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What’s Your Reason? Recognize and Recover from bad behaviors

Dear Slender Seekers,

As a woman effected by obesity there was a time when material things held more value to me than emotional things and everything I wanted and needed was wrapped up in my Christmas or Birthday list.

Wants versus needs.  For a long time it was hard for me to understand the difference. Anything I wanted I felt like I needed and I didn’t really have any priorities. Everything fell into the “I want it, I want it right now, I need it right now, “category.

After losing weight, this became even worse for me. It was very easy for me to justify what I wanted based on whether or not I deserved it, not whether or not I could afford it. If there was still room on a credit card and I thought I needed it for something, then of course I deserved it and I should have it. After all rebuilding a wardrobe after losing 260 lbs. is no small feat and after losing that sort of weight you want to look good, real good, in what you are wearing.

Over the course of the last several years this changed for me. It’s wasn’t an overnight change, but life situations taught me different lessons. Losing my Father and dealing with two monumental people in my life being hoarders started that ball rolling. Then finding myself on the brink of bankruptcy and really having to re-define need verses want helped put this all in perspective for me.

But the biggest change for me was when I realized that what I needed most was to feel wanted.

The moment that we realize this, we can go back and look at our other behavior and see the clear path that it was leading too. Everything I wanted and needed before were material things that in my thought process might make me more desirable to those looking at me and therefore, make me feel more wanted.

As a Wellness Coach, when I have a client that struggles with attention seeking behavior or struggles with the realization that feeling wanted is where their smaller obstacles stem from I do an exercise with them to help them visualize the pattern in their life. Very rarely to we actually recognize the emotions involved in the behavior we are exhibiting and if we can stop and pin point the source of the behavior we can often start to find solutions to the obstacles that the behavior is creating for us.

I call this exercise; Emotional Rewind and I ask my clients to start with the first physical relationship they had and then move forward, listing how each one made them feel.  When I did mine it looked something like this…

  • Relationship 1: A dirty secret, something he didn’t want his friends to know about.
  • Relationship 2: Wanted, Attractive, Appreciated, young and crazy.
  • Relationship 4: Wanted, Attractive, Appreciated, Curious
  • Relationship 5: Abused, Unwanted, Unattractive, Used
  • Relationship 6: Abused, Unwanted, Unattractive, Used
  • Relationship 7: Unwanted, Unattractive – then Wanted, Attractive, Appreciated – then Unwanted, Neglected, Emotionally Abused
  • Relationship 8: Wanted, Pretty, Attractive, Sexy, Appreciated – then Unwanted, Neglected, Emotionally abused.

When I wrote this down and I looked at it, what amazed me most were how these relationships and my feelings paralleled my struggle with obesity. In every relationship where I said I felt unwanted, unattractive and abused, I was at points in my life where my weight was the highest it had ever been at that give time and the person I was with, had usually in some form or another expressed something that made me feel unwanted and unattractive that I carried with me instead of talking out and working through.

From that first boy in high school that didn’t want his friends to know he was sleeping with the resident “fat girl” when I looked at my “emotional rewind” it was very clear to me that I have always sought emotional fulfillment, love, and being wanted through my physical relationships with people and that when that physicality was lacking, I internalized it into very negative feelings. The moment I started to feel “unwanted” all these words like: Unattractive, Neglected, Abused and Unappreciated are instantly triggered in my emotional thought process and once we are in that negative mind frame it’s very hard to break out of it.

This negative mind fame can lead us to all sorts of very bad places. Ask yourself for a moment.

Have you ever stood in front of the mirror and thought “What is wrong with me? Why doesn’t he want me?”

Have you ever found yourself asking, “Why isn’t he more affectionate with me?”

Have you ever blamed the lack of attention you are receiving on your weight, the excess skin you’re dealing with after the weight loss?

I can empathize with all of those thoughts. When these feelings flare up, what do you do? Let’s play a little game for a moment; I call it “Emotional Feud.” It reminds me of that game show, Family Feud, where they tell you a question they asked a hundred people and you try to come up with the top answers.

“What do women do when they feel unwanted?”

  • Eat
  • Buy New Clothes
  • Snoop Through Personal Items
  • Withdraw
  • Escapism
  • Drugs & Alcohol
  • Emotional or Physical Self-Mutilation
  • Have Affairs

Those would have been my top 8 answers. All of which, when coming from a negative place promote more negative feelings and inner struggles. When this happens a cycle begins where we spend more time addressing the symptoms of the problem rather addressing the source of the behavior.

What can we do to stop it? Rewind, Re-assess and Re-frame! That’s right, go back to the Emotional Rewind you just did and the Emotional Feud you just had and re-frame it.  Find the positive things that you can do to address the problem rather than the old negatives that were your original answers. For example;

“What can I do when I feel unwanted?”

  • Write it out
  • Make a cup of tea
  • Exercise
  • Read a Book
  • Do something that makes me feel pretty
  • Take a Bubble Bath
  • Call a Friend
  • Communicate my feelings

When we talk about emotional wellness and healthy lifestyle changes, one of the biggest obstacles we have is recognizing when the behaviors we are exhibiting is unhealthy. Recognition is the first step to recovery though, and if we can recognizing when those unhealthy behaviors have started creeping in, we can move forward and figure out how to recover from it before it leads us to really negative places. We can do this by rewinding and finding what the real source is. Once we have done that we can reassess the situation and attempt to re-frame in a way that is healthier for our emotional well-being.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Growing As A Coach: Get Over Yourself. It’s Bigger Than You

April started just over a week ago and now #TeamSlenderseekers is in the middle of week 4 of our 13 week couch-to-10k training schedule.

