When I think back on why I was overweight for so many decades, one of the things I clearly remember was that for me, weight-loss seemed like a mountain to climb. I had tried to climb this mountain many times only to find myself in the same spot once again, feeling defeated.
It was clear from my past experience that I was getting nowhere with my desire to be fit and healthy. Looking back now, I believe one of the reasons I was never successful was because I was trying to take too big of a step too many times. I was only focused on weight-loss to the exclusion of my sense of well-being and the rest of my life. I ignored my sense of well-being by thinking I had to eat food I didn’t enjoy, depriving myself of enough food, forcing myself to do exercises I didn’t like, not making time for myself and more. I never took the time to figure out what might make me happy, whether it was losing weight or anything else.
I was reminded of all of this, this morning. I realized that over time, taking one small step at a time, I have come up with a menu of exercises that I enjoy doing. Since every day is different, I developed different exercise options that can accommodate any amount of time from one exercise to one hour. If I only have time for just one exercise, I don’t judge myself. I do what I have time for and get on with my day.
The following is probably more than you wanted to know, but I thought I’d share it with you in case it might be helpful. I have divided my exercises into sweaty and non-sweaty categories. For me, sweaty exercise must be done before I shower. This includes my elliptical machine or an aerobic DVD. Non-sweaty exercises can be done after I shower and sprinkled throughout my day. These include light weights, stretches and yoga. If I need to get going first thing in the morning, I will choose non-sweaty exercises later in the day. If I can take a little extra time in the morning, I spend time working up a sweat.
I smile when I think about how much I hated exercise, and vegetables too for that matter. How did all of this change in my experience when it seemed so unlikely, so impossible at the time? My answer to myself; I started taking small steps that felt good instead of any step that didn’t feel good. For the first time in my life, I began to be gentle with myself.
Instead of forcing myself to eat vegetables I didn’t like, I started with more of the ones I already liked. Instead of telling myself I couldn’t have something, I added food that was healthier, like fruit, more protein or a beverage I enjoyed that didn’t add to my weight. I chose to go out and buy myself one or two inexpensive outfits that I felt good wearing NOW, instead of waiting until I had lost weight to buy new clothes. The most helpful thing I did was, I STOPPED JUDGING MYSELF.
What about you? Is there anything in your life that you’ve wanted to change but feel like you’ve never been able to? What about considering one tiny change or step that actually feels good to you or that feels doable?
We can all find things in our lives that seemed impossible at one time….and then they weren’t.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela
With love, Jackie