Episode 32 – Blue Line Moments

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Well, welcome back everyone. As I promised, probably two episodes ago and then hid behind one. I said that I would just do an episode that was update on me. And I will admit it’s been really hard to put down my thoughts and put something together because I knew it was time to be raw or real and me and you will notice on this episode that we put in no commercials, no rah-rah sis-boom bah, nothing. It’s just the “me” part talking, really talking to me.

I decided I was going to make this episode for myself because when I started the 3D LILA project, I started this for multiple reasons: 1) to help me get back on track; 2) to inspire you guys and help you guys figure out how your LILA journey was going to manifest; and, then third because I am incredibly curious about fitness technology and all of that good sort of stuff.

The good news is it sounds like that been inspiring you, and my ability to talk to some of the most fascinating people and have something really interesting and fun to talk about has been positive beyond my expectations. And getting to go to TED is ridiculous! It’s ridiculous! Where I haven’t done quite so well is on this journey from myself. And when it all comes down to everything, this is always about me and my journey and what I needed to do for myself. So I am going to start doing audio letters to myself to remind most about what I’m doing. So that I don’t hide behind the episodes. So that I don’t hide behind LILA. And I’m hoping to use this as a tool for me to remind myself why I’m doing it and what I’m doing. So that’s my little blurb introduction. The rest of this episode is a letter from 3D LILA to me.

Dear Joanna,

We had this conversation before. You know, that one when you’re out running. That one that you had hundreds and hundreds of times on the Embarcadero, in Golden Gate Park, when you’re out on the trails. That one that says, “Ah, this feels good! This is amazing! I wonder if I could run faster? Gah, this hill is hard. If I weighed twenty pounds less, how much easier would it be?” And it’s a conversation every single time that ends with: “Well at the end of this run, I’m going to be perfect. I’m going to be perfect about working out. And I’m going to do a training session tonight. And I am going to make sure I run every day because I always felt really great when I do it.” And I also tell myself that I will eat no sugar, and I’ll cut out dairy, and all of those things that I know that I need to do to get that weight off. I know what I need to do to get that weight off. Well, you tell yourself that. You tell yourself how much easier everything would be without those extra pounds. And good God, you are really, really good at math when you’re out running. You’ve managed to factor, based on weight, your speed and how much it would speed up if you lost ten pounds. How much you need to lose to hit a sub five-hour marathon, and how many ten-pound increments, and how fast you need to go. So we’re talking about 60 second clock, 26.2 miles with pound calculations. And none of this makes for easy math! And yet, while you’re out running, you are really good at it. It’s shocking the skills that you can build when you’re trying to lose weight.

And then what happens when you get home? Well be real because you remember what happened when you had this same conversation, this conversation you’ve had with yourself so many times. And you came back to the house, and you went: “OK. So I’ll have a little lunch. And while I do that, I’ll watch a little T.V.” And then you got tired. And then you were like, I’ll lay down on the couch. And then you took a nap! You took a nap! After your run! Does that not seem incongruous to you? Just a little bit? And then after your nap, what happened? Well the T.V. is on already, I might as well keep watching it. Let me channel surf. Oh I have the munchies. Well, I already napped today, and kind of blew that run of my really good morning, so let’s start eating!

Ah. And the cycle begins again.

And then you go out running today. And the next day. And the next day. And it keeps happening! Isn’t there some phrase or something that somebody who does the same thing over and over again expecting a different result is insane? Are you insane? You’re not! You can do high-level math while running through trials and not falling on your butt. That is not the definition of insanity but what you’re doing is. So we’ve beat ourselves up as many times as we’ve done those runs, as many times as we’ve said, “Tomorrow, I will be better.”

So I want to break it down to the basics. And have a little conversation about what you’ve done before, and why did it work. And have a little think about everything that was involved in them. Because, just a reminder, you’re really, really, really good at losing weight. I actually don’t know anybody who’s quite as good as you are at losing weight. Especially once you set your mind to it. Remember mathgirl you were probably lost somewhere to the tune of three hundred pounds, if you actually added up everything that you’ve done. Remember that. Who on the planet can say they’ve lost three hundred plus pounds? I’m not sure that anybody. So losing weight not your problem.

