YOU: “What did she just say?”
ME: “Hear me out, because it all stems from a place of concern and love for you, your emotional and giddy New Year’s Resolutional state, and your Pinterest board labeled -Baby Got Back-2019 Fitspiration.”
As the New Year approaches and resolutions are flying through your head like your toddler flying through the house after hearing the chip bag being opened, you’re wondering what your NEW ME will look like this year. Which goal are you going to conquer as the NEW YOU juts out your Wonder Woman bosom with a diaper in one hand and a barbell in the other and scream “DIE, BABY SHARK!!” You’re scavenging your mind in hopes to find the perfect plan of action for a more self confident, patient, organized and stronger version of yo-bad-self.
My biggest hope in all of this life changing glory my friend, is that you fail.
I’m talkin’ face in the dirt, cry your heart out, throat punched by a kangaroo, titty twister until your nipple falls off… FAIL!
So let’s get started, shall we?
There’s something about a New Calendar Year that makes everyone want to get a fresh start. It’s the equivalent to starting a diet on a Monday morning instead of a Thursday at 5pm. Regardless, it’s a chance for us all to reflect on our past year and create improvements to make us happier, more fulfilled, and better versions of our previous selves. HOPE is the drug of choice right now. But let’s get real, we are all a bit older and as the thought of losing 20 pounds creeps through our minds, our main goal is to really start making this health and fitness thing a lifestyle. However, our I-want-it-now Millennial Mom brains just have this knack to want to put the proverbial minivan before the horse.
Does this sound familiar? You start a super restrictive and strict diet around 1,200 calories a day and start working out 6 days a week when you were previously only working out 0-1 days a week. You think to yourself, “Yeah, let’s jump start this bad bitch to achieve maximum results in a short period of time. Then after I’m skinny, I will slowly start to incorporate normal life back in. I know I’ve tried this before, but this time it will work!!” You swear off anything with carbs, sugar or taste in it and unknowingly create a slow and progressive happiness deficit that soon comes to bite you in the cauliflower crusted ass. It all goes pretty well for a couple weeks until you have a random work party to go to on a Friday night and all hell breaks loose. That diet that just lost you 7 counterfeit pounds in the first week came at the cost of dietary restriction that deceivingly made you crave those things even more. The more you put boundaries on food, the more you thought about it. Even when you weren’t truly craving it.
QUICK! Don’t think about the color yellow! Now, what color is a banana? That kind of thing.
Yeah, that party just turned into an all you can eat buffet for one and you just morphed into a ravenous beast hovering over the food table shoveling brownie bites and fried chicken in your pie-hole (which coincidentally already had pie in it) while washing it down with a vat of liquid cheese straight from the crock-pot. It’s okay Karen, it’s just 3rd degree burns on my tongue, it will heal with ice cream and tears from my dead and shamless soul.
A vicious thundercloud of guilt storms over your bed as you lay there at night wondering in bewilderment how your beast got out of its supposedly ironclad, upgraded and fully loaded version 2.019 cage. You wake up with a Kentucky Fried Hangover and pray to the porcelain Gods that you don’t throw up when you bend over to dig out your sweatpants of the storage bin labeled -Maternity Clothes.-
Well, my dear, you failed. Yes, you fucking failed because as predicted, life happened and you followed the same patterns and mindsets as you did last year. So you say “screw it!” It’s now Saturday Morning and I might as well just eat like shit the rest of the week because I have that Birthday Party to go to tonight so I’ll just start again fresh on Monday. So Monday rolls around and you ended up catching that awesome Daycare bug that your son brought home, so you decide to say ‘fuck it’ again and start again next week. This vicious cycle goes on and on until a month has passed and you are now a part of the 80% who have already ditched their New Year’s resolution before February 1st.
GUILT sets in and you say to yourself, “Seriously, I did this AGAIN? What is wrong with me? Why can’t I have will power like that fit chick on Instagram? Why can’t I just get it done? I’ve lost weight before and I know it works, so why can’t I repeat that?”
So you fucked up again and in your mind, you failed. GOOD. Now get up and fail again.
Greg Plitt put it this way: Failures are like report cards. They give you marks on what you did well and on where you need to improve. What you don’t realize is that you’ve already taken this class that you’ve failed at. Failing is equal to learning so by failing you just learned a different way not to do that again. So you are already one step ahead of the game because now you can go into that class again knowing how to fail, understanding those patterns, then changing them to create a more successful plan of action. Failures are a part of the recipe for success. Not butter, Paula Dean.
