“I’m going to do it this time. I really am! I’m going to stick to it no matter what. I’m so sick of being overweight and I’ve had it! This is “it” for me!”
I think we’ve all said something similar to ourselves at one time or another when we started the next “diet” we were going to try.
I would wake up that Monday morning with so much adrenaline pumping in my veins that it almost hurt. I would be so positive, so confidant, so excited.
I’d have willpower pouring out my ears. I’d even have a little extra spring in my step. “This is the first day of the rest of my life” I’d chirp as I ate my rice cake for breakfast and left for work.
And it worked…for a little while. I would have the willpower to say no to the donuts that somebody brought for breakfast that day.
“Nope, I’m on a diet. Thanks though” and the smile never left my face.
I would have the willpower not to have a tall frozen yummy chocolate coffee drink with about 10,000 calories per serving (with extra whipped cream of course!).
“No thanks! I’ll have one bottle of water please.” I’d sing to the pimple faced teen behind the counter.
Willpower would allow me to say “no thanks” to the pizza everybody ordered for lunch as I munched away happily on my salad and carrot sticks.
Willpower was all I needed to get through those tough and trying situations.
And then something strange and unexpected happened…willpower stabbed me in the back quicker than I could say “double bacon cheeseburger, extra bacon, extra cheese, add mayo and hold any sort of vegetable you may lay on it.”
Willpower is the dirty little secret that nobody warns you about.
If willpower were a person I’d call it a dirty liarmouth to its face.
And if anything, people lie to you about it’s abilities. It’ll fool ya all right.
Willpower sounds all great in the beginning. It makes you think you’re prepared to face the real world. It builds you up, makes you feel ready, gives you a pep talk, a slap on the back and then shoves you out there in the world, naked and exposed, to only slam the door behind you and click the lock so all the world see you standing on your porch in your birthday suit.
Then willpower watches from the window and giggles as you look for a leaf big enough to cover your ‘bare’ essentials.
It’s when you have that willpower, that super attitude that YOU CAN DO IT… that’s when dieting or lifestyle changes are easy.
Willpower makes it simple to embrace your life change and say “no” to the things you know aren’t healthy for you. Easy Peasy.
It’s what happens after the willpower diminishes that you really need to prepare yourself for.
We all know that feeling of empowerment that willpower brings fades out like a pair of stonewashed jeans (tight rolled of course, I am a child of the 80’s after all).
Sometimes it can last a few days… sometimes even a few weeks… but if you’re relying on willpower to take you through to the end, to get you across that finish line… then you are going into battle armed with nothing but a Nerf ball and some duct tape, both of which are fun and handy to have around, but neither of which will help you much in your weight loss endeavors.
I’ve had to mentally and physically prepare myself for when willpower packs it’s stuff and gets the hell out. It still comes back every once and a while to make an appearance but I’m no fool.
I know it will leave just as quickly as it came and right now there is no tree with leaves big enough to cover my “assets” out on that porch.
So here’s some things I’ve done to prepare myself for when willpower fails me.
I don’t keep “not the best choice of foods” in my house. Things like nutella, ice cream and baked goods, which are all my weaknesses, are best left at the store. If I must have nutella in the house, it’s kept in the cupboard that I do not get into on a regular basis. I once had a box of chocolates here that I just knew I had willpower enough to say “no” to. After eating about 10 of them (in about as many minutes) and then crying to my husband that I ate 10 chocolates, he threw them in the trash. I’ve not (successfully) had a box of chocolates in the house since. I have recognized this and know it’s a problem so I won’t try to kid myself that I can do it. It’s okay to be human and have faults.
I plan ahead for situations that tend to make me overeat, like parties. I know what I am going to do when I walk in. I know where to focus my attention and I know where to try to position myself in regards to food.
I have actually practiced dialogues to use when I’m in a “food pusher” situation to get me out of taking or eating food that I don’t need or want. We all have Auntie Meanswell, who knows you love _____ (insert food you are now trying to eat only on special occasions) and insists you have the second and third helping. Having a plan ahead of time has spared me fumbling for the rights words or worse yet, conceding to their pushing to save hurt feelings. *tip* ask Auntie Meanswell if she can pack some up “to-go” after you’ve had your first, regular portion. This means saving her feelings from being hurt, and you have the choice, away from her, as to what to do with the extra food.
