Yo-yo dieting, meet yo-yo self-improvement

Yo-yo dieting, meet yo-yo self-improvement

I haven't talked about it too too much on the blog, but yes, I used to be a yo-yo dieter. (I promise, I won't keep saying yo-yo every five seconds. It already sounds weird. Yo-yo. Yo-yo. Yo-yo.) It all started when I was about 12 years old, with a copy of Thin Thighs in 30 Days. So maybe that wasn't a diet, but it was my first foray into the world of "Do I look like that? Maybe I don't. But clearly I should. Better get a move on."

After that, in a strange twist of fate, I got a thyroid disorder and dropped several sizes. Along with three years of pretty intense volleyball practices, I knew I was thin — so the weight issue morphed into an "I should have bigger boobs" issue.

I remember praying the night before our eighth grade class picnic to Great America that I would "get boobs" so that I wouldn't have to worry about how I looked in my hand-me-down halter top. I remember pretending that I forgot my sports bra before a volleyball game as we all changed together, too embarrassed to show how I really looked without the extra padding. I remember wearing a swimsuit without even a simple lining one day, then shopping for an obviously enhanced two-piece to wear the next time I had a pool date planned with my "boyfriend." (As if he couldn't see right through the two inches of purple foam.)

Plainly speaking, of course, it's just as obvious now: I could not accept my body for what it was. Chubby, chunky, fat, thin, skinny, flat-chested, whatever...in my eyes it was simply not good enough.

And I know I'm not to blame for this — I know the messaging and the deep conditioning we all face on a daily basis has long been a slim body type, a symmetrical face, perfectly coifed hair — but I only know this now. In real time, it felt something like this:

Adolescence: Too chubby. Puberty/high school: Flat chested. College: Freshman 15. Post-college: Never lost "those last 5 pounds." Married life: Wait, so that scale was always 10 pounds off? (This is when you're supposed to tell me, No, honey, you look great! Wait, did you just say IMPLANTS?!)

So much time passed — if I'm honest, probably 20 years — until I really stopped this war against my body. But while having children helped give me a new perspective on body weight and body image, I realized the other day that the weight-slash-boob issue had morphed again...and just like I tried every diet under the sun (or bought the book and never even made it past Day 1), as I wrote last week, "self-improvement" became the next way for me to try to fit myself into everyone else's molds. All of the entrepreneurs I follow on Facebook...all of their books I've bought...all of their programs I've tried, given up on, lost myself in...it all just started to feel like another trap.

If only I could be more like her...if only I had the money to pay for this program...even though that program didn't "work," and this one I never even started...

Yet in one day, when I was really ready for it, I started my new website (launching soon, so stay tuned).

On my own time, not because of someone else's schedule or action plan, I found my way back to some deep truths about myself, who I am, what I like and what I don't.

By falling down and getting back up again all by myself, I finally put two and two together and noticed the churning, driven behavior still pushing me to be better, do more and keep changing.

It's not about being more like someone else, even if they're successful, beautiful, smart and wealthy. It's about being more you. Sharing THAT with the world. Taking another layer off. Because if I can be vulnerable and open, that means you can, too. And therein lies connection. That is how relationships are formed. That is how others are served — your very own, very personal message of honesty and Truth equals hope to so many others. Books, programs, goals and plans all have their place. But none of them will "save" you. There is no magic bullet. You are not broken, and you do not need to be fixed or saved.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to my 12-year-old self and shake some sense into her. I would probably say something like, "Keep writing and listening to good music. That sweater, and those black leggings, they are awesome. Don't give them away. They are you; I can tell. This is who you are. Here, in your room, comfortable, quiet, emotional, feeling all the big feels...Don't AVOID this. Don't try to change so that you don't have to feel this. This is the stuff of life."

I know I would probably roll my eyes and give a big "Whatever," though. {Seventh graders are such bitches, right?} The lessons have to be learned. You can't fast-forward through anything. But oh, how we try. Can't wait until high school...can't wait until college...can't wait until graduation...How quickly it becomes "I wish I could turn back the clock and stop time."

I am grateful for the moments when I don't get sucked into that.

Chubby, chunky, fat, thin, skinny, flat-chested...whatever.

Writing, music, comfort, quiet, taking it all as it comes...yes. This, please. That's the sweet spot. I see it, now. How everything that has come before this moment — diets and books and all — has led me here today.

It is so perfect to be imperfect.

{There is no other way.}

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