Discouragement. Why do I get discouraged and why should I be discouraged?
Sunday, January 22, 2012
I was reading a SP article this morning about hitting walls, when I saw this little poll titled "What is your biggest weight loss hurdle?" on the side screen off the article. So I looked over the the button choices: No motivation, No time to work out, Dining out too much, No help from anyone else, Discouragement, Holidays and vacations.
I thought about each of the choices and found that all of the choices except Discouragement were, for me, just excuses for why I haven't done for myself, my weight loss, what I need to do.......So I clicked on it and submitted my "vote."
To my surprise, I saw that Discouragement was second in popular answer only to No motivation. So there must be a lot of other discouraged people besides myself trying to lose weight!
But why do I get discouraged? Why do I get ~so~ discouraged sometimes that I want to quit my diet and just go back to how I was before?
I've been thinking about it all day today....not just because I messed my food plan up yesterday and woke up this morning + 1/2 a pound!.....and I think it has something to do with being competitive. We are all competitive to a certain degree-some more than others-and competition at its base means someone wins and someone loses. It takes a lot, A LOT, for people to get away from that basal human state of win/lose competition to newer "conflict resolution" philosophy of win/win. Growing up I was raised win/lose, I played a lot of sports, so of course always wanted to win! I felt better winning, no matter whether I played well, the team played well, winning ~mattered,~ was encouraged, praised and rewarded. Losing, of course, got the opposite effect. Losing was "bad," it meant failure and I felt bad losing.
Translated into weight loss, "winning" is losing weight if that's the contest I've set for myself, "losing" is gaining, or not reaching my goal. I've been "losing" this battle for a long time. It IS discouraging to lose a contest-I don't like to lose a soccer game in the same way as I don't like to wake up without even .1 pound lost. But weight loss is a game I've been challenging myself to and losing over and over and over again. I've given up so many times in the past, and of course gained whatever meager weight I've lost back. Discouragement goes hand in hand with losing.......
But I ~AM~ losing weight, and I ~AM~ eating better, and I ~HAVE~ found exercise opportunities that challenge only me other than conflict-based sports, so a lot of the win/lose is going away. I retired from soccer earlier this year and picked up Zumba. And this summer, I'm going to start hiking again, not play softball. Why did I ever stop? I love to hike! But I liked softball more, I liked soccer more, no time for hiking, b/c I liked winning! There's no win/lose in Zumba or hiking, there's no feeling like a loser for finishing second, third, not making the playoffs, only me finishing my task at whatever fitness level I can manage. Much less discouragement this way, no "losing" at Zumba! And the pounds are peeling off, slowly but surely, but they are coming off. I should NOT be discouraged about anything I do that pulls me to that outcome!
It's taken my whole 46 years on the planet to get to where I am now. To get away from the trap of win/lose and try very hard to think only in terms of meeting goals! This is not a competition, I am in it just for myself, and I cannot not ~beat~ myself, I will only meet my goals, that's winning and there is no losing! I have come to terms with the new conflict management technique of win/win. Diffuse negative as soon as it creeps into my conscience, find the common ground. If I eat a piece of cake 1 day, I forgive it, not today but I pre-forgive it for tomorrow when I know it will show up on the scale! Praise instead the banana I ate at lunch, the lean chicken I ate for dinner. I do my best to make quick peace with my slip ups and focus on the smallest positive, every day!
So why do I get discouraged? I don't have any reason to be! I'm not going to be discouraged today. I'll work on not being discouraged tomorrow, tomorrow! I think it's just the kind of change I need to make my weight loss journey successful. This time it feels much different, I can't lose! This is a good new way for me to think about it all and prepare for goal achievement!