Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 20th, 2016 Fair Warning

April 20th, 2016 Fair Warning

I'm opting for a rerun tonight. But not just any rerun, this one is a personal favorite--probably in the top 10 of all 1500+ blog pages you'll find published here on the DDWL.

One of the things I discovered along the many "failed" weight loss attempts in my past, was how much my own personal beliefs about myself played into the unraveling of whatever brief consistency I could muster. I didn't believe I could accomplish my dreams of successful weight loss. Further, and on a broader scale, I told myself things about me that, number one--weren't true, and number two--I believed them anyway--and number three, I allowed them to become the chains keeping me at over 500 pounds for so many years.

I put "failed" in quotations, because I no longer look at all of those past weight loss attempts in that way. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was learning valuable things in each attempt. Even my relapse/regain period was a blessing in disguise. It didn't mean I was a failure, it simply meant I had some more things to learn. And by the way--that learning, never stops. If I ever proclaim to be finished learning along this road, I'll be finished, alright, but not in a good way.

So here we go--fair warning--the following is pretty heavy stuff (no pun intended). It was written on this blog over six years ago, in August of 2009:

The Emotion Ocean and The Mix Tape of Our Mind

Since crossing the 200 pounds lost milestone on Wednesday, I've talked about the major elements of my success. It's been an amazing journey so far. But in talking with a struggling friend today, I realized something. I realized that talking about the mental changes being 80% of this battle, and talking about all of the little and big psychological gymnastics I've done to stay consistent, well, it just doesn't go deep enough. So take a big breath and let's go diving into the deep waters of our emotion ocean.

Is your past in complete command of your future? Have you given it control of your life? What are you afraid of? What is your biggest fear? Whatever your answer to the last question is, that's what's holding you back. 

I've always had a fear of not living up to my potential. Never following through. Never becoming what my teachers, family, co-workers, coaches, and comedy colleagues just knew I could be. 

Potential. 

Do I fear my potential? Or do I fear not living up to that potential that everyone is so certain I hold within? I've never had a problem convincing people to believe in me, but I've had a devil of a time convincing me to believe in myself. 

It's like I've had a mix tape playing over and over in my head for so many years. That mix tape would say horrible things to me, and it made me believe them. You'll never live up to your potential. You'll always be fat and ugly. You'll never realize any professional success in broadcasting beyond a small market level. You'll pass your horrible behaviors with food onto your children. You're worthless and not worthy of success. Who do you really think you are? You're just a poor kid from the projects that will never amount to anything special. And you're stupid, an uneducated buffoon just faking his way through life, trying to convince everyone that you really have a clue. 

What does the mix tape in your brain say everyday to you? 

I guess what I've done is this: I've hit the eject button on that old mix tape. Then, I destroyed it. It will never play in my mind again. Never. I've made a new mix tape. 

What I hear in my head everyday now is this: You will exceed your potential in ways you can't even fathom at this point. You will be healthy, thin, and handsome. Your success in broadcasting, motivational/inspirational speaking, and anything you decide you want to do is only limited by your imagination. Your example and guidance for your family is exemplary. Your worth is immeasurable and success is yours for the taking, go ahead, you deserve it. You are a man of integrity with amazing abilities of communication. You're a kid that was raised through humble beginnings completely surrounded by love and acceptance. You're a self-educated intelligent human being who doesn't have to convince anyone of anything. 

Big difference, huh? 

What we tell ourselves everyday is what we become. It's true my friend. So why after a lifetime of fighting obesity am I breaking free so wonderfully now? 

Because I destroyed that old tape and replaced it with something worth listening to. How do you make a new mix tape for your brain? 

Write it out, memorize it, burn it into your brain, and most importantly...Believe it. Maybe it's too much to replace everything all at once. Replace one at a time...transform how you think about yourself at whatever pace you're comfortable. This is what Mr. Ralph Marston is speaking of when he talks about no outside force holding you back. You're holding you back.

Your old mix tape was made over time. It is the product of your past. And if you continue allowing the past to determine your future, then you'll always get the same result. Don't allow your past to own you, OWN IT. Put it in its place. Let the past know that its effects on your future are over right now. 

