I was the perfect size to start living my life. I started dancing before I had the “body of a dancer.” I proceeded with following my dreams of changing my occupation and other experiences I desire in my life.

One of my big dreams for my life is to be free of dieting and the desire to lose weight taking way too much of my energy, way too much of my life.

So, when I started Whole30 in January, I was ready to make radical changes to lose weight and feel good, have more energy, get rid of joint pain. And the fact that those 30 days (turned into a few months) were so easy was a miracle. A pretty big fucking miracle.

A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love. ~A Course in Miracles

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Marianne Williamson, “A Course in Weight Loss”

This journey has been a spiritual journey. I cannot explain away synchronicity and miracles without belief in a higher power and the connection of all beings. A higher power that is only love and desires what is best for us and will assist when we ask. One of the most empowering things I have read on weight loss is the introduction from Marianne Williamson’s book A Course in Weight Loss (based on her studies of A Course in Miracles). I’ve read the entire book more than once, but I keep coming back to the introduction. Some of the important messages (her ideas, my words):

  • If this was easy, you would have done it already. Let go of shame.
  • The extra weight is a symptom. Overeating is a symptom. Fear is the cause.
  • This is bigger than you. Give it up to a higher power and believe in miracles.

I have had doctors shame me for my weight and put me on a restrictive diet that left me hungry and depressed. I have worked with personal trainers who have put me on an 800 calorie diet (I kid you not, I stuck to it for 3 days). I have been on weight watchers and every other weight loss plan you can name. I have worked with loving coaches and naturopathic doctors who have helped me get in tune with the real needs of my own body, mind, and spirit. I have studied A Course in Miracles and I have read A Course in Weight Loss. And I have prayed, and surrendered, and prayed some more.

This is how it happened: I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a health coach colleague was doing this Whole30 thing. I went to the website, researched it, checked in with my health coach, started it within a few days, stayed with it through the end of May, lost 30 pounds.

From January through May, it was easy. It was a miracle. I thought I’d write about this profound experience of my Whole30 journey, but it was just easy. I was busy. I found a way to eat healthy, the same thing every day, but I was too busy to care. I was focused on dancing, getting ready for the Salsa Team Performances in May. I hit my goal. Then traveled for a graduation celebration, celebrated my 50th birthday, and went on vacation: celebrations through June and July.

savingPNGThe real story is how I got to where I could succeed with Whole30 the first time and what happens next. I have different challenges now, new goals. I’ve changed. I’m showing up in whole new way but I’m hitting the same obstacles on a different level. Whole30 is going to be a different experience this time.

Praying for some miracles.

 

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What’s with the pink hair?

I’ve always been fairly conservative in how I dress, my hair and makeup. But when my mom got the first turquoise strip in her white hair, I started thinking: I could do that, but I would do pink.

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to fit in, trying to please everyone. The one who was up for anything, easy going, wanting peace, wanting to be liked by everybody. I went through life worried about what other people would think. I either was who I thought everybody wanted me to be or I did not speak. I felt so different from everybody else, I was afraid of not fitting in.

You can imagine how well that worked out for me, how happy that made me. I’m not sure that I made too many other people happy, either, not really. I don’t think I was very good at being somebody else.

I’ve come to realize that my old story about not being able to maintain any weight loss, about gaining the weight in the first place, is about not feeling safe in the world around me, not feeling safe to be all of who I really am. The extra weight a protective layer between me and the world. In fact, my whole weight loss journey, this time around, has really been about being who I really am, accepting all of me, and showing who I am to the world. It’s about following my light and shining my light. It’s about stepping out of my comfort zone to do what brings me joy, peace, purpose; it’s about expanding my comfort zone so that I feel safe in the world being all of who I am.

What I’ve learned is that I’m much better and more successful at being myself than trying to be someone I think others want me to be. It’s a lot easier, too. I’m not really counting or caring so much how many people like me and how many don’t. I do know that I am more and more in situations where I am accepted and loved exactly as I am. My comfort zone is expanding. I’m living each day more fully. I am happier, overall, than I’ve ever been.

