Are you struggling with letting go of a past identity? Does it hold you back from reaching your weight loss goals?
That’s a part of losing weight many people don’t think about.
It happened to me.
So, I had to learn that who I am, my true value, isn’t based on what I do, or how others view me, but how I see myself.
False Sense of Value
In 2008, shortly after my second son was born, we were having financial difficulties.
I decided to learn the fine art of couponing. However, I did what I’ve done so many time before, I became obsessed with becoming the “best” at it. We went from spending $500 to $700 dollars a month to cutting our grocery bill down to about $250 a month!
Among my family and friends I became known as “The Coupon Queen”. I taught classes. I answered questions. People would seek me out and want to know what I did to get our grocery bill so low.
I began to accept the label as part of my identity. It defined my sense of self-worth.
Fast forward and I was getting closer to my weight loss goal. I was also eating healthier, buying way more vegetables and fruits. This caused our food budget to creep up and it stressed me out. My sense of value, the way I believed I contributed value to my family, was all tied up in my couponing.
So, I did something difficult for me. Very difficult. I told my husband we had to increase the grocery budget. Even though he reacted with a “That’s fine. Let’s do it,” for me, I felt like a failure. Like I was letting my family down. I’d accepted this “Coupon Queen” image of myself so completely, it was difficult to let go of this view of myself.
However, I began to see that my problem, this obsessive need to be “perfect,” had to do with not only my feelings of self-worth, but also my self-efficacy.
In case you’ve never heard me talk about self-efficacy before, it has to do with how you view your own competence and your ability to complete tasks and goals.
I wasn’t aware at the time, but it was my low self-efficacy, a lack of belief in myself and my abilities, that created my need to define myself by these labels.
So, when my circumstances changed, even for the better, it forced me to look at my false sense of identity, my false sense of value.
During a recent dinner with friends, I had a breakthrough moment.
As we talked the subject of eating fresh, healthier foods came up.
One of my friends (whom I’d taught how to coupon) studied me for a moment, like she was weighing her choice of words. Then she asked, “So, are you still couponing?”
Not long ago, I would have wanted to hide under a rock. I would have felt shame, guilt. I would have questioned myself, my mind flooding with doubt about the choices I’d made.
Was I doing enough?
Should I do more couponing?
Maybe I was letting my family down after all!
Instead, I looked at my friend and said “Yes, I’m couponing, but not like I was.” I didn’t say it with that familiar, unwanted twinge of pain. There was no feeling like I was letting everyone down, or I wasn’t living up to my fullest potential.
I just embraced it. I realized my life has changed. And certain aspects, like couponing, don’t define who I really am.
Now, I understand how important self-efficacy is, and I believe I can always find a way, or develop the skills necessary, to do the job at hand.
One of the Greatest Gifts
When I needed to save my family lots of money, I learned how to do it. When I needed to lose weight, I learned how to eat better, exercise, and I finally took charge of my binge eating to achieve my goals.
I now believe in me enough that given any set of circumstances I know can find a way to succeed!
That’s what this whole journey is about for all of us. I’ve always possessed the skills to do what I needed to do, I just didn’t realize it. And the same is true for you. It’s true for all of us.
Knowing you can depend on yourself to figure a way to achieve your goals, no matter what, is one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever give yourself.
Maybe your sense of self-worth comes from these labels. Maybe you carry them around with pride and are secretly terrified to let them go.
If they’re holding you back from living your life to its fullest potential, look inside yourself. Commit to change. Commit to believing in yourself. Commit to knowing, unconditionally, that you’ll find a way… no matter what!
What past beliefs about yourself are holding you back? Please share your thoughts in the comments section or send me a message by clicking here. I’d love to hear from you!