Wherever we are in this journey, there are times it feels like we hit a wall.
We may still be overweight. I’m not talking by just a few pounds. But we hit that plateau, stall-point, or we just get bored, we get sloppy in the dieting, or we sabotage ourselves… or even worse… we start rationalizing and saying “I’m ok, I’m happy. This is where my body wants to be and I’m good with it.” It gets tough. You may not be able to quite put a finger on the “why’s”, but it happens to all of us. A friend of mine said, “Pammie, I’m hitting a wall.” And as I talked to her, it made me realize something I had hit something too.
During my travels I was given a bottle of absinthe by a friend. A friend who didn’t know my struggle and love/hate relationship with alcohol. In pride, in fear of appearing weak, I graciously accepted it. Inside me, my stomach wrenched tight to the point of feeling sick. Alcohol is something I try to stay away from for the most part.
I have several reasons for not drinking much – with losing weight, I lost most of my physical tolerance for it – it don’t take MUCH for it to hit me anymore! I don’t feel very well the next day or two after a night of drinking with my friends. I feel it’s a waste of empty calories for the enjoyment of it. I have a slew of bad memories from my party days, both physical and emotional. I feel it’s just another addiction I substitute when I’m trying not to eat. I have a bad taste in my mouth for drinking, frankly speaking and pardon the pun.
So I put this bottle in a cabinet and made a “bargain” with myself. I told myself that if I lost 10 more pounds under my goal, I’d celebrate it by having a drink of this special stuff. (I am NOT skinny, so this would still be healthy weight loss.) Perhaps I thought I was putting the demon in the cage by putting that bottle in the cabinet.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I can hear you gasping from here. I went against one of my cardinal rules. I gave myself a “food incentive” or “food reward” to dangle in front of the scale. Hey, I’m almost a year after hitting goal. I’m (not so) large and in charge here. I can handle it.
I hit what felt like such a huge wall in the past couple months. I worked incredibly hard going after this little goal. After losing 150 pounds, you’d think that 10 pounds is “no big deal”. I remember in my first weeks of weight loss I could POOP out 10 pounds without even thinking about it. I took my calories down, I put more activity in and I went after it as though I was going after the brass ring of my weight loss. The scale wasn’t moving. As I counseled others in their journeys, I looked at my own advice and got meticulous. I made sure I was preplanning, I cut out my “bonuses”, I put in even more activity, tried to get more sleep. Yes I was stressed (and still am) with a lot of stuff going on, but I refuse to let that hold me back. The scale started moving and I was elated. I could do this!
Then as I got closer to a new number on the scale… I’d eat. Maybe not a whole lot to someone else. Sometimes as little as a few hundred calories. An extra helping of a healthy meal. Or a few drinks with friends. Or a bag of popcorn while watching a movie with my daughter on the weekend. It added up. I’d lose 5 pounds and then gain it back, and get frustrated. Not enough to affect my clothing, but this is a bad pattern I knew I had to get under control NOW!
WHY was I doing this? I knew the drill! I teach the drill for crying out loud!
Then this past week it hit me when my friend said, “Pammie, I hit a wall.” And I responded to her saying that she wasn’t in front of a wall, she was on a ledge and she was just scared. She’s made it feel like a high ledge and it’s more built up in her mind than it really is. She needed to walk off the ledge in an act of faith and know that the step was not as scary as she thought. There’s an invisible path to freedom we can’t see until we step off the ledge. It’s excitement and exhilaration, NOT fear… or make it that way. She said to me, “I never lost this much before and I’m scared what’s next.” So I asked myself WHAT AM I AFRAID OF WITH THIS TEN POUNDS? As I thought about this conversation another analogy came to mind.
This is where I am. The feeling of being on a high dive at the public pool.
Everyone is watching you. Everyone sees you on the high dive. If you step backwards and climb back down the ladder, everyone sees that you couldn’t do it. You got scared and gave up. You admit defeat. And there’s others in line for the dive that are willing to jump in front of you and show you how it’s done. But you have to do it YOURSELF to get your reward. HOWEVER, if you go forward…. Running, laughing, jumping and throwing your arms in the air and JUMPING off that high dive who KNOWS what will happen? Maybe the water will be very cold at first. It may take your breath away at first. You may bellyflop and it may almost hurt a little. Or it may feel super refreshing. It may feel like the best euphoria you ever experienced. It may feel like the highest high. It may feel like the biggest victory EVER!!! But you won’t know until you ALLOW yourself to do it. And there’s the reward I gave for myself. And that’s when the epiphany hit…
Well, in my case, I knew what was waiting for me. A bottle. The demon in the cabinet cage loomed over me, watching me, waiting for me. And I think that scared the crap out of me to the point that I was sabotaging myself so that I wouldn’t get those extra pounds off. In fact, I was slowly going up on the scale. My own inner core of my mind knew I was scared of those past memories associated with drinking and it wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to happen. Memories of poor decisions made while drinking. Memories of my kids seeing me while drinking. Memories of losing control. We hate it when we lose control. We like to be in control of our journey.
And so… I poured the bottle down the sink. I knew it was the right decision because of the way I felt when I did it. I felt like a rock came off my shoulder. I felt like curtain came away from my thoughts and I could clearly see the path from my own ledge. I had felt trapped on the ledge. I felt in spotlight on the ledge. Vulnerable. Where everyone could see me, that I wasn’t losing anymore. I am on that high dive. And what happens if I can’t do the fantastic swan dive and I have to crawl down the steps? Well…I don’t know, because I’m moving forward.
Well, I still have that inside goal of getting down to 150 pounds. But I took away that double-edged sword of a reward for it.
When you hit your plateau, your stall, when you jump into ONEderland and then everything goes awry… take a look at what you’ve promised yourself. With what you’ve put pressure on yourself. And take it easy on yourself! YES, push yourself to get to goal… but be very careful what you dangle in front of yourself. Ask yourself these questions when you get scared….
1) What is my incentive for losing weight?
2) For who am I losing weight?
3) Is the reward truly “worth it”?
4) Is the incentive enough to keep me at goal or is it a short term goal (such as a reunion, party, wedding, retaliation, trying to make someone jealous?)
5) Will I be truly proud of myself and my intentions?
6) Can I continue the same habits I am using to LOSE weight to be able to STAY at goal weight or is this a fad, harsh diet? Is this healthy eating? Will it cause health issues to keep eating like this?
7) What scares me most?
8) How does that affect or connect to the feelings of fear I’m having right now associated with losing weight? Do I feel my significant other won’t like how I look? Do I feel that I, myself, won’t recognize myself? Am I afraid of what OTHER PEOPLE will say about how I look? Am I afraid of appearing different?
In order for change to be a true change, it WILL BE UNCOMFORTABLE at times. But like always say…turn that sickly feeling in the stomach of fear into excitement and wonderment (or ONEderment). Take control of it and make it work for you.
We call create our own limitations in our minds. We have the keys to our cells and it’s up to US to figure out which key unlocks the door.
While helping my friend, I figured out my key. We all need to examine those many keys we hold on that mental key ring and get to the core of what makes us tick, makes us eat, makes us stress…. and then the future’s wide open! I’m slowly going downward on the scale again making up those couple of pounds and headed into new realms. And I’m feeling good about it…no looming anxiety, stalling or binges.
Those are my rambling thoughts for the day! If ya like it, pin it, share it on Facebook, email it to a friend, I’m all about that!