Skinny Daily Post


Forever is such a long time. Its something that we can skirt around the edges of, but I don’t think the human mind is really well suited to pursuing the concept of eternity. So when we talk about losing weight and keeping it off for a lifetime, it doesn’t surprise me that people can get discouraged.

Think of it this way. If I said, ‘in order to live to a ripe old age, you will have to eat healthy greens and a piece of fruit every single day, watch your portions every single day, and remain physically active every single day from now on for the rest of your life’ — how would that sound? A little daunting? Probably even unappealing!

But that really could be said about ANYTHING that we ‘have to do forever.’ We have to sleep every single night for the rest of our lives. We have to drink water. We probably ought to brush our teeth, spend money carefully, and dress appropriately as well.

And while I’m not an expert, I’m guessing that the human psyche thrives on a combination of the predictable AND the unknown-hoped-for. Personally, I don’t want my life to be a sort of ‘Ground Hog Day’ where I need to repeat myself ad nauseum. Nor do I want to wake up every single morning wondering where my next meal is coming from, trusting that the universe will provide.

The other night a young woman told me that she couldn’t bear the thought of ‘having to do this forever.’ So of course my first question was to ask her what she meant by ‘this.’ And she threw up her hands and said ‘All of it. The measuring, the planning, journalling, the dieting… all of it!’

Doesn’t her frustration make sense? It did to me. That kind of ‘forever’ just isn’t appealing. It holds out so little in the way of joy and spontaneity.

Now there are some things that I’d like to see go on and on (my marriage, my full head of hair, my teeth) but for the most part I’m satisfied with doing the best with the near term ‘for now’ and letting the long term work itself out.

In this way, I have set aside a range of unhealthy foods that I feel very drawn to (most notably, pizza, pastries and full-fat ice cream) because I know that I can live without them ‘for now’ despite their amazing appeal. ‘For now’ has gotten me through a lot of parties, some really long trips, and a couple of emotional crises. Sometimes ‘for now’ has been a month, sometimes its been an hour. Once I even set a timer for 15 minutes.

‘For now’ might be vague, but its so much more manageable than forever. Don’t you think?

3 thoughts on “For Now or Forever

  1. Laura says:

    Jonathan – that is so true how I sometimes buck against having to “do this the rest of my life!” when actually there are many things we have to do all our lives and don’t think a thing about them. And Lord knows there are more misfortunate ones then us that have a lot harder things to do then journaling and counting.

    Maybe we all need to take the AA stance of “one day at a time” and apply it to doing what we need to do with weight loss. Just for today. Just for now.

    Thanks for reminding us.

  2. Quinn says:

    Okay, maybe I’m just weird, but the thought of eating healthy greens and a piece of fruit every day for the rest of my life doesn’t seem like such a hard thing to do. If fact, right now this very minute I’m enjoying a lovely blood orange. It’s delicious! Eat something like this every day? Fine with me!

    (That reminds me. Chard. Haven’t had chard in a while. Must add it to the grocery list.)

    The things we need to do in order to lose weight aren’t hard, really. Tiresome, yes. Annoying, yes. Boring? Oh, some parts, perhaps.

    As Jonathan wrote in a previous (brillant!) post, change one habit at a time. Just one. After you’ve replaced the old habit with the new, then change another. Then another. And take your time doing it. When you start to feel overwhelmed by the amount of change in your life (which is probably what that young woman is really objecting to), then it’s time to stop making changes for a while. Give your brain time to catch up with what your spirit wants to do.

  3. stretchy says:

    I was thinking about this post while traveling 2 hours (driving in a rain storm) to run an errand. I ate two hours before I left, but was delayed at my destination, and on the way back, well I became mad hungry.
    I stopped at a rest area, full of fast food vendors…hot dogs, pizza, burgers & donuts…all of the usual suspects.
    Because I planned ahead I knew it would be fine. I had bottles of water, I had a selection of protein bars, I had a book. I bought a cup of coffee and read while it cooled to “scorching hot”… I took my time selecting a protein bar, ate it slowly, and I just relaxed.
    Even if I hadn’t planned ahead, it would be OK…because a long time ago I swore off fast food FOREVER. Life is too short to eat that stuff. I want my food to be good! (good as in tasty and nutrient dense) I would have hunted downsome fruit elsewhere.
    There was, (By Chance) in the rest- stop gift shop, a selection of good quality fruit & some protein bars. I wouldn’t depend on finding these edible things at every rest stop, though, so being prepared is still something I will always think about–forever.
    Putting an apple or banana, and protein bar into my bag comes as naturally as dropping my keys and cell phone and wallet in there. That’s what helped me lose the weight!

    OK, eating nutrient dense foods won’t make me forever young, but they do give me energy & make me FEEL forever young.

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