I shared some thoughts last week in A Weighty Matter about how losing or gaining weight doesn’t always tell what’s really going on inside, and why we shouldn’t let a number drive us.
I’m going to share some more philosophical and personal thoughts this time around.
You don’t have to look very far to see that our society is rather obsessed with looking a certain way, and somehow, what we weigh and what size we are is a part of that equation. There are diet plans galore out there as well as an abundance of exercise programs. Some exercise is just a preference–some people enjoy using weights, or running, or swimming, etc. Other exercise is supposed to help you get fit and thin faster by doing more and more demanding workouts, more repetitions, adding weights, etc.
I have twice crashed and burned by not listening to my body and having an unrealistic goal (or fear) driving me. And there is the key word–driving.
I often see women drive themselves to “get rid of their belly” or “lose some weight” or “tone up these arms”, and the common denominator is drivenness. Whether they are T-Tapping or doing other exercise, or focusing on some form of dieting, or even trying to make healthy eating changes, the common core is being driven.
I wrote a series of posts last fall, and one was titled What’s Driving You? Usually when I am feeling driven to do something, that is a huge clue that although what I’m wanting to do may be a good thing (eating well, exercise, etc.), the motivator behind it may not be and will end up doing more harm than good in the long run.
When you are driven, your decision-making will be skewed.
I will use the example from 4 years ago, when I crashed doing too much–yes, even with T-Tapp! I decided it was time to bump things up a notch and get rid of the last few sizes I needed to lose. I did a full workout (usually one that takes over 30 minutes, in this case, LadyBug standing), every other day. Since I wanted to target a few areas, I decided on my off days to do a “few” target moves. Problem was, I added a few more. And a few more. Until I had an average of 6 moves on my off days. A veteran T-Tapper pointed out that Basic Workout Plus only has 9 moves! So I was basically doing a short workout on my off days. While that is “permissible”, I usually don’t recommend it unless someone is sure they have no stress/adrenal issues, and only for a short time. I feel less truly is more and when we start adding things in, it becomes more, not less. In my case, I was so focused on getting the size number down, and the inch numbers on my waist to go down, that I wasn’t realistically looking at what I was doing!
When you are driven, you will most likely ignore the signs that you are not doing what is best for your body.
I believe that we can tend to have such tunnel vision that we don’t recognize or ignore the signs that we are overdoing it. Again, I will share from my own story.
That same summer, 4 years ago, we were just coming out of our yearly 4-H fair. BUSY time with lots of late nights and early mornings and fun-but-stressful times of getting children to their proper places in time for animal judging. Oh, and did I mention it’s usually pretty hot?! As my inch loss was slowing, I was mystified since I was working so hard. Slowing inch loss is a sign of overtraining. I had read that before, but I was in denial that that was my issue. I mean, I was taking days off in between, right? :p
In my quest to get things going, my judgment was skewed and I ended up sabotaging myself.
Another area we can not make wise choices is our eating. I am not a fan of deprivation dieting (eating only a certain number of calories). I am a fan of balanced eating and fueling your body well. But even eating well can become stressful if our focus is wrong. That also happened to me 1 1/2 years ago.
My whole family was on the GAPS diet to help with some leaky gut issues. We were transitioning off of it during this particular time, and I wasn’t fearful of gaining weight or sizes back–I was fearful of losing the good health benefits I had gained.
As a result, I kept putting off upping my carbohydrates, which in turn did not make my adrenals happy, which in turn–yep. I crashed!
Trust me–if you’re driven by numbers or even “getting healthy”, you won’t make the best choices and you will not recognize the signs that you need to change direction.
When you are driven, you are adding another stress to your body.
Let’s face it–we all have enough stress in our lives already! Who needs to stress their body more trying to meet a “goal” of a number that is not totally under our control? (Hormones, anyone?!)
When you are driven, it steals your joy.
The “Never Enough” monster takes over when drivenness is your motivation. Even if you do reach a certain number on the scales, clothing tag or tape measure, Never Enough will steal it from you and drive you to do more!
Added to that, you will become your own worst enemy as you only see what’s wrong, get mad at yourself for not doing such-and-such “perfectly”, and berate yourself for not being consistent. You won’t be able to celebrate the small joys along the way nor will you notice the things that can’t be “measured”.
When you are driven, you might win the battle, but lose the war.
Or I could say, “You might reach your goal, but at what cost?” If you are down on yourself, not joyful, constantly worried about every bite you put in your mouth and forcing yourself to exercise to the point of hating it, what kind of a person will that make you? Will those who are closest to you remember your svelte body? Or your driven attitude?
And what if you lose your health, like I did, while trying desperately to hang onto it? I often say, “Who cares how small I get if I can’t enjoy it?!”
I want to be remembered as being joyful on my journey (well, as much as I can be!), not that I reached my goal and maintained it, but wasn’t pleasant to be around while getting there!
As I watch ladies around me, in person and online, desiring to become healthy (which is good) I also notice many becoming driven, whether due to wanting to be a certain size for an event or getting healthier to be around for their loved ones. The goal is good–the drivenness is not.
I think the antidote to drivenness contains these steps:
1. Focus on overall wholeness–not just health or a smaller size.
2. Celebrate the small successes along the way!
3. Whenever you feel that “driven” feeling, stop and do whatever it takes to destress and get rid of it.
4. Remind yourself that being driven will not contribute to overall health and wholeness.
5. Be happy with baby steps–don’t let the “Never Enough” monster steal your joy!
There are no doubt many other ways to get rid of that driven feeling, but these are key ones that help me. As well as keeping a gratefulness journal. But that’s another post! 😉
photo credit: puuikibeach