I’ve spent quite a lot if time in the last few days thinking about what I wanted to say in this post! Cause, I have a lot of thoughts on the subject of what prevents us from losing weight. Over the past year there is one weight loss strategy (if I can even call it that…it’s more like direct self-reckoning!) which has really helped me continue forward without losing momentum or allowing dysfunctional thinking to run the show — I refer to this as gouging your *lies* out! Oh yes, how I do love to play whimsically with words. 😉
To explain, gouging one’s *lies* out is the process (ongoing) of identifying the lies (i.e. dysfunctional and counterproductive beliefs and feelings) in your thought life, shining a spotlight on them and then metaphorically GOUGING THEM OUT! Gruesome, horrific, OMG…but absolutely necessary! Some of them are very very stubborn and hard to gouge out all at once, but with perseverance and constant awareness of what they REALLY are (lies, cruel lies!) they go away…really they do.
The psychology of resistance is very fascinating to me. Human beings have a tendency to avoid, make excuses for, and downright justify NOT doing the things that will get them what they truly want…and then complaining about not being where we want to be and getting depressed over it! Go figure! We talk about all the “reasons” for this, like fear, low self-esteem, laziness, insecurity, etc etc etc. After spending some time analyzing my own resistance patterns, I have come to the conclusion that it is mostly the result of allowing myself to entertain and act on lies in my thought life that do indeed lead me in the opposite direction of what I want. It feels very dysfunctional when it’s happening, and now after exercising the “gouging your *lies* out” technique, I am able to prevent it from stifling me.
Here are some examples of the lies in my personal thought life that have prevented me from making weight loss progress in the past, and the ways I have GOUGED them out!:
1. I’m too tired to exercise today.
Sounds familiar, right? I think we’ve alllll given in to that one innumerable times, right! Well here’s the truth — ready for it?
EXERCISE DOES NOT REQUIRE ENERGY BECAUSE EXERCISE CREATES ENERGY!
Suck on that, counterproductive lie in my brain!!
It’s true! I swear to you. When you are tired, and we all get tired from time to time for multiple reasons (i.e. lack of sleep, working too hard, feeling emotionally unhappy or depressed), you can still exercise! Even if your energy stores are low, you can still exercise and in the process of exercising you are actually stimulating energy to be released and increased in your body. I have always experienced an increase in energy from exercise rather than a decrease in energy, and in fact, if you are sleep deprived or struggling with insomnia, exercising in the day will give you a healthy and natural tired at nighttime when you really need it! So. Now when I *feel* tired and try to convince myself that I can’t exercise because of that *feeling*, I gouge out the tired lie with the exercise = energy reality! Done and done.
Next. And this a BIGGG one…so much to say…
2. I will never reach my goal weight, it’s too far away and it’s too hard. I should just give up and not care. I’ll just be fat forever and there’s nothing I can do to change it.
Anyone? Have you thought like this? Is it just me? OMG.
Okay. So, this one is a bit tricky because for many of us, it does have a lot to do with low self-esteem, discouragement from consistent patterns of failure in the past, and feeling overwhelmed by how much “work” there is to do. There is definitely an element of laziness in this type of thinking, which quite simply we just have to acknowledge and push past at times, but there is also an insidious element of ambivalence at work here, and it’s hard to tell the difference between the two sometimes. When it comes to weight loss, especially for those of us who have a lot of weight to lose, it can feel (and understandably so) very overwhelming, near impossible at times, and ambivalence can set in as a defense mechanism. Vicious cycle really, because ambivalence, in a very unhealthy way, causes us to be pseudo-unaffected by our unhappiness and behaviors that are clearly out of control and keeping us unhealthy. That’s no good for anyone…ever.
HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS!
If you are in an ambivalent place right now as you read through this, I firstly want to acknowledge that I KNOW how challenging it is to keep on working at weight loss on a daily basis and that, yes, it can feel impossible at times. You are not wrong or weird to feel that way — weight loss does take a great deal of hard work, and depending on your life circumstances and emotional health, it might not feel doable! Ambivalence, in my mind, is the result of feeling overwhelmed and sad and helpless in the struggle, and if that is the case for you, the good news is that you can choose to see it in a NEW way, a way that feels POSSIBLE again and that ambivalence will go away! Honestly!
