Reframing and resetting
I'm back from my winter break, ready to tackle whatever comes my way. Will you join me in a kinder, gentler January? No resolutions required.
Hello, friends! I’m just now coming back online from my holiday break. I did a hard reset, and it’s given me perspective on where I want to put my focus in 2024 and beyond. I’m excited for what this year brings!
I did a whole lot of not working in that time off, reconnecting with friends and family, and spending time outdoors, hiking and biking.and I took a walk around Austin’s Lady Bird Lake on a gloriously sunny day that felt more like fall and talked about our Substack plans.
After procrastinating for months, I redid my 10-Year Plan for a Remarkable Life, and I’ll share more about that soon. Finally, I started my advanced reader copy of’s Unshrinking: How to Face Fatphobia, which is debuting Jan. 9, and I’ll be sharing my review within the next few weeks.
There will be changes here on Almost Sated in 2024. Yes, I will still be writing about detoxing from diet culture, including sharing your stories of quitting diets, but I am going to be writing more about my quest to boldly embrace midlife, not just my body, and the lessons I’m learning along the way.
As of today, I have turned on paid subscriptions for Almost Sated. Most of my writing will remain free, but I feel that by not charging for this work, I’m doing a disservice to myself and my fellow writers. This newsletter is a labor of love, and it is labor intensive. If you value this work, please consider subscribing. If you value this work and can’t afford a subscription, reach out to me, and we’ll work it out.
For the month of January, I am offering 50% off an annual subscription.
A paid subscription will get you access to:
A monthly accountability challenge—to help those of us in the Almost Sated community become happier, healthier, more sated versions of ourselves. Here was December’s challenge.
Subscriber-only chats to support each other in the challenge.
Twice-monthly journal prompts and thought exercises meant to cultivate self-acceptance and somatic wisdom. Here is one from last month.
Full access to all of my posts and archives.
Life-time members get all of the above plus:
A no-BS chat about what to expect when you transition to intuitive eating (or anything else you want to talk about).
A personal shout-out twice a year in this newsletter.
My eternal gratitude.
Details about this month’s challenge follows!
On New Year’s Day, Hubs and I went off for our first mountain bike ride of the year. It was a beautiful day, with blue skies and temps in the mid-50s. Perfect riding weather. We went to one of our favorite trails, one we don't ride as often as we used to since we moved to the ‘burbs, and pretty much the entire ride was a lesson in perseverance.
Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful to be there, especially with my husband, but every pedal stroke took effort, especially going uphill. My legs were heavy. I was winded climbing even simple stuff. I walked my bike over large tree roots that I used to clamber over easily. I hesitated crossing the creek beds running higher than normal thanks to recent rains, not trusting that my legs had the power to muscle me back up to dry land. I didn’t even attempt some of the trickier technical features. It’s funny how fast you can lose confidence when you’re out of practice.
When I was my fastest and most proficient on the mountain bike, just three years ago, I was also competing in Olympic weightlifting, so I was regularly lifting heavy weights. All those fast-twitch, explosive muscle movements gave me an incredible advantage on the bike, allowing me to easily climb hills, chunky rocks and roots. I rode 4 to 5 days a week, and some of my rides were several hours long, so I had much better stamina. I also had more muscle and less fat, so all of my efforts took less work.
Of course, I miss the days when mountain biking felt easier.
The old version of me would have started spiraling here: My god, I’m out of shape. How did I let myself get to this place? I suck.
Except. Except. I have way more acceptance and gratitude for where I am at this present moment than I have ever had in my life. I know exactly what it took to get to that level of fitness and proficiency on the bike, why I was so driven to achieve it (not from 100% from a healthy place), and I also know that achieving that level of fitness and proficiency on the bike is no longer the priority.
Do I wish I was that fit again? Of course, but not at the cost that comes with it. I am grateful for my rides now in a way that I never was before. They are hard, and yes, I wish they were less hard, but now I’m less focused on proving my worth through achievement and more focused on getting out in nature and enjoying the experience. I accept where I am on the bike, without judgment.
Now before you go thinking, “No way would I be that zen about this,” consider that I’m only this zen because you caught me on a good day. Okay, okay, it’s more than that. I’ve spent a year and a half examining my past exercise behaviors, especially mountain biking. Most of my motivation stemmed from negative self-worth and body image. Since then I’ve worked to redefine what it means to be healthy and to accept my body as it is. But I’m not perfect. I still have the thoughts, believe me.
The day after the ride, I started a 15-day online breathwork and kundalini yoga challenge with the amazing. On day one, as we were doing what seemed like simple body movements, raising our arms into the air as we alternated knee raises and paired it with dragon breathing. After a couple of minutes, my arms and legs were on fire, begging me to stop. My breathing grew strained. I could feel beads of sweat rolling down my back. Just as I was thinking, “Man, I’m out of shape,” Eliza said something like, “Don’t think about how good or bad you’re doing. Just be here in the moment.”
That was the lightbulb moment.
Instead of wishing I was better or healthier or fitter, I sent love and gratitude to myself.
This heart of mine—just as it is right now—allowed me to do this exercise. It allowed me to lift my legs, breathe in the air, and share in this experience.
It was at that moment that I decided on this month’s challenge.
So many of our New Year’s Resolutions are about changing who we are, because we hate who we are in the present. Along with our resolutions comes a lot of loathing.
Despite what you might believe, it doesn’t have to be that way.
We can work toward positive change and improvement—and still accept ourselves in the present.
I’m not telling you not to make the resolution or to not improve yourself. I’m asking you—challenging you—to meet your self-loathing with a little more compassion. I’m asking you to deliberately sit with acceptance at least once a day, so that when negative thoughts arise, you counter them.
While you can certainly do this work on your own, I’ve created a special challenge just for paid subscribers, with opportunities to interact and share your insights with your fellow Almost Sated subscribers (for those of you who want to—no pressure!). Will you join me?