I sat down to watch, binge watch, some Netflix series and had trouble getting comfortable because if felt like my stomach was in the way. I looked over at the two bags of candy sitting next to me and thought, “This is out of control.” Ever had one of these moments? I can’t remember where I heard it or read it but someone, somewhere, once said, “Change occurs when there is an intolerance for the status quo.” When the current state becomes so painful, there will then be motivation to change it. Reminds me of the quote by Anais Nin, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Pain certainly can be our friend when we know how to use it. In that moment, sitting there with a bulge in my belly and surrounded with gross sugar, I felt the pain of not being my best self.

I’ve been wrestling with weight, exercise, and nutrition all year. I set a goal at the beginning of the year to maintain the weight of 126. My birthday is on the 26th, so I like the number. Well, up to this point, I haven’t met that goal. In the past, I’ve been very harsh with myself when it comes to exercise and food. I can be very disciplined with myself, but it usually come out in a mean kind of way. I wanted this year to be different. I wanted to see if I could achieve some goals with the carrot instead of the stick. Well, things have slid off the rails a bit… I guess a little too much carrot.

I decided to go back to what I know to regroup. I decided to do the Whole 30. I started October 1 and was excited to recommit to health and wellness. At the same time, I wanted to create some other practices that I could turn into habits. I set up a tracking sheet and listed meditation for 10 minutes a day, 5 pages of Bible reading, drink one glass of water, run three times per week, blog once a week, and a few others. I thought I would get back in the routine of discipline and see what comes forward.

The first week was fantastic. It felt so self-honoring to exchange my candy for delicious fall apples. It was new and the release of the pain of feeling fat and gross brought some relief. I started running again, and although I was quite out of shape, being out there felt great. I quickly lost 4.5 pounds, and everything was back on track.

Week two is a different story. I gained back two of the pounds and the scale seems permanently stuck on 131.6. What the heck?! I’m doing my part– no sugar, alcohol, grain, legumes, or dairy. Why am I going backwards? It felt frustrating. Yet, I still felt the joy of honoring myself and my body. I’m loving being outside in the morning running with my pup. I love the quiet time of meditation. I can’t say the blogs are writing themselves, this one I need to dig deep to do, but the commitment to the discipline does feel good once I’m out there doing it.

I don’t have all the answers on finding balance. I want to be loving and kind with myself, yet still committed. There are few things I am learning in this process. First, I do need discipline. If I don’t create an intention to run, eat well, write, and drink water I just won’t do it. I know myself well enough at this point to know that I need to have a system in place to make it happen. Too often I just don’t feel like it. I also know that there is a season for everything. “There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens… a time for crying and a time for laughing…a time for mourning and a time for dancing,” Ecclesiastes 3:11. There is a time for work and a time for play. I know that all work and no play doesn’t work for me either. I can’t keep up a very disciplined routine forever. There needs to be breaks and joy and fun and celebration.

With this in mind, I added something new this time. If I complete the week meeting the intentions I treat myself. There is a Yeti’s Grind mug I’ve wanted for quite some time. I decided that if I make it through week one I would treat myself with the mug. I will tell you that the only way last week’s blog got written is because I wanted that darn mug. Hmmm, well a bit of carrot is helpful.

I am also learning that I need to create discipline and routine until I create these things as a habit. I know I want meditation, drinking water, running, and eating well to be habits. I want to do them no matter what, like brushing my teeth. I never skip brushing my teeth, ever. Fuzzy teeth just don’t work for me. I don’t have to discipline myself or reward myself to do it. I just do, often without thinking about it. Twice a year I celebrate my teeth when I have them cleaned and get a great report from the dentist. Thank you, mom, for no sugar as a kid and forcing us to brush our teeth (never thought I would say that). It helped me to create a lifelong routine I know really value. How can I create some more of these? I want not meditating to feel like fuzzy teeth. What I know so far is that it takes discipline, intention, and celebration. I will continue to use all three until I’ve done it so long it becomes a habit.

I’d like to share with you the peace prayer of St. Francis: (the bold is my emphasis)

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

To me this is so inspiring. This is who I want to be. Yet, I often stumble. I think of myself first. I get frustrated when I don’t feel loved or I’m not getting what I want. My ego can get in the way. Know what I mean? Yet, I know I can set myself up for success. I can more often deliver on this when I feel good about myself and this takes eating well, exercising, and time in silence. Discipline and routine will help me be who I know myself to be and eventually it will be habit, holy habits bringing me back to myself. Any fuzzy teeth areas in your life? What habits would you like to create to be what inspires you?