BESSHAILE   46,068
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What's with this fear of rewards? A dialogue between Head and Heart.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Months ago I created a list of rewards for mileposts along the way to reaching the body I want. Most were numerical - reaching 1/4, 1/2 and3/4 of my goal but two were non-scale rewards. And I have reached both of them! and yet - I haven't accepted my rewards. what's with this?

Why is it that intellectually I acknowledge that smaller clothes and compliments from people ought to not just count, but perhaps even be a bigger reason than a scale number but emotionally I don't.

Emotionally I have been telling myself "well, that person just remembered me as bigger than I am" or "oh I am clever at disguising my size with flattering clothes". Emotionally I have said "well, of course those pants fit - you've been working out". Emotionally I am saying "you have not been good enough to deserve those rewards .. . they were for after you actually lost X amount of weight."

Man. That emotional coach has a bad attitude.

My thinking brain says "look girl. the only reason you're doing all this is so that you have a body that fits in the space you want it to (those khaki pants?) and moves with the ease you want (working out girlfriend!!!)

My feeling brain screams "BAAAAAAD LUCK! Reward yourself too soon and you'll get lax and quit!"

My thinking brain says "What's with this fear of rewards? You earned these freakin' things!!!!"

My feeling brain tsks "Fat Fat Fat Fat Fat"

And that's when the thinking brain turns to the feeling brain and says "Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong. If you deny the rewards you promised you are a liar liar liar liar liar"

And my feeling brain gasps and then blushes and then swallows and says "oh. you are right. And I hate lying to myself. "

Because, the truth is, my feeling brain isn't really a meanie - it's just ... well ... emotion driven and sometimes it gets afraid and tries to protect me from things it fears. In fact, I believe I see my Dad in that feeling brain of mine, poor thing. Always afraid to savor the triumphs.

And the truth is - I have not only gotten into those khaki trousers, but someone who understands what weight loss looks like, what body shrinkage really is, asked me if I was working on my weight (again) and told me how good I looked. And unlike hearing it from my darling husband who once told me I looked as slim as I did when he met me (and I laughed all the rest of the day ... that was 35 lbs ago!) so you know, I can't believe him. But B? Yeah. She knows. Her compliment I believe.

And the rewards for those two triumphs are

Fit nicely into those khaki trousers --- Leave 3 hours early the following Friday

First time someone says “Haven't you lost weight?” --- Schedule a pedicure and take the rest of the day off

So. I will leave work today at 3 o'clock and this morning when I am having my nails done I will schedule a pedicure for next week and make plans to take the rest of THAT day off too.

Remember - be true to yourself - don't let either your head or your heart fool you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LV4TAY 1/29/2010 7:42PM

    I love the way you isolated your thinking "self-talk" and your feeling "self talk" because that mean little "you aren't worthy" voice is so pernicious that I often take for granted that I have to listen to it.

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EARTHSEAME 1/29/2010 12:56PM

    Nice analysis. You deserve those awards!

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    Thanks for this! I'm terrible at rewards, and I need to look at that.

Good for you! Get a cool pedicure! happy toes!

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JKTENTATIVE 1/29/2010 10:14AM

    Yes - I have the same worry...if I reward myself too soon, will I somehow lose my drive and motivation?
Now that we are attuned to that voice, let's make sure that that doesn't happen to us! You go girl and have your pedicure and time deserve it and you should savor it! Use it to build momentum to keep on track and get to that next goal...connect that mind and body in a positive way...

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DMBEECHAM 1/29/2010 9:35AM

    So true! I blogged about my lack of self-reward the other day. I completely relate to your "Thinking brain" and "Feeling brain" analogy. Sometimes I think I neglect to reward myself because I get sucked into thinking (rationalizing, more like) "why should I reward myself for something I should be doing anyway?"

Congrats on your accomplishments & enjoy your rewards!

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Every Victory Counts

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Even the tiniest ones.

And I have to remember that and also that they don't always come in nice neat little increments, each one bigger than the last one. Certainly not for everyone. Most definitely not for me, the classic ENFP scatter girl who always has 10 projects going at once and wants progress on all of them.

I realize that's the biggest message of SP but sometimes it's lost beneath the da capo retelling of someone's giant triumph. I really like to read other people's success stories - they inspire me a lot. But stories tend to be told in chronological order and just hit the high spots - so the tiny victories get forgotten - get lost in the telling.

and though, of course, we all live chronologically, we may not be victorious in a straight line. Weight may go down one month and inches go down another, energy may be up one month but strength another. And that is why I have to hold on tight to each victory as it comes along and celebrate it, appreciate it, remember how much effort it took and how proud of myself I feel for making the effort.