Don't try to completely forget about the past. A good friend of mine told me, very recently in fact, that you can't amputate your past and walk freely into the future. Your past is your story. It's made you who you are today, good or bad. But you can immediately decide that it will no longer control your future in a negative way. And someday, that complete story that is you can and will shine as a light of hope to others. Letting them know that anything is possible, anything at all.

I honestly didn't know what I was doing when I started. But I was doing these things, accidentally stumbling upon epiphanies that would prove to be life changing for me. It wasn't until recently that a couple of good friends clarified exactly what I've done by sharing “the mix tape” analogy. Something else that they shared was something I've done without realizing for the last 327 days: I've been “acting as if...”

I've acted as if I was a normal responsible eating individual. I've acted as if I was someone who cared about exercising. I've acted as if I was someone that could share my story and help others along the way. 

Three very powerful words: “Acting as if.” Why are they so powerful? Because you become whatever you put into your brain. When you're “acting as if,” you're training your brain to accept and transform to what you desire to become. And you will.

So now you know where my resolve comes from. Now you know why my consistency level is unwavering. Now you know why I'm so passionate about sharing my story, my triumphs, and my struggles. Is it perfect? No. I've said that many times along this road. It doesn't have to be perfect. Striving for perfection is the quickest detour to disappointment. But if we continue with a positive consistent effort, and we change the way we think about ourselves...then our success is practically guaranteed, my friend. You will not be able to stop it from happening. And don't be afraid of success. Go ahead, you deserve it. And the great thing about weight loss success? It happens slowly over time, allowing you to adjust and get use to the new you. You're going to absolutely love it.

Okay--back to good ole 2016...

Um, yeah-- that. I was doing my best to be a Dr. Phil, Richard Simmons and Tony Robbins all rolled up into one.

Even still, it resonates with me in a powerful way. In the more than six years since that was written, I've learned so much more--and many of these things have reinforced the very real power behind the thoughts we nurture each day. And really, that was the point of the whole thing. We truly can effect how this all turns out by changing our personal perspective--changing what we believe about ourselves and shifting our vision toward what we desire instead of expectations built from the experiences of our past. 

There are some things about this post that I've rethought in a better way. For instance--I may have been "acting as if I was a normal, responsible eating individual," but I now know, I was trying very hard to assume a "common" normal I perceived everyone desired. I hadn't discovered and embraced "my normal" at the time that was written. The "my normal" perspective has developed over the course of this turnaround from regain. You can read more about the "My Normal" perspective in this blog post titled "Finding Our Normal" --from October 21st, 2014: http://losingweighteveryday.blogspot.com/2014/10/october-21st-2014-finding-our-normal.html

I'm letting the Tweets tell the tale of today...

Today's Live-Tweet Stream:














































Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

2 comments:

  1. I do the negative talk all the time, it's the norm for me. Harsh name calling. Could be while I'm driving, looking in the mirror while getting ready for work.Horrible words describing who I guess I think I am. I can't even stop it.I often wonder do other people do this or am I just nuts? I can't remember when it started. I think it's a form of punishment.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're not nuts at all. We would never treat a loved one or close friend the way we sometimes treat ourselves. Changing it starts with awareness--and that's where you are. I base my philosophy here solely on my personal experience along this road. I'm not in any way, shape or form, a psychologist--or therapist. I only have my experience--and that's where this comes from--
    This negative self talk holds us in a down position. Changing the inner dialogue takes effort, it takes time--but it's critically important work...Just as important as our food and exercise plan or any other part of our plan--because the inner dialogue supports what we believe. What we believe is built on what we know based on our experiences, what we've done before, what we haven't done and the expectation levels we set--the ones we fell short of in the past...our brain keeps track, every time...and we're usually the ones setting that expectation level! What we believe supports what we dream, what we dream creates visions and our visions become our transformation. If we don't believe we're capable, how can we dream? It's hard to imagine where we're headed if our brain is constantly trying to convince us of its futility. How can we create the visions of our success? How can we get excited about what we're doing each day in support of our visions?
    It starts with embracing ourselves and making an inventory list of all things positive about who we are and what we do. This is the list that gets very little attention. But please, think about it--what would happen if our focus was on things worth believing about ourselves--instead of the unfair, cruel and downright untrue creations that keep us stuck?
    I'm rambling here...and could write all night about this topic.
    The late Dr. Wayne Dyer always said, quite simply, "Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change."
    Again, anonymous--you're not alone and you're not nuts.

    ReplyDelete

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