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It isn't how you start...

Monday, January 07, 2013

it's how you finish. I was reminded of this truism yesterday when listening to the Seahawk's (yay!!) coach's post game speech. They had started the game down by 14 points in the first quarter. It looked like they were going to fail, dismally. They didn't, because they didn't just lie down on the field in utter shame and embarrassment, they just went ahead and did what they knew how to do.

If you are reading this, and you are like me (and lots of others) and you have stumbled with your efforts to create a healthier body for yourself, by changing habits and losing weight only to resume old habits and regain weight, then I am reminding you, and me, that "it isn't how we start, it's how we finish". I do NOT intend to come to the (premature) end of my life due to obesity and nutrition related ailments. How many times I have lost and re-gained, how many times I have fallen, how many years this has been a struggle, is immaterial, to a certain point. Lying around feeling like a big fat failure is not an option. Every human being on Earth struggles with something, or lots of things, for a while, or forever. We all have struggles. This, for whatever reason (I am sick of dissecting reasons) is one of my big (literally) struggles. But, as my best friend reminded me, "you are not doing this so you can wear a bikini emoticon (SO not a dream of mine), or because you think if you don't look a certain way, you are worthless, you are struggling to feel better and to be healthier". So, it is a worthy struggle requiring however long it takes. Something else I heard in that post victory press conference, by a young quarterback who had been told for years, by many, that he would never, ever be successful at a high level, is that "preparation creates separation". I took that to mean that those willing to make the effort, no matter how tedious it can be at times, no matter how many naysayers they encounter along the way, no matter how difficult or tiring it is, and how tempting it can be to just give up, can separate themselves from their failures, from their critics, and from the numerous examples of how difficult the task at hand is. We have all read those dismal statistics - that 95% of us are doomed to keep returning to overweight and obesity, that even Oprah, with all her billions, can't escape the clutches of overeating and excess weight. Blah blah blah, I say. Those statistics don't measure how much better it feels to drop 10 or 20 lbs, add nutritious food, gain energy, exercise regularly, and feel so much better in our own skin. We don't need to look like someone else's picture of health and fitness, or fit in a box on the insurance industry's BMI chart (most athletes don't fit nicely there, either). We need to feel better, eat better, move better, do better, live better than we do when we are feeling at our most hopeless. We need to meet our own standards. We need to make changes that we can live with, and that increase the quality of our daily life. We are not doomed to finish poorly, just because we may have started and re-started poorly, more times than we can count. Failure will always be part of human nature. I know failure intimately. It isn't shameful, it is expected. We just aren't going to live in failure. We are going to stare it down, and go around. Right?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This is so true. And I feel like finally, at 57, I may FINALLY be able to keep the weight off even though so many sources say it is impossible.
    1950 days ago
    RIGHT! You are SO wise Cannie. Life is about finding strength and purpose in each new day. No matter how much we may struggle, we will find a way to go on, and we WILL get this DONE! No giving up!
    1951 days ago
    Thanks for sharing this inspirational message.
    emoticon Hattie
    1953 days ago
    YESSSSS!! I am going to finish strong! And that means that I am not done in this race. I'm still in it, so I cannot give up and give in!
    Funny you should mention Oprah. With all of the buzz around this Lance Armstrong interview I was thinking the exact same thing: Oprah reigns over so many but has not been able to commit to staying in her own 'race' for health and longevity. Even with trainers, chefs and motivational speakers banging on her gold Oprah embossed door. Amazing (I'm kidding about the golden door of course!).
    I felt like a failure for gaining my weight back, but KNOW that my body will be happier and even treat me better in return if I keep at it.
    I will!!!
    1954 days ago
    Good points, and a good gut check for the beginning of a new year. Change that we can live with is a good place to start.
    1958 days ago
    Good thoughts although I have to admit that I am kind of bored with never seeing that finish line in the distance ahead...too far away and it does not come closer with all the stumbling I am doing...
    1961 days ago
  • MARTY728
    emoticon emoticon
    1962 days ago
    Dang Right!!! We aren't giving up or laying down! Let's do this!! I loved this blog!

    emoticon emoticon

    Here's to finishing Healthy!
    1962 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/8/2013 11:13:25 AM
    What a great blog. Thank you for sharing.

    I don't know if there will ever be a finish for me since it seems to be a bit of an endless struggle. Having lost over 100 pounds and then gaining back just over 20 in about 18 months I've realized just how easy it is to stray from the straight and narrow. You're right though. The important thing is that I'm doing this to feel better and be healthy.

