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Clean Slate

by Kaylatime Valdeandez about a year ago in advice
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What can you do to be a new you?

Every New Year’s Eve, we write our resolutions. We swear we’ll keep to them. We seldom do. One of the reasons we “cheat” ourselves (so to speak) through the year is because once we’ve broken a resolution, we figure we might as well keep breaking it and start over next New Year’s Eve. Well, people like me at least. Scratch that, the old me was like that. Who is the new me then? And how Does one “become” her? Well, for starters, start now. Decide right now that that’s who you want to be. Write it down, pin it on Pinterest. You could even start a vision board about it. However you do it, think it- be it. The second you doubt yourself and start telling yourself that you might as well wait until next year, that’s where you start making a “cushion” for yourself. A comfort zone if you will. Take this for example: my “10 year anniversary” with my now husband is this year. We started dating 10 years ago this March. Married in 2018. We’ve had our ups and downs throughout the years. Some years were great, some were so incredibly stressful that we have contemplated splitting up. Regardless of that, I decided that not only will this year, 2021, be our year- but we are going to try to start off a new decade of our relationship on a more positive and healthy note as well. It sounds hard- and he thinks its going to be so hard- but if you take a few steps back to look at it, you’ll see that there’s not as much to it as you thought. Just because you can’t reach the top corners of the big picture yet doesn’t mean that it‘s not worth having-you know, the big picture. You have to acknowledge that big picture every now and then to remember the parts you don’t yet have access to yet and remind yourself why you need it.

Imagine your life as a charcuterie board. Charcuterie boards usually have the best of everything, right? A few crackers, your favorite pepperoni, the best selection of cheeses, hams, turkey- maybe some almonds. Then its time for the fruits and veggies: grapes, fresh apple slices, celery maybe, avocado even. It depends on your taste. But it’s never like junk food, right? Even have a spam and canned ravioli charcuterie board? With canned cheese? Pop rocks candy on the side for taste? Exactly. Are you the best of everything? I’m not. Are you going to try to be? Not the best *at* everything, but just the best you that you can be. I started my year off doing just that and I already not only got a new job, but I lost weight and got better at a skill that I focused my attention on! I was a whopping 228 lbs, my heaviest weight yet. I started holding myself accountable for that. I started telling people my weight and watching their faces, total disbelief. “You don’t even look that heavy!” Yeah, well that’s the thing. I’m good at hiding it. I’m good at concealing my true self. You see what I want you to see. When I realized that, I decided to make myself a “me” that I want them all to see. I got myself a smart watch, started counting my steps. Little by little I noticed that I kept tryin to out—do myself. Then I noticed the weight loss. With that came confidence, “false” confidence if you will. I felt like that was progress enough, but it wasn’t.

Here are my resolutions: focusing on my health and marriage. Sounds vague, right? It’s really not. For years I’ve put off making doctor and dentist appointments, for both dental cleanings and physical wellness. Starting in November, I started going to a weight management doctor and started making time for my body. Since determining my new start, I’ve lost over 20 lbs and I keep losing. I started getting off my butt and walking around more. I started only buying healthy stuff, forcing myself to snack on celery because there was really nothing else in my snack arsenal. I even am committing myself to weight loss surgery- gastric sleeve surgery. What that means is that I am facing my obesity and determining that I am worth more than this pain that I suffer from it and I want to see myself again. I want the person in the mirror to match the me that I see in my head- starting with my diet, starting with my physical fitness. Acknowledging my problems was hard, but I started talking to people who were like me and got better. I met Sarah, who lost 93 lbs since last July by going through surgery. I met John, who would love to get surgery but can’t afford to, so he struggles with his 350lb weight and terribly swollen feet. I met Kim, who wants surgery and qualifies for it, but has so many other health issues now that she has let her weight get out of hand that she isn’t losing the weight she needs to in order to prove to the doctors that she has enough motivation to better herself in the slightest. Then I looked in the mirror and talked to Kayla. She took her clothes of and showed me her true self, not hiding under a constricting tank top and a flattering bra. She showed me her trouble zones, parts of her body that she couldn’t even see on a normal day. She showed me a picture of herself before kids, showing me that she used to be a different person- not just back in high school before she ”matured”- but even her adult figure. She told me that she doesn‘t want to miss out on this opportunity, like Kim is. She is lucky enough to take advantage of such a procedure, unlike John. She wants to be as happy and confident as her new friend, Sarah.

So what am I doing? I sat down with my thoughts and I put a board out in front of me. On it, I placed labeled cards. A charcuterie board with paper delicatessen. Now to choose the best parts of me to “bring to the table” so to speak. My obesity? I’m addressing that. I (unironically) put down “weight loss” on the card labeled “ham”. I don’t want to dress “bummy” anymore, especially in public. I already went through my whole wardrobe and got rid of so many things that didn’t “spark joy”. My teeth? I’d like to straighten them and get them pearly white, addressing any issues they present. I write down “make and stick to dentist appointments”on my “Swiss cheese” card. Yanno, so my teeth don’t become full of holes like Swiss is. Sorry, that joke was cheesy. You get my point. There are things I’ve addressed about myself and determine that those things didn’t contribute to the me that I wanted to be this year. Now to pull it all together. Ham alone is great, turkey alone is great, cheese alone is great, and same goes for everything else you’d put on a charcuterie board. What makes it a board is the combination of them all. What is going to make me the best me this year is when I pull it all together. And I will. I have my “charcuterie board” vision board on my dresser so that I see it every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to sleep. It has worked for me all this time and I intend to keep it up all year. My surgery is on track for this May and my husband and I have begun making and practicing new relationship resolutions in order to start off our “new decade” together in March on a high and healthy note. No going to bed angry, no political debates after 10pm, setting an alarm for 8am the next morning even when we have no obligations to get up for. The obligation is to ourselves, taking advantage of more daylight.

It’s going to be hard, but look at your life as a literal clean slate. If you are able to, and want to, all you have to do is build up from there. That’s exactly what I’ve done and it is working for me greatly. Draw a picture of yourself, a bubble to fill in with all of the best things. It may sound like a bunch of BS but if you want it, its yours-really. My personal trainer friend said that its as easy as that, too. He calls himself a “sculptor”. He tells his trainees that their body is a clump of clay and there are exercises targeted to eliminate or tone certain parts of your body. Want to lose weight all around? Jog. Make sure you’re getting enough steps in to maintain health. A bigger butt? Lunges and squats. A tight tummy? Crunches and twisting exercises. Doesn’t it make sense? Of course. The secret isn’t just to DO them, it is to keep doing them. That’s the secret to everything really. Like my resolutions. I’m aware now more than ever that the body I want, the life I want- I have to work hard for them. The secret is knowing what it is that you truly want, manifesting it, envisioning it. Take that dream, that goal, and remind yourself every day that you are going to make that progress. Remind yourself of all the progress you’ve already achieved and remind yourself that you are going to keep achieving more. Come see me in a few months. I really am determined to continuing this fresh journey. And why not? A new year, new appointments to tackle my weight problem, a new presidency (whether we like him or not), a new decade of relationship (for me)- there couldn’t be a better time to start fresh. A clean slate, 2021.


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Kaylatime Valdeandez

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