I love words. I love them. I collect them, I think about the way certain words sound and how they make me feel when I use them. Words knit together to create these intricate narratives. Words connect learning and understanding as if they were drawn together like constellations across a dark sky. Words amplify our voices for what matters most. Words can carry the torch and shed light on dark places. Words set us free to share who we are and who we aspire to be, at any point in our lives.
I am a word maven.
In the book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell refers to mavens as knowledge hubs or “information brokers”. This type of person wants to spread knowledge and that’s how I identify myself. I am a curator of words. By now, you may be thinking… “Ok, she likes words. So what does that have to with weight loss.” Here’s the thing, I believe that by writing these posts and telling my story and through sharing my learning have helped me to reach my weight loss goal.
I think I have literally told myself a story of success and kindness that has made a profound impact on my health and wellness. Even more than that, I believe the words I keep create the reality I experience. Think about that one… Whoa!
This is great when the words are positive. What if they are negative? Then that’s the reality I get. What kind of weight loss journey do you want to have? Something to think about.
There is a reason that so much attention has been given to knowing your “why.” Simon Sinek began the conversation around the significance of “why” by giving us a framework called the Golden Circle.
Now, is a good time to revisit my “why”. I want to reflect on my actions and thoughts in an effort to be more self-aware. In order to do this work, I think it’s important to really know myself as a learner. After all, I am learning how to live my life as a healthier version of myself. I am asking: What does it take to do this? How am I going to get that done? Why is it so important to me?
What: I will stay engaged with #WW by following the plan as it is intended to be followed. I will participate in activities that I love doing like spin and yoga.
How: I am the kind of person to engages her learning intellectually and emotionally. Writing is an outlet for both. Writing helps me to stay intellectually emotionally engaged on this journey.
Why: I want to bring back vitality to my life.
If I were going to turn this blog into a book the title would be:
Reimagining and Revising
My Transformative Journey to Better Health & Wellness (and yes, Weight Loss)
My story is not a one size fits all series of steps that would deliver health and wellness in a box to readers. There is no just follow the recipe and “Voila!” all your dreams will come true. Instead, my story is one that would teach readers the value and joy of self-discovery. That combined with the understanding that the most important day will always be – today.
I am learning that the more present I am in my life the more successful I am and the better I feel. Even if this day is not a successful day on plan – there is always that next choice to make. I have always been in love with the underdog, and nothing motivates me more than a comeback. Knowing that I can do this and still embrace optimism (because that’s who I am. I am an optimist) makes all the difference.
You might be thinking, “Well that’s all well and good for you. I don’t consider myself an optimist. I’m a realist.” To that, I would say, “Great. Use that to define your reality and work back from there.” Maybe my past failures with weight loss and my current success all boil down to a failed analogy. For so many years I was searching to find the key to unlock my potential. Now I know, I had it all wrong.
It’s not about finding some arcane key to some unmovable padlock. That makes my future left to chance – some esoteric thing working to keep me apart from my dreams – my goals. What if instead, of a padlock it was a combination lock? Now beginning with understanding how my lock works become essential. My key is about knowing my combination of strengths because that is how I will open me up for success. For me, Optimism, Perseverance, Kindness, and Reflection are my winning combinations.
It’s a beautiful thing, you are the lock, and you already have the key. Something to think about.
I felt in charge and in control today. I went off plan a few days this week; however, I am very happy about achieving my activity goals I wanted to go to spin at least three times and I went four!
I fully embrace that I am not perfect and I am confident at the same time. I am not afraid to fail publicly – if some good can come out of it. The only regret I would have would be if I missed an opportunity to grow – this journey is about personal growth.
The truth? There is no good or bad in my pursuit for lasting weight loss. It is not a success or failure sort of endeavor. There is only a continuous inner search for balance. Today I tapped into my balance reserves and I felt in control and empowered for most of the day. That is a gift and I am grateful.
My weight loss journey has taught me more about life than I ever thought it would. Instead of working on my writing project from home, I went to my local library and that helped. My weight loss journey is helping me to think more strategically in other aspects of my life. That’s so unexpected. It makes sense though because if I keep plodding along, not getting the results I’m after and without reflection; obviously, I need a strategy.
How do strategies work for weight loss? The same way they work with anything new you’re trying to learn. Begin by thinking about a behavior you want to change. Then think about your strengths. What are you really good at doing? When you have those two answers you can take a strategic stance to help yourself. This is how it works for me:
Identify a Behavior Change: I do not want to use food as a stress reliever.