So let’s talk about what happened what it didn’t work. Well you remember the Hawaii story, the one you tell to everybody. The one where you sat on the beach with Randall far down the beach. Basically telling yourself you are an idiot. An idiot for letting your weight get in the way of the life that you wanted to live. An idiot that knew that if I didn’t get ahold of this, that this guy (who was the best thing that happened to you in a really long time) was going to get tired of waiting. And you knew that while you were still in rose-colored glasses phase. There would be a point in which he didn’t think the whole thing with so lovely and funny and, and might it come to an end? My why then was about keeping a relationship. Although in retrospect, it was never really about that. And by focusing on getting my weight off built a better relationship with Randall because he realized that I was a tough as nails. And I was strict. And I weighed myself. And improvement to me was as much that number on a scale as it was about going from walking, to running to be able, to do some of the wack-a-do moves that Joanna Fassel made you do on the Pilate’s equipment. It was about continuous improvement for you then. And then you have gained it back

And then there was the wedding story. And I remember the conversation you had with your head then. Where you said, “There’s going to be photographs.” The classic bridal story of ‘don’t you want to wear that dress? Don’t you want to wear the dress you always hoped you would wear?’ Well that did maintain for quite a long time. So strictly, I think at one point, that you actually ended up fainting on a set of stairs because you hadn’t been eating things. And yes, I saw an improvement. And yes, when I bought that very beautiful, very expensive dress little bit on the small side, did it really push you to fit into it? Absolutely! It wasn’t a different improvement this time. It was about getting into the dress. But there is no dress as specific as that one is there. Can you think of one to your future? I don’t know.

And then there was the surgery story. The one that you haven’t told on here because you’re scared of being judged. Well, the surgery story was really easy. The reality is is you couldn’t actually eat on that one. You knew at the beginning that if you cheated you could actually get really sick and die. You knew that if you ate too much. Well. the results of that would be quite disgusting. That surgery story still lasts today. And I’m still grateful and appreciative of doing it. But you know that it wasn’t a magic pill. But you also know that it stopped you from gaining more back than you ever thought you should. That one wasn’t about improvement. That one was about fear. And I’d say that one really didn’t work.

So, none of those seem to be super positive, why are you doing it long-term, life changing stories. So if they didn’t work or they didn’t maintain, (although the idea of having something compelling of its own why did) let’s have a conversation about what did work. Or will actually go back to that original promise? The original promise to run a marathon and lose one hundred pounds. Well technically yes you’ve done it. Tick those boxes! And you have you run multiple marathons and as you said before, technically, you’ve lost three hundred pounds. But we know that this is kind of a half-promise. Crossing the finish line was not really what about running a marathon was all about for you was it? No. You want to be considered an athlete. And athletes didn’t take six hours to run marathons. And yes,  I’ve lots of other people who go, “But oh but that’s amazing! You’re brave, da-da-da-da-dah.” But it’s not about the story that they were telling. It’s about the story you’re telling in your own head. And in your own head, it says, “You need to have it 4-something marathon time, even if it’s 4:59.9 to be able to consider yourself an athlete.” So is it about finishing one of those marathons? And one hundred pounds? Man, you’ve gotten close! You’ve gotten within a ten pound range. Ten pounds! And boy do you remember those pictures of what you looked like when you were that close? But it still hasn’t happened either. So I know in your heart, you still think you’ve failed. You still think you haven’t succeeded.

So the question I have for you is, do you think you can ever do it? It’s funny, isn’t it? That in your career the thing you’re known for is being a chief belief officer. Being that person who believes in someone so much, that they actually get the courage to do the thing that scares them most. Are you your own chief belief officer? And that question you asked almost every single person: “What does spectacular success look like?” And you notice how they flinch, and how they squirm.  And you ask the gentler question: “Are you more afraid of that, than you are of failure?” There’s a reason why you ask this question, Joanna. The reason you ask is because you know it and feel it in your own bones. Spectacular success is running that marathon the time that you set. Spectacular success is hitting that number on the scale that you set thirteen years ago, almost to the day.

