Maybe you fall asleep quickly. Lucky you; I don’t. Long after my husband has fallen asleep, I’m still laying there replaying the day in my head. Before I lost weight there was a lot of guilt and shame involved in reliving the day’s challenges. I would lie there and beat myself up over things that I’d done “wrong”; things I’d eaten that I shouldn’t have eaten. Workouts I hadn’t done. Calories I hadn’t burned. I meant to do it, but I dropped the ball yet again. I was “bad” because I had failed to live up to the expectations I had for myself, and what I felt others expected of me.
Sound familiar? If you do this too you know, this kind of “Pillow Talk” ain’t fun.
When my head hits the pillow every night it’s my moment of truth. Before I fall asleep I always replay the day in my head. I know there’s no escaping the choices I’ve made. Good or bad, consistent with my goals or not, there they are.
If I could get back all the time that I wasted battling with myself about the poor choices I made I’d probably add years to my life. But time doesn’t work that way, does it? Time marches on and we’re left with the consequences of those choices.
While I was losing weight I found the courage to face those choices. What I learned by facing those choices is that, for me, the mental energy I expend beating myself up over my bad choices isn’t really worth it. Instead, it’s just easier not to make bad choices in the first place.
Talk about something sounding easier than it actually is! HA! This one takes the cake! (I hate using food metaphors, but sometimes nothing else works.)
This is what I refer to as the rather awkwardly titled, “When The Head Hits The Pillow” Principle, and it is the third commitment I asked you to make in our “Health for the Holidays” series. Awkward titles aren’t great for blogs, so I call it “Pillow Talk” here. Either way, here’s how it works:
Every night when you lay down to go to sleep you want to know in your heart that you’ve done everything that you could possibly do to make your best food and exercise choices that day.
That’s it really. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
It requires that you stop the endless stream of denial, justifications, rationalizations and excuses you’re indulging in. It means that you quit cutting yourself slack. You hold yourself accountable. You do the right thing even when no one’s looking.
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There are lots of reasons (read: excuses) why losing weight is hard. You’ve established habits throughout your life that are very difficult to break. You love certain foods and can’t imagine living without them. You get hungry all the time. You don’t have time to plan. You have a messed up metabolism. You hate lettuce. Whatever your reasons, I agree that all of those things make losing weight a challenge.
But if you can be honest with yourself when your head hits the pillow you’ll find that many of those excuses start to fall away. When the excuses start to fall away, losing weight gets easier because you’re not battling yourself anymore. It’s a paradigm shift of the highest order. You’re not white-knuckling it anymore because you realize that the good choices you make throughout the day really and truly are the best self-care there is.
You see, ultimately, it’s not so much “No food tastes as good as thin feels,” but rather, no food makes me feel loved or accomplished or understood.
When I behave in a way that is consistent with my goals and my values I sleep soundly because I know I’m doing the best I can possibly do for myself.
This kind of “Pillow Talk” is affirming and empowering. It makes me feel good. When I feel good, I go to sleep knowing that I can face the next day’s challenges head on.
This is week 4 of “Health for the Holidays!” and we’ve been doing some important, foundational work. If you’re catching up, read the last two blogs so you understand why we’re doing 35 (you heard me, I said 35) minutes of cardio, 6 days a week and tracking our calories on Fooducate. These two practices, combined with the “Pillow” Principle, will help you face the coming holidays with much more confidence when it comes to your eating and exercise habits. Next week is Halloween, so you’re gonna need all of these tools in your arsenal!
I don’t know about you, but I’m done wasting time and energy feeling bad about my choices. It requires diligence and self-awareness, but making the right choices about my food and exercise habits means that when my head hits the pillow every night I can rest easy.
Losing weight is so hard; I get that. But it gets easier. And you’re so damn worth it!
Let’s go get it!