The Mind

Something I’ve made a habit of paying attention to over the last year is my mind’s ability to convince me of something that’s false. Without any real knowledge of a topic or scenario, in my head, an elaborate story pops up; usually one that tries to deter me from learning more or taking action. As I’ve dedicated more time to meditation which helps with this, I’ve noticed that those stories have started to fade away (or at least, are much easier to ignore).

Yesterday, I woke up and did my usual routine which included a quick weigh-in. Last year on New Year’s Eve, clocking in at around ~255lbs I had a chat with myself. I didn’t feel great and I knew that if I continued down that path, things wouldn’t end well. While I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do it, I knew that something—anything—needed to be done. Fast forward to yesterday and I looked down at a pleasing number: 183.6.

To keep myself in check, I’ve been tracking everything on my phone (I invested in a wifi scale so everything syncs up automatically). Flipping over to the one year chart, I saw a steady line down; like an arrow pointing back at the day I decided to fix things once and for all. Proud, I decided to post a screenshot of the chart to share the news (and hopefully motivate a few other folks). What I didn’t expect were two texts from two friends, both eliciting the same thing in almost the same way: “you lost SIXTY POUNDS??” Up until that point, the significance of that feat hadn’t really hit me.

That it hadn’t, honestly, threw me off a bit. Back in college, I’d done something similar—though, not as significant—but the path from plump to not-so-plump was pretty aggressive. Tons of cycling. Trips to the gym several times a week. This time? I barely did anything. While I have been weightlifting here and there for the past few months, it was by no means the main contributor to my success. Rather, the only thing I could point to was my mind. More than anything else, it was simply deciding to take responsibility and be more deliberate about what I was eating. That’s it.

The mind is tricky like that. It can convince you of all sorts of stuff that isn’t true. Last year, I struggled to make the proper changes because I’d convinced myself it’d be too hard. In reality, what mattered most was patience and not being deterred by short-term swings (e.g., today I clocked in a bit higher at 184.3). All of that came back to understanding that the mind, albeit convincing, is not reality and that what you see in your mind is rarely the truth.

While I’ve still got a little ways to go until I meet the goals I set for myself, seeing this much progress in a year was exciting. More importantly, it underscored the importance of questioning your mind and the stories it comes up with. Whether it be your health, your work, or whatever: always be on the lookout for where what you think is conflicting with what you want.