Saturday, February 25, 2012
Am I the only person who sometimes finds it hard to have compassion for some of the posters under the panic button?
Please understand I have done all of the foolish things I have described in the following rant. I am not judging anyone for doing them, because that would mean judging myself. I am just hoping my hindsight can help make others more aware of their current behavior and help motivate them to change it.
A few days ago, a panic button poster was talking about how they had no support from their family. Apparently the other people in the household like to bring home fast food, ice cream and other things not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. The poster didn't mention any effort to weigh and measure portions, said nothing about cutting back sweets drinking water, watching fat or sodium intake, eating fresh fruits and veggies, or anything. Not one "I am trying to…" Just complaining, "I get no support," and asking for advice.
I checked the person's SparkPage, and there was almost nothing there. Just two lines basically saying I used to be fit. Now I am fat. I want to lose weight. This person had been a member of SparkPeople for seven months but had never posted a blog, never updated a status, never designed a ticker, posted only a dozen times to the message boards, never set goals, filled out their profile, designed a program, set any SparkStreaks, or joined any teams.
I couldn't respond to the message board post because the only thing I could think of to say was DO SOMETHING!!! How can anyone support you when YOU'RE NOT MAKING ANY EFFORT???
Now, I realize that some people don't need to use every tool that Spark provides, so this person may have been doing things that just weren't recorded. I also get that you can keep parts or all of your SparkPage private, so this person may have been doing and tracking things that I couldn't see, but access to the page wasn't completely blocked, so I definitely know that there was a lot that he or she *wasn't* doing.
I also understand being overwhelmed, paralyzed, so weighed down, if you will pardon the pun, with the amount of weight you need to lose and the VAST changes in your life that you need to make to get there. Maybe you feel like you can't afford the healthy food and basic fitness equipment you need to eat right and work out. Maybe you feel like you can't do it; like no matter how hard you try, you won't succeed; like maybe you don't deserve to succeed because you let yourself get so out of hand in the first place. Maybe you even feel stupid and worthless.
I've been in that spot, more than once. I have tried and failed to lose weight in every decade of my life. I joined SP in August of 2008, lost 30 pounds, hurt my knee, and quit. Knee got better, but I didn't come back until just this year, after a stint in the hospital with a serious cellulitis infection, three weeks on IV antibiotics, 2 weeks of physical therapy, diagnoses of Type II diabetes, hypertension, and anemia, and no medical insurance. So, believe me, I understand feeling bad and sad and miserable and resigned to a future of more of the same.
I also understand that if I'm doing NOTHING, then there is NOTHING TO PANIC ABOUT. DO SOMETHING. If you don't see results after a few weeks of concentrated effort, THEN maybe there is reason to panic.
A lot of panic button posters complain about trying but not seeing any progress. I can't tell you how many posts I have seen with this vague complaint. WHAT are you trying? Are you trying to 'eat better,' 'eat healthy,' 'eat smart,' 'eat right,' 'eat good food,' 'eat less'? If you said yes to any or all of these, do you have any idea how vague that is?
Eat better. I'm going ask for lettuce and onion on my cheeseburger. I'll squeeze in a veggie if it kills me.
Eat healthy. I'm going to eat whole grain crackers with my soup instead of ordinary saltines. I might eat half the box, but they're WHOLE GRAIN.
Eat smart. Fish is brain food, right? I'll go to Long John Silver's instead of McDonald's.
Eat right. I'm going to fill 50% of my plate with spaghetti and garlic bread, 30% with meatballs, and 20% with alfredo sauce. I might fill it three times, but everything is in the correct proportions, so I am eating right.
Eat good food. A medium pizza with sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, and pineapple. I've got grains, meat, dairy, fruit, and veggies. All five major food groups. That's good.
Eat less. Ok, I'm going to get a Whopper and *small* fries with only a *medium* sweet tea today.
If your goals are not specific, you will never know if you achieve them. If you don't have benchmarks along the way, you won't even know if you're getting close. If you have no clear idea of where you should be on your journey right now, where you want to wind up, and how you are going to get there, then you have no idea if you are succeeding or failing, and you have NOTHING TO PANIC ABOUT.
When you don't have clear goals, I can understand a vague sense of anxiety making it hard to do anything, but if you're in that situation and don't seek to change it, you're just maintaining the status quo. Things aren't changing for the worse, they're staying the same. You aren't failing anything if you're not trying. That's no reason at all to panic.
Instead of panicking, turn that energy into something useful.
Set a goal: Lose ten pounds in the next 30 days.
Make a plan: Weigh and measure my food, log everything I eat, eat within my calorie range, drink 8 cups of water daily, exercise 3x/week.
DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU'RE GOING TO DO.
At the end of the month, check your progress. Did you stick to your plan? Did you achieve your goal? Did you come close? Did you make some progress? If you answered yes to the first question and no to all of the other three, then, and ONLY then, MAYBE its time to panic.