From the "Is Weight Loss Stressing You Out" quiz:
True or False: "If I can manage to lose the weight, I think many other problems in my life will be solved."
Okay, I have to admit I am extremely guilty of thinking this. I do it for two interconnected reasons:
1) I have a long history of making excuses to prevent me from doing actual work. For instance, "I can't really write a novel until I get a laptop computer." Then once I get the computer, "I can't really write until I get my own in-home office." Then once I get the office, "I can't really write until I (fill in the blank.)"
For YEARS, I did this to myself -- with anything: Well I can't do the thing until (insert specific conditions that have to be met.) With writing, I finally ran out of excuses in 2009. I had the computer, the office, the desk, the special hoodie, the comfy chair, the time, the desire -- but I needed a deadline. I found it with National Novel Writing Month, where you commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I did it -- I wrote a book (a bad book, but hey, it was practice) and realized that I didn't need the laptop, the desk, etc. All I needed was self-discipline and a deadline.
Now I look at my challenges in life and I ask myself, "Are you just making excuses for why you're not doing this? Do you really need XYZ before you can do it? Do you have to do A and B before you can do C, or are you just looking for an excuse to not do C?"
2) Losing weight, to me, means more than just dropping some pounds. It's a testament to the fact that I have committed to something and given myself NO excuses for failure. I have friends who say, "Oh I have tried diet and exercise and I just can't lose the weight, so I must be meant to stay this way" and it makes me bonkers. In my world-view, I can't accept that "trying" doesn't lead to "success" eventually. Like Yoda, I tend to think "there is no Try, there is only Do."
If I allow myself to believe that I can "Try" and not be successful, then that just becomes another excuse NOT to do something, like needing a laptop or a home office.
This is from the same quiz/article:
"At least two negative things can happen when you start looking at weight loss as the “magic” solution to everything. First, this puts an awful lot of pressure on the daily ups and downs of your weight loss journey. Every slip-up or bad day, every weight plateau, becomes magnified in importance because, in your head, it is linked to so many other important things. You can imagine how much extra stress you generate if going over your calorie budget or skipping an exercise session has come to mean that the career or the relationship you want is that much further away."
Damn skippy! The above is my brain talking, in a nutshell. If I allow it to go that crazy, I will literally obsess on every calorie taken in, and determine to match that in calories burned. It was just a few weeks ago that I was SLIGHTLY under my calorie differential, so I went out at 9:30 pm to take the dog for a walk/drag so I could burn off those last 100.
But wait -- I mean, it makes sense, doesn't it? WHEN I am successful at weight loss, I'll have the confidence to be successful in something else? I mean, I use those former success as stepping stones to NEW successes. If I can write a novel in 30 days, I can run a 5K. If I can run a 5K, then I can run/walk a Half Marathon. If I can run a Half, I can pass an exercise science course test. If I can pass that test, I can drop 15 pounds. If I can drop 15 pounds, I can learn Spanish ... see how neatly it all fits together?
But yeah, then days like today sneak up and say "You were depressed and you didn't do squat this weekend, so you broke your resistance training and yoga streak." FAILURE!!!!!! Now you have to start your streak all over again. You should probably do 3 hours of cardio today to redeem yourself.
Sometimes I can really be the meanest person I know -- to myself. Maybe once I lose the weight, I'll be nicer to myself. (See how easy it is to fall into that trap!)