Falling in Love With The Process

Video Podcast: this is not word for word

We’ve all been there.

You have somewhere to go and find yourself trying to squeeze into your favorite pair of jeans.

You finally find a routine that you enjoy but you look at the scale and notice it stopped moving months ago.

You look at your 20-something-year-old cousin eating McDonald’s with a 6 pack and remember when you could treat your body like a garbage disposal and still have enough energy to go to class, hang out with your friends, and work your part-time job on the weekend.

Here’s the “hard pill” to swallow:

You will never have your 20-year-old body again.

Here’s the blissful reality:

Your 30, 40+-year-old body is just as amazing.

Unfortunately, 69%-84% of women are unhappy with their bodies.

And the pressure we experience from social media, ads, and movies is regularly telling women that we are most beautiful when we’re “young”.

When we have no greys, no bags under our eyes, no cellulite, no stretch marks, none of the beautiful symbols of being continuously gifted with life.

Humans are dynamic.

The key to becoming one of the 15% of women who love their bodies, is finding the beauty in your personal evolution.

Embracing this series of changes can improve your overall health and wellness through different milestones like helping you get to and maintain a healthy weight vs focusing on weight loss, increasing your mindfulness, and improving your relationship with food to name a few.

And I think we all want that.

So how do we do it?

How to Set Up Goals Without Ruminating

Your value is inherent not dependent.

Aqilah Elshabazz Pope

One concept I’ve seen constantly popping up in my social media feed is discussions about comparison.

We’ve all heard the saying “Comparison is the thief of joy”.

But typically when I hear this sentiment, it’s followed by “The only competition you have is yourself”.

Or “It’s not me vs them, it’s me vs me”.

And although I think this is well-intentioned, comparison, even when it’s to yourself, can be damaging.

Especially as women, our hormones are on a 28-day cycle, meaning our moods, energies, tolerance to you know what, etc, also change throughout that 28 days.

Then if you bring into the picture only a few of the things we experience like motherhood, pregnancy, being matriarchs, menopause, and autoimmune diseases ( as we make up around 80% of people with autoimmune diseases), that makes this “me vs me” concept even more complex.

I know you may be thinking “Well how are we supposed to set goals then?”

Don’t worry, I got you.

The key is to detach your value from your goals so that your self-worth isn’t dependent on how well you perform.

I still struggle with this too.

I killed it at work this week, but I haven’t called my siblings in a month = bad sister.

I made sure my husband had hot meals every day when he got home from work but I didn’t post enough on my socials = bad business owner.

~If this sounds like you google “rushing woman’s syndrome”, you may be a part of the squad.~

The way I have worked on solving this is through habit tracking.

I set up a notion sheet that tracks my weekly objectives in my health, and business.

I also track possible emotional triggers and obstacles that may have come up that led to why or why not I was able to achieve my goals.

At the end of the week or month, this allows me to objectively look at what I accomplished or didn’t and why that was.

Visually seeing this outside of myself whether that’s in my journal or on notion allows me to see this as outside of myself.

It is a way for me to practice detachment and make these reviews completely objective.

The goal for me this August is to stay even more consistent with this method of tracking because when I have been able to do this successfully, it helped me build up momentum to continue that consistency.

Once you see your results do not ruminate on them.

They are neither good nor bad, they just are.

You have to realize that your value isn’t inherent, it doesn’t stem from what you can or can’t contribute on a day-to-day basis.

Doing this will help you maintain a steady state of contentment because whether or not you have a productive week or a less productive week, you are still good.

Proactive Steps

At this point, you may be thinking easier said than done, and you’re right, it’s going to take work, but it’s worth it.

As we get older multiple changes happen to the body.

It becomes harder to lose weight and build muscle as the years go on, and we also experience more stressors in our lives:

  • Marriage

  • Children

  • Careers

  • Loss

  • Illness and Injury

When we experience stress our body releases one of our fight-or-flight hormones, cortisol.

Here are some of the things cortisol does for us:

  • Causes the body to increase blood sugar and blood flow to your muscles. This gets you pumped up to “fight or flee” and increases your metabolism

  • Stops your body from making as many white blood cells because the focus is on surviving the current stressor.

  • Stores fat for survival

The release of cortisol is incredibly helpful during short periods of time, but when we are constantly experiencing this release due to long-term stress, we get sick, we get weak, and it gets harder for us to maintain healthy levels of body fat.

As someone who’s struggled with anxiety for nearly 2 decades, I didn’t realize it but, the intense amount of stress I was experiencing on a daily basis was destroying my health.

I was having 10-12 migraines per month.

My skin was a mess.

My cycle was irregular.

But now, 3 years after developing an intentional mindfulness practice, I experience maybe one migraine a month, my cycle is pretty predictable, and until recently, my eczema was completely gone.

Here are 5 different ways to introduce mindfulness into your life (all of these have worked for me so I hope they’re of use to you as well):

  1. Headspace meditation app

    1. This app is like an online mindfulness university. There are meditation courses for different levels of meditation, workout classes, meditations for different stages of life (including for children) as well as series to help you with grief and anxiety or to cultivate contentment.

  2. Tech sabbaths

    1. I have dedicated the first 3 hours of my day to being tech-free or 3 hours before noon every Monday.

      This allows me to start my day with myself rather than with hundreds of thoughts from other people.

      Starting your day with your phone is also a very easy way to mess with your dopamine and get into a nasty cycle of comparison before you’ve even had your breakfast.

  3. Committing to a consistent workout routine + Silent Workouts

    1. Research shows that there is a positive association between working out and body image regardless of physical changes! Not only that but exercise is increasingly becoming a suggested intervention strategy for mental health.

      When we work out, our body releases dopamine that helps elevate our mood during and after exercise.

    2. Working out silently brings another level of mindfulness into your routine. Which can help with your mind-muscle connection, prevent injury, and limit your reliance on external factors to motivate you during a workout.

      We’ve all had a day where we left our headphones at home and wanted to immediately turn back home because we knew the workout wouldn’t be the same without them.

      Breaking this need, allows you to find internal motivation and rely more on discipline than feelings to keep you consistent.

  4. 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding

    1. Find FIVE things you see. Observe their colors, shapes, textures etc.
      This is the only exercise you’ll do with your eyes open.

    2. Find FOUR things you can touch. How do they feel? Are they smooth? Rough? Scratchy?
      Remember Do this with your eyes closed.

    3. Listen for THREE different sounds.
      How close or far are they from you?
      What is the pitch? High? Low?

    4. Find TWO things you can smell.
      I like to do this with my food or teas.
      I pick up on the different subtle scents.
      The sweet undertones etc.

    5. Find ONE thing you can taste.
      What are the different flavors?
      Is there some saltiness underneath the sweetness .?
      Can you taste the different spices?
      This is one of my favorite meditations because it’s immersive and forced the mind to focus on specific things 🥰

  5. Inner childwork

    1. Just play more.

      Treat life like an adventure instead of a series of checklists.

      I think one of the biggest blessings of having so many nieces and nephews is seeing them be curious.

      Watching how fearless and “sparkly” they are.

      Watching them study leaves and blocks and being reminded of how fun life can be if we just took ourselves a little less seriously.

The common thing in all of these mindfulness practices is presence.

Because the present is the only frictionless state of being.

When you acknowledge that your body is a dynamic and constantly changing being, you learn to go with the ebbs and flows of life instead of fighting against them. Life is a dance, it feels the best when you flow with the rhythm rather than fight against the beat.

With that being said, be kind to yourself this week!

And as always,

I pray you all have a week filled with abundant light and radiant health,