When I don’t have the right frame of mind and come to a bump in my road I look back through the book that got me on this path, Dr. Phil’s “The Ultimate Weight Solutions”, and re-read the passages that I’ve highlighted. I re-read the things I have written while at Novarum, the center where I went for help regarding my food and weight issues. I refocus my attention on those small things that worked for me in the beginning because, low and behold, they will work for me now. I find the things that have proven to work for me and make sure they are still part of my daily routine. I allow myself to take things one day at a time, not feel rushed to lose weight, and to be human and make mistakes. I don’t need willpower for that…I can be powerless but still have a will.
One question I get a lot when people find out that I’ve lost 50+ pounds is “how’d ya do it?”.
Seems like a logical question and I know it’s one I’ve asked in the past to people who have lost significant amounts of weight.
I never give the typical “diet and exercise” answer (even though that really is what’s causing the actual weight loss) because like I said in my earlier posts the formula of diet + exercise = weight loss is a very well known fact and when you say that to somebody, they look at you like “no shit Einstein.”
I always feel the need to really explain how I had to get a hold of my emotional eating and how attached I was to food. I am always honest and say that by reading Dr. Phil‘s book “The Ultimate Weight Solutions” I was able to get a grip on my eating habits and it’s given me the key to succeed in my weight loss this time.
I’ve noticed a bit of a pattern in the response to my answers.
By time I get to the “I read a book” part of my answer the person’s eyes have slightly glazed over and it seems they lose a bit of interest in what I’m saying.
It makes me wonder what some people want you to say. You know they really want to know how you did it but underneath somewhere they really want you to tell them all about “Jesus in a Jar”. I know it’s what I used to want to hear when I would ask that question of somebody.
People want “Jesus in a Jar.”
They want one of those power pills or super drinks to have been your savior. You pop it/drink it once a day and it will be your weight loss salvation forever.
“Jesus in a Jar” is forgiving of all your glutenous sins. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy for dinner followed by a slice (or two) of cheesecake? No problem! J.I.A.J. forgives all.
“Jesus in a Jar” is omniscient and knows how to fix whatever your weight problem is, from over eating, to not exercising, to drinking too much altar wine (which is chalk full of calories)(wine that is, not necessarily altar wine).
With J.I.A.J. it doesn’t matter if you eat huge portions of food and consider walking through your house exercise, J.I.A.J. KNOWS your habits and will fix them, instantly.
You see people on infomercials always giving thanks and praise to their “Jesus in a Jar.”
“It saved my life,” cried the woman in spandex clutching her J.I.A.J. to her bosom. “It’s a miracle!”
People want a get thin quick scheme. They want to lose weight and they want to do it immediately. And before this post gets too preachy I want to say that I was definitely one of those people at one time.
I didn’t want to deal with my emotions or take the time to read a book. I wasn’t even sure how I felt about Dr. Phil. Was he somebody whose opinion I trusted?
I wanted a get thin and I wanted it now and I wanted it easy.
Who cares why I eat like I may not see another meal for a week or two? Who cares that the last time I really broke a sweat was in the dressing room at Lane Bryant when I was trying to zip up a pair of jeans that were clearly marked the wrong size?
Who cares why I was morbidly obese? (and yes, I was morbidly obese). I didn’t want to take the time to step back and really look at my life. That’s a scary thing for anybody to do, thin or not thin.
I wanted to be saved and if you offered me J.I.A.J. and said it worked for you, who was I to question?
The “diet” industry is a multi-billion dollar money making machine and it’s because we all want the same thing but don’t know how to get there or don’t really want to take the time and effort it takes to get there on our own.
I remember when I was little and my sister and I would always want to order those records (yes records, I’m THAT old!) they offered you on the back of the Parade magazine.
You know the ad I’m talking about… you buy 100 records for 1 cent or something of the sort. Every Sunday we would grab the ad and look through all the records we could buy. One lousy cent and mom and dad wouldn’t even let us order! Cheapos!
After asking for the millionth time my dad took the time to teach us to read the small print. We found out that even though they promised us 100 records for only 1 cent that that wasn’t all we would be getting and it wasn’t all we would be paying.
We even found out that we didn’t even get to pick the records they sent us! What a rip off!
One of the most useful things my dad taught us kids is that if it seemed too good to be true then it probably was.
I found that the same applies to weight loss. If the “Jesus in a Jar” that your contemplating is a miracle drug, if it seems so easy to do with minimal effort on your part, if gets great results quick, if it’s is as simple as pie (and you can eat as much pie as you want while on it) and is just too good to be true then you probably need to read the small print on your jar-o-Jesus.
Maybe that’s what I’ll say the next time somebody’s eyes glaze over when I’m telling them about my journey. I’ll simply ask “Got Jesus?”
