So it's been almost 3 weeks since I started my new system of habits to get myself in shape long term, and it's been quite challenging at times. Not that the habits themselves are hard to stick to – not at all. But that is kind of the problem.
It’s mainly been a mental challenge, rather than a physical one, to focus on building the habits I laid out in my previous post in this series.
As I mentioned, my system of habits is not even hard to stick to on a daily basis. Not at all. It's actually incredibly easy, as I designed it that way on purpose.
But that's part of the problem. I'd go so far as to say that the most challenging part about it is that it's easy.
The most challenging part is that it's easy.
This probably sounds weird, but it's because of the way I used to do things.
As I've described in the earlier posts of these diet chronicles, the way I've always approached fitness is by either going hard, or not going at all. Being either on or off. The 'go big or go home' mentality.
When I was off, I didn't care about anything. But when I was on, I was all in. I'd go hard at it at the gym and in the kitchen every single day, and I'd put a lot of thought and effort into the journey outside of that as well.
I'd be reading and researching all the time, and I'd also be tracking everything: my food, my weight, my waist circumference, my progress in the gym. I needed all those markers to be moving in the right direction at all times.
Every little success, no matter how small, needed to be collected and celebrated, because that was my motivational fuel. It was what I needed to keep powering my diet and workout efforts.
Now, in my new approach, I don't have any of that – and it's on purpose.
I've deliberately set up my new system in such a way that I can't chase results and use those as motivational fuel, because I've recognized this destructive pattern before. So now I'm forcing myself to focus on building sustainable habits for the long term instead.
And that has been the challenging part.
Because now I keep having these alarm bells going off in my head, telling me that I'm running dangerously low on motivational fuel.
"Beep, beep, beep, beep! Mayday mayday! We're going to crash!"
And having these alarm bells go off kind of make sense, when you think about it.
After all, in the past, I would eventually crash when I ran out of motivational fuel. When the inevitably diminishing results would no longer be enough to power the grueling regimen I had set up for myself, I'd always end up running out of motivation, and crashing and burning in the end.
So it makes sense that I crave results right now. But it also doesn't make sense, for this very simple reason:
I don't need the fuel right now.
The system of habits I set up for myself is so ridiculously easy, that I legitimately don't have any need for quick wins or successes to keep it up.
I'm not fasting, I'm not doing portion control, I eat when I want, and as much as I want, every day; and I can make my workouts as short and easy as I want, every day. I'm really doing nothing hard, so there is objectively no need for any of this motivational fuel.
Still, the cravings for it are real.
So there are times when I'm very tempted to step on the scale, because I really crave measurable results of any kind.
Pacing myself with the workouts is similarly challenging, because I'm now regularly using weights that my past self would have been embarrassed by.
One of the toughest things for me about focusing on long-term habits over quick wins, is knowing that this easy-going approach necessarily means that I'm not making progress as quickly as I could be.
And this knowledge only increases my cravings.
Especially my experience with quick weight loss on the Snake Diet has skewed my perspective in that regard, and it's a real struggle to actively forego those quick results in favor of long term habit building. Especially considering the whole reason I started this system in the first place, is displeasure with the state of things right now.
So the battle is all in my head.
I keep having to remind myself that showing up is more important than showing off.
Showing up is more important than showing off.
And I keep having to remind myself that it's not about me right now. It's about me from the future. Me 3 years from now. Me 10 years from now, or even further down the line.
And I know one thing for sure:
Me from the future won't care whether I could have used 20% more weight on any particular day in 2020, or that I could have probably refrained from eating so much on Father's day, or even that I could have lost all the weight I needed to lose in 5 months instead of 15.
All me from the future will care about is that I didn't break the habit, and that I kept showing up every single day.
And so that's what I will do.