Get out your Bill Nye thinking caps on and start investigating what went wrong?
Was it your lack of willpower? Could it possibly be an error filled plan of action that took you off course? Were you too restrictive to the point to where you were destined to fail? Why is it that some days it’s easier to control and other days when Mom pulls out her homemade peanut brittle, you fold faster than T-Rex in a camping chair. Maybe the problem wasn’t in the lack of dedication, maybe it was the mindset you had about it. Did you ever stop to think restricting carbs and sugar shouldn’t be a long term goal if you wanted balance? Did you ever stop to think that if you wanted balance, maybe starting off like Usain Bolt outta the gates wasn’t such a great idea? “But my friend Kelly did it and she looks amazing!” Take off your Nikes, Bolt. You’re not your friend Kelly and you do not have the same metabolic system she has, you have your own. You do not have her same schedule, family life, work life, home life, etc. Stop looking at other people’s goals and start focusing on your own.
Mastin Kipp describes this so beautifully in his book , Claim Your Power. -The problem isn’t your discipline or you’re will power. You genuinely want to better your life but you don’t have an adequate map of how to get there. The truth is, you’re stuck in the same mindset, environmental patterns, and beliefs systems of your peers. You’re going up against a lifetime of behavior, emotional stories and beliefs. We create a never ending cycle of guilt shame and regret while never understanding why we are stuck. Challenge your survival patterns…. You need to get uncomfortable, you need to fail, you need to fall, you need to swallow that belly full of white dog shit, turn to the person next to you, give them a poopy smile and say ‘All right let’s do it all over again’. OK, that last part was me, but you get it.
When I failed, I used to take it as a lay down and die moment. Being a former eating disordered person, I can tell you that I have failed many times before in the fitness game. I’ve failed so much that I started to notice patterns in my disordered eating habits. For example: I would overeat when I felt scared, sad, depressed, overwhelmed, or unloved. I would also overeat under peer pressure, working too much, when the boys started acting up or living under a restricted meal plan for too long. Food was my tiny reward that made me feel good… for a moment. When that moment wore off, I wanted to re-live it. Food needed me when I felt like no one else did. I felt safe around it. I felt like I deserved to eat shitty foods because I was a shitty person and I deserved to feel like shit. This vicious cycle went on and on until I finally changed my patterns. It sucked, it was uncomfortable and none of my other friends were going through this so I had no one to talk to. But I learned from every mistake until I finally recovered. These triggers still tug at my emotional cords, but I am better equipped at creating new patterns to manage them now because I learned how.
This is why it’s so hard to change because our patterns become us. Our brains have not evolutionarily changed in the past 2 million years so they’re designed to constantly seek comfort and safety. This means that anytime you do something different or step out of your box, your brain signals a red flag and tells you to back off, it’s not safe, you could fail, get hurt, get eaten by a flying-dinosaur-bird-thing, or you will get judged and people won’t accept you. Your brain will always ALWAYS try to nudge you to safety. So fight it! You’re not broken, it’s just a different pattern that’s running you right now.
As Tony Robbins says, (and yes I quote him in EVERY single blog I write because he’s a genius, God’s gift to the human race, and a Golden Demigod of all that is right in this world.)
-“Our biggest problem is that we think we shouldn’t have them.”
We will always have problems and we will always have failures, yet we try so hard to tip toe around them. BUT WHYYYYYYYYYY? If we live so cautiously to try and not get hurt, try to please others, or hope we don’t offend anyone with our gifts, is that really living? We ever-so-cautiously dip our toe into the pool of risk, then realize it’s too cold, run back to our lounge chair and order another comforting daiquiri. “UMMM I ASKED FOR A SLICE OF STRAWBERRY IN THIS!!! Ughhh… why does nothing ever go right for me?!” When instead, what we really need to do is WOMAN THE FUCK up and jump in knowing that we will get cold and wet, drown for a bit, and possibly encounter a pool shark. Anyone else have that irrational fear as a kid?
