Perspective is the way we see things, our attitudes towards something, or a point of view.
And with regards to ourselves, and our perceived acheivements and successes, we quite often see ourselves in a very different way to how others do.
What is your own perspective of you? Do you think it matches up with the way other people see you? Do you actually know what other people think about you? And whilst what other people think doesn’t always matter, it can sometimes be useful to get another person’s perspective on things, and it most certainly helps for you to look at things from a different perspective to your own, from time to time.
Be Strong – You never know who you are inspiring!
There’s a phrase ‘Be Strong – you never know who you are inspiring!’ and it is so true. Whilst you might be thinking that you aren’t doing well, there will be someone looking at you with complete awe and admiration for achieving what you are achieving and doing what you are doing, against all your personal challenges. And it is that perspective that we need to draw on, when we are thinking things aren’t going quite the way we want them.
When the going gets tough, or we fall off the wagon, getting some perspective on things can really help us to refocus, and carry on. So often we try and tackle too much at once in life, it can leave us feeling overwhelmed and then when things start to go wrong, or not the way we want, we feel like a failure, give up and resign ourselves to the fact that it just isn’t meant to be.
But, if we took a step back and looked at our situation from a different point of view, or through another set of eyes, would we think the same? Or would we see a person that is trying their hardest, and has made some real progress? Would we perhaps see where it is that we might be going wrong, and what tweaks we need to make to see the success we crave?
Perspective on our achievements
Getting some perspective on what we have already achieved can help us to realise how far we have come on our journey.
You may have gone from eating take-away and junk food 6 and a half days a week, to one day a week.
You may have reduced your alcohol intake from 6 nights a week, to 2 nights a week.
You may be drinking more water than you ever have.
You may have started reading food labels and you may be starting to understand what food fits in your calorie allowance.
Your skin, eyes and general complexion might be improving.
If you have introduced physical activity, you might be starting to notice the benefits of this too.
You may be less out of breath by the time you reach the top of the stairs.
You might be finding it easier to get up out of a chair, or to get your shoes on.
There will be so many things, that you are doing now comfortably, that you weren’t able to last week, last month or last year.
The weighing scales don’t measure the things listed above, but they also don’t measure our changing body shapes. Because we also encourage you to also increase your physical activity, what the exercise part of a healthy lifestyle does for you isn’t always reflected on the scales, as much as we would like it to be. But what it does do, is it changes your body shape, reduces inches, builds and tones muscles, improves your health, reduces the visceral fat around your organs, and reduces disease risk. The weighing scales most certainly can’t measure that!
Just a few weeks ago, our member Chrissy shared some pictures with us. In both pictures she is the same weight, but her shape is completely different, more toned, and slimmer looking in the second more recent photo, but exactly the same weight. She has kindly given us permission to share them with you, so you can see for yourself, the difference. She even admitted herself that she hadn’t realised that she had changed shape so much, despite receiving comments from friends and colleagues – she just thought they were being nice!
This is what lifestyle change does for you – more than just a diet ever would.
It’s so important to remember these ‘wins’ along our journey, because it is impossible to do it all at once. If you tried to start exercising 4 days a week, eat to 1200 calories every day, get your 5 a day, only drink alcohol on 2 days a week, and drink 2 litres of water every day, it would be too much to do all at once. You would end up feeling overwhelmed and like you can’t do it. If however you set your stall out to just achieve one of those things in a week, it is much more achievable, and you will be much more likely to be high-fiveing yourself by Sunday night. Once you get comfortable with one change, that is when it is time to add another.
Perspective makes you realise this. I often think of getting perspective as taking the advice that I would give to my best friend. So the next time you are feeling like you aren’t winning, if it was your best friend who came to you what advice would you give them?
Getting some perspective on our actions, is when we really critically look at our behaviours and actions over the last week, for instance, and ask if we really were doing our best.
Rick and I often encounter this when weighing people in our groups, when the result isn’t quite what they were expecting, and the loss they wanted is actually a maintain or may be even a gain. Here we always ask them to go back through the previous week and look critically at everything they have done – have they really been ‘on it’, have they really stuck to their calories, or have they been winging it on more than one occasion, or been picking and nibbling without taking those calories into account.
Getting this perspective allows you to work out what you need to do the following week, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Perspective on the scales
So many of us put so much focus on the number on the scales that we actually forget what we have achieved to get there.
In Dr Paula’s talk earlier in the year, she asked us to get some perspective on the number on the scales. If you feel happy and comfortable, eat delicious healthy foods, enjoy life and participate in and enjoy exercise regularly at 10 stone 7, for example, why was it so important to see 10 stone 4 on the scales? What difference does that last 3lb make? Your body might have found its comfortable place at that weight. The place where you are healthy and happy, comfortable in your clothes and living the lifestyle you enjoy.
It is great to have goals, and in particular medium and long term goals that keep us focused. But, don’t forget those every day things that we achieve. The daily goals and tasks that we complete and don’t give ourselves credit for, are our biggest achievements. Some days I think we should get a high five just for getting to bedtime without losing our temper with someone. Life is so full on these days, and we all have our own problems to deal with, so don’t give yourself a hard time when the scales don’t reflect your efforts for one or two weeks. It could be anything, from hormones, to retained water to trapped wind. But as long as over the long term your weight is going in the direction that you want it to, you are winning!
So next time the scales don’t say quite the number you want them to say, or you have a bad day or two, get some perspective. Rejoice in what you have achieved, look at some old photos and compare them to now, work out what else you could do to improve and just keep on doing the do! And remember that quote “Be Strong – you never know who you are inspiring!”