Skinny Daily Post


In talking to my friend Rosa Lee this morning she mentioned that her weight loss journey had been a ‘struggle’ recently and that she was frustrated. It’s a tale of woe that we all have experienced from time to time: a foot injury that is very painful, the subsequent inability to maintain a normal level of exercise, and a three-day conference with catered sweets and meals and not a healthy choice in sight.

I asked what she felt her biggest challenge was. ‘I keep trying to recall what strategies worked for me before and I just don’t get it,’ she replied. ‘I know its not about the donuts, I know can do this, but I can’t seen to find my groove. And I’ve got a two week vacation coming up and have to wear a bathing suit.’

After I pointlessly tried to problem-solve her concerns for a minute (bring snacks, drink water, blah blah blah), I finally came to my senses. After all, Rosa Lee was right. Having lost 60 pounds last year, clearly she has some idea of what it takes to manage one’s weight. Mulling it over, I finally asked ‘What would it look like to you if you were handling your eating successfully right now? What would you feel, what would you be seeing, where would you be,what would you be doing?’

Rosa Lee’s face clouded a bit and she replied, ‘You know, I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about that.’ It was clear that the stress of the injury, and the annoyance of three days of being held food–hostage, and an inability to work out had all left her at wit’s end.

Its been said more eloquently before by people wiser than me, but it definitely is true that you have to ‘conceive it before you can achieve it.’ We can ‘try’ all we want, but the actual accomplishment of something won’t happen unless at some level we know that there is a chance that it really will happen.

I decided to run 10k this afternoon, even though I was feeling lethargic. In the car on the way there, I thought about my earlier conversation. As I arrived in the parking lot at Golden Gate Park I knew exactly what it would feel like when I finished. I went over the course in my mind’s eye, remembered different parts of the course that I liked and disliked, and finally I just turned on my iPod and started. As Rosa Lee reminded me, it was just a matter of seing the outcome, not the challenge.

I’m not sure if I helped her today, but she sure did help me.

4 thoughts on “Seeing is Believing

  1. striving4health says:

    Bravo, Jonathan! And right on time, as this post usually is in my life. Thank you! I’m going to use this today at the Memorial Day BBQ I *have* to go to at my mom’s. I’m already having visions of myself controlling portions instead of shovelling it in just because it’s there, playing frisbee instead of just sitting or standing around, and enjoying the company who is enjoyable and ignoring the ones who aren’t. 😉

    It’s all in our heads, right?

    Thank you,

  2. Lena says:

    That reminds me a little of a quote I just bought on a lovely magnet:

    “Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance” – Bruce Barton

    Thank you for posting this… it’s a great thought on a holiday weekend.

  3. jane says:

    “the actual accomplishment of something won’t happen unless at some level we know that there is a chance that it really will happen”

    Jonathan: these are magic words. true words, very wise words. it’s why i walked the straight and narrow after the surgery. i had to give it all a fair chance.

    and now that i’m facing other issues, ranging from maintenance to mom care, to relationships and ‘what do i want to be when i grow up,’ these words hold the key.

    ya gotta believe.

    thank you!!!

  4. NewJane says:

    I have found it very helpful to visualize what my life will be like as I lose the weight. Since I have spent most of my adult life fighting the same 50 pounds, up and down, up and down, for that part of it I have some idea . During times of discouragement it has been motivating to think that in only 10 pounds I would stop hurting all the time or in 15 pounds I would fit those boxes of too-small clothes in storage. Now that I have lost 45 pounds and am just 10 pounds above the lowest weight I have ever been (and then for only a few months), my focus has been on removing any fears I may be harboring of the unknown. Using my experience so far, I am extrapolating what size I will probably wear just a few pounds down and what physical activities I will be able to safely attempt. That’s a biggee to me, as my body has always been the jail which prevented me from experiencing fun activities. Since I have been obese or morbidly obese since toddlerhood, I had few frames of reference from this point on. Since I have 80-110 pounds to go, focusing on the end point is like a fantasy. What is more useful is thinking about the next size down, the next possible activities to try, the increase in energy and strength which are just beyond my grasp today. This image is motivating and keeps me pressing forward.

    Also, as is often stated on this website, keeping a written log has been invaluable to me. It keeps me focused, honest, and amazingly enough, able to NOT obsess, because the data is right there for me to check on when things stop working and I need to decide on some changes in my plan. I track lots of stuff beyond my food, like reaching out to others, getting enough sleep, writing in my journal, exercising, and drinking enough water. And I keep a weight loss graph and list of non-scale victories. I’ve been at it over 400 days now. It has freed up my mind, rather than being obsessive.

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