It is so easy to give up.
I had a really good week last week – I ate within my calorie budget (except Sunday) and hit my walking goals, and lost some weight. Then, yesterday, things were a little rough for… well, for a few different reasons. Fatigue, for one. As a result, I overate (3,027 calories out of my 2,500 calorie budget) and didn’t get my walking goal in.
Now, objectively, this wasn’t all that big a deal. I mean, I was only 527 calories over goal and I still walked 4.68 miles according to my FitBit. It wasn’t the best of all possible days, sure. But I could have done a whole lot worse. Nevertheless, my brain – the same part that tried to tell me that losing 1.4 pounds in a week wasn’t “enough” – is telling me that I failed and I may as well eat a triple whopper with cheese garnished with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for lunch today because I’m a failure.
I mean, wow. You’d think my own brain would be on my side.
So, how do I deal with this negative voice? By using a trick that I started practicing decades ago (wow, that makes me feel old). When other negative memories are dragged up, I consciously ask myself why I’m suddenly thinking about that. What benefit is there? What lesson can I learn right now from that memory. And then I thank myself for the lesson. It really does work, too. Kind of like the negative part of my brain gives up in disgust and stomps off to sulk in the corner.
So, what lesson can I learn from this feeling of failure about my current health program?
First, I can learn that these goals really are important to me. I wouldn’t feel guilty about not hitting my goals if I didn’t actually care about them. Second, I can learn that self-care is important. The urge to lay around and carb load doesn’t come from sheer laziness, after all. It’s a warning sign that I’m tired and that I need to make sure to rest and take care of myself.
So, brain, thank you for the lesson. I’m still going to hit my goals, but I’ll also make sure that decent sleep and that me to read are part of those goals. Thank you for the lesson.