Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Big Why vs. Little Why

It was bound to happen. The "Never Binge Again" (NBA) program that I believed to be the solution to my binge eating problems stopped working. I was off the wagon for about three weeks.

After I wrote this post acknowledging my wagon-fall earlier in June, I decided to book another one-on-one coaching session with Dr. Glenn Livingston.  But his time books up really quickly, and the first available appointment I could get with him was last Friday morning. In the two weeks until I met with him again, I let my "inner pig" get the best of me. I was feeling pretty awful, convinced the NBA protocol had failed me like everything else I tried, and I might as well stop trying and eat whatever I want.

Cookie Monster binge eating on cookies.
Me during the month of June
Even though I was feeling like NBA was no longer the solution, I attended my coaching session with Dr. Livingston. I explained how frustrated I was that things had been going so well for a while, but that I fell off the wagon and just couldn't seem to get back on track. "It just feels like I'm never going to change, so why bother trying?" I explained.

He figured me out in the two minutes it took me to lay this all out there (which is great, because each coaching session is only 15 minutes long. No time to waste!)

"Well, if you don't try, then what's guaranteed to happen?"

"If I don't try, I definitely won't change," I acknowledged.

"Right. Also, it sounds like you lost your motivation."

I contemplated that for a moment. I really haven't "lost" my motivation. I know exactly what it is, as I wrote it out in a detailed "Big Why" statement, an exercise Dr. Livingston had us do as part of the NBA online seminar. A "Big Why" statement is exactly what it sounds like - the big reason why you are committed to never binging again. For me, attaining a healthy weight, having energy and focus, and - of course - running a sub 2 half marathon are all included in my "Big Why."

"No," I disagreed. "I read my 'Big Why' statement to myself every day. Maybe my 'Big Why' isn't big enough." In the back of my mind, I thought about weight loss success stories I've read online. Usually, the motivating factor involves children. I'm not a parent, so I can't use this as a motivator.

"Or maybe you need a 'Little Why.'"

A "Little Why?" I hadn't thought about that before. All of the things I want to achieve as part of my "Big Why" are in the distant future. My far-off future self is a stranger to me, so why would I do something - like NOT eat the cookie - that's going to benefit a stranger? A "Little Why" could be all about more immediate gratification.

"Yes, I think I need a 'Little Why'," I answered him. So my homework assignment from our call was to figure out some of the immediate benefits of sticking to my food plan. So far, here's what I've got:

  • I'll feel good enough to go for a run (important if I ever want to achieve that sub 2 half marathon goal)
  • I'll be able to focus enough on writing at least 15 minutes every day (baby steps towards completing my novel) 
Um. That's it so far. And as of right now, neither of these things sound better than having a cookie. I understand I need to abstain from some of Life's pleasures in order to experience others, but what's going to be THE thing that makes me unravel years of engaging in such a terrible habit?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. The good news is that I've had a few better days since meeting with Dr. Livingston, but I don't feel as strong as I did when I started the program. I want to get back to that invincible feeling.