My victory last night was to NOT eat anything after dinner. I wasn't hungry. My inner devil was saying "its just yogurt. It's nutritious. It's low fat. You just want the taste of something sweet."

To quiet that wicked imp I had to pull out all the stops - use every trick I had.

First I asked myself if I was hungry. Nope.
Second I asked myself if I was hungry again Nope.
Third I asked myself if I could just skip indulging my craving for this one night and for a few moments I could say Yep.
Fourth I asked myself if I was hungry yet. Nope.
Finally I looked down at my tummy and asked myself "would you rather button THAT dress over this tummy or would you rather have a snack? THAT dress won.

And for the first time in a long time I felt that surge of power. that sense of mastery over the situation. I felt as if I really will do this.

this was my spark. this little silly 100 calorie step suddenly felt like a triumph.

yes. I must remember. Every victory counts and deserves to be acknowledged.

You remember it too - you victorious sparkers.

edited to add this link:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 1/28/2010 5:54PM

    emoticon emoticon A small victory but a victory all the same! Awesome! Keep on Sparking!

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JLITT62 1/28/2010 1:44PM

    That isn't a small victory, that's HUGE -- and it's one I'm really struggling with right now. And you're inspiring me! Altho I'll probably still have a treat after dinner, but at least it is something to work towards.

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Getting it down on paper

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Man. That is one hard thing for me to do.

Yesterday I boldly stated that I would take 10 minutes to write down everything I like about my body.

But I didn't.

Now - while taking my dogs for a walk in the morning I thought about the things I liked. It was sort of fun and sort of silly and yet it was also enlightening.

but I didn't write it down

I wrote down lists (with timelines) of Important Thing s To Do at work (since I have a bunch of projects coming up). I fulfilled my Just For Today 3 good things. (gonna do that again today)

but I didn't write It Down.

And I didn't do it because I didn't really feel it was important. Because honestly, if it were important I'd have done it. I ALWAYS do the important stuff.

so what's up?

don't I think I'm important?

don't I think I should take 10 minutes out of the 960 minutes I'm wake and write down what I like about myself?

do I think it's silly? arrogant? self-centered?

Was it shyness about putting it down on paper - making it visual? after all, I did give myself 10 minutes to think about this subject.


I'm pretty sure I'm not the sort who always put myself last. I don't. I indulge in lots of good things. And I'm at the stage in life when the demands on me are less - no young children, husband still vigorous, parents in good care.

I don't know why I didn't take those 10 minutes - but perhaps I wasn't sure what to do with it afterwards. While I don't mind thinking good things about me and I can at least conceive why it would be a good thing to make that list - it's not something I'd post where everyone could see it. Hmmm.

Well. Hmmmm.

I don't have an answer. I guess I'll just have to think about it. On my walk. Which I'm going to go take right now.

Happy Hump Day to you all!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 1/27/2010 10:04AM

    I need peace and quiet and time to reflect. Somedays it's available and some days, life happens and the task is forgotten. I'll get to it, maybe even today.
No, not maybe! Today! Think positive and just do it!

I just took my 10 minutes now and put it down on paper. Don't tell my boss LOL!

Comment edited on: 1/27/2010 10:14:39 AM

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DAYHIKER 1/27/2010 9:42AM

    Maybe you need one of those little digital recorders to carry with you on your doggie walks!! emoticon I can relate as I have been dragging my feet at finishing the vision collage and today's my last day to finish it for my week 1 list. (sigh)

Happy Wednesday!!

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JLITT62 1/27/2010 7:59AM

    Sometimes just blogging about things gives us the answer. You'll figure it out -- I know you will.

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Bess has got her groove back!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

and she's rarin' to go. AND she's emoticon-ing SP all over the place.

Today there was a great article on staying motivated with two tips I am going to try starting today.

First: Do 3 things today that will move me towards my goals.

a. I will get out of my desk at work every hour and walk around the library, inside and out.
b. I will absolutely positively drink 8 glasses of water
c. Just for today I will eat only and exactly enough food that is Good For Me. No "small handful" of cheetos. No "just one" cookie. Just for today everything I eat will be within my calorie range and 100% nutrition.

These are wonderful things to do any day or all the time, but today I am going to concentrate only on doing them today.

Second: Focus on my good qualities!

woo woo.

