The journey...

Life is in the journey, not the destination, so do what you can and take it one day at a time. Go slow, do it right, and make your changes permanent — then help out others who are where you were.

~Jillian Michaels

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Back to the Basics

I stepped on the scale today and saw a number staring at me that I NEVER wanted to see again, not even if I were pregnant....
Weigh-in on May 18, 2011

As you can imagine, that was hard truth! The lowest weight recorded for me on this journey is 179...climbing back to 215.4 is depressing! Humiliating! Degrading! Demotivating! DISCOURAGING! (and just about anything else that starts with a negative connotation and ends in "")!

I was talking to my dear friend Val on chat about my weight gain and how hard it is to see that number again, I love what she said to me:

Valerie: so don't get back on the scale today! start at this very moment doing all the things you know you need to do to never see that number again. you know what to do. do it.
"So don't get back on the scale today!" There isn't anything EXTRA-ordinary about that statement, however, it really hit home with how "matter-of-fact" and immediate she said it. Without giving it a second thought she basically said, "Well, stop wallowing over it and DO SOMETHING!" Blunt. Honest. Truth! I'm so thankful for Val, she's a straight shooter and doesn't tickle my ears and pat my back, she ruffles feathers and says what needs to be said when it needs to be said! She most definitely is loving, compassionate and understanding as well, but not at the cost of catering to my pity party.

There is no excuse or reason for my weight gain, the simple truth is I started back into old habits of instant gratification which is lack of self-control! I fell back into the habit of never denying myself anything, "If I want something, I'm going to get it NOW!"

I used to go through this deep, drawn out thought process behind every set-back and weight gain, "Why did I gain weight?" "What's going on emotionally?" "What triggered this set-back?" I was always looking to pinpoint the "cause" that led to the "effect." Although I realize the importance of discovering what's behind our weight (emotionally, spiritually, physically, pshycologically), I'm also seeing the deception in how exaggerated it's become. Every time I gain, someone else on this journey gains or I'm trying to pep talk someone through their gain, it's like we look for this "one thing" to blame. Not that it justifies it, but it somehow puts a sense of "purpose" in the gain when we find something or someone to "blame" for this set-back. I'm gaining because of...XYZ! It's bogus!

We can either let our circumstances control us or we can control our circumstances. Some things really are out of our control: job loss, family trouble, economy, illness. But that's where the Serenity Prayer says it beautifully:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Want to know the difference? I cannot change the fact that a family member is dealing with medical issues or that some people who were once close to us are only in our lives for a season. You cannot change the fact that a loved one just passed away or your husband lost his job. But you can take COURAGE and continue making wise choices for healthy change in your own life rather than slumping into a pit of despair. You CAN change your eating habits, you CAN change your fitness level.

Val and I continued our conversation after the scale comment and we discussed some things that I believe are pretty relevant and noteworthy:

Valerie: i think at some point in our journeys we all got a little bored and wanted to make it more exciting and bigger than it was, so we started doing things like...ahem training for marathons and trying to do cheetah flips (whatever that is) in order to gain more "respect" and in order to be more inspirational to others...aka to get more of an ego boost. maybe i am over generalizing, but i think that's exactly where i started falling apart. i just knocked myself down and started back on the bottom rung where requirements are lower (i.e. you don't have to run 20 miles to be working hard) and started counting calories.
me: "go back and do what you did in the beginning"

Valerie: point is, sometimes greatness is achieved in the most meager of actions. we lost sight of that--at least i did. i quit celebrating the small victories.

me: i agree i totally agree

Valerie: i quit celebrating my new body and my new life and i got lost in the grandeur of it all and lost my way
One conversation I've had a lot lately surrounds the concept of "go back and do what you did in the beginning." In the book of Revelation (Ch. 2), there is a letter written to the Church of Ephesus where they are acknowledged for all these wonderful things they are now doing, "vs 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perserverance." but then they are rebuked because in doing all that, they lost sight of their "first love." They are admonished with the statement, "vs 4-5 Yet I hold this against you: You have foresaken the love you had at first. Repent and do the things you did at first."

I feel the same rebuke on my journey. REPENT! Or more appropriately, "STOP and CHANGE! Do what you did at first." The name of this blog is "Potter's Clay." I set down this road with a goal of glorifying God with my physical health as well as allowing him to mold me inside and out. In addition, I set out to start taking care of myself and loving "me" because how can I love others if I can't even love and care for myself? Third, I simply did what I knew to lose weight and was successful as well as loved doing it. Nothing extravagent. I was mindful of my eating habits and ate in moderation. I began living an active life and exercising, nothing extreme. I ENJOYED every day of the journey, good and bad. I loved learning more of who I am, how God sees me and saw others in a new loving and compassionate way as well. Of course, I never liked to see a gain on the scale, but I didn't let that stop me from living and learning and I just kept going. There weren't any of these binge periods followed by extreme food monitoring and insane workouts to offset the damage done. I've learned that when I go to the extreme it's great for awhile, but it's inevitably followed with EXTREME backtracking.

There isn't anything wrong with goals, I've loved goal setting along the way, but I lost sight of taking joy in the small things. My celebrations used to be over fitting in restaurant booths or keeping up with friends at the mall without losing my breath. I love going out with girlfriends now and actually "feeling" like a lady in cute clothes rather than men's XXL T-Shirts. My eyes would well with tears over the simpliest things and the small victories were enough to continually encourage me to keep moving. Now I've lost sight of the little everyday things my friends used to take for granted and I've found myself guilty of the same. Instead of remembering that I couldn't shop at a normal store before or fit on rides at the amusement park, I find myself constantly needing to run this race or 'compete' against that persons journey. It reminds me of a blog I wrote a few months back called "Robotic Weight Loss." It's this never ending road of pushing to the extreme, but forgetting the basics.

I’m learning, this isn’t a walk in the park anymore, making a LIFESTYLE out of this is tough. When you battle weight issues (whether addictions, disorders, self-esteem, medical conditions), it’s exactly that – a battle. I don’t know that the battle ever just “ends” one day when you’ve reached your pre-determined goal. Every day you have to make a conscious decision to continue supporting that healthy life and some days you’ll win and other days you’ll not play your “A” game, but a set-back does NOT have to be a failure!

One thing I'm starting to grasp though is the fact that I cannot forget where I've come from and when in doubt, GO BACK TO THE BASICS!