So you think you need more will-power?
- I just can’t seem to motivate myself to .... (fill in the gap!)
- Why do I not stick with the budget I carefully plan?
- I say I want to lose weight then go out and buy chocolate!
- I get so annoyed with myself when I procrastinate over everything.
- I’ve paid 6 months gym membership but only been twice?
I guess it’s a universal problem that we can all recognise, though as individuals we all have our own different versions of it. I’m sure you know some of those feelings of being stuck and frustrated and we often end up being disappointed, confused or even ashamed of ourselves. This, in turn, leads to harsh self-criticism (I’ve got no will power / I’m stupid / useless), defeatism (I can’t get over this / I’ll never manage) or resignation (I’m just that kind of person / why bother?).
You get the picture don’t you?
Time for a change?
Summer comes and we get a burst of motivation and enthusiasm. New Year comes round and we decide that “This is the year I’m really going to nail it!”. Perhaps something unpleasant threatens or fear sets in and we think “I’ve got to do something about it now!”.
It just takes will-power?
A new plan of action is put in motion. We’re fired with determination and full of energy and good intent. It works well for some time, which may be anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of years! But then ‘something’ comes in to play to put a stop to it all and sabotage everything. Will-power has run out, determination is diminished and we’re back to square one… or worse. A sense of failure triggers the whole cycle again and we’re stuck, not knowing how to get off; how to truly change.
Take a look again at those phrases I began with. One thing they all have in common is different parts wanting different things. For example, who is the ‘I’ that is getting annoyed and who is the ‘myself’ that is causing the annoyance? Which part wants to exercise and which part doesn’t?
Change IS possible!
Those differing parts seem to be in conflict with each other. Internal conflict like this is a tremendous drain on energy. Will-power too demands a lot of energy and when energy runs out, will-power also runs out.
Learning to understand those differing parts and healing or negotiating the internal conflict is one of the many issues we tackle in the work I do with my clients. It is also one of the components of my weight loss/ weight management programme.
Recognise conflict where it exists and understand that it is normal, that it doesn’t make you a weak / stupid / bad (etc) person. A little self-acceptance and forgiveness can go a long way towards your success.
If you would like to know more about working individually with me or about my upcoming group programme for weight management, for more details please call or text 07962 162 464 to book a time to chat with me.
Pancake Tuesday is just around the corner.
Will you be flipping pancakes or flipping your lid?
Are you, like me, full of fond memories of plates covered with lovely, hot, fresh pancakes oozing in lemon juice and sugar? (Or as it was in 1960s Manchester, sugar and a Jif squeezy plastic lemon) It was the only day of the year we got pancakes and so it felt extra special and exciting.
Another very important part of the ritual was the pancake flipping; the thrill of watching it spin. Later on, it was learning how to make them ourselves and to watch them collapse in a mushy heap when we didn’t get the flick of the wrist right. I can still sense the anticipation I had then, as I fondly reminisce.
Now I’m married to a Belgian, for whom pancakes are simply a desert or an occasional Sunday breakfast treat and consequently they they have now become just one more item on the list of, ‘things we eat in our house’. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a real treat to come down on a Sunday morning to be greeted with a welcome of, “Pancakes this morning. Is that OK?”
While in the past, it never crossed my mind to refuse another pancake or lashings of sugar, nowadays I’m happy to take the smallest one and to fill it with a little yoghurt and banana or to make them with brown flour and oats in order to lower the G.I. so that I want fewer of them and will feel fuller for longer. And I certainly couldn’t dream of eating 4 or more as I used to.
Does it bother me? Do I feel as though I’m missing out? I certainly look back wistfully to that over-skinny, lanky teen that I used to be, and there is still oftentimes a debate with my inner gourmand about whether to say, “yes please” or "no thank you" to the offer of one more pancake.
Food, and the marking important occasions with food, is central to our culture and to our sense of belonging to a community. However for many people these events are more a source of isolation and unhappiness. Shame and confusion dominate their internal debate much more than for others. For those unfortunate people for whom weight issues dominate all decisions about eating or social invitations, pancake day or the like can be a major cause of stress or anxiety. It can really begin to dominate their thinking and sap a lot of pleasure from many seemingly simple life events.
Many people will in fact just prefer to forget about Pancake Tuesday all together, in order to eliminate conflict over what and how much they can allow themselves to eat, or not have to deal later with the guilt about what they ‘shouldn’t’ have eaten.
This makes me sad to think that for those people, the pleasures of childhood memories or the simple freedom to join others, guilt free, seems lost to them. It makes me especially sad to know that it really doesn’t have to be like that. It is possible to achieve and maintain a healthy weight AND enjoy the odd pancake. If you’d like to know how I can help you achieve this please do get in touch.
Take a look at my specialist weight loss programme