My weight has climbed a bit. Yesterday evening, after a day of snacking , on top of my meals, I was feeling really low.
Clearly, I was turning to food, but what was the problem?
After talking it out with my husband, I realized that the work part of my life was affecting the part of my life where I was trying to lose 40 lbs by July 1, 2022.
I want my weight-loss journey to be as transparent as possible, so, here’s why I feel low and discouraged.
In addition to having a goal to lose weight, I have another big goal, which is to start an online business. Part of that business includes selling digital products.
I spent the fall of 2021 writing a guide to help women identify their stress levels and to work through a self-paced, step-by-step program to gain more calm and peace in their life. I also created an accomplishment journal to help women see all the amazing things they do in their lives instead of focusing on what they didn’t do.
I’m proud of both of those completed products, but the problem has been the next stage, which involves the tech stuff. Update: I got the tech stuff figured out! See links in above paragraph. 🙂 This stage also involves a lot of learning for me. I’m a natural problem solver normally, so whenever I have to figure out something, I go online and become a detective to figure it out.
Most of my December days were focused on the tech stuff, and I made some great headway. By Fridays, my brain would feel fried from all the learning it did. I took half of December off because my daughter was in town. She left in early/mid January, and then I got sick.
So, that means there were 6 weeks when I wasn’t working on getting my digital products out into the world.
I could live with that because most of that time was an intentional break, and getting sick is just one of those things.
When I did return to my work, I felt overwhelmed and honestly, like a failure. I expected to have my digital products available for sale in November of 2021. Once I took the holiday season off, I accepted that it would more likely be January. When I got sick, I thought, ok, it’ll be February.
This past week, I felt overwhelmed by not knowing what to do. I felt overwhelmed by all the things I still needed to do and learn. Normally, I tackle challenges head on, but for some reason, I just feel inadequate.
Intellectually, I KNOW I can figure things out, and I KNOW I can have a successful online business selling digital products that will help people.
Emotionally, though, I feel crappy.
I think what happened is that my feelings of inadequacy morphed into me feeling like a failure.
Here are some of the thoughts I’ve been having:
- I’m a failure. I should have my products available for sale by now.
- It’s taking me too long to figure things out.
- There’s just too much tech stuff for me to learn.
- Why can’t I just figure it out?
- I’ll never be successful at this rate.
- What’s wrong with me?
Then, guess what I did? Subconsciously, I turned to food.
I think my experience is very common, but this is only the first part of what’s going on. Turning to food for comfort, in times of discomfort, helps to make us feel better.
The second part is where I had my revelation.
I had not been succeeding at the work side of my life, but I had been very successful with my other big goal: losing 40 lbs by July 1, 2022. I lost almost 12 lbs in January, and aside from being sick, I had a terrific month.
I felt good about the habits I was developing and about my progress. I felt successful.
The thing is, even in January, I started to feel like my progress on getting those digital products out into the world wasn’t great. I think that in some ways, I was hyper-focused on my weight-loss to compensate for my inadequate feelings about my work.
Once I saw the scale number increase a bit on Feb. 1, and go up even more on the 2nd, I lost the feeling of success I was having that was basically the energy making me feel good about myself.
When the scale went up on Feb. 2 , I was disappointed and discouraged, but even more so, it felt like I had lost the one thing that was making me feel proud and accomplished, which was successful losing weight.
I’ll just add here that I love using the scale to keep me on track. I usually do not respond negatively to a little weight gain.
Early in the day on Feb. 2, I kept a positive frame of mind and did the things I normally do in my routine, which includes walking on my treadmill and doing a short workout. I talked myself out of feeling badly, but as the day progressed, that negative, life-sucking feeling snuck back in without me even realizing it.
Once I ate dinner, snacking Ali reared her head for more. I turned to food for feeling low about my slight weight gain, combined with feeling low about not making the progress I wanted to make getting my digital products out there.
This morning (Feb. 3), my weight was 171.2 lbs, which is 4 lbs higher than it was two days ago. That comfort eating doesn’t feel comfortable now!
It’s quite the mental cycle I created, right?
- Feel overwhelmed and inadequate
- Turn to food
- Gain a bit of weight
- Eat more for feeling inadequate and for feeling discouraged about the weight gain
- Feel bad for turning to food
- ….what’s next? Continue the cycle, or break it?
There’s nothing pretty about this, but you know what? That’s ok. I’ve learned enough life lessons and gained a clear picture of just how powerful I am when it comes to my own life, that I’m beginning to piece back the confident, energetic person that is inside of me.
To dig my brain out of this, here’s what I do:
I think through the situation and my feelings, and then I take action. Below are those thoughts and the actions I’m taking.
- I know I’m capable of accomplishing anything I set my mind to. I will overcome the obstacles and challenges that I face as I learn new things. I know, deep in my soul, that I am meant to write books, create courses, and coach people who struggle at becoming the person they want to be. I have had great success in turning my thinking around and crafting my life into the direction that will bring me the most joy. I have confidence in myself to figure out how to share that information to empower others.
- Life isn’t Perfect Learning takes time. Big projects take time. I’m not the most patient person, and I often set expectations for myself that are too demanding (I do this much less these days, but it’s a good reminder that things don’t have to be perfect). The time it takes for me to complete my work goals is the time it takes. There is no master schedule I can follow (like I did when I was teaching). I make the schedule, and I’m doing the best I can. I give myself permission to allow the process to take as long as it takes. I give myself permission to not be perfect.
