I've been on some sort of diet (or cheating on said diet) since I was eight years old.
After 17 years of yo-yo dieting, in one night, I made a shift that changed everything. It didn't come from diet, exercise, or even willpower.
It came from 3 little words.
This is one of those memories that I can't forget, it's branded on my mind and I fall back on it whenever I need a reminder of why I do all this work.
It'd been just about a month since I collapsed, kicking off my third major MS flare. I was still struggling to walk and just getting to the bathroom and back felt like a marathon. Half of my body was numb and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get my right hand to cooperate.
I was tired. Physically, mentally, and spiritually drained.
I was tired of fighting my body. Of trying to change it. Of berating myself for every time I failed.
That night, I was laying on the couch with the lights off. I'd been there for a few hours. I had no where else to go and I liked watching the light in my apartment slowly dim as the sun set outside.
Once it was completely dark, I started thinking about an article I'd read about self love. It said you should look in the mirror and tell yourself.
I always knew I loved myself, I didn't think I had to say it, but I thought about how it would feel if my family, friends, or lover never expressed their feelings in words and my heart sunk.
I would absolutely HATE that.
So I pulled myself up, grabbed my cane, and slowly moved toward the bathroom.
I put my cane down and leaned against the sink. I couldn't keep myself up for long and my fatigue was already kicking in. I looked in the mirror and said "I love you" and the strangest thing happened... I couldn't make eye contact.
It seemed ridiculous. So I tried again. And then again. Finally I forced myself to make eye contact and in that moment, I could see everything.
The pain. The anger. The guilt. The shame. The frustration. The sadness. It all poured out of my eyes, followed by a stream of tears.
I apologized, begged for forgiveness, and promised myself that I would put my healing first. I would put my feelings, needs, and health first.
Finally, I said I love you one more time and promised to do whatever I needed to do to get myself to believe it.
For the last 4 years, I've been building a new relationship of love, trust, and connection with myself. In turn, the weight loss came off as a happy side effect.
Doing things like this can seem awkward or even pointless, at least that's what I thought, but it wasn't the action of saying "I love you" that changed the game. It was just the key that opened the door to a vulnerable understanding that what I was doing wasn't working.
No diet plan or exercise routine could take me on this journey, it was all about my shift in mindset and that's what I hope to help other people unlock as well.
You have the key to success within you, you just have to be ready to open the door.