On the Beginnings of Real Change

 I made a breakthrough today- a big one for me. This year has thrown many challenges my way, and I am doing my best to learn and grow through them. I am an incredibly flawed human being, but a strong thread runs through me that continues to whisper in my ear, Do better. Be better. I am trying with all my heart. Today’s breakthrough dealt with my body perception, which has often been an issue. In my twenties I dealt with anorexia and bulimia, and ever since have waged war with the scale and my body. No more. 

I began a big Spring cleaning project today, and tackled my closet filled with clothes of many sizes, representing all of my ups and downs (aka: ‘failures and successes’). I have been working since last year to become healthy- truly healthy and not skinny. There is a huge difference in those two words, though for so many years I equated them as being synonymous. I have worked hard to let my body tell me where a healthy weight is for me, where I feel strong and fit. And it turns out that ‘magic’ number on the scale is is not where I used think it had to be. But, I like how I look and feel, and my doctor is happy. Instead of trying to force myself to eat a lot less, I am making better choices, tracking everything on Myfitnesspal. I’m exercising most every day, and using my Fitbit to remind me to keep moving. These are behaviors I can maintain, and my weight has settled into what I really feel is its happy place. 

So that breakthrough? I pulled a huge stack of jeans out of the closet and tried each of them on. So many I had saved for that magical day when I would fit into them again. Today was different. If they didn’t fit, if they didn’t make me feel good- or if they made me feel like a failure- they went into the bag set aside for Goodwill. I refuse to walk into my closet one more time and feel like a loser because I pulled out something that turns me into a stuffed sausage. I’m fifty-three, and life is just too short to be held hostage by denim. 

I can’t believe the sense of freedom and power I felt by that simple act of letting go. I’ve come to the realization that my goals are very different now; I want to be strong, to age well and in good health- not just fit into a tiny pair of jeans or achieve an unrealistic (for me) number on the scale. I want to accept myself for who and what I am, warts and all, but work to grow and better myself in the ways that truly matter to me: to love more, to learn to be in the moment and let go of worry, to be a good wife, friend, teacher, musician, human being. All of those things are so much more important than dropping those last few pounds. I have lots of work left to do, but I already feel so much lighter now- and it has nothing to do with the scale. A good start. 


10 thoughts on “On the Beginnings of Real Change

  1. I have dealt with body issues for decades. This spring I will purge my closets and drawers and not see the clothes I can’t wear. Good for you. I am sure it will be so liberating for you.

  2. Pat, so many of us battle the same thing…I am just battle-weary and ready to enjoy without the excess baggage of self-recriminations. Good luck with your purging- I hope it makes you feel great!

  3. What a beautiful, healthy, life-affirming message, Denise. It is (and you are) truly inspirational. I can’t say with honesty I have achieved the liberation you have yet—I still struggle with what the ballet world expects, even thought I don’t dance anymore—but I am inching closer to it, working hard because I am uncomfortable in my own skin right now, the heaviest I have been in my life. I don’t recognize this body anymore. But I hope to get to the place you are now, someday. Thanks for this post!~Deb

    1. Thank you, Deb. I hope that you find that place when you are ready. You are so beautiful, inside and out. I can’t imagine battling the dancer mindset. That would be really difficult to overcome. I am cheering you on.

  4. Congratulations! That is a wonderful feeling. I am ready to do that with all the “things” that have accumulated in our house, even more than just clothes. I look around and feel overwhelmed by all the physical stuff we have collected. Now if my husband can just get to that point, it will be good. Happy first Day of Spring! -Jo

    1. Jo, that’s what started all of this- Dan and I are really trying to pare down and not have so much stuff. It really does clutter your brain, doesn’t it? The closet success was a bonus. I’m hoping that with everything I let go of, the better I will feel. Happy first day of Spring to you!

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