What happens if I actually succeed and get to my weight goal? That means I have to be perfect. People will look to me as an example and that’s a lot of pressure. I won’t be able to backslide. There will be so many people just waiting to say “I told you so!” And if I’m successful at reaching a weight goal, everyone will expect me to be successful at everything. I won’t be able to make the slightest mistake in my career, as a friend, as a parent, or anywhere in my life. It means I’ll have to be perfect and I can’t do that!
I’m afraid I’ll fail - again. I’m afraid I won’t be able to sustain my weight even if I do reach my goal. I’m afraid I won’t ever get to eat the foods I love again. I’m afraid I won’t be the same person. I’m afraid I’ll get unwanted sexual attention as I did in the past and I feel vulnerable.
It was January and I started a new food and exercise plan. I was excited about it and determined to make it work this time! I had planned out meals that included foods I loved. I had contingency plans for eating out. I planned out how and when to get my exercise in. I set my alarm clock to get up early on the days I would go to the YMCA to work out. This plan was so specific to me and to my lifestyle that it couldn’t fail! I couldn’t wait to get started!
WordSense Dictionary defines the phrase ‘feel the burn’ this way: “To feel the burning sensation arising in a muscle being intensely exercised; often used as an exhortation to extend oneself in physical exercise.” Whether or not you’re someone who loves to exercise until you feel the burn, I think there’s something we can take away from this idea of extending ourselves until we can feel progress.
In last week’s blog we talked about changing our resistance training to acceptance training. We’re going to resist the process of making changes to our bodies less and accept ourselves exactly as we are so we can transform our habits and ideas. This week let’s explore aerobics. These days, it’s more often called cardio exercise because it’s meant to strengthen our cardiovascular system. But aerobic is the word that I want to work with.
There’s a common saying that goes like this: “What you resist persists.” Basically, this is telling us that those things we don’t want to do, and we don’t want to look at, and we try our hardest to avoid, will hang around like a hungry puppy dog, begging for food and attention. No amount of resistance will make these things go away until we pay them some attention and feed them some energy.
We often think of January as a time to make resolutions to do new things, to change existing things, or to set goals for the coming year. We see the beginning of a new year as a time for a fresh start. We plan new projects, decide to make changes in our lives, and very often start a food and exercise plan. All of that is positive and good. In addition, I think there’s another way of thinking about the new year that validates the positive changes we’ve been making in our lives already.
When I was a child, I used to go to a community pool in the summer. Every hour, the lifeguards would blow their whistles and everyone had to get out of the pool for a 10 minute rest period. They did it to test the water and add chemicals, but they also did it to prevent exhaustion, for our safety.
When you hit a plateau, or when you have gained a little bit of weight, when you are feeling discouraged, what is your first thought about how to get back on track? Maybe you think about getting back to using your calorie tracker. Maybe you make up a new grocery list so you have the ‘good’ foods in the house when you need them. Maybe you resolve to watch your food portions more closely. Or maybe you decide it’s time to get back to the exercise plan you made for yourself. Do you decide that you can add just one more day of exercise to your schedule? These are the most common responses I hear when I ask this question in coaching.
There are any number of products on the market from vitamins to drinks to pills designed to boost our energy and help us be more productive. If we’re paying attention to our body feedback, we also recognize that some foods give us more energy than others and leave us feeling supercharged. Regardless of whether it’s a manufactured supplement or a natural food combination, we all need a little help now and then to feel less sluggish and more alive.
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