Encountering and Overcoming My “Blerch”

Feel free to take a look at The Oatmeal comic that I reference to fully understand “The Blerch”: https://theoatmeal.com/comics/running

I weigh-in twice a week, once on a Monday and once on a Friday and I record the lower of the two weights. Today’s weigh-in showed no weight loss. In fact, since I started training over these past two weeks my weight has fluctuated between 251.2 and 250.0. It’s easy to get in your own head. It’s easy to start second guessing everything. It’s easy to get discouraged and want to quit. It’s been two weeks! Why haven’t I lost weight?

Each time this happens, I have to talk myself through the process all over again. I have to remind myself that body weight can fluctuate for many different reasons: water weight and temporary bloating from increased sodium or period bloat, storing glycogen and water in your muscles from working out, building lean muscle, ect.

Thankfully I take body measurements as well and I’ve lost three inches total off my body (specifically my bust, chest, and hips). I can feel that my weight has changed. I can feel my collar bones, I can see muscle definition in my biceps and triceps, I can feel my muscles in my hamstrings (I sometimes catch myself flexing my calf muscle just to see it move), and I can feel myself gaining more endurance (I killed yesterday’s bodyweight workout!).

So then why do I not get the same gratification as I do when I see my weight loss reflected on a scale?

Maybe it’s because I’ve been fixated on numbers on a scale for my entire life. I tie up my personal worth with the numerical equivalent to how much gravity is pushing down on me. Maybe I’m an impatient person, and like many, I want a quick fix to a complicated problem.

I always say that the idea behind weight loss is simple (calories in versus calories out — CICO) but weight loss is never easy. It’s a psychological game. We are very good at fooling ourselves into believing false truths, and as a person with depression, I have to convince myself that my brain sometimes lies to me. My brain sometimes only shows me the doom and gloom in the world instead of the beauty. The negative self talk wants me to give up. The “blerch” in me wants me to lay on my couch all day and re-play Skyrim or Fallout for the thousandth time.

But that’s not going to happen.

When I feel like this and I feel discouraged, I like to read through The Oatmeal comic “The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances.” In it, the author recounts the reasons why he got into long distance running. The first reason is to combat this imaginary creature called “The Blerch” which is mostly his laziness, negative self-talk, gluttony, and desire to give up as personified in a fat blob-like creature that chases him as he runs.

Anyone who has trained for a competition or any one who has worked to improve some aspect of themselves has encountered “The Blerch.”

My Blerch often says crap like this:

  • You’re not a real skiier. Do you really think “duck walking’ up hills is going to cut it at the Korte?
  • You’re not a real cyclist. Biking 25 miles isn’t impressive. There’s people on the cycling Reddit who do metric centuries for fun!
  • Look at you doing pushups from your knees like a girl. Wow way to go (*sarcastic clap*)
  • Woo! Look at you go. You’re not a real runner. Your fastest running mile time is 14:30? Did you know people can walk faster than that?

In the past, this negative self talk could cripple me. I would accept this talk as the truth. I would give up. I would put barriers on myself because I assumed I couldn’t do it, so why even try?

A visual representation of my Blerch whispering lies into my ear.

But that’s over now. Like Gandalf to says to Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, “Be silent! Keep your forked tongue behind your teeth. I have not passed through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a witless worm.”

I did not come this far to give up. I did not come this far to lose 56 pounds only to throw in the towel. I will take the three inches I lost with pride and gratitude. I will stay the course. I will not quit.

Health is not just a number on a scale. It’s a complete and total overhaul of your physical, mental, and spiritual self. The only way to fail now is to go back to the person I was before, and that’s not going to happen.

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