Wednesday, November 6, 2013
when you live with other people, be it parents, children, a spouse, even a roommate, diet and exercise is infinitely harder. you can't necessarily rid the house of all off-limits food. other people's schedules may prevent you from working out when you want to. you may not even be preparing your own meals. i never had long-term success when living with other people. so buying this house wasn't just about owning my own piece of land on this planet, it was about taking full control of my own life.
but not everyone has that luxury. in fact most people don't. so i'm here to tell you the hard truth: you just have to work around it.
people who don't live alone have in fact lost weight and gotten healthy. you're just going to need some extras; extra planning and extra willpower, specifically. you are going to see people eating things you should not eat. i won't say "can't," because you CAN eat anything you want. you are instead choosing not to eat things that won't help you reach your goals. you'll also need to find times and ways to work out. if you can only get 15 minutes at a time, don't let that make you think "not worth it." it is. try to get 15 minutes two or three times a day if you can.
my friend who started this diet about a week and half ago texted me tonight saying she has lost 8 pounds. "is this a fluke?" she asked. not a fluke, just a series of good decisions and good planning. she said she was invited to lunch at a mexican restaurant today, so looked up their menu online prior to lunch to see what she could have. this kind of thing is a little time consuming, but entirely necessary. and the reward is, for her, 8 pounds. she has four kids, and even with a house full of halloween candy, she made it through the week. you can too.
last week, author david sedaris said, "without dedication, you have no hope." he was talking about how he became a published author by writing something every single day for 7 years before he was finally noticed. he said if you are not dedicated to what you are doing day after day, there's no reason to hope your goal will be reached. certain things we desperately want are entirely up to us: we have to put in the dedication, and then we are promised the result. but take away the dedication, you lose the hope. david said, "if you just keep doing this thing day in and day out, you get past the sucky part faster." and while he was talking about writing, all i could think of was my diet. i dedicated myself to it, and the sucky part is WAY behind me. i have sucky moments, sure. but i had sucky moments when i was hogging down everything in sight, too. now i also have so many small victories in my days that i can't keep track. so many people have complimented my clothes or perfume or hair or makeup this week. not everyone specifies my weight loss... and i get the feeling it's more like they are noticing i exist for the first time.
you're going to have to give things up. you're going to have to socialize differently. you're going to have to stop making excuses. you're going to have to stop expecting yourself to fail. instead, you have to make one good decision at a time, one after the other, until you can string 1000 good decisions together. dedicate yourself to it. get past the sucky part. i had to lose SIXTY POUNDS before people started to see me. that was sucky. but i didn't let it affect my determination. last night i took my measurements and held the extra 10.5" of measuring tape out to the side of my hip to the place where i used to end. i looked in the mirror in disbelief. there used to be almost a FOOT of extra me right there. how did i carry that around? how did i let it get that far? i don't know. all i know is that it can't be that way ever again.
you guys, every single day of my life is more interesting and exciting now. getting dressed is fun. shopping is fun (which is also trouble), meeting new people is fun. i see a guy in a store and i feel him looking at me. i totally get checked out now. a guy i went to high school with who never spoke to me once in 25 years now speaks to me every day. another guy i went to school with (who threw my textbooks out the 3rd floor window in 7th grade) emailed me and said, "you are a cutie, how are you not married?" true story.
perhaps best of all... for the first time ever, i weigh less than my driver's license says. i have never even weighed CLOSE to what it says. it was a joke when i turned 16, it was a joke every year when i said "no changes," and now, finally, i can walk in there and say, "i need to change my weight, please."
is there anything in your life you'd rather have than this kind of joy? any food, any beverage, any sleeping in? if there's one thing i can't stop kicking myself over, it's that i didn't do this when i was in my 20's. but i take consolation in knowing that when i turn 36 in one hour and 42 minutes, i will be thinner, healthier, faster, stronger, prettier, happier, and more independent than i was when i turned 35. and you can't ask for much more than that on your birthday.