No Rain, No Flowers…

You’ve heard the sayings I’m sure. No Rain, No Flowers. No Grit, No Pearl. No Struggle, No Success. No climb, No Mountain Top. Whatever analogy you fancy the most, they all mean the same thing.

Nothing positive comes without experiencing something negative.

This remains true in almost every aspect of life. But why?

Failure is the key to growth

When we fail at something in life be it a job, a friendship, a marriage, a sport, a hobby or what have you. When we set out to accomplish something but FAIL, don’t we almost ALWAYS come out on the other side learning a valuable lesson or two hidden beneath the surface? I know for certain that I do! Maybe you see it a little differently though. Maybe you’re only seeing a negative situation for face value. Maybe you focus on the disappointments SO intensely that it masks the real value of the situation. Hear me out…

Most of the people in my life know me as a go-getter. They know that if I set my mind to something, I WILL find a way to make it happen. I won’t settle. I refuse to accept defeat. My dad is this way as well. This trait I can attribute to him, though sometimes can get me in trouble. (I’ve been referred to has hard headed a time or two) … <insert cheesy grin emoji>. But for people like us, when we decide we want to achieve something, we take no prisoners. We accomplish what we set out to do. We put our heads down and make shit happen…..until life stiff arms us mid way and says NOPE. Ouch….

One of the few moments in my life that this has happened to me is actually happening right now. I say FEW and mean it in the most humble way possible because as I’ve stated before, I’m a go-getter. I don’t typically take no for an answer. But when the thing telling you no is the vessel you live your daily life in (aka YOUR BODY), you have no choice but to accept it’s answer.

My body. My poor, neglected, unloved body. I hated it for so long. I critiqued it each and every morning. I spoke so negatively to it for years and years and years. It wasn’t until I started my weight loss journey, changed my lifestyle to Keto and rediscovered my love for weight lifting that I developing a self love practice. It was hard. I mean the hardest thing ever. Learning to love a body you hated for so long is probably one of the most trying, uncomfortable tasks. But I’ve been actively doing it for the past 2 1/2 years.  I’ve never felt better about myself! Sure there were days I didn’t feel optimal or as confident.. But I can honestly say I was secure in my appearance, I was happy with my body and I was in love with the process of watching my body change… was.

It wasn’t until very recently that I experienced a loss of that secureness in myself.

I am someone who loves to have a goal. I feel lost without a goal to strive for and a plan in place. So when I finished my “bulking” phase (in the body building world this means a muscle building season), I set out to accomplish the ultimate goal- Prep for a body building show.

Why did I want to do this? Why did I want to put myself through such a extreme experience. There are various reasons….I don’t feel compelled to list them all here BUT I will say this : hindsight is 20/20. Looking back at WHY I wanted to do this and my fears for being hesitant to do it in the first place are the VERY reason why I paused. I say paused because I am not giving up on my goal; at all. Remember what I said earlier? About how I’m a go-getter and I get what I want? I WILL step on stage one day. I WILL compete one day. I WILL accomplish the goal I set for myself. But for now, I must wait.

Wait... A word no one ever wants to hear.

I started out so strong. Doesn’t everyone when they decided to start something new?     22 weeks of prepping was the goal and I was committed. Changes took place quickly. I lost 12 pounds in the first 6 weeks! I was on a roll…and then my progress started stalling. My body wasn’t changing much anymore. I was getting frustrated. So I enlisted some help. The help of a fellow keto coach who was more versed in this realm than I. With his help, my body started making progress again but sadly, not for long. What was I doing wrong? Why wasn’t this easier? I was doing everything right….everything I was told. I wasn’t progressing quickly enough and I was STRESSED. Key word right there. Oh the Stress.

You see, the level of selfishness that is required when prepping is something most would frown upon. You literally can’t do ANYTHING. No eating out. No straying from your macros. No missed training sessions. No extra cream in your coffee and I “just won’t count it today”. EVERYTHING matters.

Every. Single. Thing.

So on top of the stress of the actual prep, I also still had my daily stressors. Being a mom, a wife, a coach, a business owner, a social media influencer, a friend, a daughter, a sister ….. LIFE basically. The stressors of just my daily life piled on top of this extreme goal I set for myself was causing my body to literally shut down. It wouldn’t respond. It COULDN’T. It was in survival mode. And ON TOP of the non existent physical changes, my MENTAL health was rapidly declining. When I finally realized this…when my coach finally had the talk with me about just what exactly this was doing to me mentally…that’s when I finally woke up.

I was experiencing binge eating urges I’d long left behind. Instead of speaking kindly to myself (a practice I developed along this entire journey to self love), I was picking my appearance apart in the mirror. Grabbing “fat” and feeling “gross”. Telling myself I’d never be lean enough or have enough muscle in certain places…I’d never be ENOUGH. I was on a downward, dark spiral to a past version of myself I swore I’d never EVER be again. I was losing myself….

So I paused…

You see, any level of failure is what allows us to grow. Do I see this experience as a “failure” for myself? Actually, not at all. I haven’t given up on the end goal. I’ve simply paused the process to regain my focus. To remember who I am and what I stand for. To bring myself out of the darkness I was slipping into so quickly…

This whole experience has allowed me to grow in a whole new way. It has brought me so much clarity to different aspects of my life and myself. I am forever grateful for my struggles, fore they all have made me who I am today.

