“Your power to choose can never be taken from you. It can be neglected and it can be ignored. But if used, it can make all the difference.” (Steve Goodier)
DoItDottie and I went to The Vincentown Diner for lunch today. After working hard all week at cooking and eating meals at home, burning calories, drinking enough water to drown a whale, and tracking, tracking, tracking, we decided we deserved a little afternoon relaxation.
DoItDottie made her menu choice quicker than I did. I had to read the whole menu and then consider all manner of questions before I could make a decision. Questions like:
1. Should I have a cup or bowl of soup?
2. Would it be better to have unsweetened iced tea with raw sugar or raw stevia, along with my glass of water?
3. Which would be better for me nutritionally, the seasonal quiche and a plate of fruit or the veggie burger?
4. I really wanted the veggie burger, but it was made fresh and I couldn’t tell from the menu exactly what it contained or how big it would be. If I got the veggie burger, what could I do to make sure it was healthy and a good fit for my menu plan for the day?
I finally settled on a cup of soup, the raw stevia, and the veggie burger, without the bun and without mayo. I substituted baked apples for French fries. I went through such a process that DoItDottie even commented on how I “was really working this”.
Which leads me to the topic of choices . . .
Seeing the video/pictures of myself yesterday opened my eyes to the harsh reality of what I’ve done to my body. It’s the choices I made in the past that have led me to where I am today. And, while I can’t go back to the beginning and undo those choices, I can move forward, making better choices, to change my final outcome.
While I’ve had success at losing weight in the past, I’ve never been successful at keeping it off. Based on past experience, it would be easy for me to say things like, “I’ll never lose this weight. Obesity’s in my genes and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Or, another old saw: “What’s the point of trying? I’ll only pack it right back on anyway.”
But that would be a mistake.
There are always choices to be made – probably hundreds of them a day, if I really thought about them – that would help change the course of my future, if I made wise and informed.
Choices I can make to improve my situation include:
1. Changing my beliefs about myself and weight loss.
2. Choosing to treat my body with the respect and love it deserves by fueling it properly, getting enough sleep, and making it stronger through exercise.
3. I can choose the things I want to focus on in my life – for example, do I really need to spend a couple of hours a day playing games on the computer or watching tv or can I shift my focus to things that will promote a healthier version of me physically and emotionally.
4. I can change the meanings I ascribe to events around me or things people say. For example, I’ve had troubled relationships with my siblings and part of me always thought it was because I wasn’t “good enough” or “lovable enough” or “deserving enough”. It’s taken years, but I realize now, that wasn’t and isn’t the case.
5. I can change my own actions so that they are more in line with my values and goals. That means doing the things I need to so that my weight drops and my health improves – eating right, exercising, getting enough quality sleep, decreasing my stress, etc.
6. I can choose my words with care, especially the words I say to myself. I don’t know about most people, but I find I talk to myself more than just about anyone else. The words are always flying around in my head. For example, while I walk, a common conversation I have with myself goes something like this:
“I’m so tired. I really don’t want to be doing this.”
“Well, if you weren’t so fat, you wouldn’t be so tired.”
“Oh, my God! My legs hurt!”
“Well, they wouldn’t hurt so much if you weren’t so fat. KEEP MOVING!”
Yadda, yadda, yadda. You get the picture. Not exactly loving or nurturing. I can always change that conversation to reflect the positive side of the changes I'm making now. More of, "Wow! You started out barely able to walk a mile and now you're up to 3!!!!"
7. I can choose to give up the fight and remain obese OR I can choose to accept responsibility for changing my life.
The thing about choices is that they have consequences that are unavoidable. When I make bad choices regarding my health and my life - that are contrary to my values and my own self-interest - I am immediately accepting the consequences of those choices. I’m actually accepting obesity, health complications, and, potentially, an early death. Those are darn serious consequences and in order to reject them, it’s imperative that I make better choices. MUCH BETTER! Like the ones I made today at lunch.
In order to make good, CONSCIOUS choices, that have positive consequences:
1. I need to be prepared. I need information about the choices I have to make and their alternatives. Those choices can be related to food, nutrition, fitness, health, sleep, etc. and be influenced my own personal preferences.
2. I need to evaluate the potential outcomes, benefits, and consequences of my choices.
3. I need to follow through by making best choices and taking best actions that are consistent with my values and goals of losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle.
Taking responsibility for the choices I make puts me in charge of me and gives me the power to change my future. When I make choices that are in accordance with my values and goals, I am respecting, nurturing, and loving myself.