As I stepped into 2021, I reflected back on 2020 and my closet. It occurred to me I was wearing yoga pants almost every day since our office building closed due to COVID. I’ve been working from home fulltime for nearly a year now, and my yoga pants were starting to fade and lose their shape.
I summoned the courage to visit my closet and find something different to wear. There were so many clothes I haven’t worn in the past year, I nearly forgot about most of them. I gingerly slipped into my favorite pair of jeans. One leg… two legs… uh-oh! They didn’t fit! That’s when it hit me, of all the time I spent at home working in 2020 I’d lost a bit of my self-care routine. I was waking up, taking a shower, and slipping on the most comfortable set of clothes I could find. By summer, I was rotating the same 3 sets of outfits on a consistent basis.
I was fortunate to meet up with some friends on different occasions near the end of 2020, and found three of them looked like completely different people. Not only had they lost a significant amount of weight, they also carried a new found happiness on their faces. These friends do not run in the same circles, and did not do it together. They summoned the will power to make it happen on their own, and they were glowing with health and beauty.
I found myself feeling excitement for the new found happiness my friends were displaying in their faces and bodies. In fact, it inspired me to wake up and shift more focus on myself. I realized by working from home I lost a little bit of me.
First, I cleaned out my spare “storage” room to make way for a home office. I needed to separate myself from working at the kitchen table. My exercise tracker was barely above 1000 steps some days, and the refrigerator was too close to my laptop. With a bit of spring cleaning, the home office transition gave me a fresh perspective.
Next, I signed up for a wellness program. I spent a weekend researching recipes and drawing up a shopping list full of fresh ingredients. I was ready to make to shift, but I still felt I needed some sort of accountability beyond using a food tracking app.
I got the idea to reach out to some friends and family to share my intentions. Perhaps one of them would respond and keep me accountable. What initially felt like a good idea quickly turned into a turmoil of emotions. I felt disappointed, embarrassed and scared. Disappointed in myself for gaining weight, embarrassed that I could not fit in my jeans, and scared that I will not live up to my intentions in front of my friends and family. Hesitantly, I typed up my intentions and goal. I held my breath, closed my eyes and hit the “post” button. I did it! I posted it on social media for all to see. There was no going back.
I was certain, almost hopeful, people would ignore my social media post. It was a boring post. Who cares about my personal challenge to cook and eat healthy meals in order to lose the COVID weight. Yet, I was overwhelmingly surprised at the response I received. I received comments cheering “Way to go!”, “So proud of you”, “You inspire me”. The next week I hesitantly posted again, providing a status of my struggles and successes. The support and tips I received were amazing.
Although it isn’t easy sticking to a wellness plan, I feel so motivated to keep going. Friends and family are asking me to share more. I realize people really do want success for each other. I’m having fun swapping recipes and cooking healthy, colorful food. I’m grateful for the support, love, and delicious food I’ve experienced over the past month. Most of all, I’m thankful for embracing my courage and vulnerability.
The accountability has paid off. I’m down 10 pounds, and I am proud of myself again. Best of all, I fit in my jeans again.
What are you willing to embrace in yourself today? Are you ready to try on those jeans?
Kimberly Baker says
Julie, I am so incredibly proud of you. What a great read. You are my most dearest friend. I don’t say that lightly. You are the most caring, adventurous, loving, smart, beautiful and kind hearted souls I have ever met. You inspire everyone around you. Keep up the amazing self work. It is fantastic!!!
Julie Shields says
I feel the exact same way about YOU my amazing friend. I’m so grateful for our friendship. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.