Project 135, week 11: “I’m not good enough”

Picture of Dr. Jen Kerns

Dr. Jen Kerns

As I mentioned before, I’m working with a coaching program to help me see how my own thoughts are creating my results. It sounds a little woo, but positive thinking can create positive results, and vice versa. For example, my weight is a neutral circumstance. It’s just the measurement of the pull of gravity on my body. It is neither good nor bad, it just is. A neutral circumstance only takes on meaning once you have a thought about it. One person might see my weight and think, “Wow, that is amazing! She’s 150 pounds lighter than she used to be! The 150s is my goal weight, I’m so envious.” Another person might think, “She is delusional if she thinks the 150s is a healthy weight. She looks fat and she needs to lose 20 more pounds.” And I have no doubt whatsoever that these are each real thoughts that different people have about my weight. Very different takes on the same neutral circumstance. So, clearly, the thoughts we bring to a neutral circumstance really make all the difference.

Lately I’ve been journaling – thought dumps of whatever comes to mind – to see what my brain is thinking. I think, “I’m too fat and I just can’t control myself around food. I’ll never be good enough as a weight loss expert until I reach my goal weight.” These thoughts are self-judgemental and negative (and, sadly, true thoughts of mine at the moment).

Our thoughts are what create our feelings, so what feelings do these thoughts bring up in me? Ashamed. Inadequate.

All of our actions in life are driven by an emotion, whether we realize it consciously or not. Feelings of shame or inadequacy are obviously negative feelings.  My brain wants to take action to avoid pain, and it has many tricks it can use to make me feel better. It knows that sugar, in particular, makes me feel instantly better. An overly full belly has the same dampening effect on my sadness or self judgement. Distracting myself away from the thoughts and feelings is another way my brain deals with pain: throw myself into work, or into Netflix. (Other people’s brains might have other tricks they use to escape painful emotions: obsessively clean the house. Snort cocaine. Drink 3 cocktails.)

Our actions are what create our results in life. In my case, feelings of shame and inadequacy make me feel bad, and my brain offers up sugar to help me feel better. My action in response to feeling bad is to eat unplanned food, or to eat sweets. What is my result from this action? Weight gain. Or at a very minimum, failure to lose weight. And this result lends proof of my original thought: that indeed I can’t control myself around food. A self fulfilling prophecy. A viscous cycle. Think badly about myself and my weight -> feel bad -> eat to temporarily relieve the emotional pain -> gain weight -> think self-judgemental thoughts about what I just ate -> feel even worse about my weight -> eat more to help my brain avoid the pain….

So all I have to do is stop thinking the thought that I am not good enough as long as I’m heavier than my goal weight, right? Simple. Yet not so easy. You can’t just instantly start thinking something you don’t believe is true, but you can start working on it. First, by recognizing that the destructive thoughts are there, and that they are optional. Every time I think something bad about my weight, my inability to control my eating, or whether it makes me “good enough,” I can be aware that I’ve thought it and tell myself those thoughts are made up and I have the option of thinking something else; that I am learning to believe that I am good enough no matter what size my body is. Eventually, with enough practice, I can start to really believe it. (And thoughts of worthiness lead to feelings of peace, satisfaction, contentment… and these feelings lead to actions congruent with feeling good such as following my plan, forgoing the sugary treat, etc… actions which lead to the result of achieving my goal weight, thereby proving the thoughts that I can control my eating and that I am good enough. A virtuous cycle, and one which helps me achieve my goals while simultaneously feeling better!)

I’ve lost the couple of extra pounds I put on eating too much sugar last week, so now I just need to keep working on my thoughts and following my plan.

Project 135 stats:
Starting weight: 159.6
Week 1: 157.2
Week 2: 155.6
Week 3: 155.4
Week 4: 153.8
Week 5: 151.0
Week 6: 152.8
Week 7: ? (Dad’s death)
Week 8: 150.8
Week 9: 152.6
Week 10: 154.2
Week 11: 152.6

Total weight loss: 7 pounds (4.4%)




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