We read these fantastic stories of people (thanks for that People magazine) who’ve been overweight or obese for years who suddenly wake up, radically change their lifestyle and drop all the weight. What the hell happened?
And how do I get some of that?
What causes some people to have that “aha” moment and make that radical change? And what causes other people to continue to flounder, try to lose weight then give up cyclically, and stay obese?
It all comes down to understanding pain versus struggle and your own ability to make a choice. If you’re struggling with your weight you probably just read that sentence and muttered “bullshit” under your breath. But I ask you to hear me out. Give me 2 minutes of your life to read the rest of this.
Still here? Ok, so let’s talk about pain versus struggle first. When something we don’t want happens or something is taken away, we feel pain. It’s a short term feeling to something negative. Sometimes we can control experiencing pain, and sometimes we can’t. When we touch the stove, we feel pain and then we quickly move away from what’s causing the pain. Duh. We learn valuable life lessons from the pain.
Struggle, on the other hand, is when we feel the pain, and rather than move away from it, we embrace it like that ratty ol’ sweater we should have thrown away years ago. We don’t learn the life lesson from it and continue to feel the pain and therefore struggle through life while experiencing the pain. Struggle is self-inflicted. Often we tell stories as to why the pain is still there. We rationalize and make excuses as to why we can’t move away from what’s causing the pain. I’m a personal trainer, believe me, I’ve heard every excuse in the book!
I think we can all agree that being obese, or even just overweight, is a struggle: our confidence takes a hit, our joints hurt, clothes fit uncomfortably, going up stairs is taxing, our health deteriorates, our self image changes, our self-trust erodes as we fail another diet. It effing hurts, yes?
First and foremost, when we feel this struggle, we have to be aware enough and truthful enough with ourselves to recognize it. We have to quit lying to ourselves or giving ourselves the easy out. Our ego is always going to try to deflect personal responsibility for this struggle. Whether you caused the pain or not, you absolutely CAN choose to CONTINUE the struggle or not.
So let’s say that you’re ready to drop the struggle. You’re not a quitter, you don’t have your head buried in the sand. You feel the pain. You accept responsibility for your part in getting to this point. Congrats, you’ve accomplished part one!
So now what?
We simply make the choice to end the struggle. We let the pain go. We drop that heavy burden. We realize that this painful thing is not happening to us right now. The struggle is coming from the story that we keep telling ourselves about the pain. We recognize our crazy power to change the story and redirect our life in any way we want to go.
You want to HAVE the healthy body, and you know you have to DO the work to BE the kind of person you want to be. But you’ve got it all backwards. Your “aha” moment is realizing that you have to BE the person first and that you have the power to do it! Then you’ll DO the things that type of person does. And then you’ll HAVE what you want.
So, if you want to be a lean, healthy person, become that person first. The whole fake it till you make it thing works here. Say it out loud a hundred times per day, “I am lean, fit and healthy”. Maybe say it in your head so people don’t start looking at you weird. From that belief, you will do the things lean healthy people do (i.e.: be active, eat healthier foods, get good sleep, take the stairs, slam weights around while talking about the best protein powder, etc). You will also STOP doing things that don’t line up wth your new identity (donut runs, Netflix marathons, besties who don’t support you, etc). Internalizing that new belief creates new behaviors, which will lead to having the fit body you want.
Cliff notes version: drop the struggle already, BE the person you wish to be, then act like it.
“You’ve always had the power, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself.” Glinda, the Good Witch, Wizard of Oz