So my long time friend, Shelly, sent me this incredible email about her weight loss struggles over the years. I had to appreciate her honesty about it all and it made me feel so blessed to have friends like her, but I didn’t think that at first.
When I read it and she told me she’d gotten as “high as 130-140 pounds or so” I thought, geez, I’d give my right arm to weigh that again. Big deal, I’m far heavier than that and my journey is harder. So thanks for your story, but it’s not the same. I weigh as much as NFL quarterbacks right now. I’m not feeling her struggle.
Of course, I knew immediately, I was simply trying to make myself feel the victim and not admit that everyone’s weight change journey is easy. After throwing myself a pity party (people in attendance 1), I shook it off, grew up, and accepted that no one wants to be the during. No one wants to go through hell to figure out their health and wellness. Everyone would like to go along, feeling good all the time, not feeling deprived or nuts because their body has freaked on them for not keeping things in balance.
Yes, I’ve got a lot more weight to lose than my sweet friend and my path to health and wellness will be very different from Shelly’s, but it’ll be a path I have to go on or accept that I’ll always be a “before.” Problem is, I hate being a before and I just want to skip to the after, but I have to go through the during to get there.
Here’s my explanation of all this:
There are three main steps to anything–before, during, and after.
Before is where you begin, where you decide (or think about) change. How are you going to change and are you willing to accept all those things that go with it? Well, most likely, the want to change is first, then when you actually take action to make change, this propels you into the “during”–and I must say, this part sucks and sucks hard.
It’s when you tell yourself that celery is a delicious alternative to chocolate covered peanuts and wine is not a food group. It’s when you get yourself to believe that working out at five am with Tony Horton from P9oX is a good thing (BTW–he’s far too happy at that time of the morning). You happily chart every morsel you put in your mouth, you tell yourself you feel better (and probably do), your jeans fit looser and that’s cool. The perk in your step is back, maybe your spouse notices it and REALLY notices you. It’s a great place to be and it’s the worst place to be.
In the during is also where you self sabotoge, rationalize the setbacks, make excuses, and fight yourself, like a two-year old having a tantrum, every step of the way. It’s where you wonder what in the hell you’re doing at five in the morning, on a treadmill or working out with Tony Horton from P90X (again, who’s always happy).There are great days where it seems easy and there are days you simply hope you get through without stopping at every donut shop between your house and your child’s school (thank goodness, there aren’t any on my drive).
I’ve found myself right in the middle of the during only to turn around and go back to before and before-before.
Why is the road to wellness so difficult to accept? I want the results. I want to feel better. I want to feel confident and sexy and healthy. I want to be that woman who people actually look at with admiration and respect, not “Damn, she really let herself go”. I want to keep up with my daughters and I want to live a very long, wonderful life without feeling like crap every morning, but how to keep the momentum going? How do people push themselves through to success when the journey seems so far away?
Part of the problem is we are all too patient. We’ve got fast forward on our TV sets, we’ve got DSL internet, we’ve got supersonic trains and planes that get us there faster than before. We have cell phones that keep us from waiting for anyone to call us back because they are available all the time. We are an impatient bunch and being in the during just isn’t fun. I know I simply want to push the fast forward button to the after and bask in the results of my hard work, but I know this project doesn’t work that way. This project is inch by inch, day by day, sometimes hour by hour to get to that goal–so again, I hate to be in the during and to be the during.
So friends of mine have encouraged me to set small goals, allow myself to lose the weight gradually so it stays off. A slow process is better because habits stay with you–that’s what they say although there are times where I have so much trouble believing it. I know it’s true, but it’s so hard sometimes I feel like telling them to shut their pie hole because they have no idea how hard it all is.
Again, can you say pity party for one?
I know I’m going to fall flat on my ass and my face more times than I can count during this process. I know I am trying to change habits that have been with me longer than Oprah‘s been on the air and it’s not going to be easy. Doesn’t the saying go “nothing worth having is easy” or something philosophical such as that.
I’ve got a few choices, turn around and go back to before, stay where I am, or move forward. I like the possibility of the after, so I think I’ll move forward and to do that, I read about those who’ve succeeded, I write about my adventure, I tell myself “This too shall pass”, and I hope for encouraging words to arrive on those days when i just don’t think I can do it anymore.
And one thing I have already learned is I have to forgive myself for setbacks. I forgive myself for being flawed and human as I face forward and keep moving. I promise myself I’ll get there, even if it takes a year, I’ll get there and I’ll be happier for it.
In the Parade article with Drew Carey (again, thanks for the link, Shelly), he said he gave himself over a year to lose the weight and gave himself small rewards for small accomplishments.
In those first two weeks (his during) he said he “wanted to chew is arm off” because of the change in nutrition, but once he made it through that, he felt better, he felt more confident. Plus, he wanted to live a long, healthy life with his family. Sounds eerily familiar.
Now, after a year, he’s still here, but he’s healthier and happier and has a new life, a better life.
I have to believe I could do the same or I might as well accept I’ll always be a before–and honestly, to me, that sucks more than being a during.