Since posting then and now photos of my weight loss I have been getting notes from people who are at different points in their own battles with weight loss.
I am just a musician. I do not claim to be an expert on anything outside of my craft. I am not qualified to give dieting advice, but I can follow the example of Marcus Aurelius and write down a few thoughts directed only at myself. Feel free to use or discard any or all the ideas below.
Take A Walk.
Don’t think of it as exercise or try to accomplish anything. Just take a nice walk around your neighborhood. Stop and chat with neighbors and maybe start collecting photographs of things that catch your eye. You will get some blood pumping, burn a few calories and best of all, getting to know your corner of the world a little better will help with the frustrations of weight loss.
I will be the first to admit that I am a terrible dancer. That doesn’t stop me from dancing. I spent the first forty years of my life wishing I could hear well enough to dance. After getting bone-anchored hearing aids in 2009, I have been shaking my booty to just about every song I have run across.
When I met Amy, I finally had a dance partner. If the mood struck us and there was no music playing, I would throw my head back, sing out loud, hold her close and let our bodies move to the rhythm. At first, she was mortified when I did this in public, but she understood what I had been telling her all along: anybody laughing at us was just jealous.
Tend To Your Nest.
When you start working to lose weight, it is not going to be fun. You will be hungry, cranky and probably a little sore from getting your body to move. It can be tempting to just let your home get messy while you veg out on the couch.
Get up off the couch. Get moving and tidy the place up. Clear away clutter and make presentable so that you can have friends over. You can’t win this fight alone, so make your home a place where your friends are happy to spend a lazy evening.
Alter Your Perspective.
For me, the most difficult part of losing weight was changing my perspective. How I view my body, how I look at food and how I view progress.
You Are Already Beautiful!
You are beautiful. You have a mind, a heart and a spirit that is unique in all the universe. Everything about you is unique. Embrace that truth. Instead of trying to lose weight to look better, lose weight to be healthy. Love your body as it is, and kick people or things that make you feel ugly to the curb.
You Are Somebody’s Hero.
You may think you are alone in this battle, but that is never true. No matter how alone you may feel, somebody is watching and wishing they had even half an ounce of your courage.
You may never meet this person, but that is not important. Be aware that if you give up, you will be sending that negative message out in the universe. You must be strong even when it feels hopeless. You must be brave despite your fears and move forward no matter how hopeless things may seem. Do not bottle up your emotions because that will poison you. If you need to cry, then go right ahead and get that out of your system. Just be sure to get back into the fight before your tears are dry.
Change Your Relationship With Food.
Food is fuel. It is easy to forget that. We get lost in the sensual pleasures of eating. We allow mass media to mess with our relationship with both food and our own bodies.
When I was a child, my mother cooked amazing Pennsylvania Dutch recipes. My father owned a hoagie shop and every visit to my wonderful Aunt Mannie centered around her perfect grilled cheese sandwiches. Preparing and sharing meals is a huge part of my life.
My relationship with food was not a problem while I was active. When I turned forty, I had a run of surgeries that left me in a lot of pain for several years. I tried to stick to my active menu instead of changing how I ate to fit my new situation. I bloated up like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.
At first, I thought that dieting would mean giving up the things that I love. That was disastrous because I always cheated. Two steps forward and ten steps back. Then I realized I could still cook for the people I love and still eat in moderation. To top it off, there is something good and right and decent in cooking for other people. It can be an expression of love.
Forget About Time.
We make a big deal about goals in these modern times, but those goals just stress us out. We reach for the impossible and punish ourselves mercilessly when we inevitably fail.
Losing weight is not something you do and then quit. This is a lifestyle change, and as such, it is not a journey with a set beginning, middle or end. Our new diet is a process that will change us and shape us over time in ways we are unable to expect. There is no end. There is no failure so long as we are strong enough to try again.
Treat this new relationship between you, food and your body as a new thing every morning. Take note of difficulties or missteps during the day. Forgive yourself before you go to bed. Start over the next morning.
When you get sad or scared or grouchy or angry, stop and savor this endless moment. Even a bad day can be both a gift and a teacher.
Learn Something New.
Through my health struggles, I have kept setting new challenges for myself.
I taught myself photography.
I taught myself to play the violin.
I worked on writing better and completed a book.
Right now I am, still trying to juggle. I am terrible, but I will get better with time.
Find something to focus on other than your weight and health. It will ease some of the difficult times. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Pick yourself up and go after that thing you talked yourself out of in the past. I don’t care if it’s quilting, painting, karate, juggling, forest bathing or whatever. What other people think is not important. Be your own freaky self.
If you are fighting with your weight or some other issue and want to learn the banjo, guitar or harmonica, drop me a note. I would be happy to help you learn the basics!
Break a leg!