A follower on instagram, let’s call her IG Mary, has an account where she is losing weight and keeping herself motivated. It’s a place where people can express how they are feeling about their journey, measure the goal posts when they lose weight and feel good when everyone posts encouraging messages. (As well as ducking and weaving between Herbalife, crazy wraps and other people trying to get you to buy stuff.)
This time however, Mary was feeling bad. She had a friend over the night before and they’d eaten Chinese food and drunk a bottle of wine and now she said she was feeling bad and unmotivated. I love this kind of stuff, as hopefully I can get people to think from another angle.
So I asked her if she was feeling bad, shameful, regretful because she had broken her diet and supposedly let herself down or physically bad, like queasy from the preservatives in the wine and food, overfull, maybe tired, lethargic and bloated. Just how your body gets sometimes when it is trying to process ‘crapola’ through your system. I was just curious as to the source of her feeling bad because one is helpful and one isn’t, in terms of successful weight loss.
So as I suspected, the source of the bad feeling was shame and disappointment at herself but interestingly though she said, “but yeah I feel the tired, bloated stuff too.” So no wonder she was feeling unmotivated – feeling physically poor and beating up on herself for her supposed mistake at the same time. A double whammy! However she seemed to be in complete denial of how the physical issues played a part in all of this, including her lack of motivation. If you are feeling sick and tired, does that make you want to go for a run more or perhaps less? Less I would be thinking!
I explained to her in my journey when I was trying to lose weight, every step I was taking made me feel physically better and I was tuned into this as a guide as to how I was doing and the direction I should be taking. It doesn’t mean to say that I didn’t have slip ups, or wander off the path occasionally, I totally did.
For example, I worked out that sugar gives me a headache, makes me wired, scatty, then irritated and so tired I could fall asleep even it was the middle of the morning! As well, it caused way out of control eating and made me fat. So knowing this on my weight loss track, I would keep away from it or eat only desserts I made with organic maple syrup that didn’t have this effect on me. However out at a work function one day, they had a dessert called Chocolate Extravaganza, which was a tasting plate of about eight different little chocolate desserts. My boss insisted that I share this with her and so against my better judgement, I did. Peer pressure anyone???
It all tasted way too sweet than what I was used to now, almost immediately all the usual physical issues came up and I felt totally physically blahhhhh. Headache, irritated, tired. However I didn’t feel bad about doing it. It was actually a fantastic reminder of how this type of food makes me feel physically bad, along with normally out of control and completely overweight, all of the things I didn’t want anymore. So instead of feeling unmotivated, for me it was a ‘keep on track’ mechanism, because I definitely didn’t want to feel that way ever again if I could help it. The lifestyle, food and exercise I am drawn to now make me feel fantastic all the time, so why wouldn’t I want to stay there?
So for Mary, I had so many more questions, which you can’t really bang on about on IG…like does she feel like she is holding herself back from the wine and the junk food to achieve this weight loss goal? Would she rather be indulging, than taking the steps to lose weight? Because this will determine whether it works for the long haul or not. You can’t ‘be good’ as they say until you get to goal weight and then drink your wine and eat your Chinese food at that time, as the weight will all just pile back on. You will be forced back on the abstaining, missing out, torture path again, holding yourself back with all your might from what you perceive to be the good stuff.
It’s about embracing and loving the new lifestyle you have set up for yourself, and if this is not true for you, then this is what makes losing weight the hard work they keep trying to tell you it is.
And there is another way, as there always is! Incorporate little bits of what you love into your plan, like have some of the Chinese food and mix it with a whole big plate of veges, so you still get the taste but not all the rubbish. Have a glass of wine or mix it with half soda like they do in Europe and not the whole bottle (as long as wine is not one of your out of control foods – otherwise a different tack needs to be taken.) Just know that it may take a little while longer to get to your goal weight doing it this way but it’s not a race, it’s about setting it up so you can do it forever.
Everyone is usually so dramatic about this whole process and ready to kick themselves in the butt at every opportunity, but slip ups happen for a reason, it’s your job to figure out what that reason is – now that sounds like a topic for a whole other blog post! See you there.