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Running from or running to?

Updated: Jan 20

With the end of the year approaching, I find myself reflecting on this past year, specifically where I’m at on my life journey.


This year, I took intentional action to align myself with better overall well-being, including:

  1. Getting more sleep

  2. Drinking more water

  3. Exercising at least 4 times a week

  4. Meeting with a financial adviser

  5. Saying “no” when that was the more honest answer

  6. Saying “yes” to things that align with my purpose, like this blog

Upon further reflection, I realized that for all the positive steps I’d taken this year, there was one area in which I’d actually taken steps backward. It’s a fight I’ve battled since I can remember, and I was losing ground.


While I have been able to maintain the initial weight loss I describe in my One Word post, I found I was having to increase my workouts in order to keep up with my increasingly unhealthy eating choices and justifications.


I realized this wasn’t a good long-term strategy (you can’t outrun a bad diet,) yet I found myself caving to the pull of immediate gratification. I could even hear old justifications creep in: You DESERVE this! ONE couldn’t hurt. Just eat healthier TOMORROW. The kicker was that I knowingly understood the consequences of my actions…and I was doing it anyway.


Having been through the experience of making better choices and the victory of commitment, I wanted more of that. Victory feels better. But it doesn’t come without a fight.


I knew enough about myself to know:

  1. The real battlefield is in my mind.

  2. Going it alone makes it easier to give up on myself. And keeps me stuck.

  3. I was going to need another Tier 1 friend for this part of my journey.

  4. A flat tire is flat all around, not just in one part.

  5. This part of myself is impacted by, and is impacting, other parts of my life. The impact could be positive or negative – it’s my choice.

  6. It’s not just a matter of continually refilling the flat tire; I need to patch the hole.

Mind Blown

My Tier 1 friend in this situation is a friend who is also a health coach. She had lost 40 pounds on the plan she was following and was posting additional success stories from her clients. It inspired me to take the next courageous step.

Our first meeting started with a conversation almost identical to those I have with my life coaching clients:

  1. What’s a vision of success for you in this area? Where do you want to be?

  2. How will progress be measured?

  3. How committed are you to the goal/vision? What would it take to increase your commitment level?

Even though I was familiar with the questions, I struggled with my answers. The conversation went something like this:


Health Coach: What’s a vision of success for you in this area? Where do you want to be?

Me: I don’t really have a set weight in mind. I don’t like focusing on a number. Instead I just want to eat healthier and keep losing weight.

Health Coach: How will progress be measured?

Me: I have this skirt I’d like to get back into. Then I would know that I have, for sure, lost weight. So, getting into that skirt would be good.

Health Coach: That’s not something we can measure weekly – can we try to find something more concrete that we can measure in the short term?

Me: But I really do want to get into that skirt. Why isn’t that a good goal?

Health Coach: You approached me for help, remember? I’m helping you see that what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working so I’m here to help you find a better plan. It starts with small goals where we can track success and get motivated to do more.

Me: Yes, ok, good point. I’ll commit to doing a food journal weekly. This will give me data on where and when I’m making unhealthy decisions. Then I’ll want your help with tools that could help me make better decisions in those situations.

Health coach: I can do that. How committed are you to this goal/vision?

Me: What I’m really committed to is not being at this weight a year from now. I want to be DOWN. I can’t get to next year at this time and still be where I’m at today.

Health coach: The goal you’ve just described is something you’re running from, not running to. Choosing goals where you’re running from something tend to lead back to yo-yo habits. You don’t know what you really want, so you keep running from what you know you don’t want. I’m here to help get a vision of yourself that you want to run to. Then you’ll be able to stick with it more consistently because you know what you want and are willing to do what it takes to get it.

Me: (SILENCE. MIND BLOWN.)


Uncovering Mind Traps

The whole next week, I struggled coming up with a vision of what I’m running to, other than me in that skirt. Yes, I could have set that as my goal and likely could have achieved the goal. I’d done it in the past and I’m wired to achieve goals, so I know I’m capable.

Yet I’d also found myself struggling to maintain victory in this area. I was beginning to understand it was because of my mind traps of focusing on the immediate, short-term goal, instead of long-term victory. This explains why many times in my past, when I finally achieved to the goal, I would lose momentum.


As I continued to reflect on why this particular question was so hard for me to answer, a few “truths” emerged:

  1. Food has always been an emotional security blanket for me, even when it’s not helping me at all. Am I really ready to shed this part that’s keeping me safe (i.e. holding me back) when I don’t truly know what I’m running to? In my head, I KNOW that making healthier decisions will lead to better outcomes. I just don’t know what that means, exactly, so I continue to control the situation… and find myself losing more and more control.

  2. I have a tape in my head that runs a story that I will always be the “heavy girl.” It doesn’t matter what my clothes fit like or what I look like. This tape is loud and has been a part of me for a very long time. It causes me to think things like “Why bother sacrificing in this area? You’re always going to be the heavy girl. Accept it.”

