Donít Tell Me What I Canít Do!


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  74 comments   :  19,236 Views

I love the saying from the television series Lost that character John Locke always repeats, "Don’t tell me what I can’t do!"  I think that’s part of where I got that attitude from.  That saying just clicked with me.  I think it’s because I was told that I wouldn’t and I couldn’t by so many, but then I did! 
What did I do?  I, and believe me this is a miracle, lost 150 pounds and went from bedridden to able to walk a bit, longer with a walker.  The pain is still frightful; however, where there is a will there is a way.  You should always discuss your pain with your doctor.  Even if they are less than receptive, they need to hear your needs.  If at any time you are told "Just lose weight," ask them how to deal with that when you can barely move.  If you’re dismissed as a whiner, find another doctor!  There are medicines, physical therapy, and other tools available to you to help you through the pain so that you can move.  There are even assistive devices, like canes, walkers, shower benches, heavyweight lifestyle websites, among other things to get you up and moving.
Magazines and some doctors will have you believe that only their recommendation of exercise is right for you.  Some of these articles are written by athletes for athletes or at least for the skilled exerciser.  What about articles for people who live a very, I mean very immobile lifestyle?  Starting out small at 1-3 minutes may be a huge step!  It was for me.  It also helped me build up to longer sessions and more complex exercises.  Every exercise session, even the 1-3 minute ones, do something--they prepare you for what is next. 
What if you are afraid of failing another time?  I know that fear so well.  In fact, for a long time I quit trying to lose and just resigned myself to my 460 pound situation of being stuck in my bedroom because I had that much trouble walking.  It seemed scarier to lose weight again and gain it back for all to see, than to just be fat in the first place.  The truth was, I needed to stop dieting and come to a real lifestyle change.  In the past I always jumped in with both feet and burned with passion until I couldn’t go on any longer.  Now I do things slowly, like I’m on vacation cruise.  There is no hurry.  I’ll get there, enjoying the scenery along the way.  Sure the boat is going to rock a few times, that’s what they do, but they don’t sink because of a few waves.
You know the truth, just like I do or you wouldn’t be reading this and I wouldn’t be writing. We both need to be healthier.  We have to find a way to do it within our unique lives.  We have to take that first leap of faith and believe we can change and reach our dreams.  We need to take baby steps and go on to write the next chapters of our lives and end the ones where we damage our bodies.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do that.  Those baby steps may seem trivial to onlookers, but they are mighty!  They are life changers.
So many on SparkPeople ask me how I lost 150 pounds and the honest answer is "Choice by choice."  It wasn’t like I woke up with the answer.  It started with lifting shampoo bottles as weights in bed, and continuing moving up to an arm cycle, then to recumbent machines. It took drinking organic milk at first and then splitting meals and ordering small or medium on up to eating from small plates and increasing veggie and fruit intake.  It took not listening when the doctors and my husband said that I wouldn’t be able to achieve what I have.
I hope that you remember to:
  • Take things slowly and deliberately.
  • Believe in yourself. 
  • Take advantage of any tools possible to get yourself moving.
  • Never give up.
  • Never ever let people tell you what you can’t do.
Don't put your thoughts toward what might have been, put your energy into what is possible.
What are some things you are holding yourself back from because you believe you can’t but instead just haven’t to build up to it yet?

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  • 74
    I love this! Great motivator! Every bit counts, every choice counts. Thank you! - 11/28/2017   3:00:36 PM
  • 73
    My here, for sure!! - 9/12/2017   4:24:59 PM
  • 72
    I always love reading your blogs!! You are a true inspiration and have such a way with words! Thank you~ - 9/15/2011   4:17:43 PM
  • 71
    Thanks for sharing your story; you are an inspiration. Like you, I used to jump into a diet plan; I would be successful to a point and then would burn out. But I have a different approach now. Finally I have learned the lesson that I had first heard from Aesop's fable "The Tortoise and the Hare" when I was 7-years-old: Slow and steady wins the race.

    I am making healthier choices with regard to food, and I have slowly worked my way up from struggling to walk one mile in 25 minutes to now walking 4.5 miles at 16 minutes a mile. It can be a challenge for perfectionists like me to acknowledge small steps toward a goal; we're the ones who want to go from beginner to expert as quickly as possible! But the only way to lasting success is through slow, deliberate, consistent progress. I'm so glad I finally got that message through my head! - 9/13/2011   11:49:53 AM
    Congratulations on all that you have achieved and will achieve. Thank you so much for posting this, it really is an awesome thing that you have done. Choice by choice I will keep my ship sailing through the rocky seas ahead; the line that meant most to me though was when you talked about jumping in with both feet burning with passion till you can't go anymore; that's true of my life as well. - 9/13/2011   1:55:09 AM
  • 69
    I love your mantra. You have proved them wrong. I have been told by so-called professionals some of the same things. They had no clue. Keep doing what works-because it definitely is! - 9/11/2011   6:07:28 PM
    Thank you for sharing. You inspire me. Your blog really hit home! - 9/11/2011   3:00:21 PM
  • 67
    Congratulations on your loss. Thank you for sharing how you succeeded, and for the valuable guidelines for all of us. Excellent blog! - 9/11/2011   5:05:01 AM
  • 66
    I love this analogy: "Sure the boat is going to rock a few times, thatís what they do, but they donít sink because of a few waves."

