In Honor of Valentine’s Day – Some Things I Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, ya’ll!

I woke up this morning greeted by warm doggies in my bed and a present from my husband.  It was a good start.  Now I’m enjoying some coffee and feeling energized and inspired.

I decided that in honor of V Day, I’d write about some things I’ve recently discovered that I love.  Kind of a “love list” of cool things I’d like to share, developments in my journey, and places you can go to get some lovin’ inspiration of your own.

First thing I’m loving today is friends who blog.  I especially love friends who agree to take a dance class and write a guest blog about the experience.  Thanks, Riki, for being this friend.  You can check her blog out here: Refreshingly Riki

The next thing I love is an app called “Lose It!”  I’ve installed it on my smart phone and for the last 3 days have been tracking my caloric intake.  I know, I know, sounds tedious and boring and uncool.  I was pretty resistant to “journaling” my food (been there, done that and I don’t like doing it, thank you very much) but I needed a way to be accountable.  You see, I’ve partnered with a powerful friend and leader who is also on a weight release journey.  She explained to me that one of the factors that determines if a person will be successful in weight loss is if they record their food intake.  If I am serious about transforming my body, I will need to do this.  I accepted that fact and prepared myself to hate doing it.

Surprise!  I am actually enjoying it!  And, miracle of miracles, it has spurred some additional discoveries that will aid my weight release journey as well.  So, I’m loving the app, and I’m especially loving the fact that I don’t hate using it.  It’s actually, um, dare I admit it?  It is actually, kinda, sorta, fun.  Weird!

I think the thing that shifted for me was when that friend said, “Stef, you and I are in this for the long haul.” Meaning, that we are on this journey for the rest of our lives.  It is our practice, the relationship with food, with our bodies, with ourselves.  It was like this gust of fresh spring air dancing through the dusty attic of my mind.  It isn’t just about getting to some ideal weight for me, it is about being at peace with my process, my practice, myself.  It isn’t just the portion of the race to the Desert Classic DanceSport competition in July (though that is one particular leg of the journey), it is about the rest of my life.  And that awareness felt expansive.  Suddenly the pressure and the panic about how I’m not transforming “quickly” enough to show up as the dancer in my head in July faded away.  I WILL get there.  That picture WILL become a reality.  Though, I’m not sure it will be fully complete by July.  Even if it is not, if I continue my practice (which I will), I will be a heck of a lot closer to that vision by July even if I’m not exactly “there” just yet in terms of my body.  And heck, I won’t actually ever be “there.”  There is no “there.”  There is only now, the present moment.  I’m never going to “arrive.”

Also, I’m coming to realize that goals are like archery.  You set your goal, aim, and see how well you shoot.  Goals are useful tools to move myself forward, but the gift is in the journey toward achieving them, the arc of the loosed arrow, rather than the final destination.  They are not useful when used as a measure of my worth (i.e. I am “good” when I hit my goal, but “bad” when I miss.)  And seriously, if I’m not falling occasionally, I’m not doing anything!  Failing (temporary setbacks) are part of the process.  I’m loving this new perspective and open to using goals appropriately from now on.

Okay, enough waxing philosophical.  Back to the love list.  I’m in love with my new Valentine’s Day present – a FitBit!  I am so excited to begin using it (it’s charging right now!).  It is this little device you clip onto your clothes and it monitors your movements and steps and then calculates your energy expenditure.  It also monitors the quality of your sleep and synchronizes not only with the computer, but also with my new favorite app, “Lose It!”  It will provide me with much more specific information about how much energy I’m using on dance lessons so I can eat smarter on those days that I’m working harder.

It’s sort of turning into this experiment that I’m doing on myself, one that is exciting and interesting and not fraught with self-loathing bombs, stress, difficulty.  I’m experiencing a compassionate form of self-discipline, and boy does it feel good.

Next on the list o’ love is bloggers named Stephanie.  No, I’m not talking about me (my name is spelled with an “f”) but rather this gal, Stephanie Vincent that writes this blog: Radical Hate Loss.  Talk about transformation – this gal blew me away!  My own piddly weight loss journey of dropping 173 pounds (by the time I’m done) pales in comparison to her staggering stone-dropping from over 420 pounds to a healthy body and weight.  Seems like she didn’t just lose weight, she also lost the “hate.”

I’m also in love with my scale.  Not really.  But I am in love with a milestone I’ve achieved.  I’ve crossed a threshold I’ve been flirting with for a long time, but I’ve now passed through it, never to return.  I now weigh less than 270 pounds.  I’d been hovering just above it for weeks but something finally shifted and I’m on the down escalator once again.  I can’t tell you an exact weight because I’m retaining a little water this time of the calendar but between yesterday and today it is somewhere between 268.3 and 269.2 pounds.  Either way, I’m officially under the 270 pound mark, and for that I am grateful.

Today my heart is full to bursting and I could probably write a love list a mile long.  But I think I’ll just end my list with my #1 love, you guessed it, dancing!  I love that dancing is in my life.  I love that I’m dancing my way to a healthier, happier, more confident self.  I love that dancing is one of my practices in this lifetime.  I love that it has spurred me to blog and connect with so many people across the globe who are also dancers.  I love being a part of the dance community in my area and preparing to compete alongside others across the country.  I love that it challenges me and helps me to grow and causes me to question my long-held beliefs in my limitations – limitations I’m discovering that are more in my head than in reality.  I love that dancing has led me to three amazing instructors, three amazing competitions, and things unforeseeable to come.  I love that I am a dancer. I love that this is who I am.

So on this day of love, at the end of all this writing, I discover that I, like Stephanie, am on a journey of radical hate loss.  I am on a journey to increase my self-love in all its forms.  I’m using dancing to get there.  And I’m learning to love the journey.