By Michelle May, M.D.
Like many of you, during August I tuned in nightly to watch Olympians compete on the world stage. As incredible as the events were, the stories of athletes who made personal sacrifices to train every day or who overcame daunting challenge to represent their countries inspired me most.
It didn't motivate me to hurdle my dining room chairs or do a handstand from my roof into my pool. (I don't usually dwell on limitations but there are just some things this 45 year old body was never meant to do.) Instead, the athletes' accomplishments represented the daily to-do's I sometimes slog through as well as the larger goals that I've set for my life.
I'd like to share a few great quotes from past Olympians and some of the take-home lessons I can apply each day (even without setting up a balance beam in my family room):
Change your Thoughts to Change your Results
"The only disability in life is a bad attitude." -Scott Hamilton, figure skater
Realize that what you believe and think causes you to feel a certain way, which causes you to do certain things, which ultimately leads to specific results. In other words, your thoughts are self-fulfilling prophecies. Of course, your results usually reinforce your beliefs and thoughts, resulting in either a positive feedback loop or a vicious cycle. If you've taken an Am I Hungry? workshop, this will look familiar: Thoughts > Feelings > Actions > Results.
If you don't like your results, become aware of what you've been thinking. With practice, you can change your thoughts about eating, physical activity, and anything else, to get the results you desire.
Mistakes are Just Lessons
"The worst thing is to be paralyzed by fear. It's better to fall trying. Then you learn what to do so you don't fall again." -Brian Boitano, figure skater
Every mistake brings you one step closer to being an expert by discovering what's most effective for you. Just do the best you can and learn from what didn't work.
Advance the Ball
"Winning doesn't always mean being first. Winning means you're doing better than you've ever done before." -Bonnie Blair, speed skater
Don't get trapped into thinking you have to do something perfectly and nothing else will do. I like the football analogy of "advancing the ball." Rarely is a football game won on 80 yard passes. Instead, think in terms of advancing down the field a few yards and first downs at a time. When the window of opportunity to reach your goal opens up, you'll have the momentum and be in position to score.
Consistency and Repetition Win
"To be an Olympian you only have to work out twice; when you want to and when you don't." -Darn, I couldn't find the name of the athlete that said this! Please post the answer (with a source) on my blog at http://consumed.freedomblogging.com/2008/08/29/work-in-progress/.
Practice, practice, practice. Consistency and repetition are the keys to energizing new behaviors. Baby steps that you're willing to practice consistently will help you gradually rewire what feels good to you. Encourage yourself
to move forward toward your goals every day.
Here's an email I received from a past participant that I think illustrates many of these principles well:
I took your workshop awhile ago. It took me about a year to really break so many of the bad habits and bad education on nutrition and diet I had been pounded with over 40 years. I started a renewed effort after Christmas of '07. I opened my workbook and attacked it again. On 12/26/2007 I weighed
285 lbs at 5' 7.5" Today, 08/06/2008, my 43rd Birthday by the way, I weighed in at 218 lbs. I've lost 67 lbs!
I cannot begin to tell you the meaning your program has had to me. Granted you have to do something with it and it did take me a year to step up but I did it and am doing it everyday. I thank you and so do my children since I can now get on the floor and wrestle with them.
Kevin W. Hardin, CMB, CMC, CMPS
Thanks Kevin! If you'd like to know more about how Am I Hungry? can help you, visit our main website at http://www.amihungry.com/.
Eat Mindfully. Live Vibrantly!
Michelle May, M.D.