Friday, March 6, 2015

The real battlefield

Every year on January 1, millions of people resolve to lose weight, exercise and become healthy and fit.  They start off for a few days, maybe a few weeks, some even make it for a few months and then something goes wrong and that's the end of it.  Few people make a New Years Resolution that sticks.

Why wait until January to start your "New Years" Resolution?

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

What happens?  Why do we promise ourselves to do something for ourselves and then give up?  Why?

In 2014, I had just about every excuse to give up.  I sprained and fractured my thumb.  Work was incredibly stressful.  I went back to college to get another degree.  While I tried to stick with it, I was discouraged. I wanted to lose weight, I knew what I needed to do to make it happen.  But I was not doing it. I am a stress eater, so I use food to help me cope.   I made excuses.  Even though I was losing weight, I was not making progress like I should.

My beautiful green cast!

Looking back, I can see more clearly what was going on with me.  It was a mental battlefield and I was losing.  I was fighting with myself, arguing that I was too tired, too stressed, too busy.  I worked hard and I deserved the glass of wine, the hot fudge sundae, the cookies.  I did not make time to plan my meals, to eat right or exercise, even though I knew that is what I needed to do if I wanted to lose weight.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
1 Peter 4:12

I needed to re-think my fitness goals.  Not what my goals were, but how exactly I was going to accomplish them.  Getting a new trainer in July helped me with that.  Mike was a great motivator and made my workouts more fun.  Having the Rugged Maniac ahead of me kept me focused.

I started an internal dialogue with myself, making deals with myself, having mental contests.  "Do 10 minutes on the bike, then go do the weights."  When I got to eight minutes, I'd say, "You can do 15 minutes, it's not that hard," and 15 would turn into 30.

After Mike died (I wrote about this in a previous blog), I had to re-engage the mental dialogue.  "You can't give up!"

At my first "getting to know you" session with Dmitriy, it was a reality check.  This was the first time I was really honest with myself.  I talked to him about my fitness goals, what I liked and what worked for me in the past, what did not work well.  Dmitriy gave me the, "If you want to lose weight, this is what you really need to do" talk.  I resisted at first.  Seriously.  I told him the same thing I told Mike.  But Dmitriy pushed the issue and somehow convinced me to start tracking all my food.

Nutritionally, I had tried everything on my own.  I rejected anyone's help or advice because, "I'm a lifetime  member of Weight Watchers.  I know what I need to do to lose weight.  I know how to eat. I just need to do it."  I was losing weight, but it was slow going.  I have to tell you though, the timing was right for me.  I realized that life is too short to play games.  I said to myself, "What are you doing?  Mike is gone.  Would you stop arguing and listen for a change?"  I agreed to try it for a week.  It was no where near as hard as it was the first time.  I learned how to work the program better, talked to Dmitriy about my struggles.  "How in the world can I eat enough protein?"  Dmitriy was awesome.  He told me to try this or to try that.  One thing that helped the most is him telling me to not stress about going over or under with the daily nutritional goals, to try to reach  my caloric intake and to get at least 100 grams of protein.  This was key.  I was not longer stuck and suddenly I started losing weight faster and my body fat started to diminish.

The struggle is real.  I'm not saying it's easy.  I would do just about anything for a hot fudge sundae.  I drive by McDonald's and think, "I want one of those $0.99 hot fudge sundaes so bad!"  Now, come on, Tracey.  If you're going to blow it, why would you waste your calories on a McDonald's hot fudge sundae?  (At least go to Friendly's and get a banana split!)

The real battlefield is the one that takes place in my mind.  I am worth more than a hot fudge sundae. I have to convince myself that a hot fudge sundae is NOT my reward for a stressful day or hard work.  In fact, food can't be my reward.  When I have a bad day, which I do sometimes, I have to convince myself to not give up.  "Today was a bad day.  Tomorrow is a fresh start."

These things contribute to "bad" eating days:
  • Not planning my meals well (or at all).
  • Eating out.  (You cannot control for calories.  Restaurants load up even their healthy choices with fat and sugar to make them taste good.)
  • Being too busy.
  • Not eating enough during the day and being hungry later.
  • Not having healthy food options in the house or at work.
Reflection is critical.  What worked?  What did not work?  What can I do better next time?
It is what helps me to overcome the battle I have with myself.

Today is a new day.  I will not celebrate with a hot fudge sundae!  However, a really good workout at the gym is definitely in order.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12

Friends, be encouraged.  Did you make a New Year's resolution?  How are you doing with it?  It's not too late to go back to it.  Do not give up!  Do not let setbacks and obstacles become road blocks.  Invest the time and effort in yourself.  You are worth it!