So. Just for today I will take 10 minutes and write down everything about my body I like.

I might do that #2 every day - and focus on things other than my body as a spur to get me to move along a little faster in the Other Areas of my life that I would like to be better. I know I respond to praise ... but I don't often give it to myself. I think I actually forget the talents and skills I have that I may not be using and that might just make my work life better, my house tidier, my finances more productive.

Besides - it's not just a silly exercise in self aggrandisement. It's a reminder of things I like to do, know how to do, but have forgotten I can do well because LIFE just hasn't called on those talents lately. But they're there, lying dormant and waiting to be used.

I'm actually a fabulous budgeter and have made mere pennies stretch around the block and then some in years when I've needed to. I haven't needed to in a long time so I have gotten lazy about it. But it isn't THAT hard and I am ready to hone those skills again.

These two things alone are enough to make me emoticon SP all over the place, but then there were these chair yoga exercises that can be part of my getting up and moving every hour plan.
getting_fired .

Today I really do feel as if I got my groove back. I wish the same for everyone who reads this! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 1/26/2010 11:31PM


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WEDDWT 1/26/2010 2:56PM

    emoticon emoticon

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GINNYF1956 1/26/2010 8:10AM

  I love the drive you give me. Will give me a lot more push. Ginnyf emoticon emoticon

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Adding TheSpark to other areas of my life.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Whoa! Had an epiphany yesterday.

It actually began Saturday when I got down on my knees and really scrubbed out that awful bathtub of mine. It's an old tub and most of the enamel has worn either thin or actually OFF so it's the biggest chore in my whole house - scrubbing it and never knowing for sure if it's actually clean. Ugh.

By Sunday afternoon I got to thinking about how we have lived in this house for 28 years and that's the same bathroom, lino floor, wall tile, and crusty tub that was there when we moved in. It's always had a half finished look to it anyway and now it's a crumbling half finished look. Time for a renovation.

and the first thing I thought about after that was ... how are we going to pay for this? And that's when I thought about our family budget and how we spend our paper calories and it seems that ... the budget looks a little like my Pre-Spark People diet. Basically sound but with too many empty calories in it.

So using tools I'm developing here I sat down with pencil and paper.

First I set a goal - a refurbished bathroom.

Then a time-line - probably next year, but maybe in the fall.

And then... I began doing the math with the budget. I put down the essentials we need to cover every month - the household versions of protein, folate, calcium, vitamins. . . things like utilities and insurance and such. I added on groceries in a lump sum. Then the monthly expenditures that are small, but add up. You get the idea - what I found was there was a good sized chunk of money I could salt away.

I'm still doing the figuring and the math but once I've done that I plan to

Enlist support - i.e. talk to Himself

Make my vision board - i.e. go window shopping in magazines and home improvement stores to see what's out there

Log my financial nutrition - i.e. bank book

Talk to experts - i.e. those plumbers and carpenters and tile setters.

All very exciting and fun - so - once again, THANKS Spark People, for lighting another spark in my life.

Happy Monday to you all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 1/25/2010 9:52AM

    When we moved here, I gave up my very large dream kitcehn in Austin for this relatively small kitchen. We knew what we planned to do . . . yet 9 months went by before we got started.

Some of it was because I wanted to take my time and really devote thought to what I wanted. Also, we don't plan to be living here forever. Maybe 5 years. Even that is unsure -- right now DH is on a temporary assignment that will be up in a little over a year. But we think he'll find employment here for a few more years.

Anyway, before we went ahead with the rennovation, I told DH I was fine with not doing it. But I wasn't willing to fix it up for someone else again.

When we lived in VT, we put in all new flooring only to move within a couple of months -- altho in fairness, we didn't at the time know we'd be moving. Still, we'd lived there for 7 years and it could certainly have been done sooner.

We put off doing new flooring in our home in TX, altho it was really needed, not to mention painting inside. And once again, we ended up doing it after we moved out, to sell the house.

And so we are in the midst of our kitchen remake. And I am also working on a spending diet. I'm not terrible, but I definitely need to spend less. My first step was just tracking this month. Next month, my aim is to lower that amount by hopefully 10%. Sound familiar?

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DAYHIKER 1/25/2010 8:18AM

    What a great idea, Bess!! emoticon

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    That is awesome. We have been in the process of renovations, doing them as budget and time allow. It has taken us about 4 years. We should finally be done by the end of summer. emoticon

It is good to see that you are using tools you have learned here to help in other areas of life. I am working on that.

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