Thursday, September 15, 2011

When you push through, when it's the hardest, when you most don't wanna but you do it anyway, that's when real change happens (171.8)

Yesterday I got home and had 45 minutes before we had to be at the kids' Wednesday night church group at 5:30.  I had had such a stress filled, anxiety driven day, I was craving a workout.  I didn't feel like the treadmill.  I couldn't run outside because I had the kids.  I decided to do Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.

This is rather a legendary DVD.  But if you're not familiar with it--it's 25 minutes long, consists of a brief warm up, 3 3-part circuits of weights, cardio, and abs, and a brief stretching cool down.  This workout never fails to make my muscles burn, and I ache the next day.  I'm still on level 1, but there are 3 levels.  I tried to do level 3 a few months ago and couldn't get through it, it was so intense.

At one point, Jillian says (the gist of, this isn't word for word) "when it's hard and you push through, that's when real change happens." 

I know she's talking about lifting weights and working out. But it got me to thinking about how this applies to other aspects of losing and maintaining weight, and to life in general. 

When is it hardest for me?  When have I pushed through and made real change happen?  What areas am I struggling in and need to push through?

*Breakfast used to be hard.  I was in too much of a hurry.  I wasn't hungry.  I saved my calories for later in the day. 
When I committed to eating breakfast--regardless of my hunger or time restraints--I pushed through the (mostly) mental barrier and completely changed how my entire eating day goes.  Other than (mostly) eliminating processed foods, eating breakfast every day has done more good for me than anything else.

*Eating "real" food used to be a chore.  I was lazy.  I claimed to be a lousy cook. I didn't like to grocery shop. I was too tired to make lunch before I left for work or make dinner after I got home from work.  I ate out at restaurants or fast food places for more meals than I'd care to admit. 
When I committed to the Kay Shepperd food plan, eating real, balanced food 3 times a day at meal time, everything changed.  My cravings (except when I deviate from the plan) went away.  My PMS has gotten better.  My face sweats in the morning have lightened up tremendously.  I'm losing weight, slowly and consistently.  I don't feel like I'm a slave to food anymore.  I am happy with what I eat.  I have discovered that I am a good cook, and that meals don't have to be complicated to be delicious. I can prepare healthy meals for myself and my family in about the same time it takes to drive to a restaurant and wait in line (and for much less money).
*My emotional "black boxes" used to keep me safe.  I buried the hurtful things of the past, some so deep that I didn't even know what they were.  I was afraid to drag them up.  Afraid that I wouldn't survive if they were out in the open.
I started seeing a therapist this year, let the light into those black boxes, and I not only survived, I have thrived.  I pushed past the pain, found forgiveness, found enlightenment, found peace.  I learned the WHY's of my weight gain.  I learned the HOW's of being a better person.  I learned what forgiveness means.  Therapy has been one of the hardest things I've ever done.  Some sessions have been brutal.  I pushed through (thanks to my brilliant therapist), and I came out stronger and better than I ever imagined.
*I no longer give advice; I listen.
The lesson of un-attaching from other people's lives and circumstances has been one of the most freeing I have ever experienced. It has changed my life, and given me a lightness of being.  I can be compassionate without being attached to the outcome. I can listen to others, responding to their words in order to probe how they are feeling, instead of talking about myself.  The lesson of "people just want to be heard" is one that can never be repeated often enough.  People just want to be heard.
*I have eliminated the words "try" and "someday" and "maybe" from my vocabulary.
When I am tempted to use these words--and yes, this is a constant work in progress--I substitute the words "working on" and "my plan is to" and "I'll think about it/No/Yes."  Try is an excuse to fail.  Someday is code for never.  Maybe almost always means no.  Some people may say this is just semantics.  For me, it is a way of thinking about life that is more positive.  Words are powerful.  Choosing words carefully affects our thoughts.  These new words allow my thoughts to not hang on the future, the indefinite, the coulda/woulda/shoulda's.  And my thoughts either lead me to action or inaction.
Where do I still need to push through?

I still struggle with night time munchies.  It's not as bad as it used to be, but it is a pattern and a habit that I have not pushed past--I have not allowed my brain to be retrained into a new neuropathway. This food habit, more than anything, hampers my weight loss and my complete sense of peace with my way of eating.

I still struggle with regular exercise.  This is getting better over the past two weeks. I know it's in me to make time for myself--I've done it before.  It is still a matter of pushing through the "I don't wanna's."  Every time I lace up my running shoes, I take a step closer to real change.

I still struggle with keeping my mouth shut when it's not my business.  Yes, I have improved the attitude of being attached to people's outcomes.  But I still say things to others that are best left unsaid.  I still jump to give my opinion, when what the person I am talking with only wants a listening ear.  This is something I struggle with daily, and I plan to catch myself more and more.

I still struggle with negative thoughts about myself.  I am my worst critic.  I see the negatives much quicker than the positives.  I regularly engage in negative self talk.  Words are powerful.  The words I speak to myself every moment of the day are powerful.

I still struggle--tremendously--with envy.  This could be a blog post unto itself.  One of my worst faults, or struggles, is not being able to deal with other people's success.  I envy women who are thin.  I envy runners who are faster than me.  I envy women who don't have to work outside the home.  I envy the youth of people in their 20s and 30s. On really bad days, I can't read posts on Facebook because it is one happy-joy-joy post after another, and I can't stand it.

I still struggle--tremendously--with comparisons.  On the flip side to envy, I am judgmental about people and compare myself favorably to those I think aren't up to my standards.  This is a very ugly trait, and one I don't talk about.  It's all internal talk--I'm not gossiping about how I think so and so is not doing this or that.  On some levels, it's me trying to make myself feel better about my accomplishments or how I raise my kids or how I look.  Or it's a form of rationalization, that even if I'm not doing my best, at least I'm not like "that person."  Bottom line--it's ugly, it makes me feel ugly, and I want it gone from my thought process.

There is surely more, and there will continue to be more, as I grow and change. 

Today, I pushed through the exercise issue by running 4 miles before work.  Today, I pushed through my long list of "I struggle with's" by simply writing about them. 

If I've learned anything this year, it's this:  letting the light in is the first step to real change.


Vickie said...

what a good post.

and how far you have come.

you might not have even understood any of what you wrote today, a year ago, and here you are writing it and understanding it and living it.

I am extremely proud of you.

Vickie said...

laura, where are you?

Laura I. (G.G.) said...

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness . . . . :-)