Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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To Speak or Not to Speak

I’ve been on diets since I was about 10.  Sometimes they would work and I’d lose some pounds, then I would get tired of it, lose my momentum, and gain them back, usually plus more.  I’d say 45 years of that is plenty of dieting.  Several times I would have successful periods when I lost significant amounts of weight, generating lots of comments and questions from other people about how I did it, what advice did I have, etc.  Sometimes I felt like the poster child for Weight Watchers which got pretty old pretty fast.

Seeing other fat people tugged at my heartstrings and I often found myself volunteering things to try.  Why weren’t they following the simple steps that I knew made all the difference?  Eat less, move more is so easy.  Walking was easy.  Lots of vegetables.  Portion control.  Honestly, it wasn’t that hard.

Except that, of course, it was hard.  Sticking with a program for weeks and months and years is not easy when you are programmed to eat in response to particular foods or emotional situations.   I spent time in therapy as well as the gym, WW, and the nutritionist office.  Not for addictive behavior or eating disorders, but still, time with people who helped give me tools to use in working through my issues.

The world is full of fat people, a lot of them are bigger than I am, and I don’t volunteer anything to anyone now unless it’s asked.   I don’t mention lapbands or Weight Watchers or books or gyms or therapy or portion sizes.  I know from personal experience that someone could have lost significant weight that’s not obvious to someone else, or from a medical condition.   If I’m asked about my own weight loss, I’m happy to talk about it.  But I do not impose anything on anyone else, even if they are ordering something in a restaurant that I think is not particularly healthy for them.  It might be a planned treat – and really, it’s none of my business.

Is that enabling them?  Maybe.  It’s also keeping my nose out of their lives and their business.   Being the recipient of such well-meaning comments in the past, I know how much it hurts to have someone else kindly tell me that the right thing to do is eliminate sugar, or go into therapy to figure out my issues, or just go to a gym to help tone up.   I wasn’t stupid, I knew those things.

No matter how happy any of us are about successfully changing our lives by losing weight and making significant lifestyle and emotional changes to do so, those changes apply to us and not to everyone we meet.  Not being ready to deal with my reality was MY business and something that I had to come to terms with in my own time and way.  I owe that to others as well.  The right words at the wrong time or from the wrong person can cause serious harm.


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Energy and Self-Management

Red Swirl CircleIn a problem solving workshop this week, the presenter talked about systems analysis of energy and self-management. The principles apply whether you’re talking about energy for work or energy in our personal lives. There was a nifty little diagram that I can’t reproduce here because I scribbled all over my copy so you’ll have to bear with my words instead.

Basically it works like this: we are being pulled in opposite directions, with energy builders on one side and energy depleters on the other side. The stronger the builders are, the more energy we have. Similarly, the stronger the depleters are, the less energy we have. And if we can convert a depleter into a builder by working on it, we boost the energy by leaps and bounds.

On the Energy Builder side we have:

  • Shower / be clean
  • Perceptive focus
  • Energy awareness
  • Associate with energetic others
  • Listening skills
  • Act energetically (fake it ’til you make it)
  • Flexibility
  • Nutrition/exercise
  • Humor and fun
  • Positive self talk

On the Energy Depleters side we have:

  • Inhibited
  • Non-challenging work
  • Taking hits
  • Procrastination
  • Stress and burnout
  • Inability to handle change
  • Worry

Of all of these, the most important is positive self talk. Negative talk reinforces negative beliefs, so we need to actively do self coaching to document and reinforce the things we do well.

As soon as I heard this bit, my brain sidetracked to thinking about what we do to ourselves on our merry whirl of weight loss and blogging. When I listen to others, to myself, and read blogs, I find litanies of all things negative. We ate badly, we didn’t journal, we didn’t exercise, we are fat, we are ugly, we snacked too much, we didn’t need that piece of cake, our clothes don’t fit, etc. etc. etc.

Sound familiar?

When we’re in that kind of a funk, those energy depleters are pulling hard. We procrastinate on getting back on track. We find ourselves unable to handle change so we resort to the familiar and caloric. We worry about our choices, our appearance, our health, our out of control lives. We get stressed and burn ourselves out. And binge.

What if, instead of focusing on the negative, we really try to remember and reinforce the things we actually ARE doing? I didn’t snack this afternoon. I walked at lunch. I did 20 min. on the treadmill. I tried a new food. I had good hair today. I look good in this color. I went to my meeting and participated. I planned my food. I got 7 hours of sleep. I journaled. I tried today.

It’s so easy in the blogs to be down ourselves but to be honest, reading enough of it – and writing it myself – just makes me tired and drained. Focusing on the positive doesn’t mean giving up on making changes or pretending that we don’t make mistakes. Because obviously we do.

But I’m going to try, especially going into the stressful holiday time, to concentrate on building my energy and not depleting it. How about you?