February Challenge: Love Yourself for Who You Are NOW!

So here we are, friends, in the beginning of February when we're bombarded with images and advertisements promoting Valentine's Day and love, love, love.  All the enticements to go out with your lover to fancy dinners, away for romantic weekends, give and receive fabulous chocolates, pamper your partner with spa treatments, flowers, lingerie, jewelry... the list goes on and on.  But let me ask you this question...

Do you love yourself?

Can you look at yourself in the mirror and love yourself unconditionally?  I know that it has taken me a very long time to get to the place where I can smile back at myself in the mirror and not want to turn off the lights and walk away in disgust. 

And I'm not yet to the point where I can see my extra skin on my belly and not be ashamed of letting myself strrrreeeeeeettttcccch my skin unbelievably out of proportion to the point where it now sags. I know I need to change that "stinking thinking" about myself.  I have to love myself unconditionally before I can turn that love to someone else and love them unconditionally and expect myself to be loved wholly in return. 

The Law of Attraction teaches that where thoughts go, energy flows.  I'm hoping this month's challenge will channel our energies in good, all positive ways to ourselves so that we begin to love ourselves just a little bit more each day.  This month's Healthy Loser Gal challenge is to do things for yourself and to, in return, love yourself for who you are today - just as you are today - minor flaws or what you perceive as major flaws - perfect size 8 body or perfect size 28 body - you are to be loved and to love yourself because you are wonderful... just as you are today! : )

The monthly challenges have, in the past months, always included some sort of fitness and weightloss goals and I hope you will challenge yourself in the weightloss part this month if that is what you're hoping to achieve.  But this month isn't about how much you can lose, it is about how much self-appreciation you can gain! 

February is the shortest month of the year and the challenge will start on Sunday, February 6th.  Please take your calendar and mark off 20 days the you'll commit to exercise or walk or get some sort of fitness in for at least 30 minutes.  You don't have to do 30 minutes at once if you're not able to (I wasn't always able to at one point so I know how hard that can be to truly commit to!)... but do commit to 10 minutes 3x daily for the 20 days of the challenge.  That leaves us with only a couple of free days on the calendar and on those days - once a week for the three remaining weeks of the month - we're going to sit down with pen and paper (or on the pc) and write down reasons we love ourselves

I just heard someone groan, didn't I? *grin*  I would have groaned a few years ago. I was FILLED with self-loathing.  I mean it.  FILLED to the brim with reasons to hate myself.  And then I decided I was worth the time and effort and needed to rediscover the "me" hidden within all that self-hatred.  And I did.  And I know YOU CAN, too!  Be POSITIVE!!

Do you have a job that you're good at?  Then write on your "I love me because:" list:  because I have the skills to do a great job for my company.  Can you make a great, healthy meal for yourself?  Then you have a reason to think you're a creative cook who can prepare healthy food!  Do you have a great smile? Write it down to yourself in your list!  Do you have strong legs that can walk 5 miles a day? Great reason to love you!  How about a body that birthed babies or a mane of hair that people compliment you on?  How about great shopping tricks?  You have a multitude of reasons to write down a list why you should love you!

I know many of my followers and friends don't have a sweetheart that they'll be celebrating Valentine's Day with.  I didn't last year and I still lived to tell the story! ; )  If you're alone on Valentine's Day this year, I want you to know, you're not alone... you don't need to buy into the advertisements and commercials and tweets that say being a twosome is the only way to be!  I've been with someone on Valentine's Day and in a false romance and - let me tell you - THAT is lonely!  This year, if you're alone or if you're with a Valentine, let's all do this one thing - let's love ourselves, because - friends - we're all pretty damn AWESOME!

Happy beginning to the February Love Yourself for Who You Are (#hlgU4U) Challenge!  You're committing to 20 days of fitness and writing yourself a list of reasons to love you once a week during the three weeks of the month remaining!

Thanks for joining in, friends! 
Dream. Believe. Achieve.


Overture! Hit the lights! This is it...

... the night of nights. 

Click on the picture to enlarge & read. :)
C'mon - you know the tune!  Sing along with me 'cause I'm all excited to let you know that the February issue of First for Women has hit the newsstands! 

It is surreal to see myself in the magazine but also a great feeling of accomplishment to have made it past the 100 pounds lost milestone and still be losing! Woohoooo!  : )

The photos and sidebar article about me are part of a larger article in the Health section of the magazine about overcoming addictions to carb and how to tell what type of 'carb addict' you are. 

I am grateful that Lisa from First for Women magazine mentions Vtrim and the blog because without both this blog and the wonderful online Vtrim program, I doubt seriously I would be where I am and WHO I am today! 

I have to shout out, too, to my friends on the WeightWatchers community site as it was WW where I lost my first 40 lbs. and the girls I hang with on the 50+ board (I shouldn't be allowed on there... I'm only 35!! coughhhh...) have been THEE BEST FRIENDS to me for years and years!  They know more about my daily struggles and love life and ups and downs in life (and I probably do about theirs) than some of the folks I see on a day-to-day basis!  You guys know who you are... THANK YOU!!! xo

Two other fun press mentions to report on, too... I am in the Boston Globe's Health section in a photo slide show of Boston area people who have lost weight.  And, for whatever reason, each time they feature that slide show they keep showing my little "after" face (thankfully not the BEFORE!!) on the front splash page. I'll have friends say "hey, you're on Boston.com's front page again!".  LOL  Here is the link to the photo there. 

Do you read the articles on Diets in Review?  I really like that site and they have resources like BMI and heart rate calculators, etc.  Their articles are interesting and change all the time and they are active Tweeters, too, so that is fun! 

Their Diet Column for the last week of December featured one of my very favorite people in the world, Beth Casey Gold, MS, RD.  Beth is the Director of Corporate Programming at Vtrim Online and I'm happy to say that she and I have become friends over the past year while I've been changing my life with the help of the Vtrim classes I took.  Beth's article "Lose Weight in 2011 by Breaking Away from Unhealthy Habits" is spot on.  I am honored she used me as an example of how getting your backside to the gym pays off big time. (She didn't exactly put it just like that... lol)  If you're a long time reader of the HealthyLoserGal blog, you may recognize Beth's name as the nutritionist who answered our questions back in May. : ) 

Okay, I have to run to the gym... I still have some weight to lose and a 5k run in May to get ready for! What? I haven't mentioned that... oh, I will. 

Dream. Believe. (Work hard) Achieve!
Jan / HealthyLoserGal