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The ABC's of Motivation: Courage

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Today's word is courage. My little Webster's says that courage is "1 the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it; quality of being fearless or brave; valor"

I'm focusing on the first clause, because as almost everyone who battles the battle of weight loss and maintenance motivation knows... while it may not always be dangerous (if done sanely) to deal with our weight issue (it SHOULD be making us healthier), it can be difficult and sometimes painful. One of the reasons some of us have carried excess weight was to avoid. Avoid emotions. Push people away.

I am not without fears, anxieties, or worries. Food has been my way to cope. It takes courage to choose NOT to avoid... to use other tools... to recognize, accept, and feel the emotions that have to be dealt with. I was so deep in denial about negative emotions that my first signal I was experiencing them was finding myself at the fridge or the candy counter or at the bottom of a carton of ice cream.

While I cannot control their appearance, I can choose what to do about those emotions. Part of the solution is having the courage to make a different choice, but first I have to be aware of the difference between hunger and avoidance of emotion... and that is not always easy to detect at first on this journey. And it is the subject of other entries, not this one.

Courage is letting go of the coping mechanism. Courage is seeing something that scares me and moving forward, anyway.

Courage is part of my event participation, too. I sign up for an obstacle course, mud run, or endurance race and while training, I still find that I dream of all the things that could go wrong... but then I do it anyway. Amazingly, having done something difficult and completing it? Makes the next difficult or scary thing a little less so, and my likelihood of following through greater.

Examine the courage with which you live your lives. It is there. Trust me. You have made decisions in your life where the ultimate outcome was uncertain. If you got married? Where was the guarantee in that? Bore a child? Yep, scary as it comes. Moved to take a job? Yeppers, that's in there too. Made a decision to see a doctor? Faced a diagnosis and had to decide on treatment options?

All of these were risks to make your life better. Letting go of the crutch of food as an emotional calmer? A risk? Yes, because then everything that might have been driving the eating must be uncovered, examined, and dealt with. Then the choice of HOW to deal with it is back in our hands.

No longer victims. Food is not the enemy. We are courageous, and that is the motivation for today!

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