November 2, 2010

Time traveling

I've had so many quits and restarts in the past. With past diets, I've always gone overboard with restricting food or overdoing it with exercise. I think one of the biggest keys to my past failures, though, is how defeated I feel after not making the goals I have in my mind. I obsess over watching numbers drop, and if they don't, I've failed, so I might as well quit. I've never really balanced the eating and exercise parts - I either starve myself but barely exercise, or I continue to eat junk but figure I will work it off by spending six hours at the gym. The most I've lasted like that was three weeks, and I end up feeling even worse than when I started.

I'm usually my biggest critic, and one of my recurring negative thoughts with diets is that if I had just stuck with it last time, I could weigh X pounds by now. Even if I am doing well and making a lot of progress, I tend to focus on the fact that a loss of Y pounds barely matters winter 2k9, clinton beachbecause all that hard work is only getting me back to where I was six months ago - if I hadn't quit then, I would be even lower now!

I'm trying to stay positive this time around, and focus on the balance of everything. Even on days when I feel a little down, I'm still doing well. I'm drinking water and taking vitamins, and my workouts are focused not just on counting calories burned, but on getting a healthier, more toned body. Looking at pictures from previous periods of weight loss, I can see a big change in my arms and legs - they look leaner now, even if I weigh about the same in the older pictures. One of my goals for getting healthier is to live presently - to focus not on what I could have been or where I ought to be, but where I am and how I can make the most of this opportunity. In Dr. Susan Albers' book "Eating Mindfully," she talks a lot about Buddhist meditation and beliefs. Balance is a big theme, and it's something I'm striving towards.

One thing she remarked upon really hit me, though, and I wish I had this moment of revelation somewhere besides the back of a bus, because it was a beautiful, enlightening moment that I want to hold in my heart.
This moment we are living in right now is the only moment in life that we are guaranteed.
There's no use cursing the past and saying that I could be somewhere else right now if I had only been better, more careful, more on-task. I couldn't plan for this moment, just as I cannot plan for the next one.

A lot of twelve-step programs make use of this philosophy as well: one day at a time, one step at a time. I'm trying to keep this in mind as I face the holiday season. I am doing my best, and that is the best I can do - but I don't know how my challenges might be different on November 25th, or how they might be changed even more a month from then. So I need to work on my day-to-day plan for success and not worry so much about the future. Let those moments unfold as they happen - the work I am doing is helping me right now, and right now, this moment is the only one that matters.


Joy said...

This is a great post!! I tend to focus too much on the scale, instead of the other 1000 things I did right. I would love to toss the stupid thing right out the window!!!

Keep up the great work and stay focused!!

Jessica said...

This is a great philosophy. We can only do this one day at a time. We can plan for the future (setting goals), but we have to focus on today!

Amy said...

Excellent post! It's so true... that quote is beyond true... made my heart flutter!

I am sooooo guilty for the "If only I had ___ I'd be ___"

Christine said...

I love the idea of mindful eating. However, I personally find it a bit hard to implement in my life. If only I could eat mindfully ALL the time. I think that would be fantastic!

Anonymous said...

The husband and I were just talking last night about trying to incorporate more Buddhist practices/principals into our lives. We are agnostic, but want to read this book, "Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening" by Stephen Batchelor. It's on the Xmas list. We need more mindfulness and moderation in our lives!

Ann (-50 lbs in -60 lb challenge) said...

Good post!

Anonymous said...

When I first started my weightloss journey I kept telling myself over and over "If you had stuck with this last time, you wouldn't be this fat" or "you'd be in those pants by now." All it did was piss me off.

I agree with "live for the moment" and not dwell on the past or present. It is what it is. Make the most and try your best and you'll get there. Slow and steady wins the race.