Friday, January 1, 2010

Not sure what to say

It's New Year's Day, and I'm really not sure what to say though I do feel I should say something. I've been spending the day and a lot of the past week reflecting and, more importantly, looking forward on my weight loss journey and I'm really not sure what to say.

I think I'll start with this. I think the "how" is more important than the "what". I mean, what I'd like to do is lose weight. That's the "what". Duh. But doesn't everyone want to this time of year? People who are 5 lbs., 50 lbs., and especially 250 lbs. overweight all have the same goal I do in that respect. For all of us the "what" is the same -- we want to lose weight.

What separates the men from this boys in this area is the how. The people who will succeed have solid plans. That is, they master the "how". They formulate a solid, realistic, achievable set of goals - things they would like to do, actions they would like to take, behaviors they would like to adopt - and they do them. The plan is the "how" that controls the "what". You can achieve the "how" -- eventually, the what will follow. It may not follow in the time frame you'd like. You may need to adjust the how to get the what. I believe, though, that ultimately the success -- and the thing you can ultimately control -- is the how.

About this "how". Personally, I don't think it's realistic to completely overhaul your life at once and then have it stick (though, for those who do adopt huge drastic life overhaul attempts, I wish you success at them -- provided they are healthy for you. I hope 2010 is your year, and you sustain it every year after!). I favor the more gradual changes because I think they are more likely to be successful and sustainable.

However, that does bring me to my second point of this stream-of-consciousness blog post: I don't think there is a single right answer. I believe there can be more than one "how". I don't think that one way is necessarily "right" while another is "wrong". My personal philosophy revolves around allowing myself treats so I don't feel like I'm in food jail while eating a balanced diet -- one with protein, complex carbs, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Exercise is also a cornerstone for me. I actually love it now, and it does help me to feel more balanced. It's also helped me to not have any loose skin so far. I actually do look to it when I am pissed or sad sometimes instead of food. I can't imagine not doing it for a prolonged period of time again. That having been said, though, I think there are different ways to accomplish this. With respect to diet, if you're into the South Beach thing, awesome. Weight Watchers? Great. Love to the Spark People too. Similar thoughts on options within the exercise realm. I personally cannot run because of my joints and back, but if you're a runner -- awesome. I doubt if I ever will be. If you can't stand water aerobics, it's ok, even though it's my favorite exercise. Point being? Find what works for you. Do it. Be healthy. There is not a single right path. I didn't always believe this.

I will end my post with this. I am in so much of a different place on January 1, 2010 than I was on January 1, 2009. I have lost 40 lbs. More importantly, I am maintaining or losing weight rather than gaining weight. I feel hopeful about life. I feel hopeful about my career. I am going to own this year rather than feel like this year owned me, like I did for the first 3 months of last year. I am grateful that this year, January 1 is another day rather than the opportunity I had been waiting for to change my life -- the one where I made resolution that did not stick for more than a week.

I made the decision to recommit my life to fitness on April 21 of last year. It's not the date January 1 that is so magical. You can make a change any day you want, including right now. It is hard work but it is worth it.

A weight loss blogger who I really enjoy tweeted something yesterday that really spoke to me. She said "Being fat is hard. Losing weight is hard. Maintaining is hard. Pick your hard." Having done all three, I can attest that she is correct. This year I am choosing to get back on the losing weight plan again. I have maintained for awhile, and it's time to pick it up again. Losing is my hard of choice.

I hope you accomplish your goals this year, both weight loss-wise and otherwise. Today is a perfectly valid day to begin working toward them. However, if you mess up you needn't be fatalistic about it. You can recommit anytime. Including April 21, 2009. You will probably be really grateful you did.

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