Nobody Said It Would Be Easy, But...
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
The other day, I ran across a quote which said "Nobody said it would be easy, but it could be easier." That statement grabbed my attention for several reasons, and I have thought about what it has to teach me regarding my weight-loss process. One realization which popped right out at me as I considered this thought is that I have very "black and white" divisions for "hard" and "easy." I have said I wanted to make my approach to weight management be livable, supportive, and long-lasting, meaning that I had decided that "harsh" or "stringent" or "very restrictive" approaches did not work well for me. So, even as I sought moderation, I recognize now that I was still putting losing weight in the category of "hard."
Now, most of us probably recognize that any major lifestyle change such as losing weight, increasing physical activity, or even viewing the world differently does take focus, commitment, consistency, and the patience to see the big picture. Let’s not pretend that it’s always a stroll in the park. It’s not always “easy,” although it may be at times, but the thought that I might make it easier was tantalizing. How could I do that? How could you do that?
As a psychologist, I would often say to people, “Don’t believe what you think!” This statement often took people by surprise, because no one ever tells us that as we are growing up. If I THINK something, it must be true, right? (After all, don’t I know EVERYTHING!! LOL!) I decided that the old adage, “Physician heal thyself,” could apply here, so I began to examine how my own thinking makes my process of getting healthier and stronger harder than it needs to be, and how I might make it easier. For one thing, I tell myself that I hate the tedium of tracking foods when the values are not obvious. It’s one thing to look at a food, like a glass of milk or a certain brand of canned tuna or lima beans, and to account for one serving. When I have made a dish, or a dinner, where I—or someone else—has not figured up all the ingredients when the dish was being prepared, then it turns into “a black hole.” Who really knows what ingredients are there, and how to count them?
Two thoughts occur here. Instead of just “going blank” when preparing a dish or a meal, I could tell myself that it is important enough for me to know what I am eating that I need to measure ingredients and actually figure up the value of a recipe. I did try that the other day with a favorite childhood dish, using the Spark recipe calculator, and I somehow went “amok.” My process failed, and I thought, “This is too complicated!” and I abandoned the attempt. Another chance to not believe what I think. A thought just as true could be, “Just because I didn’t get this right the first time, doesn’t mean it’s that hard. I’ll just give it another try.”
Another approach to the “black hole” food phenomenon would be to embark upon a good-faith attempt to account for the food as best as I can. For example, even though I didn’t measure out ingredients for “tuna noodle casserole” last week when I was making dinner with my sister here, as company, “helping” me in the kitchen, it is certainly to make a pretty close estimate of how many noodles, ounces of cheese, tuna, etc. were in my helping. Perhaps not the perfect answer, but maybe the best one I could come up with at the time. And, wouldn’t that answer be better than just throwing up my hands and saying, “Oh, what the heck! Let’s eat cheesecake, everyone!”
And, maybe being accountable to myself, trying within my own sense of integrity to track as accurately as I can, while not expecting myself to be perfect, would make it a bit “easier.” I’m going to observe myself in the next few days to try to see ways in which I could make weight loss easier for myself. I would welcome and encourage your comments, below, offering your own ways that you can make things easier for you. I’m always ready to benefit from someone else’s experience. (Ah, there’s yet another way to make things easier—listen to the wisdom that others have gained through experience. I don’t have to do it all myself!!)