If you’ve been a part of this community for a little while, you know I regularly share from my personal stories, struggles and experiences. Well, today is a little different. I’m opening myself more fully than ever. I debated on whether I should share this post or not, and decided yes. It might be exactly what you need to hear today.
So, after a month of going pretty much non-stop, I took the day completely off on Sunday. I lounged by the pool, napped and read a fiction novel on my Kindle. It was great. It felt so luxurious. However, as I laid there allowing my thoughts to spiral, drifting between awake and asleep, I came to a huge awareness. One that resonated with my soul.
Over the last year I had abandoned my body.
What? How can you abandon something that is attached to you? Something that is with you everyday? You can. Here’s what happened to me.
I went through a heartbreak and in a way, turned my back on not only my body, but myself. It started off small, subtle. An extra hour of sleep here and there – telling myself that’s what my body really needed. When in fact, I was numbing out, escaping my hurt. (Which on some level, I needed.)
Then came the old habit of taking comfort in food. Again, starting off small. Eating a little extra at lunch or having a cookie after dinner. But, before I knew it, my sabotaging behaviors were making themselves at home in my skin. My familiar friend, sugar, was there for me, ready to soothe my hurt and help me escape my pain.
Soon after, I stopped exercising as much. I stopped jogging and started walking. I stopped S Factor. I stopped going out to play with friends and started watching television. After about two months, I knew something was very wrong and I tried to get a hold on my actions, but on some level, I still wasn’t ready.
I decided to explore a new way of eating and a different, more relaxed exercise schedule. I was trying to be compassionate, gentle and loving with myself. Or, so I thought.
Then came the next phase – the I’ll pour myself into my work phase. bodyheart was where I found my joy, so it was easy to spend 18 hours a day there. I love learning and creating and I got to learn and create something new every single day. Work suddenly became my new drug. In fact, so much so that I’d forget to eat and certainly wouldn’t take the time to exercise.
I went from one extreme to the other. And then would catch myself and try to adjust and find some balance. Those phases lasted for about a month, but before too long one of the self-sabotaging behaviors would kick in.
I gained a few pounds. No big deal. I’m getting older. My metabolism is changing. I found myself hiding more in my clothes, not wanting to be seen. Without even realizing it, I put a cap on my capacity to experience joy.
Now, please know, the entire year wasn’t all bad, I had a lot of amazing good times and moments of feeling incredible in my body, but the struggle was way more present than I was used to. So, on Sunday when I heard that little voice inside say, “You’ve abandoned me,” I knew it was true. I had never put it in those words before. I had abandoned my body. I turned my back on her.
My sweet body who loved me. Supported me. I had neglected her.
After a few tears and some apologies, I was ready. Ready to wake up. Ready to support her. I realized how much I missed working out. I’m an athlete. I grew up dancing. I love the challenge. I love the exhaustion and the motivation that comes from a really good workout. So, I’ve started jogging and hiking and S Factor-ing regularly. And it feels GREAT!
I’ve stopped eating vegan/vegetarian and am allowing myself to include more organic animal products like fish and eggs. I forgot how much I love them. I’m already feeling a difference, especially when I workout.
I’ve taken a step back from bodyheart, trusting that all will get done that needs to each day. I’m reaching out to my real friends more and lessening my time on Facebook. I’m expanding my cap on joy, starting my day with Lucky time . . . and so much more.
I share all this with you today as a reminder that growth is a process, not an event. And, for whatever reason, I wasn’t ready to fess up to my hurt. I wanted to pretend it didn’t exist, but it did. And, my denial caused me to create hurt inside myself in other ways. Which is also totally okay. It was all part of my process and I fully accept that.
I’m not telling myself I did anything wrong. I’m not wishing anything were different. I’m just happy to see my friend – my body. And, am grateful to want to take care of her. To make her (and me) a priority. To feel like I deserve happiness, joy and abundance again.
Today, no matter where you are, trust your process. The more you can be with yourself wherever you are, the better. If you are struggling to overcome a heartbreak – maybe from a break-up or a dream lost / unfulfilled – and are participating in sabotaging behavior, maybe you just aren’t quite ready to let go of the pain. The challenge is making that okay and having faith to know that this too shall pass.
