Friday, March 30, 2012

Get Your Head in the Game!

** I wrote this a couple weeks ago but accidentally saved it as a draft. Ooooops!!

I know I've mentioned it before but I was thinking about mental health (occupational hazard) and thought I'd write about it again.

I've posted about change and readiness, and even included a link to the stages of change in a previous post (9/16/11).  I cannot stress enough how much you have to truly want it in order to do it. Some changes in life are easy for us. Others are harder. We don't often choose to change things that are significant like our lifestyle.  Something simple like "I want a boyfriend" or "I want to wear size..." usually aren't motivators for lasting change. You. Must. Change. Your. Way. Of. Living.

This goes for ANY major life change that causes you to change your own behavior and way of thinking. 

Weight loss is, at times, as much mental as it is physical.

Some of you may not feel you have a mental barrier holding you back.  You're probably in denial. Or you just haven't taken the time to think about it and discover it. Why? Discovering it might uncover something you don't want to think about. It may hurt. But out of the hurt can come something so much more wonderful; a healthy perspective, a new outlook, a new sense of strength...Many things.

Most people are not significantly overweight because they just "are." I'm sure someone in the world has no regard for eating uncontrollably and not working out.  Some people do have medical causes but I also feel that in those cases they may use it as an excuse or because of a condition they mentally place limits on themselves. 

People get there by eating unhealthy, and WOW!, disordered eating patterns (not anorexia and bulimia) are more present than people realize. However, if you are diagnosed as being a binge/emotional/compulsive eater, don't take that and use it as an excuse. Use it as motivation to become a healthy person. Use it to help yourself change mentally. And sometimes that requires therapy.

STOP judging. Right now.  Therapy is not a dirty word. Therapy is not something that only weak people do. My personal belief is that if you seek out therapy on your own, you are seeking out guidance in changing. You don't have to be totally messed up, go through a trauma, or have a bad childhood to seek therapy. Therapy doesn't mean you're depressed, you belong in a psychiatric care unit, or that you need a ton of medication. Did you know that therapy can be an alternative to medication?

People with no "issues" seek therapy too. Maybe it's for guidance, stress relief, to figure something out, or even just to get an opinion on a major decision, or to discuss an insecurity....You do not have to be a "nut case" if you seek therapy. Maybe you have issues...So what!? Most people don't care if you have issues. That's not me...I would care but I think that's part of who I am and again, occupational hazard. I am NOT going to put myself in another person's business but if it's requested, then I'll be there. Or if it directly effects me, I have no problem calling you out. But that doesn't apply to the general public.

I detest the stigma attached with the word "therapy" when used in a psychosocial context. Most people have no problem when the words physical or occupational are before it...But therapy in a mental health setting is almost as bad as saying you have some horrible contagious disease.

Judgey-pants, get over it.  Why so judgemental? Are you afraid it will make you look weak? Are you afraid that if you were to seek therapy you wouldn't like what you were told? Yup...That's really being strong. 

Avoiders, seek it!!! If you need it or even just want to see what it's all about, GO.

Okay...Back to mental health and weight loss.

To recap: you must desire change from deep within. If you've tried and failed at weight loss, there's a reason. Why can't you stick to it? Why so quick to say "oh it's not working" and give up? It's likely that you haven't reached the point yet where the little switch changes from "I'm fine" to "I NEED TO CHANGE!"

I also blame horrible methods of weight loss like... fad diets, pills, weird plans, and unrealistic expectations that are projected with those.  Look at the fine print..."Results not typical" or something similar is found in many places (to avoid the thousands, or millions! of law suits that people would face).  Little words like "lose up to" are another key. Some people just see "lose" followed by a number. Up to means that's the max that maybe only ONE individual has lost (*that's a guess). Others may lose zero, or even gain. One little product isn't going to give you the change you need to change your life. 

Changing your lifestyle is mental.  You have to be diligent. You have to be ready to stick with the changes. You have to be ready to do the work that's required.

But still, people spend billions of dollars every year on gimmicks and such.

Here's a hint...healthy eating and exercise. BANG! There you have it, the secret to life (well, weight loss anyway).

Once you have successfully initiated changes, you need to beware of little things that impact your mental health and possibly your physical health.

Watch out for those who may sabotage you (intentional or unintentional).  These sometimes well-meaning people may say "oh it's okay...it's just ONE meal....ONE cookie...ONE piece of cake" whatever.  And yes just one thing in moderation, infrequently is acceptable. However if someone does this frequently, watch out! There are also those who may say "you look good now" or "you should stop losing weight now."  If there's a TRUE concern about an eating disorder that's one thing. If you are still honestly overweight and unhealthy, that's another. Maybe these people don't want you to lose anymore. Last time I checked it's not their business/place to say. Unless of course someone is seriously unhealthy and in danger, then someone should speak up.  There is a difference. Learn what it is.

I guess "haters" goes along with sabotage, expect these people probably have intent to sabotage you. Maybe you're a threat now that you're losing weight. Maybe they don't want you to be smaller than they are. Maybe they're afraid that showing your strength will make you "GASP!" better than they are (in their eyes). Your weight loss is not about anyone else. Don't let 'em get to you. Keep moving and know inside that they have insecurity and a problem with you. You're doing this for you. Keep moving.

