I'm participating in a private Spark Team (BLC-32) weight loss challenge that runs for 15 weeks from September through December. Among the many team activities are four-day weekend challenges that include fitness, nutrition, and motivation tasks that you can complete to earn points. This weekend we were given a document with "18 Guideposts for Your Personal Journey" and asked to select four per day and journal a response to earn challenge points.
1. It's okay to struggle, it's okay to wear (and own) your imperfections, and to fall flat on your face - as long as you keep reaching out for support and maintaining the courage to put one foot in front of the other. Who can you reach out to for support? Are they positive?
Letha: I have two support systems. My life partner Mary who is also committed to making healthy life choices and my BLC-32 Spark Team, The Hot Mocha Maniacs. I post nearly every day on my Hot Mocha Maniac chat thread where we celebrate progress toward our health and fitness goals. I've received a great deal of encouragement from the members of that team.
2. Actions speak louder than words. How can you apply this statement to your weight loss or maintenance?
Letha: For me, this brings up the difference between knowing it and doing it. I may be able to explain why an apple is a healthier snack then a ding-dong, but when faced with choice myself, do I select the apple or the ding-dong? It also makes me think about consistency. I've got friends who occasionally announce positive dietary changes like giving up dairy and then you'll observing them drinking a 2% latte the very next day. I guess it's not human nature to announce that we've given up a healthy planned change because it was too flipping hard for us. For me the trick is not minimizing a single choice. It's not OK for me to select the ding-dong just this one time.
3. Learn to say no as much as you say yes. Less is more. Replace "Could I do more?" with "Would I like to do more?" Ask yourself this question and follow through.
Letha: This question makes me think of over-commitment - something particularly problematic for women with family obligations. They may have children and all of the school and extracurricular activities that entails. They may also have seniors they are caring for, household maintenance and upkeep, and perhaps a job or two. Intellectually they understand that being physically fit will help them meet their obligations, but in the real world, when you have 30 minutes to feed dinner to a family of four before you are off to your next commitment, fast food is very tempting. In order to take care of your own health you may have to make some tough choices about how to spend your time. I'm retired and I'm not caring for children or seniors. I currently have an abundance of free time. However, I certainly understand the time pressures many people face.
4. Mistakes are powerful gifts. Don't leave the lessons within them concealed - gently unwrap a mistake to gain the wisdom within its rough exterior. What mistakes have you made and what did you learn from them and how can you keep them from happening again?
Letha: I'd say my biggest mistakes have been avoidance and denial. Whenever I've had a large and rapid weight gain, it was during a period of time when I wasn't weighing myself. I've gone through long stretches of 6 months, a year, or more when I didn't step on a scale. On some level, I realized I was piling on the pounds but I was going to start that new diet tomorrow, or Monday, or the first day of the next month and between now and then I just didn't want to deal with the reality of the situation. I understand it's different for everyone, but I need the regular reality check of a bathroom scale.