The weight loss journey I have been on has been a long one, and there have been many times I have wanted to give up. In fact for some periods, I did give up, at least for a while. I would then get back on the horse, as it were, and forge ahead.
The times I wanted to give up were most often when I had forgotten how far I had come and could only see how far I had to go. Sometimes that weight goal seemed impossible. It seemed it would take a life time to reach. It seemed like I would never do it.
Why? Because I had convinced myself in my mind I wouldn’t do it. There were a lot of influences on that thought pattern, not the least of which was growing up as “the fat kid” all through school.
You see as that fat kid, we are often told we can’t. Can’t what you ask? Can’t anything! Can’t play sports, can’t do what the other kids did. The simplest things sometimes seemed insurmountable to us, and those early learned thoughts burrow themselves deep into our subconscious.
Sometimes society and the media would re-enforce those ideas. How do you see fat people portrayed in the media? They are just stereotyped in a way you would never do to any other group, and sometimes we do it to ourselves.
When we allow ourselves to be the butt of those type of jokes, it makes people think it is ok. I used to be very bad for that. I felt if I could get people to laugh WITH me they wouldn’t laugh AT me.
I have previously written about some of the assumptions fat people encounter all the time. Fat people are lazy, or stupid, or dirty or whatever. There is an expression in Hollywood from the days when stars had press agents who made up interesting backgrounds for the stars. These things were said about the stars in print so often that even the stars started to believe it. The expression became “They believe their own press.” Well sometimes, so do we. We believe all those things we have heard or experienced.
As I have been experiencing some real success in the weight loss, especially in the last few years, I have seen many who were on this journey with me fall by the wayside. They gave up on themselves. They started to believe the messages in their head that said they couldn’t do it, so they stopped trying.
It’s so sad to me. I try to encourage them. I try to tell them you can do this. It takes work and it takes time I tell them, but part of the problem of living in an “instant society” is that we all want things RIGHT NOW. It reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons (bear with me) in which Homer was trying to cook something in the microwave, and because that was not fast enough, danced around like an impatient child asking “What’s faster than a microwave.”
I mentioned that there were times I gave up on this journey, and those were the times I believed my own press about what I could and could not do. Often it was my wife who would get me to take a hard look at myself and at how far I had come, and to carry on. She would remind me of why I started this in the first place. Simply put – because I didn’t want to die and leave her and the children alone.
When you feel like giving up, ask yourself Why? Why did YOU start this journey? Or if you haven’t yet started your own journey, why do you WANT to start this journey?
I know I write about weight loss and through that the resulting healthy lifestyle, but this could apply to a lot of areas in your life. Have you given up on your dreams? Has someone talked you out of them? Has someone told you that you are unrealistic, or that you can’t do it?
I have looked back at those who told me I would never lose the weight, or never be a full time performer, or even be a dad or a grandfather, and think how sad that some people can only make themselves feel better by bring others down or by shattering other peoples dreams because theirs never happened.
You can’t let anyone, even the little voice in your own head, take away your dreams or stop you in your tracks. I have been learning that sometimes I have to distance myself from people like that so I don’t pick up those vibes. You can’t hang around negative people and expect to have positive thoughts.
I used to hate looking back through old photo albums (remember those?) because all I could see was how far I had to go and it started to set some of those negative self thoughts in concrete. Lately my wife has been consolidating some of our old albums into scrapbooks, and I love it when she finds one of those pictures. I am actually looking for photos of myself at my high point so I can say to myself See? Look how far you’ve come! More important than that is I want to be able to tell others If I can do it, so can you.
That’s one of the reason’s I am moving beyond this blog into the world of motivational speaking. It is not because I want to get rich as a world famous speaker, but simply so I can help others along the way. I was so quick to give up on myself in the past, and even today, if I am not careful I can start down that negative self talk road.
What about you? Have you felt like giving up? Do you feel like giving up now? Worse – have you already given up? OK folks, the pity party is over. You are not going to lay around anymore and say over and over like a parrot “I can’t”. You are going to remember why you started on this journey. Remember, the failure is not in falling down, but in failing to get up again.
Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!