Saturday, September 27, 2008

Learning to Live

I’ve been thinking……should I be unhappy with the rate of my weight loss? I am averaging only 1 lbs/week over the last 9 months. At times, I get disappointed, thinking I “should” be losing much more quickly. I look at some of the others in this blogging community and feel somewhat envious of their quick losses and, a few weeks ago, in conversation with a weight loss “coach”, she told me I should not be satisfied with such a slow loss.

I can look at my plan and tell you exactly why I have not lost faster…..beginning with the whole exercise issue. If I had been exercising faithfully, I would be losing faster – no question.

I could also go through my food diaries and find many days where I did not drink all my water or did not eat all my exchanges or ate too many starches or had a treat or ate comfort food because I was not feeling well. Mostly, I fall "off" the plan by not drinking enough water and by not eating all my food - infractions are actually relatively few - and minor.

BUT…..I have been pretty OK with this rate of loss. At least, so far. Why?

And why have I not given up? There is another question, because every other diet attempt at weight loss, while giving me initial success, has ended much sooner than this – with the expected re-gain of the weight loss, never having even reached my goal before throwing in the towel.

(Yes, I was the stereotypical yo-yo dieter for pretty much all my adult life and even into my teens.)

What is the difference between this foray into the weight loss fight and the other 500,000 times?

I’ve been contemplating this of late and have come to at least the beginning of a conclusion…….

FIRST….my motivation was a little different this time.

I had come to a place in my life where I hated not so much myself, as what I had done to myself. (BIG difference…not hating myself) Something clicked within me and I realized that I deserved a better life than the one I had given myself. My husband deserved a wife he could put his arms around and who wasn’t always whining and crying about how fat and ugly she was. My kids deserved a mom who would be around to watch their kids grow up. My grandkids deserved a grandma who could play with them and hold them on her lap. All things which would give ME a better life.

Always before, my motivation had been simply to look better and thereby, like myself better.

SECOND….(related to the first)….my goal was different.

Always before, the goal had been to lose weight. (usually within a set time frame…by Christmas, for a wedding, by summer, etc)

This time, because of my slightly different motivation, my goal is to learn to live – to learn to have that better life I deserved. Instead of being my goal, weight loss will be the result of learning to live well.

THIRD….the time frame and the expectation. (see above)

Because my goal is to learn to live, there is no end to this plan. I don’t want to stop living well because I reach my goal weight. Nor do I only begin to live when I reach my goal – I am learning to live NOW, the weight I am now.

In learning to live, I acknowledge that from time to time, for the rest of my life, I will be faced with: eating out, dinner parties, birthday cakes, celebrations, and a simple desire for something really sweet or fat or carbolicious. It is unreasonable to expect that I can live the rest of my life without having a piece of pie or a plate of pasta.

SO, I am learning to manage these situations by NOT totally depriving myself and by learning to be satisfied with a small serving.

When faced with something I “shouldn’t” have, I do not say “You cannot have that”. I ask myself if I really want it. At this point, I calculate how it will affect the rest of my day’s eating plan. If I decide to go ahead with it, I might tell myself to just wait for a bit. Often, I’ve forgotten about it within a few minutes. If not, I allow myself a small portion. Why can I be satisfied with a small amount? Because I am not just saying NO to myself and depriving myself “until I lose weight”….I am learning to live with the sweets and fast foods and carby comfort foods that I will be faced with for the rest of my life. I am learning to control them rather than be controlled by them.

Also, it is good to know that now, because I am eating carefully, if I choose to have a sugary/fat filled treat, I don't have to hide it because I don't feel guilty. I am not cheating, I am living. Sweet treats will always be part of life....I need to deal with them wisely and with thought. And when I eat that treat out in the open, I am not tempted to have "just one more".

Now, to clarify…..I do not often say yes. Most of the time, I make a decision NOT to give in to a craving or opportunity. The difference is that I am making a decision based not on deprivation, resulting in feeling sorry for myself, but based on a real choice. Is this worth it, or not? Will my saying yes to this advance my goal of learning to live or not? Once in a while, it really does bring me closer to my goal.

Have these decisions slowed my weight loss? Undoubtedly. But in the long run, I am actually achieving my goal quite quickly, because I AM learning to live.

Next step…..learning to live ACTIVELY! :)


So, I ask again…should I be concerned that I am not losing weight faster?


spunkysuzi said...

Personally i think 1 lb/week is awesome!! It's a lifestyle change and that's what is working for you.
That is what i aim for 1 lb/week and i'm happy with that. And i can live with the way i'm achieving that.
It's one thing to lose faster but can you keep that up??
Me, probably not!!

SeaShore said...

No, you shouldn't - you're doing great! I think that weight loss coach is focused more on the losing part than on the maintaining for the rest of your life part!

I really liked ...weight loss will be the result of learning to live well. That's an excellent way to think of it.

->cara said...

1 pound a week would be perfect for me, too. I think 1 pound a week, even if it's an average, would be anyone's perfect goal to reach. Actually, I know of several people I could call right now that would be totally envious of you losing one pound a week. Seriously! Most of the people I know lose 2/10ths a week or break even week after week of sacrifice and exercise. If I can keep losing one pound a week, I'll reach my goal weight by next May. I sure hope I can keep up with your average.

Anonymous said...

I have only just found your blog Karyn and believe that along with Escape from Obesity your blog is better and more motivating and more 'REAL' than all the weight loss books. Being a reader in your age group I feel I have at last found someone who is facing the same problems as me ( and I bet there are plenty of other women like me out there).
You have achieved so much in such a short time, just think, next year you will be dangerous!
I hope you dont mind but I would like to use your slogan LEARNING TO LIVE along with your blog to try to have even just a little bit of your success. Enjoy.

MizFit said...

I hate to chime in with the uberpositive ONE POUND A WEEK IS GREAT as it means you have found a path you can stay on for life----but it's true (IMO anyway :)).

Lyn said...

I would LOVE to have lost 1 lb/week over the last 3 months. Then I would be about 201 pounds instead of the 230 I am right now. It's all about perspective! I think you have a healthy attitude. Keep going!!

Vinj&Kath said...

ya, ahh, me too! WOw that would be nice! Good for you, and it s good to have it as a lifestyle, and soon it will easier and easier to say no. I am finding that too.
Love you mom

Jimmy the Watchman said...

She up to's the there for a strike...she is not rattled at all...she kicks the dust off her cleats...grabs some grass tosses it up into the air...wind...ah...pitcher is less confident...he winds's the pitch...a sinking fast ball...just what she's coming is...she swings is is gone and never to return...the very first homerun for Karyn...the crowd is going wild for this new kid from Alberta.