Since I’m signing up for the Romance Biggest Winner competition, I’m going to be blogging a lot more about dieting and my weight loss journey (and unavoidably, those struggles).
I’ve hesitated to say too much here, because I’ve failed so many times in the past. I even had a weight loss blog at one time, that slowly slipped away and I’m pretty sure I deleted it. If I start blogging about it HERE, the place I’ll never delete because it’s about Dreaming in Rhyme, my need to write, then it’ll be permanent. I’ll have to stare those failures in the face the rest of my life. But maybe that’s exactly what I need to do.
As I was reading 100 Days of Weight Loss by Linda Spangle, one thing that really struck a chord with me is her chapter on “Interested or Committed?” She says if you typically start and stop over and over, unable to stick with the plan, then you should look at the difference between being interested and being committed.
Immediately, I thought about my determination to write. In 2003 I committed (yes, I used that exact word) to My Beloved Sister that I would finish Shannari’s first book. I’d been writing on it off and on for years, at least five, if not ten years, off and on, dreaming, letting it fade away. But once I told her, “YES, I will finish this book by Christmas” it lit a fire under me.
I finished not just the first book but also the second. (Let’s not get into the quality of those first drafts, shall we? )
I told her I’d do it, and I did. It was like a switch went off in my head. This isn’t playing anymore. This is serious. I’m going to do this. No matter what.
How come I’ve never looked at dieting that way?
I guess I was interested in losing weight…but not committed. As long as I saw results on the scale, I could stick to the plan, whatever that was. I’ve done several incarnations of Weight Watchers, both online and at work (not to mention the first time I informally did WW with my mom as a young teenager). I’ve tried both Atkins and the Rice Diet, two drastically opposite philosophies! I’ve lost 40-50 pounds on both of those diets, but inevitably, I fell off the wagon and unfortunately gained it back. And then some after having three kids.
If only I had more time to exercise…
If only I had a personal chef!
If only I had the money for a personal trainer…
If only I could find the right combination…
While all along, the problem has been me. I wasn’t committed.
I’m busy with a full-time Evil Day Job (that I actually love but when I’m in the middle of a really good scene, it really is evil when I have to stop and go to work!) and three kids. I have a house to keep up. I have to cook dinner, do laundry. All the things a mom and wife has to do. It’s hard to find time to write, but I always manage, even if I have to get up at 5 AM to do it. It’s that important to me. It’s never going to get any easier, so I have to find a way. Period.
Why should my health be any less important?
A committed person isn’t going to let a little thing like a bag of potato chips or pepperoni pizza stop her. A committed person isn’t going to quit with the first wobbling slip up or “unfair” gain. She isn’t going to sit on the couch all weekend watching football when the weather is nice outside and there are two dogs and three kids perfectly eager to go on a walk.
A committed person is going to stick to her guns in any situation, no matter how stressful. She knows what healthy is and she’s going to fix her own food if she has to. She’s going to put on the tennis shoes and do something, anything, even if it’s only walking the stairs a few times, because nothing and nobody is going to get in her way.
The way I was committed to finishing that first book. No matter what.
That’s the key for me, I’ve realized. I have to do it. Nobody’s going to help me. Nobody’s going to prepare my food or say, “Hey, let’s go for a walk!” Or even more amusing, “Let me cook you dinner! What’s the healthiest thing in the kitchen to fix?” Instead of “Why don’t we have anything sweet to eat? Fruit? Yuck.”
Oh, the kids might nag me to play Wii with them, but I can’t count on that to be my motivation. It has to come from within me and I have to nurture that flame, the same way I nurture my determination to write.
Nothing and nobody is going to keep me from fulfulling my dream. Now it’s time to dream about being at a healthy weight.
12 thoughts on “Committed or Interested?”
😉 Great post and I can only agree on all points. If we put our minds to DOING IT — committing ourselves — wow, we really can do what we set out to do. Maybe for you, weight loss is too vague and you need a more absolute. Like, I will be able to run a mile in under ten minutes by ….such and such a date. Or I will fit into those jeans by …such and such a date. 🙂
Best of luck!!!
I retweeted the link because this applies to anything at all. So true. I keep wanting permission from other people to do a hard thing, knowing I need to do it, but until I give it to myself I remain in limbo.
As for weight loss – yes. Exactly. I’ve love almost 25lbs since April 1 because of exactly what you said. I’ll add not to beat yourself up if you eat something you ‘shouldn’t’ – recognize it as your choice to do that and to accept the consequences – that’s what finally made me committed, actually, was realizing it is always my choice. When I fail, it’s not because I can’t do it, it’s because I am choosing not to. I am saying the momentary feeling of happiness at [eating bad food/whatever] and the subsequent weight gain are not only acceptable but preferable to the harder work of eating healthy and feeling better. It’s a moment by moment choice, and sometimes you can choose the less virtuous option – so long as you recognize what you’re doing, etc. 🙂
(also, giving up dairy was the best decision ever for me. #justsayin ;))
I’m finally at my goal after 6 years–got huge with two pregnancies. For me it was always about easy not cravings. Counting calories was too tedious. Having boxes and bags of stuff too easy too lose track. What finally worked for me was a few absolutes. First, no white food at all (no potatoes, rice, bread, etc). These mostly took the place of protein, anyway, which we usually need more of than we realize. That meant more nuts, fish, meat, fruit. Now, I’m grain free, which actually isn’t easy considering all the stuff with corn syrup! I had a personal trainer who helped me choose better foods, increase protein especially. Regular exercise has helped shape what’s left after all the wright went away. Hope you find the combination that works for you!!
I need to get healthier too. Need to cut out the soda but it’s so yummy
Excellent post Joely and so true in so many aspects of life. Best of luck!! I know you can do it 🙂
Billi, I’m very goal oriented, but I’m starting to switch the measurement of my success away from what the number on the scale says. Yes, that’s important in the end, but there are other things along the journey that I need to measure. At the end of writing a book, I care about the word count, sure, but that’s not what tells me how good the story is.
Congrats on losing 25 pounds, Jess – that’s awesome!
Teresa, man, going grain free would kill me ded. Sigh. I adore bread so much — more than sweets. Give me fresh homemade bread over cake or cookies any day! But I have cut out most “white” foods, even learning to like sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash.
Stephanie, man, I hear you. I really get to craving an ice cold COKE. Not that diet crap. I haven’t had a real one in forever.
Hugs, thanks, Sherri! It’s HARD but I know I can do it too. It just might take me awhile!
Just hang in there and whenever you feel tired and wanting to quit the healthy routine think of all the good things you can get if you continue and things you will not get if you quit.
Ugh. Coke is my one vice. I can quit drinking it. I’ve quit for EONS at a time before. But at some point, I ask myself why and can’t come up with anything other than, “It’s bad for you, idiot!” and say screw it. I’mma have a Coke.
Next thing I know, I got a pack-a-week habit. *snerk*
It’s not the caffeine. It’s not the sugar. It’s the BUBBLES. And I know it, too, because I love tea — sweet or unsweet, so long as it’s icy cold and fabulous — but I’m not addicted to it. Coke, on the other hand? Yeah. I want that burn, baby. It’s the carbonation I can’t live without combined with that eye-watering squeeze in the throat at the bite of that first, succulent, icy-fresh drink.
…Man, I think I need to take up smoking, too, just to have a cigarette after a description like that!