Thursday, February 17, 2011

Throwing Out the Roadblocks

I've come to the conclusion that a lot of us with "issues" such as weight problems, food obsession, any kind of "addiction" have these behaviors to serve some kind of purpose. I mean, if we didn't, we wouldn't continue them. Right? People overcome addictions everyday, and I know it is hard but it can be done. So I was thinking tonight (with my flu brain, so forgive any lack of clarity), what's with the roadblocks? That's what they are, really. Roadblocks to achieving something or accomplishing something in our lives.

We say we want certain things in life... maybe a husband, or a certain way of living, or a particular job. Maybe we want our house to be or look a certain way, or we want ourSELVES to be or look a certain way. Maybe we have a vision of the way our life *would be*.... if. And it's the 'if' that gets us.

Me, I admit it. I have *two* issues. One is food, the other is the Internet. I use both in ways I shouldn't. Not just for nourishment or utility or occasional pleasure or recreation. I, given the chance, use both to excess, in unhealthy ways. Part of the reason blogging helped me so much with my weight problem is that I could take that 2 hours a day (or more) that I was spending obsessing about *food* and spend it on the Internet instead... reading, commenting, blogging, surfing... basically checking out. Now don't get me wrong. Blogging has been a godsend. I am not going to stop. But when it takes me 15 minutes to throw out a post (about average for me, since I just start typing off the top of my head), and maybe an hour to answer emails, mess with the blog and pictures, read a few blogs here and there... then why do I sometimes find myself online for way, way longer than that? How is it I can spend 2 hours here, an hour there, another hour here and then 3 hours after I get the little one to bed... online? Doing what? I don't game. I don't program. I don't "chat." But I will while away every spare moment on here, goofing around, shopping, looking up random stuff, reading and surfing tons of sites and blogs and message boards. I love it. When I was a kid, I used to spend hours at the library. I'd be sad when they closed for the night and I had to leave. I pored over the card catalog and sat at the huge desks browsing heavy reference books, a bit sad that they couldn't be checked out and wistfully imagining owning my very own library someday. And now, I have it. I have four bookshelves in my living room, lined mostly with reference books. But the Internet... oh wow! When I 'found' it in 1997, it was my dream come true. It's like all the libraries in the world joined together and they're open all night! It's heavenly for me. But I can waste an awful lot of time looking up scientific articles online and reading them. Plus, I get to people-watch, which has always been a favorite pastime of mine. I've always liked to put on my dark sunglasses and just sit somewhere in a park or outside a store and watch people go by and think about them and catch snippets of their conversations and their lives. Message boards and blogs are just like that, only better!

I use food like I use the Internet... as a distraction, an excuse, a roadblock. I've mentioned before how food obsession takes your mind off other, more pressing and distressing matters in your life that you *should* be facing but are avoiding. Eating, dieting, obsessing, surfing the web for hours... all avoidance techniques. All roadblocks we place in our own paths so we don't have to progress. It's easier that way.

What would you have to do if you removed the roadblocks? Do you even know where your road would lead? Is it too scary to think about, so you just keep eating and dieting and failing and obsessing and distracting yourself with other behaviors, whether it be the Internet, drinking, smoking and trying to quit repeatedly, gambling, fighting and fixing a bad relationship over and over, or sexual obsessions? It's all just smoke and mirrors. All roadblocks YOU put there. And they sure look like big, heavy, concrete roadblocks too. Can't go around these babies, so you may as well stay put and stagnate.

Where could we be if we got rid of the roadblocks? Think about it. I know where I could be, and it IS scary to me. A smaller body, more activity, more expectations from people, more time to do everything I have put off for years. If I got off the computer for even that one extra hour per day, I bet my house would be a lot more organized. Yet I block myself from *doing* it because, well, this is easier.

It might seem impossible to change it. But I have a little secret. Those roadblocks are not made of concrete. They are made of styrofoam. And just as we placed them there, we can remove them. We just have to decide we really *want* to go down that road after all, and be brave enough to take the first steps.

18 comments:

Hanlie said...

Yes! And the truth is that we put the roadblocks there to begin with, so we can just as easily remove them. This is actually something that I'm spending a lot of time on at the moment when I'm working with my NLP coach. It's all very well to figure out what it is we want to achieve and why we want to achieve it, but if we really, really wanted it we would have done it already. So, there must be reasons why we don't want it (the roadblocks) and they are often stronger than our reasons for wanting it because they reside in the powerful unconscious mind. This is fascinating stuff and I have learned so much about myself as I explore the things that hold me back.

I hope you feel better soon!

Emily@Little Forever Family said...

I feel like I am reading about me. I had a baby 4 months ago and I feel stuck. I am tired, sleep deprived, stressed, and I go to the internet and to food (sometimes even healthy food but in excess) way too much and I am tired of the way I look (as everything is hanging and the weight I lost after my baby is probably back.) I need to figure out how to get those nasty road blocks gone. It needs to happen. Love your blog.

Diandra said...