    Glad to see your face on my friend feed!
    1962 days ago
    Thank you!!! Love it!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1962 days ago
    Excellent blog Carole! It's definitely not about the way we start. Failures will happen to all of us, no matter how strong or well-prepared we are. But in my opinion, it's not about how we finish either. It's about how well we played our game. How much we tried, how many times we got up after falling and how much we really wanted to win. A team can start off badly and wait in embarrassment for the game to finish and become the ashamed losers. Or they can do their best, fight and still lose. But the second loss is so much better than the first, isn't it?
    It's the same with weight loss. We may not reach our goal weight, we may not manage to lose all the weight we had initially planned. But we will have done our best. We will have learned valuable lessons along the way and we will feel good for ourselves.
    We just have to keep trying.
    1962 days ago
    and it is a struggle for all of us, all the way to the finish. the our health and the feeling good of being healthy & strong (and, to be honest, for me, the satisfaction of feeling successful at something) deserve the struggle. oh dear, i think i'm making it sound like the revolution, or something. well, maybe, on an individual level, it is. i know you can, Carole -- and i keep my fingers crossed that you do ... hugs from Paris
    1962 days ago
  • AMYB1985
    Well said and well timed! I was feeling very low, having returned to my highest weight over the last six months. I've been getting back on track, but repeated failures had still been weighing me down. Thanks for reminding me that the past is past and tomorrow (hell TODAY) is still up for grabs!
    1962 days ago
    Well I was going to write a pissy blog about how angry and hopeless I feel after continuing to overeat. I am maintaining my work-outs and that felt even worse because I feel like such a fraud.HOWEVER, God allowed me to read this first and now I feel better about the tiny bit I'm doing right and you're right, it doesn't matter how long we struggle, what is the option, to stop??? No, so we keep on keepin on. Thank you so much for this, you are so wise and right. We are all together here struggling our own way and as lonely as it seems sometimes, we aren't alone at all are we? So glad for you. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1962 days ago
    Wise as always...sometimes starting or finishingsntbthe issue. Sometimes just being in the game is enough. At least for me. Hugs!
    1962 days ago
    Great blog!

    It rings true in so many ways. My own journey is a selfish attempt to avoid the problems, life long medications, and even death that has grips on my friends and coworkers.

    I agree that it is how you finish, sadly, so many people never start. I constantly get asked how I did it, and I share with all that ask; Sparkpeople, making habits, refining tastes. They look interested and some even look into it, but few get started. I will add your blog to recommended reading for my friends.

    As always, you, your journey, and your blog are a great inspiration! Keep on Sparking!
    1962 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    Making changes we can live with to increase the quality of our lives? That is what it is about. We cannot forget what we are struggling for, and why it is so important to not give up. We need to honour ourselves and the gifts we've been given.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    1962 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/8/2013 7:22:58 PM
  • DAISY443
    1962 days ago
    What can I say. Your blog is truer than true. It IS all about how we finish.

    Negativity from others really grates on me. I have always been the type that, if told "You'll never be able to (fill in the blank) or become a (fill in the blank) or whatever . . . I then go on to DO it!

    I was probably about 9 or 10. Someone told me that I couldn't do a headstand. Well, I spent all summer upside down . . . pradticing my headstands. And I DID IT! I was in college and was told, "You'll never pass chemistry. You need to change your major from Nursing to something else." Oh yeah???? Well, guess what. I not only passed Chemistry (both organic and inorganic with A's!), I went on to become a nurse. Then I earned my Masters Degree. I mailed that professor a copy of my Masters Diploma with the words, "I did it.". That was all. Can I tell you how good I felt?

    I guess the bottomline is, whatever you're doing, make sure you're doing it for yourself. THAT helps shift the importance OFF of what someone else thinks and focuses on what YOU feel . . . what YOU think. THAT'S what matters. If you believe you can do it, you CAN!

    My dear, as ALWAYS, you have written a very important blog that begs to be read and internalized. I hope many DO read it.

    1962 days ago
  • TEMPEST272002
    Great message! I have lost and regained and lost and regained... and I expect this will continue to happen through my life. All I can do is make the best choices I can for myself in each moment. Thanks for the inspiration!
    1962 days ago
    1962 days ago
    Amen, sistah! I just regained eight of my hard-fought lost pounds and unlike in the past, I am simply owning up to it and getting back to my healthy habits, not wallowing in my "failure". Sounds to me like you're in the same place. More power to you, and keep on hanging in there an inspiring the rest of us. emoticon
    1962 days ago
  • MISSB8604
    Good grief your blogs always hit me right in the a good way. As I told many family members over the holidays, this is one of the hardest things I've EVER had to do but it's also been the most rewarding. Those of us who truly struggle with emotional eating know that each and every hour is a struggle, but it's how we finish that counts. The blood, sweat and tears ARE worth it in the end.
    1962 days ago
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