Week number four of the IQS Program (if you’re counting with me…) is under my belt and I’m so VERY pleased to let you all know that I won’t be needing to “eat my own words” after announcing at the end of week one that – even back then – I could physically see and feel the benefit of quitting sugar! …good job really, as words can be tasteless and honestly, who in their right minds would prefer eating words to these IQS meals!
I’m still freewheeling, trusting the IQS Program. I stopped the calorie-counting and weigh-ins right from the start but now, I no longer feel pressured or restrained by self-imposed “targets”… which, quite frankly, were becoming boring with all the tedious counting and monitoring! So I wasn’t looking forward to this week on the program, as we’re being asked to take “measurements” – ironic huh! Fortunately, with my energy levels up and my trousers literally slipping down my hips, this request hasn’t seemed to phase me as much as I’d expected – unlike the thought of my trousers slipping down to my ankles in public, which I assure you would bother me immensely… as well anyone else who happened to witness it!
This request of the IQS Program did get me thinking though… is “measuring” ourselves really going to provide us with a reward, a prize even for participating in this IQS Program? And what if the “measurements” tell us that we’ve not managed to reach the “magic numbers” we may have set ourselves… what then?
Personally, this is where I believe “numbers” simply DO NOT COUNT. After all, there are so many other approaches we could use to “measure” our progress don’t you think? So, if we must measure… can we agree to put the bloody tape measure away straight afterwards – PLEASE! For me at least, a more relevant and meaningful set of “measurements” against which we can assess our progress is to consider what we have become more competent at over the last four weeks…
Here’s a good “measurement” to consider, “Have you mastered the IQS Program recipes?” To which I’d have to answer – based upon all the “pimp’d up” creations I’ve seen being posted on Instagram – “HELL YES!”
Without a doubt we’ve wiped the (kitchen…) floor with these sorts of personal challenges… which, in my case at least, has sometimes been in spite of “frustration” literally wanting to wipe the floor – just like in the “Chicken scene” from the film Julie & Julia! We’ve developed… NO mastered a new set of skills. We are TOTALLY deserving of putting a “tick in the box” for improved competency.
Next, let’s consider the facts, from the start of this journey… the objective was to “quit sugar”; motivation to succeed was high; the target result – cut sugar OUT of our lives. On the path so far though, there has been NO “auto-pilot” and certainly NO “free-ride”… which – at times – has led to many of us needing to make “emergency” calls. For me, this has involved reaching out to the IQS Program forum or the “Insta-food-family” – “BREAK-24… BREAK- 24… THIS IS HANDLE SUGARLUMPS CALLING ALL CHANNELS… NEED SUPPORT… NOW!” – and it’s clear from the interactions I’ve had that individually, we have each developed a natural sense of who we are and our roles within these “social” communities.
I’m sure most of us have connected with individuals and/or groups on-line at some point, with whom we’ve formed attachments or developed a sense of belonging with people whom we can relate, totally. Nowhere is this more evident for me than on Instagram… through which, I’ve received such amazing support, encouragement and positive feedback on my posts which in turn, only goes to further increase my motivation to succeed on the IQS Program… but this has also motivated me to contribute, offering my own support, encouragement and feedback to the community. After all, “Life” is all about “give and take” right? ..and particularly in any form of relationship… be it physical or virtual and this “give and take” only helps us develop and grow new skills as a person, helping us feel even more competent, providing yet another “tick in the box” for relationship building.
This social support (social modeling) is SO important and continues to evolve daily through social network sites and apps like Instagram, where people like me proudly show off our “IQSP t-shirts”, accept our social identity and contribute to a community… this is abundantly evident in the IQS Program Forum or the “Insta-Food-Family”.
The final “measurement” that I believe we should assess our progress upon is that of our own “autonomy”… by which I mean, we should determine how much we feel “in control” of our own behaviors and goals. Let’s say we’d signed up to the IQS Program to be measured by competency and relationship building alone, it wouldn’t matter what our “physical measurements” are. The alternative though, is that our complete focus could have been entirely on the “physical measurements” and this could no doubt go hand-in-hand with personal rewards… or punishment… depending on our progress!
Just humor me here and let me add Abstinence Violation Effect (AVE) in to the mix… WTF! I hear you scream? But stay with me… Put simply – by the IQS Program – this is where we blame “internal factors” like a lack of willpower or an underlying addiction to sugar… and we consider these to be something we have absolutely no control over. If we buy into this “black and white” thinking, we tend to end up just saying “f@ck that! I can’t do anything about it” – get the idea? So, I hear you ask, how can we best measure our progress to avoid this type of thinking coming into play…
EASY! We move the goal posts… Let’s at least give ourselves a chance to score and be SMART about it!
The above goal has purposely excluded “physical measurements ” as despite being able to control WHAT we are eating, we cannot control HOW this might affect our bodies. Keep this in mind as the outcome of any goal we set ourselves should only be determined by what we are actually able to control … if we lose weight as a consequence, that’s a bonus right?! Focus on WHAT we can influence, define it and then we can end up feeling a sense of control in that process. Using this framework could help bring us closer to a goal that may previously have seemed completely out of our reach and one goal can follow another, maybe even score a hat-trick! Here the next SMART goal could focus on exercise.
So, yes I ‘ve achieved my goal I don’t need to go on about how much physical exercise I’ve done or my measurements – my focus is actually precisely as its set out above, no more no less. I’m winning!!! Yes clothes are feeling looser as a consequence of following the IQS Program and my senses heightened – my taste buds alive! ZINING! I’ve energy to burn and with a clearer head my thoughts feel sharper – watch out world. I could go on about the physical affects I’m feeling and seeing as a result of giving up sugar but were all individuals who will ultimately experience it differently and I don’t want to bore anyone too much!
If you’re now snoring .. maybe watch “That Sugar Film” which provides an inspired visual account on the sugar industry and quitting sugar. Besides, it also spares you the sight of my belly and stretch marks which no-one and I repeat no-one should have to see! Although, there will unfortunately have to be “one shot” at the end of the IQS Program. Yes, the obligatory “before and after” shots, which if you are wise, you would do very well to look away from …
So after spending SO much time above trying to write and explain that “physical measurements” aren’t that important and that we should be using and applying more relevant measures … I need to confess that yes, I do actually intend to physically “measure” myself – because quite frankly I’m curious!
I feel SO different already on the inside and want to know is it as different on the outside, or put simply I want to know “does my bum STILL look big in this?” and come on, I have in the first instance , been measuring my progress as I’ve outlined earlier (competency, increased skills, connections with others, etc.) Of course there’s an obvious risk that I’ve actually put weight on – feeling SO full all the time logically equates to putting on weight right – which I cant deny would be disappointing but HONESTLY … what’s more important to me is what’s going on in the inside. This is what I’m in control of … what I’m DOING to achieve my goal.
My motivation is still on a high, although my energy levels continue to fluctuate, I now move forward to week 5 and I can still visualise my goal very clearly in week 8 …