- Notice the good stuff! Even though I turned to food and my weight is up, I can be proud of the things that I have been doing that are awesome: drinking 3 L of water daily, not drinking alcohol, moving my body each day and working on my blog (my audience is growing). I’m also sticking to a morning routine I made (I’ll write about that another time).
- Food is my fuel, not my friend. I can turn to journaling or talk out my feelings with someone to help me navigate my emotions. My journal is like a friend I can confide in, and a person is a friend I can share my feelings with in confidence. Food, on the other hand, cannot do that for me. Food is simply a form of energy my body needs to survive and thrive. I will remind myself to not look toward food as comfort, only as fuel.
- Life naturally has ups and downs, which means I will feel up and excited about life some days, and on other days, I will feel the lows. In the past, I would beat myself up for feeling low, whereas now, I know it’s ok to sit with those feelings. It’s ok to feel low once in a while. The trick is to surrender to it, but for not too long, so I can avoid getting stuck in that low. I don’t want my feelings of discouragement and inadequacy to turn into days or weeks of eating and then getting back into my habit of daily wine consumption (I sure did think about wine last night, but thankfully, it was right before bed; if I’d thought of it at 7 pm, that bottle of red wine would have been opened!). I am learning to embrace a feeling of low because it is a reminder of how I usually feel awesome. 🙂
- Reflection and Journaling I have got to work through my feelings in order to emerge confident, whole and feeling like me. The way that works best for me is to write out my thoughts. That’s what I am doing in today’s post, and already, I feel much better! Journaling your thoughts is incredibly powerful because the act of journaling is therapeutic. Its power lies in the fact that it’s just you and the paper/document. You can write whatever you want! No one else will see it. Part of the power is also because you make discoveries about yourself, as you write. Not before. When you first sit down to write, you don’t know exactly what you’ll write/type. As you get the first words down, you start to think about what the heck you’re really feeling. Once you get into those, you ask yourself questions. Why do I think I feel this way? Have I felt this way before? Is there a pattern? What can I do to move past these feelings? You don’t have to be a writer to benefit from journaling. Just get the thoughts down. You might be amazed at the discoveries you’ll make and the aha moments you have while journaling. If writing isn’t your thing, or you’re afraid to try it, you can record your thoughts via audio. Sometimes, if I need to work through my thoughts, I use my voice memo app on my phone. It’s amazing how it can act as a journal too.
- Physical Movement This is a bit of a catch 22. When we feel low, we don’t have much energy, and we don’t want to do anything. That’s where I was earlier today. After I had a good chat with my sister about what I was feeling, it was time to get on the treadmill to do a walk. That’s something I do each morning in the winter. The problem was I just didn’t feel like it. All I wanted to do was make a hot drink and sit on the couch doing nothing. Maybe watch a show. Fortunately, I was already in my shorts and runners because that’s what I put on every morning, so I’m dressed and ready for my walk. Research and my experience have taught me that when you get active, it’s hard to feel low. I forced myself to get my butt off the couch and onto the treadmill. I walked for 30 minutes. I didn’t feel super pumped or energized afterwards, but I felt good for doing something that was important to me and that is a significant part of my morning routine. That’s a first step.
- Get Inspired While walking on the treadmill, I began relistening to a powerful book I just read in January: The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod. It’s this book that gave me the push to really go for it when it came to my weight loss this year. I think I’ll write a post another day just about this book and how it helped me with my goal. When I listen to the author speak, I feel his energy. When I listen to his message, I’m reminded of my internal motivation, and I’m reminded that my thoughts create my world. I feel motivated and inspired. If you can find a motivating book, podcast or even a playlist to listen to when you feel low, I highly recommend it.
- First Meal of the Day I find that when I start my day with a healthy meal I’m proud of, I’m much more likely to eat healthy food through the rest of the day. This morning, I made a kick-ass bowl of oatmeal. I savored every bite, and it gave me lasting energy to still be sitting and writing, 4 hours later. I haven’t thought about snacking on food for comfort once.
- Liquids I wrote about the importance of drinking water to help me lose weight recently, but water is also important for energy. Often, when we’re feeling tired, it can be because we haven’t had enough water and we’re dehydrated. While typing out this post, I’ve been taking swigs of water to help me increase my energy levels. Drinking enough water will also prevent me from feeling hungry, when it’s really just a thirst. I also have a hot cup of potato broth next to me as I write. When I steam/boil potatoes, I keep the broth for moments like this. Although it is warm and comforting, it’s not food I’m really turning to for comfort. Just a few calories, and just like a hot cup of tea.
- Breathinking This is just doing some deep breathing while meditating or saying affirmations. I find doing this is very soothing, especially if I can do it lying down or leaning back on a recliner-style chair. Deep breaths are very calming, and while I’m doing them, I can say things like: All is well. This feeling is temporary. I am learning to manage my emotions without food., or whatever words I need.
So, how am I feeling now? Much better. I still have dinner and an evening ahead of me, but just this journaling in this post and taking actions (moving my body, drinking water and broth, deep breathing) have helped.
I wrote this post today not only to help me, but to help you too.
If you’re struggling with food or weight issues, you are NOT alone. Know that it’s ok to feel low, but that you need to move on after a period of time that feels right for you.
You can succeed at whatever your goals are, and you can handle the obstacles that come your way.
It’s healthy once in a while to feel discouraged, inadequate, or whatever low feeling might visit you. What’s not healthy, is to dwell on those uncomfortable feelings for too long.
After the low feelings pop by to remind you that life isn’t perfect, remember to thank them for the reminder, work through them in a safe and healthy way, and then show them the door.
Live your true life,
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