Sunday, December 16, 2012
I think many of us seek a balance when we are working to lose or maintain weight. On the one hand, we have a goal, or often several goals in mind. We want to get to a certain weight, figure out how to maintain that weight, get into a certain size, improve our health, increase our fitness, etc. While working towards these goals, we can become very single minded and driven. We might ask ourselves, when do we get a chance to smell the roses? Sometimes, we might think that we’ll just need to smell them later, once we have accomplished what we set out to do. However, I firmly believe we can both smell the roses AND work towards a healthier life.
We can get very caught up in the “destination” of reaching a certain weight or type of appearance. When that destination is a long way off, we may easily get frustrated or feel like we are deprived. For me, it was very important during all those months and months of losing weight to concentrate mainly on the journey (smelling the roses) and less on the destination (weight or how my body looks).
One thing I know. I can smell a whole lot more roses with improved health and fitness. My profile photo? That is big time rose smelling right there. When I started taking my dog to the beach in 2010, I never walked far. Between my worse knee (they are both bad) acting up and being so out of shape, walking in the sand for any length of time was an ordeal, never mind that dune I had to climb up on the way to the parking lot. This past summer, I got to the beach every week and enjoyed long walks beach combing and drinking in the serenity. The dune I once dreaded and climbed up gasping and needing to pause for breath, doesn't phase me any more. I enjoy doing so many things that two years ago I wouldn't even try.
What I can't do is eat the way I used to, but that is ok. I had decades to misuse food and mistreat my body. I still enjoy food. That is just part of my makeup, but I can't afford to use food as a drug to numb and comfort myself any more. Those days are over. I don't want to die early because food was more important to me than my health. I don't want to become incapacitated by illness and pain because of misusing food and not taking care of myself. I literally would never treat my dogs the way I have treated myself in the past. Those days need to be over. I am worth at least as much as my dogs!
It was important for me to let go of trying to find a perfect weight or a perfect body. Because that doesn't exist. Trying to achieve perfection is a trap so many of us can fall into. It usually leads to disappointment, frustration, a sense of failure and hopelessness. And those feelings pave the way to giving up and going back to old, destructive patterns. My body is way, way far from perfect, especially after years of how I took care of it, but it is doing so much better than it was two years ago. It is doing better than it was even 2 months ago and that is very exciting to me.
I could catalog all my body's faults and short-comings, of which there are many. However, I've come to love my body because I need it to get around in this world. It is all I have while I'm here. So instead, I concentrate on all my body's strengths and good points, of which there are many. My body and mind may not always talk the same language (the whole Intuitive Eating thing is not something I would tackle at this stage), but we are a team and need to work together.
To me, weight loss and maintenance are complicated, many faceted, sometimes challenging, and sometimes exciting. Maybe it really is simple (calories in, calories out), but simple doesn't necessarily equate to easy. Still, for me the journey and destination are so worth the long haul, the extra effort, and the commitment. Our life is a gift. Our body is a gift. In this season of gift giving, I say we should treasure these gifts and take great care of them. Let's enjoy and value both our journeys and our destinations, smelling the roses all along the way.