One of my readers, Jacquie, commented on one of my posts a few days back and I was reminded of this article. I shared it with her and wanted to share it with all of you as well. It’s great information – and there’s no such thing as too much great information.
No matter what anyone tells you, information is the most valuable weight loss tool you’ll ever have. No miracle pill, no clever device, no special diet can ever come close to the value of real, truthful information.
It seems like a million years ago, but I still remember being a young adult and spending hours in the bookstore with my freshly cashed paycheck burning a hole in my pocket. The first time I ever spent time in the self-help section I found a book called “Compulsive Overeating”. I didn’t want that to be about me, but I knew deep down it was.
Needless to say, it wasn’t a “how to” manual. That book and dozens of others finally opened my eyes and helped me crawl out of denial, find a therapist (or two or three), and start to piece my life together. Bookstores were my new drug. I remember the thrill I got every time I stepped inside a bookstore, looking at all those books and thinking “What else do I not know about? What else can I learn…change…or just understand better?” A fire was lit back in those days – and it has never stopped burning. Books, magazines, Google…I know I’ll find the answers if I look hard enough.
Not too long ago, I stumbled on an article about the different stages of change – specifically healthy changes. The article specifically addresses exercise, but can be applied to starting any healthy habit. I had decided that I was going to “start eating healthy” again. I was going through my usual stages of “tough love” that I always went through: throwing out the junk food, dusting off the exercise videos, stocking up on healthy food that I didn’t really like but told myself I had to eat. I was very pissy about it. And I realized something: I didn’t want to make these changes. I wanted to want to make the changes…but I wasn’t ready.
As you’ll see by Linda Melone’s wonderfully informative article “Prepare Your Mind to Change Your Body”, I was in Stage 3. I had made some changes, but I was definitely not ready for Stage 4: the GO! stage – yet my perfectionistic, all or nothing, black and white mindset was pushing me to it…even against the will of my subconscious. I was buying the veggies, trashing the pizza rolls, and already coming up with excuses for not exercising. My heart wasn’t in it.
This article made me look the truth squarely in the eye and say “Okay, I’m really not ready.” I felt like the weakest person alive because I wasn’t ready. The broccoli went bad before I had the chance to choke it down. I did buy pizza rolls again, but I stopped eating fast food every day. Soon it was only once a week. I still bought ice cream way too much, but not candy bars and other crap. Admitting that I wasn’t ready gave me a very subtle underlying sense of freedom from the guilt and the “coulda-shoulda-woulda” monster that was always at my heels.
For years, I was caught in a tail spin. I would catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror at work on Friday…and say “That’s it! I’ve had it!! I’m starting a diet Monday!” Then I went out for 700 calorie meals with the girlfriends. Saturday I was curled up on the couch with a good book and a pint of mint chip. Sunday I was at the movies with a 10,000 calorie tub of popcorn and a diet coke. And then there I was on Sunday night throwing out all the junk food, stocking up on healthy food, and resolving that this time I’m going to do it. I’d starve myself with diet food on Monday. By Tuesday, I was in the drive thru screaming for a Shamrock shake.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
I was finally ready on December 15th, 2011. As I stood in my living room, eating one chocolate covered butter toffee after another without even really tasting them…the light finally when on. I cried. I realized…this is absolutely nuts. I walked to the kitchen and tossed the entire tin of butter toffee in the trash can. Then I brushed my teeth for about 15 minutes. It was a Thursday night.
I didn’t need to wait for Monday. There was no grandiose tossing of the junk food in the house. There was no trip to the grocery store to buy food I knew I wasn’t going to eat. There was no dusting off of the exercise videos – I knew I wasn’t ready for that yet.
Revving up for GO stage in 3…2….1….
I gave up sugar and fast food that day. Ten days later, I gave up diet soda. Three months later, I’ve lost 27 pounds…and I honestly can’t tell you anything I’ve done that’s significantly different than any other of my million-and-one tries…except that I didn’t force myself to change.
Ready doesn’t happen overnight like we wish it would. Ready happens in stages. Be still and quiet for a bit…you’ll know in your gut when it’s GO time.
So…what stage are you in?
Oh, and that bookstore I used to spend hours in? I carry one in my purse now: the Kindle Fire. 🙂