Hope

“How do you find hope?  How do you let yourself believe that, this time, things will be different?”

I’ve had several conversations on this question, or variations of this question, over the past few months.  I know a few people who are also struggling with weight loss, and who aren’t having the same success I’ve had so far, and something like this comes up.  They’re frustrated because they’ve lost twenty pounds, then found those twenty pounds along with a few more, and then lost them again, and so on and so forth.  That frustration gets them feeling hopeless, like they’ll never succeed.

I… don’t have a solid answer for that.  I certainly understand where that question is coming from, because I’ve also tried to lose weight multiple times in the past.  I didn’t try very hard, mind, but I tried.  And I’d lose a few pounds, five or ten, and then I’d just put it back on with interest.  So, when I started this time, back in July last year, I didn’t really believe it would be any different.  I even wrote about that, extensively.

What made it work?  What made me believe it would work, this time?  I still don’t know.  I just know that, when I started, I knew I had to make it work.  Because I ached, and my blood pressure was ludicrously high, and I couldn’t keep up with my son or easily spend time with my wife or do anything else I wanted to do.  Because I was afraid I’d go blind, or have a heart attack if I didn’t.

There was certainly no hope in me, when I started.  Just an awareness that it was possible to succeed, if I cut back on my calorie intake and exercised.  And I very nearly gave up, several times.  Because, especially at the beginning, it was really, really hard to keep going.  But my wife encouraged me, and my friends encouraged me, and I kept at it.

Hope… well, hope evolved.  The first time I weighed in after I started, and discovered I’d lost 19 pounds.  That gave me a little hope.  Realizing I’d lost forty pounds, that gave me more.  Realizing I could climb a flight of stairs and not want to die, that gave me hope.  And so, slowly, I’ve come to believe that hope isn’t something that you need to have to get started.  It’s something that grows from small successes, as you work.  It’s nurtured in little changes, in daily evidence that things are getting better.

You don’t find hope, I think.  You grow it.

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Putting The Cart Back Where It Belongs

I just realized that it’s been slightly more than one year since I started this blog.  Where does the time go?  (Coincidentally, that’s also how I’m feeling about 2016, and about this month.  I can’t believe it’s almost September!)

Looking back at my very first blog post, I ended with these words:

And now, 39 days later, I’ve lost 40 pounds.  Twenty percent of the total I need to lose.  I’m already feeling better, but I’ve got a long way left to go.

But heck, I’m changing my life.  So, technically, I’ve got my whole life left to go.

That’s a good message from a slightly younger version of myself.  I’ve clearly been frustrated with myself, recently.  I don’t feel like I’m making progress, and I don’t feel like I’m putting in the effort I should be putting in.  I’ve started to allow myself to get hung up on arbitrary deadlines and feeling like I should be making some minimum weight loss per week, and I’ve started letting myself slide on the daily tasks I need to accomplish while doing so.  Which, of course, is a fancy way of saying that I’ve put the proverbial cart in front of the horse.

cart-before-the-horse
Really, this doesn’t work as well as you might hope.

Way back when I started this (and it feels way back, even though it’s only been about 13 months since I started my weight loss), I had promised myself that I wouldn’t worry about progress.  It took me decades to put the weight on, and so it was fine if it took some time to get it off.  All I had to worry about, I told myself, was meeting my daily goals.  If I did that, I knew, the weight loss would take care of itself.

I still believe that’s true.  I’ve just gotten… distracted.  So, I’ll let my past self remind myself of what I should be doing:

I’ve worked hard on recasting my motivation.  I’ve put the emphasis on getting healthy, with my actual weight as a scorecard, and I’ve focused my reasons on my wife and my son.

Exactly.  Time to refocus once more.  I’ll still track my weight, obviously, because that’s the scorecard.  But it’s time to remember that the goal is daily walking and exercise, and staying within my calorie budget, and honestly tracking what I eat.  Because the goal isn’t to lose weight.  It’s to change my life.

Losing weight is just a happy side-effect of that.

Sigh

Back over 300 pounds again.  Sigh.

Now, I’ll acknowledge that some of this isn’t my fault.  I managed to contract bronchitis for that, and oral steroids are one of the medications for treating bronchitis, and those help you gain weight.  And, of course, I didn’t exercise much because of the bronchitis.  That said, I didn’t exercise much last week before I was diagnosed, and I didn’t so much meet my calorie budget as I did exceed it and keep going.  There were some reasons – family health issues and the like – but that’s partly an excuse.  I could still have stayed on task with the calorie intake, even if I didn’t manage the exercise.

Ah, well.  Water under the bridge.  Now it’s time to do better.  I’m trying to think of last week as an experiment in seeing what happens if I don’t meet my goals, and now I know.  With that information in mind, I’ll just get up and get moving and do better.  As I keep saying, this is a process and a journey.  I haven’t failed, just because I had a bad week.  I only fail if I stop.

The icing on the metaphorical cake

It turns out that the reason I’ve been so lethargic about my goals this week isn’t just because of how busy I’ve been all week.  No sir, not at all.  I’m also sick, on top of everything else.  And it’s the annoying kind of sick, the kind where you don’t feel bad enough to stay home from work but you don’t feel up to actually working.  So I’m dragging myself into the office and doing my thing, and then going home and doing nothing for the next couple of days.  That way, hopefully, I’ll be in a better place to hit my goals next week.

And I figure I’ll need to hit those goals, too.  Because all of my general excuses and reasons for not exercising or hitting my calorie goals mean that I’ve eaten a lot more than I should have and exercised a lot less, and I’ve probably regained some weight.  Which will annoy me.

Things you do 

This week is rapidly turning into a week of utter failure – from a health and weight loss perspective, at least – thanks to family medical issues. None of them have been serious, but all of them have been time consuming. Exercise?  Not done. Calorie budget?  Missed.

But hey, at least I got to change my look!


Yeah. See, my son had to get his head shaved. And, being five, he was pretty freaked out. At one point, in tears, he declared that he wanted “fake hair on my head!”  So I got all mine cut off as well, to show solidarity. I think it helped. He seems to have made his peace with baldness now.

Anyway, my weight loss goals for the week have largely shifted to @here’s hoping I maintain”. Next week will be better.

What a terrible mistake

I significantly overate yesterday, a side-effect of going out to lunch with my family (my son chose Frisch’s for the breakfast bar…) and then going out to buy a dishwasher after work.  Oddly enough, though, the mistake I’m referring to is not overeating.  Not directly, anyway.

So what am I talking about?

As I indicated, I significantly overate.  The fact that I got off to a bad start in my day seemed to combine with the knowledge that I’d had a buffet for lunch to wreck my calorie goals entirely.  And then I used that as an excuse to eat even more.  And some combination of what I was eating and how much of it I ate combined to make me feel physically ill – tired and queasy and generally under the weather.  It was a terrible feeling, and one I’d forgotten that could happen from significantly overeating.

I’m feeling better now, fortunately.  But, wow.  Must avoid doing that in the future, and not just because it blows the old calorie budget out of the water.

The best laid plans…

Things went a little crazy yesterday, and I ended up not doing anything on my to-do list.  No exercise, no reasonable calorie decisions, nothing.  Because my life decided to turn into a mad whirl of family health issues and car trouble.  I won’t go into the details here, but by 9 pm I was exhausted and realized that I hadn’t achieved anything I’d intended to achieve.  But I had done a whole bunch of things that needed to be done to benefit my family, so I don’t feel all that bad about it.

My family is the reason I’m working to lose weight and get in shape, after all.  And taking care of them takes priority over whether or not I do some pushups.

Still, everything should be settling down now.  Back to work!