Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Recovery from set backs
Part 3 in series
The third skill that has really made a difference in my efforts is the ability to recover from set backs. Stay on this path long enough and you are going to encounter discouragement and defeat. I think I am safe in making a generalized statement, that the vast majority of us have no grand visions of weight just falling off just because we decide to make a few changes and eat a few more veggies. We go into this knowing that we are up against a formidable challenge but even so, set backs are a real punch in the gut.
How you handle them will determine your long term survival.
So far I this series I have mentioned nothing about what to eat or technique. Low carb, Paleo, gluten free, low glycemic, South Beach, Atkins or whatever has not been mentioned once. It's all about heart and the filter through which we interpret our world.
One of the first rules in outdoor survival has nothing to do with a protein bar or having the right knife, it's about not panicking and keeping a level head. Sometimes the journey will take you through a wilderness and things happen that will make your compass spin. How you and I react to those lost moments will determine whether we continue on or become a statistic, yet another lost percentage point in the weight loss success rate.
I just recently took a hit myself and regained almost 15 lbs from being out of commission with a bum ankle. So this message is just as much for me as it is for anyone else who will take the time to read this and maybe by sharing we can be encouraged together. I've been lost before in this wilderness so, having survived some scrapes in the past, I can reach into my survival kit and know that in the long run I'm going to be ok.
So what's in my survival kit?
1) Money from my emotional bank account. ( see previous blog ) -
Having set and completed small goals, the sheer repetition of success and consistency reassures me that because I have done it before, I am well able to do it again because I am proven it to myself. I've earned my own self respect and therefore I'm not running on empty. Once I get my balance, I know I will get back on track.
2) An alternative energy source.
Because of my purpose driven fitness (see first blog in series) my self worth does not come from a single energy source such as the scale. I am not a number and my strength does not rise or fall with what it says. Because I challenge myself and have experienced the rewards of meeting those challenges, I have learned that there is a whole lot more to Robert than 15 extra pounds that came my way by not being able workout in the way I'm used to and not adjusting my eating. Because my energy comes from somewhere else, a bad scale moment doesn't have to wreck my overall outlook. Don't get me wrong, it hurts but it doesn't have to destroy our resolve.
3) A pencil with an eraser.
This piece of survival gear is essential. With it I can get my focus when the bad times come. With the pencil I write down all of the things in my current situation that I have control over, those things I don't and what's important to me. When what I do on a daily basis does not line up with what my heart says I should be doing, frustration and depression results. Acknowledging what I can't control, identifying those things that I am still able to do is key to adjusting my expectations I have of myself and then making small goals in those area that are important in keeping the blues away because I'm still headed in the right direction.
The eraser is for removing the references of what used to be from my script so I can adjust to my new reality. I used to be 15 lbs lighter and 15 lbs closer to goal. I used to be a marathoner and a triathlete but due to my ankle, I may only be able squeeze out a 5k with my new orthotics. Am I able to excel in this new reality if that is what befalls me? Only if I don't continually compare my present with my past. That's what the eraser is for, so the ghosts of successes past do not haunt my present and cloud my future. If I am able to run again, the eraser is also so I don't compare my present pacing with what I used to do. Reduced ability due to deconditioning isn't a failure, it's reality and there is no sense in allowing the past to beat me up and affect my future.
This is the most important item in my survival kit. There is too much at stake to allow shame or depression to drive me into isolation because the banana that leaves the bunch is the one that gets peeled. When times are good, make friends both immediate and here on Spark so that when times are bad you have somewhere to go. A listening ear can make the difference between standing your ground or throwing yourself under the dietary bus. No man ( or woman ) is an island and we all need someone to confide in or talk sense into us when we are irrational.
These things in my kit have proven their worth so many times that I now don't leave home without it. If you don't have one, start building one, you'll be thankful you did.
You'll be a survivor.