Inner Games…

12 Apr 2014

Inner games…I refer to both the voice in our head that plays games with us…and also the books by W. Timothy Gallwey. I have read two of his books so far – The Inner Game of Tennis, and The Inner Game of Work…interesting-ish!

My brain often used to get all business model-ed out. Some of the people that I used to study with were always making reference to X model or Y model and name-dropping the people behind these models…as did some that I worked with. I think they thought it validated them.

Business models confuse me at times. I went into the world of academia far later than my school friends did. I worked first – as I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do (still can’t!) – and so I started my university studies in my twenties, after having a bit of work experience under my belt. What I often found is that I would have been working in a certain way – using a common sense approach – and would find that this approach often fitted with a business model…something that people studied and practised the application of.

I understand business models…I had to in order to get my PgDip and my first Masters – but I would have no idea of what some of them are called anymore, or who created them. For me, common sense often prevails. I have seen people come undone trying to apply a model – quite often a model that has been touted as the best thing since sliced bread (as they all try and tout themselves as!) – a model that doesn’t work for their business, or the circumstances, or the the people involved. I just do what I think needs doing – using ‘feel’ I suppose – but have the benefit of being able to dredge up these models if needed. I don’t need a business model or the person who created it to justify my actions.

Quite why I am rambling on about business models… ;-)

I guess my point is that I was doing things naturally. Using common sense and getting results most of the time. Some of my university colleagues were so focussed on doing what the book said – or following the latest business model fad – that they got bogged down and stopped seeing what was happening around them. If this model was supposed to be excellent, then they had to make it work…had to use it…at all costs at times. Some of them came a right cropper – the stories they would tell of the backlash when they tried to implement their new ideas were shocking.

This strikes me as being the case with weight loss at times. We stop listening to common sense. We stop listening to our bodies and what we know is right. We will try a celebrity-endorsed plan, or try and follow the advice that a well-known trainer gives…even though these people have rarely walked the walk. Quite often this advice comes from a place of good, but if they haven’t had the direct experience…

For me I think a nice combination of experience and theory is great. Some of the stuff I read about weight loss is great – it’s theoretically correct…but it doesn’t bloody well translate into real life. Like a business model that has been used in a huge and well-established organisation trying to be shoe-horned into a small and rapidly growing organisation. Like a celebrity diet where someone has shed 3st being used by someone trying to shift 15st. Or advice from a weight loss ‘guru’ who has never had a weight problem…it’s okay, because they might motivate you briefly and be giving you the science upon which their theories are based…but if they’ve never done it…well, for me it’s like a drugs counsellor working with an addict when they have never taken drugs…well-meaning, correct, but often no real idea.

Helping people do it and doing it yourself are very different. It doesn’t mean that I won’t listen to advice…but it might mean that I don’t quite buy it! ;-)

So why am I rambling on about business models and advice from well-meaning people?

I read about a little business exercise recently – last night in fact – that I thought might help me out in weight loss terms. It is called ‘STOP’ and I read about it in W. Timothy Gallwey’s book, The Inner Game of Work. Now I am a well-meaning person…and just because I have also got the practical experience it doesn’t mean that you have agree with me. But I like to try and look at some of the principles that I used in business and apply them to my weight loss. One was known as Plan, Do, Check, and Act. I use this regularly to check my progress and make adjustments.

Back to Gallway – basically, the premise of the book is to find a way of working in which you can be more fully conscious—more aware of where you are, where you are going, and why. For me, this fits with my weight loss – and the mindfulness stuff I mention. Quite often, we just get swept along by life. We are busy, running around taking care of other people, working, trying to fit in family activities…and we lose track of what’s happening with our weight loss…lose track of it…or ignore!

Now I am going to take some liberties here. I am going to jiggle this little method of performance momentum in a business context to look at it in terms of performance momentum in a weight loss context.

So in a business context, Gallwey asks, ‘STOP-START-STOP—How many times in a single workday do you have to interrupt what you are doing to start something else? You may even stop something important to take care of a time-sensitive but less important task. In my workday, there can easily be more than twenty such “interruptions.” If I’m in my Self 1 performance momentum, each interruption brings an automatic reaction of annoyance and with it a loss of conscious mobility.’

A quick explanatory note regarding Self 1 and Self 2…Gallwey describes Self 2 as your natural self, who would do brilliantly in life if it weren’t for Self 1 tripping you up. Self 1 is your conscious, judgemental, less able self. According to Gallwey we need to put Self 1 to one side and trust in Self 2. Self 1 tries to control us…that inner critic…and it makes us lose sight of our natural ability – that common sense perhaps that I mentioned earlier being ignored in favour of what we think we should be doing.

Gallwey states, ‘The alternative is to first STOP and make a conscious choice about if and when to interrupt what you are doing. This STOP doesn’t take away the consequences of the interruption, but allows me to exercise my choice which removes the annoyance and provides a sense of freedom and enjoyment because I still have my hands on the steering wheel of my work day. If I decide yes, then before starting the new activity, I take a short STOP to consciously “close the books” on the last activity and to orient myself to the purpose and context of the next. Creating a sense of closure on each activity and making a conscious choice about the next relieves the mind from carrying an accumulating burden of unfinished tasks. It can make all the difference between a satisfying day of conscious choices and what otherwise could feel like a fatiguing day of needless interruptions. The trick is to realize you don’t have to carry unfinished tasks in your mind; you can lay them down, knowing they will be there when you have the chance to pick them up again.’

Step back
Organise your thoughts, and

For me, this is an interesting method of looking at our weight loss. We can be so wrapped up in what we are doing that we often compromise our goal. We might get an email at work which means that we skip lunch and end up grabbing a snack later in the day…a highly synned snack. Or we might end up staying late at work and skipping the gym. Or we might accept a lunch invitation even though we didn’t have to…and it can throw us off track. Do we really need to do these things?

