Skinny Saturday: Are Your Weight Loss Goals Holding You Back?
Although Skinny Saturday posts have been few and far between this year, I still love posting them. My goals in posting Skinny Saturday have evolved from motivating myself to lose weight in the beginning into what it is now: trying to provide a platform for discussing the issues around weight loss and how we can create more positivity and happiness regarding self image.
My Skinny Saturday contributor, Shanna, has written another fabulous post about setting goals– and knowing when it may be a good idea to let those goals go…
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about goal setting; in all aspects of life, but especially with diet/exercise,
and ESPECIALLY with weight loss. Setting a goal can be motivating, encouraging, and rewarding if you
achieve it. But it can also be daunting, discouraging, and heartbreaking if you don’t. Sometimes having a
goal weight or jeans size in mind can keep me from eating that bowl of ice cream. But other times, it just
plagues me with feelings of guilt and failure if I eat 10 calories over my daily limit. So how do we find a
way to let goals be our guide rather than our end all, be all?
Earlier this year I decided that I was going to put my three year old in swim lessons this summer. I’m
totally paranoid about the water and really want my kids to be able to swim for safety reasons. I found
a great place and talked to him all about what it was going to be like so he’d be ready. We even went to
our neighborhood pool several times so he could get used to the water. He was jumping in and blowing
bubbles and kicking his legs and just loving life. We were both excited for his first day and I was totally
convinced that he was going to be a swimming prodigy.
When we got to the pool, he was great for most of the first lesson, until they started doing “bobs”, as
in dunking your head under the water. Complete meltdown ensued and we left with him sobbing and
begging me not to let go of him. So I talked to him all day about all the things he could have if he would
dunk his head the next day at his lesson—ice cream, a new movie, new sand toys, cool shoes. He was
totally pumped about going back and trying again.
Next day, in the water, meltdown part 2. He loved jumping in and swimming to the ladder, but if his
teacher even mentioned “practicing bobs”, he was outta there.
The same thing happened day 3, and we never went back for day 4. I told him all the way home about
how he couldn’t have ice cream or a movie or any of the other bribes. He was upset and disappointed,
of course. I felt bad, but I was also feeling frustrated and confused and honestly a little embarrassed.
What in the heck was wrong with my kid? (In his defense, the other kids in this beginner class were all
like five years old. I guess I’m a little crazy to put him in so early.)
Later that day, I was reading in my favorite parenting book of the moment about being respectful of our
children’s personalities and choices. My little guy is not one to try new things unless he’s sure he can
do it right. He is an observer and then participates when he is comfortable with his surroundings and
abilities. Swim lessons just wasn’t his thing because he would rather watch from the side than just jump
in and dunk his head underwater.
Instead of being frustrated, I realized that I should be proud of his efforts. He did the best that HE could,
and he really was a trooper for the few days that we went. I know he was out of his comfort zone, but
he never once said that he didn’t want to go back, he willingly kept going with me every day. So instead
of withholding the possible reward, I told him how proud I was of him and we went and got ice cream.
He didn’t meet the requirement that I had originally set forth for him to earn the ice cream, but I think
he deserved it anyway.
All of this to say that sometimes we deserve a reward even if we didn’t achieve a goal exactly as we
imagined we would.
After I had my first baby, I had a pair of goal pants that I wanted to get back into. They were basically
skin tight pre-baby, and even after I was back in all my other pants, I could never get those dang pants
back on. It made me sad every time I opened my drawer and saw them, but I hung onto them for THREE
YEARS! Last week, I actually cried about not fitting into those stupid pants. Then I stopped to reflect on
my achievements. I’ve had another baby since those pants fit. I’ve run my first 5K. I have met a goal of
being able to do 25 real, military push-ups. I have given up Diet Coke. I am eating more vegetables than
at any other time in my life. And I have achieved tons of other non-weight loss related goals. But I was
crying over a pair of pants! Something so silly was overshadowing all the other good in my life.
So I got in the car and drove to Goodwill and gave them away.
Without them as a constant reminder, I am so content with where I am at. I had made a goal that was
actually detrimental to my success in being happy with my body and my health.
What goals are holding you back? What expectation are you constantly trying to meet that’s keeping
you from being proud of yourself for what you HAVE achieved? I feel like women are always saying, “I’ve
lost this certain amount of weight, but I have such a long way to go.”
No more “buts”. Let’s celebrate even the small changes and accomplishments. You exercised this
morning when you really didn’t feel like it. You only ate 8 Oreos instead of the whole package like you
wanted to (true story). You drank more water than you normally do. Those are all worth being proud of!
Don’t let an old, dusty goal steal your happiness in the here and now.
How do you balance the importance of goal setting and the ability to let those expectations go?