This week has been a stressful one, dealing with a personal family matter. While it’s difficult going through any stressful situation, I’m also thinking of how much better I handle stress in general now than five years ago before I made my healthy lifestyle change. I’m so incredibly thankful that I did.
One of the biggest benefits of working out and healthy eating has been its powerful effect on stress relief, and my mental and emotional well-being. In fact, even if I never lost another pound I would still workout, just for this benefit — it’s huge for me. I started my fitness program because I wanted to lose weight and get in shape, and I did, but to my surprise I gained so much more than even that. I gained a better and happier me, all around.
Because of working out every day and healthy eating, I feel amazing. I am stronger, emotionally as well as physically. Accomplishing my goal of losing the weight and feeling better has resulted in a self-confidence I had never previously known. After struggling with failure after failure, I overcame a burden that had plagued me my entire life. I did it. And I not only accomplished my goal, I far exceeded my expectations in every way. And now, I feel like I could take on any goal in life and succeed. Wow. What a change in me!
When I was younger, I used to believe that if I lost weight or was a certain size, my life would be perfect. The truth is, losing weight does improve your life in many ways, but it does not guarantee a perfect life.
There have been times in my life I’ve relied on prayer and faith to get me through hard times. Believing in God does not guarantee anyone a perfect, problem-free life. But like faith, a healthy lifestyle will help you better cope with whatever life throws at you.
There will be people in our life who let us down. We can’t control others’ behavior. We can’t control things from happening that are out of our control. But we can control how we react to these circumstances. It’s okay to be sad, okay to be hurt and upset when something bad happens or we are treated poorly — that’s natural and we’re only human. But where do you go from there?
Used to be, binge eating was my reaction to emotional pain. I no longer do that, but the urge is still there sometimes. Now I realize it for what it is, and can deal with stress in a healthier way.
There’s another, more difficult aspect of positive self-transformation, one that can be a stressor in itself. There may be people in your life who don’t support your healthy lifestyle change, and especially not an increase in your self-worth. Some may try to sabotage you. Some won’t be encouraging in your journey. Realize that this behavior is about them, and not you. Some may be secretly jealous or threatened, consciously or not, by your self-improvement. It hurts when those people are loved ones or friends. Press on anyway and do your thing, with courage. In the end, you will be an inspiration to others. Sometimes it’s necessary to jettison negativity and instead try to surround ourselves with people who love us enough to want the best for us.
I’m so grateful that now I have exercise and good nutrition to help me deal with stress in a healthier way. I don’t know what the future holds, but this I do know: Whatever happens in life, I’m going to land on my feet. I’m going to be okay. And I’m not only going to survive, I’m going to thrive. This is the new me.