Monday, June 3, 2013

Failure & Success & Those Damn Extra Ten Pounds


Is that me ? Don't I wish.
I've lost a hundred pounds over the last ten years. Actually a hundred and five. But the five I only lost once. If you're thinking "you go girl," I say "thank you," but by now you've probably figured out that my lost hundred pounds were the same hundred pounds.

Okay, as I suspected, the applause has died down. Darn, this is when I really need it. 

I started my annual Atkins diet last Monday. For those of you who don't know, Atkins is a controlled carbohydrate diet. It kicks off with a 14-day induction phase that limits carb intake to 20 grams a day. That's the equivalent of one slice of toast. For a carboholic like me that's a <sob> moment.

The rest of my diet consists of unlimited servings of protein and good fats and two to three cups of salad vegetables.It's plenty of food and by day 3 I had lost 5 pounds. Yay. Yay. Yay. I felt as smug as this girl on the scale. Too much yay, because I celebrated the 5 pounds with a rye crisp and half a grapefruit plus my salad veggies. When I weighed myself the next day I had lost no weight, but hadn't gained any either. So instead of reminding myself that I had lost my low carb advantage I ate yet another rye crisp, plus half a banana, topping off the day with strawberries and whipped cream

The next day I was up 2 ounces, carbo limit seriously blown.Committed dieter that I am, I seriously
My relationship with breads & similar stuff
clamped down and followed the diet to the T. When I got up the next morning I expected to have lost the regained ounces or at worst stayed even, and I smiled in pleasant anticipation of success as I stepped on the scale.

Instead I had put on two more ounces. Failure, absolute failure. And this is where this little weight loss mini-saga takes a sharp turn. My good mood vanished in a nano-second. I felt so tired I wanted to climb back in bed.

Earlier this year I realized I needed  to become my own best friend. Take better care of myself, get those medical checkups I've avoided for so long, adhere to a regular exercise schedule, begin my annual weight loss program and develop a solid writing routine. .
.
Most of all, I vowed to pay attention to how I feel.To listen to that subtle self-talk that underlies any abrupt mood change like the one I had when I looked at the scale.

Failure! Code Red! Code Red! Failure! I don't know if anything like this ever happens in your head, but behind all the hysteria were softer voices saying things like I never do anything right, I'll never lose that weight now. It's no use. All my other goals and purposes seemed unimportant because after all if I couldn't keep off those freaking two ounces, could I do anything right?

I wanted to roll into a hedgehog ball of pitiful failure. Instead I remembered to listen to myself. Just listen. Not have one of those crazy schizo-like inner conversations where one side disses you  and the other side defends you until you're in the middle of this circular dialogue that ends up making you also want to suck your thumb. Okay, I exaggerate, but I wanted to avoid that scenario at all cost.

My ideal Atkins meal
Then I remembered a book by Byron Katie and her four questions. I didn't technically apply them right, but I started out by listening to me until the crappy messages calmed down, then asked myself the most important question--"Is it true?"  And, of course, the answer was "no." First off, it was only 2 ounces. If I wanted to throw a mental tantrum why didn't I do it when I hit the extra ten pounds? Go figure, but water under the bridge. What's important is that acknowledging that my mental scolding contained less than 2 ounces of truth created a space that let me replace that loser feeling with memories of success. I mean, I still lost 4 pounds,14 ounces. So yay again, but without the smugness.
 
Success feels successful!
Alternately, the answer to the question could have been "yes, it is true." Then I would ask how I know it's true, a question that drags up a lot of new self-talk to listen to but can result in a "no, it isn't true," answer, putting me back on the success track. Even if the answer is that it's true, there's a new question to ask: what can be done about it? While this isn't a pure success position, it has power and opens the door to positive change. Sure beats being a thumb-sucking hedgehog.

Which brings me to the true point of this blog. An inappropriate response to a small failure nudged me--okay, shoved me--to draw on ways I could handle the unpleasant feelings that derailed my enthusiasm, my focus and my creativity. It's also proof that I'm following my commitment to honor all aspects of myself--physical, emotional, and mental.

It seem like a small thing, what happened yesterday  morning, but if I learn to handle these small upsets with skill, how much better will I handle the big ones that come along? This is an exercise in dealing with the real world, the one right in front of me today, not the one I've invented  in my mind. Ultimately, what I truly learned and may have to learn again is that it's not the failure itself that knocks us down, it's what we tell ourselves about it.

How about you?  Does failure knock you way off-kilter? Have you found ways to process failure.
Do you routinely forget to acknowledge your successes? Do you frequently ignore your own needs because you're too busy dealing with daily demands. I'd love to hear your experiences so if you have a minute to drop off a comment about your experiences, I'll include your post in one of my a future blogs about navigating this crazy writer's life.

In the meantime, there's a little bit about me and my latest release at the end of this blog, plus social media links. Check in on me if you're so inclined. And thanks for stopping by to read.

Learn More About It
THE DRAGON HOUR
A Scottish paradise lost in time is invaded by 21st century thugs. It was a robbery gone terribly wrong, ending in Luke Slade and his wounded cousin being swept through a window in time, with  killers chasing in behind them, trapping them all in 1672.

Caryn McLaughlin rules Lochlorraine and when Luke appears she knows her worries will soon be over. He is Luke the Dragon Slayer, none other, and his duty is clear. Her duty is to convince him.




Connie Flynn, bestselling, award-winning author of ten published novels and three published short stories covering fantasy, mystery and romance also writes mysteries as K.C. Flynn and teaches fiction writing at Mesa Community College  Look for several new releases from Connie/K.C. in 2013.

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/ConnieFlynnAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConnieFlynn
Email: connieflynn@yahoo.com
Website, http://www.connieflynn.com
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