Monday, June 8, 2009

What Have I Done For Me Lately?

Some old negative thoughts have crept back into my mind the last few days because the scale is up a few pounds. For three days, I’ve weighed 130, up from my preferred 128. I know, I know, two pounds is no big deal, and if it were only for a day, maybe two, I’d agree. But this is day three and I’m ticked. Not worried. Ticked. I’m not worried because I know I’ll figure out what’s going on (and I’m pretty sure I’ll discover it’s nothing I’m doing, rather it’s biological and related to the warm, humid weather).

So if I’m not worried, why am I ticked?

Because I feel like I’ve failed. Yup, just three days of two measly pounds over my preferred weight and I’m a failure. THAT, my friends, is how my mind works. And THAT is what I’m working to improve: to stop the negative thoughts and cultivate a more peaceful, curious mind.

Aside from excess skin questions, the two questions I get asked most are “What do you eat?” and “What is your exercise regimen?” Valid questions, but the further along this weight journey I travel, it’s becoming more clear that the best question to ask might be, “How do you take care of your mind?” Without understanding our goals and committing to achieving them, and more importantly, understanding how we view ourselves as a human being, what we eat and how we move is almost moot.

In a recent Tricycle Community newsletter, Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron wrote an excellent piece on gossip called “The Truth About Gossip.” She writes:

“I’ve found that the best antidote to gossip is deliberately and consistently meditating on the kindness of others and cultivating lovingkindness toward them. Sit down sometime and reflect on everything others have done for you since you were born…It’s truly amazing how much others have done for us.

“When our minds become convinced that we’ve been the recipients of a tremendous amount of kindness in our lives, the wish to speak ill of others vanishes. Instead, we become happy to talk about others’ good qualities, virtuous activities, accomplishments, and good fortune.”

When I tell myself I’ve failed, it’s like I’m gossiping about myself: “What does she know about losing weight or maintaining weight? She just gained two pounds! She doesn’t know her ass from a hole in the ground.”

When I read Chodron’s piece, I turned the meditation towards myself. What kindnesses have I shown MYSELF since I was born and how can I cultivate lovingkindness towards me?

I’m still working my way through this meditation – probably will for many days, months and years – but it’s clear I’ve done many more good things for myself than bad. I've accomplished a lot of good things, beyond losing weight and getting fit. My hope is that soon I’ll be happy to talk to myself more about my good qualities and stop this internal gossip.

12 comments:

  1. katerina-the greek girlJune 8, 2009 at 7:09 PM

    What you say are so true Lynn!My name is Katerina and I am writing you from Athens,Greece.I am 23 years old and I have lost so far 74 pounds-still 20 to reach my goal weight of 100 pounds.I am a dedicated reader of both your blogs,that and the previous one,of the weight loss.I consider you my inspiration,but that is probably sth you have heard so many times before.You are one of the biggest winners in this life because you managed to turn everything in your life upside down and you have managed to change other lives too,the ones that get inspired by you!.I'm not going to get sentimental here,I just commented to express my admiration,my gratitude and to congratulate you on your wonderful family and your g-grandchildren!Thank you!!A kiss from Greece!

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  2. Lynn,

    This is such a good post! I think most of us deal with negative thoughts about ourselves despite our many achievements (and at least you can admit that you struggle, which I find so honest and refreshing). It is stopping those thoughts that is the hard part. I wish you success with this journey in being more positive about yourself because from everything I have read about you, you have really acccomplished a lot in addition to your weight loss--and you have a wonderful family, which is key in my book. But I also know that changing our thought processes can take a lifetime.

    I hope to learn much, much more from you!

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  3. Lynn, thanks for your comment on my blog. I really do love your words. You are such a kind soul. I enjoyed this post a lot. It's true we do need to work on stopping the internal gossip we dish out to ourselves. I remember reading somewhere in blog world to look in the mirror and say "I approve of you" and that really hit home with me because I've always struggled with approving of myself. It is about kindness to oneself. Hopefully with time we'll all win the mental battle.

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  4. "Courage",

    I'm sure you body have a good reason to keep your 2 pounds if you do everything (sports, healthy food etc...). So don't worry, they will be gone soon. If you keep positive, like you always does, you won't remember them next week.
    By the way, i read the comment of "Katerina the Greek girl" and it's so great that your spell, i mean your writing spread the world.

    Thanx to be here and make us read things that put us to the reflexion i-e your write about gossip.