    Super blog, Beth! - 9/11/2011   12:35:08 AM
  • 65
    Thank you so much for this blog - 9/10/2011   5:24:28 PM
  • 64
    Wonderful blog; thanks for posting...your words are so very true and very inspirational. I've got the urge to go the park and take a long walk...thanks for that!!! - 9/10/2011   10:23:42 AM
    True Grit!

    Good for you - 9/9/2011   1:01:10 PM
  • 62
    This is a fantastic blog. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. The sheer determination it has taken for you to move through the physical impediments is amazing. If you are like me, if someone tells me that I can't, well, just consider it done. I am a bit of a rebel but you know what? It has served me well. The worst person to tell me I couldn't was me though. I had 2 bad knees (1 replaced and 1 needing) and 2 bulged discs in my back. Vicodin was my best friend. Then I started here on Spark. Got my nutrition under control and after a few months, began to simply walk. Against the pain. Against the odds. And now I am able to go farther or faster each week. I will never be a runner, I can;'t do a jumping jack to save my life, but I can walk and I can dance like a maniac so I do what I can and I dont worry about what I can't do. One step, one day, one choice at a time has me losing over 70 pounds in a little over a year and half. Thank you for this blog and congratulations on what you have achieved and how you have changed your life. That rocks! Jan - 9/9/2011   11:12:33 AM
  • 61
    I think it is great that you didn't listen to the negativity in your life!! I am lucky to have a supportive boyfriend who understands and cares that I am trying to be healthier. I wish that more people were like that.... - 9/9/2011   9:45:00 AM
    Beth, there were some tears when I read your are such an inspiration!!! choice by choice...step by step..moment by moment...i pray it will happen for me too - 9/8/2011   10:43:40 PM
  • 59
    Thank you or your blog!! I can't remember when it began, but I was told day after day as I was in elementary school through HS. that I wouldn't amount to much and I was not over weight!! I was a basketball player and a track participant but yet coaches kept says I would never make anything I tried in life and classmates had "wonderful, colorful" names for this normal weight kid. Well, I have done what i was told I couldn't because one person showed faith in me and I could latch on to it. It is the one choice I made and it made me. I have a wonderful husband and family that care and had a job where i shined. I am now retired and that is the best job I can find now. Thank you again for sharing your Choice by Choice story. - 9/8/2011   9:37:23 PM
  • CHARLOTTE14094
    Thank You for this blog it came when I needed it most. I have been trying so hard and in so much pain. I have lost no weight yet and in tears when I see everyone else doing so good. - 9/8/2011   1:33:44 PM
  • 57
    First, congratulations you deserve a Woo Hoo! I loved this blog it is written from the heart. This one is such an important read for anyone that needs to lose a lot of weight. You are right it is hard to find the right exercise when one can barely move. I hope this blog reaches all the people that can benefit from it. - 9/8/2011   10:31:36 AM
  • 56
    "Choice by Choice" is my new mantra. Beth writes the most useful and inspiring blogs. Many of us here have some disability, even if it's a small one like a bad knee, that make the articles aimed at young athletes training for their next 5K irrelevant, so it is nice to hear from someone who also is proud of working-in the baby steps, day by day. Thank you Our Lady of Courage and Conviction. - 9/8/2011   9:09:55 AM
    You are great. Keep up the good work. Thank you for the inspiration, I need to continue to do the right things to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Today I will start again on a consistent, relaxed excercise program.
    Thank you. - 9/8/2011   8:51:00 AM
    Beth thanks again for this blog. I sent it to a fellow sparker who is having trouble with PATIENCE! She had bypass surgery and wants the race done YESTERDAY! lol.. HUGS Laurie - 9/7/2011   9:54:08 PM
  • 53
    Awesome Blog! Thanks for posting! - 9/7/2011   7:14:22 PM
  • 52
    Thanks for sharing your story, I like your idea of "choice by choice". A great job on all the tough choices you made on your weight loss journey!!!! - 9/7/2011   6:56:32 PM
  • 51
    Holy moley - that was an amazing blog! Love the phrase.
    Don't put your thoughts toward what might have been, put your energy into what is possible. It's going to be my new mantra! THANK YOU! - 9/7/2011   5:32:58 PM
  • 50
    Thank you so much. I'm not exactly where you were but for me exercising is not easy. After years of inactivity, and probably some muscle wasting from a long haul with an eating disorder I'm not really in the kind of shape I think I can be in. I'm starting in the my own small steps, 10-15 minute exercise intervals alternating with my favorite activities (reading and being on the computer). I also am hypermobile which causes all kinds of joint issues but I'm not letting that stop me anymore! Blogs like yours really motivate me not to let silly things like that stop me. - 9/7/2011   5:21:22 PM
    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Beth! Truly inspiring. - 9/7/2011   3:16:48 PM
    WOW atta girl what else canI say except you CAN do it And you are proving it every day - 9/7/2011   2:57:48 PM
  • 47
    My father always told me..."I can't didn't do anything but sit in the corner and pee his pants, is that what you are going to do?"

