A Reason to Quit
This was originally posted on Gastric Bypass Barbie “way back” in August 2009. I thought it was quite apropos. Especially for today…when I see people flirting with disaster…making unwise choices…quitting…giving up on their weight loss goals…quitting the journey. May you choose to ignore all of your own reasons to quit, and cling to the one reason to keep going: Y-O-U. ~ Me
A Reason to Quit
Today, I was making the rounds on my new favorite blogs, when I came across an article that hit me straight between the eyes. The site is refusetoregain.com, and, while it’s not bariatric-centric, it IS relevant, as anyone who has lost a ton of weight needs help to keep it off.
“Refusing Under Stress,” is written by Dr. Barbara Berkeley, a board certified internist who specializes in the care of overweight and obese patients, and is one of two doctors who operate the site. In this particular article, she discusses the rationale of using “stress” as an excuse to practice “food soothing” (the fine art of making yourself feel better by eating things like cake, cookies, ice cream sundaes, and other garbage.) She includes a short list that mentions everything from worrying about money, to having trouble with a child, being sick, being busy, or even worrying about a doctor or dentist appointment. In other words, there isn’t a single day in anyone’s life where there isn’t a “qualifying stressor” that could trigger the “right” to participate in “food soothing.”
She agrees that the list could go on for pages, but her point was that anyone who plays the “just this once” card to deal with stress is more likely to do it daily, rather than “once in a great while.” Clearly, this is a habit that leads to weight regain.
But, how do we deal with stress? We’ve all heard that one solution is to distract ourselves with another thought or activity, which in her case, revolves around running. When she first began this form of exercise, she bought a book by an Olympic runner that explained how to build up to long distance running.
It turns out that distance runners are a lot like weight maintainers, in that they struggle to continue DESPITE DISCOMFORT. Hmmm…
In other words, even though I, as a gastric surgery after lifer experience hunger throughout the day, I am training myself to distinguish the type of hunger, address it properly and administer the appropriate fix! But what is the exact “thing” that I’m trying to “fix” when I feel hungry? Turns out, it’s DISCOMFORT. I don’t LIKE being hungry.
And this general disdain for discomfort doesn’t limit itself to food. No, as it turns out, it extends to my workout regimen — just as the distance runners say. The more I think about it, the more I realize I am guilty of not pushing myself because I don’t like the way it feels! Here are some of the things I say while I’m in my 2nd half hour on the elliptical at the gym or trying to do my 90th consecutive jumping jack at power tae aerobics:
- I can’t go on.
- It’s too hard.
- I hurt.
- I’m tired.
- I’m bored.
- I can only do so much.
- I am doing better than yesterday.
- I should’nt overdo it.
- I need to build up to it.
- What if I hurt myself?
- She’s been doing it longer.
- I’m blood type A. I’m not as strong as the type O’s.
- I’m taller.
- I have bad knees.
This is what the marathon runner in the book calls “messaging” and it’s a very powerful force!
The Mind is Divided: “The power of the mind to push the body to its potential is limited by an internal conflict. The logical side (left brain) does not communicate with the creative side (right brain). A primary mission of the analytical side is to steer you into comfort and away from stress. The more stress you generate from running and other areas, the more negative messages: “slow down,” “stop,” or what is even worse, “why am I doing this?” If you don’t have a mental strategy for dealing with this barrage of negativity, you’ll start losing confidence in your ability to achieve your potential…”
Now, if we can participate in negative messaging, and we can participate in POSITIVE messaging, do we have a third option? YES! We can IGNORE THE MESSAGES. That’s right! We do not have to address the message. As Dr. Berkeley says, we can acknowledge it as if it is a helium filled balloon just “floating by.” It’s like saying, “Hey, that’s a balloon,” but doing nothing about it and returning to the task at hand.
I’m taking this concept of messaging to heart and will be employing my new technique at tae tonight. I will NOT give myself a free pass to slack off just because I’m tired or it gets tough. I will not say that I have a week core, so I can’t do all of the leg lifts. I will not push myself to the point of unreasonable pain, but I will push beyond the manageable sort, because it will help me to build strength.
I guess another old adage proves itself to be true: That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!