Mindfulness is often recommended to those of us who are on a weight loss journey. When I read about it, it makes sense – being present in the now, is better than just looking forward to the healthier version of yourself. I know that mindfulness helps, and yet I do struggle with it. Life is hectic and busy, and it is hard to break that rhythm and slow down. So I decided to practice mindfulness through writing. I have preserved an unremarkable evening. Just one of many from my home to yours.
Dusk Fading to Evening
Outside, the darkening sky envelops the front yard, the driveway, as the minivan slumbers under a moonless sky. Darkness is on the move like a black cat creeping up the brick walkway leading to the house. Inside the house, all is quiet. No TV, no games, no music, only the sounds of the keyboard – click, click, click. Meanwhile, the laundry is hung, the dishes are away, and my lunch is packed. The dog lays sleeping on her side, drawing long slow breaths her belly moving up and down. A small yelp, and flickering paws running in her deep dream state. I wonder what is giving her chase. I smile and think how good it is to have this moment right now. To be present in this moment, not looking to the future, or rehashing the day’s events, or remembering the long past. Now, is what matters most and for me, that is enough.
A twenty-two day streak, that is what I am on. I have been doing Noom, and it has been really helping me. I have lost 10 pounds of COVID weight. Plus, and maybe even more importantly, a cascade of healthy habits are taking root. Feeling good these days and I will happily take it. What kinds of habits?
Drinking more water (at least 8 glasses a day)
Preplanning menus for dinner (extremely helpful)
Working out on the Peloton more frequently (even before work)
Weighing and measuring my food (I have adjust well from points to calories)
Mindful eating (eating in the dining room and being more present)
Trying new recipes (they have been surprisingly good)
Engaging in my learning (Noom feels like a course and I do like to learn)
Keeping up with increasing step goals (they increase a little bit each day)
Recording my weight each morning (this is a big deal it is giving me insight)
Mediating before bed (making it part of a bedtime routine)
If you read my blog, then you know that many of these habits are ones I have written about in the past. It’s not like these habits are new, or earth shattering, but they do work. And, they work better in combination with each other. So just start, pick one thing focus on that, then add another. You can do this.
Where do you want to be one week from now? How about a month? What do envision for yourself by the time June rolls around? Creative Visualization is one way to center yourself around your weight loss goals. Imagining a positive outcome helps all of us stay on track. I like to think of it as writing a narrative for to inhabit. Why not write a positive script for your weight loss journey? Here is how to do it:
Close your eyes
Take a deep breath and picture yourself one day, one week, or one month from now. What about your situation is different? What is the same? How will you be different? How will you feel?
Picture yourself interacting with this new reality. You are not your circumstances, but your feelings about them change how you function within them.
If you imagine a better outcome for yourself, you may find that you end up living that reality. I think we are more powerful than we know. We have it within us to change our lives for the better.
I woke up happy. Saturday morning, a bright sky, the smell of coffee brewing wafted upstairs. And like a kid dressed in pajamas I went down the stairs filled with a sense of wellbeing and optimism for the day ahead. Appreciating happiness has to be part of the journey, because treating weight loss like a punishment is just no way to live. To do that, would be contrary to the heart of why it is worth all the struggle. Really, embarking on a weight loss journey, is like giving life a bear hug.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
So here is the challenge, make an intentional choice for happiness. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Think of it as a way to honor all those who love you, and all those who have loved you. So what will it be? Sing along with a favorite song, call a friend and have some laughs, hit the beach and breathe it all in. Dance in the kitchen, hey it worked for my parents. Create some art, or music, and experience the creative process. Whatever it may be give yourself permission to experience it fully. Go ahead, be happy even if you are not where you want to be, it is enough just to be who you are right now.
This not an earth shattering statement, but I need to say it just the same, losing weight and maintaining weight loss is hard. There are a trio of negative feelings that linger over me as I write this post. Disappointment, gaining weight during the pandemic and losing my focus on my health goals is the first. Sadness, is the second, I am mourning the loss of the WW community. I canceled my membership because they are closing all the centers in my area. It is the community, that was the thing made WW special. I can’t imagine why they would give that up. Anxiety, will I be able to do this again? It takes so much energy to accomplish this, do I have it in me to do it again?
Yes. For starters, there are a few things I need to remind myself about. I am not starting over, I have slid backwards but I’m still better off than I was when I began my journey the first time. I know what I need to do make this work for me, and having this knowledge is a huge asset. I have people who love me and who will support me as I go through this, and that is priceless. I still believe in me, I believe I can get to goal. I dowloaded Noom to keep me balanced and engaged. So far, I like it. I like the small goals I am setting. I know that goal setting is a friend to me in this process. I like the idea that all foods have a value and need to be counted. I think I want to establish a habit of a daily weigh in. The platform is sleek and easy to use, I can log my meals in advance so that will be helpful once spring break is over.
