I know the secret to happiness

gold star

and it isn't a diet or a workout regime. Am I the only one out there who goes into a bit of a slump and finds themselves watching infomercials with laser focus?  I mean by the end of it aren't you convinced that DVD set with free blow up ball and poster for your wall is going to change your life! This time, this one is going to change everything! Just look at that hot model who used to be 400 pounds, if she can do it, so can I! And then I'll be happy. I'll be skinny and glowy and happy.

I know my little sister and her ab-flex complete with burnt out belt (from diligent use) will stand in solidarity with me. We have about a half a dozen (or more) sets of "before" photos between us. You know the ones--- put on your smallest swim suit and stand there in all your insecurity for photo documentation only to hope that looking at that photo provides the necessary motivation to begin and then keep going, keep pushing to earn those gold stars and a flat stomach. We'd rush the film straight to the drug store to have them printed (back in the day--- pre-digital) and then come home, open the envelope and cry. Sobs and sobs on the bottom of the closet floor, swim suits strewn everywhere feeling the lowest of low. And then I'd scrape myself up and go self-soothe with a pint of Blue Bell ice cream. Just this one last pint and I'll start tomorrow. I'm a fat ass already with the pictures to prove it- what's one more pint going to hurt?

I should note we have at least 2 "after" sets each that are pretty damn impressive. Just sayin' ;)

It was years of  trying to find the answer through an 800 number and 3 easy installments. Years of equating clothing size, weight and muscle tone to happiness. I owned not one but two of those fat pincher things. There was Tae Bo which my girlfriend claimed helped her loose 50 lbs. Later she said it was actually cocaine but she had the videos too in case that method didn't work out. I had the ab ball and that rolling wheel with handles on each side for doing push ups. Kayla practically wore out the Denise Austin workout tape. I can still hear her narrating the video along with Denise, "And left, left, left, squeeeeeze...do it with Denise! Woooooooo!" Then there was Tony Little and his anthem "You can Doooooo It!" Turbo Jam. The boots you clip on and hang from the door jam for doing mid-air sit ups. And oh how I wanted a Total Gym! I skipped P90X but my sis and her husband had a pretty bitchin' garage gym there for a hot minute.

I was taught no pain, no gain. That if you want results you have to suffer to get them. I then added more stories that getting there meant success, happiness & arriving. It took most of my 20's full of suffering to clue me in that there might be a better way. Exercise was punishment, food was reward, life was a roller coaster too much of the time. Yoga was my gateway exercise to peaceful movement with results. And the results where not what I'd intended, they were better! You can breathe, meditate and flow yourself to healthy. You can gently and lovingly lose weight and stay in shape. But we're not really talking about staying in shape at all, we're talking about happiness.

After all those Body for Life contests and endless workout videos I finally, finally realized that being a size perfect wasn't going to make me truly, deeply happy. After many rounds of reaching the goal and not feeling better I got it. The number on the scale is not the sole factor in my happiness level.  Once I was able to be ok with me- at any size, in any moment I was happy. Once I accepted myself fully and completely exactly as I was, I was at peace. Once I put on a swim suit and looked in the mirror and my first reflex was to say "lookin good" I knew I was a-ok, better even.

So today I walk, practice yoga, meditate, swim, do 5 random push ups at some point during the day because that feels good to me. Today I'm happy not because the weight on the scale tells me I'm worthy because I tell me I'm worthy. I'm worthy because I was born. I am worthy because I'm still on this planet so there's still living yet to be done.

I am worthy.

I am loved.

I am love.

That's it. Just plain I am love. There's no end to that sentence that says I am love if I am size whatever. I am love just the way I am because I am.

And you are too.

With love,


p.s. I'm not gonna lie, those Tracy Anderson Method DVD's look pretty tempting! They always get me with the line "in the convenience of your own home." I think YEAH- I love convenience, I love my own home! Sa-weet! Only now I know better. I move my body to take good care of it because I love it and you know what--- it just keeps loving me back. We make an awesome team.

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