Tuesday, January 13, 2009
"It's all or Nothing"...a phrase that sounds definitively positive when most people use it. After all, giving something your all demonstrates commitment, drive, determination...it is swearing an oath that you will accomplish what you are setting out to do. Yet this phrase seems to be at the root of many issues in my life, and while I have known for awhile I struggle with this, I never fully understood why...but I think I am finally beginning to.
Most people only think about the "all" side of this phrase when they embark on their goals and don't really consider the possibility of "nothing." However, there are times when "all" isn't possible, and when that happens, "nothing" can become an unhealthy coping mechanism to quickly eliminate discomfort, guilt, shame, etc. In my life, I learned at an early age that achieving anything less than perfect results means I did not do the job to the best of my ability. When the standard you seek to maintain is perfection, giving it your "all" takes on an entirely new meaning, and you are just setting yourself up for "nothing." When the goal or expectation seems too difficult, boring, overwhelming...pick your adjective..."nothing" becomes the escape hatch to relieve the pressure.
"Nothing" is crafty and sly...it whispers enticing little lies and patiently waits for moments of weakness to seduce you like prey into a web of false gratification. "You can't stay on your plan at that restaurant or social gathering, how will you ever figure out how to count those foods? Just skip it and don't count today. Better yet, the weekend is right around the corner--they're never easy, so why not just start fresh on Monday. Yes, Mondays are always a good day to start over, right? And, since you're taking a few days off, you might as well take advantage of the opportunity to eat all those yummy things that you have been saying no to lately, while you don't have to count it or worry about portion control. That's what breaks are for, right?" and on an on the lies go. The same could be said for so many other areas in my life...not exercising, not keeping up with my house chores, overspending, wracking up debts..."nothing" sure turns into "something" in a hurry!
So I have decided that perfectionist thinking with "nothing" being the alternative just has to go. To replace it, I'm coining a new key phrase for my journey, "All would be great, but something is enough." It's time to accept that even if there are hundreds of things I need to do differently in my life, I don't need to be perfect at any of them, and certainly not all at once. Making mistakes or achieving less than perfect results does not equate to failure and are not reasons to jump off the wagon. Baby steps are perfectly acceptable, as long as they are in the right direction. It's no longer about perfection, it's about forward progress and staying on the journey.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Today, as the saying goes, is the first day of the rest of my life. After so many failed attempts to attain a healthy weight, today I am starting the preliminary diet given to me by my surgeon's office to help prepare me for Lap Band surgery. My goal is to take 20 pounds off within the next 2 months, also hopefully before we go to Vegas in March which will make the flight a little more comfortable. I have been working on chewing more thoroughly and not drinking with meals here and there, but as of today, I am committing to work on this with every meal. So far, so good...of course, I have only eaten one meal that way, but it's a start. The hardest part so far is to not have coffee with my breakfast. My surgeon recommends giving up coffee completely before surgery, but I'm just not sure I can or want to do that. I am right now counting the minutes from when I finished my breakfast, and when I hit 30, I'm getting a cup of Joe!
I know this process is going to take a lot more organization, planning and preparation than what I am used to (well anything would, really, since most of the time I'm just flying by the seat of my pants). Setting aside some "me" time every day to exercise is also something I am not used to, so that will be a challenge too. It's not a matter of whether I want to or not anymore, I have to make myself do it if I am going to be successful.
As I prepare for surgery, I am worried...not so much about the surgery, but about how disciplined I will be. Will this be one more failed attempt like so many others in my life? I just cannot allow that to happen. I know my resolve will be tested many times, and how will I fare? My biggest challenge will be to change how I relate to food. It can no longer be my closest friend, the one I run to when I'm happy, depressed, or frustrated. I need to get past my current passions for taste, texture, etc., and begin to see food for what it really is, fuel that nourishes my body and provides energy and vitality.
I meet with the psychologist today for my first evaluation. Wouldn't it be wonderful to discover some deep dark secret within my psyche that has caused me to overeat all my life. Okay, wishful thinking...
Well, at least for now, I am on the right track. One step at a time...oh, and how could I forget...10 minutes until coffee!!
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