Archive for the ‘the power of truth’ Category

Living an undivided life – Part 3

(Continued from Part 2)

The day that I reached my weight loss goal, I called the lovely fitness coach as promised. Once I had reintroduced myself, I told her the good news.

She seemed genuinely happy for me. And we spent a few minutes just celebrating my accomplishment.

After the initial euphoria (she really did seem as pleased for me as I was for myself), I cleared my throat and I said, “I have a confession to make. And, more to the point, I owe you an apology.”

She seemed surprised. “Really?”

Essentially, I gave her a recap of everything that I had been thinking about her (and skinny women in general). Then, I apologized for making that rude gaffe when 1) I asked her how much she weighed and 2) then promptly shaking my head and wrinkling my nose in disgust and lying: “Oh, I’d never want to be that skinny.”

“Did you say that?!” she asked.

“Oh yes,” I admitted. “And I was lying like a dog. In fact, I wouldn’t mind looking exactly like you. You’re gorgeous.”

She laughed. “I don’t remember you saying that,” she assured. “But then again, when that stuff happens — and it does — I really don’t take that on.”

It was my turn to be surprised. “Excuse me?”

“Well,” she began kindly, “that’s really about you, isn’t it? It really has nothing to do with me. Whenever someone says something like that, I just don’t take it on. You can’t really.”

I was flabbergasted. She may not be able to, but I certainly do.

Or more importantly, I used to.

I’ve had people say really ugly things to me during my weight loss process (as well as during other cycles of what I see as positive self-change) — hurtful things, non-supportive things. And I always took them on. And I felt bad and I worried. And sometimes I felt bad enough and worried enough that I ended up sabotaging myself in order to make my friends feel better.

But the coach is full of gifts it seems — and I realize, in retrospect, that all of the hurtful things that people say to me (just like the hurtful thing I said to her) are about them, not me. Just as my own rudeness was not about her, but about me. It was all me. And she was right not to take it on.

Needless to say, there’s something very powerful about being honest with yourself to the point of being able to be completely honest with others. There was also something extremely powerful about realizing that you’re wrong and taking the steps to own up to and apologize to those you have been wronged — not by anything that they’ve done in terms of their own self-change — but by those things that you’ve done.

Remember that old childhood rhyme — I’m rubber, you’re glue? I know that I must have sang it frequently as a child, but apparently it hadn’t stuck as an adult. Think about it before you criticize someone else. And if it turns out that you are projecting your own insecurities, own up to it. And don’t be afraid to apologize.

Living an undivided life – Part 2

( Part 1)

At the end the the King talk, on honesty, he challenged us to a 24 hour challenge, during which you could only be unflinchingly honest. No lies. Not even the little white ones. Total and absolute honesty.

Okay, I thought. I’m pretty honest. How hard can it be?

At the break, I went a product table, where they were selling all kinds of things ranging from Time Management Tools, Leadership CDs, Relationship Programs, and Weight Loss Products. I had a couple of questions about a 10 Day Cleanse that I had bought the day before. I’d never done one before — still haven’t the truth be told. There was also a weight loss supplement package that I was curious about, but eventually didn’t buy.

The person behind the counter was a woman who I had noticed at the beginning of the weekend. She was skinny (and therefore I had written her off as relatively stupid and bitchy; see Part 1). But, if that wasn’t bad enough, she was also very feminine. One of these ultra-feminine girlie girls. Make up, scarves, gypsy pants, low cut tops, exotic jewelry. She didn’t walk, she glided. She didn’t make sudden turns, she flowed. She was dramatic. She was also truly drop dead stunningly gorgeous.

I, of course, hated her on sight and was horrified at the thought about having to ask her anything about my weight issues.

“May I help you?” she asked in this fabulous British/Welsh accent. (Could life be any more unfair?)

I gave her another look and figured that she certainly looked like she’d know what she was talking about and asked her about the weight loss product, which consisted mainly of various dietary supplements, herbs, and teas.

She looked me up and down. “And how much would you like to lose?”

“I don’t know,” I admitted. “I weigh 151 now.”

“Well, what would you like to weigh?”

I looked her up and down. “What do you weigh?”

She glanced down and then back at me. “I weigh about 135.”

“Well, I wouldn’t want to be that skinny!” I denied, suddenly mortified that I had asked this beautiful woman how much she weighed!

(End flashback!)

Whoa! As I told my partner about the exchange the following week, I realized that not only had I been ruder than hell, I had also told a bald-faced lie. Twenty-four hours? Sorry Mr. King, I hadn’t even made it twenty-four minutes! I’ll come back to this later.

