Love him or hate him, I do think Tony Robbins has a ton of wisdom to offer, and this one line in particular stuck out to me the other day. The concept isn’t unique – we’re not our families or our stories or our backgrounds. We’re not our past.
But here’s the thing, most people, myself included, let their past define their present.
I caught myself the other day saying “that’s how I grew up”. It wasn’t in retelling a story of childhood, but in talking about emotional eating. It is. There’s no judgement of my parents there, but it’s what we did. Something great happened – we ate. Something bad happened – we ate. Something was boring – we ate. Food became the crutch that I went to for any feeling, good or bad.
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And then the judgements started. Not from my mom so much, but from society, from a particular aunt, even from my Dad on occasion, and then it became so easy to judge myself. Everyone else was doing it – why wouldn’t I?
And so this became part of my story. Part of what I told myself was inherently in my nature. And because I believed it to be in my nature, I couldn’t change it. I mean, I’d try, I’d take steps, I’d go to the gym or eat well for a week, but at my core I didn’t believe it was possible.
There’s another thing that people say, which is that you are unlikely to make real change unless the alternative hurts so badly. Here’s the thing – change is hard. Our bodies want to keep the status quo, even if it’s bad for us, because we know it, we recognize it, and even if it’s uncomfortable, it’s comfortable. Does that make sense?
So, when it came to my weight, I got so uncomfortable that I had to change. To be honest, part of that change was because of my great desire for a love life. NOW, I am NOT saying that to find or deserve love that you need to be thin. I know that now, I didn’t know that at the time. At the time, my self worth was so tied up in my weight and my size – it’s the story that I told myself, it was part of my biography.
Regardless, I proved to myself that by putting one foot in front of the other, by adding up the healthier food choices over time, that I was able to change my body.
Here’s the thing, my body changed, but the most important thing that changed was my mindset. Being thinner didn’t equal love. In fact, it led to the opposite initially, to people seeing me for my body and not taking the whole of me into consideration. Turns out, the grass isn’t always greener unless you do the mental work to get there.
The biggest lesson that I’ve learned through this process is that I’m not my biography. I can change. I’m capable of it, even if it’s not my comfort zone. Unless you’re Elon Musk or Richard Branson, I doubt any of us would consider change to be our comfort zone. Instead of trying to force it to be comfortable, let’s embrace it for what it is.
And now, as I’m nearing the end of my second pregnancy, all those old biography stories and fears are popping up again. What if I can’t lose the weight? I don’t want to be a “fat mom”. Can I be a good role model at the size I am?
And I’m having to do the serious mental work to remind myself that I created a new biography. I’ve proven to myself that with hard work, and by getting out of my comfort zone, I’m not destined for one specific story. I can change. I’m capable of it.
What I’ve also learned and am having to remind myself of, is to give myself some grace. I’m going through a major life change, and expecting to fit into my jeans after a week is ridiculous. For those of you that do fit into your jeans after a week, please stop bragging about it on Facebook – that’s down to your g-e-n-e genes, not hard work!
Anywho, what I’m trying to tell you, through my own story, is that you’re not your biography. You don’t have to be what you came from. You don’t have to be the story that was so intrinsic to your childhood, teenage years or even your early adult years.
Be it toxic relationships, addictions, god forbid any abuse, poverty, etc., you are not your biography. It shapes you, absolutely, but it doesn’t have to be your destiny. It often requires asking for help. It definitely requires getting uncomfortable, but you can do this. One foot in front of the other.