The Road to Truth
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” (Buddha)
I’m moving further and further along on the road to “truth” and, this time, I AM going all the way.
Here’s how I know . . .
There are certain truths about weight management and I have faced and ACCEPTED them. The "accepted" part is a BIG deal because even in facing a truth, I still have the option of turning away from it, as I did all the other times I have lost large amounts of weight, come close to goal, and given up for whatever reason.
Here are the weight management truths that I have accepted (yours may not be the same as mine):
1. No one can do it for me and I cannot do it for someone else.
Losing weight and keeping it off will not happen unless I am doing it for myself. I can’t do it to make my husband happy. Doing it to appease the “haters” out there who think less of me because I’m heavy won’t work either. Having the doctor tell me I need to lose weight doesn’t work at all. I can’t do it because my mother’s heavy and I don’t want to grow up to be “like her” (clearly, THAT line of reasoning didn’t pan out for me!).
I have to do it for myself and I have to want it “BAD”! Besides, my weight is MINE and it’s on MY body. So that makes it MY responsibility. And being healthy and living a long life is worth it!
2. I will always have to monitor my weight closely and take action before any gains get out of hand.
I have lost and regained large amounts of weight at least 4 times that I can remember. The first two, I was plainly on a "diet". You know, the thing you start, lose the weight you want, and go right back to doing what you did before.
Which leads me to weight loss numbers 3 and 4 . . . Both of those times, I paid lip service to making healthier eating and exercise a “lifestyle”. But that’s what it was . . . lip service. Maybe I really believed it, but, since I fell off the old SparkWagon and regained the weight both times, I have to guess I, perhaps, lacked commitment.
This time, I AM committed to making this a lifestyle. I know because I’m approaching it differently this time. I am learning what it will take for me to be successful. I’m reading about nutrition, exercise, the benefits of both, and different techniques that will help me make this a permanent part of my life.
3. Food is fuel for my body to run efficiently; not a shield to protect me from problems or any of life’s stressors.
I grew up in an Italian family and, for us, ALL occasions (birthdays, funerals, weddings, holidays, family game nights, having visitors in our home, etc.) centered around food – appetizers, meals, desserts, snacks, the works. Food equaled hospitality, generosity, fun, happiness, comfort, and love.
All that meant food was a very powerful force. So, it’s no surprise that I also learned to use food for additional purposes that had nothing to do with fueling my body. I have used food to combat boredom and stress on many occasions. I've also used it to distract me from other problems that were occurring in my life.
That is all over.
While I enjoy food and the socializing that often comes with it and always will, the main purpose of food is to give my body what it needs to run well and run efficiently. It's fuel. Period.
4. This is an opportunity to do wonderful things for myself and not at all about depriving myself.
This is NOT about all the hot fudge sundaes, cakes, cookies, etc. that I CANNOT have. There are no foods that I cannot have – as long as I plan for them and eat them in moderation. For example, I like to go to Friendly’s for lunch. I know the servers there and have struck up passing acquaintances with several other “regulars” – it’s kind of like my version of “Cheers”. When I go, I CHOOSE to eat something healthy (usually grilled salmon and mixed veggies) and I CHOOSE to pass on dessert (in the old days, that was usually a hot fudge sundae). Since I started back on SparkPeople on November 1st, I have been within my calorie range every day (because I CHOSE that). Today, I made a different choice. One of the servers had been doing her Christmas baking last night and brought in some of her cookies to share. I CHOSE to have two of them and I enjoyed every bite. No guilt. AND I tracked them and I’m still in my calorie range. So, like I said, there are NO FORBIDDEN FOODS – only planning and choices.
Another plus is that when I CHOOSE to not eat certain things, I make room in my eating plan for many other nutritious foods. I am expanding my collection of healthy recipes and enjoying cooking and eating them. This week I made an easy tuna casserole and some sloppy joes, which both had tons of veggies in them and tasted great. I’m also looking forward to trying some new foods and new spices and feel like I’m embarking on a culinary adventure.
5. Exercise makes me STRONGER, gives me ENERGY, ENHANCES my life, and improves my SELF-ESTEEM.
OK. Not gonna lie. When I started exercising again on November 1st, I thought I was going to die. Not kidding. It was PAINFUL. Everything from my feet up to the middle of my back hurt. And I was MAD at MYSELF for letting it happen. The last time I lost weight, I could ride my bike for 30 miles and I could jog for 7. I just wanted to slap myself silly for being so stupid!
Now, only 7 weeks later, I’m already noticing that the pain is almost gone and I’m getting stronger. I have more energy and I’m getting more done in the course of my day.
And, as I lose more weight and get even healthier, my life will only continue to improve because I’ll be able to do and ENJOY so many more things. I’ll be able to go to the ball game with my son and enjoy it because I’ll be able to fit in the seat better. I’ll be able to get on a plane and fly out to Arizona if I want to visit my aunt without worrying if I’ll fit in the seat without rubbing up against the person next to me. I’ll be able to go white water rafting, cycling, and hiking. I’ll be able to wear nice clothes again and I’ll look good in them.
Finally, as I continue to challenge myself physically by increasing my distance, time, or speed or even by trying altogether new things, I will KNOW what I have and can accomplish.
All of these things, alone and collectively, will raise my self-esteem.
6. This is a life-long endeavor.
That’s just a fact. When I’ve lost weight before and gone back to my old habits, I end up right back where I was – obese and unhappy with myself. That means I have to make this a part of who I am.
7. I do NOT have to be perfect.
That just isn’t possible. Everyone slips on occasion and when I do, it won’t mean that I’m "less than" or a failure. It will mean that I’m human. The critical thing will be to get right back on track, without guilt and with acceptance and confidence.
8. The strategies I use to maintain my weight once I reach goal will be no different than the ones I am using now to lose my excess weight.
I will always have to monitor my weight, probably every day. I will always have to monitor my portion sizes and calorie intake, especially if I start to see a small rise on the scale (I can’t afford to let that get out of hand because that’s when I revert to bad habits and I relapse). And, I will always have to exercise. Right now, I’m doing strength training, 3 days a week, and 60 minutes of cardio, 6 days a week.
I know that once I reach my healthy weight, I will be able to eat a little more and perhaps exercise a little less. The trick will be to find the right balance for maintaining. But, the skills will be the same.
9. I BELIEVE I CAN DO IT!
*** Update *** Levittown, PA to Cape May, NJ Challenge = 114 miles
12/1 - 1.2 miles
12/2 - 6 miles
12/3 - 2 miles
12/4 - 6.5 miles
12/5 - 2.5 miles
12/6 - 5.5 miles
12/7 - 3.9 miles
12/8 - 3.8 miles
12/9 - 6.7 miles
12/10 - 2.1 miles
12/11 - 4.2 miles
12/12 - 2.1 miles
12/13 - 5.8 miles
12/14 - 4.3 miles
12/15 - 5.6 miles
12/16 - 2.2 miles
12/17 - 6.2 miles
12/18 - 2.7 miles
12/19 - 5.7 miles
12/20 - 7.4 miles
12/21 - 2.6 miles
12/22 - 2.5 miles
12/23 - still tracking
Miles to go: 22.5
Don’t Give Up!