Sometimes a psychologist needs help too!
The second in a series of posts, sharing my personal journey from a fat and grumpy sad sack during nine months of personal training sessions ...
To stop this year ending up like the last few (or rather many) years, struggling to keep my head above water physically, financially and at times emotionally, I have embarked on a new journey.
And I’m doing something different ... at the same time I’m personally experiencing the stages of creating enduring change, breaking bad patterns, and reclaiming my life, that as a psychologist I often find myself teaching to others!
This is the second of 5 blogs recording the different stages of my own personal transformation, and how that has led me to insights that I now use to help individuals reclaim their energy and their lives. It has also given me a passion to help businesses to create healthier workplace environments to support their workforce, community, productivity and ultimately their own profitability.
The sad sack, fat and negative old bastard, I started the year as, has to some extent, moved aside.
I’ve kept up training and healthier eating for 6 weeks and there’s some real improvements being made.
Physically, especially, there’s progress … but then there’s this massive roadblock that I just didn’t expect – which is odd because I’ve seen it before!
6 Weeks And Counting…
Mid February 2013: Development and Disruptions
I have to acknowledge that six weeks into my training routine, I am starting to sleep better and feel less stressed.
Nevertheless, there is still no way I would reliably get out of bed early each week to work out hard in the local park.
For that, I still rely upon, my motivating personal trainer, who continues kindly sending me text reminders and regular snippets of information and encouragement during the week.
The Power of Modelling and Example
My trainer’s contagious positive enthusiasm, happiness and zest for life is having a vicarious effect on me. I'm seeing firsthand the power of modelling, and becoming the average of those you surround yourself with …
Her strength of belief in my progress and capacity is a much-needed substitute for my own self doubt, excuses and long entrenched habits of self-sabotage. Left unchecked, I am sure, I would already be falling back into my old unhealthy ways.
Dare I say it … I am even starting to look forward to nutritional and physiological information and advice from my trainer.
I am starting to reluctantly agree... this integrated approach slowly seems to be working!
I am also becoming more interested in the concepts of recovery and strain prevention.
I’m starting to honour and nurture the rhythms of my physical body, and am replacing my old views of seeing my physical self as an external obstacle, to forcefully discipline with brute strength and aggressive demands.
I am even starting to notice that the touch of my own body feels different in the shower, with more toned muscles and sleeker awareness of bones and torso outlines.
Could this be the beginning emergence of my true, real and long lost healthy self???
AND THEN, suddenly into my awareness my biggest sabotage fear rears its hidden tentacles from my deeper subconscious
The Fear of Looking Good!
I had become comfortable and willing to settle for my big belly, beer drinking social self, as an easier way of living.
Believe it or not, I was now becoming scared about the loss of my old self and social identity, if I started looking like a healthier, fitter and younger man.
Around this time of emerging doubt about my desire to truly change my physique, extended family relatives started to criticise and ridicule my efforts ...
- It won’t last Peter, just have a beer or two with us at the weekend BBQ and let your hair down for a while.
- This is a special family/social occasion, surely you can eat a big meal with everyone and have a few social drinks to relax and celebrate in style?
- Don’t overdo this training Peter, maybe you are pushing yourself a bit too hard.
- These personal trainers can be an expensive luxury Peter are you sure you can afford it? Do you really think its worth the money?
I worried about the loss of my old familiar "big boy" social identity, as the host and hearty provider of plenty of good food and cold drinks for everyone - and the more the merrier at our family feasts!
The Inner Voice of Self-Sabotage
I started finding ridiculous justifications to trick myself into backing away from ongoing sessions.
- Gee as my waist size decreases I will be up for the expense of a heap of new business clothes, I cannot afford all that.
- Do I really believe I am worthy to be a superbly fit and healthy guy, or is that just the territory of youth? Am I just kidding myself by thinking I can turn back the clock?”
Through all of this, my trainer listened to my doubts, regularly smiled and gave me new health knowledge.
And most importantly of all:
- Simply held me accountable;
- Kept demonstrating and insisting that I do the exercises and physical routines; and
- Encouraged me to keep modifying the types of food I regularly ate.
Furthermore, my trainer modelled and embodied the truth of her own techniques.
In other words, there was an integrity and congruence around the health and vitality of her joyful lifestyle that deeply resonated with me. It was hard for me to ignore, minimise, justify or rationalise away this embodiment of lifestyle alignment, with my litany of weak excuses for quitting on myself.
Guess what, when you persist with the routines, and have a genuine role model, you continue to get the results.
Bit by bit I started to leave my doubts behind and notice the beginning emergence of the joy and enjoyment of fitness training, as a regular and natural part of my daily life.
Breaking through this self-sabotage syndrome and barrier of doubt means that I am truly ready for my health and well being takeoff. I’ll be sharing this phase in the next blog - "Letting My Light Shine".