Solution Focused vs. Problem Focused

I gotta say, this blog has already been an enlightening, ass-kicking experience already. I haven’t weighed myself so I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost, but I’ve gained several theoretical insight pounds, and that’s great.

I apologize for that metaphor above, that sucked. But the sentiment is true! As I endeavor to communicate my inner struggles with weight/food/exercise/life, I’m realizing a lot of my own cognitive distortions when it comes to how I approach challenges. Let me explain:

I’m starting my journey at 414.8 pounds. You know how it feels to be 414 pounds? It sucks ass. Every day things are hard, like climbing stairs, putting on your shoes, even using certain bathrooms are embarrassingly problematic. My solution to these problems has been to sort of accept that this is my life now. It’s like looking around in a prison that you’ve created, brick by brick, and continue to make with each poor decision you decide to make. And trust me, there have been a lot of poor decisions.

My approach to the problems in my life is often a defeatist one. I try to make things easier for myself, but usually that means taking the easy way out. My feet hurt too much to exercise? Stop exercising. Too big for most chairs? Stop going out. Too tired to plan, cook, and shop for good meals? Eat fast food three times a day.

And again, it’s not one of those things that I consciously decide. “I want to ruin my life and my health by becoming a giant panda!” No, it’s the little decisions that add up to a seemingly wasted life.

Wow, this has been super depressing! I apologize for that. It honestly is helpful to write it out though, while also attempting to be as honest as possible and avoiding self-pity. I think a lot of what got me here is self-pity. Feeling sad for what I’ve been through, or where I am, blah blah blah. Eating my feelings has been infinitely easier than working through them.

But that leads me to what I’m working on now. I’m attempting to shift my focus from being problem-oriented to solution-oriented. A sort of weird realization came to me today: I was sitting in my apartment catching up on Game of Thrones (IT’S SO GOOD!) when my roommate came home. Now, something about my roommate: she has insanely good luck. She wins giveaways, sweepstakes, trips, prizes, ALL THE TIME. She must have some sort of voodoo because this girl is a WINNER.

Anyway, she recently won a few prizes from a local athletic store. One of the prizes was a little package of “Lock Laces”, these little shoe laces that don’t require tying. You just put them on your shoes and voila!, they basically tie themselves. I think it might be magic.

But here’s where the revelation came in: one of the biggest (and most embarrassing) problems with being my size is that tying sneakers is difficult. It’s an ordeal. It shouldn’t be, but it is. There’s bending and stretching and falling over and looking a fool. My solution to this problem was to… stop wearing athletic shoes. Only wear slip-ons. Sure, the slip-ons aggravate my already fucked up feet. I should be wearing supportive shoes, but I instead settle for uncomfortable, painful and problematic flats because it’s just easier (I’m starting to fucking hate that word).

What I’m realizing is, a solutions-based person would have found and bought the damn laces that don’t require tying! They would have figured out a workaround that kept them active and mobile! THAT’S the person I want to be! There’s a problem? Fucking solve it! Without asking, my roommate actually gave me the laces because she “likes tying her shoe”. We’ll see how they work this morning when I go to the gym, but really I think the realization and the lesson is way more valuable than the shoe laces could ever be. And I’m dedicated to finding more solutions to my problems, not excuses.

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