Recently while listening to the Half Size Me podcast, Heather was talking about the pain of change and how the pain of change is not as bad as the pain of staying the same. What pains are you experiencing in your life because of your weight? What physical pains, and emotional pains are you experiencing and is it worse to continue to endure those pains or to decide to change and face the physical and emotional pains that changing brings? Shortly after this I was listening to the staying motivated clip from the Half Size Me app and in there she talks about how the real way to stay motivated is have a profoundly deep and important why. The things we do to motivate ourselves often don't last long. Reading a success story, or pulling out our skinny pants, or dreaming about what size we want to be or the body we want to have when we are at our ideal weight are all superficial and fail to stand up to the challenge and the pain of change time and time again. The real way to stay motivated is to find out what pains you more than the pain of change. What is so awful to you that you can't stand the thought of it so you continue on no matter what, what makes you determined to reach the end of your journey and make real permanent changes? I guarantee you one thing: it isn't to fit into a pair of pants.
I realized that sometime in late July I lost my why. I have lost sight of the goal and the drive that motivated me to lose weight in the first place. I crossed 145, I was in my healthy weight range, I was able to be more active with the girls and so I threw everything out the window, I had more or less arrived and I was done right? Wrong. I went into the "off plan" mindset for a long time. I not only fell off the proverbial wagon, but I was rolling around in the mud to boot. So here I am thinking about my why at the same time I am currently sitting on the couch watching Snow White with Lily eating chocolate, crackers, cheese, and chips. Grazing again even though I told myself I wasn't going to do that today, I inevitably did. So as I was watching Snow White for the umpteenth time munching away pondering my why I came up with lots of ideas: being able to be active with the girls, being able to play with them when they want me to, facing the fact that I failed, seeing the disappointment in my Mom's face or my husband's face when they realize that I have forsaken my healthy habits. The horror of getting fat again, the threat of diabetes (it's in my family so I am at a higher risk for it). Thinking of thing after thing, they were all good things, all good goals but I figured that when I found the right one it would be so profound that it would stop my mindless munching which had been going on for the better part of 2 hours and didn't seem to be reaching an end any time soon even though I was making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and my spaghetti sauce was simmering on the stove. Nothing struck a chord, so I dug deeper, thinking, really thinking what is it that will drive me to pick myself up out of the mud, clean myself off and start again, what will give me the strength to really change, for life? Digging into my own emotions, my childhood, my past, thinking about my future, thinking about my present.... and find it I did.
I found my why, and it wasn't something I had really previously thought of before. It revolved around my kids, but not in the way I expected. You see, while I was on the couch munching away, Lily was on the couch munching away with me. I realized that the one thing that horrified me more than anything else would be if my kids grew up and lived my life. If my kids were overweight as children, grew up with weight problems, perpetually dieted, and felt awful about themselves.... and it was ALL MY FAULT. My fault because I set a bad example by teaching them to snack on crackers and cookies, my fault because I didn't cultivate a love for discovering healthy food that they liked to eat, my fault because I couldn't change my ways and so they ate what I ate, and that made them fat, and that gave them image problems. My fault that they didn't know how to properly feed their bodies because I had taught them to eat fried chicken and ice cream. The horror that they would have to go through what I am going through and face the pain of change instead of being able to stay naturally thin because I didn't care enough to change myself so I could teach them how to navigate this world of fast food and processed food, my fault because the only thing I taught them how to make was cookies and brownies. The single terrifying thought that I would make them fat and it would be entirely my fault. THAT is the thought that stopped me in my tracks, the thought that I would fail them in one of the most essential ways giving them not the gift of self confidence but of self hatred. Never in a million years would I want my kids to go through what I went through in middle school and high school, never would I want them to have to go through what I am going through now. Changing not only your body, but your mind, your whole life!
Right then and there, everything was put away, to the protests of my 3 year old who had been happily crunching crackers and chocolate. Of all the things I teach my children, teaching them how to love their bodies, to love exercise-to fall in love with a physical activity so they don't have to think of it as exercise- and teaching them how to eat healthily, how to cook good food, how to eat snacks and desserts in moderation are some of the most important things they need to know so they can become successful, confident women. If I don't pick myself up they will not learn these things from me, and one of the best ways to teach is to lead by example. If they follow my example, I would not be doing them any favors.
I know now that I can face the pain of change, because the pain of not changing is now much more intense than the pain of staying the same. I now have a Why that is much more than looking good, or reaching a smaller size, or attaining the body I always dreamed of. If you are struggling I challenge you to really dig deep within yourself and ask the question "why do you want to lose weight? What pains you more than the pain of change? What is so terrifying to you that you absolutely cannot fail in getting to your goal?"