This past week has been an absolute whirlwind! I’m currently on the island of `O`ahu after an amazing long weekend with my cousins [read: I am exhausted!]. We’re heading home to Maui soon, but in the meantime I have time to spend with my niece and am so excited about Therese’s guest Motivational Monday post that I had to get it up now!
Therese is one of many incredible people I met through sparkpeople. I began following her blogs for support and guidance and have kept up with her because I truly appreciate the balanced approach she brings to her wellness journey. Through determination and hard work, Therese has lost 90 lbs and is now running races!
Getting There From Here Without Going Crazy
I am absolutely honoured to be here on Green Plate Dinners! I’ve been following Haley since the beginning and her enthusiasm and zest for life leave me inspired on a daily basis!
Changing from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one is a rewarding but difficult task. With the bombardment of media influences, pressure from well-meaning (or otherwise) loved ones as well as just plain old personal issues, knowing exactly why we want to change is tough. And let’s not forget that changing our behaviour is intensely difficult as is! Most behaviour psychologists spend months or even years treating and teaching patients new behaviours depending on the severity of their problem! So it’s easy to see why we can become overwhelmed with a goal before we even start.
For years I dieted, for years I quit. I’d start a crazy exercise program and then drop it just as fast. I would get frustrated and stressed from the overwhelming desire to lose weight. I knew I had over a hundred pounds to lose and losing one pound or less a week was just not cutting it for me. I’d get desperate. I’d down a pack of diet pills, fast, pretend not to care about food at all. I even stuck my finger down my throat at one point but thankfully stopped before I could carry it through. I just didn’t know how I was going to be able to lose this weight, it seemed so hard and practically impossible.
So what changed? How did I drop almost 90lbs, take up running and decide that helping people to do the same would be my life’s path? I took a step back, a big step back and looked at the reality of the situation. The reality is that changing a behaviour IS hard. There’s no way about it, it’s difficult. It’s an uphill battle and where there’s a hill, there’s gravity and that means I’d have to expect setbacks. I didn’t gain all that weight over night so I shouldn’t expect to lose it over night. I knew that 3,500 calories equals a pound and so I’d have to have at least a 3,500 calorie deficit each week to lose a single pound. That’s a lot and I wasn’t ready to start starving myself. Finally, I knew that I would have to change my entire lifestyle and that was scary.
In other words, I stopped expecting things and became realistic. Fight all we want it doesn’t change the fact that changing to a healthy lifestyle is difficult, but just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean we can’t do it or that we can’t make it easier on ourselves.
How can we make it easier? Break it down! Stop focusing on the end result and start focusing on the steps it’ll take to get there! Haley’s post on goal setting is the perfect place to start because every part of this change requires a sound goal and plans to reach that goal. We can’t get from A to Z without stepping on the other 24 letters along the way so you might as well use them to your advantage and plan for them so you can skip over them along your way instead of trudging through them, unprepared.
Secondly, you’ll need patience with yourself and your body. It took me three years to lose 90lbs and I didn’t lose consistently and I even gained a bit along the way but I reminded myself of my goals and kept moving forward. Our bodies are amazing machines but try as we might, we can’t always predict what they’ll do because they’re so incredibly complex. Just do NOT give up, your health is too important to give up on. The pounds don’t matter nearly as much as how you treat yourself on a daily basis. You are too important to give up on.
Finally, don’t take yourself so seriously! It took me a long time to realize this but when I did, things got a bit easier. We place a lot of pressure on ourselves to try and be perfect, especially when it comes to our physical bodies. We’re told again and again that we have to be thin and beautiful and perfect and it causes us unnecessary pressure to be something we can never actually be. Let it go! You are NOT perfect and who cares if you’re not thin?! You’ll never be as thin as the models you see on magazine covers and most are actually so airbrushed that even the models themselves aren’t that thin, it’s an impossible comparison. All you need to do is be the best you you can be, trust me, that’s good enough!
Therese writes about her lifestyle over at Life’s Tasty Adventures – if you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for blogs to add to your google reader. 🙂
A huge mahalo to Therese for sharing her mana`o with all of us. She’s right – just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we can’t do it!
I’m off to sit cross-legged on the floor and drink endless cups of fake tea with my niece. 🙂
Have a beautiful day!
If you are catching up on the Motivational Monday series, here’s what you’ve missed:
Motivational Mondays are meant to offer you tips and tools to help you live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. What would you like to see for Motivational Mondays? Would you like to be a contributor? Comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your motivational story, who motivates you, and/or your tips.
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