Friday, September 26, 2014

It's Not easy...but still possible

Hi everyone!  It’s FRIDAY! I’m certainly happy about that. It’s been a good, but very long, 10 days or so. I think I did 5 speaking engagements in the past 10 days. I love sharing my story, but am very glad to have a weekend to get some things done around here. My pool is still up and full of VERY COLD water so closing the pool is on the top of the ‘to-do” list for the weekend, as well as beginning the process of preparing the yard and gardens for winter, which in northern Michigan could happen any time. I remember the year I moved up here: it snowed on October 1st! It’s supposed to be in the 70’s and sunny this weekend, though, so I’m cherishing every moment.  The trees are changing very quickly as well and the woods is beginning to glow with glorious color. I’m anticipating that I will be outside a good portion of the weekend. I hope you get a chance to get out and enjoy the world around you.

This might not be relevant to those of you that live in the more temperate climates, but for me, living in the north can present a challenge in my weight loss journey. I have to work extra hard to combat the physical cold and darkness. The amount of daylight is rapidly diminishing and I’m now beginning my morning walk in nearly total darkness, using only a flashlight and the occasional light from a nearby porch light to guide my steps. It’s also commonplace now to see my breath as I walk.  Before long it will be dark when I drive to work and dark when I return home. This seriously impacts my opportunities for physical activity outside but there is absolutely nothing I can do about the changing of the seasons.  I do have, however, a choice in how I deal with it. Right?

I could simply say to myself, “Well, it’s dark. I guess that means that I have to quit walking and riding my bike for about 5-6 months.  Everyone gains a few pounds over the winter; it’s to be expected because I can’t get out and do things.  Don’t worry, Theresa, you’ll get back on track after the holidays...people don’t really stay on track during November and December……and a whole list of other “lies”…..   OR…….I can make a plan NOW so that when the snow falls, I’ll have no excuses. 

What are my options?  Well, I need to look for other ways to incorporate activity into my day.  I’m fortunate in many ways: I work at a college with long hallways.  I can bring my sneakers to work and walk the hallways, either in the early hours before work or after.  I could visit the fitness center on campus and spend some time on the treadmill.  I could go to the hotel in town and pay $5.00 a visit to use the indoor pool and do some swimming or water aerobics. I could shovel snow or build a snowman. I could dance in the living room or walk the malls. I could spend more time lifting light weights.  I could make sure to keep healthy snack options on hand so that when it’s cold and dark and I’m stuck in the house and tempted to eat to fill the boredom while watching a TV show or reading, I’ll have no excuse to make a poor choice.  I honestly don’t like ANY of those options….but…. I like being mobile, feeling better, looking better, and sharing my story….so I’ll do what I need to do to stay focused.

None of these options come easy to me and I can make excuses about why I don’t want to, or can’t do, any of them.  Without a doubt, it’s a lot more challenging to stay on track in the fall/winter months. It takes more effort to travel the 20+ miles each way to go to the pool or mall, not to mention the expense. It’s a pain to bring tennis shoes or work-out clothes to work and dodge students in the hallway. It’s hard to find decent fruit and vegetables during the “off-season” and be forced to pay a higher cost. It’s harder to prepare meals indoors in a healthy way when the grill is put away for the season.  It will be tempting to see Halloween candy on all my co-workers desks for the next month and to walk away from the smell of apple crisp, cider, or caramel apples. It will take effort to plan for holiday gatherings, to avoid fast-food temptation when busy with holiday shopping, and avoid the cookies and treats that I will still need to make for those in my life who do not struggle with weight.  YES…..the ending of summer is the beginning of season of challenges.  HARD???? You bet!  Impossible….NO WAY! 

Each day, I will remind myself of what I truly want….to continue to WALK without the use of a mobility device.  Each day… I will pray for strength to continue on the journey.  Each day, I will be grateful that I have choices and opportunities….even if I don’t like my options or they are harder. Each day, I will plan to succeed, rather than make excuses.  If I falter or give in to temptation; if I become lazy and fail to get the activity I need, I will forgive myself and start again, not let it ruin my whole day or sabotage my journey.  If I plateau or even gain a couple of pounds, I will recognize that the number of the scale merely reflects my weight, not my worth, and will use that to work harder.  Yes, it’s hard….but it’s not impossible to stay on track and continue the journey….It’s a choice…and any extra effort needed is SO WORTH IT. 

Today… I encourage you to get out and enjoy as much of the remaining season as you can, and start making plans now to succeed in the coming days.  You can do it… I can do it…. It’s just a bit more challenging.   Enjoy your weekend….and do what you can today to make it a GOOD DAY….not only for yourself…but for someone around you!