One thing about keeping yourself from doing what you would do with your extra time (if you didn't do what you're doing) is that you cannot fail if you don't get started.

I do not take this experience from losing weight, but from creative writing - many people I know will start working on "their novel", and they will fuss over details, throw everything out and start again, always claiming they are only polishing - because otherwise they would have to send it out to agents and publishers, and that would mean they could get rejected. I bet it is the same with almost every other aspect of life.

There's a German proverb along the lines of, "If you do a lot, you make many mistakes. If you do little, you make few mistakes. If you don't do anything, you make no mistakes. People who make no mistakes get all the glory." (^v^)

Thirteenlbs said...

Beautiful post. I am of the same camp as you, and also working on things slowly. Geneen Roth writes about this, saying something like, "The fulless we truly seek is a not a full stomach but a full life."

ayladakora said...

Internet and food.. oh yes.. my addictions too. I am on the computer all day at work, I get home, play on line. I wake up in the morning and im online before work. Makes me realize that I REALLY need to cut back. But one thing I took from ya is that everytime I feel like eating, I should blog..

Claudia's Plate said...

I have said this over and over and over and over again to people, and especially those who don't understand eating addictions.

When you're young and you put your hand on the hot stove, it hurts...badly. You don't do it again because there is absolutely zero payoff. When you're fat, there *is* a payoff; even those who don't have eating addictions tend to find it difficult to understand this. Somewhere, somehow, the payoff does exist. You just have to find it, challenge it, and ask yourself, "what am I really protecting with this fat suit??"

I always like to think of something that scares me to my core...something that I feel like I could never live without. For me, it would be being abandoned or being alone with absolutely no one around me. No family, no friends, no safety net. Whenever I'm in a situation and for whatever reason, a person whom I 'trust' somehow triggers these sensations such as abandonment or 'disappointment,' I have also discovered that I have the urge to binge or eat things I shouldn't.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I joined the Y. I found since I retired I could literally spend all day online, on Facebook, emailing friends, gossipy websites, etc. Now I work out two hours a day every other day and feel a hundred times better. It's very encouraging to see lots of fit people and people who aren't as fit but who are trying to be. I'm off to Zumba class this morning.


PaulaM

LacieMC said...

Just the kick in the pants I needed. I pretend I am on the internet "researching" how to get started again when in reality I know I am just wasting time.

Diana said...

You really described me. The internet is a huge time suck for me. It always starts innocently, writing a blog post. Then I read some blogs, then the next thing you know I'm looking at all kinds of stuff and it's been two hours!

I do it with food too. I spend to much time thinking about it, worrying about it, preparing it, obsessing about it. It's crazy.

I'm working on smashing both of these things, but boy, it is NOT easy! Especially the food part. :)

Laura said...

I know exactly what you mean. I do the same thing with the internet. It's strange how much we can want things, and how many things we choose to do to keep us from doing those things.

Anonymous said...

Thought about roadblocks some time back. In time (and with work) my roadblocks became stepping-stones, from which I could see a great distance. Then I picked them up and carried them with me everywhere, just to show how strong I was. After a while I put them down and went on unburdened. Looking back it seems the experiences I'd thought were insurmountable were way behind me,just something that happened to happen.
Thank you for sharing your growth.
Marie

marie said...

I'm the same way, except that I have a television addiction as well. I own a few series as well as download a lot, and can spend an entire day in front of the tv or laptop watching episodes. My problem has gotten pretty bad because I'm a 24 year old college student and the most I can accomplish school wise is 3 courses per semester because other things like internet and food and tv have pretty much taken over my life.

I do think that I'm terrified of being out of school and in the real world which is a reason why I'm taking so long to finish college. Like, I'll get this 'aha' moment and know its unacceptable to waste so much time, but then the next morning I kinda fall back in the same pattern.

Karyn said...

Hey Lyn....the last few paragraphs have me really thinking.

Good job

Lynne said...

Just "missed" Yoga class b/c I was catching up on your blog... I am right there with you!!

Betty said...

Holy moly, it's like you're reading my mind. (And by the looks of these other comments, there are a lot of us on the same wavelength!) I've been thinking about these issues for almost a year now, especially after reading Geneen Roth's "Women, Food and God." I just blogged about it here: http://bettyssoulfoodjournal.blogspot.com/2011/02/both-sides-now.html

I'm ready to remove some roadblocks. Life is too short. Love your blog; it's such an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

This blog really spoke to me. My goodness, what WOULD happen if I got off the internet and was thin and healthy. I would have to face my loneliness. But... maybe I'm lonely because I spend too much time on the internet, not getting out enough, not even trying to meet or interact with others. You're right, our roadblocks are of our own making and they are made of Styrofoam, should we choose to see it that way. Brilliant post.

Sunny said...

probably one of the best posts I've read this year. Kudos to you, for going inside and examining what's going on. ;)

Alicia said...

So How'd you lose most of the weight? I've just now found your blog searching "medifast". I was on medifast year or two ago- had a bad spell & really couldn't get going on it again. NOt sure what my roadblocks are except that I love to eat!