I tend to review in my mind the changes that I have undergone in the past few years. I think the biggest one is that I got rid of the ‘all or nothing’ mindset. Not just in dieting, but in a lot of areas of my life.
I tend to be a perfectionist – so to not exceed with the utmost of goals on the first try would be very discouraging to me. I think that’s why I couldn’t lose weight and keep it off. I would expect 2 pounds a week consistently, and if I didn’t get that, then I would just eat whatever and give up.
Or with a new exercise program – pop in the DVD and expect to be at the speed and fitness of the instructors (perfectionism doesn’t = smart, sometimes). And then be irritated with myself that I didn’t wake up fit the next day.
Patience really is a virtue, and it can be learned. I am proof of that, at least. I know that when I tried the C25K program a couple years ago, I gave up because I thought it was too hard, and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just up and run, since I biked and worked out. Well, I needed to learn to be patient with my body while it learned a new skill. That’s what running is, training your body.
So, following the C25K with the mindset that I didn’t have to be able to run a 5K in 30 minutes by the end of 9 weeks was a big breakthrough for me. I knew I could do the 5K, but it just took me 50 minutes to do the first time. And I decided to celebrate that instead of beat myself up. I have now reduced my time for the 5K by quite a bit from 50 minutes, and now I feel victorious with each run (even though I still am not at 30 minutes).
I feel that way about the weight loss now as well. I know that I am unlikely to lose even a pound a week, and have now accepted that as perfectly fine. I also know that there will be times when the scale goes up, undeservedly – and I have to accept that as well. Since I’m not in a rush, and I have learned to be less self critical, the weight has come off and stayed off. I no longer have something off plan and then decide it’s okay to take the rest of the day off, or beat myself up. That has been the path I am following to radiance.
Maybe I could have learned this stuff 20 years ago, or maybe it had to take me until I got to 40 to figure it out. I don’t know. I am just glad to be at this point right now.