I have written about my weight loss journey, explaining the downsides of becoming skinny after being fat - and I am seeing a lot of comments and responses on the topic. As a writer and also as a person, it always makes me feel seen and heard when people from all across the world are reaching out to me, in comments and in email as well, expressing their thoughts.
As it has been in my focus, I brought you a few thoughts related to it.
What does your can-do attitude look like?
I feel like a really old millennial using the “can-do attitude” expression, as it used to be one of the descriptions and requirements of job ads a lifetime ago. The term might sound outdated, but it is still a good concept - a clear sign of confidence, persistence and some kind of ignoring of the societal limitations.
I realised that my can-do attitude is really terrible. There, I said it. I am an overachiever and a very competitive person which is kind of ironic, if I consider that my knee-jerk response to every single thing is a “no way, I can’t do this” statement. I never say it out loud, but I always think that. No matter what it is about, whether it is a new exercise, new weight to lift, a challenge from a friend to go on a run with her or a new dish to make - I immediately sabotage it before I start it.
Then I start it and then I do it - most of the time with flying colours. This is how I ran 5k 6 weeks ago when my runner friend suggested a run. This is how I ran 16k last Sunday - only five weeks after I first put on running shoes. This is how I lifted 40kgs (80lbs). Imagine what I could do if I didn’t sabotage myself mentally!
I offer you to have a think about it: What does your can-do attitude look like? Do you jump into everything without doubting yourself? Do you sabotage yourself and weaken yourself with negative self-talk? Or do you talk yourself out of things because you convince yourself you can’t possibly do it anyway?
No matter where you stand, it is important to understand how we are setting limitations for ourselves - maybe because we were mocked, belittled or conditioned to doubt ourselves. What does your can-do attitude look like? And how could you improve it?
I wrote about self-sabotage earlier, give it a read, if you have the time.
Negative comments in the online world
I tend to reply to every email I receive (unless it’s spam), and give advice, thank readers for their thoughts and praise. I feel that this a great part of connecting through the power of words.
As much as I like external feedback on my writing, I stopped reading comments on my articles. No matter what the topic might be, there will always be someone out there judging you, mocking you, knowing your own feelings better than you.
I wrote about how I was called a fat-shamer, just because I wrote that I hated to be fat so I decided to change it and I did. I didn’t call anyone lazy, fat or disgusting. I told my own experience, carefully wording my thoughts not to hurt anyone.
I had to dilute the message at some parts, to avoid blanket statements - even if they are my thoughts and I am allowed to express myself. But the online world is put together in a weird way, we don’t have context, we don’t have real-time opportunity to correct, we don’t start with the same perceptions.
One of my favourite bloggers I follow, Mark Manson wrote about it in his weekly newsletter why everyone on the internet is wrong. He quotes or paraphrases a really funny tweet about social media and the digital world: The absence of evidence is evidence of absence. The tweet goes like this:
Person A: “I like oranges. They taste great!”
Person B: “Oh, so you hate bananas then? Perhaps if you opened your mind to other fruits, you wouldn’t be so prejudiced. Geez. Educate yourself.”
I guess you see what I mean. Perhaps if you opened your mind to other fruits, you wouldn’t be so prejudiced. Whatever we talk about cannot be inclusive enough and cannot please everyone. And by putting yourself out there - even just your words - will entitle some people to judge you and mock you, picking your words apart, questioning your intentions, even if you talk about your own experience.
I am not sure how to handle this, probably growing a thicker skin is a good way to start.
Monthly challenges to overcome my bad attitude
This year, I started several different monthly challenges - to overcome the above-mentioned self-sabotage attitude. The beauty of monthly challenges is that they are measurable ways to prove what you are capable of. You don’t need to think about anything too complicated, anything can become a monthly challenge.
I started January with a Dry January month, completely avoiding alcohol for 31 days. It was amazing, and even if I don’t have a problem with my alcohol consumption, it showed me that I can do it.
I have been also doing physical, exercise-related challenges - I did a 5-minute plank challenge in January, which was extremely hard, but I did it. And April is the month when I decided to run at least 4 times every week. And I did that too.
But the best monthly challenge that I started is a new month-new food challenge for every month of the year. It has to do with making peace with food, as part of my weight loss and body acceptance journey - and it’s exciting and delicious too.
In January I made sushi, in February I prepared seafood paella, March was the month for spring rolls and summer rolls and April was the month of shrimp pad thai noodles. I have to say that this has been the best challenge of all, I enjoyed every minute of every cooking session. If you have suggestions for the forthcoming months’ dishes, reply to this email, I will consider your suggestions. And while I am not a food blogger, I might publish the recipes for these - who knows, someone might get some inspiration.
But as for the concept: I highly recommend starting monthly challenges of any kind, as they also add a sense of purpose to your days. The years are going by so quickly, but I will remember 2021 as the year when I learnt 12 new delicious dishes (and did the impossible 5-min plank).
This is all for this week. Hope you enjoyed our coffee/tea together. I surely did. If you want to buy me a virtual coffee, please go ahead and do it: here.
I’m ever so grateful that you are still here, reading me. Happy April, happy spring.