Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Inspiration in the Darkness


I did a January Whole30 and I felt good. And then I let February take hold and run me into the ground. I'm back to being the over-emotional me of 2017.

I have done six rounds of Whole30.

Six of them.

I lost a substantial amount of weight, I felt great, and I established a new kind of relationship with food.

And then something changed in my life. Something pretty damned huge.

My life. It's different now.

I experienced so many firsts, and I am still finding new things to experience.

Moments without. Moments with.

I am finding my way.

Making marks in ways I've never expected. Never thought I'd need or want to.

I'm sifting through the ashes. Finding the remains. Piecing them together with all that is new.

Pushing through the mud. Finding growth.

No mud. No lotus.

I'm allowing my scars to heal. Allowing new ones to surface. I'm not covering them up. Not right away. I need to confront them. I need to see them. I need to feel them.

But as I do I'm reminding myself. Inhale. Exhale.

I'm allowing myself to breathe.

We all need to breathe.

I'm watching the seasons change. Recognizing that nearly an entire year has gone by.

I'm looking for inspiration in the darkness.

And sometimes I find it.

Why Melissa Hartwig Inspires Me

If you've ever done a Whole30 you've heard of Melissa Hartwig. 

She's one of the founders and she's one of the people I enjoy following on Instagram. Not just because she's an author. A creator. But because she is real. She's human. And she speaks to us, her fans and followers, as if we're equals.

I know. I know.

We are. We're all human. We are equals.

But seriously, this woman is a fierce fit machine. And in spite of that - from someone who has not found themselves on that path at this point in their life - if ever - I still watch and learn. Absorb. And appreciate that she keeps it so damned real.

If you follow me on Instagram you know that's a hashtag I use often when it comes to selfies and motherhood. #keepinitreal is who I am. Or at least who I try to be. I don't do this for sympathy. I do it for reality. 

And today, well, yesterday, really, I was struggling. I was beating myself up, because after six rounds of Whole30 I felt that I should have had a handle on it in a way that I wouldn't look at myself in the mirror and ask what the hell happened. 

But that's what I do. 

And I know what happened. 

And I don't like to lay the blame on anyone but myself. And yet, sometimes, some days, some ways, I do. Because I didn't ask to fall off this positive path. I didn't ask to find myself knocked down several pegs. I didn't ask for this.

And so. I get angry. I get frustrated. But through it all I stay real. I stay true to who I am.

I almost decided to share Melissa's post on FB today, but then realized this deserved an entire blog post. And I hope it's okay to do this and embed her Instagram post in here - because damn, friends, it's so important. Any of you - all of you - who are trying something new and feeling like you're failing. Or trying something old, again, and hating yourself for not being perfect at whatever it is already. 

This. Melissa Hartwig wrote this for you. 

Re: my last #myfoodfreedom post, where I said it's taken me 7 years to arrive at this place of effortless balance: I occasionally hear people suggest if you need 6 Whole30s or you're still struggling 5 years later, you're doing it wrong. That if you can't "fix" your relationship with food faster than this, without the support or help of multiple Whole30s, you're going about it in the wrong way. • Had I entered myself into a food rehab facility, where all life stressors were removed and my only job was to work on changing my habits and healing my emotional relationship with food, I might agree. But let me explain what ELSE I was working on over that 7 year period, along with my Food Freedom: • Quitting my job to start my own business. Getting married. Discovering major issues. Spending years in therapy trying to make the marriage work. Digging into trauma from sexual abuse and drug addiction during said therapy sessions. Writing a book. Getting pregnant. Leaving home at 7 months pregnant. Returning. Having a baby. Writing another book. Doing a very public book tour side-by-side while filing for divorce. Divorcing. Going through a prolonged business split. Rebuilding myself from the ground up while figuring out how to be a single mom, run my business, and write two more books. • While simultaneously trying to create a healthy relationship with the ONE thing I used to rely on the most for comfort, as reward, to relieve anxiety, and to show myself love. So yeah, it took me 7 years. • If it takes you 9 Whole30s or 19 years to finally find YOUR Food Freedom balance, do not despair, because it's not like it's the only thing you've got going on. Keep working on it daily, diligently. Don't give up, because you choose your hard, and the other hard really wasn't working for you. Don't treat the Whole30 like a yo-yo, because that's not the path to Food Freedom. Go do some therapy, because that’s often necessary too. But if you're working it, really working it, even if all you can do is make one small effort on the toughest of days... don't let anyone tell you that you're not "doing it right." • #myfoodfreedom #whole30FFF #melissarants #melissaexplains7years @whole30
A post shared by Melissa Hartwig (@melissa_hartwig) on

I wrote this entire post yesterday. Tuesday. February 20th.

Today I had my annual physical. I always spend the day before (who am I kidding, days, more likely) in slight trepidation. I love my doctor. I mean it, I do. She's never made me feel like crap. She's listened to me cry. She's supported me through a lot of stuff. And today was no exception.

And yet. I'm still concerned. Worried. About disappointing her. And, more importantly, myself.

So today I met with the student who was shadowing her first.

Am I the only one who does that?

It is always a great experience, except for that one time when the guy was a little - well, he was a GUY - and he was like a teenager and really cute. But that's okay. I survived.

Anyway, remember that students need to learn, too. If you've not been there you may not want to put yourself out there in this way. You might feel like a guinea pig. You're not. You're getting quality treatment from someone who is currently being supervised by your doctor and if you're not trusting your doctor to do that then how do you trust him/her to treat YOU?

Okay, and so I rambled.

Go figure.

Anyway, my doctor and her student supported me today as I discussed the year gone by, and I spoke about my plans for the coming months. My agenda. My goals. My focus.

And because of the inspiration I found yesterday - that which I shared here - I was able to truly speak from the heart and MEAN IT. I meant EVERY WORD. Every single word.

I'm inspired. It's a sunshine-filled day today, y'all. Thanks for riding it out with me. Let's ride the wave to better days together, shall we? Race you to the starting line ...


  1. You are an amazingly beautiful and strong person, inside and out! You are getting through this with so much more grace than I ever could. Just keep on breathing.

  2. So many thoughts. Thank you for sharing all this. A nurse yesterday did two single stitches on me under the PA's guidance --- they kept thanking me and I was all "how else do you learn?" (especially since it wasn't brain surgery or anything)! This is a lovely, real reflection and I am grateful for you.

  3. I saw that instagram post yesterday. It's a good one. And this blog post is even better.

  4. I love this post. I adore you and your fierce spirit, my friend. I’m so happy you are finding your way. Hugs.

  5. sounds like you're finding your way



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