Tuesday 14 February 2012

Kick Self-Doubt to the Curb

self doubt quote

As some of you know, I am pursuing my dream of being a writer. Before I lost the huge amount of excess weight I carried, I didn't have enough confidence in myself to even attempt to do anything with my writing. I never shared it with anyone.

Now that I have managed to achieve what some people saw as impossible (losing over 145 lbs), I realize that if there is any goal that I set my mind on, as long as I am willing to work for it, I can achieve it.

But knowing this intellectually doesn't mean that it is always a constant knowledge within me emotionally. Self-Doubt, nasty as she can be, still creeps up on me.

I recently started sharing some of my writing. I have entered some of it into competitions and even shared some of it on my writing blog. My first writing submission resulted in a rejection. And it stung. Even though I know that some of the writing I was up against was excellent and even though I know it's never personal, it still stung. Self-Doubt reared her head again. With some effort, I managed to slam her back down with a well-aimed kick by submitting more of my writing to other places.

(I don't normally advocate violence, but I have to admit that kicking out at Self-Doubt feels really good!)

Even more recently, I shared some of my writing on my writing blog as a way of entering some stories into small, friendly competitions. I don't think I will feel bad if I don't win. But knowing that others are out there reading my writing, possibly even judging my writing, makes me nervous. Self-Doubt keeps rearing her head up again, and my kicks seem to be getting weaker.

I got a few nice comments, and even though I got a lovely warm feeling when I first read them, Self-Doubt had me rethinking it and wondering if they were just being nice. Then I wonder, what is wrong with me that I can't just take a compliment at face value?

I bet you are wondering what all of this has to do with your efforts to lose weight (or achieve other goals for yourself). I'm getting there; just keep reading.

The thing is, I am learning from these constant attacks from Self-Doubt and from each time I kick her back down again. I'm learning what it takes to defeat her. And in whatever you are trying to achieve, whether it's a writing goal, a goal to lose weight or even something completely different like being your town's best archer, Self-Doubt will try to get in your way of achieving your goal. You will, at times, think, I can't do this, I'm not strong enough, or I'm not good enough. (Nasty sentences, aren't they?)

But the truth is that you can do it. You are strong enough and you are good enough. You just have to believe it.

The way that I am finding works the best at fighting Self-Doubt is simple: just ignore her. Keep striving to achieve your goals. Don't give up. Every time you take another step toward your goal, despite Self-Doubt staring you in the face, you are kicking Self-Doubt to the curb. And every time you stand up to Self-Doubt in that way, she grows weaker and you grow stronger.
So don't give up. Keep reaching for your dreams. You'll get there.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

It's Always Worth It


I know many people who have lost weight and then gained it back again, or who have given up on themselves ever losing the weight long before they ever reach their goal. And every time I see it happen, it saddens me.

I am not judging anyone who does this. I have done this in the past myself. (I once lost 50 pounds on Weight Watcher's over a 6 month period and then gave up and gained it all back and more.) Fortunately, the last time I decided to lose weight, I was able to stick with it until I reached my goal weight and then I have hung on to this weight loss ever since.

It's not easy. I know some of you might think that it gets easier once you reach your target weight, but it doesn't. Maintenance isn't any easier than losing weight. In fact, in some ways it is harder. When you no longer have to face poor health and being unhappy with your size, gaining a little bit of weight back doesn't seem like that big of a deal. But that little bit of weight can easily snowball into a much larger weight gain.

I know that there are times when all of the hard work doesn't seem worth it. Sometimes, it just seems like you are giving up too much or having to work too hard to reach your goal. Sometimes, having that huge slice of frosted cake seems more worthwhile than sticking to your healthy eating plan.

And maybe you get to a point where you decide that it's not worth it because you will never be strong enough or stick with it long enough to reach your goal. Maybe you can't really picture yourself slim and healthy, living a healthy lifestyle. Maybe it is easier to give up on yourself.

But it is worth the hard work. It is worth the sacrifice. It is worth the effort and the struggle and the good choices. Because you are worth it. you deserve to be healthy, fit and confident. you will gain so much more from sticking with your healthy lifestyle than you will lose from sticking with it. You will gain yourself back.

You don't need to hide yourself behind a layer of unnecessary fat. You don't need to eat sugar and fat and junk to feel good about yourself. Besides, when has eating junk food ever helped you feel good about yourself for longer than it takes to eat the junk food?

I have reached my goal weight and I've stayed at this weight for around two years. And I am telling you that it is worth it. Believing in yourself is worth it. Making the right choices for yourself is worth it. Not giving in to temptation is worth it. Keep struggling, keep fighting and keep reaching, because it is worth every second of the effort to reach your dreams!

Don't give up. It's worth it, even though it sometimes seems hard. It does take work and dedication. But it's worth it.