After two and a half years of writing this blog and almost 10 years of leading WW meetings, many of you know me pretty well and you know that every June my family takes an annual vacation to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. I write about it every year and it’s definitely the one of my favorite of all the fifty-two weeks! Our parents started bringing us down here when I was very young and my sister, my two cousins and I have happily carried on the tradition with our families. Not a lot changes about this vacation, besides the size of our family…what used to be two sets of parents, with two daughters each, staying in a condo on the beach has turned into: Five boys and six girls for a total of 11 kids, 4 sets of moms and dads (me, my sister, my two cousins and our husbands), two grandma’s (my mom and her twin sister) and one grandpa staying in a giant house on the beach! PHEWWWW….we don’t go anywhere too quietly, as you can imagine!
So this year, my thought was to chronicle my vacation on the blog and write about the different choices we all encounter on vacation and the way I handled them as they came up. It could have been kind of interesting but I changed my mind after a reality check. Just like all of you, my everyday life is jam-packed. Besides leading 7 WW meetings a week, I sell real estate full-time, my boys play nearly every sport and participate in lots of summer sports camps and my husband has a job that requires him to travel nearly every week. Don’t get me wrong, I love my everyday life, but the reality is that we all needed a break and some quality time together. My 15-year-old might argue with the needing family time alone….but someday he will understand and until then, we hold him hostage!!! In light of us needing some real R & R, I decided to put away my laptop and Blackberry as much as possible so I could take a short break from writing the blog and thinking too much about myself or work and just focus on the experience of being with the family at the beach.
We can take a break from a lot of things but the one thing I don’t think we can take a break from is monitoring our thoughts. The thing about coming back to the same vacation destination every year at the same time is that it brings up a lot of memories and in a way it makes time stand still. Some of those memories seem like a life time ago and others feel like yesterday and it really makes you stop and reflect on where things have gone and where they are going. Although I have had this weight off for many years, I’m still fighting that frustrating mental battle with my evil twin. I am not proud of it, but it’s the truth. When I let my guard down, I hear my “evil twin” saying awful things like “Are you really going to wear that bathing suit in front of everyone? Yuck..might want to re-think that!” Or she loves to point out how every year things seem to sag a bit more and how my body is becoming even further and further away from “perfect”. It’s my evil twin that says “you can’t have that”, which is not only not true, but it makes me want it more! The thing is……my evil twin is a bitch. It’s true! I wouldn’t want to be friends with someone so preoccupied with the physical and material or someone who says such mean things to another person or tries to sabotage others, so why should I even give her a minute of my time? To live a healthy lifestyle includes first and foremost, a healthy attitude and if we leave it up to our evil twin, she will try to rob us of our joy whenever she gets the chance. Perfect? What is perfect? I truly believe perfect is whatever is going on right this moment. Whatever is going on now is how it is supposed to be right now and if we can just stop fighting it and always wanting more or different, there are beautiful experiences to be had. But, if we allow the negative self talk to infiltrate and convince us that we should be different, better, thinner, prettier, wealthier, yada, yada, yada, we are so preoccupied that we miss the only thing that is true and real and that is THIS moment! I will take a vacation from selling houses and take a vacation from tracking every single bite I put in my mouth and from leading my WW meetings but I will not take a break from keeping my thoughts clear and straight, no matter how much effort it takes. The fact that I can be in a beautiful vacation destination surrounded by family I love and who love me and if not careful, I can actually feel depressed or self-conscious just because I don’t like they way my thighs look in a bathing suit proves that the evil twin and her negative self talk are not only ridiculous but they are brimming over with ingratitude. Each and every one us has spots of vulnerability. Mine and probably a lot of yours happens to be weight and body issues but now that we are old enough and wise enough to have identified it, we can stop it by simply saying NO. No, I am not going entertain those thoughts of feeling self-conscious or thoughts worry, disapproval or deprivation, but rather I am going to focus on how grateful I am for what I am experiencing in this life. When the negative self talk or thoughts start to creep in, it’s our job to stop them in there tracks and march them right back out of our thoughts. I believe we are here to radiate joy, gratitude and kindness to others but I also am learning how important it is to share those same qualities with ourselves.
I hope you are having a terrific week and although I’m thoroughly enjoying our trip, I also can’t wait to catch back up all of you at next week’s meetings! A HUGE thank you to the awesome leaders who covered all my WW meetings for me these past few days. Talk about coming full circle….Janet and Jill were both members AT my meetings at one time and are now FABULOUS leaders themselves who have gone on to inspire so many others. We really are all in this together and I for one am very grateful to know we are not alone!!! I will be back at all my meetings starting Monday and I hope to see you there! Cheers!