In an effort to identify the distorted thoughts, dysfunctional misconceptions, and downright lies I tell myself about weight and the loss of it, I made a list of irrational rationalizations and/or messages that I sometimes relay. Some of them are humorous. Some of them are heartbreaking. All of them are honest.
1) The great Swiss Chocolatier Lindt would not have put a dozen truffles into those gold-embossed bags if he didn’t want me to eat all twelve. By God, I think I will. Right now.
2) These clothes are a little too tight because I’m a little too bloated from that last meal, but I’m still the same size as I was before. I’ll just sauna for an hour, it’s all good. Um, excuse me, may I speak to the Target manager? There’s a misprint on the tag of these skinny jeans. It says “17,” not “12.”
3) Drinking enough water to fill a kiddie pool will flush my system and I will return to normal after I go on a brief sabbatical to the toilet.
4) If I’m standing next to Heidi Klum’s doppelganger in the J. C. Penny check-out line, she is beautiful and I am not. We both couldn’t possibly be simultaneously attractive. I can feel the pretty siphoning right out of me… Oh God… And there goes the cute… Another’s beauty cancels out my own. Void and null over here. Chopped liver.
5) I can out-exercise a bad diet. All I have to do is a triathlon. Daily. No big deal. Pssshhh, I got this. And if I do one hour of cardio on a daily basis I’ll be ready for the Iron Maiden next year. Me + Elliptical = BUFF.
6) Eating healthy and exercising today is going to make me skinny tomorrow. Twenty-four more hours until I’m thin!
7) I deserve some happiness in my life. “Hello, welcome to McDonald’s, how may I help you?” “Yes, I’ll take a Happy Meal please.”
8) I’m going to step on the scale at seven p.m. after consuming three meals and imbibing enough water to hydrate an entire rugby team and the number is going to remain the same as it was this morni- Wait, what?
9) Who needs a cape when you’re skinny? Being a superhero and being superthin are essentially like, the same thing. In fifty pounds I’m going to be supercapable in all areas of my life!
10) I don’t actually have to do any steering, I can turn on auto-pilot. There’s a cruise control setting for weight loss. Whoever said to live more from intention and less from habit was completely off of their rocker. Totally backwards.
11) I don’t have to like or, hell, even accept myself to lose weight. I’ll just be my own drill sergeant now so I can love myself later. Calling myself a hopeless cow is going to make me want to mooove. While I would never attempt to motivate someone else this way, it will definitely work for me! Rejection and self-loathing are sources of inspiration. Yup. Mmmhmmm.
12) Eating healthy means never having another dietary indiscretion ever again. So before I’m perfect, I should probably say goodbye my good friend Pizza, my bestie Ice Cream, my neighbor Chocolate, and my Auntie Lee Ann Chin.
On an intellectual level I know that all of the above is complete and utter crap (and that was just a sample of what it’s like inside my head on a daily basis).
But sometimes I do tell myself that if I can’t do everything I might as well do nothing.
Or that losing weight isn’t worth the effort because my body will still be ruined when I reach the proverbial “finish line.”
Or that I should eat everything now when I have the chance to because I might not be able to later.
Or that the numbers yielded by a tape measure really are somehow indicative of my worth.
Or that if someone else likes my body then I don’t need to.
Or that if someone else vocalizes an appreciation of my body then they must be lying. (Quite a Catch 22, these last two!)
Or that transformation isn’t the product of effort but accident.
Or that perfection is what yields growth as opposed to a more humanistic trial and error.
Or that tomorrow’s effort means more than today’s.
Or that feeding myself somehow equates to loving myself.
I keep trying to change the way I act without changing the way that I think.
It’s time to focus on the cognitive first. The rest will come.