And yes, I am absolutely afraid of spectacular success. Because, wow, you’re pretty good at this failing thing. It’s safe. It’s easy. But that’s where the magic part, is isn’t it?

At the beginning of this we talked about none of the eating stuff. When you talk about running the marathons, when you talk about everything, you actually talk about the hard stuff because marathons aren’t easy. Think about those moments that you talk about when running the marathon. Think about those moments that you remember most because you don’t remember crossing the finish line. You remember the chocolate mile on the San Francisco Marathon. That first mile coming around Lake Merced. There were no people. There were cars honking and annoyed that there were runners in their way. It was hot. It was late in the day. It was high up in the high teens or low twenty’s on mileage. You had no idea. All you knew is it was still another hour or so before you were finishing, and you had to run down that great highway. And you hurt. Hurt so much that you started walking. And it still hurt so much, that you stood still for a minute. I could probably go around Lake Merced and stand in the very spot that you stood that day thinking, “Everything hurts and this is hard. And I want to throw up and I don’t want to finish. I just want to lie down.” But you didn’t, did you? You said, “Well, if I lie down, I might never get up, and that’s just not an option. If I lie down, I won’t get through it’s hard bit.” So I started running again through the hurt, through the pain. And yeah, eventually I finished.

But that wasn’t the only time you had a hard bit. Do you remember the London Marathon and the blue line? There’s a blue lie they paint on the course of the London Marathon. It’s for the elite athletes to follow, so that they run exactly 26.2 miles. Again, I can see the road visibly. So clearly in my head. I can see that line. I could probably go into a paint store and pick out a pantone color for you. The blue line on the street. I know I joke with people when I talk about the London Marathon and talk about this moment when I say that if you would come up to me and asked my name, I would have said “blue line.” Maybe I should have called this podcast “Blue Line” as opposed to 3D LILA. It was that blue line that I focused on to get through the hard bit then. Get through the fact you had diarrhea; and your stomach was churning; and your feet hurt; and it was wet; and it was cold; and you just wanted to be done. But that’s the moment you remember. Isn’t it interesting that when you talk about those races, it’s about overcoming the hard bit. It’s not about crossing the finish line.

I also want to talk about your eating in those races because the hard bits were harder then because you were alone. Think about where you were in both courses. They were the pockets of the course that were not at the beginning, or towards the end, or where the crowds are. They’re those quiet, lonely focused sessions where no one wants to speak and you didn’t even see them. And that’s when you push through. And you know that you’re eating thing is about when you’re not seen. So maybe you need to tap into whatever that is. Whatever that blue line moment is. To work through the hard bits. Because you’re not really worried about anyone watching you during the hard parts of the race, are you? So maybe this time your “why” isn’t what you think it is. Your “why” is not because you want to have those pretty clothes that you see in the catalogs. Your “why” is it that you don’t actually care how people judge you because you’re fat. Your “why” isn’t because you want to finish a marathon in less than five hours because then it’s a real marathon. Your “why” isn’t because you feel like a failure with friends and family when you show up fat. Again. And you why isn’t become of because of some race coming up or speaking engagement. Maybe your “why” is because of the blue line. You know, like you knew when you follow the blue line that finishing wasn’t you know an option. You believed you could do it. Yes, it’s really, really hard. But you want to walk. You want to stop. You want to lie down. But you really don’t. Just say to yourself “blue line.” You know this hard part will come to an end and you’ll get your second wind. And you’ll finish. And it’s this blue line moment that will allow you to finish this race, even though it is a little never ending.

So let’s try this is a “why.” And if you forget. Listen to me, again and again if you have to. When you have the munchies, listen to the blue line. When you don’t want to do a workout, listen to the blue line. Or you feel like you’ve failed? Listen to the blue line. Because the blue line will be the thing in the future that you hold in your heart. That moment when you know you have the strength to get through this. And those blue line moments are moments that you remember. Because they made you who you are. They are going to remind you to believe in you, because you’re your own Chief Belief Officer. And remember, LILA always loves you.

photo credit: Uppsala, October 17,2015 via photopin (license)

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