In talking to my friend Rosa Lee this morning she mentioned that her weight loss journey had been a ‘struggle’ recently and that she was frustrated. It’s a tale of woe that we all have experienced from time to time: a foot injury that is very painful, the subsequent inability to maintain a normal level of exercise, and a three-day conference with catered sweets and meals and not a healthy choice in sight.
I asked what she felt her biggest challenge was. ‘I keep trying to recall what strategies worked for me before and I just don’t get it,’ she replied. ‘I know its not about the donuts, I know can do this, but I can’t seen to find my groove. And I’ve got a two week vacation coming up and have to wear a bathing suit.’
After I pointlessly tried to problem-solve her concerns for a minute (bring snacks, drink water, blah blah blah), I finally came to my senses. After all, Rosa Lee was right. Having lost 60 pounds last year, clearly she has some idea of what it takes to manage one’s weight. Mulling it over, I finally asked ‘What would it look like to you if you were handling your eating successfully right now? What would you feel, what would you be seeing, where would you be,what would you be doing?’
Rosa Lee’s face clouded a bit and she replied, ‘You know, I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about that.’ It was clear that the stress of the injury, and the annoyance of three days of being held food–hostage, and an inability to work out had all left her at wit’s end.
Its been said more eloquently before by people wiser than me, but it definitely is true that you have to ‘conceive it before you can achieve it.’ We can ‘try’ all we want, but the actual accomplishment of something won’t happen unless at some level we know that there is a chance that it really will happen.
I decided to run 10k this afternoon, even though I was feeling lethargic. In the car on the way there, I thought about my earlier conversation. As I arrived in the parking lot at Golden Gate Park I knew exactly what it would feel like when I finished. I went over the course in my mind’s eye, remembered different parts of the course that I liked and disliked, and finally I just turned on my iPod and started. As Rosa Lee reminded me, it was just a matter of seing the outcome, not the challenge.
I’m not sure if I helped her today, but she sure did help me.