Monday, March 2, 2009

Passion of mind...

You know, my journey now has truly become "mind over matter"--my mind over my body.

At the beginning of my weight loss, it was easy to lose weight. I was 130+ pounds overweight. So the first 60-70 pounds seemed to fall off with little effort on my part. Really, all I had to do was track my points. Sure, I exercised, but it was mostly just walking. I remember when I first started exercising, I started doing the WW walking challenge which started with just 10 minutes of walking a day.

So my body was the one losing the weight. It seemed like an easy trap to fall into. But I sure didn't see it as a trap at all. I just thought that was the way I'd lose weight. I had no idea that after a season, my body would require more effort from me, from my mind. And when I came to that point in my weight loss journey, I didn't know what to do. I had no idea why I wasn't losing weight.

I know they say you have to change up what you're doing in weight loss once you hit a plateau. But I didn't hit a plateau. My weight loss just slowed down. I never saw that as a plateau. I just didn't know why I wasn't losing like I used to.

I tried alot of things. Different diet. Different exercise. Basically just alot of different approaches to the same weight loss hurdle.

It wasn't until just recently that I realized my problem is in my mind.

So when I say mind over matter, it really is. My mind has to be the one that decides whether I'll lose weight or not.

When I say the problem was in my mind, I mean my mind was the one sabotaging everything I tried. I didn't even see that it was doing it to me. It started when I got 3 pounds from 100 pounds of weight loss then all of the sudden, weight loss became impossible. Whatever I'd lose, I'd soon gain it right back. And my usual weight loss tricks weren't working.

It wasn't until I started running that it finally hit me.

When I first tried to run over a year ago, I couldn't do it. I got so out of breath that I would get dizzy and start seeing stars from hyperventilation. I didn't understand it. But I was afraid to run. My mind was telling me that I couldn't run. I was too fat. If I ran, I'd either have a heart attack or I'd fall and break a knee or a hip. But I didn't realize that at the time. I just knew that I couldn't run. I just thought it was because I was so out of shape.

Then a couple of months ago, I tried running again, but this time with a different attitude. I knew going into it that I had a fear. Once I started running, I confronted that fear and asked it where it was coming from and why it was sabotaging me. Then I came face to face with it and could see it for what it really was.

Then I took off running.

Once I was able to confront my fear and put it in it's place and know that it was only fear that was holding me back from running, I was free to run.

Then I totally started enjoying running.

But then, much later, I got to thinking about my weight loss and maybe I had some fears about losing weight, too.

You know, I really don't think I was afraid of losing weight. I think really what it was is that I was telling myself that I couldn't do it, but I had no idea I was doing that.

When I first got so close to losing the 100 pounds, I think I was shocked that I could actually do it and I started sabotaging myself just to prove it to myself that I really couldn't do it. Self doubt turned into self image.

Can you believe that?! I actually talked myself into thinking that I was too weak to lose weight. If I had to work at it, it was too hard and I wasn't strong enough to do it.

It wasn't until just recently that I've come to terms with this. I mean, come on, my own mind sabotaging me without my even knowing about it?! How messed up is that?

Then in WW, I saw the "Monitoring Your Thoughts" Helpful Habit and it finally hit me. Sure, I'd seen the 8 Helpful Habits before. I knew all about them. But when that one jumped off the page at it, it hit me like a Mac truck. It was my thoughts that were sabotaging me. And I never knew it.

Now that I know it is my thoughts, or rather my mind telling me that I'm not strong enough to do this, I can see it for what it really is and push past it just like I ran past my fear of running. It's like identifying a problem first then figuring out how to fix the problem. If you don't see it, you can't fix it, right?

Now when I don't lose, I don't have to be frustrated thinking that my body isn't cooperating (like "oh, I did everything I was supposed to do but still gained"), I can see it for what it really (and usually it's my actions or lack thereof that will cause a gain), then I can look at it reasonably and sensibly and know what I need to do to push through and keep on moving in my weight loss journey. Then I can really see what I did or didn't do and look at it honestly and reasonably. Then fix it.

I'm not sure if any of this is making sense. It's in my mind, so it might not. Have you guys ever had something happen to you and the only thing you can track it back to was your mind sabotaging your efforts? Even if it's something you want so bad and your thoughts are all on the success of it? The tricky part is when your mind sabotages you but you don't even know it. I can't even rationalize how that could possibly happen. You'd think that you could know everything that's going on in your own head.

By the way, if you're looking for a great way to get started walking, I highly recommend Weight Watchers' Walking Challenge. It's great! I only stayed with it for 9 weeks, but it was a huge help for me to get me used to exercising. I hadn't really exercised for maybe 19 or 20 years. And I was obese. Almost 300 pounds. So exercise, for me, was a huge challenge. Their walking challenge was perfect. It eased me into it. Now look at me. A year and a half later, I'm running a 10K. :D



Trish said...

I would love to love running someday.

Congratulations on your successes thus far. I know you will continue to succeed.

jinxxxygirl said...

Great post Cara! You gave us alot to think about.........Jinx!

Nat said...

Boy- I agree, the whole mind battle is the most important. For me, it starts there. But, that is a tough thing to get aligned!
Thanks for the help!

fatty McButter Pants said...

You made me laugh when you said your mind was messing with you and you didn't even know it. Happens to me so much! Great post, and you're right, this food thing isn't about food. Keep inspiring me!

MaryFran said...

I could not have said that better myself. Well, actually I couldn't have said it at all....but you put exactly what has happened to me into words. Even from the early days of my weight loss when the weight just dropped right off of me, seemingly effortlessly!

Well said!

spunkysuzi said...

I do believe a lot of what we do or want to do starts in the head :)
I'm just waiting to get this leg healed and then i'm going to try running!!!

SeaShore said...

Thanks for sharing this. It may be just what I need.

Scale Junkie said...

You are such an inspiration. Thank you for this post.

Lake Mary WWLeader said...

You are on the right track. Just keep on thinking positive. Your body achieves what your mind believes! Keep up the good work and I will see you and hubby on Saturday.

Elizabeth said...

I stumbled upon your blog while looking for weight loss blogs on the blog search. I have to tell you I can totally relate. I am 3 pounds from my 80 pound goal and I keep sabatoging myself. I keep going up two pounds and then down two pounds, up four pounds, and then back down four pounds, but never beyond my previous low. I know it is a battle of my mind, but I can't seem to put my finger on why I keep doing it? I know it is something in my mind that is keeping me from my goal and it is driving me crazy !!!! If you find anything helpful to you please blog it so that I can gain insight from your experience. Congratulations on the weight loss, it is a hard journey. Many Blessings. Elizabeth

Karyn said...

very insightful. I'm so glad you are getting a handle on the games your mind has been playing on you.

And 10K? How awesome is that?!