It is September, and I have lost 75% of the weight I set out to lose. By now, I had hoped to be at my goal weight. I had hoped that by now, I’d be buying lots of clothes in a single digit size. While I have the additional challenge of Hashimoto’s and a very slow metabolism (now helped greatly by getting on a new regimen for my thyroid and metabolism), I am feeling that the slow down on the weight loss front is not just due to the metabolic issues. It’s been due to some slides into a few grey areas. It’s been weighing on my mind, this disappointment that these last few months haven’t gone as fast or as well as the beginning.
I am also in the midst of a very busy schedule with lots of opportunities to say “this is hard, I deserve a break.” Or “Just this once.” It’s late nights and long days filled with challenges around making sure I make the time to prep and plan while being out of town and away from easy access to the food I need and the time to prepare more meals at home. There is a long list of whys.
I’m not alone in this end game, something I must remind myself on a daily basis. I am fighting the good fight with many others who are following the plan, who are in it with me. Sometimes I feel the pressure that I need that After picture NOW. And what’s more, how can I not get to goal when I’ve been so public? There is a certain amount of anxiety around that, some performance pressure to get there. There is a part of me that thinks I need to be doing this flawlessly in order to prove it can indeed be done. But I’m still in this, still learning, still working through decades of habits and beliefs and internal conversations about weight, and body image. And the biggest lesson is forgiving myself for not doing it perfectly. Nothing ever accomplished is done flawlessly, I remind myself.
I used to think that was a cop out. But when I think about where that thinking got me in the past, the answer is, nowhere. Because nothing ever accomplished is done with an all or nothing mentality. The number one reason why I bailed in the past is the belief that I will never get there because I slipped, when the reality is, if I have more wins than slips, I WILL get there. The difference this time is I recognize it’s about perseverance, to begin again, to not give up just because I had a weak moment. To use the tools I’ve created and the support system I’ve created to push through the tough stuff. In order to do that, I can’t pretend I’m doing it flawlessly and effortlessly.
The fact is, some days are HARD. It takes effort, it takes mindfulness, it takes energy. And some days I just want to throw up my arms and say, I give up. That is the moment when I have to dust myself off and keep going. That is the moment when some will stop, some will give up believing they can do it. I know, because I’ve done that many many times before.
This past week was especially tough. I was put to the test around getting the food I needed, making time to make sure I was getting sleep (and some days it just wasn’t happening). My commitment to walking every morning went out the window by day 3 of being away and having to be “on” for many days this week. So how am I turning it around? The first step is recognizing what’s going on. I am not nor have I ever been great around grey areas. Some people may be able to have those “cheat days” or lose weight with a more relaxed program. It just doesn’t work for me.
I didn’t go completely off the rails with sugary treats or salty processed food. But there again, are those shades of grey, a justification of “hey, it’s not that bad”. So I stop, I step back and really look at where the slips occur. Breakfast and lunch are rarely the problem. It’s dinner. Dinner after a long day or dinner too late can lead to unplanned slips. Eating out also contributes because it’s easier to give in to things I may not have made for myself. I know the areas I need to step through with more awareness. It’s not an all or nothing proposition. And I can’t make the whole day or the sum total of my efforts wrong. If I do, I lose.
This process of coming back to center, of resetting sooner than later is what keeps me from stopping all together. I have a history now of success, and I have to bring my mind back to that, not fall into the cavern of the dark and twisty. And that is why, as I write all of this down, the fog is lifting. The recovery time is shorter now. The time spent beating myself up over that glass of wine or that choice to have starch with my dinner fades.
As I write this, the perfectionist in me is yelling: “Don’t put this out there!” “Just quietly get back on track, and forget this ever happened.” But you see, that’s what’s gotten me into a hole before. I move slowly into denial and then it’s not too long before I’m sliding back into old habits. I’ve got to put it out into the light, to get back to journaling and making sure I’m setting it up to win. I do my best in the moment, and do my best to get sleep, to stick with my schedule as much as possible, knowing it’s not going to be perfect.
No project, no goal or dream is realized coming from flawless perfection. It’s just not realistic. I can only aim to do the best I can with what life brings. I’m recommitting, and over the weekend I am shopping and cooking for the week, setting it up to win. I resume with the black and white rules, get honest here and now about what happened and I move forward. Thank you for letting me share this with you and for allowing me to bring it into the light. I don’t want to let you down, but I also want you to know, it’s never about perfection.