Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It's not really all that complicated

Good morning.  Sometimes I think that we tend to make things way too complicated, and therefore, we delay making healthy changes simply because we are waiting until we think it’s the perfect time or we have things all planned out.   I was like that for many years.  Long before I began this journey I knew that I needed to make some big changes in my life….or that my life would soon be over, but I continually put I off because I was making things way too complicated. 

I thought I needed to have the perfect TIME to begin a weight loss plan, but could always find an excuse why it wasn’t a good time. “I’m going to college and I’m already stressed out trying to keep up with my classes.” “I’ve started this new chemo-type drug for my rheumatoid arthritis and it’s making me throw up every weekend....isn’t that enough to deal with?” “It’s stupid to try to count calories now….Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas…..is right around the corner” That excuse became….I still have holiday treats at home; I can’t waste them. Gosh, now it’s Valentine’s Day…and then Easter….and then…. And so forth.  Trust me…. there is NO good time on a calendar…..and yet….ANY DAY….TODAY….is the perfect day to start!

I thought I needed to have the perfect PLAN; the diet that was guaranteed or the pill that was approved by the FDA that was CERTAIN to work and didn’t cause diarrhea, hair loss, insomnia, heart damage…..or worse…the dreaded ANAL SEEPAGE that was actually printed on the label of the leading diet drugs so popular a few years ago. SERIOUSLY???  People actually took them then….and still take them.  Is being thinner really worth anal seepage?  Eww!  The truth is that there are literally hundreds of weight loss plans out there; countless medicines and supplements that promise results; and a plethora of surgical procedures…..but the bottom line is this: To lose weight you need to burn more calories than you eat.

The perfect plan is simply the one that you can live with for the rest of your life. I’ve said it countless of times….From day one of my journey…. I was not going to do anything that day that I wasn’t going to or wasn’t able to do for the rest of my life. This means that if are certain that you can’t….or don’t want to….go the rest of your life without ever eating chocolate again, then don’t give it up completely while trying to lose weight.  You might consider substituting that daily king size candy bar with 3 or 4 Hershey kisses. You simply need to adjust your calorie count.  Perhaps you remember reading or hearing me speak about my morning coffee.  I knew on the very first day of my journey that I did not want to drink black coffee every day for the rest of my life, and yet I knew that there were a lot of calories in my sugar and creamer,  so I switched to sugar free French vanilla creamer and Splenda,  and just cut back on the amount of oatmeal I ate each so that my calorie intake remained steady. Whatever plan you choose to follow; whatever concessions you make, be sure that you can do it for the rest of your life. I eat exactly the same things today as I did 4 years ago when I began my journey and I STILL have to work very hard to keep my weight in check.

I think we just try to make things too complicated sometimes and we are afraid to make any changes until the time is just right, but really…..the time is right TODAY to make just one….. little…… change.  If you are not able….or willing….to go ‘cold turkey’ and completely change your eating habits, then don’t, but change SOMETHING today. If you want to give up soda, try substituting every other can/bottle/glass of soda with water, and before long you will lose the desire for carbonation.  If you want to cut back on junk food, try some of those baked chips, popcorn, or flavored rice cakes, or at least buy individual lunch size bags of chips and limit yourself instead of eating the entire family size bag while watching television. Switch to frozen yogurt instead of ice-cream; try fresh fruit instead of canned fruit in heavy syrup; use spray butter instead of drenching your sweet corn in creamy butter, or eat only two cookies instead of four.  Even the smallest change can lead to results over time and before long these changes will become habit and you will be empowered to make even more changes.

It’s really not all that complicated. In fact, it’s simple: Do something today to make you a happier, healthier person tomorrow. For some of you, it might involve food. For others, it might involve some other habit or activity, but for each of us, it’s not just about what we consume, but also about what we think….and how we react……and what we do……to improve our sense of well-being.  A small thing like making an effort to say good morning or smile at the folks we pass in the hallway or store; allowing someone to pull out in front of us in traffic on a congested street; picking up a piece of trash on the sidewalk; or showing kindness to those around us are very simple, uncomplicated ways to begin our journey.  When we begin to show love and compassion to others, it will become easier to do the same for ourselves.  No magic pill; no special plan; no specific-perfect time needed for that.  TODAY…..this morning…. A TUESDAY…..in the middle of the month…..is the perfect day to do something…..anything…… to change our reality.  TODAY is your day!!!