For most of this year I have struggled with emotional eating, over eating, and craving comfort foods. In the beginning of my weight releasing journey I was focused on getting done with burning fat but I learned that it was a process and there was no way to do it but go through. The same with all life lessons from having a baby to losing a loved one. I had to wrap my head around the idea that once I released the excess pounds that maintaining my weight might be a challenge but I didn’t imagine it would be more challenging than my original journey. Oh my—it is. And I realize I have not listened to my wise self and I have gained rather than maintained.

At 140 lbs. I heard, you’re too thin from a few people—I hadn’t heard those words since I was nine years old! In 2009 when my mom and her love of sweets moved in with us I gained five pounds and I was okay with that because others thought I was too thin. I liked how I felt at 140 but I could live with the gain. When mom was sick last Christmas and died in January—I gained five pounds in a few weeks. They stuck. Every trip I’ve taken this year I’ve gained 3-4 pounds and then struggled for what felt like forever to let them go. It's not about the number but how I feel—heavier and less energized.

Since starting CrossFit I have definitely seen and felt a difference in my body (yes, besides sore muscles!) but I haven't lost weight. Yes, I built muscle. Yes, I’m stronger and have more stamina. I still have a ways to go to be toned but I’ll get there one workout at a time. But I see that I slowly gave up on all my other exercise; walking, biking, dancing, and I felt sorry for my poor sore body and didn’t I deserve a reward for all my effort? I reverted to thinking of foods as good, bad, and evil. Guess where all my comfort foods lie out of those three categories?

It has taken me all year to realize I’ve been stuck in diet mentality. My Weight Watchers leader Stacey mentioned this in a meeting last week and I had an Aha! moment. I wasn’t consciously depriving myself but now I see that’s why when I broke down and binged I could disappear a half a pan of brownies. Poof! The thinking is: scarf as much as possible because it may be months before I get this again. Then came the cycle of guilt, admonishment, feeling bad about myself, which triggers a whole ‘nother emotional food-fest, followed by the question why bother exercising after eating all that!?

I was discouraged. I was tired of the struggle. I’d lost my way. I'd forgotten that this journey is a process—not about getting to done. There is no done for this over eater/emotional eater. For me the first step to getting back on track is to pick myself up. I wanted something to lift my spirits and energy. I needed a vision. Once I became aware of my thinking I was on board immediately with letting go of diet brain—I know diets don’t work yet I had reverted to my comfort zone. I needed to stretch myself out of that supposed comfortable place of excess and ease and get back up. I needed to see it. Be it. Live it. Not a DIEt but a LIVEit. Isn’t it interesting that evil in reverse is LIVE? Hmmmm.

My vision manifested itself as a vision board with a twist. I cut out magazine pictures and words that gave life and color to my intentions of building a strong and healthy body. I added my weigh in date for each week in December and my intended weight. First I SEE it on the board. Then I BEcome it, manifest it. That’s how I LIVEit. Creating the board itself was a messy creative trial and error endeavor and reaffirmed for me how important going through the process is—not the end result.

The first time I attempted to make it I was in a hurry and resistant to the process. I ended up tearing it up and starting again the next day. I set the mood and took a pile of O Magazines and all the tools I’d need to snip and glue and sat in the middle of my bed. Once I relaxed into the rhythm of opening and receiving, the perfect photos and words popped up everywhere. I had set my timer for ninety minutes and I stopped and walked away when it beeped. I left the bed just the way it was. Oh my inner control freak wanted to clean up right now! I gently cajoled her with, No dear, we’re not finished, it’s not your turn yet, we’ll come back later and you can whip it into shape.

I went back before dinner for an hour to trim and choose my final pieces and lay them out. Oh, it was delightful! A childlike process akin to paper dolls. Once again, I walked away when the dinner bell rang. Later that night as we settled in to watch a show I sat in front of the TV wielding my glue stick like a magic wand and whisking all the pieces into their ideal places. It took all day to complete this concoction because I let it simmer and burble like a good potion maker does.

I learned to be in the moment; to connect to my creative genius; to trust my gut; to see what I want to be; to be patient and loving with myself; that mis-takes are merely do-overs to celebrate. I learned that I can enjoy the end results but not let them be the keeper of joy— happiness lies in the journey not the destination. I learned that all the lessons of creating my LIVEit poster apply to living my LIVEit life!

(I wrote this draft on Monday and weighed in on Tuesday: at a half a pound below my goal for week one! Woot, woot!)