For example, when I learned how to deal with my feelings in a real way, I no longer used food to escape and numb myself.
When I stopped making excuses and took radical responsibility, exercise and activity became consistent things in my life without having to force myself to do them.
When my need for approval was healed and I felt worthy without so much striving for perfection, I suddenly had much more time to devote to health and fitness and the life I wanted. I started cooking and I got organized once I slowed down.
When I started to believe that I could make changes in my life, change came much more easily.
One common scenario looks like this. A woman decides to get really focused and lose weight. She joins weight watchers and gets a food journal out. She throws away every carbohydrate in her pantry. She joins a gym or signs up for personal training and starts working out. Then she forces herself to restrict her food. She forces herself to eat food she doesn’t like. She forces herself to be hungry. She forces herself to workout. After she loses several pounds, the part of her that is still heartbroken and afraid starts screaming something like, “Hey! You are taking away my only comfort and safety in this world. Why are you doing this to me!” And soon she’s on an all out binge thinking, “I’ll eat what I want, when I want and no one is going to deprive me ever again.”
Forcing ourselves to change on the outside while these waters still rage on the inside is impossible. If you have been trying to make a change in your life and something in you won’t let you, I suggest you stop and listen to what this voice within is trying to tell you. It’s not that you are failing at focus and self discipline. It’s that something in your heart needs tended to.
I struggled with this especially when it came to smoking. Smoking was a big thing for me. It wasn’t just a nicotine addiction, so all the nicotine replacement therapy in the world wouldn’t help me quit. In my heart, I was a smoker. To me, that meant I was a rebel, a strongly independent freedom fighter with every right to smoke if I wanted to. My identity was attached to it. How could I quit smoking? Who would I be then? How would I find comfort and safety?
I have had this conversation about weight loss with dozens of women. What would I be without my struggle with weight? It has identified me my whole life. It has been my purpose my whole life. Imagine this woman losing one hundred pounds through surgery. Do you think she will succeed long term or is it more likely she will find a way to sabotage the whole thing?
We need to remember who we really are. We are not our addictions. We are not our struggles with weight. Remember, we may have a broken story but we are not our broken story. When our hearts need tended to, let’s tend to them. A miracle awaits you if you are brave and do the internal work. The miracle is this: much of the struggle and the battle falls away once the heart believes in its comfort and safety. The need to search outside of ourselves for these things is healed and without finally finding laser focus and radical self discipline, we begin to get fit and healthy from that wonderful place of peace.
Now get moving.