Failure… My Mental Journey Of Weight Loss

Failure is a familiar concept for most of us!  How many times have we made a commitment to ourselves only to find ourselves falling short of that commitment and feeling like a failure?  Come on, now, be honest with yourself.  January 1 just passed and the largest majority of us have already failed at something we committed to just mere weeks ago.

I’m no stranger to the crushing guilt of failure and I’ve shared that with you all previously on this blog.  Unlike last time, though, this time the failure is my own.  I fell short of my goals this week.  Sitting in this chair last Sunday, I made a commitment to add a Wednesday morning blog post and I missed it on my very first week!

When I was contemplating the creation of this blog, the one thing I read over and over again was the importance of consistency.  Every successful blogger stressed the importance of consistent posting and following through on commitments.  I’ve butchered that this week.  I could outline all the excuses that I have for why I missed my commitments, but I feel that it would be a waste of time and energy.

While I’m on this topic, I felt like it would be a great time to share how failure has impacted me.  Several months ago, I was in a therapy session with a teenage boy when I realized my words, while amazing, were kicking me right between the eyes.  In that moment, it literally dawned on me that my weight was nothing more than an externalization of the internal feelings I had about myself.  I hated myself.  I felt like a horrible failure.  I wasn’t good enough.  I wasn’t strong enough.  I wasn’t man enough.  As a result, I had punished myself and literally buried myself under 250 pounds of excess fat.  I had become the very physical representation of the thoughts I had about myself every day because I viewed myself as a failure at life.

It wasn’t until I faced that very difficult reality that I was empowered to begin the process of change.  You see, losing weight has been so much more of a mental journey than a physical journey.  Before I could truly be successful at losing weight, I had to be honest with myself about the problem and face the reality of the situation I had put myself into.  I had to drop the inner defenses I had built to protect my ego from the crushing reality that I weighed 450 pounds.  It was only after I had this moment of self-awareness that I was able to fully grasp the problem and begin the process of planning and pursuing change.

How many times do we deal with our uncomfortable feelings through an unhealthy outlet?  For me, the weight problem was the culmination of multiple issues:  eating to improve my mood, using my weight to hide from others and attempt to hide from uncomfortable life experiences, and the externalization of nasty and hateful opinions I held about myself.  Despite having a life filled with success, I had a failure identity forged out of my failure to properly acknowledge my successes and an unhealthy commitment to cling to the life events where I had missed success.

Taking on the goal of losing 250 pounds of excess body fat takes a large degree of self-confidence and self-esteem.  Before I could be successful at that goal, I had to face down the issues that kept me mentally paralyzed and had created the issue in the first place.  With this round of weight loss, I originally committed to beginning the weight loss journey on January 1, 2016, but I didn’t actually start until September 11, 2016. Why?  Because it is impossible to find it in yourself to form and succeed at a goal like weight loss if you have no inner resolve or self-worth to enable such a journey.

It took that extra time for me to begin the journey of identifying and unpacking the life circumstances and thought patterns that had forged the failure identity that was keeping me buried.  This process took me from January to September to complete enough to be empowered to make this change, but I still have to fight this battle every single day.  Despite the fact that my wife and I are both mental health counselors, this change was not easy and it took a LONG TIME.  Unfortunately, this new way of thinking and living is NEW and UNCOMFORTABLE.  It fits like a glove that is too small and it doesn’t happen for me naturally.  I have to FORCE myself to live within my new life choices.

Therefore, despite my overwhelming failure with my goal on this blog, I experienced overwhelming success in the area that I put my attention and energy:  walking.  Last week, I was excited to announce that I had walked over 10 miles.  This week, my wife and I walked much further and even seen our best pace ever.  Thanks to another friend of mine, I had been challenged to work up to five miles in a single walk prior to February 1, 2017.  Yesterday, I met that goal when I walked five miles in a single walk and achieved my best pace to date:  19 mins, 43 seconds per mile.

So, as I sit here relaxing on this beautiful Sunday evening with Stress Away rolling out the top of my diffuser, I turn my eyes to another week without any unnecessary guilt or inner turmoil over the areas I fell short this week.  I call them unnecessary because they won’t fix the problem, but keeping those emotions around could definitely create a failure identity that keeps me trapped. Rather than allowing my human condition to create an atmosphere of failure and defeat, I am celebrating my successes and looking only to build upon them in the coming week.  I will reach my health goals and I will succeed at building a place here that inspires others to find their own path to wellness.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 364.8 pounds
  • Total loss  85.2 pounds (31.9% of my total excess body weight)

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9 thoughts on “Failure… My Mental Journey Of Weight Loss

  1. Are you a Psychiatrist or Psychologist? The paragraph about the therapy session made me wonder. It’s amazing that we can still have moments of clarity, even as adults, when trying to help someone else see different perspectives.

    Great job on your walking!!! I saw on your Facebook post that you’ve hit the 100 pound mark, is that right??

    I ate half a sleeve of Thin Mints yesterday. Darn Girl Scouts. I guess I will need to hide them from myself lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharing your “failures” is so important. People need to understand a new MINDSET doesn’t mean LINEAR SUCCESS. It is an ongoing battle that experiences ongoing challenges. Some days are better than others. This translates both mentally and physically. You will see that there are days when walking is easier than others. It’s the same physical act and your conditioning is improving, right? Then why should a day of exercise (when your weight is reduced and your physical conditioning has improved) be MORE difficult at this stage in life? Many factors determine outcome, not just physical conditioning. The same applies to MENTAL conditioning. The trick is to provide an APPROPRIATE effort to walk away from the experience knowing it was ENOUGH to have been worth doing. Every effort doesn’t have to achieve MAXIMUM benefit to be worth doing!

    You are beginning to experience all of these emotions. This is NORMAL. Stay focused on the GOAL OF HEALTH to maintain the LONG TERM GOAL of weight loss. You will one day look back on this experience and realize ALL THIS EFFORT WAS WORTH IT!

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  3. I find my biggest weightloss setbacks and thinking negatively and my own harsh self critism. I’m a big emotional eater with layers and layers of self hate and repressed pain. Staying positive is hard but I also achieve the best results when I’m in a positive space. You’re doing great. All the little things add up. The walking, the being conscious of what you eat, drinking water… Even if you slip up here and there, you’re still moving forward. Congrats on getting passed the first quarter of your goal. The hardest thing is to start and losing 85 pounds is a massive achievement. Well done. I know you will very soon be at the 100 pound mark. Stay strong. Keep walking. You can do this

    Liked by 1 person

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