“Somebody has been feeding you a pack of lies. You are not fat. You are not incapable. You are not losers.” –Lysa Terkeurst, excerpt from “Made to Crave” DVD.
When we have messed up on our healthy eating plans or weight loss goals have not gone the perfectly perfect way we had envisioned, the negative thoughts and self-talk set up camp. Why am I such a failure? Why do I just plain suck at this? What is wrong with me? Maybe we even hear or read someone saying that people who need to lose weight are lazy, don’t care about their appearance, and/or lack self-discipline. Many of us have heard these things, internalized them, and believed them to be true. A slip up here or there only reinforces those negative thoughts. We wonder why it is so hard to overcome our health struggles while towing emotional baggage behind us the size of the Titanic.
A few years ago, my husband and I made the decision to change our financial picture as a family. Like any goal, there were setbacks, delays, ups, and downs. One day it dawned on me how different I was when attacking debt versus losing weight. When it comes to tackling a goal, there are always challenges. I just noticed that my mental game was completely different when it came to my financial goals vs. weight loss goals. When things didn’t work out the way I had planned (because that is life), I didn’t take things personal or tell myself I was a failure, I just kept on working towards our goal. However, a weight gain could happen and all of a sudden I was an incompetent person who couldn’t do anything right.
I have spent a lot of time wondering why this happens. For me, I believe it is because I have internalized others people’s opinions about appearance and believed the lie that somehow my value was tied into a number on the scale. I don’t believe I’m the only one who does this.
I started looking at accomplishments I am proud of. It was things I have done that required discipline, time management, goal setting, and perseverance. If I can do that with my job and with my personal life, it means that I’m not a failure and I’m not lazy. I don’t think you are either. Our value is not tied to our ability to control our food intake, our weight, or our appearance. You can still be successful, hardworking, and an amazing person even if you experience a slip up. Your success and failures on the scale or with food intake does not dictate who you are as a person.
What if we stopped defining ourselves as “good” or “bad” based on our caloric intake? What if we stopped telling ourselves we were a failure and internalized the fact that failure is an event, not a person? We WILL have slip-ups, setbacks, delays, and momentary lapses in judgement. This IS going to happen and when it does, it would serve us all well to remember: we are not losers; we are not incapable of self-discipline. We are all amazing people capable of doing amazing things on this planet. Amazing and successful people have setbacks and disappointments. We will never ever be perfect and that is okay. Excuse me negative self-talk, it is time for you to move someplace else. My head is no longer a cozy spot for you to reside.
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