Is It Worth It?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Beth Donovan, ~INDYGIRL

I’ve asked myself some days if it’s worth it, all this tracking and exercising, and eating foods that are good for me when I would rather dive into a box of donuts and then go to sleep. Sometimes I feel alone struggling at parties or buffets while everyone else is enjoying all of the food and I’m wondering if the scale will even notice how good I’m being by not indulging. Sometimes it can be so cruel. There are the family gatherings and the comfort foods from childhood, the outings with the girls and the lonely nights in front of the television. If I’m good, will the scale notice? Better question yet, is all of this change worth it?

The answer I always come up with is YES.

I had come to a point when I weighed between 400 and 460, that I thought, “Why bother dieting? I’ll suffer and just gain it all back. Why not just eat and enjoy?” At that point in my life I was just focusing on the scale. The scale is a tool, but not the god we make it out to be. I was right, too. I would have just gained it all back if I had kept dieting. What I needed was a lifestyle change, and Spark People helped me find that. It’s the difference between going full throttle until you burn out and give up and taking baby steps to a new life.

I was missing out on what I have now, more happiness, more physical abilities, a much more positive attitude, and an enjoyable life instead of merely existing. I have more energy, and feel excited about all I have achieved. Each day a new surprise awaits me, such as a seatbelt fitting that once didn’t or being able to leave a place on my own after my wheelchair has broken down. I love being able find old favorite dresses in my closet that once again fit me. My husband’s arms fit around me now when he hugs me and I sometimes fit in a booth at restaurants. These little things each day remind me of just how much I was missing.

Lifestyle change isn’t easy, but done the Spark People way, it is easier. Spark People doesn’t promote jumping into a new lifestyle with both feet and doing everything perfectly. Instead small, attainable streaks of success in a few areas are promoted to empower and give results to a person. From there more healthy habits can be added and built upon, thus creating a new lifestyle. Baby steps still get you where you are going, you’re just not so exhausted from the journey that you can actually enjoy yourself.

If you’re one of those people, like me, who asks themselves “Why bother?” every now and again, you aren’t alone. If it is every day, several times a day, you’ve definitely overwhelmed yourself with lifestyle changes and need to scale back a bit. The idea is to make a few changes and get those incorporated into your life, and then make a few more. If you’re struggling with the first few changes, scale back to one change at a time. Lifestyle change is to make your life better, not stress you out.

Why do you want to lose weight or be fitter? For some it’s playing with their children, going on vacation, wearing cute clothing, alleviating pain, getting healthier, or even just looking good. Whatever it is that drives you, you must concentrate on that as a reality, not just a someday pipe dream. Start playing with your kids now, for instance. Maybe you won’t be able to play for long, but it’s a start. Start a vacation fund. Get a few pieces of cute clothing for the body you have now--don’t wait until when. Talk to your doctor now about pain and health issues. Go get a make-over or spend a day at a spa to make yourself feel better. The point is that you don’t have to count a single calorie to get the ball rolling in the right direction. These are all steps in the right direction of lifestyle change.

When you do feel good about yourself, the counting, tracking, and workouts will become easier. It will also be easier if you take baby steps and work with SparkStreaks, rather than the typical on-or-off and all-or-nothing approach that most fitness plans use. If tracking everything is too much for you at first, start by just tracking water, fruits and vegetables. When that gets to feel normal, try food tracking. When that gets to feel normal, track exercise. The important thing is that you are doing better--eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising more, drinking more water. You don’t have to compare yourself to anyone but yourself. Keep trying to improve on your own records and goals.

I have a few rules I follow about treats, tracking and exercise.

  • If I must indulge, and there are those times, I have to enter it into my tracker. Sometimes I go over, and that is my choice. I add a little more exercise that day or the next or I might cut a few calories over the next few days. I don’t starve myself to make up for my indulgence. See the reality and plan ahead or around it.

  • I also have to order small if it’s available. If not, I have to order an appetizer or split a meal if going out. It not only saves calories, but it saves money, too.

  • Tracking is a great tool and well worth the reality check on both sides. Sometimes I find I’ve eaten too little or haven’t gotten the nutrition I need in a day.

    Tracking exercise is easy with the Quick Track feature. Just enter the minutes you spent exercising or even actively playing and you are done tracking for the day. Workouts don’t have to be work. They can be any kind of active movement you want and feel comfortable with. Being disabled and unable to do typical workouts, I’ve worked out by rolling abound my kitchen using my arms and legs in a rolling chair before. Get creative and have fun.

    If tracking everything just isn’t for you, try the Quick Track features that allow you to track fruits, veggies, water and exercise in quick clicks. This will help you start making good choices and help you be accountable.

    To find the Nutrition Quick Track feature: Go to the "my Nutrition" page and you will see the glass of water and picture of fruits and vegetables. Click those as you eat or drink them and they will fill in with a colored picture representing what you ate or drank. To use the Fitness Quick Track: Go to the "my Fitness" page and you will see a small box that says Quick Track. Simply enter the minutes and what you did and you’re done.

    So, the question “Is it worth it?” Yes, it is worth every minute of counting, every extra step I take, and every bite not taken to feel as good as I do now. I love my new life and can’t imagine going back to my old one. I look forward to waking up and living, rather than merely existing now.

    Do you ever have those moments where you question whether you want to be losing weight and continuing on your healthy journey? What do you tell yourself?