When I’m creating anything, there always comes a point where my process turns into absolute chaos.
Ideas aren’t flowing, points are diluted, and I can’t visualize how it will all fit together in a cohesive way.
I don’t love this part of my creative process. But I’ve learned how to ride it out because I know it’s born out of passion for what I’m creating.
Some people may never have this step in their creations. But my creative process is messy – and it needs to be.
As much as I don’t like the mess, I do like my process. I can pinpoint exactly when the mess will start. It rolls in right after the first draft. It feels like a tiny roller coaster let loose in my stomach, but not in a bad way.
I get excited when it happens because I know I have something good and it’s about to get even better.
Weight loss is messy
There are no straight lines in the creative process just as there are no straight lines in weight loss. It’s not like in the commercials where someone decides to change and immediately follows that one clear path (with no brownies or cheesy poofs) to the finish line.
I think of my weight loss as being a creative process.
I have a ton of ideas, awareness of myself, and knowledge about what to do. I’m putting it all together to make a cohesive product – my weight loss.
I know it will get messy, but that’s ok. That happens because I’m passionate about making the connection with my body and I know I’m creating something good.
So I ride it out like I do when I’m creating anything else. And to get through the mess, I follow the same steps I use to get clear on my writing.
1. Step back and regroup often
There’s a lot of information coming our way. The awareness of our thoughts, processing emotions, understanding what food makes our body thrive – and what makes it mad. It’s a constant coordination of information that we’re fitting together to make a unique process that works for us.
So we need to periodically step back and look at the big picture.
Where are we going?
What does it feel like?
Do we like those answers?
If we don’t, then regroup. Move things around a bit. Maybe change up your workout or check in to see if you’re bullying yourself. (That bully loves to creep in at any hint of a mess).
In the creating process, it’s easy to get caught up in the details. Step back and regroup whenever you feel turned around.
2. Know when to ‘kill your darlings’
If we love something, we can no longer be objective about it. If we’re not objective, how can we know it’s good? This was the rationale behind Faulkner’s famous advice for writers to ‘kill their darlings’.
Faulkner was talking about characters in a story, but there are actually a lot of characters in weight loss.
What we eat. How we work out. Theories and rationales we follow.
We can get very attached to habits like always eating granola for breakfast, or only working out at certain times of the day. Or maybe there’s one workout routine you’ve been doing forever.
If we’re frustrated with our weight loss, it may be time to look at these ‘darlings’ in your routine and try something else.
It’s hard when these things are technically healthy habits. But just because they’re ‘good’, doesn’t mean they’re good for you right now.
I love avocados – and they’re so good for you. I even read about how they contribute to weight loss. So I ate them freely. But, as I was having my love affair with the health food, I was frustrated by not losing weight. So I went avo-free for a while. Immediately the scale started moving. Avocados are great, but for me they’re no-more-than-once-a-week great.
Because I knew they were so healthy, and I loved them so much, I was no longer objective about how they were affecting my body. Getting rid of my darling avocados was exactly what I needed.
The most recent thing I’ve focused on is getting rid of my darling caffeine. I know it’s shocking (I’m still surprised myself). But for me, it has been one of the best things I could do. (I’ll keep you updated on if I -literally- fall of the caffeine-free wagon because I can’t stay awake…)
When things aren’t working, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your habits. Getting rid of something you love might be the key to kick starting weight loss.
When we’re learning, and listening, and acting, and feeling, things can get complex. When things get complex in my world, typically my first thought is, bring it! I’m up for the challenge.
What I’ve learned through my creative process is, when things get complex it’s actually time to simplify.
Maybe simplifying means not grabbing for so much outside information on what to do and (literally) listening to your gut instead. Maybe it means streamlining your workouts or focusing on one issue at a time.
Sometimes the process just needs a little less noise and a lot more personality.
When things get complex, they soon get overwhelming.
And when we get overwhelmed, we freeze up, try to disconnect, or just run. Because that’s how our brains work.
Take a deep breath. Simplify. Then carry on.
Weight loss is messy. But it’s a good messy that only comes when you’re passionate about what you’re doing. When the mess starts, listen to it. Take some elements out of your routine, reevaluate habits you thought were healthy, and simplify. Edit your way back to a clean, clear path.
That clear path will be there, waiting for you. And it will be better than ever.