Friday, January 04, 2013
I'm not sure how to say this, so I'll probably rewrite it a bunch. But this is important to me. Actually, this is capital "I" Important to me. I think this is the piece that has been missing from my weight-loss efforts in the last few years. And I think it's the piece that made me successful the first time I lost 20lbs. I need to hold on to it to lose and keep weight off.
You know those ads that pop up EVERYWHERE for "A [your location here] mom's one secret to weight loss"? I'm sure you've seen them. And don't lie, you've totally clicked on it, even if you know better than to believe there is "one" secret to weight-loss.
Well, I think they might be right.
For me at least.
And the secret to losing weight and keeping it off and being HAPPY while doing that is the same reason you clicked on that ad. Drumroll please....
I know, sounds weird, right?
When I had a hard time losing weight and was desperately trying every faddish insane thing (cayenne-pepper-lemon-water anyone? cabbage diet? grapefruit before every meal? Yeah, I've tried them all. Don't lie, you have too.), I kept reading everything and looking everywhere for an expert to tell me THE answer. Someone online or a friend or a book that would tell me what the perfect plan was for me.
The super-secret though? No one else knows. They probably don't even know what the perfect plan for THEM is. They certainly don't know what the hell your body and mind need.
Starting "with the end in mind" (as the 7 Habits told me to), made me desperate. Because the end was a number on the scale, a certain body shape, a size of jeans, etc. And I'm impatient, so I wanted to know right away the most efficient way to get there. I'd get lost in a sea of advice and information and would reach blindly for the next guru who told me I could get there with a two week cleanse or on a juice fast or whatever.
But I was sacrificing my own curiosity. I was like a petulant child, stamping my foot, insisting that someone else tell me the right answer and throwing a binge-tantrum when no one did.
I had to grow the hell up.
This time, I'm starting "with the end in mind" again. But this time, my end is to LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT MYSELF. I mean, I still want a smaller waist and a lighter body. Hell yeah I do!!! But I'm looking at a weight loss chart I made and seeing how my "actual" is not meeting my "goal" and, for the first time in my life, I don't look at it and feel bad. I look at it and see opportunity. I can try something new and different and see what that does to me. And if the lines go up instead of down? I learned something and I'm HONESTLY happy with that.
I don't know what flipped this switch for me, but by changing my attitude from being results-oriented to just being curious about what will happen, all of a sudden I feel like a new person. Right now, I'm trying out HR training, which is not as stimulating as just letting myself go for a nice run. But when I think about it as an experiment and approach it with curiosity, I'm finding that I am getting so much more out of it. I'm learning how to tell when my heart rate is going to push the limits of the level I want before the monitor beeps at me. I'm paying more attention to inclines and declines on my running route. I'm trying new, meandering routes because I'm not worried about mileage right now.
I have learned a lot over the years of "unsuccessful" diets...which probably means they weren't really that unsuccessful. I learned that spinach rocks my socks off when I dieted in 2004. I learned that running is actually something I LIKE to do in 2007. I learned that cayenne pepper gives me outrageous heart burn and that grapefruit may be a manifestation of evil here on earth in 2008. When I had to stop working out two years ago, I learned that I love coxing just as much as rowing. Yesterday, I learned that kale and oatmeal is just not what I like in a smoothie. This morning, I learned that a pumpkin-spinach-smoothie is amazing. Who knows what I'll learn tomorrow?!?
My biggest problem these days is impatience - I want to shake my routine up every day to try something new and I have to force myself to hold out for a bit to learn about what I'm doing before I change it too quickly. I am wickedly happy with my diet right now. Every other time in my life, I would despair at losing less than 1lb a week on average. I would beat myself up and feel like crap. Instead, I'm looking at all the new things I'm learning and trying and I LOVE what I'm doing.
I hope you can find your secret. I hope you can maintain a curious attitude. I hope you continue to love exploring the options for what to eat, how to move, what to think about. I hope I can maintain this attitude too. :)