I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen off the dieting wagon and told myself that I was going to ‘start over on Monday’. I think for a while my whole life was one big ‘I’m starting over on Monday’. I would eat well, eat less and exercise, the whole shebang, and then I would inevitably crack. I would crack because I was trying to force myself overnight into a drastic and unrealistic way of life. Then I would beat myself up because I wasn’t able to keep it up and I would feel terrible about myself. And to make myself feel better I would eat… a lot and say I’ll start over on Monday.
Well, I started over on Monday so many times that it just discouraged me from even wanting to try. I was fighting a losing battle and my weight just kept climbing higher, which made starting over an even bigger challenge because now I had even further to go. I was back at the starting point, but the finish line was getting further away. It just seemed impossible to me, so I just gave up. I didn’t have it in me to start over again.
In 2011 I suffered from a major depression so severe it kept me off work for 2 years, during which time I often struggled with anxiety so crippling I was unable to leave the house. During those 2 years (and several years afterwards as well) I saw a psychologist who helped me turn my life around. I did most of the work, but she was there to give me the tools I needed to do it and to support me as I tackled the issues in my life that led to my depression.
For 2 years I did tremendous internal work, and the progress and changes both within myself and my life around me, were mind boggling. We dug stuff out of my head I didn’t even know were in there, and we worked on the roots of all my issues. However, you can’t dig that deep without suffering for it, so I dealt with the pain the only way I knew how, with food. I gained over 80 lbs during those dark years. I can’t officially confirm my highest weight because I was going nowhere near a scale, but I’m very certain I was over 400 lbs between 2011 and 2013.
But regardless of the difficulty of the journey I was on, I continued to work on myself and to love myself. It was working! I felt great! Better than I ever had in my life. I had energy and the desire to go out and enjoy my life, but my body just couldn’t do what my mind wanted it to do. Just going for a walk was painful, and I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even walk for very long. It was very frustrating, and it was getting harder for me emotionally to be limited by my weight because I didn’t want to sit around, I wanted to get out and enjoy my life, not watch it pass me by anymore.
During my depression, I was wearing the biggest size of pants my plus size store offered, and I had begun having trouble getting into them. I knew that one way or another I had to address the issue, and soon, before my pants became too tight that I could no longer fit into them. I began to make progress on my emotional eating, and so I had lost a little bit of weight, but I was still dangerously overweight, and I knew I had to do something. However, I was a bit nervous about taking on this monumental challenge because I had never been able to successfully lose weight and keep it off before. And I had been over weight since before I was 6 years old, so this was pretty much a lifelong battle that I had been waging. So, trying again to lose a significant amount of weight was daunting to me.
Sure, in the previous 2 years I had changed myself internally so completely I could hardly even be called the same person. I had gone from someone who was so depressed and unhappy that I came very close to ending my life, to someone who loved herself and loved life. I was still working hard on myself and I was still making great progress on that front, but still I dilly-dallied for months on the issue of my weight.
When I mentioned to my psychologist that I would start addressing my weight on a Monday in the near future she reminded me of the last 2 years of my life. Of the many trials and tribulations of my journey. Of the many set backs and dark days that I had to crawl out of. Of how one day I felt as light as a feather and how on other days I felt like the weight of the world was grinding me into dust. Of how I never gave up no matter how many times I stumbled and fell. Of how I never told myself that I would start over on Monday, I just kept picking myself back up and continuing..
She made me see that that was how I had accomplished everything I had. And then she told me something that brought it all together for me. “Monday” she said “is the equivalent of someday. Someday I will quit my miserable job. Someday I will learn another language. Someday I will lose weight. Starting over on Monday is starting over someday and someday is not a day of the week, it is the battle cry of the weak. And you are no longer weak.” It affected me profoundly and I still remind myself of that statement to this day,
I embarked on the weight loss part of my journey on a Friday, and not a pre-planned Friday, I just woke up one morning and I knew that I was ready to embrace this part of my journey. Yeah, maybe I would slip up, or just flat out crack and go on an all-you-can-eat, free-for-all food binge and that was ok. Because I was no longer weak. Every time I would have a bad day and I would have to force myself to keep going would just keep making me stronger and that strength would eventually guarantee my success.
Because you see, she was right. We all start out weak, but we get stronger when we get back up from being knocked down. There will be ups and there will be downs and it will not always be easy, but you do not give up. You do not start over on Monday. You accept that the journey will not always be smooth sailing. You understand that there will be many triumphs and failures as you move forward. You will fall, yes. Many, many times, and you will get up again, every single time, even if you get up battered and bruised.
This is how you become the person who will change their life. Because you changed on the inside first. You changed your mindset from ‘I will start over on Monday’ to ‘I will keep going today regardless’. The mindset behind starting over on Monday is just a mental reset button. You have not moved forward. You have not overcome. You have merely started over from square one, again. But if you get back up and keep going, you never start over from scratch. You are building upon a foundation you solidified every time you got back up and kept going.
And that is how you accomplish your goals, you change your mindset. In the words of the late Dr. Wayne Dyer “Change your thoughts and you will change your life".
It is, very simply put, the recipe for success.