In early September I joined an informal weight loss challenge group. There was a $30 pay in, and the winner (based on highest percentage of body weight lost) would take the pot. A total of sixteen people weighed in and ponied up their cash, making the prize money $480. I felt confident that I would have a good shot at winning, and with no income right now I could use the extra cash for the holidays. The contest would run from September 8th until November 21st so we would be free after to enjoy our Thanksgiving gorge, er, meal.
In typical Karen fashion I began the first week in a gung-ho charge. I was already working out five to six days per week, so I added in a few double sessions and focused on my diet. I had done Weight Watchers in the past, and I knew that my key to success was in controlling my portion sizes and staying within my daily points. I had this thing, I was on it, and I was going to take home the cash AND fit into my skinny jeans!
In even more typical Karen fashion by the third week I was loosening up the rules and allowing myself a few cheat nights. The idea of counting points was quickly replaced with counting pints at the local bar while watching the Thursday night football games (ok, and the Saturday and Sunday games). I was still down a few pounds, but I knew I was nowhere near where I needed to be. So I did what any rational person does…I blamed my husband for sabotaging my efforts. After all, wasn’t he more than eager for a night out versus staying in for yet another plate of grilled chicken and brown rice? Oh, and he’s one of those, you know, the ones who can overindulge and work it off in one gym session. Yup, must be all his fault…
Fast forward to this past week, and I knew it was time to pay the piper. In the most typical Karen fashion I made a last ditch effort, and I had a good week of healthy eating and double workouts. There was no way I had done well enough to win, but I was determined to have some sort of loss…any loss would feel like a victory at this point. A few days before the weigh-in I learned that several people were not going to bother stepping on the scale. What is this? An easy out? Great! Wait…no, not this time. This time you are going to have some accountability. You are going to face the music…even if you don’t feel like dancing. Wrapping up this story, I did indeed show up for my weigh-in. As expected I did not win the money, but I did lose just over ten pounds. This is not too bad as it equals out to about one pound per week. If I had stuck to my original plan it could have easily been two to three pounds per week, I may have won the contest, and I would have reached my weight loss goal for the year. I am not mad at myself for “only” losing ten pounds. I am mad at myself for having the bad habit of starting something only to fail in following through.
What did I learn from this experience? Aside from the obvious fact that I like my beer infinitely more than I like my skinny jeans? I learned that I need to learn self accountability. While it may be fun to place the blame at another’s feet (those of annoying metabolic machine husband, for instance) for something harmless, I do know better. When all is said and done I alone am responsible for the choices that I make and for the actions that I take.
I would not consider it acceptable to not follow through on a commitment I made to someone else. Why then would I consider it acceptable to not follow through on a commitment I made to myself? Do I consider myself less worthy or somehow less important? I would like to think the answer is no. It is an area that needs exploration, and reform. I will start with this weight loss challenge. I will continue on until I reach my goal. There will be no prize money, there will be no consequences, and there will be no one watching. It will just be me holding me accountable. It will be me not allowing me to fail to follow through on a promise that I made to me. I deserve no less. Cheers (only with a water glass and not a beer stein)! Karen
Tell me, do you keep your commitments to yourself? Or are you more likely not to follow through on things that you have started? As always I welcome your thoughts!