PKF client Alison explores what we all fight with: that little voice in our head
Here’s a picture of Alison and Peter K from the recent Scotland Run 10k in NYC.
“Give it up, Fat Girl. You’ll never make it. Just go home.”
No, this isn’t a blog about my high school basketball tryouts. I heard this on my run yesterday morning. And no, there weren’t a bunch of bullies in front of me tormenting another kid. That conversation went on inside my own head.
That’s right, now I’m hearing voices. And not only do I seem to have someone else living in my brain with me, but she’s really mean.
I know exactly who that mean girl is. She’s me. The old me: “Fat Girl”. She is the person who used to baby-sit 3 nights per week in high school in order to support her own McDonald’s habit, the me who used to stand by the kitchen door at catered parties just to get first dibs at the passed hors d’oeuvres.
The problem I’ve been having lately is that “Fat Girl” is still there. I’ve been trying to starve her to death for the last year or so, but lately seems to have found some renewed energy from the lean proteins and complex carbs I’ve been feeding her. She’s been leading me to people’s candy dishes at work, and to local pizza joints. She’s been trying to pour whole milk into my coffee.
I have to admit it; I didn’t really realize that “Fat Girl” was still around. Well, maybe I guess I did. I reached my goal weight in May of 2009. Instead of spending the past 11 months feeling extremely self accomplished (and a whole lot lighter), I’ve been waiting for the day that the weight starts to creep back on. In fairness to me, I’ve lost weight in the past – many times. The last time I lost about 35 pounds to get to my goal weight. The problem was that when I reached my goal, “Fat Girl” came to the celebration, and she brought refreshments. Yes, it’s true. The last time I lost weight I celebrated reaching my goal with a bag of Cheese Doodles. An ENTIRE bag of Cheese Doodles.
Last week I had a session with Peter. I told him that I was worried about regaining my weight. Peter replied, “Al, you’re not the fat girl anymore”, and without missing a beat, “Fat Girl” herself answered for me: “Yes, Peter, I am. I’ve just been on hiatus.”
Usually when Peter is trying to teach a new mind/body concept to me, he throws out some clues and then lets me figure out the answer myself. I think this time he either was worried that “Fat Girl” was going to drag me to an all you can eat buffet right after our session, or he may have just felt that he was getting double-teamed by my two personalities. So, this time he just fed me the answer (no pun intended). He talked to me about destiny and self-identity. The gist of it is that destiny and self-identity don’t just happen; we create them. I wasn’t put on this planet to fulfill a quota of overweight data analysts. I chose that direction for myself many years ago. The cool part, though, is that we can change our identity whenever we want.
I left my session with Peter K with my brain feeling like it had gotten as much of a workout as my body did. I was at a crossroad. Did I want to throw out all of my hard work and go back to being “Fat Girl”, or did I want to come up with a new identity, one of a person who lost 70 pounds and kept it off for life? Was I ready to accept that I’d completed 2 half marathons and was training for a triathlon, or did I want to find the nearest McDonald’s and see if they had a 2 for 1 special on Big Macs?
I made my decision this weekend. “Fat Girl” tormented me for my entire run on Saturday, but I did it anyway. On Sunday, I had a one hour bike ride. I left my house waiting for “Fat Girl” to make a comment about my bike bending under my weight, and did they make Plus sized bicycle seats? But, she wasn’t there. I rode for a bit until I got to a monster of a hill. As I started to work my way up it, I had a new thought in my head: “Ali, you’ve got this. You’ll get up this hill, and it will feel so great when you get to the top.” I smiled, because I knew who was talking: “Fit Girl”. And not only does she like healthy food and early morning training sessions, but she’s really nice.