Saturday 7th February
Rule #2 Gratitude. Begin my gratitude list on the 4th Feb and add 6 things to it each day.
The dictionary definition of gratitude is “The quality of being thankful readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
One of the first things I started doing after reading the Secret last year was to write a gratitude list.
I would always have considered myself a positive person but I realized then how much stress and negativity I unwittingly brought into my own life by simply focusing more on what I didn’t want or didn’t have rather than what I wanted or already had. Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough sleep.
Gratitude brings you into the moment making you aware of now, this second and what you already have.
There is always something to be grateful for and the more often you look for it the easier it becomes.
One of the reasons I made this one of my 10 rules is that disciplined as I was at first writing lists every day the habit did begin to slide. By adding six things each day for 182 days I am pretty sure that it will become a natural part of each day. This has already happened. On Day 1 I stood in front of the blank page for a few minutes before I wrote anything and now it’s the first thing I do each morning they come easily and I no longer limit myself to six.
It has a ripple effect thinking about all I have in my life makes me happy, being happy makes me feel really good, feeling really good makes me want to do good things for other people and so on.
It has to be worked on though. For instance just now I had been out at the gym the car needed petrol but I didn’t bring money. Not really wanting to go back into the cold I asked Christian to do it, he asked why I didn’t do it. A fair enough question but he kind of annoyed me. A part of me wanted to stay annoyed, but I stopped myself and thought about how much I love him & how grateful I was to have him in my life. Crankiness nil. Gratitude wins.
Back to Saturday two things that I was especially grateful for….
1. Amber Dawn Fokken
2. Dinner with friends.
The two are connected as without one I wouldn’t have done the other.
When I stopped my strict competition diet my intention was to live a more balanced life and enjoy a variety of foods. Instead it was the beginning of the hardest time of my life so far. Realization dawned on me that I had had a disordered way of eating for as long as I could remember. There was a constant argument going on inside my head as to whether I could eat or not, had I eaten too much? Should I exercise more? One voice would tell me I deserved something another would tell me I was greedy. It was absolutely exhausting. Food was either a reward or punishment and I started to feel urges to binge, fighting them for as for as long as I could but eventually I gave in. Then, and this is probably one of the hardest things for me to write but this blog was always going to be honest, the really frightening desire & act of getting rid of the food I had eaten by making myself sick.
I had thought this was all in the past but it was only by completely denying myself all foods that would trigger an urge to binge, under eating and over exercising that I had been controlling it. It’s obvious to me now that the diet required for competition prep had been the perfect way to do this though funnily enough at the time it wasn’t a conscious decision.
I love fitness, I love being healthy. This was not the way I wanted to live.
By Christmas my anxiety was sky high and my self-esteem had plummeted.
The easiest choice for me would have been return to my restrictive diet get back in control and not allow myself the option of foods that made me want to overeat. Denial has never been hard for me I find it easier to have none than some. Instead I started to visualize the life I wanted to live. The way I wanted to be able to feel around food. I knew that it was possible I also knew it would be easier with some help.
This leads to Amber Dawn. A Personal Trainer, former bikini competitor and a Fitness model. I had read an article she had written during my competition prep and liked how honest she was about her experiences and struggles with body image and finding balance.
It was meant to be, she rarely takes on new clients but had a space.
So from the 7th of January I started following a new plan, eating much more than I was used to and no more allowed vs non allowed foods. I love healthy, clean food but wanted to be able to enjoy a bit of chocolate, a slice of toast or a dessert without punishing myself and I focused on that believing it was possible.
It was. No urges to binge, no self depreciating voice in my head telling me I’m fat or a failure.
The power of the mind, the power we all possess to control our feelings is unbelievable. In such a short space of time habits I had for so long have gone and it is amazing.
Another text message from December “I’m a mess, up 2.5kg in a week. I am a disaster with food either starving myself or gorging.”
Saturday 7th February.
As part of this experience I decided that I wouldn’t track my food at all at dinner that night and see how I got on. This would be a first. As in first time ever.
Starter, main course, dessert & champagne. Plus a cheeky handful of fries. No anxiety. No guilt.
Just lovely food, lovely company and a lovely evening.
Thank you Amber Dawn Fokken.
Thank you Rhonda Byrne for writing that book.
“The more you practice gratitude the more deeply you will feel it in your heart, and the depth of the feeling is the key. Watch what happens in your life when you practice gratitude at every opportunity, every single day.” The Secret Daily Teachings- Rhonda Byrne
The Hannah Lilly Gratitude list so far….
My warm house
Lilly the cat
Dinner with friends
Running on the canal
Jess & Leon’s school
Washing up liquid
Present of a necklace
New Runclub group
My sister Rachael
Every single experience in my life so far