It's a Journey
When asked “How do I get to your level in my career?” the president of my company responded "Focus on the job you are doing today. Do your best in the job you have today, and your tomorrow will fall into place."
It reminded me of my journey to better health. When I started I had over 150 pounds to lose. I was diagnosed with morbid obesity and had difficulty doing even the simplest of tasks. I knew I had to lose weight. But when I thought about how much, it was so overwhelming and seemed impossible. So, I'd try and then give up, try again and give up again (repeat a hundred times). The enormity of end goal can derail you quickly, focus on doing your best today and results will come. Here are a few things that I have found helpful:
Want to: It takes hard work, discipline, and want to. Yes, want to! Not half-hearted oh I ought to or it would be nice to drop a few pounds, but serious want to because there is no miracle solution! My “want to” came from a combination of four things, including a heart condition that led to surgery. But my reasons can’t be your reasons. You have to figure out what means the most to you and then think about rather that thing would be possible or enjoyable if your health continues to decline (fact: your health will decline if you remain overweight). Find Your Want To – make it personal.
Don’t tell the world. Everyone has an idea, an opinion, a judgement to offer. While their intentions are usually good, the effects on you are not always good. Don’t set yourself up for unwanted advice and judgement by telling everyone what you are doing. Others don’t know your journey like you do.
Gather a tribe: While not everyone needs to know, you will need support and encouragement along the way. So gather a small tribe of supporters. My First Place 4 Health group is awesome! Their support, encouragement, shared ideas and compliments are integral to my journey. (yes, it is ok to accept compliments – it will spur you on to continued victory).
Partner with a friend. Find one or two within your tribe who are willing to understand your personal whys and remind you when you get discouraged. My leader, Michelle, has been an amazing encourager and we are so blessed to have her leading us in New Orleans.
Start with small changes. Don’t try to change everything at once. One more glass of water each day won’t hurt, put calorie free flavoring in it if you need to. One less spoonful is a start, choose the least healthy item of the meal and leave it in the serving bowl. Little changes over time add up to big differences.
Get moving. At First Place For Health we like to say something is better than nothing. Don’t expect to run a marathon the 1st time out. You may not even be able to run at all. That is ok. Find what works for you. Incorporate movement whenever you can. I started just taking the long way to the restroom at work. Then I added going to the other end of building and back. I pace while waiting for my lunch to heat up in microwave. Now completing 5k races is my favorite form of exercise.
Excuse the excuses from your life. Tell them bye-bye. “Breakup” with them. Excuses sound valid, but they are actually deception. One author said “the distance between where you are right now and where you really want to be can be measured by the number of excuses you make and take”. The truth, hard as it may be at times, needs to prevail. Yes you can eat healthy even if like me you can’t cook.
Refocus. When you are tempted, change your focus. If a commercial about food comes on that causes you to crave something unhealthy, change the channel. America’s Greatest Baker is probably not the best show to watch when you are having an emotional day. You have the power, go for a walk, pick up the phone and reach out to someone who may also need a healthy distraction or an encouraging word.
Be Prepared. Unhealthy choices are around us all the time. Know what you are going to eat before that “I’m starving”, or “I’m too tired” feeling kicks in. It is even ok to go out to eat just plan your healthy order before arriving and seeing/smelling everything else.
Know Your Health is More Important. Social gatherings are especially challenging. People will continuously ask “aren’t you going to eat, are you feeling ok?” Love someone enough to say no to their chocolate cake. Stand strong, don’t give in to the pressure. Bring something healthy to the event if you can; after all everyone needs to eat some healthy food. Put a small amount of food on a plate and walk around with it. You don’t have to eat it, but it will stop the constant questioning of why you are not eating. It doesn’t matter what other guests, or even the host, thinks know that your health is more important.
Be Prepared. Preparation is so important I’m saying it again. Be prepared for emotional, mental, and physical changes. This may sound silly, but if you are like me you found a certain level of comfort in being overweight. As the weight comes off, as you become healthy, you will go through so many changes including how people react to you. Understand that change can be hard, even if it is change for good. Don’t let it detour you, stay on track and remember your “want to”.
Most importantly seek God. The Biblical principles of First Place For Health are at the core of making change. Learning how to satisfy our cravings with Scripture and God’s presence while understanding God’s principles for health, eating and how we view ourselves will bring success in more ways then what a mere scale can even begin to show.
With God guiding and empowering you, and the support of First Place For Health being mentally, physically, emotionally, and physically healthy can be your reality. It may not be a “miracle solution”,
but it is doable BY YOU!