The other day I got an email asking for advice. It said, in part, "I wanted to ask what advice would you give me to help organize my closet. I gained a lot of weight after I had my son and fell into depression. My closet is so full of clothes that don't fit me. I was holding onto them as a motivation to lose weight. However recently I was hunting for something to wear and became so frustrated that it was full of clothes I can't wear. It was so full that a piece of the closet that keeps the clothes on the racks fell off and so did a bunch of my clothes. I need to organize it and get rid of what I can't wear.”
I can so relate to this. Having a baby is life-changing. I have done the same thing where I kept clothes to motivate me to lose weight and it doesn't usually help because by the time I lost the weight, I didn't like the clothes anymore or they didn't fit the same because even if you lose the "baby weight" your body shape is always a little different after having a baby (or indeed after gaining and losing weight).
Also, I have a tendency toward depression too. As recently as last year I was thinking some suicidal thoughts, and feeling like I was in a really dark place. I was on the phone with my mom, Maria Parker, who is not only CEO of Cruzbike, a motivational speaker, and a world-record holding ultra-endurance athlete, but also a trained counselor and one of my favorite people in the world. I was telling her about my dark thoughts and she said "you need to get help, you need to call your therapist." And I didn't want to, because when you're depressed you have brain fog and you're not thinking clearly and you don't want to do anything and you don't think you're worth helping or you think it's weak or pathetic to get help. I knew this because I have a long history with a self-diagnosed mood disorder. But I still didn't want to do anything because, well, depression.
So then my mom said, "Hang up, make the appointment and call me back after you make it." So I did. Because I realized that my dark thoughts were a message from my body and mind. Do something. What I had done was reach out to someone who loves me. The next step was to trust that person that I reached out to and do what she said even though at the time I didn't want to do ANYTHING.
So my advice to anyone depressed now or with a reoccurring tendency towards depression: Make sure you share how you are feeling with someone you trust and really lean on their advice for what you should do, like whether you should see a doctor or a therapist. Keep going, keep seeking support until you feel better. Medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes are all great tools in your arsenal. You are worth it.
And I've been there. Yes, it's a challenge. But depression can be a good thing if you see it as part of the adventure of life, and a flag that your body is asking you to do something different.
The other thing today: how you feel about your body. After we have a baby our body changes. We live in a society that is always telling us our body is wrong somehow. And we internalize it and that is no help to actually being healthy. So I think this: point all the weapons you have at the goal of feeling GREAT in your body as it is right now. Get rid of all the clothes that don't make you feel great right now as your body is. If you do keep anything in your old size, don't keep it for motivation, keep it because you like it and it feels good to imagine wearing it again. Keep like 2 or 3 things, not a whole closet full. Keep only a couple pieces that you truly love and that can inspire good feelings that override your sadness about not being able to wear them right now. Get rid of everything else. Empty your closet of everything that doesn't make you feel fabulous. Look for celebrities in your size and cultivate their confidence.
Affirm your body at every turn.
When you pass a mirror, find something you appreciate about your body and send love to it. Just send love as deeply as you can to your body.
It can feel like a battle to partner with our bodies because a lot of us criticize our bodies so harshly. And that's not kind. I used to be a harsh critic of my body.
Not anymore. Now I pass a mirror and I just think, Wow, Genevieve, you look fabulous, you feel strong, you have a great body, and what's more important, you are kind to your body.
I treat my body like a friend. I would never give my friend clothes in a size too small for her and say "hey, I thought you'd love these because they are great motivation to lose weight!" That would be so mean.
I think you can pursue weight loss and good health even more effectively if you send love and kindness and acceptance to your body as it is right now. Even if you feel uncomfortable or unhappy with your body now. If you feel negative towards your body now, you'll still feel negative towards it at your "goal weight." Seriously. I used to be 98 pounds which for me was my skinniest. And guess what? I had a lot of negative feelings about my body. And amazingly, I had the most honest love and positivity for my body at my heaviest when I had just given birth. It's all in your head. Seriously. So just decide to love your body and don't make it a one-sided love. LISTEN. Listen to what your body is telling you. If you listen, you'll hear when she's hungry and thirsty, when she wants to move and stretch, who she wants to hug, what park she wants to bicycle through on a spring day.
And over time, this loving relationship with your body, based in learning and listening, will lead you to your healthiest, strongest, most beautiful body ever.
By the way, If you're feeling curious about one way to partner with your body and have fun, pain-free exercise while meeting other needs (to explore, grocery shop, commute, ride without an invasive "seat" up your butt etc.) check out the Cruzbike T50 Kickstarter Launch Insider's list. Sign up and we'll keep you updated and you'll be the first to know how to get Cruzbike's most affordable bike ever. Cruzbike exists because my dad listened to his body and stopped putting up with the hunched-over angle on bicycles and the "seats" on old-fashioned bikes being, well... horribly violating and uncomfortable. This is the first partnership I've ever done. It's a product I can really get behind that will help you become #simplyhealthy.