What do you think? Do you believe in “Jesus in a Jar?” Share your thoughts in the comments section, below!
I’ve actually asked my doctor before about a weightless plan. Know what he told me?
“Here’s a 2000 calorie a day diet plan to follow and exercise for an hour a day 4 to 5 times a week.”
No more, no less.
It was all simple math to him. less food + more exercise = weight loss.
He shoved a bunch of papers in my hand and off I went to lose weight. I wasn’t even asked to come in for a follow up appointment to see how it was going.
Now I tend to think I’m a pretty bright person and what I lack in brains I make up for in wit. I was never dropped on my head as a child (that I know of). I didn’t have to wear special shoes. I didn’t jump off the roof with an umbrella to see if I could fly more than once. I didn’t touch the electric fence for fun enough times to do permanent damage.
So why my doctor thought the simple math of less food + more calories = weight loss was supposed to be the bright shining light at the end of the my dark long food filled tunnel was beyond me.
Didn’t he think I thought of that? Did he think he really cracked the code to being overweight? I’m assuming it isn’t his fault for not being able to help me more, because I’ve asked 3 different doctors the exact same question since then and they always come back with the same formula for me. The same rotten obvious answer.
I know a lot of people don’t believe this, but for some, dare I say MANY, overweight people, it is so much more than that simple formula. Eating is so much more than putting nutrients in your body to live.
Food becomes your Prozac.
It becomes your Xanax. It’s a way to calm yourself after a fight with your lover (or ex-lover depending on the fight). It’s a way to celebrate when you got the job or passed the test. It’s a way to soothe, settle, punish, glorify, drown, save, and appease. Now I can’t speak for the masses, but I will speak for myself. I was a nervous eater… and a happy eater…well… I was a sad eater too. Oh and I ate when I was pissed off. I ate when I was bored.
Oh and when there was a party or a holiday… well… you get the picture. I was a definite emotional eater.
It was obvious my doctors weren’t going to give me any more advice that would help me. Now don’t get me wrong, it is NOT my doctor’s fault I was overweight. I’ve never been a big fan of people who blame their crap life and all of their emotional baggage on their parents or a rotten childhood or whatever.
At some point you become an adult and need to take responsibility for your own life so I am absolutely responsible for myself.
But I will attest to the fact that habits are hard to break and habits you’ve had since childhood aren’t even thought of as habits anymore, they’re just your way of life. But anyway…
This is the part of the story where the trumpet sounds and the knight in shining armor rides in on his white horse to saves me, the princess. This is where my epiphany happens, this is where I wrote down the formula for the umpteenth time and it actually worked! Well ok, so it wasn’t THAT thrilling.
What actually happened was I picked up a book… at the bookstore… I came home and read it. All of it. This is the part where one doctor actually gave me more than a formula to follow. I got more than a handfull of paper, a wish of luck and a pat on the back. I got ANSWERS!
I read Dr. Phil‘s Ultimate Weightloss Solutions. And no I am not Dr. Phil’s wife pretending to be a blogger to push his thoughts onto unsuspecting souls and promote his book. I know some people aren’t big fans of him and I don’t plan on spending my time here defending him or really even talking about him, but I will tell you a thing or two about my life since really reading his book.
I have dug to the root of my weight issues. I have gone all the way back to where it may have begun. Through reading and really putting sincere thought into why I am the way I am, I have found memories back to as young as 6 years old and having issues with food.
I have a plan. Believe it or not, I’ve never had one before. It was always, I need to lose weight. I’m going to lose weight. I’m going on a diet. But there was never a clear cut plan. I have one now and it’s working.
I don’t have this hurried frenzied feeling of needing to lose weight right this very second. Believe it or not, when I used to ‘diet’ and I wouldn’t have that familiar really full feeling in my belly I would actually get nervous, sometimes to the point of being dizzy or being short of breath. Hence food being my Xanax.
I am not obsessed with weights, measures, pounds, minutes or calories. Not that I was ever obsessed with them before, but there have been ‘diets’ here or there that would really make you crazy with all the numbers, formulas, tracking and calculating. If you can’t tell, math was never my strong point.
Because I have a plan, I am more calm and confidant that this is a reachable doable goal for me.
And those are just the few changes that I had seen so far. I had only been at this monster for a month by this time, and I was no expert by any means. I’m just taking things one step at a time and learning as I go. But I finally feel like this is it, it’s the big one. I’ve stolen the answer key to all the exams and I’m ready for my first test!
Are you with me? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.