We are near the end of the first week of 2013. The excitement of a new year is already beginning to fade like a pair of new jeans. Some of us set lofty goals that seemed entirely possible last week, but are beginning to seem vague this week.
We have all sorts of defense mechanisms that we use to protect ourselves and live our lives with gusto. Most of the defense mechanisms are developed in our youth and become more subtle and sophisticated as we age. There are at least 15 readily identifiable tools we use to live life the best way we can.
You may already be employing some of those mechanisms regarding your resolutions. If your goal was to lose twenty pounds this year and you’ve already decided the gym sucks, you are probably engaging a defense mechanism. Of course the gym doesn’t suck! You may not like sacrificing your time, or getting up earlier, or the physical effort required. You may hate the woman next to you on the treadmill because she is effortlessly skimming the surface while you are plodding at a near standstill. Maybe you don’t like to sweat or the physical effort is just more than you can muster. Perhaps you have physical problems that interfere with a workout routine. More than anything else, the odds are good that you didn’t think it would be so HARD!
I’m talking to you as an expert in this field. I am pretty sure in my lifetime I have lost about 600 pounds.
I’ve tried Weight Watchers. (In 2003 I was wildly successful, losing 100 pounds in one year!) I lost 50 pounds last year simply by monitoring and recording every bite that I consumed.
I hit a point six years ago when I finally decided to stop smoking.Then, my thyroid pretty much lost track of what it was supposed to do. I went through menopause. I quit going to the gym. I quit going to Jazzercise. I quit walking at the mall.
I’ve always been overweight. As a child, my mother didn’t cook, but she made up for it by baking and making fudge. I was one of the first to embrace Swanson TV dinners in tinfoil trays that looked so luscious on the package. A real treat was turkey with gravy (or something pretending to be turkey and gravy) with corn and a piece of chocolate cake. Put in the oven (peel back a corner of the foil) and in 35 minutes a delicious, gourmet meal! I was particularly enamored of the turkey dinner, because it was a meal that families consumed during the holidays. I didn’t have much of a family, and I never recall a big holiday feast with everyone gathered around the table, but so what? I could have a turkey dinner anytime I chose.
A vast majority of people believe that anyone can lose weight. Those people are probably, mostly correct. There are many variables that make it difficult, but very few conditions that make it impossible.
I have several major hurdles to overcome, in addition to the physical. One reason is the amount of time required, that one must devote, set aside and keep for oneself to lose weight. I don’t have any trouble donating my time to a cause that needs me, but I do have trouble allocating “me” time. A second, unexpected hurdle is the blessings I have in my life:
I have wonderful friends, who never make me feel embarrassed or ashamed and care for me just like I am. I have no drama or tension (other than the kind I fabricate) to make me fret and worry, lose sleep or…dare I say it? “Lose weight” I am, nearly every day of my life, happy.
I am concerned about my health…not because I think I am shortening my life span. We weren’t all born to live to 100 and I’m fairly sure I don’t want to do so. I am concerned because I still do a lot of physical labor. My joints ache and my bulging disks are making it nearly impossible to use a shovel. If the day approaches when I can no longer wield a weed whacker, you may as well put me in the ground!
So the idea of a new year, another fresh start, hasn’t faded from my mind. I just need to silence the irrational part of my brain keeps slapping me, telling me, “You have more than you ever dreamed possible. Do not dare ask for one thing more.”
Besides, I did make a New Year’s resolution: “I resolve to value human life. I resolve to do something positive to help another human being and I resolve that kindness and generosity will be my watchwords.”