Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Great Unknown and Learning To Trust Myself Again

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

There's lots of fear surrounding that which is unknown, but also lots of wisdom that can be gained when fears are overcome. Sometimes, when trying to attain a dream, an underlying fear can cause you to never be able to attain a goal and never truly evolve into the person you are supposed to be. It isn't until you overcome that fear, and learn to trust yourself that you can embrace the life you deserve to live.

I very strongly believe that life is a journey more of mental strength than physical strength. Without the mental determination, none of the physical goals can ever be reached. There are things I've done in my life that I've never thought I could possibly do - that I was terrified about...buying my first house, changing careers and turning to the fitness industry, becoming a Zumba instructor and performing in front of hundreds of people (EEP!), taking on running a 5K race when I HATED running, choosing to leave gyms if my ethics are compromised and venture out on my own, taking on an entire after school program by myself for the whole school year

Sometimes decisions are easy - and they come as naturally as breathing...accepting a wedding proposal and getting married, refinancing the house so that its now "ours" and not just "mine", working hard and crazy schedules to make our lives the best they possibly can be.

With all of these decisions - terrifying or not - I trusted myself enough as a person to be strong enough to be the person that I needed to be - wife, teacher, trainer, responsible friend and so on. And all of those times I've trusted myself - the risks paid off

Now - somewhere in the middle lies my health dreams and goals. I have lots of things I want to accomplish, but every time I try, something goes haywire. I track all my food, every workout, measurements, photos - yet something always seems to fizzle out. For some reason, I'm finding myself taking the safe route - like I feel safer being slightly pudgy. I find myself saying things like "I'm already at a healthy enough size (size 6)", "I'm strong enough to get through all of my crazy schedule", etc...

I'm a control freak - this is a fact. If I can find a way to measure, track or record something, I will do it (which is how I got so good at managing money!). I would track every piece of food I ate, and every calorie I burned in a workout, maintain a calorie deficit worthy of fat loss - yet I still wasn't seeing the progress I want - weight stayed within the same 10lb range for almost a year now, measurements changed a little but nothing major.... Yet, when I think back to the days when I didn't track my calories - the weight loss just seemed to happen on its own. Perhaps there's more to this theory....

So what happened here....do I not trust myself enough to be able to reach my goals on my own? Why don't I trust myself enough to stop eating when I'm full? Why can't I trust myself to not mindlessly munch when I'm not hungry? Why can't I seem to trust myself enough to make better decisions for myself? Where did I go wrong?? Is being so neurotic about tracking everything truly sabotaging any progress I might make??

Then I realized something (going back to something I blogged about a few months ago) - perhaps this is the "Inner Fat Girl"'s true impact on my life. Maybe I've spent so long trying to supress her that I am no longer able to trust in my abilities as a healthy person. I have all the knowledge and tools I need - so why is it so hard for me to embrace it?? Maybe her true motive is to sabotage the healthy person living inside of me - regardless of how hard that healthy person works.

So what am I so afraid of??

Am I afraid to trust myself and then have that lead to failure?? What happens when I can't trust my own actions?? I think that's why I'm playing it safe - at least I know that's working for me and it doesn't involve much risk. Its almost like I'm scared of reaching my fitness goals and I'm talking myself out of it - of finally reaching and staying at a healthy weight, of pushing my muscular strength and finally seeing my abs, of being proud enough in my own skin to not worry or care what other people might think, of rockin' a bikini at a moment's notice and not worry about having to sit or stand a certain way so I don't feel "fat", of being that "trophy wife" for my husband (yeah okay - I know that's totally a vanity thing, but it would be cool!)

Venturing into the unknown and truly trusting my own abilities is a BIG step. I've done it in every other aspect of my life - marriage, homeownership, career, but why can't I seem to take risks and trust my gut when it comes to a healthy lifestyle??? Maybe because when I "let myself go" I gain weight so easily - but what if I didn't fully let myself go like I have in the past...what if I still ate healthy foods, work out regularly and trust my body's ability to tell me when it needs something???

Its natural to doubt your abilities until you prove yourself wrong. Its most common with me in workouts, "I don't think I can run that far..." "I don't think I can lift that much.." - but when you do it, that overwhelming feeling of bad-assery is just amazing. So what can I do to prove myself wrong and build trust in my abilities to adapt to a fully healthy lifestyle - consistent nutrition, healthy sleep patterns??? Everyone always says this is about a lifesyle change right??? How so I expect to go through my life not fully trusting my abilities as a person??? I don't want to have to track my food every day for the rest of my life, step on a scale to feel good about myself, be concerned about how one meal is going to impact my diet for the day. There's going to be lots of things in my future that are uncertain - how will I know that I'm strong enough to handle it???

I haven't tracked my food for over a week now - and you know what, the world hasn't stopped turning. I've actually stabalized my weight and its actually starting to come down - which is what spurred this whole thinking process. So what does this mean for my future?? After a few days of thinking about it - this is what I've come up with. The answer is simple - I need to learn to trust myself again. I need to learn to have enough faith in myself to know that I've made the correct changes to a healthy lifestyle already that I can continue it on my own, without having to weigh myself daily, track my food online or freak myself out over stupid little things.

So this is my plan - I've named it "The Great Unknown" and it will start on October 1st. I will weigh in, take measurements and photos that morning...but then after that - its all over for 90 days. I won't weigh myself daily, I will trust myself to eat what I need to handle my energy levels, I will learn to listen to my body and trust myself to be able to take care of myself.

I won't step on a scale (unless its at a doctors office & necessary) or measure myself until December 31st, 2011. I will have 3 months to kickstart my thinking, to learn to trust myself again and embrace this lifestyle I've chosen to lead. I will trust myself to get through the holidays without gaining weight and I will prepare myself to begin 2012 with a strong and healthy mindset. I will be keeping a journal (not sure if online or paper or a little of both) of HOW I feel, how certain foods make me feel, energy levels, sleep quality etc - so I can start learning how my body responds throughout this process.

This is the only body I'm ever going to get - if I can't learn to listen to what it needs and trust its abilities...no one will. I'm sorry this blog was so long - but it was just about getting all these feelings out into the world. In the 2 hours it took me to find all these words, I already feel lighter, empowered and stronger than I did before.

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