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Not A Race

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Recently, I made an interesting discovery. I realised that I had always made my health journey time-bound. It was as if I had some sort of deadline…or had to get healthy by a certain date. I wanted to project my results, and stick with something for a year or so, even while saying I wanted to keep those changes for life. All that did was make it easier for me to view myself as a failure.

Like, thinking about it, I was never ashamed of being fat, but I had become ashamed of still being fat, because I had embarked on a health journey, and had clearly abandoned it. I’ve fallen off the wagon so many times, and I think I’m sticking with it this time–but only because of the lessons I learned each time I failed. This is not a race. I don’t have to lose 2 pounds every week; I won’t always make it to the gym four times a week; every meal won’t be clean…and so what? Isn’t that life? Highs and lows? Good days and bad days? On days and off days?

Now, I no longer beat myself up when I begin to slack off. If I’m too tired for the gym, I know I’ll push harder the next day. If I eat unhealthy food, I know I will get back to my routine, because working out and eating real food is now a part of me. Since this is part of my life, I don’t need to watch numbers or feel like a failure. I can see where I need to improve, and make choices that are better for my health. More than anything, I can keep going, and that is the only way I will achieve my goals.

Every day won’t be a good day. Give yourself room to fail, because that’s how you learn. No matter what, never give up. You are doing this. You can do this!

P.S. I really think God is helping me to be more consistent on this journey. My overall lack of discipline has been a concern for a while. I’ve been praying about it…and I’m finally beginning to live it out. Slow progress is still progress. 😀

Blessings!

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Late Confession…and Some Lessons

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10/01/16 (From my food journal)

“Confession: I just ate over 1000 calories in potato chips. That’s about 5 servings. If I hadn’t bought it, I wouldn’t have eaten it. I thought I had leeway, could do one serving at a time…one day at a time. That worked for a day. I knew better. I bought it. I kept it in my room. Clearly, I had planned to eat it…them…no matter what lies I told myself.

No one can be kind to me on my behalf. I have to choose to be kind to myself. I know I’m too weak to not eat it, so I should not buy it. I will not spend money on anything that won’t benefit my health. This is my promise to myself. I hope I can keep it.

I would have to do amost 2 hours of cardio to burn 1000 calories…yet I ate that many in nearly 20 minutes.

I saw it coming, and didn’t stop myself.”

The next day (Monday), I did basically the same thing, but I think it set off something in me. With very little time until I had to return to work, I went to the gym, and I went 6 times that week. It had a terrible start, but it opened my eyes. Lessons:

  1. One day doesn’t have the power to ruin your week, or your life. It is what you do consistently that counts. Likewise, one day of healthy eating won’t fix your health.
  2. Progress always leaves room for learning and failure.
  3. I need to be kind to myself, not just by making good choices, but by showing myself compassion when I make poor ones.

 

Yes, you won’t be perfect, but you can make it on this health journey, one choice at a time. I’m rooting for us.

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Quick Update

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Yes, I am still alive. I’ve penned several posts in my mind, but never got around to typing any. So, what’s new?

  1. I changed gyms about a month ago. A couple friends from work signed up, and they bugged me to do the same. It was easily one of the best moves I’ve made. I don’t have to motivate myself to go, since they’ll drag me. Yes, it’s not ideal, but it’s working. My goal is to go 4 times a week. Other than the holiday break, I’ve either accomplished that or come really close.
  2. I’ve realised it doesn’t make sense to give up. I have failed on this road…so many times. Still, I couldn’t fully throw in the towel. Now that I am finally finding my rhythm, I am grateful I decided to try yet another time.
  3. I have these strange urges to eat things that held no appeal before, even when I’m not hungry. It is as if deciding to be more careful about what I eat has given life to a desire to do just the opposite. I have good days and bad days, but I am going to make it. 🙂

There is more to say, but I just wanted to pop in and encourage whoever is reading this. You may not think it is working, but do what you can. Perfection isn’t possible, and progress comes with not calling it a day. You can do it. Give yourself as many chances as you need.

Courage

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Preparing For Failure

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Sometimes, I wonder if all I’m doing on this journey is setting myself up to fail. I’ve taken on something I don’t want to do, but I need to do it. I know that, but it doesn’t make me any more likely to actually do it. I’ve developed negative habits since starting this journey, specifically as it relates to food. It is as if I am driven to sabotage myself. As if failing at this is trapping me in a cycle of destructive behaviour, one that guarantees I will keep failing.

I think my approach is wrong. Even though I say this isn’t about weight loss, it’s a sure way of telling if I am making the right choices. When I make poor food choices and skip the gym, and then the scale reflects that, I get down on myself. I decide I can’t be bothered, and then I eat. I mean, I’m even eating junk food again. I didn’t even like junk food before this journey! I have given myself something to fail at, instead of something to work towards.

