As we count down the dwindling days of 2017, a lot of us think about the coming of a new year as a time to set new goals, and find new opportunities to change and transform. We invited Katie Feltman to tell her story about her own transformation. xo Alexis
Transformation. Change. It’s the time of the year when these topics inevitably pop up in our minds and surround us in conversations, on social media – everywhere we turn. My story of transformation didn’t start when one year ended and a new one began. If I’m being truthful, I loathe the concept of a New Year’s Resolution.
What is this magical transformation I speak of?
The before: At age 36 and after a particularly demoralizing trip to the doctor I realized I was dealing with all manner of emotional, mental and physical sickness. That I weighed close to 300 pounds I would come to eventually realize was a symptom not a cause. The gory details? Prediabetes. Thyroid disease totally uncontrolled. Hypertension. Heart arrhythmias. I was living life on mute and in a fog. I can with certainty pinpoint that day as the day when I finally decided to do something.
The after: Some 6 years later, I’m physically lighter by about 130 physical pounds (that’s like a whole person!) and am emotionally lighter by an unquantifiable number of pounds. I’m still me - but a more settled, happier me. A person who lives life with gusto. A better friend, sister, daughter, employee, citizen of the world. I could name hundreds of things that are different for me now. For the readers of this blog, I’ll just note how much I missed biking long distances when I simply couldn’t. Now I spend as much time and as many miles as I can cycling.
Before I get to the three things, a word of caution. Don’t romanticize weight loss. It’s not a panacea to all your emotional, professional, physical, relationship and whatever other woes you have. That kind of thinking is a dangerous - so dump it now. We’ve all been there - imagining if I could only change this I would be so much happier. On the surface when you imagine your life x number of pounds lighter you might think it’s the express line to happiness - the solution to all your problems. It’s not. It’s so not. You’ve first got to do the work on the inside to achieve that level of nirvana
Still with me? If so I am happy to report I am FINALLY getting to the three things
1. So yeah….about those New Year’s Resolutions or that BIG decision to make a HUGE change overnight. Doesn’t work. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know but try and listen this time. Internalize it. Believe it. Accept it. Accept that change won’t happen overnight. Waiting until the beginning of the year after engaging in the party/food/wine/gluttony marathon that starts around Halloween and rages on until we all wake up on January 1st filled with a truck load of self-loathing we can’t unload seems to be the way we all decide to go about conducting ourselves year after year. The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. This time, do something different. The biggest change and realization was grasping I had to make small changes in my daily habits and then doing them. Change is something you have to chip away at every. Single. Day. Know there will be setbacks, and things won’t happen overnight. And that’s why I don’t set New Year’s resolutions. Sure, I set short- and long-term goals (some are totally doable - and some are so aspirational it seems silly to even write it down or say it out load but you need those big goals) but I don’t set one giant resolution on January 1. Think about it like this: Every day is a resolution. The best thing about thinking like this? You get a fresh start every day. It’s manageable this way.
2. Self-care matters. Say it. Think it. PRACTICE IT. Yes I am shouting on that last one. Find ways to engage in self-care. Do it every day. That’s going to look different for everyone so spend some time figuring out what this looks like for you and get on it. Self-care should be viewed like change – it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Find the small things you can to do daily to take care of yourself. 2 easy places to start are move more, and get more sleep.
3. Why does self-care matter so much? Because self-love. Acceptance. No more self-loathing. You won’t take care of yourself if you can’t find a way to love yourself. If you take one thing away from my words today make it this. You won’t love yourself if you don’t make the time to take care of yourself and if you spend time hating yourself and your body, you’ll lack the will and motivation to do the work needed to care for your body and mind. We have one body. Take care of it. This one is critical. Essential. I hated my body. I felt betrayed by it. The self-loathing I felt had a vice grip on me. Once I learned to take care of myself and accept myself daily in where I was on my journey, and let go of my negative feelings about my body that is when the change really started to happen.
Frustrated I’ve not provide some magic list of specifics for how to transform? Is this a bait and switch? No. I’ve already talked too much and the specifics are missing on purpose. Everyone’s journey will look different – it has to. If you want to know more about mine, I’m using Insta to document how I practice self-love and self-care - when I’m not posting photos of my dogs or my cycling adventures Find me on Instagram.com/wanderingbella