As promised in Thursday's post, here is our first reader request, and it comes from Kimberly-thank you for your candid email!
I love your Classy Woman blog. I just found it tonight through the "How to do Everything" website and I've been reading the website for hours already.
I believe in everything you wrote and want to find myself/reinvent myself again.
I was divorced 2 years ago and have really let me myself go, not really taking care of myself and just existing most days. But, your post sparked my interest and reminded me of the classy and elegant woman I used to be. I took out my Journal and began to write ways to find myself again.
Do you have any specific suggestions for me?
I've gained a tremendous amount of weight (for me) and I know this has to be dealt with first and foremost. Making time for myself and not saying yes to everyone else's requests is another biggie for me.
Thanks so much,
Here was my e-mail response to Kimberly and my suggestions are below.
Thank you so much for your e-mail. :) I'm so glad to hear that you've been enjoying my blog and that you found it!
I'm sorry to hear about the turn you took after the divorce. This is common for many women after such a transition, you are not alone. I even watched a similar type of shift occur after my mother and father divorced several years ago. It is truly a physically, mentally and emotionally draining time in one's life.
I am delighted to share some great ways for you to take charge of your life again and regain that powerful, classy and fabulous woman that you so dearly miss. Taking time for yourself is SO important and that is one areas that I'll be addressing in the post. When you are left with more responsibility, it is natural to take care of everyone else first but it is us women that suffer in the end. I used to be a Personal Trainer and managed a nutrition store several years ago and can provide some good information tips and fresh inspiration to help you lose the weight you've gained as well.
I will be posting a response to your 'reader request' tomorrow- Sunday, Dec. 20th. :) I'll email you once it's posted!
Have a blessed weekend.
One of the best ways to recover after an emotional event like a divorce is to take more "you" time. With children that may mean getting a babysitter for a few hours or asking a family member or friend if they'd mind watching them. The best thing is to schedule one weeknight or weekend time slot per week where you can get out and have coffee with your girlfriends, go to the gym, go see a movie or get a manicure. This time is important to release the stresses of your week and get connected with other women. It doesn't have to involve spending money, even taking a hot bath with specials oils, candles and soft music playing can be soothing and will calm your mind. Be sure to surround yourself with positive, uplifting, classy women.
The key is to use a dayplanner or calender to pen in these special days for yourself. Don't feel guilty that you are leaving your children for self-rejuvenation time. The truth is that you can't give what you don't have. If you're running on empty you won't be able to give others your best until your batteries are recharged.
Most women I know feel overwhelmed because they've said 'yes' and promised to do too many things for others, leaving no time for themselves. The best thing to answer in response to someone asking you to take on responsibility that you don't have time for or don't really want to do is to say with a smile, 'I'd love to but I just can't". If they ask again in another way, just repeat the same phrase. If anyone continues to ask why you can't do it or why you won't they are simply being rude. No means no. Once you start saying 'no' instead of 'yes' you will feel freedom that you haven't felt in a while. You will have just opened up your schedule for a whole lot more 'you' and 'family' timend you'll feel a sense of control over you life that you probably haven't felt in years.
If your budget allows, buy one new item for yourself each month. It doesn't have to be expensive but it does have to be something that will give you a lift. Maybe it's a new pair of shoes that go with much of your wardrobe and make you feel happy and sexy whenever you wear them. Perhaps it is a new shade of lipstick or a fun nailpolish to transform your toes. Whatever it is, it has to make you feel good about yourself.
Many women start to care less about their appearance and do not spend the same kind of time getting dressed for work or going out with friends. Often, older jeans and sweats become the norm and they forget what it's like to get dressed up or feel like a beautiful woman. While your goal might not be to attract a man or even look for someone at this moment, you'll feel more confident once you spend some time in this area. Look at your closet wardrobe and separate it into two sections: one for work/nicer outfits and the other (hopefully smaller side) for relaxing in your home and gym attire. Make a diligent effort to try to dress up even when going to purchase groceries for example. It may seem like extra work but you'll feel better about yourself. Women always stand taller and have their heads held high when dressed to make themselves feel beautiful vs. dressing to get the task done.
