The invitation has arrived. You stare down at it in awe; how has it been 20 years, and what will you wear to the reunion? One moment you are ecstatic and the next moment you’re filled with anxiety that grows from the pit of your stomach. ‘When I graduated from high school I was a size 30 waist, now look at me, I’m sporting a 42 inch waist with 5 inches of flab hanging over my jeans,’ you think to yourself, ‘on a good day I might be able to suck in my gut far enough to see my toes.‘
Instantly you picture all of your football buddies and visualize them the same size that they were in high school. You notice that your breathing is getting faster and the artery on your neck is pulsing. Your blood is moving quicker than a fat guy in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot . You realize the real punchline is that now you’re the fat guy in that joke. Your inner voice points out that your high school quarter back body at 195 pounds has turned into a 310 pound offensive guard.
Now the logic part of your mind starts to take over as the anxiety continues to grow. ‘Ok self, how many days until the reunion, uhh 60 days, ok, now lets minus 195 from 310 and we only have to lose 115 pounds. Lets take 115 pounds and divide it by 60 days and you only have to lose 2 pounds a day. 2 pounds a day? Psh! Cake walk.’
You notice that your heart is no longer racing; you’re now calm and collected. Somewhere deep down you realize 115 pounds in 60 days is actually ridiculous, but the plan is set. Events are in motion.
Step 1 – only eat once a day
Step 2 – exercise for 2 hours each day
Step 3 – dig out the old plastic sweat suit you used to lose weight when you were on the high school wresting team.
Step 4 – find your high school graduating picture and put it on your mirror so it will motivate you everyday.
Step 5 – go research the internet and find some diet pills that will melt the fat off.
You look at the watch on your left arm and it dawns on you that you are supposed to meet your work buddies for lunch. They picked the local burger joint in town. You tell yourself that you have to lose 2 pounds today and it means that you will have to order a salad. What’s this? Two quarter pounders, a large order of fries, large coke, and an apple pie have suddenly appeared on your tray. How did that happen? Your inner voice is screaming at you to be strong; don’t eat the food. In order to get away with that, you’d have to tell your friends that you’re on a diet. Might as well buy tickets to a ballet while you’re at it. At first there is guilt, but with each delectable bite you relax and let the food over take your anxiety. You say to yourself that you will deal with this weak moment later, but now the food is so comforting.
Now it’s three in the afternoon and you are feeling sluggish. You jog over to the vending machines and figure that you can count it as part of your exercise for the day. As you look at the vending machines but your brain is telling you that you have to lose 2 pounds today and no snacks are allowed. There’s now a bottle of coke in your left hand. You are now taking long deep gulps hoping that the anxiety will stop. While washing down the large chocolate cookies with the can of pop you notice the anxiety starts to fade. You get back to your desk and let out a deep sigh. Then it hits you that losing a 115 pounds is going to be harder than you thought.
In fact, a debate starts in your mind about the saneness of your weight loss goal. You ask yourself over and over how you got so out of control. Once again the anxiety begins to build as these thoughts come faster and faster. The most frustrating part is that you have only been on your weight loss goal for 4 hours and you are about to have a nervous break down.
This is a true story that a few of us might be able to relate to. Anxiety causes stress and stress causes poor health decisions. The problem is that diets themselves also cause a large amount of anxiety, which is why diets aren’t what you need. Get your head in the game, working with realistic time-lines, and relaxation techniques are all ways to stop the anxiety and increase your chances of success.