Aaaah, heifers! Y'all know I love a good guest blog post here and there! Today's is no different. My heifer-girl Pam sent this one in for us - sit down, get comfy, and have a read:
Threshold: the magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested.
I’ve tried it all. Nutrisystem? Check. Jenny Craig? Check. Atkins/South Beach/Paleo? Check. 21 Day Fix? Check. Sticking my finger down my throat? Check. (Yeah, that’s not a proud admission, but if nothing else, I’m an open book!) Did I lose weight each time? Yes, I did, but it always came right back with a vengeance. Each time I’d start strong, then get derailed. Ok, not “derailed” so much as “self-sabotaged,” but the result was the same and I’d end up back at square one, still obese and still shame filled.
My story isn’t unique—millions of people who are overweight are familiar with this seemingly endless cycle. It’s frustrating, disheartening, and shame inducing. There’s often a piece that’s missing, and it’s hard to identify. Too often we want to lose weight for all the wrong reasons—we have a reunion coming up, a wedding, a graduation…you know the drill.
But what’s missing is the switch—an awakening of sorts. My biggest cheerleader (aka my fantastic husband, Kevin) filled in this piece for me. He’s talked about how change doesn’t occur until an individual (or organization) hits threshold and says NO MORE. The difference is that threshold (or “the switch”) doesn’t get activated by external stimulus—it’s all internal. It’s about YOU.
Hitting threshold is different for each of us, but it’s a critical component. For me, I realized one day that I was watching from the sidelines saying “I wish I could…” far too often. I have 3 awesome sons, and while I love watching them in their various sports and activities, mama got tired of watching them have all the fun because mama was once a pretty good athlete herself! I realized the only person preventing me from full participation was me. This particular revelation was at once sobering and utterly empowering. And frankly, it pissed me off (hello, threshold!). I realized how much time…and LIFE I had wasted with my “shoulda, coulda, woulda” thinking, but also realized I didn’t have to waste one more day. I WAS FINALLY READY. I hit threshold.
I’ve long been an emotional eater and used food as a security blanket. To compound that, I also associate meals with family, love, and happiness. (I wasn’t fully cognizant of this until one day my husband said he finally understood why choosing a restaurant for a family meal was such a big deal—he pointed out how much I associated family meal times with wonderful memories, and that eating a meal was an event with strong emotional ties to love, security, and tradition. I was honestly dumbfounded that I’d never realized this on my own.) Growing up, Sunday dinner at Granny’s was tradition, and if Granny knew nothing else, it was how to show her love of her family by feeding them. Food isn’t just fuel for me like it is for my husband and kids.
Since starting Weight Watchers, I’ve started tracking food and activity, and honestly? It’s been easy. Why? Because I was ready to make the changes I need to make in my daily life. I’d hit threshold, and food began to become a way to fuel my body rather than feed my emotions. Don’t misunderstand me, I love food, and the temptation to self-medicate with donuts will likely always be there. I always will love tasty food, but I’ve changed my relationship with it and now enjoy it on my terms. I choose, period. I don’t deny myself decadent foods I enjoy; I just eat a reasonable amount, track it, and move on. In the past, if I was “bad”, I’d view my whole plan as a failure and give up. It seems so ridiculous now, but it was my reality for a very long time.
PROTIP: NEVER VIEW A SINGLE DEFEAT AS A FINAL DEFEAT.
Bad days happen. Eat the cupcake, enjoy the hell out of it, then move on. If it makes you feel better, spend extra time at the gym, but above all, be kind to yourself. Once the switch gets flipped, this will become easier. Hitting threshold is like an awakening. Your vision gets clearer about where you’ve been and where you’re going. You realize you’re not alone (and if you’re reading this, you’re so not alone!), and you realize that baby, YOU’RE WORTH IT! I’ve learned to smile at the woman in the mirror and tell her what a great job she’s doing and how proud I am of her. (Hey, we don’t hesitate to tell others, so why can’t we love ourselves just a little?)
Hitting threshold has given me some tools (or perhaps revealed them) I didn’t have in the past. I reframe my old thinking that said “can’t”. Can’t is a LIE. Don’t say you “can’t eat that”. Of course you can! (And you know very well that your well meaning friends will “helpfully” tell you so!) I say “I don’t eat that”, and that’s (a) a choice and (b) not arguable. Don’t say you “can’t find time” to hit the gym. BS. You have the same 24 hours in the day as the rest of us. I go before work, because my evenings are insane with sports and activities. (I didn’t say this was easy or wouldn’t require sacrifice; I said you have time.)
The bottom line is this: once you hit threshold, everything changes. Everyone who has successfully lost weight will tell you about their switch getting flipped. (For the record, I’m still very much on my journey, but oh, have I ever had my switch flipped!) Figure out what matters most to you, then pursue it like your ass is on fire! Need help figuring out your threshold? I challenge you to do 100 Days of Why. For 100 days, write down WHY you want to lose weight. Why you want to get fit. Why you want to wear a smaller size. It’s YOUR WHY. And I’m betting that somewhere along the way, you’ll find your threshold, then you’ll be unstoppable.
And we’ll be right here with you, cheering every step of the way!