When we lived in Florida, I had friends who would run races for charity. I would sometimes go cheer them on if the charity was one that I supported. I felt much like the fifth wheel as my friend would cheerily wave as I stood on the road looking after her. I sometimes felt like a shadow person.
Yesterday, I did a 5K that benefited a local charity. There were runners of all sizes and a fair amount of spouses, friends, children, and significant others who weren’t running but were cheering on their loved ones. There was one lady in particular that caught my attention. She looked almost exactly like I used to when I was morbidly obese. Her clothes were a bit ill-fitting, her shoulders were slumped, and her demeanor felt eerily familiar to me. The whole time I was running I found my thoughts straying to her and feeling extreme empathy for her.
I remember feeling like such a failure and feeling as though I would always be fat. I would always be too tired to exercise, and feeling as though I would never be able to achieve any level of self-discipline that my friends who could walk or run a 5K had achieved. Never.
There are a lot of variables involved in the successful weight loss journey. Selecting the right nutritional and calorie balance for weight loss, deciding what exercise routine works for you, and figuring out what role self-discipline plays for you.
We might not like to use the word “self-discipline” because of negative connotations, but I believe there is a need for self-discipline in the weight loss process. And with the discovery of self-discipline when it comes to food and exercise, there is often a rediscovery of some lost self-confidence.
What is Self-Discipline
One dictionary of definition is “Training and control of oneself and one’s conduct, usually for personal improvement.” The key word here for me is training. It’s not like we don’t have the ability to control our food intake, but we often need to train ourselves to make the better choices that can help us lose weight and feel more self-confident.
What Self-Discipline is Not
It is not a negative. Think about it. We exercise self-discipline in almost every area of our life, from making sure we get to work on time to the self-discipline required for something as simple as brushing our teeth every day. Without self-discipline in our lives, we would have some pretty serious consequences. Being self-disciplined helps us be more positive in many ways.
The Link Between Self-Discipline and Self-Confidence
Here’s where it gets interesting. I believe that it is ideal to approach weight loss from a position of self-confidence in oneself, but I also know that for many people, myself included, the weight loss increases self-confidence. Then as the self-confidence increases, the desire and belief that you can actually get to a healthy weight becomes more and more powerful. It is almost like a snowball rolling down a mountain picking up more snow as it goes along. The more practiced and disciplined you get at making healthy food and exercise choices, the more your confidence increases.
When I stood getting ready to run the race yesterday thinking about the woman I used to be, I realized that years and years of practicing self-discipline (and not just with food) have helped my self-confidence in so many ways. I feel more confident and able to try new things, I feel more in control of my food choices, I feel more confident in my relationships, and find myself not afraid to stand up and say what I think.
Self-discipline doesn’t always come easy and oftentimes it seems to come and go. As you work through either weight loss or weight maintenance, the new habits you develop also develop your self-discipline and enhance your self-confidence.
What role do you think self-discipline plays in weight loss and its relationship to your confidence level? Diane