Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28: Competition

Yep, the March weigh-in for Lighten Up took place this past Saturday.  Yep, I was better pleased with my number this time around.  I was even more pleased when I heard how many inches I've lost since January: thirteen!  And while people keep telling me how thin my face looks, I'd like to think that not all thirteen pounds were in my head – it only sets me up to have been a fathead or to now be an airhead, and I'm not sure either one of those is a description I would choose. J

There was a feeling I noticed after the weigh-in that is worth exploring and sharing.  I wasn't angst-ridden as during the February weigh-in, but I didn't instantly flip the happy switch either.  Right away my critical brain went to work (I hate this word) comparing.  I'll spare you the mile long list of details and say only that for better or worse, my brain wasn't about to let me become complacent.

And that's when I realized.  Heaven help me and God save the queen, but I might be competitive.  You have no idea how it pains me to admit that. 

I can't stand competition.  To me, competition = stress.  Growing up there was the usual stress of being a sibling vying for parental affection.  Though I loved playing softball, the competition was highly stressful, and that was before parents went off the deep end like today's rabid parent-spectators.  I'm generally inclined to throw games so that I can focus more on conversation and laughter.

Given how much I hate the stress of competition, if it's a built-in feature of me, I need to make peace with it.  So here we go.  I think that understood fully and approached correctly, competition can be a useful tool.  As I mentioned earlier, it keeps me from becoming complacent.  It helps me set goals and drives me to reach them.

The trick is to not let competition move the spotlight from what really matters (in this case becoming healthy) to a distraction.  If drive and internal competition are what I need to keep going, so be it.  I like setting a calorie-burn goal and sweating it out till I get there.  I like lifting more weight than I thought I could.

So why would a non-competitive person enter a weight loss competition, knowing full well she has very little chance of finishing in the top half, let alone winning?  Because it's a tool for me.  It gives me the opportunity me to push myself for six whole months and to see what happens.  Instead of focusing on weight for a while and then finding excuses to not try for a while, I'm making my health important to me.  And just over two months into the competition, I'm learning and growing stronger and healthier physically and emotionally. 

I've got no butt to kick except my own.  That's all the competition I can handle. 


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