If my goals are to eat clean and exercise, when I don’t do that, I process it as failure. That always fuels my self-destructive tendencies. If my goal is to become healthier and fitter, then even when I make poor choices, I can still keep working towards it. Health isn’t a number, and fitness isn’t a size. If I want to improve my health, and I see my stomach taking on a life of its own, I don’t have to start beating myself up. I can start being more deliberate about what I eat, I can take more walks…I can stop donating my money to the gym, and actually get up off my butt and go.

It’s such a subtle difference, but one I need. From now on, I will give myself something to work towards, not something to fail at.

 

Perfect?

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The pursuit of perfection is, at best, paradoxical. Has that stopped me? Nope.

It is not necessarily that I want to be perfect, full stop. I just want to be as perfect as I can be. I want to not fail at things I know are within my capabilties. For example, I had work-related training this morning. There was a quiz at the end, and I got one question wrong. I’m not over it…not because I got it wrong, but because I knew the right answer. I can’t bring myself to focus on all the others I got right. That one is stuck in my head, because I knew it, and I’m still smacking myself for it. In the end, the important thing isn’t that I get all the answers right, but that I have the requisite skills, and can apply those when needed. Still not over it.

It’s what I do, though. I don’t necessarily set lofty goals, especially as it relates to my health. I try to make things as feasible as possible. When I fail at that, I’m not necessarily motivated to keep pushing. I should know better, and I do know better, but I don’t do it. Isn’t that just so human of me? Don’t we all fail at things we can handle? Don’t we all make mistakes we could have avoided? Isn’t it just like us to beat ourselves up for not being good enough, very often according to our own standards?

I can’t promise I won’t do it anymore. That would just start the cycle all over again. I will struggle with this, maybe for a really long time. Still, I think I’m learning. Failure may mean I am not perfect, but it doesn’t mean I am worthless or incapable of change. All failure does is reveal where I need to grow, and if I allow failure to cripple me, I’ll never grow.

I will fall. I will fail. I will not give up.

Perf

To Be Honest

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I wasn’t going to post a blog today, but the thoughts were there, so why not? I’m actually considering shutting down this blog. It’s hard for me to share my life with others, which is a big part of why my posting is so sporadic. This is my journey, and I am not ashamed of my lack of progress as it relates to weight loss, because it reveals things about me…and that means progress as a person. I’m just not always up for sharing that, but perhaps I need to.

So, to be honest…

  • I don’t want to do this…any of this. I like eating healthy food when I can, and I even enjoy working out. I just hate this inevitable feeling that I’m working towards a number, or a look, or a sense of accomplishment. I’m not working towards any of those things, but it’s almost as if that’s the expectation. This journey has never felt organic, or like an extension of myself. At the same time, I don’t feel pressured into doing it…I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t accepted me as I am. It’s just…I don’t know. It’s hard to be motivated when you don’t want to do something. I don’t want to lose weight. I know I need to, and I know I need to improve my health, but I don’t look forward to being significantly smaller. That is a big part of the struggle of this journey–I’m doing it without motivation. I can’t picture myself ever being motivated to lose weight, so I can’t wait for motivation.
  • I don’t know if I love myself enough. I know I don’t hate myself, and I oppose anything and anyone that would suggest I am somehow less of a person because of my weight, but I can’t honestly say I actively love myself. If I did, I think I would make better choices…wouldn’t I want to be as healthy as possible? Wouldn’t I push for what’s best for me? I don’t know. Maybe I just need to be more deliberate about how I live out this love…maybe it’s time I learn to fight.
  • I’m tired of saying the same thing over and over…but maybe not tired enough, since I keep having to say it. I sometimes wonder why I’m so passive when it comes to the pursuit of my welfare, but maybe I don’t want to find out. It’s pretty weird, though. I’m a giver, and I will do whatever I can to help another person. Why withhold the same from myself?
  • I don’t know if or when this is going to ‘work’. This journey has never been about the numbers, although the numbers tell their own story. I can’t promise this is going to be the year I get it right, but I know this won’t be the year I give up. This journey to health is not the story of my life. It’s yet another step on the road to discovering what it is to live…and to love. To love life enough to live it meaningfully; to love myself enough to be deliberate about making wise choices.

That’s where I am now, I guess. Let’s see where this goes.


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Weigh-In Nos. 5 and 6

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272.6 (01/05/15)
272.5 (07/06/15)

Last week was crazy, so I didn’t get a chance to blog. By some miracle, I haven’t gained any weight over the past week or so. I haven’t been eating as well as I’d like, but this time, it’s just a matter of eating whatever everyone else is having, as opposed to taking the initiative to buy unhealthy food.

This is real life. I won’t always have time to go to the gym, and I won’t eat perfectly every day, but the important thing is to not turn back. Usually, at this stage, I give up entirely. I believe I’m surprising myself.

One day at a time…

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