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Chicken and Egg

Posted May 18 2009 10:16pm

babychick I’m almost done with Monica Seles’s book, Getting a Grip, and a review will be coming later this week. I will say this: I’ve had a very hard time putting it down; it’s that good.

One of the lines that really resonated was when, during one of the lowest moments in Monica’s struggle with her weight, her coach tells her, “It’s not your game, it’s your head that needs work.”

Oh boy, can I relate … I think many of us probably can, even if weight or recovery isn’t your challenge, all too often our mental state impedes our ability to make progress or change.

Monica writes, “I knew that once my head was screwed on straight, the pounds would fall off and I’d be back in top form. But I couldn’t get my head clear unless my size-ten clothes felt loose. It was a chicken and egg dilemma. Did my self-confidence need to return before my body got back to its ideal level or was my self-confidence a result of feeling like I looked great in my tennis skirt?”

How often do we feel this way, feel this struggle between the chicken and the egg — be it weight loss, recovery, winning a game, earning a job, opening a business, finding the man/woman of our dreams … anything really: which comes first, the confidence, or the sensation of confidence that allows us to reach for our goals or our dreams?

Or do we need to “fake it til we make it?”

For so long now, I’ve been struggling with not being at my “ideal” for me. I realize life changes, I’m five years older now, etc., but I hate that I am not able to re-lose the weight I’ve gained. I hate admitting it because it makes me sound vain, but it has damaged my confidence and my sense of self. Not every day, but many days.

I’d say I come to terms with the fact that where I am now might be my comfort zone about half the time (it’s maintainable long-term), but the other half of the time, I’m still bummed to know I’m not in my best potential “fighting form,” so to speak (and I could be if I tried harder).

And making matters worse (and this is no secret; I’ve touched on it before), I’ve been eating more than usual the past month or so (”more than usual” as in, above my RMR of 1605). I still create a weekly caloric deficit with my workouts, but it’s not enough to lose …

(I haven’t stepped on the scale, but I doubt even my new exercise additions (Shred, P90X) are able to combat the emotional eating/mindless eating I’ve engaged in at work or home).

As Monica describes in her book, I lack the confidence I once had, and feel like every day I wake up feeling like it’s a “do-over” to make up for the previous day’s indiscretions.

And the worst part? It’s not on fun, exciting foods shared with loved ones and/or friends … it’s silly crap I just don’t need, yet continue to buy anyway and eat alone. I’m not spitting it out (ten weeks sober!!) … but this is just as bad because now the calories are ALL ingested.

(Yes, I realize the solution is just not to buy said crap … today is a new day and I will make it my goal to not buy anything I didn’t intend to buy).

Anyway, I know for me the confidence I felt five years ago was absolutely a direct result of losing weight and finally feeling good in my own skin …

Gaining back some due to my eating errors has often made me feel like a flop, but at the same time, I’m not doing enough to really get back to my ideal, because plain and simply, my head isn’t in the game. At least not as much as it could be. I can’t yearn for the past, but I wish I could channel that old me who really was sparked to change.

Some days I’m just sick of thinking about food, calories, points … sick of having to think about it. Yet where would I be without thinking about it? Likely back at my pre-WW starting weight, which certainly wouldn’t be a tragedy … but would definitely not make me happy.

Even with knowing how to lose weight and knowing that 90% of weight loss is about eating less, I’m still over-exercising and eating more than I need, which means I’m not losing weight and not feeling any better about myself.

Clearly, as they did five years ago, my actions and behaviors need to change before I see changes in my body — literally and in my confidence levels.

This isn’t to say I’m wallowing; most days lately I’ve been feeling good. I just have weak, sensitive moments like anyone else.

This weekend I had a blast at a wedding with friends and danced my little heart out. I felt confident and thought I looked pretty good in my purple dress Saturday night (got lots of compliments) … but then Sunday I looked at my pics, and noticed quite a few I didn’t like; some were taken at particularly unflattering angles … but some were reality.

For a minute, I was right back to feeling like the pre-WW Melissa, disliking what I saw. Fortunately, I snapped out of it quickly, but it was evidence that my mind and body still have a long way to go til they are in harmony.

And that makes me sad; I don’t want to dislike my body any more. Not today, not tomorrow …

Like Monica, I want to find my ideal and be at peace with it, instead of fighting it, possibly even fighting nature. Instead of eating more than I need, and then over-exercising “to make up for it,” I want to just eat and exercise in moderation.

It’s a vicious cycle, and one that won’t breed confidence; this much I know. That said, it’s a hard habit to break.

For so many years, I used exercise as a weapon. I say I love working out, and I do, most of the time … there’s nothing like a good sweat session or the post workout high … But some days I honestly just don’t feel like it … and yet my disordered mind still tells me “but you have to go!” And then I go out of guilt, and end up eating more than I needed … hence, the cycle continues.

Like Monica, I need a clear head. Coincidentally, this is my “rest” week with P90X (week four) … there are still workouts to complete, but it will be less intense and I plan to take advantage of the break and will loosen up on my usual cardio sessions.

I need to reset my hunger queues, and Mondays are a great day for that. The bottom line is, I need to eat less to lose … and not in the restriction sense some of you might be thinking and/or fearing; that doesn’t work. I’m talking about just sticking to a perfectly normal range without adding in unnecessary crap I don’t need.

I am still on this journey, so forgive me if I sound depressing today; even when we’re getting better, there are still blips on the radar. In this case, it’s not chewing/spitting, but rather over-exercising and over-eating and I’m coming to grips with the notion that all my hard workouts are for naught when I’m eating like this.

That said, I’m learning to live one day at a time … so no regrets for the past. It’s a new day, and a new week.

I just want to move forward, build off my past experiences and forge onward. And whether the chicken or egg comes first, there’s a tasty meal on the other side ;)

How about you? Which comes first for you? Confidence, or the feeling of confidence?

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