Yesterday’s post about the struggle with failure elicited a lot of interesting comments. (By the way, if you haven’t left a comment there, go do it so you could possibly win a $50 gift card from Dick’s Sporting Goods. Ends today.) The comments made me think and now it’s time to share my thoughts with you.
You see, I got scared when I got close to 200 on the scale. I got scared when I realized that I was almost to the end of finishing what I started. My goal was to be under 200 pounds and it felt CLOSE. So mentally I freaked. I got scared and I let the bingey complusive eating monster climb into my head and control my actions. Yes, I know that really I’m in control of my actions, but somehow it didn’t feel that way. It felt like I stepped back and let something else take control.
Why did it happen? Why did it continue to happen for several days? Once I slipped out of the groove I had been in it felt extremely hard to get back to into it. It’s easy to build up good habits and routines, but once they are broken it’s incredibly easy to let them completely disappear. That’s why it lasted longer than I wish it had. It’s not something that is going to completely throw me off of this lifestyle because slipping up doesn’t mean giving up. But why did it happen in the first place? Why does someone doing so well suddenly stop and seemingly do the opposite of everything good? If you are new to my blog then let me tell you now – I like to examine the “whys” behind my actions, even when it’s not fun.
The mindshift that occured for me was so subtle. As I said, I went from thinking “I’m doing this!” to “I hope I don’t fail to do this…” And that is what sparked the change and the feeling of being out of control, which led to actually being out of control. But why did a subtle shift in thinking make that happen?
For me, my journey is almost ALL in my head. Sure there is some physical aspects to it – I have to work out and cook healthy food for myself – but really it’s all mental.
For me it’s all mental because my overeating stems from my thoughts telling me food is what I need. It’s what I need to cope. It’s what I need to feel better. When I am overeating it’s not because I’m hungry. I might think to myself “I’m hungry” but physically I’m not. I know this. But I think “I’m hungry” to give myself an excuse to do it anyway. That’s what I do when I my thoughts turn negative (thinking about failing) and I feel like nothing else will fix it. Bad habits that I’m still trying to break, for sure, but at least I’m aware of what I’m doing.
But more than just that, this happened because I couldn’t envision the future. I couldn’t see myself being smaller, thinner, stronger, better. All the things I say I want (and really do want) are hard for me to envision. For this to work you have to see yourself as a completely new person and that’s hard.
Michelle left me a good comment that made me think about these things:
The thing is…is that you have to shift from the ‘dieting/losing weight’ mentality to one whereby you believe that you ARE that person who is under 200lbs.
It hit me last night..that you are what you believe. If you believe that you’ll freak out when you get to 200lbs..you will. If you believe that you’ll get to 180lbs…you will.
My problem is that I am having trouble believing I will be that person under 200 lbs or at 150 lbs. The concept is so far from anything I know as a reality that I can’t even imagine it. And since I can’t imagine it being real, when I get close to it I get scared. It’s a complete unknown for me and that’s scary. Scary enough for me to react in a way that keeps me safe in the status quo. Even if I’m not where I want to be, I’m still used to it. It’s comfortable. I know how to function here.
It’s almost the same reason I’m living at home again, despite knowing that it’s a bad environment for me that has twice caused me to slide into morbid obesity. (Well, besides trying to save money for an expensive move around the world.) I hate it here, it’s bad for me, yet I know how to function. I might not be at my best, but I’m used to it. I’m used to the negativity, the hatred toward me, the worry and anxiety that comes with that and eventually causes me to break and turn to food. It’s not the best place for me, it’s hurting me, yet I’m here mostly because I’m used to it. It’s the same way with my fat. I hate it and wish it wasn’t my reality, but since I can’t really envision anything else I stick with it. I keep it around. I freak when I think I will be without it. It’s a suffocating security blanket.
Just like Michelle’s comment, Holly left me a comment that made me think about how to move on from all this:
My latest beliefs center on “Fake it ’til you make it” or “act as if”.
She said a lot of other good things, but what stood out to me was fake it til you make it. Considering my brain already works this way in reverse – convincing me that I should eat even when I’m not hungry – this could probably work. But I would have to force myself to think and act as if I’m already at my goal. As if I’m not still severely obese. As if I’m under 200 lbs. As if I’m already a runner. As if all my goals are easily within reach instead of seeming like mountains. Can I do that? Can I fake it til I make it. It seems like I need to try. If I could just wrap my head around this idea, around the idea of being a completely new person, maybe it will work. It sounds good so that is what I’m going to try to do.
Somehow the mental games will have to be won. Because no matter how long it takes me, I’m not giving up on changing my life for the better. That’s not even an option. The number one reason why I blog is because I figure if I make this journey public it’s not something I can quit. It’s not like I can just give up. I can fail over and over again but as long as I’m still trying and still make forward progress then it’s okay. 200 will eventually be something that has been conquered and is long behind me. It won’t forever be my stumbling block.
So I’m picking myself up after the last several days and moving on. I’m changing the way I’m thinking. I’m changing my outlook. I’m moving on and continuing to change my life.
If you have been having trouble or have been in a slump and encourage you to do it with me. Decide today that you want to change. Decide that you need to think differently. Decide that you want to examine the why behind your actions and then change it.
It’s a lot easier to just function and survive than to examine your life in order to make it better and truly live. It’s a lot easier to just give up and not strive to make things happen that you want. Thank goodness easy isn’t what I’m aiming for. I hope it’s not what you are aiming for either. Changing your life is hard. No one said it was easy. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it is painful, sometimes it is embarrassing, and sometimes it doesn’t work the first time. But it is possible.