Ben’s Profile Journey: That Time I Realized that Trying is a Real Thing I Have to Do
Hi, Ben here, and I’m embarking on a mission to not be fat when I turn 42. To do that I’ve partnered with Profile by Sanford and I want to take you with me on my journey.
As I do this Profile thing I have come to realize that I didn’t know what it means to try. To really try to do something. It’s not that that I’m a lazy person or anything. I am full of ambition; I have dreams, desires and goals. I think about the future, I work hard at my job and to take care of my family and home. But, now that I am in this quest to effect real change in myself, I’ve discovered what all those Facebook motivational posts mean.
I don’t respond well to most motivational, self-help, feel good rhetoric. I have a deep cynical streak that I nurtured to maturity in the back of the classroom at school. I have often thought of myself as ‘too cool’ for things like caring, or effort. For whatever reason that attitude has stuck with me in my fourth decade on Earth.
Not that I believe that there is no value in a healthy dose of cynical skepticism. That mindset is a core part of critical thinking. But, for me it also became an emotional shield. Now that shield is too often becoming a wall, preventing me from growing.
What often happens is that I tend to do thing half-way. I don’t really try. I get some success and rest on those laurels. I get trapped in a cycle of ‘good enough.’ Part of the problem, if I do say so myself, is that I’m a pretty bright person. I can figure things out, do good work and advance in my life. But, I’ve been resistant to going all-in on something; I’ll have one foot out the door. That has created a world for me where there’s a sharp drop off in success. This long term problematic mindset has been creeping into my Profile Journey.
I often say that part of my Profile journey that I didn’t expect is that it would be so much about my emotional health, as well as my physical health. But, as I talked with my Profile coach I’ve uncovered how closely connected my weight problem and emotions are. Like a shoelace caught in a vacuum; wrapping itself tight around the spinning brush so much that it breaks the belt and burns out the motor. Part of learning to be healthy is untangling my emotions from food. I have to try harder.
My weight loss stalled in August, and September has been hard getting back into the groove. I know if it wasn’t for my Profile coach I’d have given up. I lost some weight in the first months of the program, I learned a lot, and had access to many tools and ideas. I was in a ‘good enough’ place. In the past that’s when I would have quit as soon as things got tough, like they did in August.
Since I hit this rough patch, I’ve reached my brain for reasons that things have been hard. Am I not getting the right meal replacements? Am I not getting enough support? Is someone sabotaging me? Are there tips and tricks that I’m missing? Is there a secret to success that is hidden from me? No, no, no, no, no, no; and a yes to the support question.
No, it’s clear that all there is for me to do is to try harder. To think about what I’m doing, to track my food intake, to walk on the treadmill. The only missing piece between wanting and doing has been trying. I know the biggest hurdle has been a ridiculous clinging to the concept of spontaneity. “If I plan things I won’t have fun.” “If I pay attention to things I won’t have a good time.” As the damage this idea is doing to me, and my self-awareness of it, has become clearer I’m angry to the point of embarrassment. Of course none of that is true, I’m not missing out of anything if I plan and pay attention. Well, that’s not true; I’m missing out on living well.
Now, I am working on dropping my attitude, as my parents would tell me to lo these many years ago. I have all the tools, all that I need. Now I have to give 100%. Not 110% because that’s physically impossible. I want it; I can see the end game, now it’s up to me. I have to tackle this little by little, one step at a time.
It’s like that old saying ‘how do you eat an elephant?’ Well it depends on how you prepare it; if you have elephant soup you’ll eat it with a spoon. But for an elephant meatloaf, a fork, and I bet you use your hands for the ribs. I think I misunderstood that saying.