Are you with me? Whether you’ve been on a weight loss journey for a long time, or if you are just thinking about starting you are welcome here. Any step towards better health is s step in the right direction. We can do this together.
Today my husband picked up a belt he had repaired at our local shoe and leather repair shop. A simple act that resonates deeply with me, I love this. I love it because taking care of what you have is as important to me as making a goal for what you might want next. I love it because the owner of the shop possessed the skill to fix the belt. He had the knowledge and the tools to make the needed repair. It’s never too late to fix it.
Yesterday, I got to see my WW friends from the Greenlawn Moose Lodge. If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I credit much of my weight loss success to my Saturday morning friends. Together we created a supportive community and we all felt better for being part of it. Saturday mornings have not been the same since COVID-19 became part of all our daily existence. A year later, and now we are finally planning to get together at an in-person meeting next Saturday at 8:15 am. I will let you know how it goes.
I don’t know if it’s the luck of the Irish or if I just needed a change, but I switched over from the Purple plan to the Green plan. I think it is helping me.. I like that WW offers some choice now, it feels like a more responsive program for weight loss. I have also had two great spin classes on my Peloton. I have started stretching after the class and I notice a huge difference in how I’m feeling. So if you are working out – don’t forget to stretch your body will thank you!
So how are you doing on your weight loss journey? If you have found yourself backsliding into old habits, and gaining weight, know you’re not alone. Do not be hard on yourself. You are amazing, there is no one else in the world like you and you deserve better. Losing weight is REALLY HARD to do and to maintain. I am not suggesting that ignoring it is any better. That won’t help either. So take stock, what can you do to honor your health and wellbeing? Find some people who will back you up – know that I am cheering you on as I do this work too. Take small consistent steps towards change and before you know it your healthy habits will come back strong. You have the tools and the knowledge to make change happen.
I live in a northeastern suburb and we can get some brutal winters. Not as bad as New England but bad enough. The great trade off for black ice, shoveling snow, and bitter cold winds whipping off the ocean is the thrill of getting a “snow day”. There is no better feeling than getting the call that the roads are “impassable for students, faculty, and staff’. It is like getting a free day unencumbered by an over scheduled life
Snow days used to be full of dressing kids for outside play, movies and popcorn, steaming hot coca, and art projects. I put my energy into making those days happy special times, for my family. Now snow days give me the chance to put my energy towards self-care. It is a day where I can refocus on my priorities and treat myself well. Today is one of those days, so how will I use my time? All of the items on this list, would make my life better:
Writing to center myself
Taking a Peloton class
Spend time with my hubby
Appreciate some beauty
Do some light cleaning
Cooking a new recipe compliments of: #journey.towards.health.ww
Reading for fun
Do some planning for work
Meditate and practice mindfulness
Writing this list has helped me to prioritize my health goals. Sure, maybe if I were more evolved I would not need a heavy snowfall to take time out for me. The truth is I’m not there yet, but I think just knowing this is a step in the right direction. If you’re like me, and need an excuse to take some time out for you, I suggest you try writing down a list of things that will help you to prioritize your health goals. For my type A friends, think of as a challenge or an assignment. Put it on your calendars and schedule it to make it happen.
In the meantime, I can look forward to six more weeks of winter and finding more opportunities to be be good to myself. I hope you are good to yourself too.
Looking for inspiration? Here is what I think I know so far, inspiration can be found through honest reflection. Think of inspiration as the flip side of personal truth.
The truth from my perspective is, I miss the loss of my in-person #WW workshops. I miss my friends who cheered me on, and whom I was able to support in return. Going to the virtual meetings that WW initially setup for us was disappointing. I found myself comparing the virtual experience to real life, and it came up short every time. What made our Greenlawn Goal Setters so special was the intimacy we shared. Zoom did not feel intimate. Another truth is that I have not felt like I have had much inspiration to offer my friends, and that has been very hard. But through sheer effort of sticking with this, I finally have some inspiration to share:
Don’t “Go it alone”
Everything about maintaining healthy habits for life, and being successful with weight loss is either hard or to say the least – COMPLEX! Community has always played a major role with my healthy living/weight loss success, and #covid-19 or no, I need it to play a role in my future. I tried a new virtual group today with a new intention. My intention was to lift my preconceptions, and to be open to change. The virtual coach, Marianne, has maintained a 100 pound weight loss since 1991. That does inspire me. The other part of this is, she is a leader here on Long Island. She not not close to where I live, but when I am ready, I can go and reclaim my lifetime status. It was a good experience, and if any of my Greenlawn friends are reading this, the meeting was 10:00 am Saturday. It would be great to “see” you there.
