There is no miracle cure for losing weight. Sorry if you opened this post thinking, ” Oh good someone is finally going to tell me the shortcut to losing weight.” Today is definitely an I wish there were a miracle kind of day. Wishing for it doesn’t help, and maybe it makes it a little bit worse. Wishing implies weight loss out of my control like it’s something like winning the lottery. Someone wins, but chances are good that’s not going to be me. That would be a real bummer if it were true. Ready for the truth? What is true, is that I (and anyone reading this post) can lose weight. Here is what it takes:
Dedication – having the personal resolve to see it through
Skill – knowing what to do to help yourself achieve weight loss
Belief – believing in yourself completely, you can do it
Today it was not a struggle to say, “No.” to the candy bowl. I stayed in my points zone. and I was able to enjoy a glass of pinot noir. I am living a healthy lifestyle, and the habits I am working to cultivate are finally beginning to feel, “normal.” It feels especially important to acknowledge my top three on my gratitude list:
I am grateful that my children are happy.
I am grateful that everything my husband does for our family.
I got a text from a friend who is also on a weight loss journey. This is how it went:
“Only down 14 now. Was at 20. Ugh.”
“Ok. What’s your goal this week?”
“What are you going to do to make that happen, small goals.”
“Think about it commit to one thing.”
“A little self-care.”
I get how my friend feels because today was a struggle for me too. Again, with the candy bowl within reach all day, to say nothing of the bag of candy that was right behind my desk. For some reason, I was also hungry all day. I could keep complaining, but who wants to hear any of that?
Sometimes, when the journey gets hard, you need to recognize when you need some help. Whether that relief comes by texting a friend, or permission to give yourself a self-imposed “time out” for self-care – it’s ok. There is no one right way to do this because weight loss is hard. Tomorrow is another day.
There are many roads to take when it comes to weight loss. When motivation is tied to an impending event, a wedding, or a special birthday, it may be easier to be strict on a weight loss plan. There is a real deadline and that ticking clock and the choice to follow the plan or not becomes simple. However, if the motivation for weight loss is centered around wanting to learn about oneself – choices can be a lot murkier. I am in that latter group of being curious to learn about myself through my weight loss journey. Today was a little test to see if I could maintain my resolve to stay on plan…
Before I go on, I should say, “I am a Weight Watcher member and I know there is no food that is ‘off limits’ I can eat whatever I like so long as I keep myself accountable by tracking what I eat.” This is something I that do appreciate about the program. Its design is such that I am learning how to live in the real world, making real food choices as I lose weight. My original motivation for weight loss was tied to the clock – I wanted to achieve my goal by the time I turned 50 and I did it! Yay me. However, I gained back 34 pounds of the 94 I lost 4 years later. So this time, my motivation stems from a desire to know myself better. I see this as work to become self-enlightened. I know… this is deep stuff.
I was tested today. I hosted collaborative team meetings at school. Anytime I bring teachers together it is customary to have a candy dish out. You might say, “Easy peasy, just don’t offer candy.” Frankly, it gets ugly pretty quick if there isn’t candy at these meetings, and as I said earlier – this is weight loss in the real world.
I am actively working to rewire my brain! I did not eat even a single piece of candy today. I sipped water, and at lunch, I had a sugar-free Black Cherry Jello-O snack, and that did the trick for me. I am doing my best to rewrite my story, and I am very appreciative of anyone who takes some time out and reads my posts. Today was a success, and I am hopeful for tomorrow.
We finally got our first significant snowfall, it came just in time to say goodbye to February 2023. Although it arrived late into the season, I think it’s safe to say, that we Long Islanders are just happy it made it before the spring. It’s kind of a relief to see that familiar white blanket because it confirms our expectations – it’s winter, and in the winter it snows.
When it comes to waiting, everyone can relate to feeling frustrated. Especially when what you’re wating for is something you really want… like ahieving your weight loss goal. Here is the thing you’ve got to consider, there is only so much energy you have on any given day, how do you want to use your energy? You might be thinking, “I can’t help it, I am frustrated because weight loss takes so… l o n g!” All I can say to that is, “I hear ya!” Let’s take a moment just to appreciate that weight loss is hard.
You can do hard things. There are lots of ways you can help yourself along the way. So just in case you need a word of encouragement or some tips to keep you going here is what I have to share:
Anticipate the best-case scenario, you will reach your weight loss goal.
Appreciate the journey by giving yourself well-deserved props you’re doing this!
Set small goals as you go and don’t diminish your joy for accomplishing them.
The benefit of practicing patience is perseverance and perseverance increases feelings of gratitude.
Shift your focus from “the work” to self-care it conserves energy to keep going.
Now I want you to think to yourself, “I got this.”
