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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Use tools to hang your bigger picture!

I think one of the key differences I have found when listening to Inside Out Weight Loss, by Renee Stephens (available for free on Itunes and at her blog -- see the link to the right) is that the goal is elminate the STRUGGLE part of weight loss. I feel and know that struggle and am starting to make real headway in overcoming it.

And the chief way I am overcoming it is by trying to do more than use the "tools" I learned in active weight loss. Rather, I'm trying to "paint a bigger picture."

Let me digress for a moment -- as I mentioned in my bio, I "white knuckled" my way down 83 pounds at one point in my life and thought "I WILL NEVER GO BACK". 56 pounds later (NOW only 45 -- YAY!), I would look at my body in astonishment, and with many tears, many thoughts of self-loathing, horrid "how can anyone stand me" feelings, horrid "how can I stand myself" feelings.

So, I'd wake up every morning and put on my brave face and I'd say "This is the day. This is the day I get my mojo back. This is the day I remember all the tools I learned about weight loss and employ them.

And I see others approaching this weight loss issue in the same way. And I GET IT -- so I'm not finger pointing, I'm completely empathetic.
And there is nothing wrong with employing the TOOLS that you use to get through a moment where you're afraid you're going to eat too much, or that a late night binge is imminent, or you're going to face a holiday party, or you're going to get home after a long day at work and have to "have a snack" while you prepare your meal.

I LIKE those tools. Those tools are helpful. But they are tools -- the tools you use when you need a hammer and nail to hang a picture. What I am suggesting, is that we try to hang a bigger picture, so we can use our “tools” less often.

Let me try to explain . . .

The Bigger Picture

I have cathedral ceilings. I love them. They are Florida white and I love them. I grew up in a house in Georgia with 8" ceilings that was very dark, beautiful, but old and dark. My Florida home is bright and white and open. And I love it (do we get that I LOVE it) But in my life, I want color. Now you can imagine, if I tried to hang a hundred 5x10s on the walls to give my home color and vibrancy, I'd be hammerin' all day long. And I'd happily do it, because I want color and vibrancy in my open, airy home. But instead, I've chosen to use BIGGER PICTURES. These bigger pictures give me instant impact. I have large classic Advertising posters from the 30s (oh so glamorous). I have one section of wall covered in paintings and large collages of images I took in France years ago (my love of travel). One wall is dedicated to signed Broadway posters. I have this incredible set of two from a local artist -- Gina Bernardini -- that shows a rear view of a gorgeous red-head looking in a mirror and you can just see her one green eye. She is apparently “en flagrante” except for a pair of fishnet stockings and she's just fantastic (a goal -- to be comfortable in nothing but a pair of fishnet stockings). And while my living room is bright orange, blues, greens -- dining takes the orange, but mutes it with 70s avocado to bring in a "kitch" factor that I love.

I have SURROUNDED myself with large images of things I love and want in my life:

  • Classic Glamour
  • Travel
  • Brazen Behavior (really, she’s wearing nothing but a pair of fishnets!)
  • Broadway (which represents my love and passion for singing and dancing)
  • Eclectic Kitsch (which represents having humor in my life!)

BUT, If I'd tried to make those "big pictures" happen with 100s of small prints, a few tiny nails, a ladder and a lot of hammering, well, I bet I would have given up on ever getting to the "big picture" that envelops me on my big, open walls.

The Tools
But that doesn't mean the industrial strength picture hangers, the level, the ladder and the hammer and screwdriver that it takes to hang my big pictures aren't important. But if I have the big picture, then I can employ the tools far less often.

Okay -- now that I've painted this picture (and maybe driven the analogy into the ground), let me be direct in my comparison. But let me take the opposite approach.

First, the tools.

The Tools: Weight Loss
I have a garage full of weight loss tools. I know the "tool" of brushing my teeth after eating onions or garlic because those flavors can linger and make you THINK you're still hungry (mouth hungry) long after your stomach is full. I know the "tool" that makes sure I have good, healthy snack options because if I don't, I could put myself in a position of bingeing. I know the "tool" of giving myself a manicure when I think I might late night binge. I know the "tool" of not eat standing up. I know the "tool" of not letting myself get to a level 7 of hunger (for me "0" is full "10" is famished -- I know that's backwards, but that's what stuck in my head, so there's no changing it now :-) ) before I eat, or I might binge. I know the tools of adding 20 minutes of EXTRA exercise when I feel like I’ve eaten too much.

And those tools are OH SO HELPFUL. But I'd rather use them less often and "hang bigger pictures."

The Big Picture: Weight Loss
I have to have a bigger picture in mind. I have to paint a picture of myself that is not only a great body. It has to be a great body who NO LONGER STRUGGLES with the idea of being thin.

And the "bigger picture" -- for me at least -- is to not have to use the tools as often. To have a simple understanding that (1) Food is abundant and available and never an "emergency" (2) That I can eat anything I want anytime I want -- but that means I have to be in tune to WHAT IT IS that I want, further meaning that I want foods that will fuel my "Big Picture" goals (remember the Glamour, Travel, Humor, Broadway and ability to wear nothing but a pair of fishnets? - see, the analogy does make a lot of sense -- I've surrounded myself with those Big Pictures and didn't even realize it until I started looking at my walls as I typed this!!) (3) That when I have the “big picture” firmly planted in my mind, I might not need a “tool” to survive a binge, because I don’t WANT to binge (4) That when I see the “big picture” of how my TOTAL life will work if I stop letting food and “management of food” control it, I will gain so much more in terms of not just a great body, but the other things that are important to me.

And I’ll simply get to use far fewer nails and hammering!

Get yourself a great big picture. Use the hammer, the screwdriver , the level and the ladder to put it up. But then realize you’ve secured it. It’s totally anchored and YOU DID IT! And then see if you can take your tools and organize them neatly in your toolbox. And only take them out when you maybe want to add another “big picture” goal.

Take care,

Get Inside Out Fit With Angela

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