If you liked today’s post, I invite you to share it in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading this and being such a beautiful part of this community.
Amber, thank you for sharing and opening your soul. This post makes you more human, we have all been there…right there where you were and currently are. When you show glimmers of your true spirit a wave of kindness washes over you.
Be well friend,
Jamie G. Dougherty says
Amber, what a powerful realization. Thank you so much for sharing as often when this stuff surfaces we aren’t about to tell anyone. As passionate, get-it-done kind of girls it’s easy to make personal growth something we want to check off the to-do list. I know I’ve tried to check it off at least a dozen times 😉 However, as you said, it is a process and one that grows and changes as we do. Much love!
I love you sweet girl and you know, I can relate on every level. You are an inspiration and I am always here for you!
THANK YOU so much for beeing real and honest! Thats why people are loving you for – that’s why I do! ♥
Karen Beth says
Except for the harm (to your body and animals alike) of adding animal products back to your life, good article.
Kristie Eccleston says
Hi Amber, I regularly read your posts but rarely comment, but this one moved me a little. It is soooo similar to what I went through 2 years ago. I’m finally coming out of it and so grateful that I actually did go through it. I learned so much in the process and really just needed some healing time. Previously, I could never forgive myself for missing a workout or walking instead of running but I now focus on loving my body and giving it what it needs. I was afraid if I was actually kind to myself I would become a slack ass, and I have been a competitve athlete for 25 years, so that fear was something I had to deal with. I am still Kristie, even if I’m not an athlete. I had to let go of that identity and become ok with me, just me. I find so much support in your work and it’s so nice to have people to identify with. Thank you for being you.
Major props for sharing your story so openly here, Amber! Being kind to our minds and bodies really is a process with steps forward and back each day, month, and year. Your openness also gives me and others the chance to look at our own lives, our own habits (good and bad), and our own choices. To me it seems that part of what you and bodyheart are all about is that loving yourself and your body is a process and a journey, not a one day or one time commitment. So, thanks for helping me and others along our journeys towards acceptance and self-love!
Amber Krzys says
@Gretchen @Jamie @Melissa @Priska – Thank you so much. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your loving support. It’s such a beautiful reminder that it’s okay to be vulnerable. xo
@Karen – I really appreciate your comment and support. It was not an easy decision to go back to incorporating fish and eggs, but a necessary one. My body seems to feel better when I’m eating those things on occasion, so I am honoring that. Everyone’s body is different and it’s up to us to figure out what causes us to feel our best.
@Kristie – I’m so glad you commented today. Thank you for sharing your experience. It helps me to know I’m not alone. I so hear you on letting go of an old identity – or altering it into a more supportive one for where you are today. It’s really great to connect with you.
@Paloma – You are exactly on track – self-care, self-love, self-acceptance and so much more are really a process. They have their own ebb and flow. Thank you for reading, commenting and supporting. I’m so glad you are here!
Oh Amber, thank you so very much for this post! I could not have read a more perfect, beautiful, open, and vulnerable piece of straight up love today. I too have been stuggling, pretty much this whole summer. I’ve been pretty depressed and thinking about using/drinking (I’m a recovering alcoholic/addict)the last couple of weeks. For whatever reason, I have been pretty down and out. I’ve noticed my thoughts have been so self defeating and I feel as though I have been hating myself lately:-( Today, I was in the OB/GYN’s office waiting for my pap after finding out I weigh 164#’s (I’m 5’1″). The thoughts started and the tears came. But then I opened up my email and read your article and I felt an instant sense of peace. It went away but for the moment I felt better having read what you wrote. Thank you so much for being you and writing something so personal. I really do appreciate it!
Kim Kristic says
Amber, you are really wise beyond your years and I have learned and continue to learn so much from you! Thank you for sharing your struggles because it’s not an easy thing to do. You are beautiful inside and out. Love you!
