Today I’m really excited to be giving you a real time update on what’s going on in Michelle’s world! I’m sharing my wins and successes, what I’m working on, what’s been challenging me, and what my summer plans are looking like.
A few months ago, I changed the focus of my business from weight loss to encouraging appreciation for our bodies and coaching women to get what we want for ourselves without shrinking in size. This has been the most beautiful shift I could have imagined. I absolutely love helping women to reconnect with themselves, reconnect to their bodies, and empower them to be the absolute best versions of themselves emotionally, physically, and mentally, without having to focus on weight loss.
I’ve been taking note of how things have been changing in my own focus as well, and am eager to share the successes and revelations I’ve had through that process. I want to celebrate all the ways in which not shrinking ourselves leads to healthier choices and outlooks, so let’s reflect on where we’ve come from and where we’re heading together!
Win #1 – Ending the Food Drama
You may remember some time ago when I recommended an exercise where you take yourself to the grocery store and you make a list of all the foods that you come across that trigger you in some way. It might bring up a food rule that you have about that particular food, or a memory, or some thought that is not neutral when you look at that food.
When I did this, it shocked me to find out that I had more than 70 items on that list that I had made rules around! And so one of the things that I have been doing this summer is slowly bringing those foods into the house and working with my thoughts and feelings around them. My ultimate goal is to have some peace around food and for there to not be any drama around food for me at all. I want to be able to go about my life, focusing my energy and my time on things that are more important to me.
The principle that I am trying to encompass with all of this is to give myself unconditional permission to eat whatever the hell I want to. That does not mean eating whatever I want, whenever I want (in any quantity), but when I am experiencing true physical hunger, I’m giving myself permission to eat whatever it is that I want in that moment and then stop when I’ve had enough.
I’ve had some fascinating results with this so far. Peak Freen cookies are something I have previously had an issue with, and there was a constant tug of war debate in my brain in the grocery store about wanting them, but not letting myself have them. Now that I’ve finally started allowing myself to have them, I’ve learned I don’t even really like them and they’re not an issue for me. A year ago if I had brought them into the house, I probably would’ve eaten them all at once whether I liked it or not. And yet now that I chose to have unconditional permission to eat them anytime I want, they just were not appealing to me. That hasn’t happened with every previous ‘no-go’ food, but was an interesting discovery nonetheless!
Chocolate cake is another food I always associated with guilt and shame and again, I gave myself that unconditional permission to eat chocolate cake. I did this every day, and for over two weeks it was the best thing I had ever eaten, and was sometimes hard for me to stop despite being physically full. But as it approached three weeks, the cake became so much less interesting to me. I still love it, it’s just become unexciting for me. And so when I do want it and I allow myself to have it, I enjoy every bite of it. And usually I don’t actually need very much before I feel satisfied.
Win #2 – Hiring a Personal Trainer
Rob and I hired a personal trainer and are going together. It has been so much fun and there are a few wins associated with this. When I walked in there, he assumed weight loss was my goal. I told him I was not interested in losing weight, but wanted to be a strong hiker for as long as I can. I wanted help with strength, mobility, and flexibility so that I can hike uninjured long into my elder years. And that is exactly what he’s been helping us do, which has been amazing.
There are a lot of times when Rob and I have planned to see our personal trainer but around half an hour before, there is not a cell in my body that wants to go to the gym that day. So what I’ve started doing is asking ‘will it nourish me or punish me to go to the gym today?’. Most of the time when I really think about it, I know the actual workout might be hard, but I’ll feel incredible afterwards. Other times, I’ve connected to my body and noted some pain, or a huge lack of energy, and decided a workout today is not the best thing for me. So really starting to tune into what my body is requesting of me versus relying on all of the ‘shoulds’ has been really valuable.
Win #3 Nourish me or punish me?
The ‘nourish me or punish me’ question is not just useful for workouts, but also food as well. For example, my friend and I were out walking when we stopped for a drink. I saw some blue raspberry slurpees there, which is something I used to love as a kid. I bought the Slurpee on instinct, took a sip, and it was sickly sweet. So I took a second sip to see if it really was that sweet for me and decided I couldn’t drink it. It would absolutely punish me to drink any more of it. Instead, I got a bottle of water and it gave me the refreshing feeling I was looking for.
So this question has really been super powerful for me in identifying what might be nourishing or punishing me right now in the moment versus what would be nourishing or punishing for me in the longer term.
Win #4 – Awareness of body image issues
I have done so much work on this over the last couple of years and have really come so far. I no longer look in the mirror and hate my body or hate what I see. I cannot honestly say I love my body yet, but I am definitely coming at it from some appreciation and some gratitude, which has really made a difference. I have more respect for my body than I ever have before which I think is partly because of the body love work that I have been doing. The ‘nourish versus punish’ question has really changed the relationship that I have with my body because I’m really trying hard to nourish it in ways that feel good.
What I am noticing is that I am having moments of self-consciousness and envy when I see other women about my age in bodies that I wish I had for myself for so long. I’ve struggled a little bit with having some compassion for myself over this because probably for the past 30 years or so, I have been working on weight loss. And so I think there is some grief in letting go of the goal I’ve always had to shrink my body and to have this body that I see and admire in other women. This is one thing that I have been trying to work on with myself.
Win #5 – Feeling Lighter
I feel lighter, not necessarily physically (although often physically as well), but I feel lighter in general. Things are not weighing me down as much and I feel a little bit freer. I have chosen to wear clothes that always feel very comfortable for me. I’m no longer trying to squeeze my body into things that just don’t fit well, and that has made me feel great.
With all the exercise as well, my body’s feeling much better. Sometimes I forget that I’m living in a bigger body and when I walk past a mirror and see myself, I have to stop because I really do not feel as big as I appear in the mirror now. I’m not doing this with any judgment or negative emotion – it’s just that my body is not matching what I’m feeling on the inside. And so I’m working through that with myself right now as well.
What I’m looking forward to for the rest of the summer and for the camping trips I have planned is disconnecting a little bit, spending time with family, and seeing how much my body has improved in terms of how I perform on my hikes! I’m interested to see if mountains and hills will feel a little bit different, how my joints will feel coming down the mountains, and how my cardiovascular fitness has changed. I am committed to doing this without any judgment because if I’m not where I think I should be, I’m not going to be upset with myself.
What do you have planned for the rest of summer? Do you have any goals you’re working on?
I would absolutely love to hear how your summer has been going, what’s going well, and where you
might be struggling. So please reach out to me at email@example.com and let me know how it’s going!
Interested in working with me?
Are you someone who struggles with emotional eating, being bound by food rules, or find that you’re thinking about food or your body all of the time? If you really want to use that mental energy on things that are more important to you, that is what we’re working on in my new Thrive Byond Size program.
This is a more intimate group coaching experience that is aimed at getting people reconnected to their bodies, and understanding what it is they truly want for themselves in terms of their health, their life, and their happiness. We will do all sorts of coaching around body acceptance, body respect, and healing your relationship with food.
I am also launching my new 6-month binge eating program in September which is for women who identify as binge eaters or emotional overeaters and want to specifically work on that.
To find out more about working with me, book a call to talk with me here.