    Julie

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  5. I love love that phrase internal gossip, Lynn.
    and am always happy to help with the Be Nice To Lynn nagging.

    methinks Im a BIT too lovingnice to myself :)

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  6. Lynn it is like you are in my head lol! I struggle with this everyday. I find if I do not meet a goal (1 or 2 lbs a week) I am my worst enemy I get onto myself for failing but I really should just remind myself that I can do it and not be so weak. Thanks for reminding us even when you meet your goal you still have some issues to work on. We are with you Lynn!

    Mara
    http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

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  7. Lynn,
    Internal gossip is a good phrase for the self defeating things we tell ourselves all the time. Even 12 years later I still mentally beat myself up from time to time when I've made food choices I regret! You are fabulous and I love your writing! Diane

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  8. Lynn, I see that you said you were up a couple pounds for 3 days.Do you weigh yourself everyday? My trainer told me I had to stop doing it, even though I felt more in control that way. Which is better, once a week or each day? Did it help you when you were starting to lose? I am just starting and only have about 40 pounds to lose. (That's my goal) But like you've said, our bodies will let us know what our goal is when we get there.

    Ashley

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  9. I so can relate to this. I think when you hit goal dont they say its natural to fluctuate 2-4 pounds? Like on WW they allow you 2 pounds. Im like over 5 and thats when I get a little concerned. As I have read people gaining all their weight back. So im stopping at giving back 5. I will take them back. But its effort. daily effort. Thanks for your posts.

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  10. Katerina, so glad you posted a comment! Congrats on your weight loss. Please let us know how you're doing once in awhile as you lose the last 20.

    Ashley, I weight myself 3 to 5 times a week now that I'm in maintenance, but I ONLY weighed once a week while I was losing. I think it's important in maintenance to keep a daily or almost daily eye on things, but when losing, the body (as you know) can go up and down in a day due to many factors, so it's best to not enter that mind game minefield.

    Yes, it's very common to go back and forth with 2-4 pounds in maintenance. My concern is that it happened quickly, not gradually, and that it didn't fluctuate in three days. That's when my guard goes up. The scale said 129.3 today, but I'll stay off it now until Friday to give my body (and mind) a chance to work it all out.

    And feel free to use "internal gossip" as much as you want :)

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  11. Lynn, it is hard to not beat yourself up, but you certainly have every tool in your box to deal with a 2 pound gain. My weight bounces around a lot, I seem very affected by exercise and the foods I eat.

    My scale is up a bit, too - but I am focusing on training for my tri, so I am not panicking about that yet as it is all a learning experience about what to eat while training and how much or little I need.

    I am lucky that my hubby always reminds me of what I have accomplished when I get those negative thoughts like "Why am I not at goal yet, I must be a failure" - which is not true, but seems like the mind is even slower to change than the body.

    One principle of the Beck book that I have put into practice is to take time each day and reflect on all the good things that I accomplished for the day. I try to do that as I am getting ready to sleep, so it sends me to dreamland with positive thoughts.

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  12. has WHAT you are eating shifted a bit?

    (FYI - I actually don't vary much at all - and I have always thought it is because I am not being impacted by processed foods.)

    There were several things that you said that I thought were really important.

    First
    I thought it was very helpful that you were not afraid to admit that you were conscious of TWO POUNDS. I have read blogger after blogger that never actually got all the way to goal, then creeps up two pounds here and five pounds there - these bloggers easily get to 30-50 pounds above their original goal - and then are a little befuddled wondering what exactly happened. It all starts with that first two pounds.

    I am certainly not saying that I think will regain - because I don't - but I think it is very valuable to talk about the fact that you keep track.

    Second
    I love that you are working on keeping track WITHOUT falling into bad thoughts about yourself or the world. I think this is a wonderful topic.

    Third
    I love your positive thought focus - rather than just trying not to think 'bad' thoughts - moving forward to empowering thoughts is really helpful. I am all for empowering ourselves!


    On a personal note - I think that in order to maintain, one has to follow one of two paths:

    either they have to get on the scale VERY regularly (like you do)
    OR
    ones food and exercise has to be 'spot on' (this happens to be what I do).

    I had a hard time getting hooked on that ' empty' feeling ritual that often is associated with the scale - empty,slightly dehydrated, naked body. When I get on the scale now - it is actually in the middle of the day - FULL and hydrated like the REAL ME IS. And the scale stays very, very steady for me with this process. If it did not, I would be back on, every couple days as I did all through my losing phase.

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