Patience: I want it NOW!

In Wednesday’s post, I wrote about how we’ve become afraid to celebrate with rich foods. (You’ll notice that more than once I included the phrase “in moderation.”)

Today I tip the scale in the other direction, to the topic of overindulgence.

I don’t have to tell you that overindulgence is what has got us into this obesity mess we’re in. Most of the time our problem isn’t that we’re afraid to eat but that we eat way too much, especially of the wrong things.

No one’s saying you need to eat celery sticks and rice cakes every day, perform death-defying feats of aerobic activity, weigh 98 pounds (unless you’re under 5 feet tall) or gag every time you look at your thighs in a mirror.

Some women try those things and end up anorexic, bulimic, institutionalized – or dead.

The key to healthy living – as with most things in life – is moderation. Balance. Patience.

(I write this as I finish scarfing down a huge bowl of macaroni and cheese, but please remember that today is Indulge Friday for me – the to heck with sensible eating day I allow myself every week.)

This morning at work I wrote a couple of things on a little scrap of paper:

•       “Don’t eat stuff you don’t fully enjoy just because it’s there. And certainly don’t eat a big serving of it!” I wrote this after eating a little heart-shaped cake with lemon icing that I found in the break room. (I think the two big boxes of mini-cakes were left over from last night’s wedding shower.) Not until I was finished eating did I realize that A) those “little” cakes were really about 1 1/2 to 2 serving sizes, and B) I was satisfied about halfway through but didn’t notice until I was finished because I was busy thumbing through a stack of magazines someone had left on the table. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about food, it’s that you should pay attention to it while you’re consuming it; otherwise you’ll eat way more than you intended and you won’t receive pleasure from it. (Studies bear this out.) It’s what my friend Sheila and I call “mindful eating.”

•       “Don’t fool yourself into thinking a little bit of exercise (or self-restraint with food) won’t help.” We tend to think it’s all or nothing. But, just as I believe that one person can make a difference in whatever world-changing pursuit you’re passionate about, one step at a time is what it takes to make meaningful, long-lasting changes to your body, your mind and your life. Baby steps. And patience. It will happen.

Patience is the P in Bruce’s acronym for being a good runner: BEEP (balance, efficiency, effort, patience).

Today I was tweaking my Biggest Loser spreadsheet and projecting my future weight loss (I update it after every weigh-in). For some reason I’ve been using 0.6 pounds as my projection standard, although some weeks I lose a whole pound, some weeks it’s 0.8 and some weeks more than a pound. (Someday I’ll post my actual numbers for you to see. And I will be happy to e-mail you the spreadsheet so you can customize it for yourself – I’ve set it up to do the math for you.)

So, if I stay on track with the arbitrarily chosen 0.6 pounds a week, it’s going to be mid-July before I reach the 20-pound mark (and buy my cute little reward shoes)!

That is annoying as heck, but it is sensible. And patient. (I could get on my soapbox and rant about the rapid-weight-loss products advertised on TV and in magazines, but I hope you know how dangerous, unrealistic and temporary they are without my having to tell you. I will spare you the rant. Unless you believe the advertising, in which case you need a good rant.)

Losing a pound a week wouldn’t be unrealistic, but I also know this about myself: If I set a weight-loss goal too high and miss the mark too often, I’ll get discouraged and be more likely to veer off course. I’d rather set it at 0.6, take it slowly and ease into the habits I’ve been practicing. Slow is better than fast when it comes to changing your body composition (Suzy’s Scientific Opinion No. 969, not necessarily endorsed by the medical community).

This journey is a marathon, not a sprint.

Be kind to yourself. Take it slowly. Realize that, if you’re overweight and out of shape, you didn’t get into this condition overnight and you won’t get out of it overnight. If you do, you’re doing it wrong. Call me, and I’ll rant at you.

In a future post: using positive words – about food and about ourselves.

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