Getting Comfortable with Feeling Uncomfortable
Friday, May 10, 2019
As I am moving along this weight loss journey I am trying to find small ideas that can create huge wins, not just for me, but to pass along to anyone else who struggles to get their momentum going.
So the huge small idea I have for you today is to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. What do I mean by that? Let's say you have your meals planned and you finish your dinner and still feel hungry. In the past I would look around for something to eat to take that feeling away. I might decide that an orange or an apple would be good, healthy and help fill me up. This is true. And at the same time it wasn't something I had put on my plan to eat. So what I do now is just sit with that feeling for a bit and talk to myself about how I had eaten enough food, that I might feel a bit hungry, but if I wait for a few minutes and get my mind on something else, this feeling might pass. What I find is that the feeling always passes. And the worst that can happen is that I will go to bed feeling a bit hungry. Another example would be that I am out shopping and lunchtime rolls around and I start feeling hungry. In the past I might have stopped at a drive-in and get a hamburger, or milkshake, something just to stop that feeling of hunger. Now I just tell myself - you will be ok until you get home and can eat what you have planned to it. The worst that can happen is I miss a meal.
Another type of discomfort comes from exercise. In the past I would not push myself too much to get extra exercise. I was afraid of my muscles hurting. But now I plan to add a little bit of extra reps or a few more steps, or up the amount of pounds that I am working out with. By just adding a little bit everyday it is amazing how fast you can build up the amount of exercise you are doing. And the discomfort is actually not that bad when you do it this way. But let's say you start exercising a body part that hasn't seen exercise in years. Yes, those muscles can hurt a bit at first. But what is the worst that can happen? You have one or two days of a little discomfort. What I tell myself is that this discomfort is a reminder that I am getting healthier and helping my body.
I think the biggest small change I have made is planning to eat very small amounts of food. I am amazed at how little we need to eat and still eat enough to be healthy. I am pretty sure I was eating at least 3 times this amount of food all of my life. But I made a decision this time would be the last time I ever lose this weight. So I am working on being uncomfortable with eating a very small amount of food. I am getting used to passing up all foods with sugar in them. I have gotten comfortable not eating bread and pastries, eating ice cream and candy. And what was the worst that happened? I was uncomfortable while getting comfortable giving up all of these foods. It has been about 6 weeks since I ate anything with sugar in it and I don't even give those foods a 2nd thought anymore. The uncomfortable feeling has totally subsided.
There are other things that will be uncomfortable that we used to cover up with eating food. I was an emotional eater and so almost every emotion that I felt was a trigger to eat. I could be happy or sad, angry or frustrated, anxious or excited. All of those feelings required some sort of food to go along with the feeling. Now I sit with the feeling and I feel them.
And I have found that the worst that could happen is I might cry or get agitated but I am genuinely feeling my feelings. And I don't have to be left with a feeling that I have thrown away all of my hard work just because someone had a birthday and I wanted a big sugary piece of cake and ice cream.
Tomorrow I am going to experience a new sort of discomfort. I am going to purposefully eat a small piece of cake. I am going to sit with that discomfort afterwards of eating just 2 or 3 bites and wanting to eat a whole big piece of cake. I am going to tell myself that I am learning how to have my cake and eat it, too. And I am doing this because I welcome the uncomfortable feeling now. I know that this is the feeling of retraining my brain. This is the feeling of being happy. This is the feeling of creating motivation. This is what losing weight feels like. Learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable is a HUGE small idea that can make the difference from being successful or giving up on yourself. Try it. Push yourself to do it for a few weeks. You will be surprised how quickly the uncomfortable becomes a new trigger to let you know you are working on making your dreams come true.