Julie AnnSo, back to the pink hair. It was finally time. I’ve been going through some stuff for a few weeks, not stuff happening to me, but releasing old shit and having a tough time keeping my vibration high. I needed a pick-me-up, and getting my hair done has always been a mood lifter. Not wanting to cut my hair or change the style, coloring it magenta was the logical next choice. While I felt like it would take some courage leading up to it, when the time finally came, it was easy. I thought it might feel dramatic, but it really feels natural, the fun part of myself, right up front. (Remember the mullet, business in the front, party in the back? Party is in the front this time.)

Because this is me.

A New Story

I’ve started and stopped a million times, thinking it was time to tell “my story.” Not just the bits and pieces I give in blog posts and videos or on my website, but the whole story. Every detail. The years of dieting and all the reasons I gained the weight back. What it was like as a girl being not small, what it was like as a teenager thinking I was fat (I saw a picture recently, I wasn’t). The story about believing I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough as long as I had an extra ounce of body fat. About growing up in a society where you could never be “too rich or too thin.”About being highly sensitive, introverted, and empathic and eating because I didn’t know how to process any of it. About anxiety and depression, about not fitting in, about being too much and at the same time, not enough. About not knowing who I was or why I was here.

Maybe I should tell that story so that you will know that you’re not alone, so you will know I’ve been there, too. I know what it’s like. I feel your pain.

But that’s a book that I’m not going to write, because I don’t want to live in that story anymore. It’s time to let go and move forward. It’s time to write a new story.

The new story is about love and acceptance. It’s about being perfectly imperfect. It’s about being good enough. And it’s so much more. The new story is about an imperfect, human love for ourselves, about still hating ourselves sometimes, and coming right back to love. It’s about accepting ourselves the way we are at the same time that we are striving to be better versions of ourselves.

The new story is about showing up for life the way we are. It’s about not hiding, not waiting until we are the perfect size to do the things we love to do. It’s about paying more attention to the beauty in life. It’s about finding joy everywhere.

The new story is about getting to know our own body as well as our closest friend or our most intimate lover. Because she is. Because we love our own body, we ask: What gives her energy? What makes her sick? What makes her want to dance? When we love our body, it is our joy to nourish her as best we can, eating healthy and exercising not to punish her for being too fat, but make her feel good. The new story is about feeding our body in a loving way and moving in a joyful way instead of dieting and exercising to punish her for being fat.

The new story is about balancing mind, body, and spirit. It’s about allowing ourselves pleasure in food in a way that does not hurt the body. It’s about relentlessly pursuing our dreams and resting when we need to. It’s about taking risks and stepping out of our comfort zone. It’s about finding our purpose, finding out what we do best.

The new story is also about shining our light into our darkness. It’s about learning the life lessons we’re here to learn. It’s about being human, about stumbling, falling, and getting up again. In the new story, we may still cry in the shower and have days of feeling hopeless. But we move on from a place of personal power, we accept and learn the lessons, we experience the pain and let it go. In the new story, we focus on the getting up again.

The new story is about knowing we are divinely loved and we deserve all the love, joy, and blessings this world has to offer, just as we are. It’s about forgiveness, ourselves and others, for our own peace of mind.

I’m writing my new story, accepting my humanness, riding the waves, finding joy, living in love, crying in the shower, having faith in divine Love. I’ve also been holding on to the old story, almost a badge of honor, an excuse: see all that I’ve been through.

It’s time to let go and live in the new story.

Are you ready to write a new story?

Day 30: Endings and New Beginnings


We made it!!! Thank you for hanging out with me the 30 day challenge, it’s been an amazing experience. I hope something I’ve said in the last 30 days has helped you, inspired you to take the first or next step in realizing your dreams. My deepest gratitude to the friends who have been with me every day of this journey, have kept me accountable, and supported me in this challenge.

I invite you to share with me in the comments or email to julie@julieannsorenson.com any subject that I’ve touched on that you’d like to hear more about on video, blog, in-person talk or workshop.

Day 27: Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust


My journey has been a lot about faith and trust and pixie dust, trusting in the unknown, trusting that I am following the right path. Even in the every day things. I know when I suggest you stop counting calories and put away the scale, I’m asking you to have faith that the choices you make for your health are going to work. Without faith, I would have quit a long time ago.