    Thank you for sharing your inspiration...and if baby steps seem too big...take a baby, baby step. It has worked for me! - 9/7/2011   2:44:13 PM
  • 46
    Thx so much for this. I am disabled and in chronic pain and every small step is a huge victory to me. I spend alot of time beating myself up for destroying my physical health and that does no good! thank u for reminding me of that. - 9/7/2011   2:04:22 PM
  • 45
    You always have a way of inspiring me. Thank you for reminding me that it's not a race, that it's a "vacation cruise" towards healthier choices. I get impatient and frustrated sometimes, which leads to negativity. Keep up the amazing work! - 9/7/2011   1:52:49 PM
  • 44
    Congrats!! - 9/7/2011   1:44:25 PM
  • 43
    You are so inspiring and you have so much to be proud of. Way to go!!!! - 9/7/2011   1:19:33 PM
  • 42
    Beth, thank you for the reminder that every small change or attempt makes a difference. I needed that reminder today. I also liked the imagery of the journey and enjoying the process, not looking for the quick fix. I sometimes forget that this is forever, not just for now. - 9/7/2011   12:54:24 PM
  • 41
    I love your picture! Truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your journey! - 9/7/2011   12:17:18 PM
    Thank you for your posting - very motto is tell me what I cannot do, and I will show you how I did it. - 9/7/2011   12:13:51 PM
  • 39
    Good for you. You must be so proud of all that you have achieved...choice by choice, day by day. Thanks. - 9/7/2011   11:11:39 AM
    I really like your blog. I too dont like for someone to tell me what I cant do. That make me show off. I will keep you in my prayer for your health and determination. YOU GO GIRL. LOOKING GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD. - 9/7/2011   10:49:42 AM
  • JACOBY46
    You are quite an inspiration and I needed this article today..thank you - 9/7/2011   9:55:02 AM
  • 36
    You are such an inspiration and it's amazing what you have accomplished. " you will never be able to do that" I have always taken those words as a challenge to prove how wrong someone can be. When I fractured my patella with a HUGE bone separation 5 yr. ago-broke it in half like a piece of bread- I was told by PT that I'd never be able to get into a deep squat or have the extreme ROM that I had had before. I told my DH, "just watch me"! Now at 62, I have it alllll back except I have pain when I do it but I don't let that stop me. I needed that back since I was doing professional labor support (doula) and assisted moms into those positions to open the pelvis.
    Keep it up! I have no doubt that you can do whatever you set your mind to.
    - 9/7/2011   9:31:14 AM
  • 35
    "choice by choice:" an aware life. Works for me. - 9/7/2011   9:05:47 AM
  • 34

    I always look forward to your posts. Seeing from photos and reading from blogs what you have accomplished has helped me keep going in my own journey. Many blessings for your continued health and success, and blessings to the husband who supports your journey. - 9/7/2011   8:39:42 AM
  • 33
    You are such an inspiration to all of us here on Spark! Thank you for sharing your struggles and successes with all of us here in such a public way. That alone makes you shine!! - 9/7/2011   8:33:48 AM
    Hey Beth, that is so inspirational. I am new to the site. I am looking forward to reading more of your blogs. Is that a photo of you walking your dog in the woods. Im proud to be following the same program as a woman with the strength of charachter as YOU. - 9/7/2011   7:57:12 AM
  • KRISTA48439
    Aww, now you've made me tear up before I have to go to work! Wow, what a powerful story. You are mighty! - 9/7/2011   7:35:15 AM
  • 30
    I'm always happy to see a blog post from you - you're an inspiration every time!
    - 9/7/2011   5:42:33 AM
  • 29
    Beth, I love reading you! You are sure an example of courage, strength, willingness, perseverance, optimism in your weight loss journey....You are truly inspirational...Keep up the fight...Travel safely. - 9/7/2011   3:40:23 AM
  • 28
    You have done a fantastic job - and I agree - we don't know what we can do until we try - we have enormous inner strength that we can use, that we often don't even realise just how strong it is - but what annoys me is that people keep telling us we can't do it!! It has to be jealousy - or they are judging on the average!!
    My Doctor now agrees I can do it - but even after 8 years of my losng weight consistantly - and him seeing the results even commenting on them - he was still trying to get me to have surgery!! He still only a year ago did not believe I can do it!!
    At last he has started to agree - it might be possible !!
    IT IS POSSIBLE!!- - 9/6/2011   11:29:53 PM
  • 27
    Fantastic job! Yes, we have to do this for ourselves and we have to learn that others don't always have the right answer for us. Glad you found your answers and have accomplished so much! - 9/6/2011   6:54:52 PM
  • 26
    Great Read -- Thanks for sharing!! - 9/6/2011   6:24:55 PM
  • JULIA1154
    I, too, love your words "choice by choice". They apply to each of us (on SP and off), whether we have 2 pounds to lose or 200.
    - 9/6/2011   6:06:30 PM

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