Me, fighting with myself about everything.
Every decision was up for negotiation.
Every boundary was ripe for a breach.
I was indecisive.
I knew this about myself, and yet sometimes I would still need the reminder.
Some days it was easy to be strong, because some days I didn’t want ice cream at all. But other days?
Other days, it was all I could think about.
And it was on those days that the conversation would go like this:
-No. (Very firmly stated)
-Well….maybe just a bite.
-Ok, yes, but just a single serving.
-I will stop when I’m full.
-I can’t stop. (Why can’t I stop?)
-I’ll start again tomorrow.
-Why didn’t I just say no? (oh wait, I did)
-Why did I not follow through when I first said no? (I wish I knew)
-Tomorrow I will say no (and follow through)
****and repeat from top****
But I was never specific about how I was going to achieve that. I never set a well thought out plan in place to facilitate that outcome. I invariably left myself twisting in the wind with a destination, and no route mapped out to get me there.
And I found out that if I gave myself an inch, I would take a mile.
I needed to stop treating what needed to be done as “optional”.
I had often lamented at the oppositional tendency of my youngest son to challenge me at every turn. And believe me when I tell you, that his pension for being contrary was vexing to say the least.
But how could I then, in good conscience, object to his continued opposition, when I was spending a fair amount of my own time and energy second guessing myself?
I guess what I realized it was, he was following my lead. I had allowed him to approach me in that way. I had modeled for him, that if you apply enough pressure, you will discover that the fortress is weak.
If you negotiate shrewdly enough, you can change the landscape to a more favorable scene.
If you are clever enough, you can justify any request as acceptable, no matter how far from the original directive it falls.
I was like some crazed and deranged bartering fur trader, crouching in a corner, wheeling and dealing with him, and trying to broker out an agreement.
And as it turns out, I was dealing with myself in exactly the same fashion.
“Is that your FINAL answer???”
If I say no, and I don’t uphold it, then how can I expect anyone else to take me seriously?
No should mean no. That’s it.
But it didn’t.
It never did.
Because there were always a myriad of factors at play.
A host of different circumstances that would lend themselves to a million shades of gray.
That’s why they tell you not to grocery shop on an empty stomach. If I let my stomach make the decisions, more often than not I would end up in a place of regret.
Because it’s hard to make good decisions when your choices are being driven by an overwhelming, nagging persistent force, that wears you down and weakens your resolve.
And I knew what role all of this had played in my life long struggle with obesity…and I knew that if things were ever going to change, I needed to lay down the law…
So, I wrote myself a directive. A set of guidelines to employ in an effort to assist in the decision making process, and take the “ebb and flow of yes and no” out of the equation.
That way, instead of constantly fighting with myself when I was feeling vulnerable (tired, hungry, burned out, frustrated), I would make the important decisions upfront with the endgame in mind. And then I would know, even in those times of uncertainty, that following through with those decisions would ultimately get me where I wanted to go, and all I had to do was uphold them.
All I had to do was trust that I knew what was best for me.
So at the end of each day, I would sit down and make all the important decisions for the following day to come.
What I would eat (points), when and where I would exercise, and what I would or would not participate in that might present a challenge.
I would just map it out ahead of time, and take the shades of gray out of the equation.
That way, when each new day began, the hard stuff would already be decided and that would make everything easier.
One day at a time, one decision at a time, and one set of guidelines to follow.
-My decisions are to be upheld.
-Never make food decisions when I am hungry.
-Never make exercise decisions when I am tired.
-Respect all of the decisions that I have previously made, and know that they were made from a place of determination and with a purpose.
-Even if I find myself questioning my previous decisions, I will go back up and refer to, and follow, the very first thing on this list.
After fracturing my tailbone earlier this year, and taking a few steps backwards, I now find myself again in need of being reminded that I am capable of renewing this commitment to myself.
Somewhere along the way I had told myself I had this thing handled, and that I didn’t need the directive anymore.
So away it went into a drawer, where it got lost…buried under “unfortunate circumstances”, and camouflaged amongst many shades of gray.
And now I have found it, dusted it off, uncrinkled it, re-read it, and implemented it back into play. Because I know, that as a tool, it has been proven to help me get the job done.
Even though now, the job ahead is old hat, it has become my mantra once again.
I am starting to realize, that whether you have 150 pounds to lose, or just 20, it still feels like a mountain to climb.
So many people have asked me over the last three years how I was able to lose over 150 pounds on my own, with no gimmicks or extreme measures. They have inquired about how I had managed to stay motivated over time and finally achieve all of my weight loss and health related goals. And now, having faced some difficulty in finding that place again, I needed the answer more than ever…for myself.
But, I’m not sure I ever really knew the answer until now. Now that I have had to pick up that baton yet again, and run that last mile to the finish line once more.
So, after much careful thought and introspective reflection, I have come to the following simple conclusion- And the answer is this:
I just decided.
And then, every day after, I respected that decision.