If you’ve read my story, you’ll know that I left a pretty great job to create Luuze because I felt I could help others take back control of their health as I did mine. And as plenty of success stories pop up, I know that Luuze is helping people, which feels great. I know that the more work I put into Luuze, the more people will get the opportunity to transform their lives.
The flip side of this is that sometimes it feels like an immense responsibility, because, well, it is! If I don’t make as much progress I’d like on the continued growth of Luuze, I feel like I’m letting people down. Obviously, feeling like that rarely helps.
I call this the paradox of responsibility. Taking on the responsibility of a big thing can be immensely motivating. Paradoxically, it can so demotivate us immensely if we’re not feeling good enough to take on that responsibility.
Improving our health can feel the same way. We know that the benefits can be huge. Yet when we don’t make as much progress as we’d like, or feel like we’re not making any progress at all, we feel like we’re letting ourselves down. We feel like wanting to give up.
The Paradox of Responsibility
Messages like “you can do it!” or “work harder!” or “here’s another person that has succeeded!” can inspire us. They can also make us feel like we aren’t good enough, which can stress us to a point of inaction.
Messages like “it’s okay to fail,” or “just be happy to be you,” can make us feel better about ourselves. They can also absolve us of our responsibility and justify our laziness. Messages like these can put us on a path of mediocrity.
Especially when it comes to our health, it’s important not to just absolve responsibility. Yet at the same time, we must find a way to recognize that it is impossible to make the perfect decisions every single time when it comes to our health.
The truth is that we need to find balance. Like yin and yang, there are facts that may seem contradictory, but are actually complementary to each other.
Understanding these complementary truths can help us find that balance. Here are some of them.
4 Sets of Complementary Truths
You’re human and can’t do everything right, all the time.
Also: You’re human, which means you have immense potential to transform and grow.
Oftentimes, people take an all-or-nothing approach to weight loss. They go hard and put an immense amount of effort into weight loss. However, when the inevitable slip-up happens (which always happens, because we’re human), an immense feeling of disappointment arrives, and that emotion leads to giving up. When this cycle repeats itself, people start feeling that they don’t have it in them to lose weight.
If we can find a way to forgive ourselves and remind ourselves that we’re human and can’t do things perfectly, the odds are better that we can dust ourselves and get right back on it. You don’t have to do everything right, all the time. But you do have to do some things right. And doing things right more often than not can lead to immense growth.
There were certainly points in my 100 pound weight loss journey where I gained weight, even over the span of a couple of months. And I was doing things wrong for decades before I finally succeeded. Eventually, however, I found a way to use micro-lifestyle changes to make the right choices more often than the wrong ones.
Hate yourself (just) enough to desire improvement.
Also: Love yourself enough to put the work into improving your future.
Loving oneself is important. Sometimes we only think we can do this by either accepting ourselves for who we are, or thinking that we need to change ourselves to that person that we want to be. I believe that there is a better alternative: if we can accept ourselves for who we are at this point in time while simultaneously knowing that our future selves can be better, we can get the best of both worlds.
Get support from others.
Also: Recognize that nobody but you is responsible for solving your problems.
When we don’t know what we’re doing, sometimes we need help. Sometimes a little spark from someone else is all we need to get started. It’s why Luuze was created in the first place: I knew that it could help others. It has been a privilege to share my experience with others. Luuze also exists only because I asked people for help.
Luuze is a catalyst to help people regain control of their weight. However, Luuze is just that, a catalyst: something that can help you but does not actually do it for you. What causes you to lose weight is your actions and your decisions, and your understanding of the things that are unique to you that create weight loss for you. Many people wait for an external factor or something outside of us to fix us. Those things can’t save us without our own efforts–they can only inspire us to discover the solutions for ourselves.
Recognize that you may need a break to help your mental health.
Also: Recognize that taking a break for too long can make your mental health worse.
I’ve been seeing a lot of posts these days about the need to take a break. The need to forgive ourselves if we do nothing, and with the load of the world, especially with a pandemic and a million other things on the go, that everything is ok if you aren’t perfect. This is true and I need reminders like these. I am prone to being a perfectionist, I am really hard on myself, and in the past, I have paid for this with poor health and high blood pressure.
What is also true is that if you don’t fix the stuff stressing you out, it will continue to stress you out. And much of the stuff that stresses us out can only be fixed if we put action towards fixing of those things.
Things that help our short term mental health often do nothing for our long term mental health, and vice versa.
Finding the balance where you take enough of a break to rejuvenate yourself occasionally and also understanding when you need that break can be powerful. For the perfectionists or those prone to pushing themselves too hard, actually scheduling structured break time on a regular basis can be effective.
Cheat days often help people because of this: it lets them take a bit of a break on a regular basis during their weight loss journey.
Find Balance to Get Back on Track
Losing weight can feel immensely burdensome. Many people give up because this burden feels too heavy. And it’s heavy because our health is important! At the same time, we often burden ourselves more than is necessary. If we can go slow, make micro-lifestyle changes, and reflect on the bigger picture, we can reduce that burden and spread it over time. If we can understand how the Paradox of Responsibility works so we can balance the need to push ourselves forward yet forgive ourselves if we don’t make progress, we can increase the odds of getting back on track so we can continue on our weight loss journey.