Without the grit, there would be no pearl. Without the climb, there’d be no view. Without the rain, there would be no flowers. So take the time to understand this simple fact:

There is NOTHING in the world that blooms all year long. Though we would love to stay on top of our A game year round, we simply can’t. But you shouldn’t want to…when you’re wilted is when the growth really occurs. So enjoy the rain for now…Some day soon you’ll BLOOM.

eZy Watermark_20-03-2019_05-40-44AM

 

 


 

Along The Way…

I’ve stated previously that there are few and far between who truly know me on a personal level. Aside from some very close family, my husband and a friend or two I still keep in contact with from my younger years, there are only a handful of people who have witnessed some of my darker moments.

This probably comes as something hard to believe for a girl who shares half naked before and after photos all over social media, right?

That thought has crossed my mind a time or two as well. To be honest, it baffles me somedays. How on earth I am able to share some of the most VULNERABLE moments of my life (i.e. weight loss photos, deepest thoughts, hardest mental battles, my eating disorder struggles) with strangers on the internet but somehow keep such a small circle of “friends”. Honestly, I feel like sharing my story and struggles with the world is easier because I know someone out there is struggling with what I have been through or am going through. It makes the thought of being so transparent more bearable when I can believe that someone may benefit from hearing what I share. Meaning, if just ONE person gets inspired, is motivated or finds what little ole Lauren Berryhill has to say helpful in any way, then it is all worth it.

You know, thinking back on my high school, middle school and even elementary school days, I never recall being one of those people who felt like a big group of friends was what I needed. I most often gravitated to the “only having one best friend” mentality. I valued pouring myself into one person. I enjoyed being able to confide in a single individual and trust that they would keep what I shared between us. That’s what true friendship looks like, right? … I gathered early on after a few failed “best” friendships that maybe this wasn’t the best approach to socialization. Maybe I shouldn’t confine myself to just ONE friend. Putting all my eggs into one basket, as some would say.  I learned some hard lessons when it came to having this preference on friendships; about myself and others. But the few times I attempted to be “apart of the crowd”, it felt wrong. I always felt like the relationships weren’t as valuable. As if it was just about the “looks” of having a big group of friends instead of focusing on the connections I was making (which was little to nothing). After a while, I came to the realization that no matter how hard I tried to force myself to be apart of the crowd, I was simply just a different bird.

Unpacking all of these thoughts is crucial for you as the reader to understand where I’m coming from as I further explain why I’ve found it is so important to love yourself along the way … of ANY journey. After years of dealing with self hate and body dysmorphic disorder, I NOW realize that the issues I faced early on with friendship (and pretty much through all of my young adulthood) was something truly internal that I was simply unable to recognize prior to my weight loss journey. Let me explain…

For years, I struggled silently with body dysmorphia or better known as body dysmorphic disorder as well as self hate. It intensified the older I got but started at a very early age. I get asked often why I felt such pressure to look a certain way at such a young age and my response is always the same.

The media. I blame the media.

Commercials constantly flashing photos of super skinny, rail thin females as their models or cast as actresses. The singers of my day were Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Mandy Moore (am I making you feel old? … oops). But in all seriousness, the older I got, the more sexualized these females became. Their skimpy clothes were designed to show as much skin as possible. The images of them and how they looked made me constantly critique myself and my appearance and wonder why I wasn’t small enough. Thin enough. Skinny enough. Why my hair wasn’t pretty enough. Why my skin wasn’t clear enough. Why I wasn’t ENOUGH…

It wasn’t until I started my weight loss journey, healing my eating disorder, working on my body image issues and developing a TRUE self care practice that I realized something that was evident all along: I’ve always been enough. ALL ALONG THE WAY, I was capable of loving who I was because I am something no one can say they are. I AM ME.

Now… One could look at me negatively for sharing “half naked” photos of myself on the internet and say that I am fueling the very problem that formed my self hate issues. You are entitled to your own opinion but let me be clear, I feel very differently. I will never feel the need to explain to ANYONE why I share the things that I do, because those who it impacts, understand why. Those that my posts resonate with, see it clearly. Justification for me sharing inspirational transformation photos will never been needed but for fun, let me enlighten you. My reasoning for sharing the most vulnerable photos of myself isn’t for pride. It isn’t for compliments. And it most certainly isn’t because I want to make anyone feel bad about themselves.

It’s about transparency. It’s about being seen as a REAL person. It’s about sharing the not so glamorous side of a 100+ lbs weight loss journey whether it be showing my stretch marks or loose skin that resides. It’s about spreading AWARENESS to women, girls, teens like me who have struggled their entire lives OR who are just beginning to struggle with body image issues. It’s about TALKING ABOUT IT. Getting comfortable sharing about a topic that for some reason, society feels like we should stay silent about. It’s about showing other people that they CAN achieve their goals if they stick to them. It’s SO much more than just a “half naked” picture.

All of these things…all of these reasons….It all comes down to one thing that I want each and every person who see’s my photos, videos, posts, etc to implement RIGHT NOW before they go another day hating their body:  LOVE YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY. 

You are a force. You are strong. You are YOU. And no one can take that away. If you are in a place where you are unhappy with your body, your job, your life. Whatever it may be…The process of growth and of change is MUCH simpler if you love yourself and who you are along the way.