Stress...that's a biggie.  The more you worry and stress about things, the more difficult to lose weight. Blame hormones. Blame stress eating. Learn stress management to help combat it. We all have stress, but if it's significant or you can't handle it, get some help. Talk to someone (no, it doesn't HAVE to be a therapist). Managing your stress is part of being a happy, healthy individual.

Please know that stressful events and concerns do not have to be related to weight loss.

Let's say for example someone wanted you to do something, so they were super nice and sweet to you. You had no issues with them before but suddenly they adore you and think you're the cat's pajamas (that IS the expression, correct?).  Then you decide that the situation isn't what you anticipated/were lead to believe it was/something that you don't want or don't feel is a good fit for you/whatever. To some people you have just taken the cat's pajamas, shredded them, and you threw the damn cat out in the street without shelter, food, and his clothes! Meaning... You're not  good person. That's right, you are no longer (in their eyes) a good person because you didn't do what they wanted you to. Yes, you made a choice in your life and someone didn't like it.

FYI... Sometimes people get angry about things and take it out on people who have no control over it. Say you got a job over them. You probably didn't hire yourself. But now? You're terrible. Sometimes these people act as though you're dead to them. Okay, well looking away and pretending I don't exist doesn't really kill me so sorry...I'm alive and well, even if you have committed murder in your mind and erased my existence from this earth. You might as well just say "YOU'RE DEAD TO ME" than pretend. Of course that could be taken as a threat and you might find yourself in a bit of trouble.

CLEARLY the person holding the grudge and having these anger issues has some issues of their own. They should probably get that checked out.  If it's someone close to you, it can hurt. For example, the silent treatment from you significant other (hello, endangered and unhealthy relationship) can really hurt. It's usually intentional. It's more complicated in something like a relationship. But what about that job situation? Other than thinking "reaaaalllllly?" your best bet is to not worry about it. It's kinda like rejection from the opposite sex, especially when without explanation... Accept it and move on. Don't stress about what is "wrong" with you. Know that for whatever reason that person wasn't RIGHT FOR YOU. The same goes for those of the same sex and in different situations. Don't let it get in your head and stress you out.

Also? In some situations you may even be able to find that kind of thing funny.  Let it roll off your back because when you really think about how hostile and angry people can be over things that may not even directly impact on them (hi, were you IN the situation?)....It really is funny!!! And, it's probably no skin off your back if they don't want anything to do with you. Seriously, who what's Debbie Downer or Negative Ned in their life anyway? Not I.  I prefer not to be drug down. I laugh at immaturity like that.

What I'm saying is that if people are dragging you down, for whatever reason, you're better off without them. Is that passive-aggressive friend who finds fault in all you do really a friend? Probably not; not a good one anyway. So, either fight back and treat them the same (this can be entertaining, I'm sure), walk away, or be more direct and tell them what an asshat they are. Not worrying will relieve some stress for you. They've burned the bridge, not you.

If you're in a bad relationship (any), work on it or leave it. You'll be happier and mentally healthier in the end, even if there's a little pain now.

If you're being abused, come up with a smart and safe plan, and run the other direction as fast as you can...Don't look back.

If you are the person holding a grudge, being angry, or being negative all the time...Go figure out what the frack (I love that word, it's an obvious sub for a "bad" word but not as harsh as some others...I think the a softens it) your problem is and deal with it.  You could be causing your own stress, which in the end is probably just hurting you and just isn't healthy.

So...To lose weight...
1. Find your motivation for change. Evaluate why you've failed at weight loss before. What's holding you back? Do what you need to (including therapy; suck it up!) in order to figure it out. You can't be taken seriously about changing if you're saying "I should really lose some weight," while eating chips, chowing down on a fast food meal, mindlessly eating candy, or chugging some beers.
2. Change your way of thinking because that will help you change your way of living.
3. Initiate those changes in your life...Purge the kitchen of unhealthy foods, trigger foods, etc. Buh-bye to craptastic stuff. This should include alcohol.  Personally, I quit drinking for a long time. I slowly initiated drinks back into my social life, but I'm very controlled about it. I don't over do it. And it's not a frequent occurrence.  You might be thinking "is she serious?" If so, please go back to number one and start again. This is about changing how you life. Being healthy doesn't include partying and eating fast food.
4. Figure out a healthy eating plan and start!!
5. Initiate some exercise when you're ready....Better right away for the sake of your health but some people do lose weight just by changing eating habits. I'm a big advocate for exercise because it's good for you and well...I love it!
6. Mange your stress. Don't become obsessive about things like your weight, your calories, your exercise... Just keep it healthy - and track it!!
7. Throughout it all...BE HONEST.  Honestly with yourself is what's important. What you put into your mouth or what you burn doesn't really matter to anyone else. But, if you're not changing you shouldn't expect results. If you do well for a while and start to slip away, go back to number one.
8. Live healthy!! That's it...Just be healthy.

I'm sure I could add a lot more things to the list but I think those are the basics.

The mental part of weight loss is about change, being healthy, and honest. Initiate a healthy lifestyle and work toward weight loss.

THAT is all I did. It's a simple idea but I'll admit that at times it's hard. You won't accomplish it until you are completely ready. But don't stop trying and keep believing in yourself.

Changing my lifestyle to become healthy is probably the greatest thing I have ever done for myself. I finally took the time to care about me (some haters call this selfish at times...Forget you!) and changed.

Find your reason and find your strength!

XOXO

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