Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Act Like You Need It To Breathe

I watched this video, in search of material to prepare for a "motivational" meeting I am putting on tomorrow at work, and this one example really stood out to me. This ridiculously exaggerated "Soul Preacher" guy is talking to a group of students about success. He tells a story of this man having his head held under water while he desperately struggles to fight for his life. As he begins to feel himself slipping away, the man releases him and he is able to come up for an urgent gasp of air. The man asks him, when he was under water, what was the one thing he wanted more than anything? His answer, was to breathe. All he could think of was his need to breathe. That's how badly you need to want success to achieve it. Like you need it, to breathe. 

The obsession. The pure focus, the single minded, hunger driven, absolute desire to pursue and achieve your goals. You need to want it more than you want to sleep. More than you want to party. More than you want to be cool. More than you want to EAT. 

It's so frustrating to me, to watch these videos and read these articles telling you the keys to success. We know what needs to be done. We know we need to want it. We know we need to believe in it. Sure, you can watch all the motivational speeches in the world, but that STILL won't tell you how to convince yourself.

How do you get yourself to want it more than anything? How can I get myself to be obsessed? How do I make sure that I REALLY want it? How do people manage to brainwash themselves so desperately that they're sole focus is to succeed? 

These are the questions I keep trying to find the answers to every time I set my weight loss goals. How can I want it more than I already do? Am I so afraid of success? How can I sell myself on this?

Today was a day of refocus. I've been good, I'm still on track, but today was definitely one of the harder days. After a rough day at work, reminding myself of why I should be good, why I shouldn't eat that, why I should go work out was especially difficult. Writing it out and re reading and re reading is my only solution. Surround yourself in the obsession. Write about it. Dream about it. Fantasize about it. Talk about yourself like you're already there. 

Todays vision:

I am 120 lbs, and in the best shape of my life. I breathe confidence and success, and only take steps toward bettering my life in every way. I have a booming career in marketing, in which I am totally full of passion for. I am in the beginning stages of a budding relationship, with a man who has goals and a passion and enthusiasm for life that drives me to want to be a better person. Together, we stay fit, challenging each other to keep active by working out, camping, hiking, kayaking and enjoying the beauty of the world together. I surround myself with positive people who only influence my life for the better. The choices I make for myself bring joy and happiness on a daily basis. I have something to smile about every day, even on the rough days. I love myself, I love my body, and I am truly in love with the life I have single handedly created and chosen for myself. I have control of every choice I make. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Reality: Confidence > Liquid Courage

Whew... Survived weekend #1 of the diet. Ok, we'll mostly. So according to weight watchers, and several other diet theories, your allowed a "cheat day" or "meal" throughout the week. For me, when I laid out all my goals and steps toward weight loss, I wanted to be realistic. 

As a 20 something socialite living in Austin, "not drinking" is practically a sin here. If you don't drink, you're perceived as boring, un-fun, and no one wants to invite you out. Now, I have tried to get away with it, however I have realized that's the one part of being on a diet that is just not very realistic for me. I don't need a cheat day for a big steak or a big brownie, I need my cheat day to maintain my social life. 

I set up my goal to allow myself one night of drinking if I have attained my goal of 1.5-2lb loss per week. Now if this is going to actually work, I'm not sure. But it's the only way I can see myself sticking with this thing long term... So I'm going to try it. 

It's easy to cut out the sugary drinks and stick with the clear alcohol and the vodka tonics, but the hardest part for me? The hangover. The next day, as you're suffering through your recovery period, all you want to do is eat comfort food and drink delicious sugary drinks that make you feel better. And on top of all those cravings, your fuzzy brain has the hardest time registering the emotion called "caring." What is caring? I don't give a sh** if I'm ruining my diet! Hell, I don't even care if I look or act socially acceptable for the next 3 days, I just want to feel better. Horrible!

Thankfully, I was able to get it together this weekend, drag my hungover ass out of bed and go for a miserable excuse for a jog. But it was a step toward something good for myself! The #1 best cure to a hangover is exercise. Sweat it all out and you will feel so much better. Are the first 10 mins the most miserable torture you could possibly imagine? Sure, but even if you drive yourself to vomit, at least your burning calories and riding your system of the filth you poisoned it with the night before. Think of the positive! 

