Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

What does it take to stay committed to a process whose rewards can be ephemeral and whose accomplishment remains a daily struggle? After I lost my job in 2002, I felt as though the rug had been pulled out from under me. Had I known then the road that lay ahead, I’m not sure I would have been able to go on. But at the time, I had a couple of major priorities that I took day by day, week by week, and they kept me going. One of them was to pay my mortgage. The other was to maintain my weight loss.

Now that I’m working again, and money is not the overriding issue it was, I’m amazed to look back at the 2 year period I was looking for work and to think that I never missed a single mortgage payment and I managed to avoid regaining all of my weight loss. On the monetary side, I struggled mightily, borrowing when I had to, making compromises, and relying on the support of my partner and my family. On the weight-loss side of things, I think the struggle was equally difficult, and was facilitated by many of the same people and factors.

Lately I’ve been mad at myself for gaining some weight and not being able to find the magic key that would get me back to my healthy goal. My sense of ‘failure’ can be debilitating and my self-judgements are strong and negative. I struggle fo find the positive energy I need to stick with my plans and move forward.

At the same time, when I look at my very small bank balance and my very large credit card statements, I feel nothing but relief. When I think that it will take me two years to pay off my car and other debts, I feel proud and resolute. I know that as long as I stay employed, I CAN put my house in order. How amazing that I went through a monetary crisis like that and came out the other end without losing house and home!

I wonder why it is when I look at the scale, and I feel the pinch of my clothes, I don’t have that same kind of patient, positive reaction. I mean, if it takes me two years to get back to my goal, why does that make me feel like a complete failure? Shouldn’t I despair at my lack of progress and self control? Shouldn’t I just go on a rapid diet and drop all the weight immediately?

I guess my challenge for this week is to embrace some of the amazingly good things about my food and weight situation. For one thing, I’m running farther and stronger than before. For another, I’m learning the value of patience and forgiveness. When I overeat, its invariably due to stress, boredom, anxiety or fear– not slothfulness or ignorance. The choices I make have repercussions which I understand, even if I can’t always control them. If I could learn to manage my emotions, bit by bit, over the next 12 – 24 months, that would be a payoff that would last a lifetime.

So when I get home tonight, I’m going to balance my checkbook AND I’m going to review my food journal. There are lessons to be had, even if the answers won’t show up overnight.

4 thoughts on “Patience

  1. jessica says:

    Jonathan, I wrote a VERY similar post yesterday on my website – jessiferseabs.blogspot.com – I paid off all my credit cards yesterday by getting a home equity loan from my credit union. I’m still going to be in debt for a while, but it’s at 6.5% instead of the 19, 20, 25% I’ve been paying.

    I used to feel an overwhelming sense of dread when I thought about two things: my weight, and my credit card / financial situation. But now I look forward to the future with optimism and a sense of “everything really IS going to be okay.”

    Congrats on sticking to your guns through tough times. I KNOW how hard it is. I’ve always believed that debt and weight were very closely related – reduce one, you reduce the other…

    Congrats!
    ~jessica

  2. Amy says:

    I’m paying off a credit card now and about as impatient with it as I am with my slow weight loss. I have learned this year, though, that just as I budget my money every month in an effort to pay off my bills yet still have money to live on, I have to budget my food intake and exercise so that I can keep my weight loss steady and my health in good condition so that I can live my life to its fullest potential.

    It’s a game of patience, persistence, and hope, but when we finally reach our goals and pay off our debts, we will have a whole new set of teachings: how to maintain that lifestyle.

    It never ends, but it’s not to be something we complain and groan about it. To live is to learn. If we stop learning and growing, we stop living.

    Great post right when I needed to read it!!

  3. Denise says:

    Jonathan,

    In EVERY SkinnyDaily post, you include a sentence like:

    “I’ve been mad at myself for gaining some weight and not being able to find the magic key that would get me back to my healthy goal.”

    When are you going to stop being angry at yourself? How do you talk to yourself when you are mad at yourself?

    If a friend of yours gained some weight back, would you be MAD at them? Would you talk to them the way you talk to and about yourself? If it took them two years to lose the weight, would you refer to them as a “failure”? Suppose it takes them 5 years? How about if they never lost the weight? Is that a deal breaker and would you end the friendship?

    I suspect that you tone things down when you post and talk to and about yourself inside your own head much worse than you do here.

    I used to beat myself up a lot about weight all the time. Believe me, being angry at yourself burns very few calories. It actually kept me in a emotional place where I wanted to eat more. Nobody has done more damage to my self esteem than I have.

    I finally lost weight when I started applying the Golden Rule to myself. Do unto myself as I do unto others. If a friend of mine gained weight, I’d be very rational about the whole thing. I wouldn’t beat up another person the way I did myself.

    I started talking to and about myself like I was a rational person who was capable of making good decisions and who was going to occasionally screw up. I started talking to myself like I was a happy, healthy person … and eventually I became one…

    Sending best wishes your way.

  4. Laura says:

    I just came back from a retreat that was amazing in the sense that it gave me a big reality check. So many of the women there were, well, rather outwardly plain and some were overweight or not the ideal we all hope for, but their peace inside themselves and their brilliant personalities far exceeded anything on their outter shell. Their sense of humbleness and kindness and focusing on the good in people made me realize my priority was not in the right place.

    I came back feeling the same way – if it takes me two years, it takes me two years. Although this is very important for myself and my health, I judge myself very harshly the second I don’t perfectly eat and exercise. I have always been too hard on myself, but it’s just not that easy to snap the fingers and turn it around. However today I’m feeling more gentle towards myself. I hope I can make that last as I continue on this (long) journey one step at a atime.

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