Identify my Strengths: I enjoy writing.
Taking a Strategic Stance: I can blog each day to reflect on my weight loss journey.
This is the strategy that has helped me lose 87.8 pounds. Writing every day has helped me to deconstruct my behaviors around food. This particular strategy, writing every day, may not work for you, if you don’t like to write, the strategy becomes a punishment. Only you can find out what will work for you. If you’re the kind of person who really enjoys cooking, that is your way to a strategic stance If you’re the kind of person who gets a thrill from organizing stuff, that is your way to a strategic stance. If you’re the kind of person who loves to be outside in nature (I’m thinking of my WW buddy Regina) that’s your way to a strategic stance.
My point tonight is, think about who you are because it’s your strengths (not your weaknesses) that will get you to the person you want to become.
I gained .4 pounds this week and that’s ok. This is a process and these fluctuations are to be expected. I feel really healthy and my measurements are less than they were even a week ago. That is my rational mind. There is also a small childish part of me who says, “No fair I did everything I could to make up for cake and ice cream choices I made. This is taking forever.” That is my emotional mind. The reality is weight loss takes time, effort, and patients. This is the way it has to go for me. I can only do my best and hopefully, next week will yield better results on the scale.
Today’s Weight Watcher meeting focused on what it means to have a Non-Scale-Victory (NSV). Owning my real feelings about this week’s small gain and moving on from it without sabotaging myself is an NSV for me. Even now, with all of the behavior changes I have put into place, this acknowledgment of my true feelings is an NSV because there is a very unrealistic part of me that wants what it wants. It’s easy to find comfort in food but I don’t want that to be my story anymore.
So if you’re on the journey, and you are feeling like it’s never going to happen this is the time where you have to lean in and say, “This is is a process and in time I will get what I really want. I really want to get to goal.” If wanting to get to goal is real for you, that will be enough to get you through your disappointment. Honor every feeling you have, don’t try to ignore what your thinking, and talk back to any disappointment you may be feeling, remind yourself of all that you’ve accomplished up to this point. This is hard, but you can do it and so can I.
DAY 4: Take four “mini breaks” today just to breathe deeply for two minutes and be in the moment. Focus on what your body feels like: Is it tired? Are there areas that are tense? Try to relax, if the answer is yes.
I did one of these so far today. I felt some pressure at the base of my head into my neck. I also felt a little pressure under my shoulder blade on my right side. It felt good to be still and try to break up the tensions I was feeling. At one point it felt like a long time had passed even though I had my phone time set for two minutes. I think this is worth doing because it strengthens my ability o be mindful and present. Try it for yourself, let me know what you found. More tomorrow, as always thank you for reading these posts.
One of the reasons I joined Weight Watchers is that their program is rooted in scientific research. It is built to sustain life-long behavior changes when it comes to eating right and getting active. A benefit of the program is that we receive a Freestyle publication that shares research and insights into weekly topics. Our topic this week is self-esteem.
Having a healthy self-esteem helps with weight loss. The sad part of this equation is that we tend to have lower self-esteem just when we need it most! There is certainly a lot of judgment and prejudices embedded in our society when it comes to weight. I have been on both ends, and have experienced it first hand. People treated me differently when I was 85.8 pounds heavier. It is heartbreaking and it is true. I am thinking that is why Weight Watchers Science Team coined the phrase “weight independent self-esteem.” It is essential that we all value ourselves for who we are not what we weigh.
Years ago I read Geneen Roth’s book, Women, Food, and God An Unexpected Path to Almost Anything. Her book had a profound impact on me. I’m annoyed too because I lent it to someone who never gave it back The thing is I am struck by how many lessons I learned about myself reading that book Things have stuck with me even though I wasn’t fully ready to understand her message until now. Read the book My top three lessons I learned:
Stop taking what I already have for granted.
Food is not a time machine to bring me back to happier days.
Get out my head and into my body; be appreciative for what it does for me every day.
It’s no wonder that Geneen’s work has had an influence on Oprah too:
If you want to improve your self-esteem here is an exercise I learned this week:
Focus on someone who cares about you.
Examine that person for a minute – how they look, what they sound like, eye color, height, imagine this person smiling at you, personality…
Ask, What makes this person special to me? Then observe how you feel.
Ask, How does that person see me? List all the things that you do that makes your special person appreciate you. You are so worthy of love and self-caring!
These are suggestions from Weight Watchers. Why not try them? There is nothing to lose and maybe a lot to gain. My wish for you is that you have a successful day on the journey!