A big part of my weight loss success stems from my belonging to a supportive community. As a #WeightWatchers member, I get to go to weekly meetings where I learn techniques for how to improve my health while losing weight. I have deep feelings of gratitude and respect for these people because they are generous, funny, and frank about how their weight loss journey is going.
Yesterday’s meeting was about the importance of mindset. It gave me the chills because I wrote about this topic in Just Play prior to going to the meeting! While unpacking this concept a member said, “You say ‘have a positive mindset’ and I do, but does it really help? Nothing is changing?” Wow! At that moment, I was a witness to a change in action. Change comes when you are unsatisfied with things as they are, and if you reach out to others for help, well that is a power move.
If you’re unhappy with how things are going on your weight loss journey, ask a question that begins with, “What if…” because it may help you unlock personal change. Here is what I know for sure if you want something like weight loss (or anything really) you are worth the effort it will take to achieve it.
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.
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.
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:
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.
It can be any three nights I want because I want to break the habit of routinely eating dessert.
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:
Dinnertime is social for me. I am going to keep pace with my slow-eating husband.
I serve dinner from the stovetop, this keeps me more intentional about additional servings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you have been blessed to be a mother, or are a special woman, who is making a difference in the lives of others, I honor you today. I can think of no better challenge than to ask you to give yourself a compliment. Be intentional, and use your internal voice (you know the voice that is often critical or worrisome) for something good today. This challenge is something you are doing just for yourself. If you want it to be private, yes. If you want to share it with someone else, yes. If you want to post it in the comments for other readers to see, yes. Whatever makes you feel good about yourself is the whole point.
If only this post’s featured image was my kitchen. It comes from a beautiful blog called, The Spruce. What is it about looking at organized spaces that are so appealing? Perhaps it has something to do with the brain and patterns (the brain LOVES patterns). Maybe it has something to do with exercising control over the environment. Or could it be the appeal of having others think, “Wow, she really has her life all figured out.” Ha!
Whatever the reason, I do love an organized space. Yet, I’m the kind of person who, when she is working, makes a big mess. I pull things out, I make piles, and I don’t always make the best choices for how to store things away. My goal is to declutter one cabinet in my kitchen. I decided on one cabinet because I don’t really want to spend hours doing this, and I don’t want to feel overwhelmed. This is a doable goal for me, and if all goes well, I will do another cabinet tomorrow. Maybe.
Why the kitchen? Since I have been so engaged with my weight loss journey, my kitchen has been taking a beating with all the COOKING I’ve been doing. I actually do like to cook, and I do enjoy the food I make. I enjoy it when I have the time, I’m not too exhausted from working all day, and when I can find everything I need. So mostly, I enjoy cooking on the weekends and during the summer when I work a little less. In the meantime, I still have to cook on all those other days, and if I am a bit more organized I think it will help me.
Why have these daily challenges?
Simply, having small doable goals brings me joy. Small goals also spark momentum. Having a sense of momentum is especially important when you have a lot of weight to lose. I say this because a successful weight-loss journey relies on habits that form a network of predictable systems. I think of these daily challenges as a way to mix it up.
Ever notice how many people will say crazy things like, “It’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone.” This is said without any real regard for the experiences that come about from having done the thing that pushed you out of your comfort zone. Sometimes those are rough experiences! I don’t think the “good” actually comes from the experience, To me, it only does good if I reflect following the experience.
I went to Manhattan for work, and all of it was out of my comfort zone. Now that it’s over, I can honestly say, I’m glad I went, but I’m really tired. Was it worth it? Did it help me grow? I’m not sure yet, it depends on how much the experience impacts my practice. So time will tell.
Speaking of challenges, is cutting sugar out of your comfort zone? My answer would be, no cutting out sugar is pretty easy. It’s easy because I have already put in the sweat equity into my habits. I don’t eat a lot of sugar these days, and I don’t really miss it. Without any real evidence; my gut, thinks limiting sugar/added sugar has been very helpful. The weight is coming off, I have more energy, and I am a happy traveler (for now) on my journey.