Just Play

When I reflect on my past, I find that there were times when I felt like an outsider looking in. Everyone was learning or doing a “thing” that I wanted to do too, but I couldn’t get the hang of it. If it didn’t come easy, it obviously wasn’t for me. Now I know that in those cases I had a fixed mindset and that impeded my ability to adapt and learn.

Click here to watch this video of Carol Dweck, to learn more.

In the case of weight loss, I remember feeling so overwhelmed by the process, “I have to eat every day, what food is ok to eat? Right now, I haven’t eaten anything yet I’m perfect, I’m going to mess up.” and then would give up. Then the other extreme, was that I’d be so rigid, “I can only eat these foods. If I eat these foods, I lose weight and if I don’t I’ll gain weight.” that was exhausting and wasn’t sustainable. My problem was that I was only thinking about the food. The food wasn’t the issue, the food wasn’t doing something to me, it was my behaviors that needed to change.

My inability to figure out how to make weight loss work for me would set off a series of negative thoughts. I would think, “How can you let your eating get out of control?” It felt a lot like a character flaw. My weight would go up and down in a mirror image of my personal struggles. If any of this sounds familiar, then you would understand what I was going through. This was painful.

Automaticity Set Me Free

Paul McCartney, the Edge, or Jake Kiszka don’t have to think about how to play the guitar they just play…

the Edge

Watching these guitarists makes it plain to see, they are fluid with their motions and aren’t thinking about how to play. It’s not about the guitar. Since they’re not thinking of the mechanics of playing, they can focus on the creativity and joy of playing. Automaticity means getting to a place where you don’t have to use up all your mental energy learning how to do something. They play guitar because they love it. It’s part of who they are. Doing something because you love it is its own reward and consequently intensifies how skilled you become. This is true for weight loss too.

  • Cultivate the habits that will bring you success
  • Practice these habits (repetition matters more than time)
  • Let yourself fall in love with the process and experience joy

At first glance, habits seem overly predictable and even monotonous. Actions define being. What do you want? Who do you want to be? If you want to lose weight and be a person who lives a healthy lifestyle then your habits (not your skill) will be the thing that grants you access to be on the inside. Once that happens weight loss will follow and it will not feel like work, and the number on the scale week to week will not hold all the power. You will be empowered, and you will find joy in the process.

The Long Game

It took a while to get the hang of my habit tracker.

Don’t give up, just keep coming back, and before you know it you’ll be doing actually doing what you set out to do!

Past, Present, Future

The past is your shadow, it is an exaggeration of your shape and form. Sometimes it is light and airy, and other times it pools beneath your feet. The energy you feel inside your body is the present. It’s verve or apathy; calm, or ebullience – it is you right now centered in this moment. The future is the step you take before your foot hits the ground. It’s the freefall of not really knowing what will happen next.

Who you decide to be in this life is up to you alone. If it’s weight loss, a different career, or building stronger relationships that your after, go for it. Don’t let hesitation dissuade you; be unabashedly bold and never diminish your joy. Then make a move to bring others along with you – dedicate yourself to helping others to be more than they thought was even possible. Being a force for good in this sometimes weary, jaded world is the ultimate act of gratitude for this life we get to live.

Process versus Product

Embarking on a weight loss journey means one is attempting to redefine how a person will live life. For me, weight loss means being able to move more freely, with less pain. Anyone who has experienced pain in daily life would tell you that relief from pain is life-changing! Weight loss reduces the strain on my heart, and might fend off diabetes. So when I write about the significance of my own personal journey, I am not making any judgments on how anyone decides to live their life. This journey is for me alone.

Knowing why a weight loss journey matters to you is very important. When you can define why you want to lose weight, you can also begin to understand what is driving your motivation, and your knowing where motivation comes from, will predict how you experience the day-to-day work of weight loss. We already know that most times, change is a slow process. Weight loss requires a lot of work upfront before feeling the impact of those efforts. It is usually even slower for other people around you to notice. Are you motivated by the product, losing weight; or, are you motivated by the process of learning about yourself?

When motivation is tied to an outcome, weight loss only, it is evidence of a product mindset. When motivation is generated by accomplishing smaller goals leading toward a larger goal, it is evidence of a process mindset. A product mindset is fixed – there is either success or failure. Success is only tied to the number on the scale. A process mindset is predicated on growth, meaning there is an ebb and flow for learning and reflection through accomplishing or learning from smaller goals.

I am a process girl all the way. For the most part that is a good thing I think. I am happy and content to hit my daily goals while I keep working to hit “goal”. Although, I do have to be careful not to get too lax on the journey. When the process is what matters, the rate of weight loss becomes less important, and I think that is something to watch. In the end, I do want the product – to get to my goal weight, and I really don’t want it to take too long. However, I also don’t want to achieve it at the expense of experiencing joy. I do want to celebrate all the milestones along the way, and I don’t want to miss out on all the fun that the holidays and summer vacation brings with them. I want to make my life betters, and I want to experience my life right now.

Reaching for Better

Taking stock of how it’s going on a weight loss journey is essential. Reflection unlocks the process in ways that are both revealing and significant because everyone’s journey is unique to their own experience. We can all “do a program” but results will vary as to our level of understanding and practice. The focus of my last’s post was identifying what habits help weight loss. The flip side to this discovery is to also identify what habits are hindering progress.

First Comes What Then How

What habits don’t work? I know one thing that is holding me back is the habit of eating dessert every night. Maybe not every night but certainly most! To be clear, the desert is a low-point option. I am losing weight, but maybe I don’t need dessert almost every night. Maybe desert has become a habit over a desire. Another thing that isn’t helping, is having seconds at dinner without considering if I am really still hungry. Knowing the answer to this question, what habits aren’t working for me, is like leveling up when it comes to weight loss.

