I remember the feeling. I had no clear idea what I really wanted to do with my life. I had done all the right things. I went to college and got a degree. I did a sales internship. I got a decent job. I was 25 and I had already accomplished more than most of my extended family. On paper, I had all the right things going for me. I was headed for success, and people around me applauded my efforts.
But something was off.
I didn’t know why I was going after those things. Maybe part of me was convinced that they were a prerequisite for going after my true passions. Maybe I believed that I needed to make enough money before I could “do what I really want.” There were many reasons. Most of which were brooding just behind my conscious thought, calling the shots.
The truth is, I had no idea. I didn’t know what I wanted in life. I didn’t have a clear direction. I didn’t feel a sense purpose toward anything specific. My honest thought was that I could make enough money to give me plenty of margin to explore my “dreams”.
We all know this is a trap. We try hard to convince ourselves otherwise, but it’s always an elusive fox, always just out of your range.
It wasn’t always this way. At some point in life, things became cloudy. Like a lot of people, I was pushed into the assumed hierarchy of success as a way of “getting where I wanted to go”. I had to climb the ladder now. I had to do all the right things for the right people. I had to pay my dues.
Those were all excuses. The truth is I chose that path. A part of me was sending subconscious messages to keep me where things were safe and predictable. Telling myself I had to navigate all that was a way of “buying time” until I could figure this all out.
I kept telling myself I just needed clarity, but clarity comes when you take personal responsibility and follow your heart. Yeah, I know, “follow your heart” is such an overused cliché that it’s lost a lot of its meaning. What I mean here is that your heart is trying to send messages to your brain. Your brain interprets those messages based on your “normal” – the beliefs that govern your life. That could be good or bad. The heart seems to know where to go, but we often filter its message through our limiting beliefs and then choose a path. Eventually we end up lost and wondering where we went wrong. Life seems hard, stressful – a grind.
Limiting beliefs can crush your dreams.
I struggled with a limiting belief that stemmed from a very common issue. I was overweight - very overweight. I weighed 300 lbs. I was tired, unhappy, stressed, and in a constant mental fog. The excess weight meant excess barriers to what I could do. The physical limitations had slowly turned into mental limitations. It was my new “normal”. It’s just “who I was”.
Something had to change. I was stuck. The body and brain I now had weren’t reflecting the real me. I was still in there somewhere beneath the rubble. The “real me” knew what to do, what things to pursue, and what choices to make. The overweight me had no clue. All the life-giving choices were hidden behind the walls of limiting beliefs.
So, I decided to do something about it. I had to get the “real me” back. I knew that my life and my future depended on it.
I lost 120 lbs. in 21 months.
I had done it. I was a new person. I was becoming the “real me” again.
Everything had changed. I had energy. I had drive. I had clarity. I knew what I wanted. I knew it would take a lot of work, but it felt worth it. I also knew that the only thing in my way was me. Nothing could stop me, but limiting beliefs about myself. I spent the last 21 months crushing them. I would make it – for real this time.
Before I continue, I need to fill you in on an important part of my story – the most important part.
This wasn’t the first time I had lost a lot of weight. I had lost 80lbs. or more three different times in my life. Yes, you read that right. Each time I had reached my weight loss goal, then slowly put the weight back on. It was a theme in my life.
Obviously, something was off. Something was wrong deep below the surface, and I had to find it. It wasn’t just a case of bad habits, or not finding that “perfect diet”. It was something more. Maybe you can relate.
Being overweight isn’t the real issue. It’s just a symptom. It’s a byproduct of a way of thinking.
The way I was thinking was being reflected in the changes to my body. Using food to find comfort from the wear and tear of life was a huge part of it. Even then, using food for this was also just a symptom. Something was wrong. Something kept me trapped where I was. Something kept pulling me back to where I started. That way of thinking was, itself, only a symptom.
At some point in my life, something happened that started all this. I lost my way. I experienced pain and disappointment and didn’t know what to do with it. It was a lot of little things, really. My heart was needing repair. Its main message to the brain now was “I’m hurting. Do something.” My brain didn’t know what to do. So, it decided to protect the heart from the thing that was causing all this: pain. The only way to do that was to create a new version of me that wasn’t able to get hurt. It was a false self. The false self doesn’t live from the heart. He lives in the boundaries of “reason”. That reason is built on the belief that pain is to be avoided at all costs. One thing led to another and I had gained a lot of weight, I lacked clarity, and I didn’t know where I was heading in life. I lived in the constant struggle to “measure up”.
Often, clarity in life is a reflection of clarity in identity. I had been living under the control of a false self, a “confident imposter”, for so long that I didn’t know who the “real me” was anymore. When I finally got the real me back, clarity flooded in. I still had to take action. I still had to grow tremendously. But I knew where I was going. I could “follow my dreams” again.
That journey of losing 120 lbs. resulted in much more than a better body. That’s often the motivation for those struggling with weight issues. The process changed me. Process is the key word here. I had to confront limiting beliefs and push past them. I had to change the way I saw myself. I had to believe I was worthy, again. I had to let myself remain open to the beautiful gift all around me: possibility.
Now I’m helping others do the same. I don’t help them find the “perfect diet” or to do the right exercises. (Those things are important.) I help them figure out what’s really causing the setbacks. I help them discover the real reason they keep starting over. I help them get clarity. I help them become themselves, again. I help them lose weight by helping them lose the “real weight.”
Can you relate? Are you overweight and lacking clarity in your life? There may be something beneath the surface calling the shots.
If you want clarity, lose the weight and see what happens. Get to the bottom of it. Find the real reason you’re stuck. Your life depends on it.
Become the real you – for real this time.
To get you started and finally lose the real weight in your life, read the book For Real This Time: Lose Weight, Quit Starting Over, Become the Real You.