Step Off the Hamster Wheel
I was talking with a client the other day and she said something to the effect that when she loses weight all will be right in her world. I hadn’t heard anyone say this to me in a long time and it got my attention. I told her that embracing this point of view puts a tremendous amount of pressure on her and basically puts her life on hold. As a fat woman, I was thinking, “I've been 'overweight' pretty much my whole pre-pubescent life.” The reality is I don't walk around feeling bad about myself because I am fat and even though I can’t say I love being fat, there are two things I know to be true: One, diets don't work. I could get on that trajectory and be an unhappy yo-yo, going up and going down, but I know better. Secondly, we all make choices, every day, about what we are going to pay attention to and I realize that losing weight is not on the top of my list. There are a lot more interesting and important things going on in my life that draw my attention. My ah-ha moment during this conversation was that all of us have a list in our head, a written list of things that we want to work on, lists of things we need to accomplish, things that we need to do and the reality is that losing weight isn't on my list. Losing weight isn't something that I choose to put my focus on, it's not my priority, and it’s not the number one thing on my mind. I have a lot of other things in my heart and in my life that require my attention and that's where I make the decision to focus my energy. Every day, we make choices as to what and where we’re going to direct our attention. I could spend my energy on not liking being fat or why I don’t chose to lose weight or why I should lose weight or how much better my life would be if I lost weight. I have to step up and own that losing weight is not on the top of my list. The truth is that if losing weight rose to the top of my list I probably would be able to accomplish it but I'm going to tell you it wouldn't be fun, I wouldn't have a good time, and I'd probably gain the weight back just as I always have.
My overarching thought about this is that every day we’re making choices and I want us to step up and begin taking responsibility for what we choose rather than saying “oh boo-hoo, I really should lose weight, or I really should make those calls, or I really should get that website done, but this, but that, but the other thing got in my way.” When we step into what we really want to be doing, there's often a little chatter going on in our head saying “oh, that's not cool or you're a bad person because losing the weight, making those calls, getting the website done are the number one most important things!” Feeling bad about yourself because you didn’t do what you “should have been doing” is not productive and doesn’t propel you into positive action. You find yourself on the hamster wheel of frustration, inefficiency, and low self-esteem.
What if we are able to step into our power and lay claim to what we choose to do because it's the highest and best use of ourselves and our time? Perhaps doing the things we feel good about is a way for us to be in alignment with ourselves. My suggestion is to start each day with a list of the top three Action Items you intend to accomplish. Make sure that at least one of those Action Items is in alignment with something that is important to you. This could me meditating, eating a healthy meal, reading a book, connecting with a friend, taking a walk, or going to the gym. Being conscious and aware of your daily choices will support you being in alignment with what is truly important and keep you off the hamster wheel of should have, would have, and could have.