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Success is not an accident

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Last Sunday, two women at church asked me if I'd lost weight. I have, but more importantly, I was wearing pants that didn't give me a muffin top. But what struck me was that one of them, a woman about my age and shape, said, "I'm jealous."

Jealous? It's not as if I've done something that she isn't capable of. She's on my FB friend feed, so I'm sure she's seen how many workout-related status updates I've posted. Kim is at Tri-City Court Club. Kim ran. Kim rode her bike. Kim hiked Badger. Kim swam laps.

I know a lot of us get this kind of feedback from people: we somehow have discovered some miraculous truth and accomplished something the uninitiated cannot. Hardly. Ask what I ate yesterday - I can tell you. Ask me how many times I've run, swam, ridden, hiked, stretched, or strength trained this month - I can tell you.

Success is not an accident. While my bout of gastroenteritis two months ago gets some credit, the reason I didn't immediately regain the weight is that I made reasonable, healthy food choices instead of saying "I lost five pounds! Bring on the pizza and ice cream!" I still eat too much, but for the most part, I make good choices and keep my calories within a reasonable range. Some nights, I watch an hour of two of television; occasionally I splurge and watch three or four. But those nights are rare because I chose to do something different.

I give myself permission to skip workouts, but I don't do that very often, and I have to have a well-described reason for doing so (such as, I desperately need that extra thirty minutes of sleep, and that sleep will benefit me more than the run will). I've pushed through workouts I did not enjoy. I've ridden in 35-mph cross winds more than I care to describe. I've stared at the pool and wanted to cry because it was beating me. But day after day, I push myself. I work a little harder. I sacrifice the temporary comfort for long-term benefits (and big-assed bragging rights).

But here's what gets me: this woman is educated. Clearly she doesn't think she got her professional certification because she was lucky. Surely she's aware that it took hard work to get where she is today.

I wouldn't say any of this her, because that would be mean. But it saddens me that so many people continue to think there's some magic pill, some quick-fix, that will make them fit and healthy. There isn't. We all deserve to be healthy and fit, regardless of our shape and size. And that "secret" is already in us.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • v _LINDA
    emoticon Great blog! Referral from Don thankfully! I have had nothing but compliments and encouragement and quite a few of how I did it, then comes the Spark plug :) But its true they think maybe there is a quick fix especially as they have seen me recovering from so many surgeries and health issues they think it can't be just eat right and exercise lol.
    Keep on being awesomesauce!
    844 days ago
  • v HILLSLUG98239
    I absolutely recognize it was a compliment. And I wasn't being entirely fair to this person: she has faced some huge struggles over the past few years, and she doesn't have the kind of support I do. If I was going through what she's been through, it's unlikely I'd be getting more fit. In fact, given the way 2010 went - when I got up to 210 pounds - I'm certain of it!

    I wasn't trying to be mean. It was just one of those comments that set me to thinking. I've allowed myself to engage in the same self-defeating thinking. I battle against it all the time.

    Quite frankly, as she gets her life back on an even keel, I wouldn't be surprised to see her taking better care of herself.
    844 days ago
    I have worked in health care for over 10 years. I KNOW what I am supposed to do to be healthy. I KNOW how to lose weight. I am well educated on a variety of topics. That being said "Knowing and DOING are two different things." Jealousy on the part of your friend may be "I am jealous that you seem to have the drive and desire to get thin and healthy and I don't." This lifestyle takes WAY more than education, it takes a DESIRE to truly change your life and how you approach food and fitness.

    As ONEKIDSMOM pointed out, the comment was likely intended as a compliment.
    845 days ago
  • v 123ELAINE456
    Awesome Blog!!! Well Done. God Blessings Always. Take Care.
    845 days ago
    How did I miss this one earlier? Don sent me over with his riff today! Absolutely emoticon

    On the other hand, she might have meant it as a compliment. Well done on your hard work and the success that come along with it
    845 days ago
    Super blog and super comments from DDOORN who directed me here! Success isn't an accident -- your are so right about that, and deserve your pride in your accomplishments absolutely. Every person's path is different and I'm betting your good example will have an impact on your friends and colleagues who see what you're doing . . . we just can never know what's going on in other people's lives.
    845 days ago
  • v KANOE10
    Well said. It is not an accident. It is work and determination.

    Great job on being healthy.
    845 days ago
    Thanks to my friend Don for directing me to your fabulous blog with the "secret" that is already in us! I like what he said too:

    "You've worked hard to find your unique path. This other person will have to do the same. There's no magic to this, just a few basic guideposts and the rest is up to us to hammer out through her own trial and error."

    Dang -- I hate it that it's up to me (lol)!!!???
    845 days ago
  • v HILLSLUG98239
    Good points, Don. I've heard that ex-smokers are the ones most likely to be bothered by smoking. Maybe I'm one of those people who, having seen the light, cannot understand why people remain in darkness.

    I don't think poor choices are the result of ignorance in all cases. I just expect intelligent people to have a better grasp of cause & effect. emoticon
    845 days ago
  • v DDOORN
    Very true words indeed! However, I will point out that education and intelligence isn't enough (re: you mention that this woman is "educated"). Food is steeped and wrapped into SO many layers of emotions and feelings that can skew our minds and thinking terribly!

    Been there, done that for FAR too many years...and yes, I STILL struggle around those issues which continue to have the potential to knock me off the rails of my healthy and well lifestyle!

    There is SO much more to making healthy lifestyle choices than intelligence. Which also speaks to the corollary erroneous belief that somehow people who make poor lifestyle choices, who are obese, are intellectually inferior to their peers.

    You've worked hard to find your unique path. This other person will have to do the same. There's no magic to this, just a few basic guideposts and the rest is up to us to hammer out through her own trial and error.

    846 days ago
  • v ALICIA363
    I got the "you'd better not lose any more weight" comment at work today. Thank goodness for spark people helping me to prepare for some of this!

    Let's hear it for big-a$$ed bragging rights!
    851 days ago
    Hey, Kim--right on.

    I TOTALLY agree.

    Like one of the totally ripped guys at the gym says, "When people say they're jealous of me, I think, 'Don't be! Do what I do!'" I love that.



    851 days ago
  • v APONI_KB
    This reminds me of how my mom was once looking at some of my photographs and said something along the lines of how well that expensive camera of mine takes pictures.

    Sure mom and it has nothing to do with my spending hours pouring over photography books and websites to learn how and when to use various shutter speeds, apertures, and composition.

    just point at the thing and fire away the camera is doing all the work

    I choose to take it as a compliment that I make it look easy.
    nothing else to do really
    851 days ago
    Well said, Kim. If it were easy to do what you've done, everyone would do it.

    I never know quite what to do with comments like that - I think they're meant to be complimentary, since we all want to inspire envy in others, right? I sometimes hear a little bit of "mean girl" in them, too, since we're not supposed to make others feel bad (a co-worker once told me she thinks I'm losing weight because she has a weight problem - wha????)

    I think the best response is yours. You're doing this for you, and you know how hard it is. Others could do it, too, but that's on them.
    852 days ago
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