"It's not what I'm saying NO to, it's what I'm saying YES to by saying NO."
I have permanently lost 17 pounds since last June when I reached a peak of 160 (I'm 5' 3"). Losing that weight could not have happened unless I had a deep cognitive and spiritual change in my attitude toward discipline.
Discipline is defined by my dictionary four ways:
- training to act in accordance with rules
- behavior in accord with rules of conduct
- branch of learning
Three out of four of those definitions make me feel as confined as Cool Hand Luke in 'The Box', especially that last one.
Naturally I convinced myself that dieting was punishment because I couldn't lose weight without the 'discipline' not to eat over a set calorie count. Every time I tried to resist the brownie, the rebellious little kid in me fought back and the tired, punished adult gave in.
In June, I started working with Janice Taylor and she helped me see discipline in a new way. Not just 'see' it, because I had tried the 'Love Yourself Thin' approach before. It just never stuck. Janice helped me dismantle some seriously dysfunctional core beliefs about discipline that were literally weighing me down. Core beliefs like, "You are not good enough, no matter what you do to pretend otherwise." In the process of taking that core belief apart, I learned why, as I tried to do the right thing by not eating the brownie, all I was left with was a hollow, deprived feeling inside.
My now deceased parents, whom I love and honor deeply, unintentionally hurt me by putting conditions on their approval. I was made to feel like a fat alien in their skinny world. My childhood soundtrack was one chorus after the other of: "Do you really want to eat that?" "Do you know how many calories is in that?" "Let's see what they have in the husky section."
Being a bit of a perfectionist I couldn't just let them do a number on me, I had to do them one better. I internalized and generalized the criticism to the point where as an adult I wondered if they would approve of my weight and other aspects of my life. Would my uber-professional, doctor father be OK with the way I've developed my practice? What would he think of my being 'out there' with my writing and the blog? The imagined answer was always, he'd hate it, be embarrassed by it, by me, and I would choke again on the hurt.
With Janice's encouragement, I considered another possible outcome. I talked to people close to me about what my parents would think of me today. I wrote letters to my dead parents about what I am doing today. I had imaginary conversations with them. What if my father approved? What if, in heaven, he understood and was actually proud that I conducted my career differently from how he did his? What if, not only my parents' love, but my own self-love, was unconditional?
Let me remind you I have been in therapy twice in my adulthood and I am a practicing, really good, psychologist. But it doesn't matter. Self-discovery finds its way in a unique process to which many factors contribute, past, present and future. If done right, it doesn't just stop because you think you are 'done'. You know… It's a journey.
Little by little the old core belief was turned on its ear and became, "I AM good enough. In fact, I'm GOOD!"
How did all that work help me lose weight? By redefining discipline I can keep my eating within my calorie budget and not feel deprived. Discipline is no longer punishment. Discipline is now synonymous with freedom.
It is so much easier to say no to the brownie for the right reasons. Not because I hate myself as a fat person, not because my parents won't love me if I eat it, not because if there is no pain there is no value – but rather because by saying no to the brownie I say yes to energy, I say yes to a size eight, I say yes to less pain in my joints. By saying no to the brownie I say yes to me!