  3. I am just now starting to get curious about that tape and why I choose to continue to listen to it.

  4. Because of that tape, I haven’t allowed myself to really, truly, visualize what “being healthy and whole” in this area might look like because I’ve continued to run from and not to.

  5. A core trigger for me is the fear of failure. So, if I bravely take this next step toward wholeness in this part of my life, what if I fail? The shame-based part of me starts yelling things about the risk of becoming another weight-loss failure, so it’s best not to go there. Period.

  6. Thanks to the Enneagram and understanding of my “Type 3,” I can now at least recognize these self-sabotaging messages and where they are coming from.

  7. Instead of focusing on what outfit I was going to wear when I achieved my goal, the focus was going to need to be on trying on new mindsets for a sustainable outcome. The mindsets I’d been using didn’t “fit” anymore, though I appreciated that they had gotten me to this point.

  8. I was willing to accept the help being offered through my Health Coach.

Trying on New Mindsets

When I started this blog back in January, I said then that:

“I’m not who I thought I was. I do know I’m a human being, not a human doing…I’m not exactly sure what that all looks like yet, but I’m willing to take the next step forward, toward courageous imperfection.” My Truth

I’m still not sure exactly what “running to” looks like yet, but I can’t think of a better way to find out than sharing my Health Coach journey with you through the next few posts.


I’m willing to be Courageously Imperfect in the hopes that it will educate, inspire, and help you activate toward your own authentic wholeness. I’m going to have set backs. I’m going to want to clutch my security blanket with both hands and pull it over my head as far as I can.


And…


I’m going to give myself permission to dream. Not just of a skirt in my closet. But of sustainable healthiness and wholeness. Of me – the way I was intended to be without my emotional security blanket.


I invite you to come with me and share your journey along the way.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying on a few mindsets that seem to fit particularly well right now, so I wanted to share them with you now.


Mindset #1: compassionate self acceptance

Compassionate acceptance of myself – my whole self – is going to be key.


Though I enjoy running, I’m not currently doing it for the enjoyment. I’m doing it to make up for unhealthy food choices. It’s like I’m punishing my body for decisions my head is making. And it’s exhausting.


Like the tire analogy, I can’t separate out the part of the tire that is flat. I need to patch the hole. These song lyrics sum it up well:

When you learn to love yourself, you will dissolve all the stones that are cast, you will learn to burn the icing sky and to melt the waxen mask. Yes, to have the gift of true release, this is a peace that will take you higher. Indigo Girls, Strange Fire

Over the years, my head has stockpiled unwanted beliefs that may have worked for a while but are keeping me stuck. They aren’t facts, and I have the power to choose my truth. I can choose when and how to “dissolve and burn” these beliefs to experience true release and peace in this area of my life.


Mindset #2: Oscillating vs. Advancing

  1. Most of us operate from one of two deeply unconscious patterns: oscillating and advancing.

An oscillating pattern is like a rocking chair. Movement forward eventually leads to movement backward. You work hard to accomplish the goal, and may actually achieve it; but later in the story there is a reversal. Somehow, things go in the wrong direction, and you lost the success you created…the other pattern – the advancing pattern – has a happier ending. Once you accomplish a successful outcome, that success becomes the platform for future success. Your success is sustainable and becomes the foundation for future success. Identity, by Robert Fritz and Dr. Wayne Scott Anderson (pp. 39-40)

How many times have I experienced the tug-0f-war of the oscillating pattern? Too many. And the outcomes? More oscillating. I’m ready to get off this rocking chair and experience the sustainable success of the advancing pattern. I’ll learn more from my Health Coach.


Mindset #3: Running TO, Not FROM

As I mentioned, I’m still working on my vision for this one. But I’m giving myself permission to think about things like:

  1. What would it look like if I never had to struggle in this area ever again?

  2. What would I be doing differently if I lost 40 pounds in a sustainable way and was no longer oscillating?

  3. How would things be different if I was authentically successful in this area of my life? (Not constantly struggling?)

  4. How would I respond if I knew I couldn’t fail?

  5. Who am I when I’m not wearing the security blanket of food?

The Journey (Begins? Continues?)

Health Coach and I initially agreed to meet for eight weeks, so I will be posting updates on my progress through the end of January.

So far, progress has been…oscillating… but the time I’ve spent reflecting on the “who” behind my “do” has already been time well spent. In my tire analogy, it’s not about continually blowing up the tire. I want to patch the hole (whole).


Even as I type this, my brain is rushing to think of things I could eat right now to not have to feel this vulnerable. I hate this feeling. But this feeling is a part of me that I want to get better at accepting and not rejecting. Because it makes me – me.


Courageous Imperfection.


But what if I FAIL???

What if I DON’T??

Wow. What would THAT look like?

It’s my choice. I choose me. Today.



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