Archive for July 15th, 2009

What’s Holding You Back?

Every time I’ve decided to get healthy, as I’m getting started, I think of a bunch of reasons why maybe I shouldn’t. Let’s face it, change is daunting.

I know all the reasons I should be fit. Every fat person knows why they should start eating healthy and exercising more. To avoid health problems, to live longer, to have more energy, to look better and feel good about ourselves. The list goes on.

But then come the excuses that lead to stopping before we start or very shortly after we get started. If we can identify those things we use to hold ourselves back and push them aside, then maybe we have a chance. At least, that’s what I told myself this time as they crept in when I was starting.

So I made a list. Why shouldn’t  I lose weight and keep it off? Here are my top ten and how they’ve played out so far:

10. Money is tight. How will I buy new clothes?

Well, the weight doesn’t fall off overnight so new clothes are not a problem right away. And really, how many new things do you need to get through the week? Guess what, when I needed new clothes I found the money to buy them. Oh, and it’s fun to buy smaller sizes.

9. I’ll get bored. How can I eat the same thing day in and day out?

Eating healthy can get boring. So can unhealthy eating habits. The difference is you don’t feel like crap after eating a healthy boring meal. I make sure I have options for my meals. Nothing overly exciting mind you, but enough so that I’m not completely sick of turkey, lettuce and tomato at the end of each week.

8. I’m too busy. I don’t have the time to plan, cook and exercise.

Bah. I exercise for a half an hour to an hour each day. So I miss a little TV. Actually I get up early so it’s done with before my day starts. And if your day is really that busy, fit in little 10-minute walks three times a day. I hear that works just as well.

As for food planning, I’m not a planner. And I tend to eat on the run. With all of the choices out there now, this is no excuse. How long does it take to microwave a Lean Cuisine? It’s faster than waiting in line at McDonald’s. And  anything tastes good on a high-fiber, low cal english muffin. Make sure your pantry and fridge are stocked with on-the-go good choices like fruit, eggs and high-fiber snacks, and you won’t need to plan too much.

7. I can’t afford to eat healthy.

Yes you can. Twinkies and Entenmann’s cakes are expensive too. When you stop buying those and trade for healthier choices, the food bill stays about the same. It might go up a bit in the beginning as you are finding your rhythm, but it goes back down.

Oh and when you unload some of those prescriptions and over the counter medicines from the ailments that the weight is causing (like Zantac for heartburn), you can spend more on food.

6. My family, friends, whoever won’t like me anymore if I lose weight.

Anyone who begrudges you finding your way to a healthy lifestyle is not someone you want in your life. If they love you now, your friends (even your fat ones who are envious because they wish they were doing what you are doing), family and whoever will still love you. And they will be proud of you too. You, after all, are accomplishing something spectacular.

5. I might be heavy but I’m in proportion. If I lose weight, I might lose unevenly and end up with a small top and big butt (or skinny legs and big belly…take your pick).

Whatever your body shape is, that’s what it will be when you lose weight. I really worried about this. Guess what, I’m the same proportion, just smaller and tighter. And if you don’t like your body shape, this is your chance to shift it. Exercise! Cardio is a must but also find targeted exercises that work those trouble spots.

4. I can’t afford a gym membership.

I couldn’t. Not in the beginning. But I could afford cheap sneakers and I was able to walk around my neighborhood. Start now while it’s light out in the morning and late into the evening and you’ll be exercising for free before you know it. And you can’t tell me you don’t know how to do a crunch or even a pushup. Those don’t cost anything either. And now, lots of gyms are running great specials to get you to join (they figure we’ll never go anyway). Take advantage if you really want to join a gym.

3. My boobs will shrink down to nothing.

Ok, this one happens. But again, it’s in proportion to your body size so it’s really not that bad. I never had a large bust until after I had children and was 100 pounds overweight. The boobs were the first thing to go as I started to lose weight. They are smaller now, but they actually look so much better on my frame, and my fear of losing the girls was somewhat irrational. They are still there, and while smaller, since my tummy is smaller too, they actually look so much better! I will say though that I’d be lost without underwire!

2. My personality will change.

You know it just might. But do you really think it will be for the worse? My personality hasn’t changed so much as shifted some. I’m still the same person with the same insecurities (I still feel fat a lot of the time even) and same inclinations. What has changed though is I think about me once in a while now. I do things for me. I smile more. I have more confidence. I take a few more risks. I have met goals and accomplished more in this past year than I thought possible. And if I can do this, I can do anything, can’t I? And there’s nothing wrong with that.

If you are a nice person, you will still be a nice person. The only difference is you might just be nicer to you. Getting fit is liberating. Enjoy it.

1. Saggy Skin!

We’ve all seen the plastic surgery commercials. The gastric bypass patients who’ve lost 100 pounds in six months. Look at all that skin! I’d rather be fat! No, you wouldn’t.

I really worried about saggy skin. I even figured when I started getting fit this time if it got bad, I would stop wherever it was that was comfortable. I’d rather be a little overweight than have loose skin. News flash. If you lose weight slowly, 1-2 pounds a week, and you exercise and drink water, saggy skin isn’t so much of a problem. I’m 60 pounds into an 80-pound weight loss, and I can tell you that the sagging skin isn’t nearly what I imagined it to be. Yes, I do have some, but I had it before too. And the only one who ever even notices it is me. All of the other changes in my body, like a waist and legs that like to run are well worth it.

Those were my top 10 reasons for not getting fit. And I have a bunch more. The reasons to get fit though so far outweighed them that I chose to ignore them this time.

Try to focus on the things that may be stopping you and write them down. Since they are usually only whispers in the back of your mind, they can be difficult to hear but they are there and they are insidious.

Then write down an equal number of reasons to get fit. There are more of these than there are excuses. Consider how you will feel when you’ve conquered your fears and misgivings and have started to meet your goals.

There are good days and bad days when you are getting fit. I was having a tough day today. And I needed to revisit why sometimes it is so easy to get off track. By checking in periodically with how far I’ve come and identifying the reasons I try to sabotage myself, I take the power away from my fears and excuses. I have the power, and with that power, I win.

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