Last year I reached a point where it was time to work on my health again. I was nervous to confront my weight, I was frustrated by how hard it was to lose weight, and I had a behavior of indulgence when my mood was down.
I went to the doctor as part of my process and there the doctor confronted me with my high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and the conclusion that my problems were mostly caused by being overweight.
I sat confronted by my behaviors, confronted with the natural consequences of my behavior, the cost of which was going to be ongoing health problems unless I changed something now.
But I didn’t want to give up my indulgences. I didn’t want to change my eating. The self medicating those indulgences provided reduced my stress and made me happy, so instead of confronting my opinions and reactions I could just eat away my discomfort.
Over the next six months I tried to discipline myself without the deep rooted changes I needed. I made modest progress. I lost weight. But my stress level was growing and my indulgences were hard to resist. It was a constant struggle.
Until late last year. I was facing the end of 2013 without much change to my health. Still on the medications. Still 50 lbs overweight. It was clear to me that for me to change I had to do something more serious. I had to confront my behavior of indulgence. I had to start parenting myself in much stronger and deeper ways. I had to get to the root of my discomfort and start to work on it.
I had to confront my expectations of abandonment and root out the beliefs that still affected my self-esteem.
But these are hard things to bring to the conscious mind. They are deeply rooted in my sub-conscious because they have been with me from the youngest of ages. So I made three agreements with myself:
- I would no longer treat hunger as an emergency.
- I would determine my feelings when I thought I was feeling hungry
- I would work daily on my feelings of fear, guilt, or shame.
Throughout December and January I found this struggle daily. I lost 12 lbs in January and I was much more aware of what was going on with my feelings. Then it hit me. I was still discounting myself. I was still believing that something was wrong with me. I was still limiting myself. I was still using feelings of fear, guilt, and shame as sticks to create a need to indulge, only now I was just working on the feelings and working through them instead of indulging.
Up to this point my confrontations with myself had been about my behaviors. But now it was time to dive deeper. To dive down into the underlying beliefs. I knew this was going to be hard. I had tons of information and tools to help from the years of therapy, but I was missing one ingredient — an unwillingness to accept my feelings of fear, guilt, or shame as conclusions to my situation. I needed an unwillingness to keep thinking of myself in negative terms. I wasn’t ready to let go of my self doubt. It was still serving me somehow.
You might wonder, “but how would that serve you?” I have always gotten a lot of happiness by indulging myself. I have worked to change behavior but I still wanted to indulge myself with food, pride, self-pity, and media distraction.
But as my friend Karuna Poole wrote in her blog article Living in Gratitude, I was putting happiness ahead of Joy. I could accomplish feeling happy but I wasn’t feeling the joy that awaited me on the other side. Then I did several things —
- I started listening to myself and my unhappiness.
- I started focusing on what is right in my life.
- I started sharing with people what was making a change in my life.
I started realizing how much happier I was when I was focused on positive energy and outcomes.
I have started last week to spend ten days without being negative. Today is day three.
I’ll report back here with more outcomes I learn from this process.
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