Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lessons Learned from the Loser

For the past few months, I have been watching season after season of the Biggest Loser online.

Sure, I love seeing the transformations in people's lives. It's awesome!

I often cry tears of joy right along with them.

But I'm starting to understand the life lessons I, myself, have to learn from this TV show.

-"Until and unless you get to the root of the reasons for the extra weight you carry around, nothing will change."

I think there is a deep truth there. A person can learn all the tricks and tools, but unless they really dig down deep and confront whatever buried pain, or shame, or whatever lies behind it all, they will never discover the joy that lies beyond, and chances are high that they'll just gain all of the weight back.

It has happened to several people who lost big amounts of weight on the show. You can see it, even while they're still competing. The ones who dig down deep and face their issues then move into this place of joy that is beautiful to see. They are the ones who leave with truly changed lives. The others, usually the people overly focused on The Game, don't. They don't discover joy. Their lives do not change like the others' do.

**I'm seeing that, though there is no big traumatic life event behind my extra weight, and my almost total lack of fitness, there have to be emotional issues behind it. If there weren't, I wouldn't be overweight!

This seed of a thought has actually lightened my load already. Instead of continuing to flog myself for my failure to fix this, I suddenly have some grace for myself, and some patience. I see now that, while I need to make health and lifestyle changes, and I actually already have every scrap of pracitcal knowledge that I need in order to do it, I need to spend some time with myself first. I need to spend some time in the back closets of my inner Me, and sort out what I find there.

-"Your financial condition is a direct reflection of how successful you will be on this journey." 

They had Suze Ormond come on to talk to the contestants. She told them that she can almost predict who will be the big winner, based on a look at their personal finances and their credit score. That was really eye opening to me. The state of other areas of your life reflects the level of self-control you have, the degree of discipline you exercise in your life, and your ability to manage impulses and live for the long-term. This is really enlightening.

I think it goes beyond finances, though. I was just putting some luggage away in the storage room, from recent trips we've taken. As I climbed over stuff that hasn't been put away out there, and squeezed past the stack of boxes full of just stuff that needs to be gone through and gotten rid of....I suddenly saw it all in a new light. I think it all goes together. As I carefully moved through that room, trying to not fall and hurt myself in the process, I suddenly realized the feelings it brings up.

Embarrassment. Shame. Hopelessness. Paralyzed.

I realized that when I have to go out there, I actually try to just not see what's there, because I hate the way I feel when I really look around.

**I think they all go together. I think all of these things- unhealthy handling of finances, out of control home, and a sad state of health, must all stem from the same root causes.

I now think that, when I really get down and start to deal with whatever is behind my weight gain, the result will not only be better health. I think the changes in my thinking, in my internal world, will also positively affect my ability to get a handle on every area of my life.

-One of the best quotes ever- "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, but expecting different results."

Oh. Yeah.

**It has just come home to me in the past day or two that the life I'm living will never get me to any kind of different place. The life I live is a &&& pound life. All it will ever get me is &&& pounds. Never, ever, will living this same half-hearted way get me anything but &&& pounds.

**The only thing that will take me from &&& pounds to ~~~ pounds is to change my life. If I want to get to ~~~ pounds, to become that fit and able person I long to be, then I have to figure out how to live a ~~~ life! I can't just focus on losing the weight. I know how to do that. I need to change my thinking. I need to learn how to live a ~~~ life.

Now I understand a lot more about my own journey. A few years ago, I changed my diet. I didn't go on a "diet." I just stopped eating the things that were making me sick, especially wheat and sugar. I lost fifty pounds in about seven months. I actually felt great. And I looked good. A lot of people here were scared for me, and thought I looked too skinny.

I realized that:
A-Lee is the only person who lives here who has ever seen me at my actual, normal weight. People are so used to the overweight me that they've known for eighteen years that the real size of me was startling to them.
B-I wasn't exercising at all, so I had no muscle tone. I didn't look healthy or fit, I did just look skinny.

(And I'm weary, bone weary, of having the same conversation over and over, with people who love me; people who are precious to me: "But you don't look overweight to me."  "But you're tall, so it's okay for you to weigh that."  No it's not. It is not okay. I know what is the good and healthy weight and size for me to be. I know. When I talk about my struggles with weight, it is not a ploy, digging for compliments. It doesn't matter how tall I am. Carrying over thirty pounds of extra weight around is not healthy! I almost never talk about weight with anyone, anymore, because I can't handle hearing this yet again. Just as anyone would tell a fat person, "Don't listen to what other people say to you. Their words are not the truth about who you are,"  the same is true for me. I appreciate every kind and loving thing anyone has ever said to me about how I look. I really do. But I know what is right and healthy and best for me. I, better than anyone else, know what is right for me.)

But back when I lost that fifty pounds, even though I was happy to be my real size again, I had done none of the emotional work that I needed to do. I didn't know then that there was anything emotional that I needed to address. Now I do.

I gained back thirty-five of those fifty pounds.

I'm not happy.

I am a cheerful person, and sometimes I'm really happy about things.






And yes, it matters.

I feel like this TV show has given me the first tools to really make a good and lasting change.

I know now that there is work to be done inside of me, to search out what is buried in there that is sabotaging my whole life. Once I find those roots and start grubbing them out, then real, true, lasting changes will start to take place. I will become the whole, healthy, happy person I long to be. :)

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