So Hawaii is booked. I’ve been thinking back a lot lately – trying to put myself back in my old mindset in order to better help my girls get through their hard stuff, and it made me think about vacations. One week into my first round of 80 Day we had a family vacation planned. Vacation with kids, although it’s not as relaxing as vacations once were, it was still a time to enjoy the week with my parents and siblings, my nephews and my husband and kids – we would eat good food, drink on the beach (one of my favorite things to do) and have a good time, waiting patiently till the kids went to bed so we could enjoy adult time before we started all over again. This sounds awesome right?

Except what would also be swarming around in my head was how uncomfortable I felt in my own body, how guilty I felt for never working out when we went on vacation (despite having every intention to by bringing clothes and never getting them out of my suitcase), how I loved the taste of food but hated how it made me feel after – ashamed, weak, inconsistent, defeated, depressed, how drinking would help me not care for a few minutes before the thoughts would come back.

I tried to not compare myself to other people (sort of, but it was seemingly impossible not to) I tried to be grateful for my life and my kids and the fact that vacations were possible and that I had an amazing family that loved me no matter what I looked like. I tried to not feel guilty for not working out, but I also punished myself subconsciously every time I made the wrong choice. Every time I chose to continue doing what was making me worse – physically and mentally. If you haven’t felt this before, God bless you – I hope you never do. But If you can relate to any of this, you know how defeating and scary it is. It doesn’t seem like there’s a way out. It’s hard to change your mindset around all these things when they are the thoughts that have swarmed your mind for half your life or more.

Fast forward to now (mind you, it’s been 7 months since that vacation) – that was the last vacation I went on where I’d let those thoughts control my actions and my feelings. I woke up on morning one of that vacation PISSED. I was tired, the kids didn’t sleep well at all, I wasn’t “allowed” to drink and take the edge off, I “had” to eat healthy and follow a meal plan when everyone else could eat whatever I want, and what put me over the edge? I took my progress pictures – I promised to take a picture every single Sunday in the same outfit for the entire program. I looked as pissed as I felt. ONE WEEK into my journey, I was already sliding back into my old thought patterns. I was talking shit to myself again, like I had for so long – telling myself that I was too far gone, I was surely going to fail or cheat or give up again. I had a talk with my husband, and he helped me clear my head (as per usual) – you barely slept, don’t worry about what your pictures look like, it’s only been 6 days since you started this, you can do this.

So, I made my breakfast. I followed my plan. I didn’t make a drink for the beach like everyone else. I took my shake, I took my water, I took my next meals. I told those voices to shut it, I drowned them out with self-awareness – if I wasn’t sticking to plan, what would I be consuming? I paid attention. I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and I started listening to my BODY – not my thoughts. Everyday, I did the same thing. I would measure out my portions, I would eat when my alarms went off, I would do my workouts and recruit my family to do some with me. I felt stronger, I felt in control, I felt empowered; I felt like maybe this time, I could do this. I didn’t take a single bite of anything that wasn’t on plan. I didn’t take a single sip of alcohol. I learned how to be disciplined again.

Everyday, I made the same choices. Everyday, I felt more empowered. Everyday, it got easier. It doesn’t just “click” – you don’t wake up one morning and just become a different person, but there are a lot of little “clicks” that happen along the way. They add up, you learn more about yourself, you have patience with your journey, you tweak things until they work for you, and you start to actually enjoy life – because you have time. You’re no longer surrounded by a thick cloud of negative thoughts. Your head is clear, and you can just live your life. It seems simple, and in a lot of ways, it is – but it feels so complicated and difficult on day 1, day 30, day 60, even. Trust me that you can change, trust me that it’s possible to have a positive outlook on yourself and on your life. Trust me that as scary as it is in the beginning, it’s so worth it at the end. I know, I know – there is no end, but when you replace the fog with clarity – you’re ending that chapter and starting your new one. The best one; and amazing things will happen there, I can promise you that. It’s just up to you to start and not stop.

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