So I was reading this e-zine article by an RD who seems to write things that really resonate with me. She's not just an RD, she's also an emotional healer -- getting to the root of the problem. Long before I ever had RNY, I was following her articles, and more often than not drew some kind of motivation from them. It is like they bring me to place, even if just for a moment, where I am really ready to heal.
Today I still read her articles, and one of them in particular hit me the other day. She talks about "should" statements, and how they create self-loathing and hatred.
"I should be eating healthy."
"I should be doing this..."
"I should be doing that..."
"I should be exercising more."
It works with everything -- it doesn't even have to be weight loss related.
These "should" statements imply there are a set of rules that make demands how your behavior, choices, or actions are supposed to be; not necessarily rules you want to follow, but rather rules you should be following. Choice is replaced by obligation. I know that obligation leaves me feeling resentful and then defiant.
When we say we "should" do this and "should do that, it eliminates the opportunity to connect with the idea that we have the independence of choice. We should feel joy when we make choices that ultimately help us achieve our goals.
So here's what she suggests: "Become aware of what you really want, as opposed to doing what you think you should be doing. Every time you hear yourself saying, "I should . . .", replace your statement with a conscious choice and say "I choose to . . ." or, "I choose not to . . ." Be responsible to yourself for your choices and you'll feel a ton better. Creating distinctions in the subtleties of your language can lead to a major shift in inspired, energetic, and long-term motivation!"
So for the last few days I've been doing this, and really it has felt empowering. There are so many challenges during the holidays, so many things that create pressure. I mean, challenges that extend beyond diet and exercise. For instance, I knew I "should" get my poinsettia garland and lights on my stairs... I've been saying it for two weeks now. Finally, I just decided that you know what? It's okay if it doesn't get up this year. In the big picture it doesn't make a difference; our holidays will still be great. Telling myself I "choose" not to do it really did take the guilt out of it for me.
So every time I "choose" the outcome of a challenge I will be tracking it with a star. I know... seems silly, but I'm just curious to see how the success of making choices improves motivation and eliminates guilt.
I chose to share this information which might seem like tree-huggin' hippie crap to some, but for me writing it down turns words into action.