Friday, October 11, 2013

The Imposter Syndrome

Now that I have lost almost 40 pounds (!!!), I am getting a lot of comments from people regarding my weight loss. The number one question has got to be: "How did you do it?!" I generally respond with, "oh, you know, just trying to eat better and be more active." Yep, I tend to completely minimize the amount of work I have put into becoming healthier. My response should be, "I'm working my ass* off! Literally."

I recently read Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In. First of all, I highly recommend reading it. Second, one of the things that stuck with me is the idea of the "Imposter Sydrome."

Sheryl shares:
This phenomenon of capable people being plagued by self-doubt has a name -- the imposter syndrome. Both men and women are susceptible to the imposter syndrome, but women tend to experience it more intensely and be more limited by it. 
Instead of feeling worthy of recognition, they feel undeserving and guilty, as if a mistake has been made... 
She goes on to talk about how multiple studies have shown that women tend to judge their own performance as worse than it is, and are also more likely to attribute success to luck or "being in the right place at the right time." On the other hand, men tend to judge their performance as better than it actually is, and based on skill. This issue is both internal and external...women tend to be judged by what they have already accomplished while men are judged on their potential to be successful. Reading Lean In made me much more aware of how often I dismiss my skills and successes and struggle, like many women, to internalize my accomplishments. Hello, self-fulfilling prophecy!

I have come to better realize that while I may not have control over all of the external stuff, I can gain better control over myself. In mid-May, I made the decision to change, to gain more control over my health. I began erring on the side of lean meat, fruit and veggies, some dairy, and very little breads and such. Our grocery lists now consist of mostly unprocessed, whole foods. I also pay attention to serving sizes and track everything. With regards to fitness, I park farther away. I take the stairs. I schedule workouts, even if I can only fit in 20-30 minutes. I enlisted my honey and now we sometimes do a lap around our neighborhood after dinner. We make "fitness dates" with friends... did I do it? I worked hard for this. I continue to work hard. I am not an imposter.

*Sorry, mom.

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