Love Yourself! We as women must speak nicely not only to others but most importantly to ourselves. What we tell ourselves everyday shapes how we see ourselves. Thoughts like 'I feel so fat today' or 'look at all these wrinkles!' only help to create a negative self image. We need to speak kind words to ourselves especially on those days when we feel anything but beautiful, and we all have those days. We need to love and be thankful for our health and what we do have.
Your Home- Make sure your home is also a true refuge, filled with things you love. When people reinvent themselves they often reinvent the space around them too. Sometimes a cluttered home, unhealthy fridge and pantry or jam-packed closets can be barriers to success. These areas often hold many people back but they don't realize it. It is very freeing to purge anything from your home that does not make you happy. The same is true for clothing. If you don't feel good about yourself in it, do not wear it and if it's fasionably outdated, pass it along by donating it so someone can get some use from it.
You had mentioned that you 'let yourself go' and this is common for many women dealing with such transition. Just like it's important to schedule fun time for yourself, you'll also want to schedule several weekly gym days or walking days. Start small and move up as your body gets used to the level you're at. I don't recommend overwhelming yourself with 2-hour workouts. Begin by walking in your neighborhood or on a treadmill. Day after day increase your distance or the intensity/speed. Once you feel comfortable with that you could move to resistance training by using some light free weights and increase the weight slowly over time. Anything that involves too much sacrifice, too much time or too little food will drain you of your energy and desire to lose weight. Take things slowly watching both your food intake AND how much exercise you are getting in each week.
I could write you a whole book on health but I will share with you the essentials:
1. Exercise a minimum of 30 mins 4-5 days per week.
2. Drink plenty of water (your weight divided by 14 is how many 8oz glasses you require)
3. Take a solid multivitamin
4. Eat as many veggies and as much fruit as you can
5. Focus on whole grains, eliminating white bread, pasta, rice.
6. Eliminate sweets/sugar-filled foods (they will zap you of your energy!)
7. Eat protein with each meal (cottage cheese, cheese, peanut butter, meats, fish, etc.) as they will keep you feeling full longer and help with your muscle development
8. Make sure you're getting enough fiber to keep things moving (about 30-35 grams per day)
9. Eliminate alcohol and caffeine as they really wreak havoc with your metabolism and your organs.
10. Eat whole, raw foods like veggies, fruits as often as you can and try to avoid chemicals and preservatives which can interfere with the liver's optimal functioning.
*Disclaimer* Note that it is important to consult your doctor when implementing a new weight loss, fitness or diet regimen.
Be sure to set some attainable and realistic goals for yourself. Remember, it took some time to put the weight on and it will take some time to take it off. Spend more time at a local YMCA or your own backyard with the kids playing outdoors and incorporating more activity into your life so it feels less like work and more like fun! Another great way to make working out more fun is to join with a friend where you'll have an instant accountability parter who you need to 'show up' for.
Here are some additional articles on health that I have written that I hope you'll find helpful:
Lose Weight with Negative Calorie Foods
Exercise and the Mind-Body connection
Lose Weight and Keep it off for a Lifetime!
Eat Healthy with 10 Simple Tips
Lose Weight, Feel Great
7 Healthy Food Substitutions
If you are feeling as though the emotional burdens of the divorce are weighing heavy on you and friends and family are not enough to talk to, do seek out someone who can help you work through this time in your life.
Additionally, my husband is an Author and Life Coach and has a great book available on Amazon that might be helpful for your healing process. It's called Breakthrough for a Broken Heart which is a must read for anyone that has gone though a divorce, break up or loss of someone special.
As you probably read in one of my posts, I have a book for Classy Women due out shortly and I will share the details at that time if you are interested in picking up a copy so you can bring classy back. :)
Kimberly, once again thank you for sharing your question. I hope you will find these suggestions and resources helpful and I believe that by sharing your comments and questions in your reader request that both your words and this post will postively impact the lives of other women at a similar place in life. Please feel free to send me an e-mail and update me/us on your success.