My abyss - how do I make the "mental leap" to a healthier me?

  • I've been a survivor for as long as I can remember. My mother's life as an addict left me vulnerable to a lot of terrible people and terrible circumstances. I made it out of that life, finished college, and am now married to a great guy with two amazing children. And I congratulated myself on my life.

    But I ate my way into a wall of protection -- I know, so cliche. But also true. I am 5'4", and I topped out at 237 pounds. I'm down to 224, am at the gym daily, and am taking good care of myself. I decided to try BFL now because I have some momentum going and I want to take it to the next level. I want to feel healthy and competent and vibrant. In some ways I want this so I can be a good example for my children, but if I'm honest -- most days I just want it for myself. And wanting something for myself is a new development for me. I think it's a good thing.

    My abyss is this -- I have this beautiful life, but I wake up some days convinced that I'm going to lose it all, that I don't deserve it, that my time in the gym is a waste because I am a waste. I know that for me, this journey requires that I change the way I feel about myself at a fundamental level. I need to see myself as someone new, someone with courage and love and strength who deserves the life she fought so hard for. Does anyone have advice for making the leap to a new mindset, some tips for jumping from old beliefs to new ones? I'm all ears! :)

  • First of all - you do deserve the great life that you've made for yourself.  One of the powerful things that comes with doing BFL is that everyday you'll start to feel better, no just physically, but mentally too.  Do this for yourself, for your husband, and definitely for your children.  That is your motivation to start, the success you WILL feel will be added motivation to keep going.  Take it a day at a time.

    You can do this!

  • Good for you ReaD2Rock!!  I encourage you to keep going - renew your mind daily.  Garden your mind - weed out the bad and plant seeds of truth.  Constant affirmation whenever the old thought patterns of not good enough start to creep in.  Talk to yourself as you would someone else who is in your shoes, or as you would your children.  Would you ever find yourself saying to your kids, oh you are so stupid - you don't deserve anything good, you'll never make it.  Of course not - so don't do it to yourself!  Continually affirm yourself with positive thoughts - over and over and over and over and over and over and over - until it becomes part of who you are and the positive thoughts become the norm rather than the negative.  I hope this helps!

  • I am deeply, deeply touched by your post. I can somewhat relate-my parents never had a problem with substance abuse, but I did. I started young and the terrible people and circumstances you speak of left me scarred in a way I wouldn't wish on anyone. I am so sorry you were put in those situations. You have to be amazingly strong to have made a new life for yourself, and I commend you for that.

    When you say you feel like a waste, my heart truly goes out to you. On my list of goals that I made on day one, my #5 was "to have a story worth sharing". I felt the same way. I had broke free from my addiction, had given myself a new life, and was wasting it away because I was so tormented with anxiety and health problems. I wanted my life to be of value to others, but I felt I had nothing to offer. For me to reach out to you or anyone else who has these struggles means more to me than I can tell you.

    It is wonderful that you can make it to the gym. For me, it took tremendous courage. I was horror stricken by the idea of people judging or looking at my body in fitted workout clothes because of the things that happened to me. I had stopped going to the gym years ago because of this, and I relate to the wall of protection that comes with the fat. I am still afraid of what it would be like to have a nice body and be noticed for it, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.

    I was able to cross that abyss by taking things slow while still doing the program. I went to the gym at times when it was least crowded and did exercises that I felt safe doing. I wasn't ready for the weight machines because I didn't like the compromising body positions and vulnerable claustrophobia. The lower body machines were especially unappealing. So I brought the book and did dumbbell exercises. It made me feel more comfortable because I knew nothing about weight lifting, and I would have back up exercises in case someone was using something I needed. I always thought of ways to deal with my social anxiety so I could complete my workout by the book. I wanted to do this right more than anything. I wanted to know what it would feel like to live beyond my trauma and anxiety. And I wanted to be able to someday help someone who was stuck there, because nobody deserves to live life that way.

    The feeling I got from actually being there, lifting the weights, doing the deal, was so powerful it moved me to tears. THAT was how I knew I crossed the abyss. When I was actually doing the impossible, despite so much fear and hurt. I was able to move on to the machines. It was  incredible, my mind was clear and I wasn't so anxious as before. But the clear mind let in a flashback when I was doing the lying leg curls. The position of my body combined with the way I used my muscles just instantly brought back a very unpleasant memory. I made a conscious choice to put it away to process later and finish my workout as planned. Its not good to shove that stuff away completely, in my experience. Later that night I talked to my husband about it. I too found a good man, and I know how important that can be. I was able to cry about all the pain I had held in, because there was light at the end of the tunnel for once. The more I did those exercises, the less they bothered me. And now I have serious leg muscles to boot.

    With the diet, I read as much as I could about nutrition and what former champions and challengers did. I googled the ones who looked like I did to see if they had blogs or any tips. I saw food as fuel, and I felt the benefits when I followed the program. It took a leap of faith for me to change my diet. I mostly ate white rice and microwaveable stuff because I had never even cooked chicken. So I conquered that as well. I never realized how much I truly felt like less of a person until I did all this stuff and felt like a capable adult for the first time. And when I experienced the true benefits from eating protein and clean carbs regularly, it became a science. Food just stopped being a comfort. I was so comforted in all these new ways that felt AMAZING.

    Long story short, I held my breath and took the jump. I knew I had crossed the abyss completely when this lifestyle felt like something I would wayyy rather do than the old way. I believed before I achieved. I know this was rather long, but it is such an indescribable feeling to be able to share this with you. An absolute honor. Before, I could have said "yes I feel the same way and I don't know what to do either :-(" but now, I can more than just relate. I can actually tell you from experience that it gets SO much better, and the bigger your obstacles, the more you appreciate it.

    I hope that can inspire you. If you ever have trouble with anything at all, feel free to contact me. I know these things are hard to talk about publicly; one can only say so much without making others uncomfortable or over-sharing.

  • Oh, I also should mention that I have been doing it for 6 1/2 weeks now. It might sound like I've been doing it longer, but thats just because I have come so far in the time I have been doing it. There have been many tears shed already, but they are tears of joy and healing. When you talk about having a beautiful life and some days waking up, afraid you may lose it all, it reminded me of an experience I had yesterday. I was doing my cardio and the Creedence Clearwater song "have you ever seen the rain, coming down on a sunny day" came on. It was one of those moments where yet again I cried while working out lol. I was just thinking, "yes. yes I have. and thank god its not like that today".

    <3 good luck to you and your journey

  • Read2rock,

    Congratulations on surviving what you did. You are already stronger than most.

    I struggle with thinking I deserve what I have too. Two healthy kids, lovely husband. It's low self esteem. But that's something we can get back. You deserve absolutely everything you work for. You worked hard for your life and your reward is what you have now. You deserve the love from your children because you work hard at being a good mum. You deserve your husband as you obviously love and care for him. These things don't come easily, that kind of stability and good family relationships, it is because you work at it. The only thing that is in danger of being taken away from you is your enjoyment of it all, and that would b a tragedy.

    Enjoy the ride , you will eventually enjoy the results and realise you never had anything to worry about in the first place. Food is a crutch, you are throwing that crutch away you are bound to feel vulnerable at first. You don't need it , you already proved how strong you are. Exercise and control is empowering. You can do this.

    Good luck x