I am very linear in my thinking: Do X, then Y should happen…especially if you did it “right.” Perfectionist thinking at its finest!!
I loved math as a kid. You followed the right steps in the right order, then you were assured the right answer. No deviation…no gray area…easy to understand…always knew what to expect. My kinda stuff!!
Enter real life…and the rude awakening that results don’t always equate to the amount of effort or rule following put in. I especially found this to be true in various weight loss programs I followed.
I did EXACTLY what was defined…and for awhile it worked, and I was thrilled with that. Often if I deviated even the slightest, there was no result or a backward result. WTH?? I ate more than 1 ounce of cheese and I frickin’ gained weight this week…are you kidding me?!?
Then I got so tired of trying to do everything to the letter. I got bored of eating the same stuff that I knew how to “count.” I eventually learned I wouldn’t lose if I ate even a little “off plan.” Then the real kicker came when I’d follow exactly and just ping pong around the same +/- 2 pounds.
I’d be pissed at myself and my inability to eat like a normal person and actually like food. I got sick of feeling humiliated week after week when the scale didn’t move. So I’d quit. Then, since I didn’t have to follow a plan, I’d return right back to my usual habits and the weight would be back on.
Nowhere in my approach during all these programs was I thinking long-term. I was most certainly NOT looking to learn. I was only looking to get skinny…so I could be happy and “normal”… and then move on from whatever other stuff I thought correlated to me being fat.
The end…the outcome…the result…was the ONLY thing I thought was important.
For whatever reason when I began to change my health in 2010, I had an entirely different approach. Purely by accident actually, because I wasn’t doing any research or reading about HOW to lose weight.
There were some major differences in my thinking when I started from any other attempt before. They were:
- I knew it was going to take a long time and I was prepared for that
- I was going to eat in a way that I liked…cheese, cookies, and burgers with fries were going to be on the table. I was going to figure out a way to eat the things I liked or I wasn’t denying myself for life–I’d just be fat.
I was ready and was kind of looking for what to do. Then the option for bootcamp kinda fell into my lap. I hadn’t heard a thing about it before and it popped up in my FB feed via an acquaintance. I decided to give it shot. Ninety-nine dollars later I was signed up for a month and regretted spending the money instantly. But I paid for it, so I was gonna go and use that month…I could ditch it after that if I hated it I decided.
I was petrified to go–because I KNEW it was going to be very difficult for me to do. In hindsight, it was probably good that I was so out of shape. My mindset was different because of it…and that mindset shift was a big part of why I had success.
So I began bootcamp telling myself I would not be able to keep pace with the people already going. I told myself I needed to disregard what anyone else was doing and keep my head down and focus only on me. I told myself at nearly every workout “You’re here. You’re trying. You’re doing what you can.”
Because I wouldn’t allow myself to compare I was completely focused on myself and my own improvements. It’s only through my experiences now, that I understand how very vital that mindset was to my success.
Interestingly enough I find myself again in a situation where I’m diving into the deep end with no idea what I’m doing and wanting so very much to bring change into my life.
So how is it I’ve forgotten the lessons I learned during my health changes that can serve me in other capacities? I’ve not idea, but, thankfully, I’ve had some discussions this week which reminded me of those lessons. These discussions were emotionally hard–I was in tears and had to admit some things that were really scary and felt embarrassing.
But they were the talks I needed to have and they broke the dam on some things that have been in my way.
I was reminded of things I already knew, but couldn’t see because the situation was different.
You’ve heard me talk about enjoying the process of getting healthy and losing weight before. It’s super important to find other things to be focused on other than the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I forgot this important lesson. But in the process of those discussions I found some new variations of “enjoy the process” that I hadn’t thought of before. So we are going to revisit “enjoy the process” but with some new twists.
Here are three important parts of “enjoying the process” that I think can really help you if you’re stuck exactly like I was:
1.You cannot compare what I’m doing (or anyone else for that matter!) what what you’re doing.
I’ve been working on changing my habits, thought patterns, and food choices for coming on 6 years. What I’m doing now is much easier for me than when I began in 2010. Yes, I’ve got lots of ideas and resources…and it’s because I’ve been amassing them for many years now. I’m connected to other health pros who also share great ideas. I’m working with many different folks and can see what works for them and then share with all of you.
When I started I didn’t know about nutrition or habit building or how to shift my thoughts. I learned from people who had come before me. My experience level wasn’t theirs! As you delve deeper into this personal health journey, your knowledge will grow, too. And someone new to this whole thing will look at YOU and wonder how YOU make it look so easy!
While I’ve been keeping my eyes on my own paper in 2016, that meant not comparing myself to other newbies in self-growth and entrepreneurship. What I’ve been failing to recognize is that I’ve been comparing myself to seasoned folks.
You can’t compare your first chapter to someone else’s chapter 16. Focus on only you and how you are improving…no more, no less!
2.There should be an element of ease amidst the hard work.
I’ve talked about how losing weight shouldn’t be a total drag…how it doesn’t have to suck. That was my experience…it did NOT suck. It took energy. It took forethought. It was really, really hard some days. But I felt really good about what I was doing, so even though it required persistent effort I didn’t have this stressful or pressured element attached to it.
If it feels hard all the time, it’s probably time to sit back and re-assess what you’re doing.
3.Whatever you are working on should bring you joy…at least the majority of the time.
Lean into the things that feel good. Do you enjoy your movement or are you watching the clock waiting to leave? Do you eat out or go to family functions with a sense of dread because you feel like you “can’t have that?”
Don’t get me wrong…changing your health takes effort and daily persistence…no getting around that. But you’re doing it wrong if it sucks and makes you feel awful.
Find movement you truly enjoy and do that…regardless if it’s HIIT and weight training. What you enjoy and will do regularly trumps “best practices” any day in my book. Eat food you like versus choking back stuff you honestly gag on. The people who you are in contact with as part of the journey should make you feel good.
Change, even when hard, should make you feel good. You know you are in the right space doing the right thing for YOU when you are left feeling joyful about your endeavors!
Take a moment and review what you’ve been doing in order to lose weight and/or change your health? How does it FEEL? If the answer is “Not good!” perhaps it’s time for a change!
I have been where you are: overweight, unhealthy, and beyond frustrated trying to change it! If this blog post hits home and you’d like to get to know me and my message better, the best way to do that is join my HITGF crew. Sign up here and hear from me once a week about all sorts of topics to help you discover WWFY–and the best part is: it’s all totally free! 🙂