Lately, I have been working at my computer for hours, writing, searching, researching, posting, and commenting. At the end of those days I find my shoulders and back are aching and my mind is fried. When I realize it’s the end of the day and I’ve had only juice, I’m both jubilant I stuck to the juice plan and hungry… because I stuck to the juice plan. After a string of such days, and since it was Saturday night, I decided to treat myself to wine and my favorite, cheese. Let’s just say, I wasn’t thinking of this series of posts – at least not until I went to the store.
On the drive to the grocery I began an internal struggle. Would a healthy person drink wine? Yes, of course my healthy person answered. In moderation, she added. How about cheese? I’m not sure if my alter ego healthy person had gone to sleep during the quick drive or if I just ignored the answer because I thought, “You have worked hard. You deserve it.”
Do any of you have those voices in your head? The one who talks you through your decisions, sometimes saying go for it, or sometimes saying hell no? I remember watching the movie about the girl with split personalities, Sybil, and wondering if my own voices were cause for a television debut.
I shook off any feeling of hesitancy over a cheese filled night and I strode through the store like a dairy seeking missile. Then I saw him… a guy I had desired for at least five years of my life. He had never shown more than a passing interest in me (and this is a very polite way to describe our relationship). Why should he? He worked at my neighborhood bar when I was younger and was adored by many young women; many young women whom I thought were both prettier and thinner than me. That’s because I was much heavier in my first few years of law practice. I remember once pointing out to him that even though I was fat, at least I had big boobs. I can’t imagine why that didn’t impress him, can you?
He was standing in the dairy section, so either I could quickly backtrack, or I could face him and the rows of meltingly delicious cheese he was standing with.
I decided to go for it and grab the cheese as soon as he left. I’ve been promoting my new program, Divorce Your Bad Habits” and the primary habit of mine to bust was my calorie-laden affection for Velveeta. I had been drowning sorrows in that particular cheese product for years.
“Hey there.” We started talking and I made jokes with the sexy former flame about my promo ads and the Velveeta. (Ok, I can’t call him a flame from my end, but how about former flicker?) I really HAD NOT come for this. After quitting my processed cheese habit I have stayed away from it, but I still longed for the real deal.
And then we parted. I was thinking of how sexy he still was after all these years, when another voice said, “You are never going to be sexy.”
Wait a minute. Did I ask for this voice? “You aren’t wearing makeup.”
Huh? It continued with more. “I bet he thinks you look old.”
What??? Where was healthy Leigh when I needed her?
Those louder voices – the voices of shame and guilt – they are often more insistent. They are deeply ingrained in our subconscious. Me and shame and guilt, we go way back. Healthy Leigh hasn’t been around for as long, so her voice is still growing. (After folks read this, I’m sure someone will be knocking at my door about my Made for TV movie, “Sybil 2: Leigh and Her Voices”).
Except… no one would care. We all have these different voices, whether we call them by name or not. We let the influences that speak the loudest guide us. Who was in charge when I had the thought, “I worked hard, I deserve this?” That was an old limiting belief. I say limiting because this is the kind of thought process that wins over making smart, healthy choices for meals.
I drove home feeling a mix of shame for the smoked mozzarella in my bag, and happiness for seeing my handsome friend. I felt guilt for eating at 8:30 and remorseful for planning to eat more than my allotted calories for the day. I decided I would think through what had caused me to deviate from a good day of juice… but after I ate! I’ll admit it was every bit as delicious as I thought it would be. I gave myself permission to eat cheese, to drink a couple of glasses of wine, to go over my calories, but not to go crazy. I didn’t eat it all. I didn’t drink it all. I hadn’t been eating loads of calories all day. I wasn’t ashamed of myself. I had no reason to be feeling embarrassed.
You may slip. You may fall into old habits and patterns, and you may have more voices that are even louder than my own. If you do fall into behavior that doesn’t serve you, do this to get back on track:
- Forgive yourself
- Remind yourself of all the things you did right
- Love yourself just as you are
- Realize you can make a better choice the next day or the next minute
- Bolster the voice giving you the positive encouragement. Even if you never listen to it, it is there, waiting to be heard.
- Love yourself enough to listen to that voice
- If you develop more than seven voices, you have beat Sybil’s record. Go to Hollywood, stat. J
By the way, if you haven’t, sign up for my free email series, The Path to Positive Change. It applies as much to weight loss as it does to any other part of your life!