When I'm listening to a great speaker at a conference, I can't help but take what he or she is saying and apply it to my personal life. Last week I heard Emmanuel Gobillot speak on leadership. There were several nuggets I jotted down in my notes, but one stuck out to me.
"Most people are afraid of change because they don't know what it's going to look like."
I immediately thought of weight loss when I heard this. It was true for me. I waited years and year to face the fear and lose weight. And as I waited I put on extra pounds each passing year.
I didn't understand it at the time, but there were many things I was afraid of.
I was afraid of failing
I was afraid of succeeding and then gaining it all back
I was afraid that if I tried to lose weight it wouldn't work
I was afraid I would miss food too much
I was afraid I would have to exercise
I was afraid to tell people I wanted to try
I was afraid it would be too hard
Today I want to touch on one of those fears - I was afraid that if I tried to lose weight it wouldn't work. Looking back I can see that this was one of my biggest fears.
I've been "dieting" pretty much since I was in 4th grade. I went to a weight loss support group for over ten years and thought I knew all I needed to know about weight loss. I had tried before and failed. And then tried again and failed. I never really had much success when I was trying. I think the most I ever lost was 10 pounds. In all honesty, I wasn't trying very hard.
I never did a combination of diet and exercise together. In most cases I would do one or the other and get burned out after a few weeks. With diet I would "go on a diet" stay away from the "bad food" and only eat "good food" until I would binge on the bad foods I so desperately was craving and then give up because I failed. With exercise all I really tried was walking. There were a few times where I walked consistently for a few weeks or even a few months and the scale didn't move. My conclusion was that exercise didn't work.
I felt like weight loss didn't work for me. I didn't understand how it worked for others. When I would hear others success stories and they would say "If I can do it, so can you!" I didn't believe them. I felt like I was incapable of losing weight.
I've talked before about how I got started with diet and how I got started with exercise and luckily for me it all clicked at the right time. I was at my highest weight and I wasn't happy and I was ready to try, even though I thought I would most likely fail again.
For me what worked was the Weight Watchers point system. I'm not saying the program would be right for you, but it helped me break through the "bad food/good food" relationship I had with eating. It showed me that I could eat my favorite foods in moderation and avoid setting myself up for the vicious cycle of dieting, binging, failing, giving up.
Weight Watchers also has showed me the relationship between exercise and food. Calories in vs. calories out. When I had tried to exercise in the past I'm sure I was still taking more calories in that I was getting out - hence the not working.
My message to you about fear is that it is a very real, very powerful thing. If you are faced with fear I encourage you to sit down and really take a look at what's behind the fear. If you're afraid of what change in your life will look like, figure out why you feel that way. Make a list and tackle each reason and push through to get what it is you want out of this life.
P.S. Jacob had a great day at camp yesterday. He was still wearing his costume when I picked him up and he said he had a lot of fun.