Lifestyle change isn’t for the weak. I’ve written before about the secret saboteurs that get in the way of making real changes in our lives; you can read about these people here. They want us to stay right where we are: sedentary, frustrated, and often depressed. It’s nothing personal—it’s just what they know.
What I didn’t mention last time is that there’s another “secret saboteur” in your life. This person actually resists your every effort to shift your lifestyle, whether that means losing weight, eating healthy, or staying active. They whisper in your ear little urgings to “go easy on yourself” and “let’s workout another time.” This saboteur fights your progress every step of the way, looking for every possible opportunity to convince you to give up and go back to how things used to be. They may be quiet at times, but they’ll never stop trying to stop you.
That secret saboteur in your life? They’re in your own head. You’re your own worst enemy in lifestyle change.
My Body Wants Me to Be Fat
I started my final health journey back in February 2011. Over the next 3 years, I lost 100 lbs, conquered my health issues, and got fit for the first time in my life. I eat better than I ever have. I’m more active now than I’ve ever been in my life. The little devil on my shoulder still whispers in my ear.
Why would I want to sabotage my own great health, 2 ½ years after I reached my big weight loss goal? The answer is simple: the “fat me” still lives in my head. Every day, he reminds me of how satisfying it feels to eat pizza in the morning, load up at family barbecues, and order fresh-baked cookies for delivery (Damn you, Insomnia Cookies!). Part of me—and part of you—got so used to being unhealthy that I secretly want to get back there.
If you’re in this lifestyle journey with me, you’ll know that there’s no easy solution to the secret saboteur that lives in your head. However, there are some simple baby step processes that, as you master them, will make the daily effort towards healthy living come more smoothly.
Be mindful. A daily meditation practice can help you remain aware of your mental urges, making it easier to make your own decisions in the moment. Taking control of your mind plays a powerful role. [Here’s the book] that we’re using to learn this process. Thanks to Jen Barnett for this tip.
Delay gratification. When that devil saboteur just won’t shut up, ease the urges by making a deal. Gotta have that slice of cake NOW? Arrange to have it in the near future (2-4 days from now) instead. Most cravings only last about 20 minutes anyway; by negotiating for future indulgence, you delay the craving until a time that it may be gone anyway.
Be held accountable. Having to answer to someone else for our actions helps instill more responsible decisions—a practice that plays out in D/s relationships, too. It can be as simple as texting someone when those unhealthy cravings strike or as involved as paying your trainer to send accountability messages to keep you on track (I offer both as paid services). Partner with someone who’s been there and knows about that secret saboteur in your head: they probably need to be held accountable, too.
Whatever approach you take, stick with it. Your secret saboteur may never stop whispering sweet mischief in your ear. Just remember that, like the other saboteurs in your lifestyle journey, you don’t have to listen to them.
I believe in you.