Weight Loss Support - Have you ever played this mind game with yourself?

Rain Dancer
07-07-2008, 12:15 PM
I call it "If Only".

If only I had started a healthy eating plan X amount of time ago... Be it a year, two years, a month... Whatever. I would be X amount of weight smaller. X amount of weight closer to my goal. Instead, here I sit, a year, two years, a month heavier, more unhealthy and feeling horrible about myself.

Think I'll go drown my sorrows in the fridge.

It is a really good way to mess with my mind. And my efforts to get or stay on track.

Well, this morning, it occurred to me; I am 33 days into my new lifestyle. I am a little smaller, I feel better and I am 33 days and at least twenty pounds closer to my goal weight. Rather than wallowing in self-pity and wanting to attack my pantry, I am feeling downright good, at the moment. :carrot:

Maybe I can turn that destructive little mind game around and use it to my advantage. :D

Please share how you have reversed a destructive mind game to become an affirmation and a source of self support.

07-07-2008, 12:27 PM
Oh, I always used to do that to myself. It drove me insane, and really discouraged me! I'd go back as far as "If only I hadn't started eating really horribly in the first place..."

I had to start thinking positive though, just like you did this morning. Maybe I didn't start as far back as I COULD have, but I did start, and that is what's important. Just keep going, and in awhile you'll be thinking "Good thing I started way back when I did! Look at me now! I look amazing!"

07-07-2008, 12:36 PM
I think someone around here has a similar sentiment in their signature.... a year from now, you'll wish you had started today. I like that. I think a lot of people will focus on the past because they know what they don't want to be anymore (the past unhealthy self), and find it hard to think about the future since it holds so many unknowns for those of us who have never been fit/healthy. Which is what leads us into self-pity, thinking of what we could have done in the past to avoid our present. Switching to future thinking is a good move :)

This was actually a topic in a WW meeting a few weeks ago - recognizing self-destructive thought patterns and altering them to become something empowering. Changing limiting beliefs like "never"s and "always"s which limit you to a specific behavior into beliefs that allow you to change and grow. As I'm sitting there in the meeting I'm thinking, I don't have any of those! I am a positive person by nature, I would never limit myself with how I think of myself. And of course, I get home and really think about it, and all of these things start popping up. The first one I realized I had told myself so many times that I had actually incorporated it into my identity was that I can't stay on plan for more than 3 or 4 days at a time. I actually had made myself believe this and used it as an excuse to go off plan if I had been on plan for a couple of days. (I'm working on getting this one out of my head.) It's interesting what's in that brain of mine when I look into it and sweep out the cobwebs. :lol: I think the first step towards removing the negative thoughts is identifying them... once you know they're there you can hold them up to the light and realize that they just aren't true.

07-07-2008, 12:45 PM
Yes, yes, yes!!! :smug:That is such an important thing to realize and work through!

I used to map my expected weight loss in my calendar. As in, "if I keep losing 2 lbs. a week, I'll be X pounds in July..."

Even if I was losing steadily and successfully, there would be this little nagging voice saying one of two things: "Yeah, see? Couldn't you have started this earlier?" or "Yeah, whatever - can't you lose a little faster than that?" :dizzy:

Then I would inevitably fall off the wagon (and yes, unrealistic goals and unexpected setbacks were to blame for this more than anything else) and forget about it all, until that little mark in my calendar would catch my eye - if only I'd kept up with my plan, I'd be there right now... Talk about a downer!

Letting go of these expectations and regrets has been one of the most important factors for me. Even if I'm losing slowly, or not at all, I just keep at it until I get where I want to be. It was such a simple reversal, once I got the hang of it. Success for me simply is not measured in pounds lost/time expended anymore, but in building and maintaining healthy habits.

That said ;) - CONGRATULATIONS on your 20+ pound loss, that is absolutely awesome! :carrot:

07-07-2008, 12:53 PM
Turn it around to, "If only ... 33 days ago I just kept eating crap and sitting on the couch. Instead of 20 pounds down, I could be 5 pounds up! Man, if only ... 3o days from now, instead of committing to stick with this, I just give up ... I could gain back even more weight!"

