Saturday, December 08, 2012
I've been giving a lot of consideration to what maintenance defines for me lately. It's probably something I've thought on in the past, and will think again on in the future, but for this moment to me maintenance is learning and respecting what my body needs as opposed to what it wants.
I had a great night tonight attending a yoga workshop Yoga & Chocolate. You can guess what that featured and I will admit I didn't need to eat five delicious artisan chocolates (and a cookie!) but I wanted to. I'm not going to beat myself up for it. Instead I expected and enjoyed them and tomorrow I will give my body what it needs in a rigorous bike workout because I have five chocolates and a cookie to motivate me.
We sit and we ponder what our bodies want all the time. At times we even give into these wants. I'm here to say that is okay. How can we learn what our bodies need without first understanding what it wants and why that isn't sustainable?
When we make mistakes and give into wants we get so down on ourselves. There's always that fifth chocolate to beat yourself up over. That day we slacked off exercise to regret. There's always the thought that's there's more we could be doing to meet our goals.
But first we should ask if doing more is manageable. If resisting the chocolate is in our willpower. If doing the exercise is a even possibility on that day.
We all want to be on the ball about our weight loss. We want to get results now. We want and expect ourselves to perform flawlessly.
That's not going to happen and it's not realistic to expect that.
If I say to you the number one mistake I see people make for weight loss is their diet and not tracking their food, what would you do? Would you rush out and restrict what you eat and try the new fad diet because somebody else says it works?
I see that happen more than I wish, and it's always led to crash and burn instead of success. Rather the response that I would want people to take is to learn first what you are currently eating no matter what it is. What is the daily balance of nutrients? How many calories are consumed each day? What amounts of each should you attempt to eat based on your sex, age, weight, goals, etc? What do you need to put into your day to start getting there? What can you start taking out? What product options are out there and what are the nutritional values? What amounts are serving sizes?
This way you learn what you are eating first and then why it will not work over time as well as how to create customized sustainable systems which show us the what, whys, and hows.
When we learn first what does not work we narrow the field to a solution that does. There are many, many more ways that do not work than there are ways that will. It takes a lot of learning and experimentation over a long span of time to start figuring it out. I learn new solutions every day even after nearly three years of weight loss and maintenance.
Yes, during that time we do slip and willpower will wane (it's scientifically proven!). But then we can counterbalance by getting back up. It might not happen right away, we might not be able to respond with as much vigor and enthusiasm as we used to, it could be a while, more time than we want, but if we keep working towards a long-term goal things have a way of getting back on track. The hope is that the days we are on track will outweigh the days we detour.
It's not about a straight, perfect path. It's about meandering and finding a way through the mistakes. It works better to expect and prepare for slip-ups rather than to expect a perfect performance from ourselves. It's best to realize maybe the things we should do at a given moment are not the things we can do, and instead of getting mired in the "should have's/could have's" we accept them and move onto the "will do's/can manage" no matter how much or little it might be.
Sometimes, the best solution is to slip-up and eat five chocolates so we can understand why we are seeking the goals we want and what options we can respond with.
Respect and expect mistakes. They help us learn the way back to giving our bodies what it needs.