In this post I am, as they say, going to get real. Maybe in sharing something I’ve kept to myself I can face the truth of it.
I am going to talk about a situation going on my life right now. Something I’m struggling with and something that I want to “put out there” in the hopes that it will help me to hold myself accountable.*
My Ideal Weight (as determined by me) is 184** pounds
According to the Target Weight app on my iPhone I’ve weighed even less recently, 180 pounds, back in May of 2011 sometime. I then added weight until I was at my heaviest (204) in mid-August 2012. I then shed about 15 pounds and was in the mid-180s March/April of this year only to climb back up to a new high of 205.5 this past Sunday.
* * *
I was both disgusted with myself and hopeful; ashamed and curious.
Disgusted because I weighed 205.5 pounds. I let it happen again. Despite my fervent protestations, I had acted in such a way that I not only gained a bunch of weight, I was now at my heaviest.
Hopeful because if I can understand the physical and emotional process of adding the weight I am confident that I can reverse-engineer the process and shed the weight. What goes up, must know – somehow – how to go down.
Curious because I know that there’s something to be learned about this weight gain. If I can learn about how and why I did this, and am doing this, then I will have acquired some wisdom. And wisdom, if acted upon intelligently, will yield positive results.
Ashamed because I am a coach. I should know how to be healthy and achieve my goals. How can I work with clients if I can’t even take care of something fundamental like my weight?
* * *
What I’ve learned is that my weight gain is about mood and control.
First, when I feel bad (in my case, either a little depressed or uncertain), food makes me feel better.
So, most of the time, I am not eating because I’m hungry or to nourish my body. I’m eating to feel better.
This is, of course, something generated in my mood (my cerebral brain processing a physical and emotional state) and primitive impulse coming from the deepest reaches of my limbic/emotional brain; i.e. my Inner Caveman asks: “You’re not feeling okay? Is there food? Well, eat then!? Whenever there’s food, eat. You never know when there’ll be food again . . . . Eating feels good”
The certainty bit is simply feeling a little off, or down, or whatever and knowing, that at least for a moment, eating will make me feel better. It’s the same sort of thing that happens with anyone who does something non-positive reflexively, regardless of the situation, or future consequences.
What’s interesting, and insidious, is that when I eat emotionally I feel bad again (for having eaten when I’m “trying” to shed weight) and often eat yet again. It can be a vicious downward spiral.
There are many explanations for why I do what I do, as many as there are coaches, gurus and psychologists I am sure.
What I have resolved to do is create a schedule for eating every day and intend to 1) stick that schedule and 2) whenever I might deviate from that schedule do a mini-meditation to help get me back into a resourceful state.
My goal is to weigh 195 pounds by, or before, Sunday, November 17th.
This week, that’s my truth.
I’ll let you know how I make out.
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* Why I can’t just hold myself accountable is a mind-fudge of my own making, the mechanisms of which are powerful and largely hidden from my current consciousness. But this is a huge topic, and deserves a blog post all its own – perhaps another day.
** For a long time, I thought 178 pounds was my Ideal Weight, but if I’m honest, and accurate, with myself, 184 is a better number, especially if I continue to strength-train. Getting to 184 would likely involve a Body Fat Percentage in the mid-single-digits and that is just not an authentic aspiration.
(That said, I promise to re-evaluate once I get to 184 pounds.)