Rethinking a Successful Week…
Weighing in last week was really hard. Assigning the real number to my #covid-19 #setback was a bitter pill. Yes, I took my medicine but now I get to enjoy the benefits a bonafide loss on the scale. Losing weight matters here. My goal is to lose weight and reclaim better health. Now I know how much have to lose to get back to goal, and really, it is a relief. I didn’t gain back all my weight, and what did gain back is manageable to lose. Here is the important part, the number on the scale is not the “reward” of my efforts it is an outcome of staying on plan, moving more, and making a personal commitment to change. The empowerment of my personal choices is the reward. So if I don’t lose weight and there will be weeks ahead where I do not, it doesn’t change the reward. Do you understand what I am saying? I hope so because it may prove helpful to your weight loss/wellness efforts.
Thanks for reading, and reaching out. It means a lot.
January 17, 2021 is a late for an end of the year reflection, but I guess I needed some time to process all that happened and is still happening. To say so much has changed for all of our lives in an understatement. I could write about loss in almost every aspect of my life. Covid-19 has been and continues to be shadow of death and despair the world over. I am wrestling with my feelings of loss for my country both politically and socially. Systematic racism has been revealed to me and it is something that I cannot “unsee” so I am doing the work for how to be an anti-racist.
“When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else’s oppression, we’ll find our opportunities to make real change.”
All the of the deep rooted problems of my nation are being laid bare for all to see this year, I can take some comfort that our society is one where that can happen. We are imperfect, and the work that comes next is to continue to try to “form a more perfect union” a goal which will not be attained in my lifetime but is one worth fighting for for the rest of my life. I do take some solace in knowing that violence, for any cause is not to be tolerated. No one is above the law and people who either incite or promulgate violence will be punished within the parameters of the law.
My health and wellness goals have taken a beating this year. Overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenges of these times, combined with the theft of my systems of support (in person WW meetings, and Spin classes) to maintain my health and weight loss have proved devastating. Community is an invaluable part of my success and I am still grieving the loss of that community but I am not the type of person to give up on a worthy cause. In this case, my health is the worthy cause here. I am dedicating myself to get back to goal.
I weighed myself yesterday and can now quantify the impact of my struggle in terms of black and white. I am working WW for all that it is worth. I am on the Purple Plan because I think it is still the best fit for me right now. The other action I took (with the full support of my husband, Dave) is I bought a Peloton. I can tell you that it is a real bonafide spin bike and I leave my workouts with that familiar sense of relief and wellbeing. It is a great stress reliever for me and I am very grateful to have one.
If I am to be completely honest, and this blog is a place for compete honesty or else what is the point? Not everything I lost was bad, and not everything I found was good this year. Maybe the lesson I am supposed to learn is that it is not really about what was lost or found, it is what remains. My resolve to be the best I can is what remains. Let’s promise to believe in ourselves and try to make the world a little brighter along the way. I will and I hope you will too.
Have you ever lost something spent hours looking for it? Then as an afterthought, not really expecting to find it, you open the junk drawer in the kitchen and there it is looking at you in the face. “Hi, I’ve been here all along just waiting for you.” That is where I’ve been. I’ve been looking for my motivation to keep going on this journey to better health and weight loss since the pandemic began. I think I finally found the right drawer, in the very last spot I could have looked; and now, I am ready to begin again.
Beginning again, is an extremely generous gift I am giving myself. I have to confess, I have gained weight since #COVID19 took away the supports that helped me to get where I was. No more in person #WW meetings with my Greenlawn Goal Setters. The community that held me and kept me going has been dismantled by corporate and even though there are virtual spaces to “see” each other, it is not the same. I miss being with my dear sister every Saturday, carpooling to Greenlawn be with our friends. I have always maintained that it is the sense of community that makes #WW a successful program for me. This is not the only loss, #COVID19 has also taken away the 5:15 am spin with my favorite instructor, Michelle. Now I do not get the physical release that helped me deal with stress, and give me the boost to take on the day. And just when it couldn’t be worse, worry has been my constant companion throughout this dark time our lives.
The match that lit this flame to my newly found motivation was that my hubby convinced me to buy a new Peloton. I don’t have it yet, but just knowing there is one being made for me and that it is on its way is enough to stoke my inner motivation.
I’ve missed you, readers. I’ve missed the woman I am when I write for you too. I have felt like a failure, like an imposter, over these months. So many starts and stops only to dissolve into defeat. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not a failure, I am not an imposter. I have to keep telling myself my own story, that I have done this once and I can do it again. It’s not like I’m starting completely over. I am still way ahead of where I once was. I am going to keep it simple. I’m going to track my food in my tracker, next week I’m going to weigh in at home, and I am going to get enough rest. And if you’ll have me, each day I am going to write you and let you know how it is going. I hope you are well, Let’s just believe in ourselves together that we can do this. Ok? More tomorrow.