So the above examples can be worked through with this quick two-minute tool that works in a business setting, and I think it could be useful for me too on a longer term basis. I am very conscious of the choices I make…I consider it my job to shift this weight…the first job that I am getting real happiness and pleasure from actually…but it’s a job. I take it seriously. I want to perform well. I plan, I prepare, and I do!

But taking the time to ‘STOP’ – step back, think, organise my thoughts…and then proceed – this could help me with both my long-term aims and my short-term ones. For example I am going out and about a lot more now. Do I need to accept every invitation? What if I was invited to eat out at a place that I knew would be impossible to find something suitable for Slimming World. Do I accept…or do I STOP? Do I take the time to step back and question if I really want to go, could I suggest another venue, is this going to get me closer to my goal, do I just want to ‘sod it’ and go and eat regardless? I have choices to make…and taking that time to STOP could help me make those and to remove the guilt. If I choose to go, then I choose to go and bloody well enjoy myself. But if I really want to stay focussed, then I say no. Either way, the guilt is removed as I have made the choice.

On a longer-term basis, does going to the gym work for me? Can I look back at my performance and tweak anything? Are the choices I am making working? Can I take some time to step back and reflect…to think about how things are going, what needs to change, what is working well, and then get going again?

Here are just a few of the benefits from practicing STOP-START-STOP that Gallwey highlights:

– More acknowledgment of work accomplished
– Fewer work burdens carried home at the end of the day
– More conscious choices made
– Feeling more rested and energised during and after work
– More innovation available
– A clearer sense of purpose and priority
– More conscious changes made where needed
– Remembering one’s learning goal
– Checking on feeling levels – enjoyment, stress, tiredness
– Remembering forgotten commitments
– Deciding whether a longer STOP is needed

So whilst these benefits are linked to those twenty-odd interruptions during the work day, and highlight that dealing with these interruptions using a brief STOP brings many benefits…I can see some of these benefits being realised from a weight loss perspective too and having a longer-term impact.

As with everything weight loss related, you have to find the discipline to do it though!

I can tell how important my weight loss is. I am supposed to be reading these books for my assignment surrounding the use of language in coaching…yet as I am reading, I am linking it all back to weight loss. My coaching clients are a lucky bunch – they get the benefit of my obsession with finding methods and models to support weight loss, motivation, beating binge eating…I do need to get a life I suppose some would say…and that is exactly what I am doing thank you very much! ;-)

Shifting this weight feels amazing. What feels more amazing are the changes in my mind. I KNOW that something is different now. Food and thoughts of food no longer consume me. I am absolutely confident that I will shift this weight and keep it off.

So apologies to my university lecturer…she might not ‘get’ the benefits that my reading produces for me…and I am still yet to start this bloody assignment – so I am going to call it a day and get reading another book! ;-)

Today has been nice. A good Pilates session this morning was followed by a trip to a meat warehouse…yes, a proper meat warehouse and not a nightclub know as a meat-market! ;-) I bought lots of lovely meat – steak, pork loin, chicken breasts, extra lean beef mince, bacon, and even seafood sticks…my freezer is full and my budget is healthy! Then we popped to see my Dad and caught up with him for a while. And then it was off to see the horses – who were eating and quite happy today. Then we popped to Asda…and then it was home for the afternoon. Mr WLB has had the football on and I have tried to read – but keep distracting myself! I might watch a film tonight, but have to decide which one first! :-)

Breakfast: Bananas.

20140412-153134.jpgLunch: Smoked salmon scrambled egg with spinach, cherry tomatoes, and toasted rolls (2 x HEB).

20140412-153210.jpgDinner: Steak, roasted butternut squash, red onion, and sweet peppers, and stuffed mushrooms (2 x HEA).

20140412-194639.jpgSnacks: Cheats Black Forest pudding (13 syns), seafood sticks and custard apples – well, I had a tiny spoon of the custard apple and decided it was too sweet!

20140412-194714.jpgBananas to fuel my workout were followed by smoked salmon scrambled eggs – I love this meal! I then cooked some of the steak from the meat place – it was delicious – with stuffed mushrooms (just stuffed with Philadelphia) and roasted some butternut squash, some red onion, and some of the sweet pointy peppers. My pudding is lush – the Asda frozen cherries with Greek yogurt and chopped up cocoa Nakd bars.

Exercise: 60 minutes of Pilates.

Thank you for reading,

Weight Loss Bitch xxx



On a health and fitness driven journey to lose over 32st / 448lbs / 203kgs – yes, it is a considerable amount – I am committed to losing my excess weight without the aid of weight loss surgery, diet pills, or quick fixes…as there aren’t any! Changing my eating habits and building up my fitness levels, along with addressing the ‘head issues’ will be crucial in order for me to achieve my goal. Living in England as a 31 year old super morbidly obese woman can be challenging to say the least. I have been shouted at in the street and verbally abused far too many times to mention; hence the name ‘Weight Loss Bitch’…the day I am just called a ‘bitch’ instead of a ‘fat bitch’ will be the day that I know I have cracked my weight loss! With many reasons to lose this weight I am documenting my journey for a number of reasons. Firstly, I would like to keep a record of the ups and downs, the highs and lows, and the challenges I face with such an enormous task to tackle. Secondly, I would also like to inspire and encourage other people who are in a similar situation and to show them that significant amounts of weight can be lost naturally…with a bit of motivation, hard work, dedication and will power. Thirdly, all of the blogging, Facebook-ing, Tweet-ing, Pinterest-ing and YouTube-ing keeps me occupied and keeps my fingers out of the fridge!

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