What is it about that phrase “I’m starting over” that makes me feel like I failed? And when I feel like I failed, I feel frantic, not worthy, hopeless. And that starts the cycle.
Decades ago, I played the piano. I was pretty good at it. Not concert bound, but good enough for me to enjoy playing and for others to listen to me play. I participated in recitals and some competitions. My music teacher felt that playing in public was one of the best ways to prepare for the competitions so she held quite a few recitals leading up to the competition dates. I remember one recital vividly. I was playing Bach Invention #1 and got about 5 measures in and flubbed. My fingers tripped and wouldn’t go on. I started the piece over. I flubbed at the same place again. Rinse and repeat about 5 times. I wanted to run from the room, or better yet just be swallowed up by the piano bench. My teacher came to my rescue, brought me the music and had me start at the NEXT measure. I got through the piece.
At my next lesson, my teacher announced with great conviction: You practiced a flub so much that you couldn’t get to the next place. For the next week I practiced starting that piece of music from any measure - including the last one. And that was the year that I went on to place in state competitions.
How does this apply to weight management? I think it’s easy for me to get caught up with trying to do something now the way I did it 4 years ago and feel like I failure because I can’t. I started over and failed. Rinse and repeat.
Now, each day is an opportunity for me to start where I am NOW. And where I am now is vastly different from where I was 4 years ago: I’m older and in peri-menopause, I no longer live alone, but share my life with a wonderful man and our wonderful cats, I am working a job where I must punch a time clock and my commute is at least 1.5 hours per day. My life is different. Some of my needs are the same: I need to monitor my food intake and I need to exercise to stay physically and mentally healthy. But HOW I meet those needs now is quite different from how I met them 4 years ago. Which, in looking back, I realize it was by brute force.
For the past 8 months, I’ve started over. I’m going to get up in the mornings an hour earlier to exercise. Failure. I’m going to leave work an hour earlier to exercise. Failure. I’m going to count calories. Failure. I’m going to have only soup and protein drinks during the day. Failure. Rinse and repeat.
So, where I am now? I am getting to work just a little bit later and working out in the morning - after getting up at my normal time and having a cup of coffee with D. And I’m learning to listen to my body about my nutritional needs. It really is the expert.
I’m not where I want to be. But I’m on a peaceful path towards good health and I’m going to stay present while I make this journey.