I used to be in the best habit of working out first thing in the morning after a particularly wild night. I think I managed it because I was most likely still drunk first thing in the morning, so I wasn't necessarily in the hang over mode just yet. But I don't know what happened! It used to be a religion for me, but now it's practically impossible for me to accomplish. Yet another one of those things that you know will make you feel better and solve all your problems, but you just can't convince yourself to do it. Talk about masocistic...

But okay, so imagine this...
You know how confident and beautiful you feel when you've been drinking? Imagine feeling that way all the time. No insecure thoughts about how bad you feel in any tight clothing, you know you look good. It's easy to talk to your crush, and you don't even flinch when he goes in for a hug, placing his hands on your sides where your love handles used to be. And even on those nights where you do go out and indulge in some alcohlic activities, you don't pay for a single drink, all the bartenders love you, and in the morning, you know the guy who got your number last night will still adore you rather than being concerned it was just a misjudged drunken attraction. All the feel-good thoughts about yourself are true facts and dancing the night away, you receive nothing but adoring looks from people who want to be around you. You don't need any liquid courage to make yourself feel good about yourself, you feel good no matter what. 

(The more I read that, the sadder it is, but you know those of us who are overweight are our own worse critics. It's all about confidence, and that's what I want to achieve through my weight loss.) 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

One Step Closer To A Nice Ass

Ahh... It's nice to wake up feeling thinner. As hard as its been to be "perfect" on the diet while traveling and eating out for every meal, I have managed to come out still feeling accomplished. It's always so rewarding to wake up in the morning and notice the slight differences in your body, slowly but surely, every morning. Your clothes fits a little better, there's a little more bounce to your step, and you start your day off with a sense of accomplishment. 

I wish I could just remember that feeling throughout the day! It's so funny how no matter what, when you're doing something good for your body, you always feel so good about yourself afterwards, yet even knowing that, you still make bad decisions that you know that you'll regret later. It's so important to try and keep that memory of that feeling of progress and success fresh in your mind throughout the day... I just don't understand why it's not easier. 

Weight loss really just is a battle of the mind. You dread working out, you dread ordering that salad, but once you do it, you find it's actually really enjoyable and you feel really good about yourself afterwards. Why is it so natural for us to want to avoid doing things that are so good for us? I really wish I could understand how some of us are so much better about it than others. How do those people have the drive and motivation to wake up at 5am every morning to go on a 5 mile run while managing to eat only bits of lettuce and tomato throughout the day? 

For me, I have yet to find the balance between working out and eating right. If I am working out really hard, I always end up much hungrier throughout the day and end up with a sense of entitlement, thinking I deserve to eat a little (or a lot) extra because I did so good working out. Then, on the flip side, when I'm dieting really intensely, my energy level is so low, I barely have the energy to get myself off the couch! 

They say the perfect ratio is 20% exercise and 80% what you put in your mouth. Why is that so hard? Why can't it just be one or the other? I mean, it's been done either way I'm sure. In 2009, I joined Jenny Craig for the summer and managed to lose 30lbs without working out, but I was also 19 and didn't have the alcohol temptation you have once you get older. Now, it's the struggle between a social life, your busy work life, your sleeping routine, and time to just sit down and freaking relax. With so much going on, it's tough to manage the perfect balance!

They say its all about planning ahead- which I've come to realize is the most true statement I've heard regarding weight loss. Planning your meals for tomorrow, packing extra snacks for moments of desperation, scheduling a workout time that you stick to religiously, and planning checkpoints for yourself so you can take baby steps to reach your goal. It's honestly like a whole other job. 

But knowing all of this definitely helps in the end... You just have to commit! Make promises to yourself and keep them. Keep playing those scenarios in your head of your ideal life- no matter how far fetched or goofily unrealistic. Just think of a future full of possibilities, and thoughts that put a smile on your face. That's my approach anyway :)

In my perfect world of the day:
You wake up, feeling thin and confident, ready to start your day. You roll out of bed, perfectly on time, with plenty of time for a morning jog. You change into your work out clothes (the cute attractive tight kind that used to be too revealing in your heavier days) and put on your favorite song as you head out the door to start your day. You begin your run, enjoying the sunrise and take off through the parks and running paths with no insecurities as you trot along in public. After a few miles, you return home feeling like you've already completed a great achievement before you've even started your work day. On your way to the shower, you strip off your sweaty clothes, catching an appreciative glance of your fine naked body in the mirror. It feels damn good to look so good! When it comes to picking your outfit for the day, you no longer have fitful changing sessions, hating every article of clothing you try on. The first outfit you pick looks perfect and you feel proud of the way you look; avoiding the stressfulness that you used to encounter when presented with a wardrobe change. You still have time to brew your fresh coffee and sit on your patio with your granola, enjoying every moment of your morning. Heading off to work, you're awake and energized feeling ready to take on the world. 

