If you, like I, struggle with compulsive eating and weight gain/loss, what if you, and I, stepped outside of the struggle for a bit?
WHAT IF, instead of thinking you have to eat strictly Paleo, or gluten-free, or some other strict plan, you just focused on freeing yourself from one self-sabotaging habit for now? For me the habit I am conquering is eating after dinner and up until bedtime. I have successfully retired this habit in the past, and can retire it again - eating late into the evening is a surefire way to gain weight.
WHAT IF, instead of thinking you need to focus like a laser beam on losing weight once and for all, you shifted your focus onto another area of your life that is causing you stress and anxiety? Lately I have been focusing time and energy and effort and funds on doing some home-improvement projects around our home. We had deferred maintenance because of the combination of a huge college tuition payments for one of our sons, and just generally feeling burned out. Freshening up our home has reduced some stress and anxiety for my husband and I because we do it in reasonably manageable chunks, and D.I.Y. a lot of it. Speaking of burn-out, I was feeling sick and tired of focusing on, and failing, to lose weight so I needed a shift in perspective (which is not the same as saying "*$ it" and going on a bender).
WHAT IF you considered non traditional forms of exercise, if you are feeling resistant to, or tired of, traditional workouts? Vacuuming and scrubbing floors and windows can be just as sweat--inducing as a cardio workout at a gym. Tackling weeding and lawn mowing can substitute for a run or walk or hike in the fresh air. Taking your kids (or being an angel and taking someone else's kids) to a park and chasing them and challenging them to push ups and pull ups and squats and sprints can take the place of a boot camp session. I have long been committed to working out but I get tired of it sometimes and need to shake things up a bit, and then I am willing to go back to my routine of "sweat camp" and hikes, etc.
WHAT IF you increased your sleep and decreased your stress? Going to bed early (with a good book or a new magazine or a favorite sitcom if you need to take your mind off some worries) can decrease stress levels. Deep, slow breathing can reduce anxiety more readily than swearing and having an adult tantrum (something I am familiar with, believe me). Leaving early for an event (not easy, but very rewarding) is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety - my youngest child has been instrumental in changing my lifelong bad habit of leaving late, and arriving on the dot or a few minutes late. It makes such a difference in my stress level, and his - he is an anxious kid and does way better if he arrives somewhere, like sports practices, very early. Of course, when we arrived before the coach I knew we had swung a bit too far the other direction
WHAT IF you took a moment and thought about all the good habits you do possess, instead of focusing on those destructive habits that continue to be as stubborn as weeds?
WHAT IF you offered some words of encouragement to yourself, much like you would (and, of course, should) offer to someone else, like a fellow Sparkler?
WHAT IF you gave yourself a break, without giving up and giving in? If you just slowed your pace a bit, lowered your expectations without giving up on yourself altogether?
WHAT IF you pushed through the feelings of failure and fear, and came out the other side, knowing that to struggle requires a certain amount of strength and fortitude?
WHAT IF you gave yourself credit, while still holding yourself to your OWN reasonable standards?
WHAT IF you stopped comparing yourself to other people, especially fitness models or models of any kind, since, by their very nature, they are an exception?
WHAT IF I have driven you crazy by the repetitive nature of this blog theme? Oh, well, you'll forgive me