[a weight loss story]
*kathrynoh at nemesis dot com dot au*
Lately I've been thinking, it isn't just enough to lose weight. It's important to be aware of how you want to lose it - not the "how" of what to eat or type of exercise or anything like that but the fundamental "how" of making your lifestyle fit with your life values.
There are a zillion roads to weight loss - I mean, I could drop a heap of weight by starving myself or popping diet pills or having a limb amputated - but that isn't really what I want to be doing. I've been down some of those fast lanes and they (obviously) haven't worked. I went to a doctor that kept me on speed pills and injections of god knows what; I tried not eating all day only to binge at night. I've never tried vomitting or laxatives but I've thought about it.
These aren't the roads I want to be on right now.
Even the sensible route involves decisions and options that need to aligned with your life values (I feel like a wanker using the term "life values" but I can't think of another way of saying it). The more I get to know myself, the better my decisions become for me and the easier they are to stick to.
In the past I've had other people "supervise" my weight loss - doctors or gym instructors or Weight Watchers leaders - and one thing I've discovered is that as soon as that supervisory role is delegated to someone else, I cheat. I have someone to cheat on so I do it. I delight in fooling them, tricking them by eating a little extra or skipping an exercise class. In a nutshell, I hate having anyone else tell me what to do.
This time, it's all me. If I cheat then I'm only cheating myself. Sure I've only ever cheated myself in the long term but I need to know, really know in my heart as well as my head, that there is only me. No one else cares. No one has the same investment in my life that I have. I'm the one that has to get my sorry butt to the gym every day, I'm the one who decides whether to have a chocolate bar or not, I'm the one that has to monitor my blood sugar. I can take a big poo when I weigh myself or suck in my gut when I measure but I'm not fooling anyone but myself.
Another value that matters to me is changing my behaviour long term (as they say, a lifestyle not a diet). I read on one of those sappy motivational posters recently - "Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going" and that is what I'm aiming for at the moment. To make this a habit. That's a hard one. I was at the supermarket the other night and after months of this, still needed to read every label. I want to be able to walk in and know what yoghurt to buy, what cheese is the lowest in fat, which snacks are the best. I've got to work at it. I mean, I read the yoghurt labels every single time. Maybe I have to take a notebook and write down what I'm buying so I know for next time. Maybe I have to be more aware. You can spend an hour in the supermarket reading labels the first few times but hell, I've got a life to live and it don't involve Safeway, you know.
I need to make exercise a habit. At the moment I'm doing a lot, a real lot. I know I can't substain that. No way am I going to the gym every day for the rest of my life. Again, I have a life to lead. Next year I want to get into a writing course. That's two nights a week of no gym already. There are ways around that and I need to work them out now.
Yet another one is the whole concept of rewards for weight loss. I'm thinking this one through at the moment. For one thing, I like the idea of getting something nice for every 5 kilos lost or whatever but then I struggle with the thought behind it. Because basically when you reward yourself for weight loss, you are labelling your behaviour "good " or "bad". Why should I deny myself something nice just because I'm retaining fluid? Why should I get a treat because I've done a big poo this week? Those things affect weight loss as much as anything. What are you rewarding? The behaviour or the results of the behaviour? In the end, weight loss should be its own reward anyway. The beginnings of new muscles and being able to fit into new clothes and having clearer skin and shinier hair.
It all comes back to me. How do I want to live my life? I don't think there is a definitive answer to that, it's something I have to keep exploring but for this to work, I have to keep asking. I don't need to have the answers, I just need to have the questions.
God you sound just like me...all of this goes through my head too..
Love this post. I went through this a while back when heaps of people posted challenges and rewards but I can't do it. My rewards are the results of my actions. Whether or not they involve doing a poo :) I feel that if I set myself a specific milestone reward challenge then I am more likely to cheat or to fail as it, like you said, terms my behaviour as good or bad and that just makes it all fall back under the term 'diet'.
boobs: 100 cm
waist: 81 cm
hips: 109 cm
thighs: 50 cm
Weekly Goal Lifestyle Changing Challenge-A-Rama
Week 1 - Drink more water
Week 2 - Cut out sugary treats