This is not a surprise – eating breakfast is becoming a habit. That’s also the point.

How can you adjust your habits to improve? One thing I know for sure, nothing good ever comes from admiring a problem so making an action plan comes next. You. might be thinking, “Whoa… I just got to a place where I have habits for weight loss, I am not even ready to make any changes to them yet!” I read a quote recently that really hit a strong belief I hold:

You’re never ready for what you have to do. You just do it. That makes you ready.

Flora Rheta Schreiber, Journalist

Maybe you don’t want to address everything at once. Maybe you want to adjust one habit at a time, either way, taking action to make a change is the critical thing if you’re serious about weight loss. So here is my “how”, here is my action plan for my desert situation:

  1. I am going to eat dessert, it can be any kind of dessert I want but I have to track the points value in my tracker before eating it.
  2. It can be any three nights I want because I want to break the habit of routinely eating dessert.
  3. When I eat dessert I will eat it mindfully. This means I experience the taste of the flavors textures, visuals, and scent of what I am eating.

Here is my action plan for limiting seconds during dinner:

  1. Dinnertime is social for me. I am going to keep pace with my slow-eating husband.
  2. I serve dinner from the stovetop, this keeps me more intentional about additional servings.
  3. I will use the hunger scale

My parting words are here to remind you that you are worthy of the work it takes to reach your health and wellness goals. Keep looking for the good in yourself and in the others within your communities. Together we can all reach our full potential.

Start With One Every Day

Healthy people eat mindfully, work out, and stay hydrated, they know how to use moderation when it comes to food. How do they do it? Habits. The habits we keep reveal our real selves to the world. Well, I hate to burst the bubble but this is old news! If you belong to WW we talk about habits all the time.

Success is not about knowing that habits create systems for weight loss. Success comes from knowing how to establish and keep habits. What if one day, you made a commitment to a daily water goal? What if the next week, you made a commitment to weigh yourself once a day? What if the week after that you added keeping a food diary? Then, what if you got a fitness monitor and decided to do some kind of activity (even if it was just for 10 minutes) every day? You would lose weight.

If weight loss is what you’re after give this some serious thought. Maybe you need a visual reminder – leave a note to initiate your habits. It might be that you need an auditory cue – set an alarm.

You can do this, and I hope you know that I am here rooting you on! Do someone a solid, and a cheerleader for them too. The success of others is worth celebrating even if you’re not there yet. Kindness is a magnet it brings us together.


Here is a moment from my day to celebrate. Instead of ordering out with the girls, I ate the lunch I packed from home. The great part is that I didn’t feel as though I missed out on anything. I really enjoyed eating with my friends, and I still stayed on track. There have been times when it wouldn’t go this way. I felt good because my health and wellness journey is important to me. I want to make a positive impact on my life and it’s working. I feel better, even if sometimes it’s difficult, I am proud of myself for maintaining my resolve.

Honesty & Negativity

February 18, 2023, was fourteen weeks ago. I have worked out every day for the past 14 weeks. In that time we have changed seasons, moving from winter and are headed toward the end of spring. I can (mostly) keep up with my Peloton classes, and I feel much stronger and more fit and that feels like progress. At the same time, I feel like all the extra weight I am carrying around with me, has amassed in my torso. So while I feel my muscles working I also feel like they are completely submerged in excess fat. So even though I feel good when I’m working out, I’m also a little bummed out.

Now, I find myself asking lots of questions like: Why did I let myself gain so much weight back? How long will it take to not feel so heavy? When will I see a decrease in my waist size? None of these questions are very helpful but this blog is a place, to be honest, and these are thoughts I’m having today. I would rather share them, and look at them than let them keep playing unchecked in my head. I think by reflecting on these negative thoughts, I can disempower them and relegate them to the background instead of letting them have center stage.

None of these feelings steal my joy of working out every day. I am so happy I am making time to do that and the habit is well-established now. There are ups and downs on a weight loss journey (hahaha I just read that back) but you know what I mean. Feelings are fleeting and the most important thing to do, when dealing with negativity, is to be honest about it – feel the feels and keep going.

Living the Plan

Members of Weight Watchers know about “blue dot days”. Blue dots represent a range of points (all foods have specific point values) and when members eat within that range (a healthy eating zone) the day turns blue. It’s just another way to gather some formative information on the journey to lose weight:

I am living my life, and I’m losing weight. It really can be done. Sunday was Mother’s Day and for me, that meant using up all my extra weekly points (we get a set number of weekly points to use at our discretion). Then on Wednesday, I went over my daily allotment of points too, and that’s ok too. I’m not interested in feeling deprived or disappointed; but, this doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all either. I am learning how to (I just can’t help myself) have my cake and eat it too.

Morning Meditation

Did you notice the wording on today’s mission? “Try” to meditate for 10 minutes. Meditation is one of those practices that continue to elude me. I want to meditate because I believe it would be good for me. It is a frequent guest on my habit tracker, I moved it from a daily habit to a weekly one, and I think it may get another demotion to a monthly status.

I did meditate this morning. I used my Peloton app to do a “Morning Meditation” (for 5 minutes). When it was done, I felt a sense of energy and calm. Walking down the stairs I felt completely conscious of my surroundings. I felt the benefit of doing it, so why don’t I do it more often? I can’t say. Even though I am an intermittent (that’s being REALLY generous) meditator, I recommend it.