When I was younger, like middle school and high school aged, I remember avidly praying for a miracle. My miracle: That I would wake up in the morning and magically be skinny. I would try to bargain with God that he could give me the worst stomach ache of my life, or the worst headache in exchange for an overnight makeover. I remember waking up in the morning and immediately inspecting my thighs to see if my wish had been granted. Of course, there was never an overnight miracle. It was a silly mind game I played with myself instead of just doing the hard work. I share this slightly embarrassing story to enforce the point that weight loss or achieving your own personal goals isn’t about magic or miracles.
You have to be willing to do the hard work. And it’s not just for a day – it’s for the rest of your life. This is not a prison sentence, you have to just see it as a commitment to a healthier lifestyle. I agree, it sucks in the beginning because you are still wearing pants that are too tight or are a few sizes larger than you want them to be…and you aren’t in a place where you are truly ENJOYING the healthy lifestyle because you aren’t at your goal fitness level yet. But one right decision after the other eventually adds up – it just takes a bit of patience (okay, a lot).
I have been realizing lately that I’m not a very patient person when it comes to
certain things. I struggle with the small steps it takes to be healthier and I’ll admit that sometimes it gets overwhelming. This morning I put on a pair of pants that were pretty uncomfortable last week with this secret desire that they would magically fit better after exactly one week of my new eating/working out schedule. Obviously, when I put on the pants – guess what? They were still tight. And at first, I felt really pissed off about it, like – i’ve been working so hard!!! Why are my pants not baggy on me yet? Then, I really have to just laugh at myself and I remember that middle school version of myself, desperate for a weight loss miracle upon my waking and I understand that I can’t expect one week to have such a huge impact on how a pair of pants fits.
The difference this time is I’m not letting something silly like that defeat me or make me feel like my efforts are futile.
Because in just one week of this new plan – I’m feeling more in control and I feel like my will power is strengthening already. For example, yesterday a co-worker brought in 2 dozen doughnuts (there are only 6 of us working this week in our office, so 2 dozen? Really?) as a way to ring in the new year (happy new year arteries!). I didn’t have a single one of them, and I surprisingly wasn’t standing there feeling tempted when I saw other people eating them because I know that for me, every single right decision I make is a step toward my pants actually BEING looser. It’s a step toward my goal of being more fit, increasing my self esteem, and a step toward being able to shop for a new size at my favorite store. Those rewards are far more interesting to me than a doughnut. And that’s just where I am right now.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way. I went through the last year feeling defeated about gaining weight despite working out and trying to eat healthy. But I was really kidding myself because I would eat so few calories during the week and then just totally go off the deep end on the weekends with ordering things like chicken tenders with ranch and french fries, oh and a beer.
C’mon. You can’t really think you are going to lose weight if you are never in control of your actions!
There needs to be a check and balance for whatever your goal is…..so for me I know I can have a cheat meal once a week if I stick to my plan….so I can go and have chicken tenders if I want for my cheat meal because I’ve been amazingly good all week. But once I’ve had my cheat meal – then it’s back to reality. Back to eating in a controlled and effective way. You can’t let your cheat meal turn into a cheat day, or else you’ll be rewarding yourself every single day with junk food – and that’s just another form of self-sabotage.
I guess my bigger point behind all this rambling today is that you can’t just wish to be more fit or more independent, a better runner, an athlete, more outgoing. You have to actually face the fact that it takes time and diligence to be better at anything. It’s not an overnight miracle – because what would we learn from that? Would we learn to live the daily lifestyle of a fit person if we just woke up being fit one day? Would I actually be able to maintain that lifestyle if I hadn’t been practicing it in order to get there in the first place?
Use each day as a training day to help you get better at being the person you want to be. Whether it’s a weight loss goal or a career goal, whatever it is – remember that every day counts. And every little decision adds up. Just think – if you only put a dollar in a jar every day, you’d have $365 to spend at the end of the year. You perhaps wouldn’t miss a dollar a day, but the end results would be a great reward for your daily diligence. Keep that in mind as you continue on your journey this new year. Every day counts – especially when you start putting all the days together and they turn into weeks and months and years.
Make decisions today based on real facts, the first one being that a better you is not an overnight miracle, it’s only achieved by practicing the behaviors that will get you there.