Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Change Your Story

In my last post explaining my decision to join the challenge at my office, I talked about how we were asked to create a new vision and work towards that, versus counting calories or points or whatever, and forcing exercise a certain number of times per week.  Also known as "calories in/calories out."

Susan asked me to explain a bit more about creating the vision.  And to answer your question Susan, the reason (according to our facilitator) that it's not JUST about calories in/out is because if it were, every single person who has dieted and done that perfectly would be where they wanted to be and they'd be done.  But the fact is, most people struggle to even lose weight and most people (not all) gain not only their initial weight back (or some of it) but many gain even more than they lost in the first place.  So in her opinion, it's not strictly calories in/out that get us to where we want to be.

Here's my attempt at explaining creation of a vision.  The first thing you should understand is that the vision is unique to each individual.

Our first step in creating our vision was to explore what we don't want and make a list of those things - or maybe that one thing.  These are examples of things that could be what someone doesn't want (not necessarily my exact list):
  • I don't want my waist to be so thick
  • I don't want to exercise 7 days a week
  • I don't want to give up desserts
  • I don't want to have a pot belly
Then on the opposite side of the paper, you write what you do want -   in a positive way
  • I want my waist to be thinner so I can easily button my slacks
  • I want to exercise a few times a week to be healthy and strong
  • I want to occasionally have the foods I like, including dessert
  • I want to have a flatter stomach, not necessarily a six-pack, just a flatter stomach
The next step was to pick just one of those items we had written down and expand on it.  The item we chose had to be THE ONE that made us feel excited and motivated to follow it through. You ask yourself questions like, "How does what I want look and feel like?" or "How does my vision look as an end result?"  Then you begin to lay out the steps that gets you to your end vision.  Suggestions were to write ideas down in a journal or create a vision board.  

For example, I'll use the exercise bullet.  (This is only an example not an actual vision of anyone in the class as far as I know!) Your expansion might look like this:  
I don't want to exercise 7 days a week because it is making me feel exhausted.  I constantly have injuries and pain from all that exercise.  I will stop using exercise as an excuse to eat more.  I will stop exercising just because it seems like the "in" thing to do. I DO want to exercise to be healthy and move my body so I will figure out a plan that allows me to exercise for one hour 4 days per week.  Some days I will do cardio and some days I will do some strength training.  
Then if you want, you can begin to create an actual vision board - either by getting a piece of poster board and glueing things to it, or she also suggested a private board on Pinterest where you can virtually glue things.  Each day you meditate for a few minutes on what your end result will be from this vision that you have for yourself.  Finally, you add in the "body" element of doing things and eating  foods that nurture that vision - with no food being good and no food being bad. As I said in Monday's post, we were asked to only eat when physically hungry (#1-4) rather than habitually or emotionally hungry (#6-10) on the scale.  Yes, #5 is missing but #5 is just neutral feeling - neither hungry nor emotional.

The reason for doing this is that we all have our reality:  we're sick, exhausted, overworked, on medications, overweight, etc., etc.  It IS your truth.  However, when you focus constantly on that reality, you are unable to really ever change anything. You live the reality you focus on. So the idea is to create a new reality by creating a new vision for yourself.  In other words, change your story.

It's harder than you think to do, especially when you've had the same tape playing over and over in your head about your current state.  But I've been finding out, it is possible to begin to build that new idea of what life could be like - and the one I'm envisioning looks pretty darn good.

The first thing I put on my vision board

20 comments:

  1. How interesting. One of my favorite authors wrote a book "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story." Now he's going around the country doing seminars on that topic. This will be interesting to follow your story, Helen!

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    1. I think I need to look that book up Debby!

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    2. Its pretty cheap right now,either on kindle or ref book.

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  2. I loved every word of this post Helen - it's so true, if it were easy to lose weight AND keep it off, everyone would do it.

    I like the idea of looking forward, not back - thanks for the inspiration today!

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  3. Yeah, we all know how it's not just that simple (and trite) adage of "calories in/calories out" that gets the weight off...interesting way that your coach has you reframing what you want. Makes it sound both realistic and attainable.

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    1. That's it exactly Shelley. She's saying it all in a way that is making complete sense to me. Interesting that (some) others are complaining wondering when she's going to assign a diet. I told one girl yesterday, "she's not." You should have seen the look on her face.

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  4. Love this post Helen! And love that you are sharing the journey with us. Thank you!!!

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    1. You're welcome, I hope you find something for yourself in the bits I share.

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  5. If weight was simply what goes in and out, we would just eat a capsule containing the amount of calories we needed that day and be done with it. Way too complex.

    I have found I have needed to move far, far away from having a body image vision. I can't pin pictures of healthy living ideas or things that show body types anymore because that was making me feel very inadequate. I still have a hard time when I see people on FB or blogs that post photos of themselves and I know they weigh a lot more than I do and I think "how do they look so much smaller than me?". It doesn't matter if it is true or not, they are them and I am me. :D

    (anyway, all about me again... )

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    1. Exactly on all counts! That's why YOUR vision cannot be MY vision an also in this case, why my vision/end goal has nothing to do with how I'll look or what I'll weigh!

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  6. Very interesting and it totally makes sense.

    When I was reading this post, it came back to me that I once joined a FB group hosted by a lady who wrote a book "the secret of thin people" and here approach is the same as this. I still have to book and after reading your post I think I might read it again soon.

    Your exercise vision is a smart one. Like you I sometimes think some people totally overdo it and that's not healthy at all even though they think it is.

    You're a smart girl Helen.

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    1. That's not actually my personal vision, it's just an example. I haven't shared my personal vision because I don't want to share it - at least not right now :)

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    2. Thought it was yours because of this:

      I will stop exercising just because it seems like the "in" thing to do.

      I remember a post about something like that on FB a while ago.
      That's why I thougt it was your own vision.

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    3. I've always loved to do some form of exercise. So it's definitely not my issue nor my vision to change that. I will say I would agree that I won't do any certain exercise because it's the "in" thing (Crossfit for example), but I like my exercise even if it's just a walk.

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  7. Thanks for writing this it was very interesting and informative a different part of the puzzle to think about.
    I am not struggling to lose a large amount of weight now I lost 40 pounds back in 1998-1999 and have maintained the lose but as I am getting post menopausal and now gluten free do to health issues with gluten it is harder to maintain still I am within 5-6 pounds of where I stopped at originally. So it never gets easier you have to keep adjusting what you do with the exercise, eating amount of cals, types of food. Most importantly is to NEVER give up...Again thanks for writing this it proves people do read the comments.

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    1. I reach each and every comment written to me, whether I like them or not lol!

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  8. Oh my--yes, the tape playing in our head can trump all else...You're ejecting and inserting a new playlist, Helen-- great post.

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  9. I love this whole idea of the vision board and especially the lists of what you don't want and do want. Hmmm, might have to try that myself!

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