2009 was a big year for me. Not only did I have a baby, write a book (which is still held up with the publisher and no I don’t know why and yes I’m about ready to tear my hair out and/or give it away for free on the Internet), and learn to ride a Rip Stik (whee!) but I also learned two very important Life Lessons:
1. Do not purchase a talking smoke detector. For those of you whose favorite past time, like mine, is imagining all the worst case scenarios in which you and your loved ones could D-I-E you will know that all the experts tell you to buy a talking smoke alarm. Apparently people sleep through the loud shrieking kind. What they don’t tell you is that nothing – and I do mean nothing – is more terrifying than waking up in the darkest of night to a disembodied woman’s voice saying, “Danger! Immediate action required! Danger!” I wandered the house for 20 minutes in a state of breathless panic trying to understand what was so urgent that the poor thing would haunt my house to tell me. (Seriously my carpets are so revoltingly dirty not even the walking dead would tolerate them.) Apparently the apparition wanted her batteries changed. Why they didn’t just program the stupid thing to say, “Hey-o! No fire here but change my batteries please!” I will never know. Oh and by the way – everyone in the house except me slept right through the ghost alarm’s little P.S.A.
2. Worrying about losing The Last 10 Pounds is an exercise in futility.
It’s the last one I want to talk to you about. (Unless you happen to work for First Alert smoke alarms and then I have several choice words for you.) If you’ve been with me for any time at all you will already be sick to death of hearing about the Last 10 Pounds of Infamy. I’ve gained them. I’ve lost them. I’ve lost them again and got an eating disorder. I’ve gotten pregnant and regained them times three. I’ve gained them and lost them so many times that I’ve attached a dog tag to them so that if found they can always be returned to me, their rightful owner.
All of this gaining and losing has made me angry. I’ve railed against the Media, the Establishment, Celebrities and my own craziness for the fact that I care so much about them – heck, trying to peel them off was half the reason I started my blog. But the fact remains that while I should not care about them and have become so enlightened as to realize the extreme waste of time, talent and energy I have lost thinking about them, I do care.
Why do I care? How about “D. All of the above”? Call me silly, vain, frivolous, sick or even stupid (I’ve called myself all of those and more) the point is they bother me. So when Personal Trainer Lindsey – she of January’s Great Fitness Experiment which starts TODAY!!! I’m so excited! – asked me what my goals were for this month this is what I told her:
“Quite honestly, it’s weight loss. I know I should say I want to get stronger and faster and whatever but really what I want is to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. I only have 10 ish pounds to go – help me get there.”
I am embarrassed by this. I do not want this to be my main motivation. According to everyone I admire and respect, I am not supposed to care about ten pounds. I have already wasted too much of my life worrying about my weight. I am smarter than this, darnnit! Right? So why can’t I let this go? Why can’t I just love myself the way I am and be grateful I’m healthy and love my body for what it does, not what it looks like? Why does the scale still have the power to knock me to the floor, sobbing in my closet?
Personal trainers are not therapists although it seems like everyone who has ever mentored me in a Great Fitness Experiment has managed to impart wisdom to me above and beyond fitness information – Sensei Don, for example, was such a pro at mixing in life lessons with Karate lessons that I should have paid him double (which would still technically have been zero as the kind man did my Experiment for free but you know what I mean) – so I should not have been surprised when my good friend Personal Trainer D dropped this little nugget of wisdom on me: “Focus on what you are gaining and the losing will take care of itself.” (I parsed that – sorry if I misquoted you, D!)
Enter Dr. Oz and the Mayo Clinic. Without meaning to work together, both the good doctor of poop on Oprah fame (hmm… that might have come out wrong) and the venerable institution of health have come to the same conclusion as D. The Mayo Clinic, in their new “diet”, advocates thinking positively by adding 5 good habits a week rather than focusing on negative goals. For example, instead of saying you are never going to eat candy again, tell yourself you are going to get in all your servings of veggies for the day. Dr. Oz fleshes this out in the area of nutrition by explaining that he has a list of foods he eats every day: 7 servings of whole grains, 5 servings of vegetables, 4 of fruit, 3 of low-fat dairy and 1 of healthy fats. Once he has eaten these foods, he allows himself some treats. While one could quibble with the actual numbers (um low-fat dairy?), the point of shifting something typically about taking things away, like dieting, to something about adding good things to your life is important.
I think this small change in attitude might be what I’m looking for. Maybe the key to losing the Last 10 Pounds for good is to focus on gaining good habits. Truthfully I’m still trying to process what exactly that means for me but I came up with these three good habits to add this week:
1. Eat vegetables with every meal.
2. Go to bed by 10 p.m. (not that the Jelly Bean will let me sleep for a straight 8 hours yet but it’s a start.)
3. Drink more water.
I don’t know if it will actually help me lose any weight but it will sure be more fun to focus on on these (ah, blessed sleep!) than to cry in my closet curled in the fetal position around my scale.
Anyone else waging the eternal battle of the Last Ten Pounds? How do you get over tying your self worth to your weight? What is one good habit you could add this week?