(Resume flashback)

She looked nonplussed for about a sixteenth of a second. “Well?”

“Maybe 140,” I ventured, thinking surely that she’s laugh.

“Well, you’re almost there then aren’t you. That’s just ten pounds.”

She then proceeded to sketch out a weight loss plan on the back of a note card; turns out she’s a fitness coach, among other things. A very generous one at that who gave me a lot of free advice. Free advice that worked! She also gave me her phone number to call when I was done in six weeks (her estimate, not mine, of how long it would take).

I’ve mentioned this before, but she essentially told me to cut my calories to 1,200, keep exercising, and when I’d lost five pounds, gain three back, then lose another five pounds, gain three back, and so on. So, since I was at 151, stay at 1,200 calories a day until I hit 146, then pop up to 1,500-2,000 until I hit 149, then go back down to 1,200 until I hit 144, then back up until I hit 147, and so on! It worked. In six weeks, I’d dropped 12 pounds. And using the same technique, I have maintained a two pound spread around my desired weight for over a month!

So let’s get back to the lie: Just in case you hadn’t figured it out, I didn’t think she was too skinny. In fact, I did want to be that skinny! Hell, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that I wanted to look just like her, gypsy pants, high heeled boots and all! But I thought that if I expressed that, she’d take one look at me, laugh, and snort (elegantly, of course), “And what makes you think you could ever look like me?”

Why wouldn’t she? Hadn’t I said the same thing to myself on several occasions with a lot less compassion? Hadn’t I said the same thing every time I had looked at someone I thought was attractive and called them a stupid, skinny bitch? Hadn’t I said the same thing every time I looked at the mirror and called myself fat? And, albeit less harshly, hadn’t I said the same thing when I said that I was only losing weight to be fit? Hell, I was fit. My resting heart rate was (and still is) 48! Why hadn’t I ever been able to admit the truth: I wanted to be skinny! There was some part of me that wanted to be a little, skinny, girlie girl. There, I said it!

And for the first time in my life, I had been honest about why I wanted to lose weight.

And, perhaps not coincidentally, for the first time in my life, I have been successful in reaching and maintaining my desired goal.

(Continued in Part 3)

Living an undivided life – Part 1

Back in March, while crewing a Tony Robbins event, I went to a workshop by a former racer Gary King. Essentially, his shtick, if you will, is that “there is no such thing as an inconsequential lie.” You should be honest with others and honest with yourself. If you aren’t honest all the time — and this means no “little white lies” either — than you are living a divided life. When you live a divided life, it is impossible for you to meet your goals, you have lower self-esteem…. The list goes on and on.

Now, I had been thinking about this a lot lately, as it was. For example, I had gotten back to that place where I was stuck in my diet — this was the weekend back in March, by the way, when I finally decided that enough was enough and took intense and massive action in my fitness and lifestyle regimen. I had been thinking about this — the divided part, not the honesty part — because I had realized that whenever a skinny person would annoy me, I would think — sometimes subconsciously and sometimes not — stupid, skinny bitch!

Essentially, I had realized that I had created a negative association with being skinny, especially if you were female. I assumed — wrongly, I realize — that if you were skinny, you were also a bitch! And, more importantly, given the high value I place on intelligence, you were also stupid.

Now, you’re probably wondering, what about all your smart skinny female friends?

They’re exceptions.

Just like people make exceptions for other stigmatized groups — oh, some of my best friends are X — I, too, embarrassingly enough, had exceptionalized all of the the smart, skinny, non-bitches that I actually know and love.

I know this sounds terrible, but bear with me.

Though I hadn’t fully grasped the extent to which this was a problem, I began to have the sinking feeling that part of the reason I couldn’t lose weight was because I viewed myself as being relatively intelligent, kind, and compassionate woman — at least where non-skinny people were concerned, obviously! 😉

So, how could I want to be something (that is, skinny) that I at so many levels obviously disdained?

The answer is simple. I couldn’t.

Step One: Change my attitude about skinny women.

How did I do this? I began to focus on my skinny friends and how wonderful and smart they were. I also stopped myself every single time I caught myself thinking something negative about a skinny person. I didn’t necessarily think anything nice about them (I haven’t changed that much). But at least I stopped linking bad things to being skinny. After all, it’s just as easy to think someone is a self-centered, obnoxious, cow when they set their yoga mat up directly in front of your perfect yoga spot as it is to call them a stupid, skinny, bitch.

Once I figured that out, I thought I was golden. Oh, how wrong I was.

To be continued….

(Part 2)