When I was first starting my 100 lb. weight loss journey it reminded me of something I heard when flying. The message they were giving was, “you have to put your own oxygen mask on first before you can help someone else”. I understood the concept when it came to flying but to tell you the truth, when it came to my life I didn’t see what I needed to do to put myself first.
When it came to me being the number one priority, my first thought was that it is just about self care. Take time for a hot bath, maybe a message but that wasn’t it.
What I saw was it was so much more than that. I finally saw how much giving to others was at the expense of myself. One of my thoughts was “to be a good mother I had to do all that I could”. I drove whenever I could to my kids games, making sure I go to all their activities, making the birthday cake from scratch, planning those elaborate birthday parties. Doing all those things left little time for me; don’t forget I also worked full time as a registered nurse.
What helped me lose the weight and keep it off was that I had to become number one. To do that I did not have to sacrifice my healthy eating, exercise or working on my emotional self for anything or anyone else. I had to learn that I didn’t have to do it all, say yes to everything when I meant to say no! When I let go of all that I was able to move forward to losing the weight but most importantly become healthy physically and mentally. Ironically that was when I became a better mother and friend and let go of my unhealthy marriage. I had so much more to give to others.
In the beginning when I first started making the changes needed in putting myself first, my family was shocked that I was now dropping so much to please them and make them happy. The thing was, that was what I had always been doing and I taught them to expect that of me. I was also able to see and realize that the person I was married to did not have my best interest at heart. Sometimes we have to make choices in life in what is best for ourselves and when it came to leaving the marriage, I knew if I didn’t, I would never be mentally better and also not able to lose weight.
Over time, my children saw that my looking after myself was the best thing I could have done for them and myself. I could now lead by example.