HOW CHANGING MY GOALS HELPS ME IN ACHIEVING THEM.
I am going to say something here that will rub people the wrong way. Some of you who I consider to be my friends (either in person or in Blog Land) will disagree or start to feel the rage build up inside of you and I am okay with that. Why? Because I am responsible for my feelings and you are responsible for yours. Also because I believe that there is truth to what I say and I would rather be hated for being honest than liked for being fake. If you know me personally, you know that I live by these beliefs every day. You probably even know this because you and I have gone toe-to-toe at least once and at times, it got ugly, didn’t it? But if you are reading this then it means that we worked through it and you still respect me (at least a little) and I can promise you that I still respect myself which is really all that matters to me. Keep in mind that I only speak for myself. I can’t speak for you or anyone else so what I have to say is all about what I think and feel.
I am NOT okay with being over weight. I know I am not obese but I at 5’1″ and 136 pounds, I am overweight. I am not okay with the way I look when I am overweight. I am not okay with the way I feel physically when the waist of my pants puts pressure on my gut and causes discomfort all the way up to my chest. I am not okay with how my digestive system acts when I am overweight. I am not okay with feeling like I am going to crap my pants in the middle of a meeting and then again an hour later while I am caring for a patient. I am not okay with my bra feeling like a bar is digging into my sternum. I am not okay with having indentations in my ankles an hour after I have taken off my socks. I am not okay with being short of breath because my body has to work harder to move me around and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I AM NOT OKAY WITH FEELING LIKE I DO NOT HAVE CONTROL OVER MYSELF. I am not okay with blaming my weight on a long line of family genes. Yes, my whole mother’s side of my family was very overweight. They were all that way because of poor diets and lack of exercise, not because of genes. I am not okay with saying that I can’t workout and exercise because I have Lupus. In fact, having Lupus just means that I have to work harder and more often so that I stay mobile and my heart can stay healthy. Lastly, I don’t believe that anyone that is over weight is okay with it. I AM okay with overweight people. I do not believe anyone’s character should ever be judged by what their body looks like. But I am not okay with people lying to themselves because that is not healthy mentally or physically. It IS okay for people to not like aspects of themselves because that can lead to healthy changes. I believe it is easier for people to try to convince themselves and the world that they are okay with being overweight than to suffer the emotional upset of admitting that they are not okay with it and push themselves physically and mentally to overcome it. I believe that each and every person who says that they are okay with being overweight looks in the mirror in private and feels horribly bad (if they even allow themselves to look in the mirror). I BELIEVE EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEY WEIGH AND I BELIEVE EVERYONE OWES IT TO THEMSELVES TO BE HONEST AND DO THE WORK TO TRULY FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES.
I have struggled with weight for most of my life. Although I am not anorexic (God, how could I ever turn my back on glorious food?) nor do I purge after my meals, I do binge. Binging in the absence of purging IS an eating disorder and I BINGE! I have to work every single day to not binge. I have to work every single day to avoid telling myself that I deserve to binge today because I did so well on my diet yesterday. People that watch me binge are amazed. They wonder how the hell I could scarf down 3 huge plates of pasta with sausage and meatballs all at once but I do it and I can do it often.
I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have set a goal to lose weight but I can tell you that not only did I fail each and every time, i I also gained about 10 pounds as a result.
My first true success at losing weight was about 13 years ago. I walked into the gym and the owner asked me “How much weight do you want to lose? What is your goal?” At the time I was a size 16 (remember, I am only 5 feet tall) so I understood his confused look when I answered, “My goal isn’t to lose weight. My goal is to build upper body strength and endurance for firefighting.” As a result, I got stronger, I had more endurance, and I eventually lost 61 pounds and placed second in a bodybuilding competition.
My bodybuilding days are long gone and in the 12 years since I have competed, I have struggled with my weight over and over again. I never got as heavy as I was before but when I started buying size 12 jeans, I realized something. I was back to my old habits and within a year I would be wearing the size 16′s again if something didn’t change. So, I lost 12 pounds and have yo-yo’d over and over again.
It has been so easy to blame my lack of exercise on Lupus. It is easy to blame my eating crappy foods on Lupus. After all, if I am too exhausted to go shopping, how can I eat healthy?
But I am a control freak and I HATE feeling out of control of my life. I hate when I allow circumstances to make decisions for me. And I realize that I DO ALLOW THAT. I choose to take the easy route as many of us do. I choose to place blame rather than accept responsibility. And I just won’t tolerate that anymore. When I really thought about it, I realized that my goal was NOT to lose weight, look hot, or fit into a certain size pants.
My goal is to be in control of me. My goal is to not allow Lupus to make the rules. My goal is to not blame my fat ass on my mother and her mother and her mother. Yes, the SHAPE of my ass is in my genes but the SIZE of it is under my control. A “fat ass gene” simply does not exist. I want to be autonomous. I want to be the author of my life, not despite my circumstances but IN SPITE of them. I have choices each and every day to make and I want to make the right choices.
When I started my 4 Week (Not Weight Loss) Challenge 4 days ago, I set an INTRINSIC goal rather than an extrinsic one. This means that I set a goal that comes from within me (intrinsic), not from outside of me (extrinsic). I set a goal that will feed my need to be autonomous and choiceful in my life (intrinsic) rather than a goal to look better or see a smaller number on the scale (extrinsic). And when I achieve this goal, you may or may not see me any differently. I may be more physically fit. I may look the same or I may even look bigger. Since I decided on a healthy way to achieve my goal, I am assuming I won’t look bigger and I am hoping I look more physically fit but either way, the benefits will be on the inside of me and they will last a very long time.
My goal is self-discipline; to be in control and in charge of me no matter what. This goal helped me a great deal yesterday. Yesterday was day 3 of eating and working out as if I were training for a bodybuilding competition. I felt exhausted and I wanted to pig out! I thought to myself, “Self, you did awesome for 2 days, you lost 2.6 pounds already, and you can totally skip 20 minutes of cardio today. Hell, you can even eat an extra spoonful of peanut butter. It isn’t going to kill you. It is still way better than what you were doing before this challenge!” Then I reminded myself the goal of my challenge. If my goal was to lose weight, I totally would have listened to that devil on my shoulder. But my goal is to be disciplined and listening to that devil would have proven to me that I really don’t take control of my life. As soon as that though entered my mind, I felt the energy to get on the elliptical and my craving for more food wasn’t nearly as strong. I woke up this morning and got right on the machine as I planned.
This challenge will not be easy. I know that. There may be times when I try to convince myself that my goal was stupid and I really am okay with being out of control at times. But that would be taking the easy route and I would be lying to myself.
I read a wonderful article that provides a brief guide to attaining your goals at the Healtdemystified blog. Click here to get this awesome information for free!!! I have to say that it is purely coincidental that I have many of the same points in my post as there are in his guide! I wrote my draft before getting caught up on some blogs and came across this one. I was floored that much of what I was saying in my post was said here!!