“You’ve Got to Want it to Win it”

I was a competitive cheerleader from sixth grade through high school.

My senior year, our team won a bid to the Universal Cheerleading Association’s Nationals competition in Orlando, Florida. It was a dream come true, and though we didn’t come close to placing, we had heart and determination that no one could deny.

One cheer that we used to use all the time as a get-psyched/get-pepped chant was:

“You’ve got to want it, to win it, to take it to the limit.
To take it to the limit, you want it and you win it.”

Yesterday, while chatting with a friend, something struck me: all this time I’ve been seeking to “win it” (weight loss battle, disordered eating issues, equating being thin = happy) when suddenly it hit me that maybe I won a long time ago; maybe I’m already a winner?!

I have an amazing and devoted husband, a fabulous family and support system of friends, a fantastic career, a house that is truly ours, and two degrees. I’m a demon at the gym, am physically healthy, and am learning to deal with anxiety and disordered eating issues …

Really, what more am I looking for to be happy with myself? A couple nagging pounds?! Will that really make a difference?

Moreover, I’ve looked this way (more or less) for over four years now. I haven’t yo-yoed the way so many people do (in that I never got heavy again). Yes, I’ve gained a little, but I haven’t changed drastically. I can still wear (most) of my clothes.

So here’s the rub: I’m constantly torn between the notion of being happy where I am, with these extra pounds … or encouraging myself to try just a little harder.

I’m not someone who gives up … ever. In fact, I’m quite relentless, persistent, seeking the “A,” the approval. According to Dr. G., it’s part of what has made me a good student and a good employee. It’s a positive side to being anxious, being a perfectionist. And everyone says once I stop obsessing about my weight or body, I’ll lose weight.

So would accepting myself as I am be giving up prematurely?

Or would it be embracing the “me” I am and the success I’ve found already?

My fear is today I feel like I’m a winner and tomorrow I might feel like I’m not there quite yet … and I am putting it out there, here, in the blogosphere … that I really don’t know which path to follow.

How about you? What do you think about this notion of “already being a winner”?

8 thoughts on ““You’ve Got to Want it to Win it”

  1. I am constantly on that winner see-saw too. For example, reading your post makes me think, “damn, I’m a pretty lucky girl with a great guy, a loving family, a fun job, and good health.” Like you, I’m working towards fixing the mental health that pulls me down into thinking I’m not good enough until I’ve maintained at a lower weight.

    A recurring issue/theme in therapy is that those negative thoughts, the bad days when I don’t feel like a winner and want to lose more weight, may never go away. Instead of focusing my effort on trying to make those thoughts go away completely, I’m trying to acknowledge that they’re there but realize they’re not valid. Chalk it up to “those pesky thoughts are trying to take up space in my head again,” and move on. Easier said than done, of course, but it’s something to work towards.

  2. Kristen Dr G tells me that her job is to help me separate rational and irrational thoughts — I guess a big part of cognitive behavioral therapy. You’re right, we might never get rid of the negative thoughts (or anxiety) but we can learn to live with them. Tune them out. πŸ™‚ Hurrah!

  3. I am in the same boat. Part of me feels like accepting the higher weight is “settling for second best” while the other part of me thinks it is OK and that it will release a huge amount of stress I put on myself with dieting and the associated compulsive overeating that comes as a result of restricting.

  4. I exercise when I can.

    In college I did it whenever I could sneak it in (usually before dinner). after college, I got on a kick for a short period to get it over with in the morning. which WAS great, but it’s hard to keep up. I find everyone in my world goes to bed pretty late and if I get accustomed to getting up early and going to bed early, then I get to hang out with the night owls less frequently.

    I prefer PM workouts these days, mainly because it keeps me from snacking after work and it revitalizes me for the evening.

    However, I did just try a lunch workout, and though it’s rush-rush-rush, it IS nice to have gotten it out of the way without having gotten up early!

  5. I so know what you mean, Lara. It’s a constant struggle, but at least we’re aware that perfectionism isn’t an option.

    Cathy, I think you meant to post this on the other one? πŸ™‚

  6. oh man, yikes yes! I had started writing it and then didn’t post til now, not realizing you had updated! sorry!!!!!!

  7. sorry to have misposted!

    M- you ARE a winner in so so so many ways. I’m younger than you and look up to you in terms of all your achievements — they are really something!

    I definitely think if you “let loose” and actually experienced that meal or moment when you stopped counting pts and worrying about calories, then maybe you might feel a little relief.

    I do it all too often and have the opposite problem that you do (I let loose too much! and every now and then pretend pts don’t exist, oops).

    regardless, I think someday just letting go of all this for a short period of time would be very healthy for you (and me and everyone else who’s exercise/food obsessed). It may help you explore new things that you enjoy! or may help you tune into other things in your life that you haven’t been able to focus on because you’re so wrapped up with calorie counting and exercising.

    you’re doing great and continue to do great, don’t forget that!

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