Several Wednesday nights ago at my weight loss meeting a new member joined our group. I'll call her Amy. This was her first time following any diet (yes, first timers do still exist).
An outgoing young woman, Amy was very excited to begin and curious about the journey that lay before her. Many of the other members marveled at her inexperience and began taking her under their wing. Advice ranged from not shopping on an empty stomach to planning out her day every morning. I'm afraid poor Amy got an awful lot of information all at once and, by the time the meeting began, she was slightly overwhelmed. One long-standing member got in a parting tip: "And don't think of this as a short-term thing. You'll be doing this for the rest of your life."
There's a lot of focus in the diet industry these days about the whole "lifestyle change" thing. I admit it; I'm one of those who truly believe that living your diet, making it a new lifestyle, is definitely the ultimate goal. Lifestyle is, after all, the opposite of yo-yo. I don't, however, believe that it has to be everyone's FIRST goal. Let me explain.
There are days when working out and following your diet is not too bad, even enjoyable. (If it's not, there's a major problem here.) Then there are days when calling it a struggle is the understatement of the year. Fighting our way through the dessert room of a wedding reception or a rainy afternoon with the kids home from school wanting "SNACKS!" can be very draining and discouraging. To sit and think at that moment, "I'm going to be doing this for the rest of my life" can be enough to drive you to the cookie jar!
Just as our habits took time to entrench themselves in our lives, so new habits take time as well. New choices and habits and a healthier, weight-conscious mindset will take time to become part of us. And that's OK. Don't worry about forever. Forever is what happens as you work on making it through one meal at a time.
For those of you who have ever been involved with a twelve step program, their focus is "One Day At A Time." If you look to the Bible for guidance, God clearly has a twenty-four hour focus. The manna He provided for the Israelites only lasted one day, twenty-four hours, before going bad. "Give us this day our DAILY bread" - implies just enough for today. If you feel like the "forever" focus is too much, you're absolutely right. It's overwhelming and discouraging. But YOU CAN work on creating your new lifestyle TODAY. For the next twenty-four hours YOU CAN stick with it, prepare ahead, write out your meals and check them off as you go. YOU CAN accomplish great things in one day that will give you the encouragement, experience and hope to take it one day more. And, honestly, that's all you need to worry about.
This is the advice I gave to Amy last week: "You don't have to do this for the rest of your life. You just have to do it today ... EVERY day."
PS THIS is what the Monday Night Chats is all about. If you're discouraged and are tired of yo-yoing, if you need a jump start, please join us this Monday night at 8pm est. If you're not a member, it's free for the first month. We'd love to have you give it a try. 24/100% BABY!
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