Today we're one step closer!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Airports: The Best Place To Not Be Fat

What is it about airports?! Something about all the waiting mixed with the anxiety of actually catching your flight just gives me the worst cravings to switch right into vacation mode. I'm traveling for work for 3 days this week and this morning's trip through the airport was just horrendous.

After all the running and chaos in the world to get there, I missed my flight by just a minute. Of course, aside from my immediate fury and disbelief, my next initial instinct was this: Mmmm might as well drown my feelings of failure and helplessness with a delicious airport Cinnabon snack while I wait on standby!

Poisonous, poisonous thoughts! Of course, today, I didn't give in- as I recovered from my embarrassing heavy breathing after my short sprint through the airport. I just couldn't help but laugh at myself throughout my entire travel experience. Not because anything was actually funny, but it's just pathetic, the struggle after struggle! One of those situations where it's just so bad you can't help but laugh to keep yourself from crying.

After missing my flight, I'm left waiting for a hopeful opportunity at a second chance on a flight, surrounded by only the junkiest of fast food concepts wafting their delicious fatty "vacation-mode" foods around my nostrils. As I sit, attempting to mentally block out all those sinful diet breaking thoughts out of my head, I focus on enjoying my 90 calorie Fiber One bar instead. Finally, they call my name to get on the flight in place of all the other hoards of people missing their flight (damn security was madness!), I drag my "carry on" bag- which definitely shouldn't have been considered a carry on- all the while wishing I were in better shape to carry this thing around. I get onto the plane by miracle, only to encounter a situation completely new to me. My fat hips barely fit down the isle of this tiny plane, practically bumping everyone I pass by! Not only that, but I have to heave my 30 lb bag above my head into the overhead bins on a completely packed flight. This leaves me reaching over a fairly attractive man struggling to push my bag into the overhead bin, while self consciously envisioning the scarring view this man must have of my double chin from that angle.

Now I sit. And I am sweating. And breathing like I haven't worked out in ages, only to be struck with yet another obstacle. The Fiber One bar. The one I was being so well behaved with? Yeah, well we all know the effect of the Fiber One bars, so now I'm stuck on this tiny plane with my stomach in knots just wishing, wishing I'd have just gone for the Cinnabon. Luckily, I was able to control myself, but still! The suffering! Why can nothing ever be easy?!?!

In the end though, despite all the struggles, I overcame my morning from hell, and am feeling much more accomplished, even with my Fiber One mishap. The motivational day dream I would like to paint for myself today is this:

Imagine a future, where you can go to the airport and still look cute in your "airport" clothes. You arrive late to the airport, but with your air of confidence and your striking good looks, everyone allows you to pass through security, if only to get a glimpse of your toned body as you pass them by. Sure, you still need to run a little, but hell, you're so in shape it's practically just showing off. You arrive at your 1st flight on-time, brushing through the aisle with ease. Preferably, some single gentleman offers to put your heavy luggage into the bin for you, but if not, you swoop it up into the bin, shamelessly allowing your midriff to show as you reach over some unsuspecting stranger. Even if you have the middle seat, it wouldn't be an issue because your so thin you fit into any seat comfortably; of course, this wouldn't happen to you because a devilishly handsome man would offer you his window seat because, well, you're just that pretty! You have a peaceful flight to your destination and encounter nothing but smiles and laughs on your way out of the airport, winking at all the bell boys offering to carry your luggage to the car. 

Wouldn't that be nice?! Might not be the most realistic day dream in the world, but hey- anything is possible when you're 40 lbs thinner. Keep tuned!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cowering in our Comforts

The first few days are always the hardest. Not because you don't have the strength or motivation in the beginning, but because it's all about breaking bad habits. Even when you've been perfect the entire day, all the sudden you catch yourself unconsciously reaching for that cookie sitting out on the counter in the office break room. It's not even that you want it, or that you're hungry, it's just because it's what you're used to doing. It's habit, and on day one of that diet of yours, you shock yourself because you find that evil cookie casually gripped in your chubbying fingers, just inches from your mouth before you've even realized what you're doing.