07-07-2008, 01:09 PM
Good Morning RainDancer;
I have played that game several times with myself. I know how counter productive it is. I think I came to a place where I realized that it's not a race for me, nor are there any deadlines. I don't have to be a size 10 by summer or anything like that. (My expectations were always so unrealistic.) It took a lot of pressure off of me and I could focus on other aspects of my life. Thank goodness.
Heffalump, I did exactly the same thing - make a calendar of expected weight loss. What a way to make myself feel like a failure summer after summer. (Although you know at the time I don't recall ever considering doing any exercise at all. How odd.) And I really felt like I was taking control of my life. I didn't think it was unrealistic at all. I just thought there was something completely wrong with me that I could never do it.

07-07-2008, 01:21 PM
I used to map my expected weight loss in my calendar. As in, "if I keep losing 2 lbs. a week, I'll be X pounds in July..."

Ugh, I can't resist doing that. It's partly just my geeky self, playing with charts. But still, I can't stop ;) I chart my weight every day (on more than one spreadsheet), and then I look at them like I can find the meaning of life in there. :dizzy:

Hat Trick
07-07-2008, 02:19 PM
My mind game used to be 'I want to lose xx by xx date'. Then, when I inevitably missed that goal -- even by a few lbs. -- I'd just say 'what the ****, I can't even manage to get to this goal. I may as well give up' and then I would proceed to eat back every single pound that I had worked so hard to get off. Pretty stupid, huh? I have finally, finally figured out that -- for me anyway -- xx wt loss by xx date goals are great, but I need to tweak them along the way. Some weeks are better than others; some weeks the weight seems to just fall off and other weeks it just likes to cogeal. :rolleyes: I finally figured out that if I have say a '4 lb loss in a month' goal and I'm 1 1/2 wks away from this particular deadline and the scale has only budged 2 lbs, the likelihood of me losing those last 2 lbs by the end of the month are slim, so I adjust it to '3 lb loss' instead of the original 4. Does that make me a failure? NO WAY!! :D My attitude is 'hey, I'm STILL down 3 lbs'. I need some kind of timeline for this (otherwise I may just putz along forever) but not anything so rigid or inflexible so that it doesn't allow for -- life. :) I haven't lost much in the past few weeks, kind of just holding steady. I've also had parties and some health things that have affected this. I'm also going on vacation next week (and no doubt TOM will rear its stupid, inconvient head) so if I can kind of 'hold steady' till after vacation is over and then kick it up, I'll be a happy camper. So much less stressful if I cut myself some slack. I'm still eating OP (mostly) and exercising and I KNOW I will get the remainder of this wt. off. Your state of mind determines your outlook on everything. :yes:

07-07-2008, 02:32 PM
i have....
if only i was more dedicated and strict in the beginning....
if only i didnt take a break....
if only i got new scales quicker....
just cant change the past tho....

07-07-2008, 04:23 PM
I've done this mind game every year for the last twenty years. In January I would tell myself I could get all the weight off by summer and it never happened. This year I realized I could only get half of it off by summer. I started out not really caring how long it took though. I just wanted to feel better. Since I let go of the timeline to get it off it, it is coming off so much better. I think the health reasons are much more motivating for me as well. I don't feel selfish for insisting on eating more expensive, more time consuming things. I don't feel selfish for buying a treadmill and taking the time to use it. All of this is helping not only me, but my family as well. Now I feel so stupid for not taking better care of myself and my family all along. Better late then never though!

07-08-2008, 01:06 AM
I think I mentioned this before, but every January my New Year's resolution would be to lose weight. I'd maybe try, and by December, I'd be the same size or bigger. On December 31st, my thought was always "If only I'd just stuck with it..." A year always seemed so far away in January, but when December rolled around I always realized just how fast time actually flew.

I am thankful that I did not have this thought this past December. I didn't give myself a time frame in which to lose weight and kept in mind that weight loss would take a long time and would require a lot of hard work. I guess I just had more positive thoughts, changed "I can't" to "I can".

Congrats on your weight loss!

Rain Dancer
07-08-2008, 12:48 PM
Thank you all for your wonderful replies. They are inspirational and thought-provoking.

It is amazing how much impact our thoughts have on our overall state of well being. I am working very hard on only allowing positive, self supporting thoughts to rule in my head, these days. I am not always completely successful, but overall, my thoughts and internal dialog are much more positive, these days. And, it shows. :D