On Day 4, I smashed head first into my mental barrier; my Upper Limit problem.
Professionally, when offered a partnership with my current company, I decided to (re)read “The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Your Life to the Next Level”, a book I’d only read 1/3 of the way through about 2 years ago. I devoured it within a few days and had MANY a-ha moments of clarity where I could see all the ways I kept myself nice and comfortable in my life.
The Upper Limit is the ‘glass ceiling’ that keeps us from reaching our goals. Each of us has an inner script based on our belief system that keeps us firmly rooted to a place we think we deserve to be. When we try to reach for new goals, bigger ideals or to make changes – the Upper Limit kicks in subconsciously and we often experience self-sabotage.
“Each of us has an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success, and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed our inner thermostat setting, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves, causing us to drop back into the old, familiar zone where we feel secure….”
As you might know, I’m doing a gym challenge that is 8 weeks or 56 days. I’ve never been more committed to following through for myself. My dedication has actually caught me by surprise – I’ve always been a ‘cheat myself out of possible results’ and a ‘justify my hard work with early reward’ kind of girl. (Read: Buy a box of Wagon Wheels and enjoy!)
Well, last week – sheer will and determination was winning – but in TRUE FORM to the Upper Limit theory I began to worry, then obsess, then stumble while trying to lug along my oldest, heaviest baggage: the way too early death of my dad at age 42 from heart disease 25 years ago.
It started on Day 4 and lasted until yesterday.
To preface: the first week of the challenge is serious carb depletion for 6 days – like ideally less than 20 grams per day. Needless to say, this creates energy depletion, too. And for some, like me, hearts pound a little harder, blood sugar struggles to right itself and muscles don’t want to cooperate as efficiently as they do with carbs for energy.
On day 3, I was feeling a little ‘fluttery’ late in the afternoon. While out running errands I decided to check my blood pressure at the pharmacy. In the electric chair with the inflatable cuff, I was a little surprised to see a read of 142/80. That single elevated reading sent me into a total tail spin that ended in massive self-discovery.
I went home that night and proceeded to stress myself into an anxious fervour about the state of my heart health. For the next 4 days, I worried relentlessly – further increasing my blood pressure (anxiety is a total bitch) – causing me to doubt my choice to do the challenge, made my appetite wane (not part of the plan) and my exercise time to become only an exercise in total pre-occupation with my heart rate! (keep in mind, I work out 4-5 days a week, and am in tremendous health) Maybe, I should just quit.
My Upper Limit Problem had arrived.
I didn’t see it at first. My mind was simply re-living old stories and old worries – and those stories and worries were going to ruin my focus and commitment to continuing the challenge.
The fitness challenge triggered my Upper Limit. Eight weeks of strict diet and fitness training triggered deep loyalty issues with my dad, if that makes sense. I mean, He did EVERYTHING right, and it didn’t make any difference for him. What makes me think exercise and eating right will make any difference for me?
What I’ve since been able to uncover is the truth of my fitness and food obsession: IT REALLY IS ABOUT the illusion of CONTROL. But also, it is about my ability to enjoy my life and my current state of wellness.
After all, my dad deserved so much more life to enjoy … the crazy, illogical part of my thinking is that I am disloyal to him whenever I exceed what he had – time, love, fun, family, health…
It’s so fucking nuts, but true. (Say Hello to the 9 year old Kimmie in my brain that rules part of my subconcious mind.)
Therefore, whenever I feel TOO much love, TOO much goodness, TOO much health, TOO much FUN – I am always subconciously reminded to bring it down a notch –
WHAT MAKES ME THINK I DESERVE IT when so many other people – including him – didn’t or don’t get it. There are good and sweet and deserving people who suffer all the time, I could (should) be one of them.
There you have it, the burden of being inside MY brain. And someone left me alone with children!
Here’s where the story gets really good. My husband and my best girl friend reminded me of what I know; that I am not exempt, we will all die at some point – but that his story is not my story and that he would not for one second want me STILL struggling on this subject 25 years after the fact.
My subconscious mind and my emotions ARE powerful enough to make my blood pressure soar, my mind race with worry looking for something that isn’t there and to make me cheat myself out of joy, peace of heart and this particular success.
The BEAUTY of this clarity is (metaphorically speaking) – just like the irrational fear of a child who is scared of the dark in their room at night – once the light of awareness has been turned on and I can see what’s around me I’m way less fearful.
Back to the CONTROL thing. I would have bet dollars to donuts that my exercise and eating was purely for the love of it – and most days it is.
I do LOVE the way I feel, the way my body works, the flexibility and strength and endurance I enjoy – my team of gymBFFs and eating food that was meant to nourish.
But, I also now recognize that somewhere inside is the struggle to CONTROL my health.
I have free will to choose. I choose to live the way I’m living. But I must gently remind myself that I only control my words, my thoughts and my choices – everything else requires that I let go and let God.
Good work, little one.