Monday, June 30, 2008

Why Attitude Changes Everything

Pattie has invited us to write a post about why and how attitude has made a difference in our weight loss journeys. Here goes, Pattie...

This is certainly not my first thrill ride when it comes to losing weight. In fact, I've ridden the weight loss roller coaster ever since seventh grade. I still remember the day my dad first commented on my weight, which by then, had already crept up to 145 - the same number my P.E. teacher pronounced loudly enough for the entire class to hear when I stepped on the scale.

Ironically, the only place I felt comfortable during those years was at the local YMCA, where my athletic build wasn't out of place. In fact, I practically lived in a swimsuit, working as a life guard and swimming instructor all the way through high school.

I'm not sure what happened after college when I got married and birthed a baby, except that aerobic exercise of any kind fell completely off my radar. Whenever I needed to lose weight for a special event, I simply picked from the current menu of gimmick diets and practically starved myself back into a random size.

Looking back over the past 30 years, I realize that even when I got my weight back down to seventh-grade level, I still FELT FAT. Consequently, my thoughts always sounded like this: You look fat. Your thighs are huge. You don't even have a waist. You'll always be fat.

In response, my body simply manifested my thoughts. It worked hard to make me fat, to make my thighs large, to increase my waist size and to keep me overweight. Eventually, I reached a point last year when I finally threw in the towel and said, "What the heck? I'm fat and I know it. I might as well enjoy eating."

To get started, I took everything off my "prohibited foods list." I stuffed myself over and over, eating foods I had avoided most of my life - pizza, doughnuts, desserts, pastas, etc. As I packed on the pounds, I became more depressed and more miserable than ever...afraid I would never be able to stop the vicious cycle of destruction that consumed my waking moments and disturbed my sleep at night.

Somewhere toward the end of last year, I read Wayne Dyer's book, "Being in Balance." I was challenged by Dr. Dyer's assertion that I am not WHAT I eat so much as I am what I BELIEVE about what I eat.

Finally, on January 15, 2008, at home with the flu, I watched Oprah's show for the first time in my life. I heard Bob Greene describe what he termed "The BestLife." I cried as Oprah said loving yourself means honoring yourself and your own feelings first.

I agreed with Bob: "Losing weight is not that complicated. You simply have to eat fewer calories than you burn." But I also knew that logic alone would not get me off the killer coaster ride. I knew I had to change my thinking. I knew had to change my attitude. For that, I turned to Oprah's other buddy, Dr. Phil McGraw, and his book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom."

Having already signed the BestLife contract with myself, I worked through Dr. Phil's book like an alcoholic works the 12 steps. Six months later, I still keep the book within arm's reach at my desk because I've been at this weight before - although I'm in better physical condition than I've been in 30 years - and I don't want to slide back to where I started.

During the last six years, I've learned that the only way for me not to get drunk is never to take the first drink. I'm learning that the only way for me not to regain the 50 pounds I've lost is to monitor my eating and exercise habits as consciously as I avoid alcohol.

The difference this time is I'm no longer afraid. I'm willing to be honest with myself. I'm willing to step on the scale once a week. I'm willing to 'write what I bite.' I'm willing to maintain a no-fail environment. I'm willing to exercise regularly. I'm willing to be accountable to a support team.

Has my attitude changed? You bet. How has it changed? I'm no longer moaning over the past. I'm not anxious about the future. Today - right now - is what's important. And the right decisions I make right now are the ones that will add up to right thinking and right habits. And when it's all said and done, everything will be all right.

Being In Balance: 9 Principles for Creating Habits to Match Your Desires

The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom


Manuela said...

It is ALL about attitude. I felt the same way when I lost all my weight. Compliments meant nothing because I wasn't feeling right!

Weird what the mind does to us.

Congratulations to us all for changing our attitudes for the better!

(Good luck on Pattie's challenge--I posted yesterday too!)

Meta Megan said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog! Good luck on your weight loss journey, it looks like there are lots of great places to hike in hot springs! My husband biked about 40 miles while we were there.

Pattie said...

I LOVE it, Rebecca! So much of this process is on our heads, eh? Thank you for your entry - and for being you!

Katschi said...

The last time I lost weight and got to 161 lbs I felt like a failure because I didn't reach 150.
Now I weigh 278. I felt just as fat then as I do now. I probably feel better about myself now, not about my weight, but about ME.
It is totally about attitude. Success begins in our heads.

Holly said...

Well your attitude is fabulous! Always inspiring to read too :)

Mama Bear June said...

If we aren't willing to make the right choices we never will see the positive changes. You are doing an awesome job!
Path to Health

Lainie said...

Yep, attitude and mind set are so important! You've inspired me to go look for that Dr. Phil book (which I own but is somewhere stashed away at the moment).

Heather said...

great post! attitude is SO important in losing and keeping the weight off.