This time things have been a little different for me and I have to say it’s taken me a little bit to get caught up with the crazy deposits this has put in my emotional bank account.

Dallas, Texas, the way we looked at it in 1949Some of you may remember this, some of you might not, but around this time last year I was struggling with some very rough body image issues. I would stand in front of the mirror each morning and ascertain what was wrong with my body and tear myself apart with this overwhelming need I had to try to achieve perfection.  It got so bad that eventually while in Dallas, a group of four women who shared a common concern for me took me out to dinner and we had a conversation about where I was in my journey.

One of them looked at me  and in a tough love moment said to me, “You need to get over yourself and realize that this is much bigger than you.” It’s sounds harsh, but sometimes harsh is what you need to hear. “If I took a pin,” she continued, “and placed one on a map all over the country for every person whose life you have touched and then I put a pin in the map for every person whose life they have touched because you touched theirs, maybe you would start to realize that this is much bigger than you.”

I receive emails daily from Slender Seekers out there whose lives I have touched and it humbles me and makes me realize why I do what I do. I take those emotional deposits and I put them in my bank account and they pile up and I pull from them on those days I need a little extra strength to get me through.

But with this contest, with this contest winner, with this new person training under me as their coach; it has been different.

When Amy first wrote in, attached to her essay entry for the contest was a little note with a line that read “Thank you for inspiring me and so many others! You are a Warrior. This contest will change a life.”

A little bit later, after receiving the confirmation that her email and been received her message included another short note that read;

Again, thank you for this contest. Even if I don’t win, it has really inspired me this week to read the posts on your page, watch your video, look at your pictures, learn more about your victories and what drives you. It has helped me motivate myself to get to the gym when I wanted to lay on the couch. To push harder to run another minute or another two minutes. On Monday I ran 5 minutes on the treadmill before I walked. After entering the contest on Tuesday, I went and ran for 12 minutes. I felt so inspired, so much more strong and capable.

You are a truly special human being, and I hope to one day run by your side.

Each time I receive a note like this it brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. To know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have impacted someone’s life and motivated them into a happy healthier life is the biggest emotional paycheck I could receive.

new_blog_headshotBut it didn’t stop there, not with Amy. Because my “How Do YOU Celebrate Success” contest winner seems just as motivated as I am to motivate others and before I knew it a few things had happened.

First not only did Amy and I get registered for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, but my contest inspired others to do so as well, and both Amy and myself are bringing friends along; friends who signed up on their own to join us in this adventure.

Team Slender Seekers isn’t just Amy Smith and Pandora Williams, it also includes Tammy Beaumont and Stacie Bollon, not to mention Heather Rosenberry who is joining us for the Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k.

As we launched the #WineDineC210kPrep Virtual Event the numbers started piling in for people who were participating.  Another 48 pins hit the map of lives I had touched as both mine and Amy’s friends joined up and committed to training alongside us and completing a virtual 10k with us as part of the #TeamSlenderSeekers #WineDineC210KPrep - Virtual Event Group

It is truly amazing watching my dream unfold in front of my eyes. In the last month since we announced the winner of the second “How Do YOU Celebrate Success” contest, the deposits going into my emotional bank account have been huge. It’s like I won the emotional lottery. Watching Amy start working on paying it forward to her community and seeing those pins go in a map and realizing that so far, with one contest and one winner I have touched the lives of so many other people is probably the most rewarding gift I have ever been given.

Next Amy decided that she was going to do a 2k Color Us United run on May 26th as part of her training and invite her friends to go, without my prompting her at all. She named her team “Team Slender Seekers” and without even knowing it, Amy put one of the biggest emotional deposits in my account to date. As I look at the Facebook page for that event ( Team Slender Seekers: Color Us United ) this morning, tears swell in my eyes and all I can think is “My Daddy would be so proud of me.” Thirty-three people are signed up to go participate with her and they are currently waiting for their Team Slender Seeker shirts to arrive. To each and every one of those signed up for that team, thank you for being a part of a dream of mine.

WineDinePrepC210K

Walt Disney once said “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”

To everyone that has gotten involved in this event, from those participating to those cheering us on, from the companies that have stood up to help Amy with photos ( Solid Rock Photos ) to the people who have helped me with travel planning–and especially to the Sponsors that have made this all possible: thank you. Thank you for believing in my dream and for being part of the group of people who have made it a reality.

Today my emotional bank account is full because of you. The message that I hope you get here #SlenderSeekers is that each one of us is just one small pin, but what we do when we start to pay it forward to our community no matter how small it may seem; (Because that first pin hole seems so tiny sometimes) is much bigger than you may realize. Never be afraid to pursue a dream and always have the courage to reach for the stars.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Check out the Second “How do YOU Celebrate Success” Contest

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About (Pandora) The Author

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

Jaime "Pandora" Williams

#WineDineC210KPrep

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