If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes
I knew this would happen and I suppose I should be flattered. A family member contacted me, saying that she finally had a chance to check out my last set of progress photos-she was impressed and now she would have to read my blog to see how I did it. Oh no! That's not the kind of blog this is! I haven't posted my daily diet (who really wants to read about that) or my workouts. I have included information about them, but there isn't a road map for how I've come this far. And my dear sweet niece, if that is what you are hoping to find here, then I am about to disappoint you. But I couldn't be happier! What?! Yes-because if you finally feel compelled to look for what worked for me then I hope you will see what is happening between the lines of what I've written so far. It hasn't been about diet or exercise. Please tell me you KNOW diets don't work. I think our little fat cells actually start to laugh at us as soon as we go shopping and they see the typical diet-fare going into the grocery cart: diet sodas, low-fat/non-fat yogurt, skinless chicken breast, lettuce, carrots-whatever your diet food is, they know. The first few times this happens, they probably snap to attention and start having a tantrum, like the child wanting some ridiculously over-processed, high-sugar breakfast cereal. I've seen some children put up such a fight over this: If the TV commercials portray them as acceptable, why is Mom/Dad refusing to buy them?! Their young minds don't understand that the almighty dollar is driving that cereal campaign, not someone with their health and best interests in mind. So your FC's (fat cells, see photo below) enlist the help of their allies-Stomach Grumbling, Pessimism and Emotional Turmoil in an attempt to wage an outright onslaught against the unfamiliar territory they are about to venture into.
Once you've done this a few times, they stop taking you seriously. If you typically start your diet on a Monday, they may even get excited and look forward to Sundays. Wait-what? Absolutely! I mean, it's like a mini vacation for them-they know you will last about 2 weeks before you come HOME (as in to your business-as-usual lifestyle, complete with all the eating behaviors you had before the vacation) and come HOME with a vengeance you will! By the way, you have an entire army of FC's named Vengeance and here's how they came to be:
OMG, this is the creepiest photo but sometimes you need to bring the drama to make a point: that crazy diet you went on ends up something like this, which becomes part of the diet cycle and this is the reward your FC's know await the end of the diet journey, while here's what you get:
And this brings us to the title of this blog: If nothing changes, nothing changes! Do not go shopping for a cartload of bunny food when you are ready to change your physique. In fact, don't even think about going on a 'diet' or losing weight. Do think of training and start with this:
Hard work? Only if you have already 'failed' at dieting a few hundred times, as I had. That math is easy-if you start a diet every Monday, that's 52 attempts per year. How many attempts will you make, using the same approach (If nothing changes...) before you end up feeling like a complete and total failure lacking the strength to change? When you give up on yourself, there goes hope and here I could insert a thousand motivational quotes (As you think, so you become...How you gonna win when you ain't right within?) that are there to remind you that you DO have it in you to do what's necessary to succeed. Your brain is the epicenter of all that you do and this is under your control-you make the choice to do the right thing or the wrong thing. Tough-love yourself out of the diet quagmire! Hard work sure, but this is the most worthwhile work of your life. You will become the best you and your body will follow!
While many people have complimented me and asked what I've been doing-I say it's what I've stopped doing, which is simply eating the wrong things. I've always known what they were but my emotional relationship to food has been nurtured and reinforced for 50-something years. I tried OA (Over-eaters Anonymous, even a paid treatment clinic visit), every diet, diet pills and periods of starvation (my choice of purging after bingeing for many years). It is a wonder that I am as healthy as I am today after all the abuse to my poor body (and to my mind). Failure after failure is a horrible thing to put on yourself. My best piece of advice for success: practice patience. You must be disappointed that I don't have some special secret to offer. Hey-if it were easy, there wouldn't be so many overweight people struggling to get into shape. When asked how much I've lost, I say about 22 lbs. When asked how long it's taken, I say about 6 months. Then I usually get this puzzled look and I know the thought process going on behind that look: Six months? That's a long time to lose only 22 lbs! Maybe not so impressed anymore, hu? It actually impresses the hell out of me! To stay focused for so long when I've never done this the right way for more than a few weeks in my entire life is huge. With each passing day and each little ounce of fat lost, there has also been an awakening to the emotional ties that have kept me going back to food as a comfort for all that ails in life. It hasn't been a straight trajectory of perfectly orchestrated actions (I've had a total of 6 cheat days). But when you stop doing the wrong stuff and start thinking the right things, this is what will follow:
From pig-out to pig-tastic! Time is going to pass regardless of what you do. You can keep doing the same stuff, getting the same results, or you can choose the road less traveled and do the real work necessary to provide lasting change: Honor your inner truth and the beauty of who you are that is about so much more than how you look and what you weigh and you will succeed. Don't be in a hurry, like getting sucked into bikini season madness when it's only a month away and you want to lose 20 lbs. (or more). The time to start is today. Set goals and make them reasonable (I encourage you to take small steps). And-do take photos regularly! You may be able to fool yourself if you hide behind layers of Spanx and girdle-like lycra but pictures will keep it real. Don't skip this step as it is an invaluable tool and one of the best ways to chart your progress!