From Desperation to Determination

Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up one morning and find that you’ve lost all the weight you wanted, your health has drastically improved, and feel energized because you actually got a good night’s sleep?

In this day and age, we want what we want, we don’t want to wait, because we want it now. Life is easier in that if we have more hunger than time we just hit the drive-thru, it’s fast, it satisfies our present desire, and we don’t have to clean the kitchen afterwards.

Fast can be a great thing, a few strikes of the keyboard or the click of a mouse and bam, that recipe or instruction manual is right at our fingertips. However, in weight loss fast doesn’t always mean greatness. Fast can be the biggest derailment of our journey. Fast can make us feel like a failure when the loss isn’t fast enough. Fast can influence us to set unattainable goals. Fast can set us up for failure.

The best advice I can give anyone looking to lose weight, improve their glucose numbers, or change their body composition is to take it slow. Patience and perseverance gives us the opportunity to learn from our journey. Yes, I say journey often because weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint.

The second bit of advice I often offer is to invest in a tape measure. Body fat is a stubborn, greedy thing that works against us as we try to shed it. We often see the stubbornness and greed of our body fat when when step on the scales too often. Up and down, round and round, who hasn’t wanted to smash the darned thing? The beauty of a tape measure is that unlike the scales, measurements tend to not fluxuate, measurements also tend to keep going down as we keep pushing through.

It is so easy in our desperation to see a commercial for magic beans, fairy dust, or snake oil and think “I need that”, “look at them, it worked for them”, “15 pounds in 2 weeks, where do I sign up?”. I’ve got to admit that there are plenty of “convincing” commercials, pandering to our “now, fast” way of life, but are they true? Can I really sprinkle fairy dust on my food and lose weight? Will that pill really keep me from being hungry?

I’m not trying to be a buzz kill, but commercials are ads. They are cleverly designed to make us think we need something they are selling. They play on our desperation, they give us false hopes of a quick fix without the hard work and perseverance, and on the occasion that it does work, what have we learned? What happens when we go back to our old habits because the whole learning process has been skipped?

One of the most liberating things I’ve done in my life was to turn my desperation to determination. Through determination I have laughed in the face of the evil scale and found self improvement with every bite of minimally processed foods that work with my body. I learned that for me fifteen pounds in two weeks is an unattainable goal, and if I gain a pound but lose an inch, I’m doing good.

We often hear of “life lessons”, but do we hear the lessons we learn through our own life? Do we learn from our past in our attempt to change our future or do we sit back and wait for the next “miracle in a bottle”?

Life is not all lollipops and unicorns, there are good times and bad times, there are lessons to learn. Life is about taking the time to truly live and enjoying every minute of it. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t that happy with my life a few years ago. With desperation we often find depression and where is the fun in that?

Take some time to learn to love yourself despite any flaws. Set realistic goals and don’t let anyone, any food, or that fickle scale derail your progress. Remember the scale is only one measure of success when battling obesity. If it’s been a week or two since you’ve lost “weight”, pull out that tape measure and see how much mass you’ve left by the wayside. Pat yourself on the back if you didn’t get winded walking up those steps. Be proud of your accomplishments big or small, and remember we didn’t just wake up one morning feeling poorly. It took years for me to get to size 24 the fast way.

I leave you today with another photo from my journey about six months in. October 2011 in Cancun with the family. I was loving myself more each day, smiling and laughing more, no longer hiding from the camera. I was nowhere near goal, but I was getting closer each day.

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