I have gathered little nuggets of good thinking that has helped me along my way of getting in shape and losing weight. I have tried to remember many of them to write here, but some of them have become so ingrained in me that I don’t even remember what my thought process was before I learned them.
Get a Cheerleader
Since getting in shape was more a spiritual matter to me than a physical one, I did not want to make a big deal out of it to everyone around me. However, there were key people who were a tremendous help to me. I think everyone needs to find a cheerleader–someone to pat you on the back and tell you how well your doing then gently remind you of your new lifestyle and how eating a box of jelly doughnuts does not fit any more.
For me, that cheerleader was my sister-in-law. She too had gone through a body transformation and knew the work it took to get there. She constantly told me how proud she was of what I was doing. She also pushed me to do a little bit more than I thought I could. I have to admit making her proud didn’t matter to me one bit, but the fact that she said that made me feel good about myself.
If you can get someone, especially someone you respect, to become that cheerleader it will be a big help. If you want to spiritualize it a bit more don’t use the word ‘cheerleader,’ instead talk about that person providing ‘accountability.’ To me accountability focuses on the negative while a cheerleader focuses on the positive. I like the positive.
Do more good than bad
I think it was Scott Smith over at Motivation to Move who I heard say that if we do more good than bad then we will be headed the right direction (or something like that). Some people feel like if they miss a goal, or eat one too many cookies, or miss a day of exercise, then they are doomed. However, if you only occasionally mess up, then you are not completely undone, you just made a mistake. Get over it and move on.
It is true that if I always do the exercises I plan to do and eat good, healthy food then I can accomplish my goals. However, if I make a mistake I might set myself back by a day or two. But I do not need to throw in the towel and quit. I used to be like that. I would let one bad day ruin me. The truth is, yesterday was a bad day for me as far as food goes. I did my exercises that I had planned, but I ate every cookie I could find and could not stop snacking. That doesn’t mean I can’t get to where I want to go, it just means I have delayed my arrival a bit. I hate that. But I am not ruined, only delayed.
I think it was also Scott Smith who I heard say that if you have not eaten in 3 hours, then you are back on your diet. If you do poorly for a meal or a snack then don’t wait until the next day or the next week to get back on track. You can be back on track the very next meal. A box of doughnuts doesn’t have to ruin everything. Just wipe the Krispy Kreame glaze off your face and move forward.
Protect yourself against your weaknesses
I read The Ultimate Weight Solution by Dr. Phil a few years ago. It was a good book. Not sure I agree with everything, but there were two things I learned in the book that really helped me know how to protect myself against poor thinking.
First I learned that I am a “social eater.” I think he talked about different types of eating habits. I don’t remember any of them other than my struggle is that I like to eat when I am around others. Some people can go to a party or church fellowship and eat just like they would eat at home, but not me. I want to enjoy everything that everyone else is eating. If there is food left, then I feel obligated to help clean up. Do you know how devastating that type of thinking is to someone who travels to churches that put on elaborate pot-luck dinners just because he is there? Tough! This is the reason I mentioned in a previous post that my worst day of the week to measure and record my weight was Thursday. Every Wednesday after church we would have cookies and cokes. The pull to eat until everything was gone did me in every week. Therefore I chose to ignore what my weight was the next 2 or 3 days. I would not let that negative period of the week pull me down.
Knowing this is my weakness has helped me curb my eating a bit. But I still really struggle with it. Since I am a social eater, I also have a different problem. When I am alone, I don’t eat much. That’s not healthy either.
Find out what situations cause you to eat in an unhealthy manner and try to avoid them if you can, or at least be aware that you are entering a potentially tough situation and be on guard in your eating.
The second thing I learned from that book is that often people around us don’t want us to change. While no one would say that they want you to stay fat and unhealthy, they often do things to keep you that way. No grandmother wants her children to go away from the table hungry. Most of the time you make your family feel uncomfortable when you start changing for the better. First it makes them feel guilty and then it makes them jealous. You will probably hear negative remarks from your family members. They may be saying things in jest, but those negative comments can be biting to you. Be aware that this may happen. Protect yourself mentally from it by arming yourself with the knowledge that this may happen and it isn’t unusual. You can stay positive through the negativity.
It is highly recommended that you write down what you stick in your mouth. You will be surprised as to how much you actually put down your neck if you also put it down on paper. Don’t just guess at what you are eating, write it down and be amazed.
I have never actually journaled my food. I am afraid to. But I have read it can be very motivating. It is certainly worth a try if you are stalled when you think you should be progressing. Maybe you are eating much more than you realize.
Beware the plateau
Everyone loves to see the numbers on the scale or the tape measure go down. But sometimes it seems like everything stalls out. Realize that the plateaus will come. Just keep doing what is right and you will accomplish your goals.
For me I saw a strange trend in my numbers. I think it was coincidence, but it may have been something that I was subconsciously doing. After I had lost about 30 lbs. I noticed that I lost down to 242 easily. But breaking below 240 was tough. Same thing with 232 and 230. I went back in my logs and saw the same thing happened at 250 and 260. I seemed to stall out for a couple of weeks and not break under that magic 10 digit. Then, just as magically, I would lose from 232 to 224 in a little over a week. Losing 8 lbs. in a week is not something you should ever try to do, but it happened to me twice. Normally it was 3 to 5 lbs. in a magic week. Those are plateaus. You struggle to get under them but seemingly get nowhere. Then BOOM! all of a sudden you drop several pounds. That is motivating.
Make it a matter of prayer
I realize that not all my readers are Christians. My reasons for getting in shape probably don’t apply to you. However, those who do believe in God let me ask you a question. If God made you and has a purpose for your life, don’t you think He would want you to be healthy? God does not make everyone healthy. There are people who are afflicted with horrible situations for His glory (the blind man in John 9). But if you are neglecting to do what is good and healthy to the body God gave you then your physical problems may not be because He wants glory from them. Your problems are a result of you neglecting the body that He provided (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).
On a recent trip I had a roommate who said to me, “I can do something that God can’t.” That was shocking. Then he followed it up by saying, “God can’t exercise my body. I have to do it.” God made us free-will beings allowing us to make good and bad choices. I want to make good choices. Does this mean I do everything right with my eating and exercise now? No. But I am working on it. I want to encourage you to do the same.
Ask God to help you take care of your body. To give up and say that you can’t lose weight or get in shape is equivalent to you saying you don’t believe God can help you do it. It will still be work, but with God helping you then I am certain it won’t seem so difficult.
Thanks for taking the time to read these posts. I hope they have been an encouragement to you. I have been meaning to write about some of these things for a while. I am glad I have finally been able to get them written. This has also been a help to me to process where I have come from and how to get back to where I want to be. While I have gone through all of this once, it is a lifestyle change. I need to get back to that good healthy lifestyle.
Have you read the first post?