Again, I believe that the dysfunctional thinking that says “I can’t do this, it’s too hard, I’ll never get there” etc etc, is a bunch of big ole’ fat lies congregating together in your head! But we will continue to believe the lies until we find a way of countering them! I personally was able to counter that constant negative thinking by accepting some MORE weight loss realities. There’s a lot of them! But, another big weight loss reality that I needed to accept is that losing weight is actually a lot simpler than we often make it out to be and is based, in a large part, on scientific equations of the RIGHT amount of input combined with the RIGHT amount of output over an extended period of time.
Let me say that again — the RIGHT amount of input combined with the RIGHT amount of output over an extended period of time!
When I have felt extremely overwhelmed by how much weight I needed to lose, especially at my heavients (203 lbs), I needed to get my facts straight and acknowledge this input/output reality. And coinciding with the input/output reality was the acceptance of weight loss being a slow and steady process that happens over an extended period of time. It will not always be noticeable while it’s happening. There will rarely if ever be fast results. It will not always be exciting while it’s happening (picture ads of healthy, thin people smiling while they jog at 6:00 am in their new Nike runner — ummm….not so much, y’all!).
That was honestly my first step to countering my feelings of hopelessness and that “ambivalence” I was talking about — simply accepting reality.
Secondly, in light of the fact that I had been emotionally depressed for quite a long time, which was adding to my negativity and sense of hopelessness, I had to recognize that my feelings and beliefs were dysfunctional, yes, but that I didn’t have to wait for them to change and become healthy in order to lose weight. Nope. I just had to DO THE STUFF THAT EQUALS WEIGHT LOSS to lose weight, irregardless of my feelings and beliefs at the time about WHETHER OR NOT I WAS CAPABLE of losing weight. WHOA. Think about that for a moment. And, yes, I will say it again.
I had to DO THE STUFF THAT EQUALS WEIGHT LOSS to lose weight, irregardless of my feelings and beliefs about WHETHER OR NOT I WAS CAPABLE of losing weight.
This is HUGE, you guys. HUMONGOUS! Actually, I just had a great email discussion with a good friend of mine about this exact topic — i.e, does what you believe about weight loss have an impact on your ability to achieve weight loss? And to me, the answer is NO! As long as you continue to DO THE STUFF that equals weight loss, your beliefs can continue to be a stick in the proverbial mud if they really want to, but you will still lose weight! You almost have to be robotic about it sometimes, to be honest. You have to accept the realities of what makes weight loss possible on a scientific level (input/output), as in if I eat healthy amounts of healthy foods and excercise often to burn calories and create lean muscle mass, I will lose weight. There’s no way around that reality unless you have some kind of crazy medical condition. Again, the unavoidable truth — if you do it, weight loss will come. So then, even if you are stuck with a bunch of dysfunctional and hopeless and ambivalent and downright ANNOYING beliefs that make you *feel* you are not capable of weight loss (which ALL OF US have experienced at one point or another) you can still lose weight! YOU CAN DO IT!!! And I can guarantee with 100% certainty that when you do the stuff, you WILL lose weight, and your feelings and beliefs will automatically start to get healthier, more positive, and more hopeful over time. GUARANTEE it!!
Saying you can’t lose weight until you feel good and excited and motivated and positive about it, is like saying you can’t go to work and make money until you feel really great about your job and like all of your coworkers! Na-ah, Diva child! We don’t always like our jobs, but we still have to go and do them because they are the foundation for financial stability. Much the same way with eating healthy and exercising (“the stuff that equal weight loss”) — you might not feel super awesome about it all the time but you will do it anyway because it is the means to the end you desire. Weight loss. Health. Personal freedom.
So, all I have to say is….
Die in a fire all you negative feelings and beliefs that try to convince me I can’t lose weight! I’m going to do the stuff that equals weight loss anyway and prove you wrong until you smarten up!!!
Wow. It feels good to get that out! Seriously!
Anyway. These are just a couple of examples of the lies that cause us to feel stuck and hopeless and prevent us from taking any action that will lead us to weight loss and health in general. It’s true what they say…it’s all in your head. But if you grab ahold of the realities of weight loss as a standard for action, NOT YOUR DYSFUNCTIONAL FEELINGS AND BELIEFS, you will succeed.
Here’s a mantra for today:
Even if you feel like shit (excuse my expletiveness!), you can still do the stuff that equal weight loss.
You can. You can. You can can can can can!!!!!!!
Don’t listen to the lies. Face them head on and GOUGE THEM OUT!
Okay. This has turned into an incredibly long post! I hope you get something out of it, I know I did!