Our brain goes back to the caveman days and thinks that it’s being chased by a prehistoric land lizard and the stress tells your brain that you’re in trouble. Except your not being chased by Zilla the O.G. Instead, your fear comes from Millennial Mom problems. Like, when you’re desperately trying to clean up the projectile vomit your son just missiled across the floor before your dog starts eating it, then your baby starts crying because he ran out of cheerios in his high chair and what’s that burnt smell? OH MY GOD THE TURKEY BURGERS ARE BURNING!! Buzzzzzzzzz, laundry is done! Pop quiz hot-shot Mom, WHAT DO YOU DO? Your patterns tell you to destroy an entire sleeve of Graham Crackers smothered in peanut butter topped with chocolate chips and whipped cream while you crack open a bucket of cookie dough you got from the Little Caesars Fundraising Kit your neighbor’s daughter was selling, microwave that bad boy for a couple minutes and go to town. #coping
You don’t get to know yourself without struggle. If it weren’t for my disordered eating days of bingeing, purging, laxative abuse and obsessing over every inch of my body; I wouldn’t be writing this extremely humbling and hopefully helpful blog today. Who I have become stems from how I dealt with my struggles.
Through my journey, I’ve learned that pressure can create diamonds or it can bust pipes. Don’t forget that YOU get to choose which one you become. I can specifically recall two horrific events in my life that brought me to my knees. I let the first incident destroy me and forced the second one to build me. It all started when I stopped playing the victim and started taking control of what was mine.
“Once you control the man inside of you, the man outside doesn’t matter.” – Tony Romo
So when you think about your New Year’s Resolutions and how you want to change or how you want to be a better person, don’t go into the New Year with the same mind and patterns from last year. The thing that needs to change is YOU. You need to tell your mind to take off the helmet, mouth-guard, life jacket, safety bubble and jump the fuck in. Seriously, you look like Uncle Eddie’s stunt double from Christmas Vacation. You need to know that you’re going to fail, you’re going to fail often, and you need to know that you will fail early in this voyage. HARD TRUTH? You’re going to fail anyway. Even at the little things. So why not fail going balls to the wall? Don’t wait until Monday to start again, start the next day, start the next hour, start the next meal.
Have you heard about about Depression Panda? Mark Manson describes this character in his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, as a blunt, say it like it is, Sombrero wearing Panda with a fruity drink in his hand. He comes into your life when you say, “I don’t have time to workout. I work full time and take care of my kids. How can I meal prep when healthy food is so expensive. I just don’t have the energy because I’m so busy. No one is as busy as me. Plus, I’ve got a family and I’ll just be robbing them of my time.” Mr. Depression Panda struts in with his colorful hat, unapologetic eyes, takes a sip of his cocktail and blatantly says, “I CALL BULLSHIT. You’re just scared and that’s why you’re not going through with it. You’re afraid that you’ll get made fun of if you start something new like Crossfit or Bodybuilding because you’ve never done it before. You’re scared that going into a gym already fat will mean that you just went a thousand steps backwards because you used to be an athlete in High School and picking up a 5 lb kettlebell is just demeaning. You don’t feel like you have the perfect plan yet so you’re waiting until you find the PERFECT one when in reality, there is no perfect plan. You just need to START! But what if you do succeed? Then you have an irrational fear to keep up this lean appearance and workout every single day for the rest of your life and that is daunting to you. And don’t crap on my heart by saying you won’t have time for your family. That time you spend shoving an iPad in your kids face at night while you start your next Netflix Marathon could be used to Meal Prep and Pinterest a new workout plan.”
What it all comes down to, what your Depression Panda is really trying to tell you is that fear is ruling your life. You’re telling yourself a story that hasn’t happened yet and you’re believing it. Change that pattern and thought process and you will change your life.
What is really holding you back? It’s you. Change will be hard and it will be painful, but expect that. Expect the bruised knees, the hurtful comments, and the dirt thrown in your face. Expect it and accept it. THAT is courage. Courage is knowing you are going to fail but doing it anyway.
JOURNAL THIS SHIT OUT: Some questions to ask yourself… (Don’t forget about Depression Panda. He should be making his grand entrance right about now.)
- What changes have you made to upgrade your mental state for this coming year?
- What will it take to make you proud of yourself?
- What are you doing to move towards failure and away from certainty?
- What permission are you waiting for to become the person you were meant to be?
- Suffering is a lack of connection. Where are you feeling disconnected?
I will leave you with this quote from -T.D. Jakes
“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t you. So you can be who you were meant to.”
Written with love, hope and shark-less pools, by Christi Brown