AK ~ You know we have all been there. Numerous times. I have grown to realize that the real danger/issues lie in keeping these moments inside and keeping them a secret. That’s when we all feel alone and that’s we hold on to things and remain stuck rather than letting go and moving forward. This is what is so beautiful about the Bodywork movement. Proud of you, as always. Love.
Sabrina at MyMiBoSo says
Amber, this is so beautifully honest, and I love your willingness to be so transparent with your community so that we have the willingness to do the same with ourselves…and especially with our bodies.
Alba Anders says
I want there to be an “I LOVE AMBER” fan club!!
~darlin’ you are such a very special person and I feel so blessed to have you, along with your wonderful honesty, in my life every day!!
You share, I learn.
You teach, I learn.
You laugh, I learn.
You smile and it warms my heart and encourages me to go out in the world and smile to warm someone else’s heart!!! -and I learn!!
Love the honesty and how your willingness to be vulnerable in this post. There’s a line in this song (around 4.20) by Tim Michin, about our bodies, that I think you might like (well, actually I think you’ll probably like the whole song …)
It creeps up on us so quietly, doesn’t it, that self sabotage thing. It’s one thing to accept the cycles of energy, motivation, mojo, whatever, and ride with them, and another to say, stop, time to act. I suffered a concussion earlier in the year, and as I sat unable to work or do, really, anything, I realized just the same as you – that I had to start giving back to this amazing body of mine! So I gave up sugar (hard!) started drinking only water (harder!) and engaging in regular exercise (hardest!) . My head was suddenly in the right place to make these changes, and I’ve never felt better. So thank you for the great post, and for reminding us again that it all starts with looking after ourselves:-)) xx
Amber Krzys says
@Andrea – I’m so glad this post arrived at the exact perfect moment for you. I’m sorry to hear of your struggles. Often our minds can be our worst enemies. My hope is that you are feeling much more centered and peaceful now that it’s a few days later. Wrapping you in a blanket of love. -Amber
@Kim Thank you so very much. I love having you within this community.
@Nili – So true. Withholding and denying our feelings is really a large cause of our dis-ease. And, yes, honest truth – having the courage to look within and also share the struggles is a big part of what bodyheart’s about. It affirms how we aren’t alone. How similar we all really are.
@Sabrina – Thank you so very much.
@Alba – Oh my goodness. You are such a love. Thank you so very very much for sharing your heart so fully within this community. I’m so glad we have connected.
@Amanda – Thank you so very much. You know I love me some music, so I’m excited to listen.
@Maz – Thank you for sharing part of your journey. I’m delighted to hear your shift into greater love and compassion for yourself and your body. So beautiful.
xo – A.
Joni Lowe says
Good morning Amber.
Thank you for your authenticity in sharing your story.
It’s so brilliant of you to recognize your abandonment and make the changes right away.
Lots of love and admiration,
Ali Shapiro says
Amber – beautiful post. I’m so glad you highlighted the point of process. I always tell my clients, diets have failure built into them because they start with the end in mind. They don’t teach you. I will give you a process. And that is what this wellness thing is. We never arrive somewhere. Whether perfect weight, free of cancer (we all have cancer cells in our body at all time) or perfect digestion. True wellness is about the ability to deal with change. It’s complex….trust me, I have my Masters in the process of change. Even the experts don’t have all the answers. But that isn’t the point. It is to find our own. You are beautiful. xoxo
Ali Bierman says
Brilliant piece, Amber. Each of us is human and you impact more people by being you than teaching any theories about anything. What you shared here sets you apart as a role model worth emulating.
BTW, as a healthcare practitioner and health fanatic for 39 years, I can tell you that not all people are meant to be vegetarian. Far too many vegetarians are seriously malnourished without knowing–until they get very sick. When you listen to your body you will never hurt it. And you are a very good listener.
Amber Krzys says
@Joni – It’s been a long time. So nice to see you here. Thank you for your beautiful support. Hope you are well.
@Ali Shapiro – You SO ROCK! Thank you for reading, commenting and supporting. I couldn’t agree with you more. xo
@Ali Bierman – Thank you. I love seeing your name and having your support. I so appreciate your encouragement. xo