Type A persona engaged—warp speed ahead!

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Alica Mckenna Johnson, pasta

Photo by Nebulux76

I was watching So You Think You Can Dance, which I love it is one of my favorite shows. So there I am watching these amazing beautiful power dancers, while eating a huge plate of spaghetti. Then they showed this interview with a young male dancer who’d been in a bad car accident, and his back had been broken.

I teared up listening to his parents talk about how scared they were. Listening to his story, watching him work out with the trainer to re-gain his strength and to be able to dance again I was inspired. That he could go through all of that and fight his way back to being able to dance, and dance beautifully, gave me chills.

As I sat there eating spaghetti, I thought about how hard he had he had worked and what he must have suffered through to be able to dance again, to re-claim his body again, and yet somehow I can’t lose ten pounds and keep it off?

I thought about this, about how if this is something I want, then I should fight for it. And that’s when I realized I wasn’t even sure what I was fighting for. I have been overweight for so long that I no longer remember what it is to feel good about how I look. I want to feel sexy, strong, healthy, and confident in my body. I have no idea what that is any more. And in truth the last time I felt that way, I was a teenager. The body I remember liking was two children, 20 plus years, and thousands of cartons of Ben and Jerry’s ago.

Will I even like my body after I lose weight?

I mean I’ll feel better, be healthier, stronger, and when the Doctor comes I’ll be able to run away from Daleks and such. All very important. But will I like it? Will I think I look pretty, sexy, or be happy at all?

I have no idea, and I think that sense of wondering, that not knowing, makes things harder. The dancer could remember what it felt like to spin, leap, and move across a stage. He had a very clear goal in mind. And I think that goal, that focus, helped him get through the hard times.

I don’t have that. When things get hard some I have some ambiguous idea, but no “I’ll be stronger, I’ll be healthier, I’ll fit into a smaller size,” just isn’t that inspiring. And in that moment, I usually give up—I eat something fatty, I sleep instead of working out, I stay up all night to read instead of getting the sleep I know I need.

How do you stay focused on a non-tangible goal? Do you find a goal you can’t quite picture or feel harder to stay committed to?

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13 responses »

  1. I’ve been there! I can absolutely relate to what you’re saying! Not all that long ago, I decided that I was tired of feeling bad. It was hard work, but I lost 70 pounds. It wasn’t about being a smaller size (that was the bonus) for me. It was about feeling healthy and strong and happy again. Since then, I’ve let myself gain about 20+ pounds back. I’m not happy about it. To me, it means I’ve reached a new threshold of saying that’s far enough. I’m working on shedding those pounds again. It is a self discovery process. And you are not alone. *HUGS*

  2. I have been trying to lose weight for years. All I’ve managed to do is get bigger. After years of soul searching, reading, listening to educated people, Oprah, Dr.Phil, ect. I have discovered I use my weight as a shield. Have you ever noticed how a big person can be totally over looked in a room?! I have. My “shield” stems from a lot of pain and a lot of hidden things in my life. I can’t confide in any of my family members, and don’t have a “best” friend anymore, like when I was a little kid. By staying fat, I’ve had a perfect “out” as to dating, sports, ect, ect, ect. Coupled with my home life (I care for my elderly Mother and 2 nephews), being financially strapped most of the time, being fat has let people “overlook” me. I can hide this way and don’t have to make excuses as to why I’m not dating a woman, or worried about having a sex life. You should hear the jokes about 2 fat people having sex!!!!!!! Well, I’m going to go out on a limb here and just type is out for the world, I’m 48 and gay, am basically a virgin, and will probably die as one. So yea, I have an unobtainable goal of being 150 lbs before I die, having skin surgery (loose 1/2 of yourself and you’ll need it too), learning to snow ski, and being able to take my shirt of at a pool or the beach without being embarrassed. Alicia, thanks for giving me the courage to put all this out there on the internet. Maybe in some way someone else will have a better life because of this??? I can only hope. I wouldn’t want anyone to end up like me.

    • Dear Jay,

      I read your comment and can feel your pain and disappointment. You have a choice. Forty-eight isn’t old. (It better not be, I’m turning that age in a few weeks!) You can choose to stay as you are, hiding from the world, or you can take a risk. Make changes in your life that will improve your feelings of self-worth and health. You can do it. You already recognize the root cause of your difficulties. Now, all you have to do is act upon it. You have half your life left. I’d love to hear in a year from now that you chose to turn your life around, taking care of yourself, being the best you can be, and finding happiness. That doesn’t mean you have to desert those who need you, but it means to fit in time for yourself as well.

      Sending positive thoughts your way! 🙂

    • *hugs* I am so sorry you feel so trapped right now, but each day has the possibility of hope and making new choices. Right now I am trying to do little things, and just a few little things to slowly build better habits. I hope you can find balance between all of your responsibilities and taking care of yourself, just remember that 48 isn’t the end of your life, just the middle. Each day I try and make sure that I do one little tiny thing to get me closer to my goals, even if it was not eating the last three bites of something because I was full. 🙂 Let me know how things go for you.

  3. Alica, I have thought so often that if I could only inhabit my skinny body for just a few minutes, then I would feel like I could eat right/exercise/etc! Sometimes I try to make my goal more tangible–put up a picture of clothing from a magazine that I’d love to wear, post motivational quotes on the kitchen cabinets. Mostly that seems to result in embarrassment when guests wonder why there’s a picture of shorts taped to the flour bin. I have even taken old, skinny-size clothing out of its mothballs sometimes and hung it somewhere visible. But I am moving away from that now.

    Recently I read Re-Thinking Thin, by Gina Kolata. It’s good to get some perspective on just how difficult-to-impossible sustained weight loss is. Between that and reading some Health At Every Size type blogs, I am really working on turning my focus away from weight loss and toward eating healthy foods and getting stronger. I still weigh myself every morning, though, so it’s definitely a work in progress.

  4. i am not sure that feeling better is an intangible goal. i mean you have felt good in the past so you know what that feels like, so go with that. being “skinny” isn’t really a goal in my mind, being healthy/feeling better is a better goal in my opinion. because you may never be the size you were at 17, and do you even want that? i mean, maybe you do. that being said, if you truly want to be healthier, then you gotta power thru it and that is the hard part. because sitting on your butt and eating food that isn’t the best for you is super easy (i should know! LOL) making yourself care for yourself is hard ass work. when stress, life, worries, etc come sneaking in, it is easy to forget how important you are to you. ((hug))

  5. I focus on a non-tangible goal by breaking it down into tangible parts. I may not be sure what the end result will be, but I know I want to share my stories with the world. So, I learn the craft, network with other writers, learn the business, and write every day. I completed one book, then two, and now am working on three projects. I submit my work, I receive rejections, and eventually I will publish. Why? Because I believe in myself and I believe in my future success. I cannot control when it will happen, but I can control the quality work I submit.

    Good luck with the weight loss. Perhaps focus on changing one habit, such as not eating within two hours of bedtime or eating your first meal of the day within one hour of rising. Those types of habits affect your metabolism and can start you on your way to that elusive goal.

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