Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pop the Cork

I figured it out.

What the hell was bugging me and sending me off over the edge.


Pressure I was placing on myself to stay within very tight parameters. That "Oh my gosh! I can't go over 1200 calories or I am doomed!" mentality I had constructed was tearing me up inside. I would start to get close, start to have too many calories, too early and I would feel this horrid buildup of panic and pressure and I would try to relieve it in the pantry or the fridge.

Yes, I could have taken it outside. Walked it off. Cleaned more. Turned on some music and danced. I could have. But I didn't. I didn't go there in my mind. I went into panic mode. I went into my all or nothing perfectionism screwed up thinking mode.

Under normal circumstances, I am a pressure player. Give me a crisis, a hard deadline, a tough task and I will rise to the occasion. I become incredibly focused, I go into a zone and I perform. Flawlessly.

Except with it comes to weight loss. In this area, I have learned that I can't put that kind of pressure on myself. I can't box myself in too tightly. I can't allow perfectionist or all or nothing thinking to invade my mind. I can't allow the very traits that make me such a powerhouse under other circumstances to come to the fore in my weight loss arena. When I do, I fail.



This awareness hit me over the weekend. I kept trying to work out why I was having such a tough time sticking to the plan, why I couldn't do what I had been doing so well for over a year. Why I couldn't get my shit together, get off the stick and get the fucking job done. I was twisted up in knots, breaking apart. I was obsessing, frightened and beginning to despair. Why couldn't I figure it out? Why couldn't I solve the problem?

And it finally hit me. Like a 2X4 right in the back of the head.

Pressure. Self imposed pressure. (Please let me make it crystal clear here and now, I am not blaming anyone, any plan, any challenge or other entity, this is all self imposed, completely on me! This was all in my head, coming from my own head!)

Fixing it was as simple as releasing the pressure. Once I told myself that the old parameters were back in place, once I allowed myself to slip back into the comfortable, familiar 1200 to 1500 calorie target range, the tension drained from my mind and my body. I had popped the cork. The pressure shot out of my head and I was back where I need to be. Focused. Calm. In my zone. Ready, on track and working my plan.

I am okay. And, now that I have that breathing room, I am sticking more closely to the lower end of my target zone. But, if I need to use some of that cushion, I do. Without beating myself up, telling myself that I am bad or a failure or that I have ruined it all, I am doomed and I might as well just eat away the feelings. And I don't.

I am still in the Double Dog Dare You Challenge as long as I am welcome. But on this point I will not bend. I can't. I have to work this in a way that doesn't twist me up mentally and trigger my all or nothing perfectionist bullshit thinking. One day, I would like to conquer this one. I have conquered a lot, in the past year. I have mucked a lot of shit out of my stall, carried it out back, dumped it on my shit pile and walked away from it. But I can't muck this one. Not yet. At this point and time, I am just not there. I am aware of it. I know that it needs to be dealt with but I accept it for the present. I know that one day, I will be able to stick my pitchfork into it, pick it up, dump it into my mental wheelbarrow and take it out back, throw it on my shit pile, turn around and walk away from it. I know that I will do that. One day. :D

Now to get my ass moving and walking, again. *sigh* I have fallen into the laze, the haze, the "Oh, I'll go tomorrow, I have too much to do right now" excuse cycle. Not good. I need to move. It will ramp my weight loss back up and make me feel better, physically and mentally. I know all of this. Now, I just have to get off my ass and do it.

Oh yeah, it is kick my own ass day. :D

I am on track, food and water are great. Head is clear. Mind is calm. I can breathe, again.

I need to go toss my laundry in my dryer and hit the ladies'. All that lovely water is a running through me.

Later, my pets. <3


  1. Erika, I don't work as well under pressure either. Not when it comes to my food plan. I do better with a food range than with an absolute set number. I haven't even been logging much the last few days, just eating what I know to be safe and that is helping me maintain. I'm sticking between 155 and 158 and bouncing back and forth. When I see the 158, I get more careful in my choices or I up my water. I don't believe there is a plan where one size fits all. There are plans that work for many and low calorie is always affective but the content of those calories varies because none of us have the same issues or metabolisms. You do what you have to do. Hugs. :)

  2. Karen, I am great under pressure, in other circumstances. It is just in weight loss that I have to allow a little wiggle room.

    I agree, we all need to work in our own way. I like the challenge but I can't force a set cap number on myself. If I try, it screws with my little tiny brain and makes me freak out. lol

  3. What a great insight, Erika. I am glad to see you figured out your issue, and are doing what you need to do to fix it.

  4. I hear ya on this one. :) Glad you figured it out.

  5. So many of us "perfectionists" and overachievers fall into this cycle and NEVER figure it out like you did. Have I mentioned how proud I am of you? And how relieved I am that you figured this must feel so much more at peace. This was a good post...and it struck me...thank you.

  6. You are awesome. Being self-aware is so important.

  7. You've always seemed to get what you're about and have insight into your mode of operation. If you think (not feel) that pressure is what's been holding you back for a while now, I have no doubt at all that's what's doing it. I don't operate well under pressure anywhere, unless it's life or death. Even there, I don't like it, let alone thrive. I'm in awe of your ability to do that in other areas of your life.

    I loved it when you were walking. If the weather holds out, you'll be doing it again in no time. I like to think I know you, and I know you're not ready to give up--not now, when you've come so far already! I'm eagerly anticipating your entry into the One's. That's going to be one hell of a day. But baby steps. You'll get there. Get that grill back out. You were doing so well when you were grilling all the time. I wish you could afford shrimp: nice, big, plump ones. Ummmm.

    Anyway, congratulations on your self-perception.

  8. I think you self analyze as much as I do. Glad you've had a breakthrough in your thoughts though. Despite it all, I just know you can and you will get to your goal. (I don't think I have any goals any longer. It isn't that I've accomplished so much. It is just that so much takes money, or time, or energy. All things lacking hereabouts!)

  9. I loved this post. I am great under pressure except when I hit my max and that is when I binge eat and get out of control. Now often times I find myself consumed with the pressure i put on myself about my food consumption! Thanks for your great and honest post

  10. Wow - great writing - as usual!


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