Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It’s all about the pain. . . the quotable version

This morning at the gym I was reminded of a shirt my Awesome Hubby wears on occasion.

The first time I saw it, I chuckled because of the truth of it. He usually manages to wear it at a time when I’m in the throws of serious muscle soreness (which, if anyone’s done CrossFit style workouts for any amount of time, realizes that it’s more normal than not) and I have to remind myself that my inability to walk up stairs or lift my arms to brush my teeth (the person who invented the electric toothbrush? A saint!) is just my body’s way of dealing with the resistance and motions I put it through, and the muscles are just repairing themselves to they can be stronger and better able to deal with the same thing next time.

This morning at the gym, again dealing with sore muscles, again lifting heavy things and doing all sorts of other silliness (burpees – I have no love in my heart for you) that will make me more sore tomorrow, I was struck by the even deeper truth of the saying because it's something that's been on my mind lately. Not so much for me, though I'm at the point of getting frustrated that I still have the squishy middle, and my physique isn't where *I* think it should be. I mean really, I’ve been at this for /how/ long!?

I digress. I was reminded of what a beautiful, talented friend of mine has voiced to me several times recently: that's she's SO afraid that all the weight she's lost will come back. I’ve come across the same fear and frustration a lot lately, the continual struggle, the weariness, the frustration, the fear.

My first thought: Then you did it wrong the first time. I mean, if you put in the time to develop new habits and make the changes to your lifestyle that support the lower weight and activity level, and you didn't do any sort of extreme effort that's impossible to sustain long term, there's not really any reason for you to re-gain... right?

But that's only part of it, isn't it?

Yes, there’s the fear part - and having a little bit of that can be good to keep you focused on the actions you need to take - but really, it all begins and ends with pain.

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
Jim Rohn

Oooh, that “D” word… That’s /really/ it, isn’t it? We don’t want the pain of discipline, or change. We like things the way they are. Even if we /don’t/ like things the way they are, when we decide that there’s need for change, the first thing we do is… rebel.

Wait, what? The first thing we do should be act, right? I mean we want to change so we act!

Not so. Remember my Inner Princesses, Veruca & Stevie? Yeah, this is when I really became aware of them – when I decided to take action to change, do develop some _discipline_ in my life.

Whoooaaaaa Nelly did they act up because, after all, discipline means punishment and restriction and the inner kiddos do NOT like that!
dis·ci·pline [dis-uh-plin]
1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.

Wait... discipline doesn’t /automatically/ mean punishment? Go fig!

But that’s what we think, right? I mean, the only reason to change is because we are bad and need to be punished, to implement super restrictive (Eat only celery! Live on $5 a week! Do marathon cleaning sessions!) and deprivation (No shopping! No chocolate! No fun!) behaviours that only set us up for failure so we can continue to beat ourselves up and realize that we were meant to stay the way we so there. *flop* We take on the role of both the bratty, rebellious child and overbearing, condemning parent.

So… How’s that been workin’ for ya?

I think it’s time to embrace the training/activity/improving skill part of the definition rather than the punishment portion.

It’d mean that instead of being condemning, we need to start being compassionate. Instead of being rebellious, we have to be open.

But that’s hard, isn’t it? It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves, it’s SO easy to find fault and lay the blame for our woes outside of ourselves rather than looking in the mirror. Unless, of course, you’re me, then you take the blame for all the worlds’ (including your own) problems and put them squarely on your shoulders. Yeah, that’s fun.

Here’s the thing that most people don’t want to hear: It’s painful to change. That’s why so many people stay in bad situations, get further in debt, health continues to deteriorate.

But it can be equally painful to stay the same.

You have to make a choice

You can choose to stay the same, or you can choose to change. There is going to be emotional wear and tear no matter what, because below the surface we all have emotional stuff that needs to be dealt with. Holding the door closed on the closet that hold our skeletons - THAT is tiring. Trust me. Been there, have the therapy bills to prove it. It’s painful to face it, but if you do, it feels like a huge physical weight has been lifted from you. When you don’t, that weight keeps bearing down on you, threatening to crush you.

"The secret of joy is the mastery of pain." - Anaïs Nin

It’s uncomfortable, it’s not fun, but in the end, it’s worth it… so you can move on to the next /thing/.

“If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone.” John Maxwell

I know! Such the cheery ray of sunshine today, aren’t I?

But there’s a reason for it. It goes back to the fear of gaining it back, of going deeper into debt, and why I’m not so worried. It also goes back to the question I’ve been asked several times that I’ve struggle to answer: What was the turning point for me? How did I stop spinning my wheels and finally find traction?

It was the day that I realized that it’s not about the weight, it’s not about the food, and it’s not about the exercise. It’s about the thing was keeping me stuck where I was – and that thing was me.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anaïs Nin

The day that I realized that I had to be accountable to myself, to embrace the pain of discipline today rather than live with the pain of regret forever, to look myself in the eye in the mirror and clear out the bad so I could get to the good stuff, /that/ was the turning point. I realized that every struggle had a purpose and the faster I figured that out; the faster I could get through it and reap the benefits. I learned that every time I encountered resistance, not matter if I was pushed back or pushed through, it made me stronger the next time.

“Being fat (or in debt, or surrounded by clutter, or being in a difficult situation) is hard. Losing weight (getting out of debt, clearing out the emotional and physical clutter, making a change in your life) is hard. Chose Your HARD!” - Unkown

"I choose to know the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is." - UNKNOWN

I made my choice… how about you?

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