For the Rest of My Life

I have been thinking about this post for a week now, but just this morning decided to write it to me instead of writing AT other people.  I think its good advice, but some I need to apply to me right now.  So, the basic idea is this:  to lose weight AND maintain weight loss, you have to make changes that you will be able to do for the rest of your life.  So easy to write in one sentence, but so very hard to do.  As I have written before, I realized this in college, and even wrote an English essay on it, but it took me 20-something years to decide that I could and would do this.  I just didn’t think I could give up all my wonderful delicious foods (esp. chocolate chip cookies) for the rest of my life.  So every step of the way, since joining weight watchers, and realizing that maybe this time it was going to take, I have checked this.  For example, as I increased my exercise routine, I was walking 5-6 miles in a day.  I could eat more then.  But I would think, is this realistic, can I spend 2 hours working out every day for the rest of my life.  And the answer was, no.  I have too many other things I want to do in my days.  So, that meant back to the other side of the equation.  What could I eat less of, or eat differently?  (Along that line, there is a lot of information that says that people who maintain weight loss for a long period DO exercise for an hour a day.  So I have decided that this life is worthy of giving an hour a day to exercise.)

What precipitated this thought process in the past week was two events.  First, I walked into the office at work and saw an old friend who had gone on a pretty severe diet and lost a tremendous amount of weight about 5 years ago (when I was still fat, and just observing other people diet.)  She has gained it all back plus a LOT more.  Being a nurse, I work mostly around women.  And over the years, I have watched so many women go on restrictive diets only to gain it all back.  And always, the diet was an entity in itself.  It had an end.  It was something that no one could do for the rest of their lives.

The second event was having lunch with my friend who originally invited me to weight watchers.  She told me that she and her husband were doing some plan where the company sent you food and bars in the mail, and I think you got to eat one regular meal a day.  Very restrictive calories, about 1000 per day.  She told me she had never been so hungry in her life, and it wasn’t working for her.  She really doesn’t have that much weight to lose ( I personally think she just needs to be content where she is) but she is always trying these ‘quick fix’ type of things to ‘get the weight off.’  THEN WHAT?  Somewhere along the way you just have to learn what to do for the rest of your life.  So even if you do something restrictive for a temporary amount of time, you always have to be thinking, what am I going to do for the rest of my life?  How am I going to eat?  How am I going to manage my day?  How am I going to fit in exercise?  Where am I going to shop?  How am I going to avoid those chocolate chip cookies and still be happy FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?

So this morning, I am applying this to myself for a couple of reasons.  I just posted my weekly weight. I have been almost EXACTLY the same weight for 7 weeks.  I actually think that is an accomplishment of some kind.  And there is the temptation for me to say, well, I guess that is the weight my body is comfortable at, and I will just accept it and maintain THAT weight.  If I want to weigh less, I need to apply my above advice, and think, what changes can I make FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE that will allow me to lose weight and maintain that lower weight?  I am always tempted to try the severe limitation diets.  But I guess there is a little advantage to being old.  I have a 40 year history of being overweight and trying to lose weight, and the severe limitation thing has always boomeranged on me.  

Here is the other, more serious reason I need to take my own advice to heart.  I was talking to my dad (who I am most like physically) who has diabetes, and has had cardiac bypass surgery, has high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  And that is not even what got to me (well, originally that is one of the motivating factors in my starting this trip.)  But what got to me was when he started telling me about his sister (who I am even more like physically.)  And she also has diabetes, but is now dealing with heart failure which is complicated by kidney failure.  And while I realize that we all have to die, I would prefer to control what I can to stave off the devastating effects of being overweight.  Kinda takes all the fun out of a chocolate chip cookie…

So today, what can I do today, THAT I CAN DO FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, to get more weight off, keep my blood circulating most efficiently, and keep my blood sugar and cholesterol levels on an even keel?  I feel a long walk coming on, and a major cupboard clearing out…

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8 thoughts on “For the Rest of My Life

  1. Wow Debs this is deep.

    It’s things like this that will keep you going for the rest of your life. You know where the balance needs to be, and you are making the necessary adjustments. THIS is where the maintenance heart beats.

    Walking is totally doable for the rest of your life. I know of a 93 year old woman who walks at the track with her friend EVERY DAY!

    And as for the chocolate chip cookies, there may come a day when you can enjoy a cookie or two once in a while and be perfectly happy with that. Because really, do you seriously want to live a life devoid of chocolate chip cookies?!? =)

    Now I need to go think about what I am willing to do for the rest of my life…

  2. Now you did it Jill! THAT’S what my dad calls me! Don’t worry about me and chocolate chip cookies. I still do enjoy way too many of the real ones. I don’t want to live a life devoid of chocolate chip cookies. But they are about the only thing I can think of that I can’t keep in my house.

  3. I so agree with the restrictive diets. I did the protein shake diet for almost a year. I lost a gall bladder, 75 lbs and gained 99 back. Those NEVER work in the long haul. Congrats on maintaining. You are right, that is a huge victory. It is giving you practive for your life long work at maintaining. Way to go!

  4. Great blog – I just take it one DAY at a time, but definitely mindful that what I do each day must be done for the rest of my life in order to never have to regain the 80 pounds I have lost with Weight Watchers.

  5. I am reading through your old blog for insight and notes. This was very great and just what I needed to hear. Just starting my final journey with my weight. Thanks again

  6. I so appreciate your thought-provoking post. I have maintained a 35-pound weight loss for three years. Over time, I kept trying to put certain foods back in my house and always met with the same result – eating too much of them, and the weight gain that would inevitably result. I am coming to terms with the idea that some foods will always be trigger foods for me, and I am not doing myself any favors when I put them within easy reach. I don’t want to move any one food to a forbidden area, but I realize that I can only be around that food in controlled amounts – such as one chocolate chip cookie instead of three dozen of them. That’s why I have slice-and-bake around, and only bake up two at a time in my toaster oven!

    I watch so many of my family members struggle with their weight, and it’s difficult to watch, especially the younger ones in my family who are experiencing life-threatening complications of obesity. My 35-year old daughter has high blood pressure, diabetes, and is experiencing stroke symptoms, numb feet, vision changes, and other side effects of diabetes.She can barely move, and goes from doctor to doctor looking for what can she do about her health issues. But she won’t consider weight loss because it’s “too hard.” She has a life threatening condition that she won’t change. That’s been enough of a wake-up call for me. It’s made me take a hard look at some of my habits. The short term pleasure is really notj worth my continuing love affair with red licorice and Hershey’s chocolate bars with almonds!

    Food is such an emotional thing with me. It’s about having enough, which I did not have enough to eat as a child, and it’s about comfort, feeling better – or sometimes, not feeling anything at all. I am learning to say “I deserve to be healthy and fit” rather than “I deserve this candy bar.” The candy bar is an inanimate object that won’t give me what I’m searching for – ever. But the time I spend on eating well and exercising pays off every moment of every day. And it enhances my life. I deserve to reap the benefits of making those healthy lifestyle choices. That’s what I deserve.

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