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Fat Shaming: I Am No Longer My Own Worst Enemy…


December 2013

This is part two of two, part one is here and introduces what I have come to know as a rectifiable problem in how I interpret those things that I have no control over:  Other people, places and things.  You will rightly understand this to mean there isn’t much else I can control.  The only thing left is me, or more importantly, what occurs in the gray matter between my ears.

Herein lies a rub:  A small percentage of our society is angry, some even go so far as to say we are an angry species.  I disagree – I see us as we are, good and decent folk, if a bit self-centered with a few bad apples that make a rather large mess for the rest of us.  We believe there should be a certain order to things, whether it be the Ten Commandments type of order, or some other natural progression of things.  When something interrupts that delicate balance, we often retaliate.  From there, misunderstandings escalate and chaos ensues.  There is a reason for this, and a simple fix to ensure that one can rise above this – almost every time.

The answer to a happy, enjoyable life, at least as I’ve come to see it, is to properly manage my own thought process.

First of all it is important that I understand that not every thought that enters my head A) has validity and B) makes sense. In fact, I have some pretty odd stuff blow through the gray matter from time to time.  For instance, and coming at this from a recovering drunk’s perspective (which I happen to have a lot of experience with), I have the thought pop into my head every now and again that a drink or fifteen would be nice.  It doesn’t happen often anymore but it does happen.  In fact, just the other day I was at the supermarket picking up coffee for the office and passing by a holiday beer display, out of nowhere, BAM…  “A six-pack would be nice…  Wait a minute, a twelve pack is better…  Wait, why mess with that, a case!”  This took approximately 0.8 seconds, that fast.  Now I used to be defenseless against a few thoughts like that – I’d be drunk within six hours.  Today things are different because I have the ability to, very quickly, turn around with “Are you f****ing NUTS?  Run!”  I ducked my head, picked up my pace and headed directly for the coffee aisle.  A nice quick, “God, please take that thought from me and throw it in the s#!t heap where it belongs” prayer and I’m right back to normal, where I belong.

Exactly as I described above – I am powerless over that first thought, but not the response.  The example above is an extreme one but the same principle works for any detrimental thought that pops up with practice.  The trick is to follow that negative thought with the proper action which is simply defined as “the next right thing”.  I look at thinking like this:  At any given moment I’m walking a path.  The destination is not important, staying on the path is.  The initial thought is a fork in the path that leads somewhere and I don’t always know if that’s a place I want to go or not – so I do my best to look down the fork.

Going back to my drunkard example, if I look far enough down the “six-pack” path, my marriage, my relationship with my kids, my house, my bikes, my life as I know it is gone – all of it.  I am that kind of guy – if I take that first drink, I’ll give up everything that is good in my life for the second (this is one of the few times a little self-knowledge does come in handy).  The next right thing is to abandon that thought process and continue down the path I was on.  Today I can do this within a matter of seconds but it wasn’t always so easy.  Perfecting this takes practice – and worse, when I add new problems to the process, things I don’t know how to handle intuitively, I have to start back on square one…

Take fitness for example.  I started running about twelve years ago because I’d packed on some serious weight.  I went from an admittedly skinny 150 pounds to just shy of 200.  I actually made a decision, the day before I started running, to go down the other path.  I chose, if only for 16 hours, to allow myself to get fat.  I looked down the path I’d chosen and I saw me at 250 pounds, miserable and sickly – on a half-dozen prescriptions for heart problems, sleep apnea and depression…  I bought a pair of running shoes that day.

Now, from time to time I had a tough time sticking with running, especially when I had to deal with running injuries – and I had a few.  Early on I needed help staying on the right path because, from time to time, I was weak.  I received this help from friends, indirectly and directly.  Indirectly from showing up to the running club and feeding off the energy of others.  Directly by calling specific friends and talking through my difficulties.  Through these interactions I changed the way I processed thoughts about my fitness so that now, when I have one of those, “I should just throw in the towel” thoughts I can make immediate corrections by discarding the initial thought as ludicrous.  I learned to control which thoughts win and which don’t.

This is the secret to my happiness, to my success.  One way or another, I have a tape that I play in my head that directly effects my performance in life.  If I run into a situation where my thoughts are taking me in a direction I don’t want to go, I change the tape.

Ultimately, what’s important is how to get back to our proverbial path – the one that doesn’t end in a crash and burn.  Once I can stay on the winning path I am no longer my own worst enemy.


  1. […] Fat Shaming: I Am No Longer My Own Worst Enemy… […]

  2. Kecia says:

    Playing a potential futuristic “video” in your head to keep you on track is a great idea Jim!! For people who can visualize, that is a great way to keep on track!!

  3. Sandra says:

    Awesome. Freaking. Post.

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