12 Months of Gratitude: August

The end of August means that autumn is about to start, and that’s my favourite time of year! I love the cooler weather, darker evenings and general cosiness of the season. There’s something quite heart warming about getting home from work on a cold, wet day and snuggling up on the sofa with a good book and a rich hot chocolate.

Looking back through the past month, a lot has changed for me. My circumstances are exactly the same, but I’ve changed a lot as a person due to my therapy visits. This time around I’ve learned so much more about myself and the roots of my problems. I’ve been able to make small changes, push myself harder and challenge any feelings of anxiety.

I’m really proud of my progress and I feel like I’m really changing for good now.

So, with that said, there’s plenty to be grateful for over the past month!

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1. Exercise
For many years now, I’ve seen exercise as something very negative. It’s the painful process you have to go through in order to look good. It’s the way you punish yourself for indulging during a meal. It’s the number one way to lose weight, and you must track calories burned during every workout to make sure you’re doing enough. I avoided it completely.

This month I’ve started going swimming. It’s a nice option for me because I suffer with knee pain sometimes and being in water takes the pressure off your joints. I decided to start swimming to get some ‘me time’ where I could just get lost in my own thoughts and let off a bit of steam. I didn’t want it to be about my weight or how I looked, and I was really careful to avoid going down that route.

When I’m swimming, I don’t think about how my body will look or how many calories I’m burning, I just think about how it feels to move my body. I think about how good it feels to be physical without prioritising my appearance. I challenge myself to do another length or two when I’ve hit my target and I challenge myself to see if I can go faster. Exercise has become fun again, like it was when I was a child, before I knew that it could be used as a punishment.

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2. Food

I’ve been trying to master intuitive eating for so long now, and I finally feel like I’m making good progress. I’ve really learned how to listen to my body and eat what it’s telling me to eat.

This was such a scary process to begin with. I honestly thought that if I listened to what I wanted, it would always be chocolate, crisps and junk food. For a few days, it was, and I think that’s normal. When you deprive yourself of certain foods for a long time and label them as ‘bad’ then it’s only natural that when they’re allowed again, you eat them in abundance. But after a little while, I started to crave different foods including lots of savoury foods and even fruit (that’s new to me!)

When I was shopping for lunch yesterday, I found myself drawn to fruity yoghurt and fruit and nut bars. I walked past my old binge foods without even batting an eyelid, I just didn’t fancy them at all.

It feels so refreshing to have all foods back on the menu. None of it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it’s all just there for the taking whenever I feel like it, and I’m grateful for that.

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3. My newfound confidence
I’m so grateful for this because even thought it’s still quite new, it’s creating positive changes in my life and bringing new opportunities. I’ve found some resilience somewhere and every day I feel like I’m getting stronger.

Restricting and weight loss doesn’t have the same allure anymore. I’m becoming more confident not only with my body and how I look but also who I am and what I’m capable of. I’m pushing myself into situations that I’ve avoided for years because of my anxiety. I’m testing the waters (swimming pun!) and seeing how it feels. I’m seeing scary situations as learning curves instead of something to run from. It’s all new to me but it’s making the world of difference.

That’s my journal for this month, I hope you liked it! What are you grateful for this month?

-Holly

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