July 14th, 2018 Being Me
Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I exceeded my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.
I'm not sure when the switch occurred. Looking back, I suppose you could say it happened after my initial weight loss, and right as I started the turnaround from my 164-pound relapse/regain. The switch arrived at just the right time. I'm talking about the switch from DIEting to LIVing. Yeah, I don't "diet." I didn't "diet" while losing that 164-pound regain and I don't "diet" in maintenance mode. I live each day with a plan, a style of eating that fits me--and one that's conducive for a healthy body weight.
Diets don't work because it's a means to an end. Have you ever attempted a diet that was so restrictive and gross--but you did it anyway because you knew it would succeed in dropping the weight? But you hated it the whole time--dreaded it each day, white-knuckled through it--and fantasized about the day when you'd reach the pre-determined goal so you could be done with the diet, whatever it is/was? Me too.
I remember doing a plan that included all the food I'd need-- and hating it--every meal of it, just horrible, and then going on the air and essentially lying to my audience because I was contractually obligated to speak favorably about the diet's food during my show. I was looking forward to the day the contract ended--and was secretly hoping they'd cancel early, so I'd be off the hook and get back to being me. And right there, the last five words of the previous sentence--that's why diets don't work. Because...
If what we're doing is a temporary diversion from who we are in the behavioral patterns that brought us to our heaviest in the first place, then as soon as we return to "being ourselves," with the internal patterns, experiences, actions, and coping mechanisms on which we've grown dependent, the weight comes back--every time, with rarely an exception.
When I looked for an external solution to my internal issues, it always ended in a bad way. I still like my disgusting analogy for diet mentality: It's like calling a cleanup crew to the sewer line break instead of calling a plumber to repair the sewer line.
It's interesting, our whole lives, people often tell us to "just be yourself," yet, when it comes to losing weight, the advice or plan is often: "Here's the latest fancy diet plan, product, or procedure, do it. It works," with little consideration for the divide between who we are and what it requires us to be. Basically, don't be yourself...be something you perceive as "better than" yourself...and here we go into another direction promoting self-loathing as soon as we don't somehow conform or live up to this "better plan."
Binge eating, compulsive overeating, and resulting morbid obesity ARE NOT MORAL issues. But the old diet mentality would have us believe it's so. I refuse to share some of the most brutal things I've told me about myself over the years--all because I couldn't "get it together," somehow. The least of it involved the word "failure," the worst--well, you can imagine, I'm sure. I would never speak to someone or treat someone the way I've spoken to and treated me...ever.
But--the search continued for the next thing--the key to my weight loss success--the next best diet plan--something, anything that would work--and I was desperate---and as long as that search continued, I felt justified with my food behaviors. Maybe the solution I needed hadn't been invented yet. What could I do?
This search for the next best thing is what fuels a 100-Billion dollar weight loss industry.
When our personal truth is finally recognized, acknowledged, and embraced, the search can abruptly end. It's like an exhausting search for a missing car key that comes to an end when you realize the key was in your coat pocket the entire time. I've witnessed this happen with numerous people who reach in, grab the key--insert the key--and head in a direction with a consistency they've never known... and they do it without the next best-latest-greatest-wonderful-sure-fire, straight off the shelf, tv, or some other plan. These people stop DIEting and start LIVing.
I don't know what your personal truth is. I can only speak of and write about mine. I'm a compulsive overeater. I'm an emotional eater. I'm a stress eater. I'm a celebratory eater. I'm an addict whose substance of choice isn't served at a bar and it isn't secretly sold in the back alleyways. It's food. And that doesn't make me any better of an addict than anyone else--not to compare, but my addiction is just as lethal as others--the only difference is the speed it proceeds.
My food addiction, more specifically, is about certain food substances--for me, clearly refined sugar--and my personal list of trigger foods--some of which do not contain refined sugar--but they dance for me if I let them. My dealer is the unwitting individual working the drive-through.
So what's the key?? Well, in my experience--and again, that's all I can draw from--there are several different cuts to the key.
As Jordan Burgess referred to it on episode 13 of Transformation Planet, "an unwavering commitment to self-honesty." That right there is the pivotal cut--without it, nothing works.
Another cut--is extending love, self-compassion, and a healing level of forgiveness to ourselves for where this road has led us--and all of the things we did or didn't do along the way. The struggles and successes have a common denominator: They're all opportunities to learn. That's it. What went well? What didn't go well? It's a study every single day. It's not good or bad. It's not shameful or admirable--it's just an opportunity to learn how to proceed in a groove that fits us well and keeps us well. Because really--
It's okay. I'm okay. You're okay. We're human. We're fallible. We're conditioned. We're experienced. We're lovely. We're beautiful. We're good people with great intentions, We have overflowing love and compassion for others--and now, for once, we can start cupping some of that overflowing love and compassion for ourselves.
When we have those two cuts on the key--and we add spiritual support (whatever that is to you), accountability, and support from others who understand--who've lived it--as Dr. Marty Lerner puts it, we surround ourselves "with others in the same lifeboat," this is when this time becomes like no other time in our history.
Add another cut--a style of eating--a plan that considers very personal elements of our individual truth--with boundaries in place and held with a sacred importance level--and suddenly something almost magical happens. Things start changing.
And a few other things that are critically important to remember: It's about progress, not perfection. Consistency beats intensity--in other words, it's better to embrace a plan that's not only doable, it's one that's sustainable long-term instead of doing something dependent on short-lived bursts of extreme intensity. It's important to look for ways to feel good about what we're doing instead of feeling horrible because we're focused on things we think we should be doing. And one of the most important things--- oh my, it's big:
Always remember--our continued peace and calm isn't guaranteed and it isn't found on the scale. It's found within the plan we embrace each day, one day at a time. If I forget this--or willfully deny it--or throw it all out the window tomorrow, I'll return to over 500 pounds without question. And I'm very capable of doing that. I'm capable of not doing it too.
But--I'm much more experienced in the chaotic stream of the struggle than I am in the softer flow of peace and calm.
My continued success doesn't come from the words I speak, the words I write, or the personal truths I've discovered about me. It's the things I do each day in service of the mental, spiritual, and emotional transformations, that give me the best shot at another day like today.
I don't "diet." And I don't have to diet.
My body weight will follow and reflect where I am within my daily plan. I don't have to chase it anymore because it follows me wherever I go. My body weight isn't the focus, my daily plan must be the focus--because body weight is a side effect of my continued recovery or lack of recovery.
Thank you for reading and your continued support,