I have literally had moments of horror catching myself doing things like this; just barely escaping the threat of breaking my diet. The shock and realization of just how ingrained needless eating is hiding in the depths of my subconscious is terrifying. For me, I work in the restaurant industry, so the opportunity for food to be within unconscious reaching distance is unavoidable throughout the day. Understanding that your over eating isn't at all your body's fault, but that it's all hidden in some deeper meaning somewhere in your self-sabotaging subconscious is crucial to pin pointing those mental triggers that cause you to release hell on your diet.

I read an article that had some kind of quote in there about the tendency for us to "cower in our comforts." I love the phrasing... cowering in our comforts. The second I read that, I heard my favorite excuse for binge eating echoing in my head again and again:
"I'm just so unhappy in all aspects of my life right now, that the only way for me to find any happiness in my day is by eating whatever I want to. I deserve that don't I?!" 
I realized this is exactly what the article is referring to. Even though I know that being overweight is probably the number one cause for my unhappiness, it's easy to pretend like the world is just so hard and so mean that you have no option but to comfort yourself by ordering chicken wings to take home so you can writhe around in your buffalo sauce alone reflecting on all the things you hate about your life.

So we're aware of the fact that many of us are emotional eaters, but when we hear those excuses coming out of our mouths, we need to recognize that while they sound good at the time, it's a moment of cowardice. An attempt to feed yourself some lie that will make you feel better about avoiding your problems. Accept it, acknowledge it, and feed yourself a truth instead. Remind yourself that this habit is the exact thought process you keep repeating to convince yourself that fat is okay. Don't remind yourself of your misery, reflecting on all those tearful moments where you couldn't fit into your jeans. Envision that positive outlook of how improved your life will be once you've accomplished your goals.

Today here's my vision: 
A gorgeous sunny day like today, you get the urge to spend the day by the pool, laughing, reading, and on the look out for some half clothed eye candy. Instead of the immediate desire to hid your body in an un-sexy one piece, wrapped in a shawl and a sarong so your skin will never see the sun; you rip your clothes off, confidently jumping into that stylish tiny bikini and take off running to the pool, without a single body part jiggling on the jot there. You find the pool crowded with people, and have no shame removing your towel and revel in the appreciative glances you get from the opposite sex. You have a great time working on your tan, meeting new people, and feeling good about flaunting your new sexy body. Who needs a cookie to feel good when you can feel good looking great?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It'd Be Nice To Be Thin... But...

Alright. Today is the day the motivation came. Today, I begin my journey through weight loss. Although, like many others, this isn't the real start of the journey... this is the 50 millionth start of the journey. However, as much as I dislike starting over again and again, and trying every possible different diet out there, I refuse to ever give up completely, and I swear to myself: I will one day convince myself to be thin. Convince me skinny baby!

We all know weight loss is simply a decision. Whether you decide to be rich, decide to quit smoking, decide to be a doctor, it's all simply a decision to CHOOSE what you want to be. I think those of us who struggle with our weight simply struggle because we haven't really chosen that that's what we'd like to accomplish. We continuously complain about our weight and are aware of it, but really we say it because sure, it'd be nice to be thin, but it's not thaaaat necessary, right?

The reason we're on and off all the existing possible diets is because we haven't selected weight loss as our ultimate goal. The obsession. The thing you want most in life. It's more like... well, it'd be nice to have a boat one day, but I don't have to have it today... just sometime in the future, when I happen to live near a lake and have the money to afford that good looking boat boy to clean it for me.  It's just a side project, something that we're half attempting at a shamefully low effort level.

I'm sure the rest of you are like me. You lay in bed at night, fitfully regretting that Molten Chocolate Cake you ordered at Chili's promising yourself that tomorrow will be different. Envisioning your life as a perfect bodied girl sashaying those shapely buns through your beautiful fantasy life- only to wake up with a Krispy Kreme craving and a complete lack of self control.

This is an effort to put those late night "skinny life" scenarios down on paper so they can transform from the unattainable day-dreams I have for myself, to solid written goals. All those "If I were skinny" thoughts, shouldn't just be floating around your mind in the night after a particularly shameful day of binge eating, they should be written for the world to see so that they become real and attainable.

Blogging my struggles, my hopes, my dreams, my goals, my failures, my faults, will be my secret weapon in this month's battle of the scale. Craving a brownie? Perfect, more material for my blog. Instead of giving myself the mental speech about why I shouldn't eat the brownie, I am going to write it down and command myself not to eat the damn brownie.

Follow me on my discovery of the power of putting my dieting thoughts on paper, and convincing myself skinny.