I received a lot of questions about yesterday’s blog post:
1. When did Blammo happen?
2. How did it happen?
3. What was it exactly that you did then that you hadn’t been doing before?
I can tell you exactly when, where, and what my Blammo were because that day is etched quite clearly in my brain. Sit down little children and granny will tell you a story:
220lbs. Leftover Gestational Diabetes that has taken on a life of it’s own long after the baby has left the body. Lots of binging on sugar. Lots of Emotional Eating. Although I knew I was really fat, I couldn’t really understand what everyone else was making such a fuss over? Did I really look THAT different?
But what could I do? Every time I tried to diet I would end up binging even more and getting even fatter so I knew that was no solution. Exercise wasn’t really an option because everything hurt. I had plantar fascitis in my feet, my knees and hips were always sore, I had the cardio capacity of a marshmallow.
The dialogue in my head went something like this:
“I am too tired to fight this anymore. Nothing works. Seeing as I have been some degree of over-weight almost my entire life, maybe this is just how my body is? Maybe I am fighting a useless battle? I will always be big, so maybe it is time to accept that and make the best of it.”
I did not know it then, but I had just hit rock bottom. Rock bottom doesn’t always feel bad. Actually I felt pretty good at that moment of surrender. Like when suicidal people finally set a date for their suicide and their loved ones later report how happy they seemed in the days that led up to their deaths.
It turns out that Surrender is the KEY here actually to what was about to happen. When you Surrender, your defenses go down. When your walls are down you can hear things that maybe you were unable to hear before.
I went off to the Library. As far as I am concerned, The Library contains all the answers anyone could ever seek. That day, I was looking for books on Fat Acceptance. If I was going to be fat, heck yeah, I would do it in style. I sat there pouring over pictures of smiling overweight models in chunky necklaces and brightly colored scarves and wondering if there was anyone in the world who really believed that “drawing the eye upwards” could disguise the fact that 200lbs lurked below the neck.
A growing sense of discomfort was stirring in my soul. This little tiny voice was whispering “not-me-not-me-not-me….”
I scooped the books up intending to check them out for a closer look at home. On the way to the circulation desk, something drew me aside to the Self-Help section. Tony Robbins was leering out from the cover of his latest book. I chuckled and thought “do people really read that stuff?” My hand is reaching for it, I am opening it, I flip randomly to a page and feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Find an empty carrel, drop the fat books in a heap, take out a sheet of paper and a pen and start working through an exercise called “who do I want to be” or some such.
For about an hour I wrote who I want to be. I wrote about how I wanted to look, what sort of things I wanted to do with my life, and what I thought was my place in the world. Then Tony asked “What is stopping you?” Well, I’m fat, I binge, I can’t control my sugar intake, I am obsessed with eating and dieting.
Tony: Is it a good trade? Are the choices you are making BETTER than the reality you are trading them for?
Blammo, to me, felt like Tony Robbins whacking me upside the head with a plank of wood.
Tony snuck his cheesy, inspirational self into my brain precisely at that moment when my defenses were down. I could see clearly for the first time ever that the CHOICES and HABITS I engaged in on a daily basis were bringing me the opposite result of ALL the things in the world I ever wanted. Changing the behavior would change the outcome. I had heard this a million times before but this was the first time I really got it: Was I going to lay down and accept defeat and live the next 60 years being this stranger hiding behind chunky necklaces, or was I going to fight for the person who lives inside of me who is full of beauty and life and has awesome, fun, exciting things to do in this world? Not that fat people can’t be beautiful or have great lives, I just knew that I, as a fat person, wouldn’t.
Here’s what happened next: The HOW didn’t matter anymore because I had a WHY. Karen Knowler calls this “Your Big Why” and says that no goal can be reached without one. In all my past attempts I had focused all my energy on the “How”: lists of good vs bad foods, how many calories would I need to take in and how many would I need to burn, should I mix carbs with protein, eat low-carb, eat low-fat, dairy-free or dairy-rich, raw, vegan, atkins, south beach…. that’s all “How” stuff, it doesn’t really matter and it can take you off course.
“Why” trumps “How”. “Why” clears the deck, shows you the path, put blinders on the sides of your vision to eliminate distractions, and kicks boulders out of the way. “Why” is different for every person and will be different at different times of one’s life. Again, to paraphrase Karen Knowler, your “Why” has to be big enough and juicy enough to give you goosebumps and make you want to RUN to it in an all-out sprint.
One more example: If you are operating on “How”, when someone passes a plate of your favorite food you think “Arg! I wish I could have that! I am so deprived all the time, it’s not fair, I deserve to have some fun too! waaaah!” All the pleasure is in that FOOD and all the pain is in saying No. That. Is. Hard.
When your super exciting “WHY” is in charge and that plate of favorites comes around, you say “No the F-k Way!” (sorry, but my “Why” swears like a sailor) “What I am working for is so much more delicious and wonderful than that food could ever taste that I am not even tempted. Be gone with you Dream Stealing Cupcake!” and you are so happy that you want to dance around like a Pussycat Doll singing “hahaha…hahaha”
I “why-ed” myself all the way down to my goal weight and then I stayed there. It’s been over 10 years. That long, exhausting battle has been won. Sometimes I still have to win little battles, but mostly, peace with food is mine at long last.
This post describes the process I take clients through in a 3-month health program. Sure we talk about brown rice and spinach, but I know that for most people that’s the “How” stuff. It sure can help, but more important is helping them eek out their delectable ”Why.” From there, the How is easy!Pin It