What does this featured image reveal? If you’re the kind of person who learns more through quiet reflection that works – or if you learner who prefers to engage, feel free to leave your answers in the comments below. There are no right or wrong answers. How you interpret this image has to do with your perception of things. Our perceptions are shaped by knowledge and lived experiences. One person may look at this image, and it sparks a sense of accomplishment; another may see only drudgery; while still others may not have any response to this image at all. How you perceive something will lead your brain to make predictions about what happens next.
Will this day be one defined by accomplishment? Will this day be one of drudgery? My point for today’s post is that (more often than not) perceptions either get in the way of or help to establish the helpful habits that will contribute towards long-lasting weight loss. It’s not difficult to do – but it does require a bit of reflection work on your part:
Your prediction will guide any additional reflection work that needs to follow. If you (honestly) see this behavior as a positive – your brain will naturally start making predictions to amplify positivity. I am suggesting you engage those thoughts and name the prediction: “I drank a glass of water. It was a small simple thing, I predict this is going to be a positive day for weight loss because I achieved one of the healthy habits I am working to cultivate.” If that captures what you really think – great! If your thoughts are negative, treat it like an inquiry: “I wonder why I am thinking negatively about drinking water. Why is this my reponse?” It’s worth the effort because your negative thoughts are likely to lead you towards a negative prediction which may contribute towards to a negative outcome on your weight loss journey.
Give it a go and see if it helps. If nothing more, it will make you more present in the now which is worthwhile in and of itself.
People tell stories of things that happened to themselves or their friends all the time as a way of explaining their own decisions. The stories may not be scientifically representative, the events may be mistaken, misunderstood, or misinterpreted. But all that aside, the power of the story is to guide, often in a good way, the decision toward one choice rather than another.
Facione, PA, “Critical Thinking: What It is and Why it Counts”
Do you believe that stories plant seeds for transformation? I do. We are writing our stories every single day, and we are telling them through our actions, by what we think, how we feel, and the intentions we set for ourselves. My story is one of resilience. What’s your story?
If the human brain were an appliance would have an extremely high-energy star rating. You’d see that yellow label hanging from it and you’d know you were getting a really good deal. The brain does all that it can to preserve energy. Whenever it encounters a problem it gets to work to problem solve and over time it learns how to deal with the problem, becoming more and more efficient each time. Eventually, it predicts a series of steps to take whenever the problem recurs. You do it without even thinking about it because it is now a habit:
There is a catch… the brain doesn’t care if it’s a helpful habit or a harmful habit – just so long as the problem is resolved. I find this fascinating as I reflect on weight gain or weight loss. We can literally predict our own futures – even if it is on a subconscious basis. But now that you are privy to this information, what will you do? How is your weight loss story going to go? Your habits will predict your fate.
Right now on Twitter, there is a conversation going on between educators about whether or not it’s important for children to love to read. Specifically, for those children where reading proficiency is hard won. Usually, I don’t involve myself with squabbles like these – I have my own point of view and it influences how I teach reading and it is working. But it felt like a teacher/researcher I admire a great deal was being misrepresented and I “chimed in”. I would totally understand if you were thinking, “I don’t care about teaching reading, I am interested in finding ways to motivate weight loss. Why is she prattling on about this?” Bear with me, I’ll get to the point.
More often than not (sadly) educators will refer to children with reading delays or difficulties as “struggling readers” or worse, just plain “strugglers”. For some, the approach to remedy reading delays involves drilling letters and sounds, and strict adherence to the kinds of texts children are allowed to have. It’s typical, in these models, for children to have no choices as to what they read, and teachers are instructed to “follow the script”. If I use this model to frame my weight loss journey here is how it would go: they would call me, a “struggler” and “Weight Watchers” would be the scripted program for me to follow. They would say, I cannot plan my meals, or shop for myself – clearly (since I’m a struggler) I’m not ready to do it on my own. They would tell me it doesn’t matter that I hate this process, it’s kind of like just taking my medicine, and that I should trust them and not myself. Intrinsic happiness and joy are inconsequential to my successful weight loss.
If this was the kind of energy that surrounded me in my weight loss journey I would weigh 600 pounds. I don’t think I could stand it and I know I would fail and be miserable. This Twitter conversation has helped me to make a powerful connection. I should do for myself what I do for my students. Here it goes:
I will acknowledge what is hard for me on this weight loss journey and I will find opportunities for love and joy to be present in those moments – because I am working hard to improve.
I will give myself lots of opportunities to find the best way to make Weight Watchers work for me. I will do this through ongoing reflection and engagement.
I will keep at this every day because I see myself as someone who knows how to lose weight.
I will continue to build myself up using a positive perspective because I am worthy of achieving my goals within the context of self-love and joy and not disatisfication and struggle.
There are many ways to be successful there is not “one” correct way of learning how to do anything. So how do you want your journey to go? Do you want limitations and restrictions or do you want empowerment and choice? I have chosen the latter and I think I am all the better for it.